If it bleeds, we can kill it

Are the Eldrazi really too strong for Modern? Or will the metagame tame them without a banning?

“If it bleeds, we can kill it.” - famous Predator quote

The Eldrazi are not invincible. They may be hard to deal with, but they can be stopped. Last week I told you which sideboard cards you should be selling at the moment, because most players would prefer to beat them rather than join them. Since then I have had multiple chances to explore how some of the new versions of the Eldrazi decks perform in various matchups. I was already testing many different versions before the Pro Tour, therefore I was not surprised by the divergent versions at the Pro Tour and additional ones spawning right afterwards. Given the colourless core of the deck, you can take it in many different directions. Do you focus on winning the Eldrazi-mirror, or any other specific matchup? Do you want access to sideboard cards from a specific colour, or have the best mana base to still win with a Blood Moon in play? Just like with Affinity you have access to a large number of sideboard options, but you can't have them all at the same time, as your mana base will only support two colours, while Affinity can easily have twelve 5-colour sources. So with the Eldrazi core you have commit to your colours in advance depending on what you want to achieve with your sideboard. Moving forward I would guess that the colourless version focussing on main deck Chalice of the Void as their favourite tool will vanish. With a big team it was possible to collect and distribute information about all the decks at the top tables at a Pro Tour, making Chalice a much better card than it can ever be for players at a Grand Prix. Whether you are setting your Chalice to the correct X for the matchup or not, before your opponent even took a turn, can be crucial in a lot of first games.

“I don't care how much it costs...kill it!”

From a financial point of view the big question is whether Wizards will ban one of the Eldrazi lands. So far I am not convinced they will be forced to do that. There is no doubt that the core of the deck is strong and the metagame has been shaken up due to this new tier one deck engine, but there are still multiple decks with good matchups against those decks. Maybe Wizards will ban one part of the deck anyway, because some number of old decks indeed have a hard time with the Eldrazi, and they might not like the direction the format is taking, but the format is not broken in the way the Pro Tour made it look. Knowing the exact deck lists always opens up new angles of attack. This is true for your general strategy as well as for your card choices in minutest detail. You might realize that your ground creatures are outclassed, making a fair fight impossible, so you play a combo deck instead. Most combo decks have problems with Chalice of the Void, but once you know that you can expect that card to see play, you only have to adjust your main deck to fight it. Built correctly, decks like Infect, Ad Nauseam, Living End, Grishoalbrand and Affinity are able to win a turn earlier than Eldrazi decks on average. So if you are running main deck outs against the few problematic cards they have for your strategy, your win percentage goes up significantly. Luckily Chalice, Spellskite, Ratchet Bomb, Relic of Progenitus (and many of the anti-Eldrazi tech cards other decks will bring to the table) all have one trait in common, so your main deck Viridian Corrupters, Ingot Chewers, or Ancient Grudges will be great in the new metagame filled with Affinity and Eldrazi decks.

Even if they ban important parts of the deck in Modern, the card prices will remain reasonably stable if colourless Eldrazi can successfully establish itself as an archetype in Legacy. Ancient Tomb, City of Traitors and Mox Diamond can increase the speed and consistency of the archetype even further in that format, while also giving you early access to cost increasing effects like Thorn of Amethyst to combat completely unfair Legacy decks like Storm.

As a dealer I wouldn't keep a stack of Eldrazi cards around, but I would not sell my playsets as a player either.

Sad times for little kids

G/W and Abzan have historically been the colour combination attacking with big ground creatures. As Colourless Eldrazi might just be better at doing the exact same thing, it's a sad time for people named Brian. But even that archetype has options to improve their matchup. Path to Exile has always been excellent removal, but now it can enable you to get a Loxodon Smiter, Obstinate Baloth or Wilt-Leaf Liege for free whenever you target an opposing Reality Smasher, which “sadly” forces you to discard one of those creatures directly into play.

Disfigure is cost-efficient removal for opposing Eldrazi Mimics, but can do the same trick for one black mana as well, by turning Reality Smasher into a 3/3 and blocking it with your free instant 4/4 blocker.

All three cards have been tech against Liliana of the Veil in the past, and should gain value due to this additional new interaction created by Reality Smasher. Picking them up seems like a good idea if you didn't already.

Now be creative, go out there and stop this alien invasion!


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MKM-Insight(18.02.2016 16:28)

I will indeed talk about the expected effects of Eternal Masters and the more probable reprints in my upcoming articles. The announcement of this set is obviously one of the most important news in a long time, but I wanted to collect a lot of information and the various rumors first, so I could see the bigger picture.

Ganymedical(18.02.2016 15:12)

Eternal masters eradicated entirely my interests in everything else than the future of legacy. is there something you can tell the community about that? The rumor mill runs like hell and there're so many plausible theories out there.

I guess Obstinath Balloth is the best drop out of Smashers trigger. 4 Life AND it kills TKS, while the others only kill TKS. Of course this depends on the decks you are playing.