Eldrazi Displacer made a major impact in Modern by taking a starring role in the W/U Eldrazi deck that went on to dominate the format before Eye of Ugin's ban, but it's only now that is has earned its place as one of Standard's star creatures. Some players used it to good effect with Siege Rhino and Wingmate Roc, but a metagame ran by Rally the Ancestors kept Eldrazi Displacer out of the spotlight.
Shadows over Innistrad and the Standard rotation opened up a lot of room in the format, so now is the time for Eldrazi Displacer to take center stage. Players have begun to incorporate Eldrazi Displacer into decks of all sorts — some expected, some unexpected — and their successes cannot be ignored.
Bant Company has mostly been overlooked in favor of the shiny new decks from the Pro Tour, but players continue to innovate the deck as it evolves with the metagame. Check out this list played by Yuuya Watanabe:
Eldrazi Displacer is a perfect card to find with Collected Company, and it works well for wringing more value out of cards like Reflector Mage, Bounding Krassis, and Nissa, Vastwood Seer. It's also yet another instant-speed trick in the arsenal of the deck, and it makes combat difficult for an opponent.
Eldrazi Displacer can be used to protect other creatures from being destroyed by an opponent's spells, but it can't protect itself, so it has a target on its head, which often clears the way for bigger threats like Archangel Avacyn. Eldrazi Displacer can also destroy creature tokens and even Hangarback Walker. Perhaps the best use of all for this ability is to target Ormendahl, Profane Prince, which flips it back into a harmless Westvale Abbey.
A fantastic example of Eldrazi Displacer finding its way into an established archetype is the Four-Color Company deck that adds Eldrazi Displacer and Reflector Mage to the B/G Company core. These creatures are prime Collected Company options, and they add an exciting new dynamic to the deck. The combination is an excellent way to take over the game against many opponents, and it offers the deck an alternate path to victory besides Nantuko Husk and Zulaport Cutthroat. Eldrazi Displacer is also excellent with Elvish Visionary as a way to turn extra mana into extra cards, which means more chances to draw Westvale Abbey and Collected Company. It also combines with Catacomb Sifter to generate an extra Eldrazi Scion. Most exciting of all is the combination of Eldrazi Displacer with a new addition to the deck, Brood Monitor.
Brood Monitor creates three Eldrazi Scion, which can sacrifice for three mana to activate Eldrazi Displacer on Brood Monitor to repeat the process. Add Zulaport Cutthroat, and that's a bonfide infinite combo that will win the game on the spot.
Consider that Reflector Mage is a solution to Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, which is nearly impossible for the B/G Company deck to beat if left on the battlefield. The card is finding its way into more and more maindecks, and it presents a serious roadblock to the success of B/G Company. Evolving the archetype into a more powerful four-color version with answers to its problems makes a lot of sense, and it's no surprise that the deck outperformed the two-color version at Grand Prix Toronto. Eldrazi Displacer does so much for the deck that I expect this version is the way of the future.
It's hard to argue against Josh Buitenhuis' 15-0 performance at Grand Prix Toronto, and he did it on the back of Eldrazi Displacer in his W/B Eldrazi deck.
Eldrazi Displacer combines with Wasteland Strangler to Decimate opposing creatures, and there are plenty of cards to process with Transgress the Mind, Declaration of Stone, and Anguished Unmaking in the deck. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet makes sure that anything dying turns into new process fodder. Eldrazi Displacer is strong with Thought-Knot Seer, especially in the opposing draw step to restrict access to their best creatures and sorceries. Its ability to destroy tokens and Hangarback Walker is especially useful in a controlling deck like this one. It would also be foolish to overlook the 3/3 body of Eldrazi Displacer, which helps stabilize the battlefield against small creatures and helps relieve the strain on creature removal spells.
The Modern W/U Eldrazi deck was heavy on colorless lands like Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple, so Reflector Mage was too difficult to cast reliably, but Standard is the perfect place to combine it with Eldrazi Displacer. This combination is a strong incentive to play a W/U Eldrazi deck in Standard, and it has now proven successful at a high-level event.
White is strong enough to win even without another color, as this monowhite Eldrazi deck that finished fourth in the most recent MTGO PTQ proves.
Eldrazi Displacer doesn't have any new interactions in this deck besides with Knight of the White Orchid, but it does all the usual great things Eldrazi Displacer does, and that's good enough to make it a great card here.
Stepping away from the Eldrazi focus and into a heavy red build opens up Eldrazi Displacer's great interactions with token-producers like Thopter Engineer and Pia and Kiran Nalaar.
The creative deckbuilding of Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad was indication of a wider trend of players treading into the unknown and exploring decks outside of the ordinary. Innovation is everywhere, and it's winning.
Cryptolith Rite turns good B/G Company draws into great draws, but it's not limited to that deck. The card has clear potential in any deck that can produce a lot of creatures, and I wouldn't be surprised if it proves to be even more powerful in another shell. This R/G Tokens deck is a strong contender.
