The Eldrazi menace is all too real. It took over Modern like no deck ever has. Even now, it’s at the forefront of Vintage, with a variety of lists putting up great results. The Legacy version has similarities to both. The general game plan will change from format to format, but the deck is fast and has so many disruptive elements that it remains one of the best aggressive decks you can play!
The core of the deck’s strength Thought-Knot Seer. A 4-mana 4/4 is a historically good rate, but Seer is so much more. It can take away a key part of your opponent’s curve, combo, an important threat, or a removal spell. Cards like Duress and Thoughtseize are some of the most influential in history and they don’t attack for 4. That power gets extrapolated 10-fold when you factor in how early this deck can resolve a Seer. Turn 2 is fairly common, and a 5-turn clock that helps stop your opponent is a crazy powerful tool.
Now, when you’re looking for aggression, can you get much better than a 5/5 trampler with haste? Reality Smasher has done exactly what its name suggests since the first tournament in which it was legal. There aren’t many tools to deal with these Eldrazi in the Legacy format. If you look at the commonly played removal spells, such as Lightning Bolt and Abrupt Decay, they don’t touch the massive bodies of a Thought-Knot Seer or a Smasher. A burn deck trying to interact with these huge creatures is going to just get smushed. Using 2 Bolts and discarding 2 additional cards to stop a Reality Smasher is too much to ask. If the Eldrazi menace continues to shine, Swords to Plowshares and possibly even Path to Exile may see more play.
To start pressuring your opponent early, Eldrazi Mimic is the card you want to see. In conjunction with Eye of Ugin, you can empty your hand of Mimics on turn 1 and potentially win the game as early as turn 2 (though turn 3 is far more likely). Mimic doesn’t do anything but beat down, but it does a great job at that. A relatively average start for this deck involves a turn-1 Mimic, turn-2 Thought-Knot Seer attack for 4, turn-3 Reality Smasher attack for 14. That’s a serious clock.
Matter Reshaper is one of your best attrition cards. If your opponents are using removal spells like Lightning Bolt and Abrupt Decay, the Reshaper is happy to soak them up and offer card advantage. It’s also one of your best blockers in the deck as you’re happy to trade it off to either ramp or find more important tools.
Endless One is another card that scales well with Eye of Ugin and is just another big dumb monster. This deck can regularly cast Endless One as a 4/4 or bigger early in the game, but you can also hold onto it to make sure you’re getting the biggest creature on the battlefield. A 6/6 can tangle with everything, including the biggest of Tarmogoyfs.
The creature suite for the Eldrazi deck is set. There are only so many powerful Eldrazi options, but the ones we do have are incredible. What you surround those creatures with is going to depend on the format you’re playing. In Legacy, that means one card really shines above all others.
Chalice of the Void is the MVP. Consider a deck like Elves that is flooded with 1-mana creatures and Glimpse of Natures. Consider a deck like Delver with its namesake card, Ponders, Brainstorms, Lightning Bolts, and more. Look at Storm, featuring Ponder, Brainstorm, and Dark Rituals, while you can also turn off their Lotus Petals and Lion’s Eye Diamonds on 0 to shut off even more fast mana.
Chalice is so oppressive that it has been restricted in Vintage. A turn-1 Chalice can even shut down the Miracles engine, making sure that Sensei’s Divining Top and Swords to Plowshares join the blue card draw spells that no longer see play.
Chalice of the Void is the number one draw to Eldrazi in Legacy. If Chalice is a format all-star in your anticipated metagame, you should strongly consider this deck. If it’s not, Eldrazi won’t as dynamic of a game plan.
Thorn of Amethyst barely impacts your strategy while completely invalidating others. A Storm player simply can’t get the mana acceleration or storm count they need with a Thorn in play. There are a number of decks that can shake this off in due to the creatures in their decks, but many of their draws won’t be able to capitalize on that. A Delver deck relies on cheap cantrips to find the creatures it needs, but they also run a very low land count. Turning off their ability to cast their Ponders and Brainstorms is a game changer.
If they do happen to get their creatures into play, another Modern banned card in Umezawa’s Jitte can clean up almost any mess. The best card in the history of Limited is also excellent Legacy. It adds to your clock by adding power to your creature each turn, while making sure you win every race with life gain or killing/shrinking their creatures.
Dismember is one of the few removal spells a colorless deck can play that deals with the vast majority of the threats in the format. You can even avoid the life loss by having an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in play, but the life is a small price to pay for a 1-mana removal spell to clear the path for your Eldrazi.
Warping Wail is one of the most interesting cards. It counters a number of powerful sorceries, such as Show and Tell, Infernal Tutor, and Green Sun’s Zenith. It can kill a Delver of Secrets, Young Pyromancer, Deathrite Shaman, Heritage Druid, Dark Confidant, and more. Finally, it’s an accelerator in the right draws, as an Eldrazi Scion can attack for 1 or be sacrificed for an early Reality Smasher.
