– Throne of Eldraine
November 19, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 2.42
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
In tournament Magic, and even casual formats to a certain extent, we often seem to be past the point where we give much consideration to vanilla creatures. Why is something like Embereth Shieldbreaker different? Because it’s not exactly a vanilla creature, not in the traditional sense. It’s really a modal spell, and it destroys troublesome artifacts for a low, low price that often sneaks right past counterspells and leaves lots of mana open for other plays. You often wouldn’t maindeck Smelt, but you’ll always have a use for the Shieldbreaker if your opponent isn’t playing artifacts. It’s not even a comes-into-play ability, meaning that if you fear the likes of Torpor Orb, it’s far better to have the Shieldbreaker around than more superficially impressive cards like Reclamation Sage.
As with many cards, flexibility can go a long way towards helping what looked like an underwhelming spell work out well. Embereth Shieldbreaker is not particularly good in either half; it’s a 2/1 for 2, albeit one with a lot of tribal synergies in the set, or it’s a sorcery-speed Smelt that then can be cast as that 2/1 for 2. But being a Knight helps a lot: Knights have a lot of support in Throne of Eldraine, and a Knight that offers a bit more flexibility in being able to answer other threats is a nice place to be.
I will say that Embereth Shieldbreaker will rise and fall based on the prevalence of strong artifacts that need answer…and we conveniently have that in the mythic rare artifact cycle of the set. Particularly The Great Henge, which is obnoxious to try and fight against, but all five of them are cards you’d rather not have on board against you for a protracted time. Embereth Shieldbreaker isn’t flashy, and I don’t think it’ll be an all-star, but it gives a tribal deck a bit more flexibility and offers more tools you can feel okay about running mainboard.
Phat Pack Magic here with another Card of the Day Review and boy am I giddy so let’s take a look at Embereth Shieldbreaker.
At first glance this meager 2/1 for 1R isn’t going to be turning heads as she wanders in from her adventure of destroying artifacts but the strength comes in her modality.
Chances are you won’t see her much in Casual formats unless you guys are doing Peasant Standard, and even then there’s better options. She might be played in the Krenko Commander deck but even then there’s goblins that do her job as well.
In Standard and Thrones Limited you’re probably most often going to be busting up a Food Token when they’re tapped out, sometimes you’ll get a field good and bash in a Sorcerous Spyglass or a Glass Casket, but that’s not where this pretty little number is for.
She is for my realm, the Cube Drafters!
Being able to counter a Turn 1 ManaVault/Mox/Grim Monolith (It happens more often than you think!) or even a Signet, and then being able to follow up with a Turn 2 threat, all off of one card, is pretty awesome if you’re in the Mono Red Deck and this is where she is going to shine!
I’ve been running her and she can just be outright devastating to a gameplan!
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