In the wake of Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch it was obvious that Eldrazi dominated the tournament, but now, new takes on Eldrazi decks are surfacing. While U/R Eldrazi and Colorless Eldrazi are still putting up results, there are other color combinations which are worth considering to pair Eldrazi with as well. Looking at the StarCity Open from the past weekend, about half of day two was made up of various flavors of Eldrazi. That is pretty absurd.
Perhaps the strongest performing Eldrazi deck from the past weekend was W/U Eldrazi. This is a brand-new archetype, and while it shares similarities to many other Eldrazi decks, there are also some distinct differences. This is the deck Kent Ketter took second place in the Open with:
Most of the creatures here should come as no surprise. Both Eldrazi Skyspawner and Drowner of Hope are the primary reasons to play blue. Eldrazi Skyspawner costs two mana a lot of the time, while the Eldrazi Scion helps you cast the larger Eldrazi creatures a turn earlier. This format is all about speed, and the faster this deck comes out of the gates, the more likely it is to win. Having a flier is also relevant versus Affinity or Infect, two decks that often try to kill you with their own flier, Inkmoth Nexus. Drowner of Hope may actually be the most powerful expensive Eldrazi creature in the format. Initially I wouldn't have expected Drowner of Hope to see that much play, but it can completely take over games, especially in Eldrazi mirror matchups, which are currently quite common.
These blue casting cost creatures have been confirmed as good for a couple weeks now — it is the white addition that may come as a bit of a surprise; four copies of Eldrazi Displacer have been added to supplement the creature suite. Just when you already thought Eldrazi Skyspawner and Drowner of Hope were good, being able to blink them is even sweeter. Eldrazi Displacer also works nicely with Eldrazi Mimic, so you can flicker out an Eldrazi already in play and make the Eldrazi Mimic larger. Getting to blink Thought-Knot Seer is great, especially when trying to pick apart the hand of a combo deck.
This deck actually doesn't contain any copies of Chalice of the Void. Chalice of the Void was great for the metagame at the Pro Tour, but now with so many Eldrazi mirror matchups, it may not be maindeckable any longer. Chalice of the Void is a card that has a huge upside and a huge downside. Sometimes the card completely shuts down the opponent, but then in other spots it can be a complete blank. With the Eldrazi deck becoming so popular I wouldn't expect it to be in many maindecks anymore. Instead the deck can play more spot removal. White adds perhaps the best removal spell in the format right now, which is Path to Exile. Path to Exile and Dismember can both deal with large opposing Eldrazi creatures, while being flexible in a number of matchups.
The sideboard is where we see a lot of white cards. Stony Silence is a pretty obvious addition — suddenly the Affinity matchup becomes favorable. Affinity was the worst matchup for a variety of the previous Eldrazi builds, but not this one. There are also two Disenchants, which are good against a variety of potential hate cards the opponent can bring in while also being flexible removal. Rest in Peace attacks Goryo's Vengeance decks, which can have a very fast clock, as well as midrange decks relying on Tarmogoyf or Snapcaster Mage.
While these sideboard cards seem fairly straightforward once white has been added to the deck, there is one card that really stands out.
Worship is a way to completely neuter not only other Eldrazi decks, but also a large variety of decks relying on attacking with creatures to win. It is hard to completely wipe the Eldrazi deck's board without something like Supreme Verdict to turn off Worship. I expect Worship to be one of the most influential sideboard cards in the format as long as Eldrazi decks remain popular (which they should unless a banning happens).
W/U Eldrazi seems to be the most popular Eldrazi variant at the moment, but different versions opt to run different sideboard cards. Ketter has one copy of Vesuva which is a bit unusual, as a way to perhaps duplicate not only your own Eldrazi Temples, but opposing copies of Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin as well. This may seem like a weird singleton but there is certainly merit to running it. The Stubborn Denials are the best counterspell this deck has access to post-board because you only want counters against decks that have a high density of non-creature spells, and there are enough four-power creatures here to make Stubborn Denial more than a Force Spike. Ketter has a couple Gut Shots, the only cards that has remained the same when compared to the sideboard of the Colorless Eldrazi deck.
