Owen’s Pick of the Week for Modern

Black/White Eldrazi

Day_Man, 5-­0 in an MTGO Modern League

My Pick of the Week for Modern is Black­/White Eldrazi! It’s easily the most exciting deck in Modern. All early evidence indicates it’s either tier 1 or tier 2, and it’s made possible only by new cards from Battle for Zendikar. There has yet to be a major Grand Prix or Pro Tour where someone has had a breakout finish with the deck, while played in large numbers, so it’s entirely possible that this is the new hotness in the format and now is the time to get in before it starts to get hated out.

The best way I can describe this deck is that it’s like Red/Green Tron without totally folding to Stony Silence or land destruction cards. If you draw Eldrazi Temple, Eye of Ugin, and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, that allows you to cast Oblivion Sower on turn 3! Don’t worry about hitting off-color fetchlands, since Urborg will always give them a purpose in life and random lands are welcome when you already have Eye of Ugin in play—it doesn’t take all that long until you start tutoring up Ulamog and casting it.

Relic of Progenitus fuels both Wasteland Strangler and Blight Herder, which are amazing on Magic Online, since it’s mostly just a format of all burn decks with Wild Nacatl. Imagine this start:

You: Urborg, Inquisition of Kozilek taking Boros Charm

Them: Stomping Ground, Wild Nacatl

You: Eye of Ugin, Relic of Progenitus, tap it to exile Boros Charm, tap Urborg to cast a 1-mana Wasteland Strangler thanks to the Eye and process the Boros Charm, killing Wild Nacatl

That’s insane! You’ve cast three spells already and killed two of their cards at a profit of a 3/2, and that 3/2 only cost you a single black mana. A 3/2 Skinrender for 1 mana would never be printed. I’ll grant you that this one requires a little bit of setup, but I’ve found Relic of Progenitus to be a totally reasonable main-deck card without much synergy needed. It does serious work against Tarmogoyf and Snapcaster Mage—a.k.a. the most played creatures in the format—and it’s a cheap cantrip, which any ramp deck is happy to have.

Blight Herder can be similarly insane, you’re capable of getting draws where the opponent fetches turn 1, you play Urborg into Relic, he fetches turn 2 and you can play Eye of Ugin and have a fully powered Blight Herder. You tap two lands on turn two and you get a 4/5 and three 1/1 Scions. Tarmogoyf is amazing and it’s only sometimes a 4/5 on turn 2—then you also get three Scions?

Lingering Souls may look out of place in this deck, and that’s because it is. I admire whomever thought of the idea, because I’ve always been a fan of taking a deck that’s already good and just putting more really good cards in it that may not make sense at first glance. Lingering Souls has been a staple of Modern for as long as I can remember and it singlehandedly wins games against anyone trying to play fair. I also suspect that this deck is very weak to Liliana of the Veil, and Lingering Souls is the best card imaginable at fixing that problem. As an Eldrazi ramp deck you’re going to have some disjointed draws, and adding cards that can win the game on their own could help alleviate that issue.

Lastly, Splinter Twin is a problematic matchup for these kinds of decks, so the inclusion of 4 Path to Exile is wise. I’ve seen lists that play Doom Blade or Go for the Throat, but I don’t see why you can’t just go for the gold standard and play Path to Exile. It also seems like a huge upgrade over any other kind of removal in the mirror match. If this deck becomes popular, it’s not at all outside the realm of possibility that you would want to play a card that can kill Ulamog.

I would have never guessed that Shambling Vent would be making waves in Modern since it feels overcosted, but between this deck and Abzan, I see it all over the place. Whether black/white is the correct build of this archetype is yet to be seen, but with the tools white offers, it’s my early pick for the optimal configuration.

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