All Aboard the Eldrazi Train

I’m not sure it would be possible to create more hype surrounding Modern than there currently is: a Modern Pro Tour in a few weeks, considerable shake-ups to the Banned List, and a new set teeming with playables all combine to ensure that Modern will be exciting in the coming months.

Oath of the Gatewatch has an Eldrazi theme and it seems probable that these mindless, world-destroying entities are going to make their mark on Modern in the coming month. Various Eldrazi decks have already performed well thus far, but the printing of new Eldrazi seems likely to put the deck over the top.

The other aspect of Eldrazi-mania that really intrigues me is the printing of Thought-Knot Seer. “Naughty Thoughty” is probably the best spell in the Eldrazi deck and any time you take a deck that was already good and add a new “best card” to the mix it is a pretty big deal.

In addition to a getting a bunch of new toys to play with, the Eldrazi also benefit from the banning of Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom.

You see, one of the things Eldrazi hate more than almost anything (well, besides Hedrons) are super fast combo decks that win before they can deploy their slow and unstoppable army onto the battlefield. Fortunately for our alien friends, the two best fast combo decks have just been ousted by bannings!

Mono-Black Eldrazi

There are many ways to build a Modern Eldrazi deck. The key is that all of them abuse the Eldrazi theme—most play black, and some splash another color.

The list I’m advocating does not splash a color because I’ve found the addition of “Waste mana” requirements put considerable strain on a 2-color deck. Reliably casting colorless mana cards is already like playing a second color, and so an additional splash puts us into virtual 3-color territory!

Mono-Black Eldrazi

by Brian DeMars

The reason to play this deck in Modern is that it has one of the most powerful mana bases in the format.

One of the fundamental rules of Magic is that you get to play 1 land per turn and that lands tap for 1 mana. Well, when your lands start tapping for 2 and 3 mana each, things get out of hand really quickly!

The drawback to the Eldrazi lands is that they limit us to playing mostly Eldrazi spells. The good news is that the last two sets have been packed with awesome Eldrazi creatures.

The other important interaction (besides making copious amounts of mana quickly) is exiling and processing our opponents’ cards.

All of these cards allow us to put our opponent’s cards into exile so that we can use our process cards to gain advantage:

All of the process cards are insanely undercosted, provided you can also meet the process requirements. When coupled with the fact that the Eldrazi lands produce double mana the deck is basically casting overpowered cards for a very discounted mana cost.

Break Out The Big Dogs

I view the Eldrazi Black deck as a big midrange deck. It reminds me of Jund or Abzan in the sense that it tries to go over the top of most of the smaller, more agile decks. I also like the deck because it goes bigger than the other midrange decks (it eventually casts Ulamog and Kozilek) which tends to make those matchups pretty favorable.

I have actually been super impressed with both of the giant legendary Eldrazi creatures in this deck. When coupled with Oblivion Sower to ramp out additional lands from our opponent’s deck and Eye of Ugin to search them up in the late game, both creatures are fantastic finishers and allow us to go over the top of basically every other deck.

Eldrazi Scions from a quick Blight Herder also quickly translates into a 10-drop (often as quickly as turn 5 or 6) which is almost impossible for most decks to handle.

Cool Interactions

The Eldrazi Black deck is full of strange interactions. Since the Eldrazi and the process mechanic are so different than most other strategies that have come before, many of the interactions feel as alien as the Eldrazi themselves.

The painlands are interesting because they provide black for casting Inquisitions and colorless mana for Thought-Knot Seer. I also play a split because you never know which utility lands you’ll steal from your opponent with Oblivion Sower. I’ve had it come up that my random Underground River allowed me to activate a stolen Creeping Tar Pit. The highlight has to be using Llanowar Wastes and Caves of Koilos to activate an opponent’s Gavony Township with Blight Herder’s Scion tokens in play!

GR Tron is one of the most powerful and popular decks in Modern and it is a pretty big deal to be able to Ghost Quarter one of their Tron pieces and then Surgical Extraction all of the copies from their deck.

The real payoff for Surgical Extraction is that if you exile all 4 copies of a land that an opponent plays, you are able to return all of those lands to play under your control with an Oblivion Sower. So, Surgical Extraction is a quadruple Rampant Growth with upside!

I’m really excited to see how the Eldrazi decks perform at the upcoming Pro Tour. One of the cool things about the deck is that there are so many different ways to build it and nobody know which one will emerge as the best version. Is it possible there can be multiple playable versions? Only time will tell, but for me Mono-Black has performed very well and is a deck I’m very seriously considering for the PT.

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