Welcome all, players and judges, to Eldraine! Magic has always been about telling a story, so it should be no surprise at all to finally find ourselves in a storybook set. With cards crafted to evoke Arthurian legend or European folklore and only so much space in the title, type line, and rules text at their disposal, there’s quite a lot of wordy effects for us to get through. Thankfully, the Adventure mechanic eats a lot of the technical complexity of the set; and with those out of the way, we’re left with fairly few triggers to analyze, and even fewer deemed generally detrimental. Let’s dive into them!
This set, the Missed Triggers Project has identified four triggers that upgrade when missed:
“Whenever a creature you control dies, put it on the bottom of its owner’s library.”
The Cauldron gives all creature cards in its controller’s graveyard one more chance at life… But these “eternal life” deals always have some kind of drawback. And this one’s certainly no exception. Since the reanimation ability can only be activated “at sorcery speed”, any creatures that die after the Cauldron resolves will get tucked into the library without a chance to bring them back the easy way. Being back in the library does mean there’s a chance to see them again – but since the trigger reduces the fuel available to reanimate, this one’s generally detrimental.
Keep a lookout for Murderous Rider near the bottom of this article for a nearly identical trigger… But handled quite a bit differently.
“When Clackbridge Troll enters the battlefield, target opponent creates three 0/1 white Goat creature tokens.”
And “At the beginning of combat on your turn, any opponent may sacrifice a creature. If a player does, tap Clackbridge Troll, you gain 3 life, and you draw a card.”
Both of the Troll’s triggers are generally detrimental, which makes sense when they’re tacked onto an 8/8 hasty trampler for five mana. Giving three creature tokens to one’s opponent is clearly a bad thing in an average game… And while its combat trigger is less straight-forward, with pros and cons to deciding to sacrifice creatures, we can’t ignore the fact that the opponent gets the choice of feeding the troll.
Letting an opponent pick for a trigger with choices can usually only escape being generally detrimental if all the options are either bad for them or good for the controller. Since one of their options here is “do nothing, nothing happens”, and the other taps the troll (which is a pretty big lost opportunity, despite some offsetting benefits), we expect this trigger to average out to negative value in most cases.
“Whenever Bonecrusher Giant becomes the target of a spell, Bonecrusher Giant deals 2 damage to that spell’s controller.”
This giant seems quite the unfriendly fellow. Paying him any kind of attention results in damage, whether he’s an ally or not, making this effect perfectly symmetrical. So a player forgetting to take damage when they target their own Bonecrusher with a spell will result in a Warning.
“At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, that player sacrifices a nonland, nontoken permanent…”
When doom comes, it comes for everyone; no leniency for the player who foretold it. If the controller and owner of this enchantment draws for turn without sacrificing anything, they’ll receive a Warning. Don’t forget that opponents aren’t allowed to rush through their upkeep to try to skip this trigger… But if the controller forgets to say something at the appropriate time, it’s not on the opponent to remind them.
“When Emry, Lurker of the Loch enters the battlefield, put the top four cards of your library into your graveyard.”
This trigger fuels Emry’s activated ability (or at least, it has the chance to), so we’ll treat this one as not generally detrimental across the board. The only times that it would be all downside is if she’s being played in a deck with zero artifacts; and in the odd case where a three mana 1/2 makes the cut in a deck like that, that’s the player’s fault, and not the generally expected outcome for this card.
“Adamant — When Clockwork Servant enters the battlefield, if at least three mana of the same color was spent to cast it, draw a card.”
This one is actually the only Adamant card in the whole set with a trigger, instead of a replacement or spell effect! Fun tidbit!
What that means, of course, is that this is the only card where the Adamant bonus is missable. On any other card, a player who notices that their opponent’s spell is Adamant needs to remind them if the bonus isn’t demonstrated. But for this little Gnome, forgetting to draw a card is regrettable but allowed.
“When Murderous Rider dies, put it on the bottom of its owner’s library.”
This one looks an awful lot like the trigger on Cauldron of Eternity. And it acts a lot like that trigger; in a set where Knights can be brought back from the graveyard and a Standard where reanimation isn’t that hard, putting a creature on the bottom of the library from the graveyard is often going to be a drawback.
However – being commonly seen as a drawback isn’t the only criteria in determining if a trigger is generally detrimental. We have to evaluate the card “in a vacuum,” considering only the text printed on the card itself. And here, if we ignore any other cards and just evaluate the Rider, this trigger puts the card somewhere that it can be drawn and cast it again. And it doesn’t take any extra cards or synergies to do that. So while players are often not going to want this trigger to happen, it’s still not generally detrimental, and missing it shouldn’t ever result in a penalty.
With that, we’ve reached the end of our venture into Eldraine! Hopefully this guide will prove helpful as we navigate the changes to come this fall. And we invite you all to visit again in three months’ time, when we return to another familiar realm of story; Theros, the starfield Nyx, and the underworld that awaits in Theros: Beyond Death.
-Missed Triggers Project