The Eldrazi invasion has begun!
Oath of the Gatewatch is ushering in the age of the Eldrazi in Standard. Whether or not it will be enough to usurp Siege Rhino is yet to be seen, but either way the set is full of fascinating new cards and options for deck builders. In my estimation the majority of the most pushed cards are members of the Eldrazi tribe.
There has been a lot of talk already about RG Eldrazi ramp and rightly so. The archetype seems pretty obviously good and will be a force to be reckoned with in the new Standard. Yet, the Eldrazi and Oath of the Gatewatch have more depth than just ramping out Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Kozilek, the Great Distortion. In this week’s articles I’m going to focus on a few of the decks I’ve been brewing that utilize the Eldrazi in different shells.
RB Eldrazi Beatdown
The new set showcases several new aggressive Eldrazi creatures that seem tailor-made for a beatdown deck. Not only does the deck pack quite a punch but it gives us an opportunity to try out lots of new and exciting cards!
BR Eldrazi Aggro
The key card that really spoke to me when I saw it spoiled was:
First of all, a playable 2-drop Eldrazi is unique in and of itself. There have been a couple of 2-drop commons that play a role in draft but nothing that was clearly “pushed” in power level.
Typically, when we’ve seen Eldrazi in Constructed Magic it’s only the giant legendary ones either getting ramped or cheated into play. But a cheap, synergistic, creature-based deck is completely new territory. A card like Eldrazi Mimic really opens up some new space to the Eldrazi tribe.
I see the Mimic as a lynchpin card that is worth building around in order to get a big payoff over the course of the game. If you play it on the second turn and play your creatures on curve, you can generate a big advantage over the course of the game.
For the record: not only do I think that Mimic has been overlooked thus far in Standard but is also a potentially busted card to play in the Modern Black Eldrazi decks. The key interaction being that it becomes “free” with an Eye of Ugin in play.
Speaking of creatures that power up Eldrazi Mimic—I’d be excited to play with the new colorless mana Eldrazis even if Mimic hadn’t been printed. Thought-Knot and Smasher are both cards that have very pushed stats and abilities for their mana cost. The Seer is a 4-mana 4/4 creature that “Vendilion Cliques” your opponent when he enters the battlefield—except they don’t get the card until AFTER they kill it.
The fact that these insane creatures also make Eldrazi Mimic a ridiculously formidable and efficient attacker is just gravy.
A Wasteful Mana Base
Unfortunately, Eye of Ugin isn’t legal in Standard so we have to take a different and more fair approach to our mana base.
One of the interesting things I’ve learned while building various Eldrazi decks for Standard is that there is a tension between casting Eldrazi spells with colored mana requirements and colorless mana requirements
Corrupted Crossroads is obviously the best land for an Eldrazi deck because it can make any color and colorless mana. Unfortunately, Sulfurous Springs isn’t legal in Standard (because it would be great in this deck!) but at one point I did have Caves of Koilos in my BR deck just to have access to more colorless mana.
I’ve also really been liking these utility lands in the devoid deck. They produce colorless mana but also provide some great raw utility. I was really surprised by how awesome the Ruins of Oran-Rief were. The difference of +1/+1 on your large creatures in the late game is pretty huge.
The Perks of Being an Eldrazi Minion
For starters, the Eldrazi are apparently highly skilled swordsmen because if you hand them a Ghostfire Blade they go all Zorro on your opponent…
All of our creatures are colorless thanks to devoid, which means the equipment is just pay 1: +2/+2. With a Blade in play nearly all of your creatures can attack into or block a Siege Rhino!
The last two printings that I’d like to talk about that I think put the deck over the top and into the realm of Constructed playable are:
The printing of these aggressively-costed 1- and 2-drops (alongside the Mimic) is the only reason a deck like this is even possible. The Bearer of Silence is particularly nasty because it has evasion and is great at picking up and attacking with Ghostfire Blade. A couple of equipment attached to a Bearer is a pretty common way to end a game with this deck.
I love Bearer as just a 2/1 flier for 1B in the devoid deck, but the fact that it also has a kicker cost that forces an opponent to sacrifice a creature really pushes it over the edge into the awesome zone.
Actually, its ability is better than kicker, because if you pay the extra 2 mana you get a “when you cast” trigger, which means even if they counter the Bearer they will still have to sacrifice a creature!
I will say that it is a little bit strange to play an Eldrazi-themed deck that doesn’t have a gigantic legendary Cthulhu-style monster in it. I guess that is just a testament to how powerful the Eldrazi actually are—even a deck with only their little minions in it can bring some formidable beats!
[Editor’s Note: This article mistakenly outlined a play scenario with Thought-Knot Seer and Eye of Ugin that does not work properly.]