Two days ago on September 20, Mark Rosewater released this article, which details the products and adds context to the setting of the next set, releasing in October. It is called; Throne of Eldraine.
This set will be an Aurthurian and medieval setting which takes place on a plane of existence named Eldraine. This clears up speculation of Eldraine being an area or region of an otherwise unnamed plane. However, in one of the screenshots taken from the panel (which was unfortunately not streamed) text could be read; “The royal courts of Eldraine request the honor of your presence.” I am currently speculating that there will be multiple courts or houses in which a faction basis will be implemented.
It is also heavily inferred that this set will have a fairy tale theme. Just from looking at the artwork that has been spoiled, we get a good glimpse of what tropes are to come in this set.
For instance, the Lady of the Lake;
A gingerbread house;
Rapunzel in her tower;
There is a lot of really great artwork that has already been released for this set, and it’s giving me a very Lorwyn feel while still being unique to itself.
As of right now, we have no leads as to what the story we will be following on this plane will be. Guessing from the artwork and from the very little amount of spoilers, there will be some sort of house war that is taking place amidst all of these fairy tale stories (getting a retcon to “strange incidents”). I very much think the story will follow a power struggle for the throne, hence the title of the set.
Unfortunately past that, we have no more information to the story. We do know that Will and Rowin Kenrith will be returning for this set, and it was even told by Mark Rosewater that the Kenrith twins were designed specifically for this set but were used instead for Battlebond, which I find quite interesting.
New Card Frames
We were also clued in to a new card frame that will be appearing starting with Throne of Eldraine. From Mark Rosewater; “For each set, we’re going to come up with one or more cool treatments that embody the spirit of the set. […] The set has a new mechanic in it that I can’t reveal to (you) yet, but I’m going to show you the new frame that will accompany the mechanic.”
The card frame in question;
This is being referred to as the Showcase Frame. Showcase is going to be the catch-all term moving forward for the “treatments” that these cards will have that is specific to each set. This is what Throne of Eldraine’s will look like.
The mechanic that he is keeping hidden from us is obviously some kind of story book mechanic. If I had to guess, you can pay the cost of activation for the ability, and if the prerequisites for the ability have happened, the card will get an added bonus effect. For instance, with this card, which I will nickname Goldilocks, you can pay the cost of activation, and if two other creatures have died this turn, Goldilocks gets a bonus to power and toughness as well as protection from Bears. The actual reward and means to obtaining said reward are probably very off from the actual card effect, but you get an idea of how I’m imagining the mechanic.
And as for the new card frame, I love it. It encapsulates a fairy tale theme without creating an entirely new looking and hard to read card (I’m looking at you Amonkhet Invocations). I imagine these frames will be more rare than foils, but not nearly as rare as actual Masterpieces.
Tinfoil Hat Theories
While we have a good basis for what this set will entail, we don’t have too much hard evidence. This brings me to perhaps the best part of speculation and early spoiler season; The Tinfoil Hat Phase. Put on your shiniest metal hats, we’re not storming Area 51 today, but I bet we’ll see a return of filter lands in Throne of Eldraine!
My basis for this theory comes from two pieces of artwork in particular.
The first piece of artwork could absolutely be used as a new Rugged Prairie artwork, and the second piece would work perfectly as a Fire-Lit Thicket… Or, perhaps, Grove of the Burnwillows? Could we finally be getting more of the Grove of the Burnwillows lands? If we’re lucky, we will. If we’re unlucky, we’re going to get filter lands again!
There is a small hole in my plot however. In Core Set 2020, we got the enemy cycle of scry lands in Temple of Epiphany, Malady, Mystery, Triumph, and Silence. This means, if my theory is correct, adding Rugged Prairie would offset the balance of number of dual lands each color combination has in Standard, unless they reprint all ten filter lands (which I find to be unlikely). But this creates even more questions. The piece of artwork in question by Filip Burburan is absolutely painted to be a red and white land. There’s jutting stones for the mountains, just enough flat space to be considered plains, it has hints of red and white tones throughout the piece, and there are buildings in the artwork.
None of the other lands types (island, swamp or forest) can be seen or even stretched to be seen. I suppose it could be a mono colored land, but I really get a red and white feel from it.
One last theory before we ship this one off into the sunset. Garruk will be finally returning to Magic with Throne of Eldraine. Let’s begin.
Mark Rosewater has confirmed that Eldraine is the home of a Planeswalker whose home plane is currently unknown. Garruk’s home plane is currently unknown. Garruk also fits the huntsman persona perfectly. I don’t mean he kind of fits the role if you squint. I mean his entire character is about being the greatest hunter, some even going so far as to call him an apex predator. But let’s go deeper, Liliana’s contract is broken, but does that mean Garruk is no longer veil cursed? If he is still veil cursed, he could be returning instead as the big bad wolf!
Garruk has already had one transform card in the past, showing he has a sort of werewolf side to him. This could mean he is the big bad wolf, terrorizing his home plane until a couple of heroics come along to cure him. Again, baseless speculation, but fun peculation.
Regardless of whether there is a power struggle, Garruk is the big bad wolf, or everything we know about color balance in Standard is being tossed out the window, I am already getting more and more excited for this set with each new piece of information I intake.