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Wilds of Eldraine (WOE) Limited Set Review: Black

J2SJosh reviews and rates every Wilds of Eldraine (WOE) card for limited!

Hey everyone! I hope you’re ready to get wild in the crazy world of Eldraine. Things have changed since the last time we visited with a serious lack of Elk related humor. Instead, we are focusing on WotC’s strange takes on classic fairy tales. That means that it is filled with puns and dad jokes galore so it’s clearly designed to go along with my writing style.

On top of that I get to pronounce WOE exactly like Joey Lawerence every time. Granted most of you are thinking “What is this old man blathering about, someone get him his meds.” I can assure you it was a thing back in the day with Avatar of Woe.

Per usual, I’ll be grading the entire set for the purpose of limited as well as writing about a million other articles about it until they let me out of the content creation dungeon. With all that, you’ll be well prepared to crush some dreams.

For those of you wondering if I missed some cards, the adventures that require different colors for each part are in the multicolor section. The Enchanting Tales bonus sheet will have its own article as well.

Here’s the usual grading scale:

Ashiok’s Reaper

Rating: 2.0/5

We’ve already established that playing a Hill Giant is a gigantic downer so this is really going to depend on what else you can get out of it. This is not quite a build around because you should have plenty of Roles and even some sagas to potentially draw extra cards off of. Just be cognizant of how many you have before you stick this in your deck.

Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator

Rating: 4.5/5

A planeswalker with a repeatable card advantage effect that can protect itself by making creatures. We all know how ridiculous these can be. I’m sure that you don’t need to be manipulated into slamming this one.

Personally, I’m glad they switched to only one Planeswalker per set because it limits how many you run into.

Back for Seconds

Rating: 2.5/5

They packed some decent upside into Soul Salvage by letting you Bargain to drop a reasonably costed creature into play. The funny thing is that you might not want to make that deal if both creatures have an adventure you’d rather play.

Barrow Naughty

Rating: 2.0/5

The pump is pretty pricy, but this is a solid blocker early on that can get downright naughty later. Having another Faerie is a very low ask especially if you happen to be in Dimir.

Beseech the Mirror

Rating: 1.5/5

I’m sure you have heard some of the discourse about how busted this card is. I beseech you to remember that it only applies to constructed. Four mana tutors have always underperformed in limited and this requires triple black. Good luck with that.

The way you end up playing this is if you’re extremely heavy black and have a bomb that costs four or less.

Candy Grapple

Rating: 3.5/5

This sounds like what I do during Trick or Treating when I see an unattended candy bowl. Don’t judge me, candy is delicious.

This is clearly an amazing removal spell that will most likely end up being the best common in the set. Two mana at instant speed to kill over 80% of the common creatures in the set is a great deal especially when you consider that it goes up to 98% if you Bargain. (I unsurprisingly got these numbers from Sierkovitz)

Conceited Witch

Rating: 2.0/5

Unless you play a one drop, you’re not able to play this on curve after the adventure. You would also be fairly underwhelmed about playing a 2/3 Menace for three mana.  That makes me look at this as more of a four drop that requires another creature to be out.  

Dream Spoilers

Rating: 2.5/5

This doesn’t look that great until you consider that about 1/4 of the common creatures die to a single activation of this. That’s not even getting into double spelling or using it as a combat trick. While it’s not quite a dream crusher, it will at least spoil some.

Ego Drain

Rating: 1.0/5

You have to have a whole bunch of faeries in your deck to consider having this in your starting lineup. Even the plan to wait until you don’t have any other cards in hand doesn’t work that well because they still need to have something you want them to discard.

Eriette’s Whisper

Rating: 1.5/5

This is certainly no The Torment of Gollum. A Mind Rot where you pay an extra mana for a Royal Role token feels like more of a sideboard card. It just doesn’t affect the board enough for a four drop when you’re getting ran over harder than Grandma on Christmas Eve.

Faerie Dreamthief

Rating: 2.0/5

A much better Unwilling Ingredient variant. The Surveil is a nice way to start off when you keep a questionable hand (lets be honest here, we all do it). There are plenty of Faerie synergies and at the end of the day it can replace itself.

Faerie Fencing

Rating: 3.5/5

This grade is assuming that you have at least a few Faeries in your deck. Being able to spend one mana to give something -3-3 is a massive swing in tempo. It even has the upside of scaling up making this a premium removal spell.

Feed the Cauldron

Rating: 3.0/5

This is still removal even if it is limited to cheaper critters and tokens. It still kills 70% of commons which is way more than enough to justify running it.

The food option only requires it to be your turn, not to be played at sorcery. That means you still get that token when using this to blow out a double block or even if you do it during your end step to be fancy.

Fell Horseman

Rating: 2.0/5

This is another of those cards where both halves cost one more mana than you want to be paying. The trick is being able to get both while still having the body be relevant. That’s a bit of a conundrum so even though it is a two for one, it ends up as unexciting filler.

