This guide shows which Eldritch cards get better in Two-Headed Giant and which get worse. If you’re playing in a 2HG prerelease these are the cards to pay special attention to!
For the TL;DR version you can skip to the TOP 15 list at the end.
- Prerelease power level: A prerelease 2HG pool consists of two regular prerelease pools, so 12 boosters instead of the customary 8 for 2HG sealed. Decks have a much higher card quality than normal sealed decks. A solid filler card that always makes the cut might be too weak for the 2HG prerelease.
- Synergy: The larger pool also means decks can be more focused on synergy rather than the goodstuff decks that usually dominate sealed. Always check if you have a high number of uncommon and rare build-arounds for one of the archetypes.
- Splashing: If you make one of the decks 3-color you can play all the bombs you open. Splashing is aided by the fact that you have more fixing in a larger pool and that the first mulligan is free, meaning you can mulligan color-screwed hands more easily.
- Situational Answers: Color hosers, ping effects, plummet effects and naturalize effects are normally not maindeckable or very situational, but with two opponents it becomes more likely they have a target. Some of them could be worth running maindeck.
- Counterspells: These are also much better in 2HG. With two spell-casting opponents it’s less likely you kept mana up for nothing, there are more must-answer bombs overall, and it’s less problematic if you don’t do anything for a turn if your teammate can advance the board.
- Evasion: With more creatures on both sides board stalls happen very quickly so evasion is king. Flying is especially important both on offense and defense. Repeatable pingers are also a reliable source to finish games. Menace on the other hand is much worse as twice as many possible blockers make it much more likely that there are profitable double blocks.
Some cards have individual comments but most cards will just be listed in one of these categories. They are sorted by rarity as a power boost is more relevant for lower rarities. That a bomb mythic is even better doesn’t really factor in the decision to play it or not.
These cards affect all opponents (or players). With two opponents these abilities are twice as effective!
While in Oath of the Gatewatch and Shadows over Innistrad many damage-dealing and life-loss effects were templated targeting a single opponent here we see a return to the “each opponent” template for better or for worse (I’m leaning towards worse).
Thermo-Alchemist | Skirsdag Supplicant | Noosegraf Mob | Oath of Liliana | Thalia, Heretic Cathar | Mind’s Dilation | Brisela, Voice of Nightmares | Emrakul, the Promised End
For an explanation why Emrakul gives you control of both opponents or why Mind’s Dilation can trigger twice per turn, see the Release Notes.
Cryptolith Fragment & Aurora of Emrakul
While both the mana ability from the Fragment and the attack trigger from the Aurora will drain your opponents for double the amount, keep in mind that transforming this will still be tricky as you need to bring your own life total down from 30 to 10. This card will be absurd in a pool with multiple Skirsdag Supplicant though!
These cards affect all creatures, or all creatures your opponents control. They scale well in 2HG because two opponents means twice as many creatures on the board to affect. Situational ones will have an increased chance to be relevant.
Subjugator Angel | Grisly Anglerfish | Mournwillow | Repel the Abominable | Give No Ground
These cards get better because life totals start at 30 rather than 20.
Tree of Perdition
MORE FRIENDLY TARGETS
Current Magic templating uses a lot of “you control” and “an opponent controls” as targeting restrictions, especially for triggers. (Too bad MTGO streamlining wins out over emergent gameplay.) The exceptions are mentioned here.
Almost all auras and combat tricks fall into this category by default, those won’t be listed individually.
Crossroads Consecrator | Hanweir Battlements | Collective Defiance | Collective Effort | Dark Salvation | Tamiyo, Field Researcher | Mirrorwing Dragon
Guardian of Pilgrims
Because it can always target itself if you control no other targets this is one of those rare cases where this kind of triggered ability does not say “you control”.
MORE OPTIMAL CONDITIONS
Galvanic Bombardment | Take Inventory
With twice as many packs there’s simple a much higher chance you have enough of these to make them awesome.
Rise from the Grave
This gets better for two distinct reasons. The first is that there are 4 graveyards to choose from instead of 2. The second is that the amount of both bombs and removal per deck will be higher (see General Notes) so more bombs get into a graveyard naturally.
With a more attackers and blockers involved in combat it’s more likely that you have two good targets for this.
While you can’t really count on your opponents for this, sometimes your teammate can satisfy this condition for you if you’re stuck with an uncastable.
Two opponents have too much control over what gets countered. It also means that the other opponent can still play a key spell, as opposed to a duel where that would be delayed for a turn.
Woodcutter’s Grit | Faith Unbroken
As said above most combat tricks and auras allow you to target your teammate’s creatures but these are exceptions. Please keep that in mind when you have them in your hand!
Faith Unbroken is templated this way because if it could enchant your opponent’s creatures you could exile their best one and target another one, forcing them to kill their own creature to get their best one back.
Woodcutter’s Grit doesn’t allow you to give hexproof to your opponent’s creature because for some players that does not do what they might expect it does. (It doesn’t act as a counterspell against your opponent targeting their own creature.)
Okay, anyone who does reveal this from their opening hand will be spoken of for generations to come.
These are my picks for the cards that have the biggest increase in power relative to their value in a normal duel. So these are NOT the best cards to open overall, good removal is still good removal, etc. These are simply the cards that warrant special attention at a 2HG tournament.
The 10 commons/uncommons that gain the most:
- Skirsdag Supplicant
- Subjugator Angel
- Take Inventory
- Rise from the Grave
- Grisly Anglerfish
- Abandon Reason
- Cryptolith Fragment & Aurora of Emrakul
- Galvanic Bombardment
After a few sets of dealing damage to “target opponent” we are back to “each opponent” templating. I expect Thermo-Alchemist & Skirsdag Supplicant to close out a lot of 2HG games. The Supplicant is narrower as it’s an all-in aggro card. The Alchemist doesn’t even require spells to be good but with them it becomes insane. Both are also reasonable blockers for their costs. Cryptolith Fragment will be very good together with the Supplicant but harder to get to Aurora of Emrakul without.
Subjugator Angel will also end many games out of nowhere while still being an okay card when you’re not ahead. Mournwillow tries the same in a much less impactful way and is only here to get the list to 10.
Take Inventory is much higher on this list than Galvanic Bombardment only because with that one having only one or two is already okay so it doesn’t . Take Inventory needs more than that to be playable and the chances for that will be higher at the 2HG prerelease.
Rise from the Grave gets better with more bombs in graveyards on average.
Grisly Anglerfish and Abandon Reason both get better with more creatures being involved in combat, increasing the scenarios where these lead to blowouts. It will also be easier to transform Grizzled Angler as you have more packs to get good colorless creatures from.
And then the 5 rares/mythics that gain the most:
Honorable Mention: Mind’s Dilation
Oath of Liliana goes from being an unexciting Edict to a much more exciting 2 Edicts.
Thalia, Heretic Cathar is insane in an aggro deck but that’s also true in a duel.
Collective Effort and Collective Defiance both give you some additional flexibility. The Effort can pump your teammate’s board if they have more creatures and the Defiance can fix your teammate’s flood.
Hanweir Battlements can give your teammate’s on-curve creatures haste which makes this card useful much earlier than in a duel.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? Are you missing a card in this article? How was your experience at the prerelease? Comment below!