Are you sick of losing to Eldrazi? Do you want to play something different? Or do you just want to play the best Eldrazi deck tuned for the mirror? I have been playing Modern non-stop for the past 2 weeks and found a lot of interesting decks.

Let’s start with the enemy.

UW Eldrazi

This deck is absurd. It mulligans a lot because the most important pieces are the eight 2-mana producing lands, but when it comes together, it’s really hard to stop. Your nut draw beats everyone else’s nut draw. I have tried pretty much every other color combination, including RB, for cards like Dust Stalker, Bearer of Silence, and even Barrage Tyrant (don’t bother, it was horrible) and found UW to be the best.

Drowner is the best colored Eldrazi and white gives you the most flexible removal spell in Path to Exile and the strongest sideboard options. World Breaker looks good on paper, but it’s very slow and hardly ever does anything relevant. By the time you have a chance to do something with it in the mirror, you are usually dead or it was exiled from your hand with Thought-Knot Seer.

That brings me to Worship. It has the kind of effect that only really works at one tournament because, after that, everyone knows you have it and has a way to deal with it. You also don’t always have the 4 mana-producing lands and a white source to cast it, and it does nothing if you are pressuring your opponent. I would still probably run 2 in the sideboard but for very different matchups that I will get to later. In the mirror I wouldn’t bother with it, because I expect everyone to be ready this weekend.

Now you might think that’s where World Breaker comes in but it’s not worth the extra color. If I’m playing Eldrazi this weekend, I will have an Ulamog in the sideboard with a couple of Oblivion Sowers instead. Sower is already a great card in the mirror because it has a huge body and gets you closer to activating the Eye. Ulamog takes care of anything and can win you the game with its milling trigger even if your opponent has infinite life.

As for the sideboard, I like high impact cards like Chalice and Hurkyl’s Recall over situational cards like Disenchant. I expect Infect and Living End to show up in decent numbers and Chalice is your best card against those decks. I like Hurkyl’s Recall slightly more than Stony Silence because it bounces Ensnaring Bridge and you don’t need to play it on turn 2 against Affinity, making your early game better. That said, if you expect a lot of Lantern Control, Stony Silence is probably better.

If Eldrazi is not your thing, here are a couple decks that are good against it.

Affinity

Austin Holcomb

This deck won the SCG Open two weeks ago and the most important addition was Ensnaring Bridge. Combined with Grid, you make sure you can kill all their guys and not lose to Worship. Etched Champion doesn’t seem like a very good main-deck card right now so I would probably replace those with more Master of Etheriums. If you are looking for more tips on this deck, make sure to check Frank Karsten’s articles.

Melira Company

Fernando Mazana

This deck won the big Modern tournament at the Bazaar of Moxen last weekend. Between gaining a million life, Fiend Hunters, and Big Game Hunters, it has all the right tools to fight the Eldrazi deck. I would replace Voice of Resurgence with Wall of Roots because I don’t expect anyone to play control (2-4 Cavern of Souls in every Eldrazi deck make countermagic look bad right now) and Eldrazi Displacer just kills the token for free. Eternal Witness also seems less powerful now when your cards are being exiled with Thought-Knot Seer and Path to Exile. Tidehollow Sculler over Thoughtseize is an interesting choice that you can hit with Collected Company, but it’s much worse against board sweepers like Pyroclasm.

Hexproof

Br4nc4

Historically, this deck always struggled in a world filled with Liliana and Spellskite. Now that nobody plays Jund (Lightning Bolt doesn’t kill the most important creatures and Liliana is pretty bad against cards like Skyspawner) and Splinter Twin is banned, there’s way less incentive to play either. If you look at the Eldrazi deck, it has 4 Path, some number of Dismembers, and Drowners to take care of your opponent’s creatures. That is, if you can actually target them.

I played against Bogles a lot of times over the last two weeks and I don’t think I won a single match. Daybreak Coronet, Rancor, and Unflinching Courage make it impossible for you to keep up with the life gain and trample makes sure you can’t block and blink your creature with Displacer indefinitely. Spirit Mantle doesn’t even let you block. Decks like this made me put some Worships and Chalices back in the sideboard because otherwise, there’s almost nothing you can do to stop them. I think this deck is very well positioned right now and the only bad matchup seems to be Melira Company. Painter’s Servant in the sideboard is a cool way to hate on the Eldrazi deck, but I would rather make sure I have enough answers for Ensnaring Bridge.