Gumdrop Poisoner

Rating: 3.5/5

Tempt with treats is probably a sure-fire way to trick me into doing something. Let’s just say I would probably follow a trail of Reese Pumpkins (significantly better than the cups) down a dark alley way.

One mana for an instant speed food token is a totally fine adventure that can slide into your curve pretty easily. While just slamming a three power lifelinker on turn three is a fine follow up to that, you probably want to maximize the value by getting a free kill with this.

The easiest way to do that is wait until you have five mana and pop that food first. The other way is to have another lifelinker attack in and then follow it up with this. You could also use the next card on this list, but that would be a pretty expensive turn.

High Fae Negotiator

Rating: 3.0/5

You want this skilled negotiator on your side when making a bargain because draining for three life is big game.  It’s also a large bottomed flyer that can dodge a lot of the conditional removal running around.

Hopeless Nightmare

Rating: 2.0/5

This card is far from hopeless. It’s actually a really solid synergy card that can turn into a nightmare for your opponent. A wonderful enabler for bargain that keeps you at card parity while doming them up for two and giving you a scry. It’s also great in combination with Stockpiling Celebrant where you can keep the hits coming.

After I said all that, you’re probably wondering why I don’t have it graded higher. It’s something you usually don’t want to draw in the late game (unless you really want to Shock the face) and it only hits the worst card in their hand.

Lich-Knights’ Conquest

Rating: 3.0/5

This can turn all your food tokens and Roles into actual factual creatures. In the right deck, you can build up to that and overwhelm them after a long attrition war.

It just doesn’t do a lot early on or if you top deck it without anything to sacrifice.

Lord Skitter’s Blessing

Rating: 3.0/5

This is interesting because it is a two mana Phyrexian Arena as long as you control an enchanted creature. It even gives you a Wicked Role to get the party started. There is a massive difference between a three mana do nothing and a two mana do sort of something.

The problem being that if they kill that creature, this can end up just sitting there doing nothing. I’m sure you will be packing plenty more roles in your deck to turn it back on, but it is something to keep in mind.

Another thing to consider is that you can Bargain this away when you get low on life so you never end up dying to your own Arena.

Lord Skitter’s Butcher

Rating: 3.5/5

All three of the modes on this are very relevant depending on the game state. Early on, you’ll probably just drop the extra rat to get your beat on. Later on, you’re far more likely to sacrifice a creature you no longer need to dig for a way to win. Then there’s the “Oops, I win” menace option. Extremely versatile card that does a lot for three mana.

Lord Skitter, Sewer King

Rating: 3.5/5

The graveyard exile can be relevant, but I look at it as more of a bonus here. What matters is that unless they have instant speed removal, you’re starting off with 4/4 worth of stats for three mana. Then they either deal with this or the rat pack (not to be confused with Pack Rat) will eventually get them.  


Rating: 1.5/5

This is the kind of card name that I can get behind. Unfortunately, the card itself is merely filler unless you have multiple ways to use food.

Not dead After All

Rating: 2.5/5

I have grown to love these type of spells especially at only one mana. Against removal spells, it can function as a pseudo Snakeskin Veil by bringing your creature right back a little bit bigger. It is a great tempo play when you get to “replay” your four drop for only one mana while still playing another spell.

It gets downright nasty if you hit anything with an ETB. Getting an extra game piece when you do it is just a bargain for the low cost. The name even lets you make a ton of sarcastic comments.

I might seem high on this, but I think it’ll play out great.

Rankle’s Prank

Rating: 3.0/5

Poor Barter in Blood is being put out to pasture. (Is that even a phrase anymore? I feel like that was already old timey when I was a kid.)

There is a whole lotta range on what this can do. The creature sacrifice plays great with the rat tokens Black has running around if you don’t want to leave the board blank to avoid suspicion. Having the option to pick off their last two cards or nug them for four is always nice.

Similar to Balance, this card creates multiple symmetrical effects that are rarely actually fair. Not remotely in the same class, but the same concept.

Rat Out

Rating: 2.5/5

I could actually see this being a little better than this because it does more than just straight up kill 1/4 of the common creatures. You can also use it as a combat trick that leaves behind your new little rat friend.

I love that this card puts a Rat Out on the battlefield.

Rowan’s Grim Search

Rating: 2.0/5

I would be really down on this if it was a sorcery, but the instant speed provides a lot of options. It’s still risky because taking damage while not affecting the board can be a massive drawback if you’re getting beatdown.

Dropping cards in your graveyard might even be beneficial with Back for Seconds running around.

Scream Puff

Rating: 2.0/5

I’d also be screaming if a cream puff that size was coming after me. A chonker with deathtouch makes blocking very awkward for your opponent. Gaining a food every time it connects makes it hard for them to ignore it and race. The only real downside is that it is a five drop that doesn’t do anything when it comes into play.

