There are still a couple more months in the company of the Eldrazi, but this is the last chance left to play them.
This deck has been ready for a while, lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right time to strike back. I actually wrote about it last year but the format was pretty hostile at that time. Chris Kemple picked up the list, almost card for card, and finished 11th at GP Pittsburgh shortly after.
After the release of every set, I put it back together and gave it another shot since most of the cards have been legal since then. When Felidar Guardian was around the deck had no shot; couldn't put enough pressure in the early game and couldn't tap out. When Aetherworks Marvel was legal, Eldrazi didn't have enough ways to interact or beat an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger that comes down on turns four through seven.
The format became a lot friendlier and the deck got a huge boost. Let's look into the changes:
The reason I built the deck in the first place was to be able to use Matter Reshaper, Westvale Abbey and Spawning Bed without any color restrictions. Some of the lands rotated out (Foundry of the Counsul, Rogue's Passage, Mage-Ring Network), but the good ones remained. Some interesting ones even showed up.
Grasping Dunes is the one I enjoy playing the most so far. Its best functionality is to "give the change" to kill four-toughness creatures. Skysovereign, Consul Flagship and Spatial Contortion only kill creatures with three toughness, so Archangel Avacyn and Glorybringer survive. Fortunately, Grasping Dunes can back you up.
When I saw Sunscorshed Desert, I thought that it would make a huge difference if the deck went the aggro route with Reality Smasher. It turns out Reality Smasher is only good in the sideboard, so Sunscorched Desert is a fine addition, but I'm not sure it's necessary yet.
The one-of Inventor's Fair is basically free to play and can gain you a life once in a while or fetch a Walking Ballista. I have yet to activate it once though.
In a couple of weeks, we'll have access to new tools: Hostile Desert and Scavenging Grounds.
Both cards have interesting effects in a deck that can easily run them. Scavenger Grounds is a way to empty a delirium's player's graveyard or to get rid of Haunted Dead, Scrapheap Scrounger and the like. Along with Grasping Dunes and Sunscorshed Desert, you'll always have a land to sacrifice.
Hostile Desert will be a little tougher to use as you'll first have to sacrifice a Grasping Dunes or adapt your manabase. Not too good a combo with Scavenger Grounds since it would exile your graveyard as well.
I cut the Wastes from the deck. It used to be there just to have a fetch target when I stole an Evolving Wilds with Oblivion Sower, but no one is running Evolving Wilds anymore, so there's no real need for a Wastes.
While there were some sick interactions you could have with Hangarback Walker and Westvale Abbey, Walking Ballista is about a thousand times better in this deck. Eldrazi 2k16 had a tough time surviving the early game, and a Hangarback Walker for one didn't do much. A Walking Ballista for one, on the other hand, allows you to kill a Cryptbreaker. Later in the game, the only thing you want is to be able to break stalemates, kill some blockers or shoot your opponent's face. Walking Ballista does it all — Hangarback Walker didn't.
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship is arguably the best colorless spell the Eldrazis could hope for. The deck had two big problems:
-It wasn't doing very well against a Planeswalker in play. It needed to find a Reality Smasher and it had to go all the way to kill a Gideon or a Chandra.
-It didn't have a Planeswalker of its own or a way to establish control of the board. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger doesn't count; it doesn't come out till the very late game.
The legendary vehicle solves both problems. It's so hard to deal with, deals with most threats on the board, and wins very fast. Three attacks and the game is over. Three times six is 18, but along with Walking Ballista and Sunscorched Desert, you'll probably be able to deal two direct damage somehow.
With three Skysovereign, Consul Flagship as win conditions, there's no need to play two or three Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger anymore. One as a Sanctum of Ugin target is enough.
I'm not a big fan of Endless One, but when you're playing Colorless, you don't have that many options when you're looking for a good creature that can crew Skysovereign, Consul Flagship. At X mana, you can play it early to block, as a 3/3 to crew the boat, or at full blast in the late game to trigger Sanctum of Ugin and fetch Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.
The other option to crew the boat would be Scrapheap Scrounger, but that's not at all what the deck wants to do. You will have a hard time finding black mana (and a creature to exile) to bring it back (need to add black mana to the manabase, yuck). Also, you want your creatures to block and buy you time to get to four, five and six mana.
One last card that made it to the 75 is Aethersphere Harvester. I first tried them main deck, but in the wrong matchup, they didn't do enough. It also kinda asks you to play Aether Hub for extra ways to gain energy and give it lifelink. It's good in a Mardu matchup or against anything that's running Heart of Kiran or Glorybringer. The crew cost is affordable enough so that an Eldrazi Scion can pilot it. For now, though, I'd rather keep it in the sideboard.
As for the rest of the sideboard, it's still not very appealing. Reality Smasher comes in against control decks or decks running a lot of Planeswalkers, Titan's Presence come in against Zombies… and that's pretty much it! If there are a lot of reanimation decks or that we need more utility lands, you have a lot of room in there to fit them all.
Yes. I believe the deck is competitive and can have a shot in the upcoming format. New Perspectives might be a pretty tough matchup, and Heart of Kiran isn't super easy to deal with, but I could totally see myself playing it in a tournament right now, and I can't wait to see if Hour of Devastation gives us the last pieces to make it awesome.