The End – Wilds of Eldraine
Date Reviewed: October 30, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Halloween is “peak autumn”, if you like. It comes at around the midpoint of the transition from late summer to early winter, when the energetic activity and forward-looking mood of the hotter months gives way to introspection and fatigue. In the Nordic countries, November is still often referred to as the “month of death”, which I suspect goes all the way back to ancient times, when even their long winters were merely an echo of Ragnarok, an annual little death and rebirth of the gods themselves.
Of course, I live in Australia, so I could just as easily invert everything I just said. Halloween is not a major public holiday/activity here, but some of its more operational themes relating to spookiness and otherworldliness have made it here. And regardless of which direction things are changing, it’s The End of something and the beginning of something else.
This card’s main game text – the bigger part that’s most often active – is more or less just Eradicate, which has always been a decent card. It was even in Betrayers of Kamigawa and saw some play in Standard as a countermeasure against Dragon Spirits and reanimation spells. There’s definitely potential for a similar type of spell in Standard and Pioneer, especially with cards like Kroxa running around in the latter. I don’t see the fact of sometimes giving the opponent extra cards as much of a downside, because they still lost something that was likely key to their plan. You generally won’t be able to count on getting a discount consistently, and you probably won’t want to a lot of the time, since 5 life is just as much in burn range as it ever was. But there will be a few times when that leads to a comeback worthy of song, and I can’t help but wonder what Death’s Shadow might make of this card.
Limited: 4 (you won’t often get more than one or two cards with this, but four mana to exile any creature is just fine in limited)
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
A cranked-up version of Eradicate, The End is a pretty nice way to make something you want dead…well, Dead. Four mana for unconditional exile is a pretty competitive rate, particularly unconditional exile that also hits planeswalkers, and making sure they have no more copies of that problem permanent is also good. The “fateful hour”-style cost reduction is pretty nice in a pinch, particularly since there are plenty of decks that have no qualms about playing with fire to burn their opponents, and 5 life is usually safe enough after you knock out their biggst threat.
I think this reads pretty well, but it plays better than that. At worst, it’s an upgrade on Eradicate, which was a pretty decent card back in its day, but creatures are also much better now (and there are planeswalkers!), so there is that. While your opponent gets to draw if you hit their hand, it’s more a replacement than them going up in card advantage, which is how this effect works. The End feels flexible enough to be a mainboard removal spell, as four mana isn’t really a gross overpay for instant-speed exile, and sometimes that’s all you really need.
Limited: 4 (unconditionally exiling a problem permanent is excellent)
Commander [EDH]: 3.5 (the second half of the effect matters less in Commander, outside of something like Rat.dec, but this still is basically Vraska’s Contempt with upside)
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