Shatter the Oath

Rating: 3.0/5

This is really expensive for a sorcery speed removal spell even if it throws another game piece into the deal. Still removal is removal and this does hit any creature or enchantment (1995 Magic is screaming into the void over Black casually killing enchantments).

Specter of Mortality

Rating: 4.0/5

When is a sweeper not a sweeper? When you don’t want it to be. It’s a great option to be able to just play it as a creature instead if you’re really ahead on board.

Being able to adjust how hard this hits for is pretty sick because it makes it good in a lot of different spots. Even the late game kill everything but this 3/3 Flyer sounds amazing. The only knock is that sometimes you won’t have enough creatures in your graveyard.

Spiteful Hexmage

Rating: 2.5/5

This is a great way to kickoff a game. Hopefully you have a way to quickly bargain the Cursed Role away or replace it with a better paying career. If you don’t have very many ways to do that, you shouldn’t be playing this.

Stingblade Assassin

Rating: 1.5/5

They liked the rebalanced alchemy version of Manticore so much that they made it a real card. It’s usually pretty obvious when they are going for this. Just make sure you don’t forget that this exists or you could have a bad time.

It’s best to combine with First Strike creatures so you can put damage on and flash this in before your creature takes a hit.

Sugar Rush

Rating: 1.5/5

It’s a trick that can make something trade up and replace itself. The more I look at it, the more it seems like a worse version of Bladebrand. That could at least kill pretty much anything and got downright disgusting with mass ping effects.

Sweettooth Witch

Rating: 2.5/5

We all know how I feel about 3/2s for three. This one comes with free pie though. How can that possibly go wrong?

She can even start Shocking your opponent by chucking any excess pies right at their face.

Taken by Nightmares

Rating: 3.5/5

Exiling any creature for four mana at instant speed is almost always premium removal. Between Roles and the Enchanting Tales bonus sheet the odds are pretty good that you have an enchantment to enable the scry two.

Tangled Colony

Rating: 2.5/5

This can be really strong as long as you are the beatdown. Not being able to block is a pretty big drawback, but there’s some nice upside to get some extra rats when they trade for this. Of course, they could just use non-damage-based removal on it while yelling “You get nothing, you lose, good day sir!”  

The End

Rating: 3.5/5

Is this really The End? It’s certainly not the end of writing these reviews or even of this article. I’ve still got plenty to go.

As I said with Taken by Nightmares, a four-mana instant speed exile spell puts in work on its own. Anything else is just gravy. In this case getting a discount when you’re low on life or potentially grabbing more if they have multiple copies is just upside.

The Witch’s Vanity

Rating: 3.5/5

This can pop off 40% of commons with the first step. Let’s be honest here, if your opponent isn’t playing anything this can hit, you’re probably running them over.

After that, you end up with two more game pieces to get into shenanigans with. That’s an insane deal for only two mana.   

Twisted Sewer-Witch

Rating: 2.5/5

On its own, you’re getting 5/6 worth of stats across three game pieces for five mana. That’s not a bad deal especially if you have some Bargains that you would like to make. It can really blow up if you’re in the rat deck by turning all of your little friends into wicked beaters.

Virtue of Persistence

Rating: 4.5/5

The adventure would be around a 3.0 on its own even if it is at Sorcery speed. The enchantment provides inevitability as you slowly bring back creatures from both graveyards to grind them out. There is no exile clause on the creatures so even if they deal with them, they can come right back the next turn.

Voracious Vermin

Rating: 2.5/5

We keep getting the two bodies for three mana cards and they keep overperforming. This is a great precombat play when you’re the beatdown because it makes trades very awkward. It’s very difficult to avoid anything dying in such an aggressive format so it will usually have to be dealt with before it gets out of hand. That incentivizes playing Rat Out or Flick a Coin to pick it off before it grows, but even then they still got a rat off of it.

Warehouse Tabby

Rating: 2.0/5

This is a one drop common that can have a nice long term value effect on the game while still remaining relevant later in the game because of the threat of deathtouch. Who’s a good kitty?

Wicked Visitor

Rating: 1.5/5

Just a Grizzly Bears with some upside. You might get a few pings with it, but the ability doesn’t give you any extra game pieces or affect the board.

Wrap Up

Black is absolutely stacked with amazing removal. Some of the creatures are looking a little ratty (see what I did there?), but they can get the job done.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow for my limited review of the red cards of Wilds of Eldraine. Until then, stay classy people!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

You can also find me at:

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Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

Articles: 242


  1. Thank you for the review. I have a question: Why did you rate Stingblade Assassin as 1.5? Your review seems to suggest it should be closer to 2. Despite the Manticore upgrade, is it still at 1.5? Thanks!

    • Four mana is a lot to hold up while the combat sequences that lead to it being at it’s best tend to make it easy to see coming. One toughness on a four drop is also pretty rough.

      Realistically the differences between a 1.5 and a 2.0 can be very subjective. The grades are more like guidelines because how a card performs will vary based on the framework of each individual draft.

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