Hello TCGplayer readers! For the past few weeks I've been talking about rogue decks in Standard. As I've mentioned last week, writing about lower-tier decks is completely different from what I was writing about in 2014. I wasn't sure if the the TCGplayer readers liked the different approach, but the feedback I received has been in favor of the rogue decks, so for now we'll continue with this plan.
The deck we'll be covering today is W/B Eldrazi. Maybe this isn't considered a rogue deck, because Craig Wescoe played something similar at the TCGplayer Maxpoint Championship a few months ago. While both mine and Craig's deck utilize the interaction between Wasteland Strangler and exile effects like Silkwrap and Transgress the Mind, the decks are doing very different things. Here's my list for reference.
My deck is a cross between a midrange and a control deck. We are controlling the early game with discard spells and cheap removal, and the midgame is spent playing two-for-ones like Read the Bones, Wasteland Strangler, and Bearer of Silence. We have Planeswalkers as curve-toppers. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is great on an empty board, and this deck has so much removal that the board is often empty. Ob Nixilis Reignited cleans up that final creature and then starts drawing cards until your opponent can't handle the card advantage anymore.
We are also playing four Eldrazi Displacer. You may find it weird that we're playing this card because we only have Wasteland Strangler to gain value off of it. While that's true, we aren't actually playing Displacer to get value. We're playing it because it's a three mana 3/3 that removes our opponent's stuff. Here's just a few examples of how this guy can mess things up for our opponent:
Eldrazi Displacer can also do some sweet things for you. Of course there is the obvious interaction of blinking Wasteland Strangler to give an opponent's creature -3/-3, but it also can save your other creatures from opponent's removal spells. Another cool thing it can do is reset your own Gideon, Ally of Zendikar after you've attacked with it, and since it's a new permanent you can then use it to create a 2/2 or make an emblem. But let's not forget that this creature is a 3/3 for 2W. That's a great rate and with all of the removal we're playing, it's a reasonable clock.
Now that I've said nearly everything you can do with an Eldrazi Displacer, let's move on to the card choices.
Bearer of Silence - I like the versatility of this card. It can come down early against matchups where you are the beatdown. It can help you curve out. After playing this on turn two, you have eight cards that provide three power on turn three, and that is reasonable pressure. The evasion helps also. Of course the actual reason we want this card is for the sacrifice effect. Edicts are great in this deck because we are playing a lot of removal, which means we have some control over what Bearer of Silence kills.
Wasteland Strangler - Another two-for-one. We have eight second-turn plays that can exile something, which increases the chance that this guy can kill something on turn three. Don't be afraid to just play this card as a three-power creature for no value. Depending on the matchup you will have to get some early pressure out there and can't wait around for this card to two-for-one.
Silkwrap/Stasis Snare/Utter End - These are our spot removal spells and they all exile to help with processing for our Wasteland Strangler. Stasis Snare can be difficult to cast and that's why there's only two. I'm contemplating swapping the numbers of Stasis Snare and Utter End, but the one mana difference is huge in our mana-hungry deck.
Transgress the Mind/Duress - Six discard spells, and four of them exile. Enough said.
Read the Bones - This is our Divination, an important card for a control deck. We are casting a lot of one-for-ones and having a Divination helps us get ahead of our opponent. Scrying is important in our deck because we are playing cards that do nothing at certain points in the game. You never want a Duress when the opponent's hand is empty, and it's unlikely you need a Silkwrap on turn eight. Read the Bones gives you some control over draws which is exactly what we're looking for.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar/Ob Nixilis Reignited - Our Planeswalkers serve as win conditions or just as ways to get ahead and stay ahead. As I've mentioned already, we are playing a lot of removal so it's likely that these Planeswalkers will come down on an empty board. Both of these Planeswalkers are good at protecting themselves. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar will usually create a 2/2, which can block potential attackers, while Ob Nixilis Reignited can take out the final creature and then just give you cards.
Oblivion Sower - This is our one big guy in the deck. It exiles cards, which provides us some fuel for Wasteland Strangler, and also gives us some free lands. We don't have many mana sinks in this deck other than Eldrazi Displacer, but even if we get a couple of lands off of Oblivion Sower, we will likely have enough lands to activate Eldrazi Displacer twice and also cast other spells.