Loam Dryad and Elvish Visionary should look familiar next to Cryptolith Rite, but Dragon Fodder and Pia and Kiran Nalaar are new additions that will make draws even more explosive than ever before. Evolutionary Leap allows this deck to take advantage of extra mana and convert tokens into additional creatures. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar is great, but most exciting is the home Arlinn Kord finds here. Like W/G Tokens and B/G Company, this deck includes Westvale Abbey as a way to take advantage of its many creatures. Converting small tokens into a huge threat is a great exchange and a winning plan against many decks.
Collected Company is not only a source of card and mana advantage, but it's also an instant that essentially gives creatures flash, and that's why it's so fun to wield and so difficult to play against. Decks that use Collected Company take advantage of this fact by playing other instant-speed options that give its controller more tactical options, this idea can be taken further by focusing a deck around flash creatures.
Last week I shared a Blue/Red ramp control deck, and this week it's pilot is back with a top 16 finish in the MTGO PTQ.
If that wasn't exciting enough, a monoblue Engulf the Shore version finished in the top 8!
Kozilek's Return is a concession to a Standard format with decks like Mono-White Humans, B/G Company, and W/G Tokens, but Engulf the Shore gives this mono-blue version a suitable sweeper. Conduit of Ruin is a great addition to this deck. Like Drowner of Hope, it can accelerate towards Ulamog, Ceaseless Hunger, but Conduit of Ruin actually digs through the deck and finds it.
Sultai Control earned two players 8-2 records at the Pro Tour, but the decks have been mostly overlooked. It's best we start to pay attention, because an exciting aggressive take on Sultai finished in second place in the Magic Online Championship Series event last weekend. This deck combines some of the most efficient creatures in Standard with the best creature removal to create a very convincing deck, and it looks be an exciting new angle from which to approach the metagame.
These cards might not look like they combine to form a coherent plan, but that's because they step away from synergy and towards a "good stuff" plan, previously employed by decks like Abzan Aggro or Monoblack Devotion, that focuses on efficient cards that are excellent on their own in a variety of situations.
This deck has a little bit of everything: mana acceleration in Deathcap Cultivator and Shaman of Forgotten Ways, card advantage with Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Tireless Tracker, and The Gitrog Monster, and with Duskwatch Recruiter/Krallenhorde Howler doing a bit of both duties. Thought-Knot Seer gives this deck the Thoughtseize-style effect it craves. Warping Wail provides the deck with a versatile disruption spell that is effective against nearly every opponent, and a mana-acclerating Eldrazi Scion otherwise.
Dragonlord Silumgar is the reason this deck splashes into blue, and it's the secret to its success. It's incredible in a format where planeswalkers have come to the forefront, and where nearly every opponent can be found with them in some form. Stealing these planeswalkers and using their loyalty for personal gain is an incredibly powerful play. Stealing Ormendahl, Profane Prince, is the best use of Dragonlord Silumgar, and it's this deck's only answer to the indestructible flyer. Dragonlord Silumgar itself is also especially strong right now; its body survives Languish & Grasp of Darkness and it beats Archangel Avacyn in combat. Decks like B/G Company and W/G Tokens don't have great ways to destroy it, especially game one, so it's free to run over them.
Some may know Sam Black for his work exploring uncharted territory and utilizing cards that others ignore, but these skills also translate to going very deeper into more familiar strategies. G/R Ramp strategies haven't received a lot of love this season, and while the Pyromancer's Goggles version from the Pro Tour has been popular, it hasn't been very successful. Last weekend Sam Black and Justin Cohen played a creature-oriented version to success in MOCS and an SCG Open, and that's something to take note of.
This deck plays all of the best green creatures in Standard, so it's much more aggressive than the typical ramp deck. Rather than play cards like Kozilek's Return and Fiery Impulse, it plays Tireless Tracker and Duskwatch Recruiter to Turn the Tables on its opponents. Ulvenwald Hydra is a large creature higher up the curve that supports the ramp plan, and it can find utility lands like Rogue's Passage to get through blockers or Haven of the Spirit Dragon to Recycle Dragonlord Atarka. Best of all is Mirrorpool, which can copy Ulvenwald Hydra and find yet another land. Shrine of the Forsaken Gods supports Ulamog, Ceaseless Hunger, which brings this deck over the top of everything else in Standard.
W/G Tokens won the Pro Tour, and it was successful at Grand Prix Toronto, but the real story of this season is the return of control decks. After all, it was Esper Dragons that held the trophy in Toronto, and both W/B Control and Grixis Control made the elimination rounds after cruising through the field of W/G Tokens and B/G Company. It is these control decks that will define the future of the format, and decks like Mono-Blue Ramp are already springing up to prey on them. Disruptive aggressive decks like Sultai and U/G Company are also positioned to attack control, and more similar decks will follow. Aggressive decks like Mono-White Humans will continue to adapt and could prey on a metagame slowing down, and perhaps new entries like B/R Madness will squeeze their way into the equation.
Do you have any exciting Standard decks or cards to share? Where do you see the format headed? I'll answer any questions in the comments!