Do you like food? I'm a big fan. And so are Wizards of the Coast, because food is the new central mechanic for Throne of Eldraine, the next upcoming set for Magic: The Gathering. We've got two new cards to show off before the set's pre-release that rely heavily on the new tokens, and a special guest to help us understand how they fit into the meta.
The set officially launches in Australia and New Zealand first on October 4, featuring the Red Planeswalker Rowan Kenrith as the face of the set. It's a set that walks away from the Marvel-esque Gatewatch story and characters that's made up the previous Magic arcs, with more of a focus that Wizards and observers are pitching as Grimms' Fairy Tales crossed with Camelot.
The first card revealed for the pre-release season indicated that food tokens would be a thing, and the next two cards — Gilded Goose and Golden Egg — both use food tokens heavily.
The first, Gilded Goose, reminds me a little bit of the iconic Birds of Paradise Card. It's a 0/2 one green creature that flies, generates a food token upon hitting the battlefield, and can generate new food tokens for 1G. Those food tokens can be binned to gain 3 life (at the cost of 2 colourless mana) in a pinch, but what they'll be more useful for is a small amount of mana generation, since each food token can be scrapped to add one mana of any colour.
Jessica Estephan, the sole Australian contracted to the Wizards' Magic Pro League, explained that this last ability is crucial. "Generally speaking, cards that simply gain life aren’t usually worth playing," she told Kotaku Australia over email.
"However, Gilded Goose allows us to utilise the Food resources for mana of any colour, adding a different angle to the Food tokens which otherwise may not be doing much. We have not seen the entire set spoiler yet, however, if you’re looking to play more than two colours Gilded Goose is a great limited pick."
Golden Egg is a little more limited for now, in that it's a 2 colourless artifact that lets you draw a card whenever it hits the battlefield. Both its abilities require the artifact's sacrifice, but you can pay one colourless to bin the Golden Egg to get a mana of any colour. Estephan noted that it's more of a thematic common than something that's likely to see a lot of play in Constructed or Limited formats.
"This card replaces itself when it enters the battlefield and has two other relevant abilities on it. While this card isn’t going to be incredibly powerful on it’s own, it is incredibly flavourful and a testament to how cool Throne of Eldraine is looking," she said.
Lindsey Look did the art for both cards, and below you'll see the illustrations in full.
Images: Lindsey Look / Wizards of the Coast
The cards go along with Oko, Thief of Crowns, the first major planeswalker and headline reveal for the new set. We won't know how all of the cards fit into the wider Constructed and Limited meta until the full set has been revealed, but there will be a steady string of reveals over the next couple of weeks.
Paul Scott Canavan is one of the best artists working in entertainment today, with a list of clients and employers ranging from Wizards of the Coast to Valve to Games Workshop.
Speaking of these cards, Wizards have also set up a little puzzle for everyone to follow as the full set is revealed:
The numbers are designed to indicate a sort of thematic order to all the reveals. Oko, Thief of Crowns, was released with the number 12, while the Gilded Goose and the Golden Egg both have the number 8. There's presumably some kind of narrative thread starting with a creature or location that binds all of this together, and the final number — 0 — will be unveiled on the official Magic: The Gathering Twitch channel.
If you want to get hands on with the cards as soon as possible, however, the official pre-release events for Throne of Eldraine will kick off over September 27 to September 29. You can find participating local game stores here.