Crumbling Vestige- This is actually the best land in the deck. We have a lot of colorless sources and sometimes we will struggle to get our second black or our second white mana. Crumbing Vestige can act as that extra colored mana for a turn. Don't be deceived by its "enters the battlefield tapped" text. This land definitely does not enter the battlefield tapped. This is usually the last land I'll play during a game because you never know when you'll need that colored mana. It is often used to cast Gideon, Ally of Zendikar on turn four or Duress on turn one.
Corrupted Crossroads/Caves of Koilos - These are our "tri" lands. Caves of Koilos is an actual triland. It casts everything in the deck. Corrupted Crossroads casts almost everything in the deck but not quite. We are playing a lot of spells with devoid and this card is great at casting something like Eldrazi Displacer or Transgress the Mind allowing you to save your actual colored source for your Silkwrap or Duress.
Shambling Vent- We have four creature-lands that also fix your mana. What more could you ask for? Unfortunately with our manabase there are times when you won't be able to activate Shambling Vent. You might have one Swamp, a Corrupted Crossroads and a Crumbling Vestige in play, and that's not going to do it. Games with this deck tend to go long, so while you're unlikely to activate it on turn four, you'll be able to activate it eventually.
Arashin Cleric and Surge of Righteousness come in against Atarka Red. Our maindeck matches up poorly against little red creatures and burn, so we have five sideboard cards devoted to only Atarka Red. Our maindeck has a lot of cards that we simply don't have time to cast, like Read the Bones, Ob Nixilis Reignited and Oblivion Sower. Also Transgress the Mind will rarely hit anything. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Duress also come in against Atarka Red. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is very hard for them to remove and we'll probably get some life and zombies after the exchange.
Flaying Tendrils is here for the Atarka Red matchup as well, but it's also great against Rally the Ancestors. Speaking of Rally, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is a nightmare for them to deal with. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet makes it very hard for the Rally player to execute their game plan. They can't sacrifice anything to Nantuko Husk or Sidisi's Faithful and it makes Fleshbag Marauder awful. Just watch out for Reflector Mage.
Warping Wail is a cute and versatile card. It's easy for our deck to cast and it does so much. The most important thing it will do is counter a sorcery like Painful Truths or Transgress the Mind. There aren't many people running sweeper effects like Languish or Planar Outburst, but it's good to have some extra insurance against cards like that. It exiles creatures like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Zulaport Cutthroat, making this a fine card against Rally as well. We'll rarely use the Scion-making ability, but it's good to have the option to block an X/1 or ramp for a turn.
I also like Warping Wail against ramp decks because it counters all of the ramp spells. The ramp matchup is already pretty good for us. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon does next to nothing because all of our creatures are colorless and we have plenty of ways to Remove Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. If we also have Warping Wail to slow them down, the matchup is a piece of cake.
The one-of Utter End is there because I really wanted a second Utter End somewhere in the 75 but couldn't find room for it in the maindeck. I really like Utter End as a way to remove noncreatures. Sometimes we'll get a slow draw and an opponent's Planeswalker will get out of control. Sometimes we'll have a hard time dealing with an enchantment like Mastery of the Unseen. It's great to have access to a card like Utter End.
This is a midrange deck that is trying to control the board and get ahead with two-for-ones. If you wanted to play a more aggressive version of this deck, I recommend the following changes:
We are cutting reactive cards and slow Planeswalkers for more efficient beaters. This is definitely an effective route to take and which one you choose really depends on your personal playstyle. I really enjoy the slower version of the deck and often dislike the randomness that comes from Thought-Knot Seer. There are times when the card is great, but when your opponent kills it and draws a card it feels pretty bad.
Another option for this deck is Wingmate Roc. It has great synergy with Eldrazi Displacer and sometimes it can simply end a game. My concern with Wingmate Roc is that sometimes you may not have an attacker. If you want to play a slightly more aggressive build without playing all the extra Eldrazi then I recommend replacing two Ob Nixilis Reignited with two Wingmate Roc and cutting a Swamp for a Plains.
That's it for this week! W/B Eldrazi is pretty fun and Eldrazi Displacer is definitely a powerful Magic card. My question for you this week is: what deck would you like to hear about for next Monday? Is there a single card that you want to play in Standard but don't really know how to build around? Let me know, and I'll try to build a new deck for next week!
Thanks for reading!