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MTG Wilds of Eldraine creators “extra careful” with power level

The principal designer for MTG Wilds of Eldraine says he was particularly careful to dodge the balance issues that have been associated with the plane.

MTG Wilds of Eldraine - new hero with whip and cape

The MTG Wilds of Eldraine designers say they were “extra careful” to avoid “repeating past mistakes” when it comes to the upcoming Magic: The Gathering set’s power level. Throne of Eldraine, the MTG set that introduced this fairytale world, is rather infamous for its balance problems, known for warping formats with powerful spells and ultimately adding five cards to the MTG banlist. But Wilds of Eldraine principal game designer Ian Duke assures that it won’t be a repeat offender.

“As a designer that also worked on the original Throne of Eldraine, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that there were definitely some power level outliers in that set,” Duke said, at a recent Eldraine press event. “That was very much on my mind and my team’s mind as we were working on this set.”

MTG Wilds of Eldraine woman in coffin

But Duke says that since Throne of Eldraine released in 2019, Wizards of the Coast’s systems have changed significantly, to make unbalanced problem cards less likely. The Play Design team was much smaller in 2019, Duke says, and now there is far “more robust playtesting”.

He adds that “it’s important to stress… there’s nothing inherent about the setting or themes of the set that will lead to power level outliers, it just happened that Throne of Eldraine was a set that had a few of those.”

In other words, there’s nothing inherently ‘broken’ about Eldraine, and just because we’re revisiting the plane now, it doesn’t mean players should be afraid that the same mechanical issues will crop up. That said, Duke did admit that the design team was particularly careful with Wilds of Eldraine because of its prior reputation.

MTG design head Mark Rosewater has recently explained that – forget mechanical issues – we shouldn’t necessarily expect to see returning mechanics at all in upcoming revisits to old planes, as with the upcoming Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

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For Eldraine, Adamant has been dropped, but we are still getting plenty of food and adventures, returning from Eldraine. We’ve broken down each of the MTG Wilds of Eldraine draft strategies here, if you’re interested in what other mechanics the set does feature.

Throne of Eldraine is known for printing one of the best and most bannable MTG planeswalker cards, ever: Oko, Thief of Crowns. It was also full of staples that powered the best MTG Arena decks, like Brazen Borrower and Bonecrusher Giant, not to mention the dreaded Cat-Oven combo which continues to see play to this day. Check out our MTG Arena codes guide to pick up a few free Eldraine packs.