The lands lend Eldrazi its identity. Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple are the most recognizable from their time in Modern. They both allow for turn-1 Mimics and Endless Ones, and multiples in the same turn in the case of Eye. The power level of these lands was deemed too great for Modern, but in Legacy, there are even more lands that imitate their effect.
Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors have been accelerating Legacy kills for a long time. These have been the key to turn-1 and -2 Show and Tells, and the same is true for early Eldrazi. Ancient Tomb is actually the better land for a mana hungry deck like this, as there are few matchups where your life total is important. With 14 such lands in the deck (4 Eye, 4 Temple, 4 Tomb, 2 City), you should be able to curve turn-1 Mimic into turn-2 Thought-Knot almost every time you draw those spells.
Cavern of Souls doubles as a colorless source and a great tool against blue decks. Counterbalance already struggles at dealing with the bigger Eldrazi, but this guarantees that they resolve. Force of Will is a major player in the format and you don’t want to have your Thought-Knot or Reality Smasher shoved into the graveyard. Cavern is incredible against these cards.
The rest of the lands offer solid utility. Wasteland can do a number on various mana bases, while Mishra’s Factory is a colorless source that turns into an aggressive creature later in the game. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth turns your Eye of Ugin into a mana producer, can save you damage from an Ancient Tomb, or save some life on your Dismembers.
Here’s a sample list:
NOLOAM, 5-0 in an MTGO Legacy Competitive League
The way the deck plays out is similar to any aggro deck with lots of disruption. You’re looking to land a big threat or two while stopping your opponent as well as possible. With so many aggressive creatures, you turn to Thought-Knot Seer, Chalice of the Void, Thorn of Amethyst, and Wasteland as your primary tools to shut them down.
You have a great curve and creatures that would already be efficient even without the sol lands to force them through. With Caverns to make sure there’s no countering your threats coupled with their resilience to removal, there’s little that can stop the Eldrazi Menace.
For this deck, you get to prey upon various combo decks. Chalice of the Void is one of the best cards you can play against Storm or any blue deck trying to dig through its library to find the right tools. Sneak and Show may have expensive cards that can get around Chalice, but to find the lands, the Sneak/Show, and the creature, 1-mana blue cards still do the heavy lifting.
Against many of these decks, you can board out Dismember and Jitte to bring in additional Thorn effects. With more Thorns and Sphere of Resistance, your chances of having an artifact that hate out your opponent’s strategy increase.
Against Storm, Thorns and Spheres are your primary tools, although Ratchet Bomb can quietly be good if they try to play out their Lion’s Eyes and Lotus Petals before the Sphere effects slow them down (although this does not combo well with your own Chalice, so be wary of that).
Against Show and Tell strategies, the Sphere and Thorns are again powerful, but so is Karakas. Pithing Needle is a nice tool that can help stop Griselbrand from getting out of hand or the Sneak Attack itself.
Against the various graveyard strategies, of which many of them are going to be faster and resilient against the Eldrazi, you have a full playset of Leyline of the Void. While many decks that play Leyline are hoping to have one in the opening hand, keep in mind that you can hard cast this as early as turn 2 with an Urborg, an Ancient Tomb/City of Traitors, and a Simian Spirit Guide. Remember Leyline is not Rest in Peace, so the cards in the graveyard will stay there, but this should still be enough to stop a number of decks from going off.
There are a number of midrange decks against which you’re sideboarding very little. All is Dust can come in against decks that actually do put permanents into play, while Ratchet Bomb and Pithing Needle are decent catch-alls, but Karakas and Leyline of the Void are targeted to specific strategies and will only come in against them.
What comes out of your deck should generally be a breeze. There are few decks that Chalice of the Void isn’t going to be good against, but Aether Vial decks are high on the list. If they don’t have a lot of 1-mana spells and putting a Chalice on 2 isn’t devastating (like Lands with Life from the Loam and Punishing Fire), then you can consider taking it out.
You’re essentially never going to board out a Reality Smasher, Thought-Knot Seer, Eldrazi Mimic, or Endless One. These are your most efficient creatures. This also means Matter Reshaper can easily come out, as a 3/2 that doesn’t provide value is lackluster. Endbringer can often come out, and Simian Spirit Guide is a way to help accelerate you, but isn’t a critical piece piece to the puzzle.
Thorns will not do much against decks that have a number of creatures, but it’s still useful against the blue decks. The creature removal and equipment will come out in a number of matchups where they don’t actually kill anything, but you don’t need me to tell you that!
This is a lean, mean killing machine. Eldrazi has the tools to be the best deck in Legacy and is customizable depending on your metagame. Chalice of the Void is one of the best disruptive elements in all of Magic’s history, and this is the best deck in Legacy to utilize that tool.
Where do you see the future of Eldrazi going? Will it be the format’s best deck as it was in Modern and we are starting to see in Vintage? Or are the other aggressive and combo decks good enough to keep the deck in check? Sound off in the comments!