The Cauldron of Eternity
– Throne of Eldraine
October 29, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I don’t think it’s been officially confirmed, but it seems quite clear to me that this black cauldron is inspired by the Black Cauldron from Lloyd Alexander’s novels (which were adapted into a Disney movie of the same name). The novels’ basis in Welsh mythology, the fact that both of them create servants from beyond the grave, and Eldraine’s art director’s apparent unofficial partnership with Disney all come together very nicely. It remains to be seen if we ever revisit the plane with analogues of Taran and Eilonwy, but until then, there’s a lot of gaming to be done.
The Cauldron adds an interesting angle for the “Lhurgoyf” archetype, that tries to use its graveyard as an alternate summoning point for creatures. Its cost-reduction effect is all but necessary for most decks, and fortuitously sets up future plays in light of its replacement effect for dead creatures. That means it doesn’t always work quite as well as an incidental card in a deck that isn’t built around it, but reanimating one huge creature a turn is hard for a lot of opponents to keep up with. Even with its various vulnerabilities, there are very few reusable reanimation effects in all of Magic, and as such I expect it to become popular at least in casual formats.
The Cauldron of Eternity is…interesting. It’s a reusable way to reanimate creatures out of the graveyard, but it comes at a price in making it harder to reanimate future death targets. It does play extremely well with the self-mill subtheme of Throne of Eldraine, though, and the cost reduction makes it usually a lot easier to cast than that painful 12 mana converted mana cost might insinuate!
That said, this is a spell where you want to be able to start firing it as soon as it drops; it’s an artifact with little means of self-protection, and you’re still going to need to set up to make it work. There definitely is a fair amount to like about the Cauldron, though I’m also not too optimistic about how it’ll fare in a Standard with things like Oko and with a healthy amount of artifact hate. If you’re going to be an expensive artifact like this without any sort of protection, a passive effect to help the team is ideal; even if you can get this off for two mana, it has a tendency to go pop rather rapidly. There is a chance that this might have some shenanigans with Hushbringer (since that nullifies death triggers from happening), though I’m unsure of if it’ll be enough to make an impact in Constructed.
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