It was already clear that Eldrazi decks were great, and now it seems that W/U Eldrazi deck is the archetype to beat. There is clearly something to the W/U version of the deck, but it is possible to take things one step further - adding a third color - green!
Bant Eldrazi also showed up at the Open, putting up solid results. The deck is similar to W/U Eldrazi but also adds World Breaker to the mix of powerful Eldrazi creatures. Here is John Pellman's Bant Eldrazi list:
The deck is similar to W/U Eldrazi, but most Eldrazi decks do look pretty similar at this point. Not only has John included a couple of World Breakers in his list but there is also one copy of Endbringer. It makes sense not to play more copies of these threats because you can only play so many expensive threats. Being able to return World Breaker from your graveyard to hand and blow up all sorts of annoying permanents does make it worthwhile. Eldrazi decks are no longer running Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, so it stands to reason you want some answer to hate cards that might show up, like say Ensnaring Bridge or Worship. John has found an answer that is a maindeckable Eldrazi, and all-around versatile creature in World Breaker. As far as Endbringer goes I'm not sure it is better than another Drowner of Hope, though it can kill off of opposing Eldrazi Scions, and take over in the later stages of the game.
I'm a bit surprised by some of the sideboard choices here. We see Hurkyl's Recall rather than Stony Silence, which I'm not sure is correct. Hurkyl's Recall is good against Affinity for sure, but not nearly as backbreaking as Stony Silence. The only green card in the sideboard is Choke, which means the splash is essentially only for World Breaker and Choke in the board. These are nice additions and the splash is fairly easy to make. Honestly, I have to wonder if there are additional green cards that could be added or if this is enough green to make the splash worth it.
We have seen how these decks relying on colorless creatures can actually play up to three colors, or possibly even more. In a way this makes the colorless versions seem, a bit less powerful, but let's look at a different deck relying on colorless lands to function, or should I say Eldrazi Tron! After hearing about Eldrazi Tron I couldn't pass up the opportunity to look into the deck a bit more. Initially when the new Eldrazi creatures were first printed this is one of the first ideas that popped into my head, but an actual list never came to fruition. My thoughts were that adding Tron lands would make the deck too disjointed, but Zach Voss aims to prove otherwise. This is the decklist:
The Eldrazi creatures here aim to go completely over the top of the opponent. This plan works well against other Eldrazi decks, where the goal is to be able to go a little bit bigger. Unlike the other Eldrazi lists there are ten-drop creatures here, with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Kozilek, the Great Distortion. Tron has proven that it can get to ten mana, especially with the help of more lands like Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple. The deck can either have a draw focused on assembling Tron, or can play out Eldrazi Temple early and get a bit more aggressive, with assembling Tron as the lategame plan. When compared to typical Tron decks there aren't as many ways to find Tron pieces, but Expedition Map is the best one.
Expedition Map was in many early versions of Eldrazi decks, so it makes sense for it to see play here, as it is already a mainstay in regular Tron decks. It is a colorless way to search up lands—what more could this deck want? Sometimes it will be necessary to get Eye of Ugin or Eldrazi Temple, and other times it will be important to find the missing Tron piece. Even with the rising popularity of Eldrazi decks, land-destruction is still not seeing a ton of play. This means that this type of manabase has a higher chance of working out. This is the perfect deck to be playing against other Eldrazi decks. Oblivion Sower is already a mirror breaker, and since this deck needs to get to ten mana, it is the perfect card to get you there.
Some of the early game explosion is sacrificed in order to have a virtually unstoppable lategame. In order to get to the lategame it is necessary to have some early forms of interaction, which means removal. Not only do we see Dismember, but also Spatial Contortion! Zach just wants to be able to kill the first threat the opponent plays, and then later has mass removal in the form of All Is Dust as an additional way to clear the board. Note that All Is Dust is an Eldrazi spell so it is not really seven mana, though it is the worst card in the maindeck versus other Eldrazi decks. Zach's success this past weekend is impressive; he just barely missed top eight of the Open, finishing ninth. Expect for more players to experiment with Tron lands and Eldrazi creatures.
Thanks for reading,