Elves

Plamfinator

This is another deck that I’ve been losing to a lot. It doesn’t care what you are doing, it just goes under that and floods the board with creatures. Heritage Druid makes it incredibly fast and an unanswered lord is game over. Shaman of the Pack means that you don’t even care about cards like Worship or Ensnaring Bridge! Alternatively, you can play mono-green and replace them with Imperious Perfect. I’m not sure if it is consistent enough, but if no one is killing your creatures with mass removal, I don’t see a problem. In the grand scheme of things, it might just be a worse version of Melira, though. You are also trying to put together a bunch of creatures with abilities, but they are only good for attacking. There is an infinite life combo in the sideboard, but with 1 of each Melira and Viscera Seer, I don’t see that happening very often.

UW Control

IwalkAlone

This deck got 2nd in an online PTQ and caught my eye immediately. Supreme Verdict is a great way of answering big Eldrazi monsters and you can even add some extra Wrath of Gods if you don’t think 4 is enough. Flickerwisp is cool tech that lets you blink Endless One or Chalice of the Void and effectively kill it, or you can use it on your own Wall of Omens and Spreading Seas to draw a card. Gideon Jura is super annoying for the Eldrazi deck if you keep just using the +2 ability because they have no way of removing it from play. This deck still needs some work, but you will easily crush all the creature decks. I don’t see a way to beat Storm or Lantern Control with it, but if you expect only Eldrazi, Affinity, and Melira, it’s a good choice.

Lantern Control

Sam Black

This deck can also be called the “Fun Police” but as much as I hate it, it’s really, really good. It takes some time before you learn how to play it but it’s incredibly well positioned right now. Ensnaring Bridge is usually game over for the Eldrazi deck before sideboard and Pithing Needle makes sure you have answers for cards like Grim Lavamancer, Ratchet Bomb, and Cranial Plating. I’m a little surprised that Sam didn’t run Ghirapur Aether Grid anywhere in his 75 because it’s so good against Affinity, Infect, and Melira, which all have 0-power creatures that can attack through Ensnaring Bridge. It also helps you close games faster, which is definitely a factor at GPs where rounds are only 50 minutes.

Pyxis of Pandemonium is a nice way to get rid of cards like Ancient Grudge or Past in Flames that you don’t want to mill into your opponent’s graveyard. I wouldn’t advise you to pick this deck up without at least a week of proper testing but if it’s something you have played before, you are going to have a good weekend. The only problem I see with this deck is that there are a lot of Stony Silences and Hurkyl’s Recalls right now because UW Eldrazi is by far the most popular version of the deck.

Red Lantern

If you really want to make your opponent’s life miserable, this deck goes even further. Simian Spirit Guides and Desperate Ritual help you cast Blood Moon as early as turn 1. I was winning a decent amount with this deck but eventually dropped it because I couldn’t beat decks like Living End and Storm. I tried splashing green because playing Grove of Burnwillows, Wooded Foothills, and Karplusan Forest doesn’t cost you anything. Having access to Ancient Stirrings, Ancient Grudge, and Nature’s Claim was nice, but it didn’t solve any of the important problems, so the version with discard is probably better because otherwise there is nothing you can do about the hate cards they draw in their opening hand.

TL;DR

  • Ensnaring Bridge is great.
  • Counterspells are bad because every Eldrazi deck plays 2-4 Cavern of Souls.
  • 5 is the magical number, so don’t count on Lightning Bolts to kill anything important.
  • You aren’t going to win by playing fair this weekend.
  • Cards like Crumble to Dust don’t really do anything—it’s the creatures that matter.
  • Don’t try to fight on the same level. Either go under, use your graveyard, or play a lot of mass removal.
  • Living End and Infect look like a way to beat the Eldrazi, but I would still expect a lot of people to play the original PT list with Chalices.
  • This is not Magic Online, which tends to be 2 weeks ahead of the real life metagame.
  • Don’t bother with decks like Scapeshift, Blue Moon, Storm, or Tron—you aren’t going to beat a decent Eldrazi draw with Thought-Knot Seer.

Casting discounted Eldrazi monsters is definitely the most powerful thing you can be doing in Modern right now, but everyone knows and its also the most played deck, which opens up a window of opportunity. There are a lot of ways to beat the deck, but you will always have a bad matchup against something else so one way or another, you are going to end up taking a chance. I’m curious how many people will end up playing the Eldrazi deck this weekend because, in Modern, people usually like to play their pet decks or whatever they have been playing the entire season. Also, not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a new deck that will likely get banned in a couple months. But you can count on the top tables being filled with Eldrazi mirrors and if you make it through the early rounds with an anti-deck, you can easily win the entire tournament.

Good luck this weekend!