Fairy Tales have come to Magic: The Gathering in a big way with Throne of Eldraine, the first large expansion after the War of the Spark era (excluding Core 2020 of course). It releases on 4 October 2019 and contains 269 cards. Story-wise, we're taking a break from the Gatewatch and checking in with an old friend and Magic's favorite cursed hunter – Garruk Wildspeaker. That's right, the OG green Lorwyn walker is back and ready to kick some butt once again! But before we talk about the characters that populate Eldraine, let's first discuss some gameplay in the form of mechanics.
After a year on the multicolored plane of Ravnica, Throne of Eldraine returns to Magic's monocolored roots with the Adamant, a mechanic which soups up your spells when you use a certain amount of monocolored mana to cast it. Take Slaying Fire as an example. It's pretty much a three mana Lightning Bolt, which is unimpressive, even by the bar set by Lightning Strike. But if you use at least three red mana to cast the spell, it does four damage instead of three, making the lackluster rate on the spell much better for Standard.
However, pushing monocolored themes isn't the only thing Throne of Eldraine strives to do. It also wants a mechanic related to its top-down theme of medieval legends, fairy tales, and in general, European folklore. Well, one common thread is that heroes go on adventures and your creatures will definitely be going on adventures in this new set with the new Adventure mechanic. Certain creatures, like Flaxen Intruder, have an interesting subsection in the text box that has its own cost and card type – a Sorcery (or Instant) – Adventure. What do these card types do? Before playing the creature, you can instead cast its Adventure half, at which point the creature will go to the exile zone on an "adventure". After this, you can cast that creature from exile as though it was in your hand. You can also cast the creature from your hand, but then the Adventure half does nothing in this case. It's a fascinating and powerful mechanic with a tremendous amount of potential as it's essentially card advantage in a single card.
Lastly, we have Food, which is a new Artifact subtype usually attached to a generic Food Token and can be sacrificed, along with two mana, for three life. This subtype also appears on some cards like Golden Egg, but is perhaps most interesting on our newest planeswalker – Oko, Thief of Crowns. Oko can +2 and create a Food Token, which is a fairly lackluster effect, but the extra loyalty allows you to ultimate the following turn without losing Oko!
We've discussed Oko, but what about returning planeswalkers? As mentioned above, Garruk returns to us as Garruk, Cursed Huntsman, a powerful six mana planeswalker capable of creating multiple 2/2s at no loyalty cost! He also has the ability to both destroy a creature and draw a card at once with its -3. Additionally, the Kenrith twins (Rowan and Will) appear in Standard with The Royal Scions, a fairly potent three mana planeswalker with decently powerful +1s that can loot or pump a creature while giving it evasions. Their ultimate does its best Ancestral Recall + 1 Impression, while also dealing a chunk of damage.
Throne of Eldraine has a lot more to offer and is backed with many references to fairy tales, so check it out and make sure to keep your house huff-and-puff proof!