Eldrazi Summer

Ahhhh the warm sun on your skin, kids playing outside, poolside bars, and air conditioned convention centers. What a gorgeous time of year. Last week I got to partake in all of the activities above while slinging spells in beautiful Orlando, Florida. It was the last Standard Open of the year before the new Eldritch Moon set becomes live, so for me Standard is a closed book until then. If you have an event coming up such as a PPTQ or something like that, you can catch up on my article from earlier this week to see what I would be playing!

That being said there is no rest for the wicked as they say. During my travels home on Monday I was back at it again with the pen and paper trying to figure out just what I am going to play in Dallas for the Modern Open in just a few days.

I’ve been Burn Guy, I’ve been Delver Guy, and now it’s pretty safe to say I’m gonna be hanging out with a new tribe this weekend.

While I am enamored with the aforementioned decks, I don’t think Burn is in a very good spot currently. Abzan Collected Company (even though numbers are down and hate is high) and Jeskai Control are getting harder and harder to beat. Rule #1 about Burn is that if people WANT to beat you they WILL beat you. The hate cards in Modern are very powerful, and you are at their mercy.

Grixis Delver is an old throwback for me. The Classic (5K) I listed above was the first time I ever played the deck, and the start of the day was the 5th match of sanctioned Modern I had ever played.  Grixis Delver will always hold a special place in my heart, but I don’t think right now is the time for me to be playing it. I’ve grown into a “I want to run you over” type of player in Modern after playing a bunch of Splinter Twin decks and bad Grixis decks. Getting your opponent signing the match slip as fast as possible feels nice, and I really like hitting the concession stand and watching other people play grueling matches while I snack on beef jerky and Gatorade.

Whoa, what’s that Ned? Winter has come and gone, they banned Eye of Ugin man, take it easy Eldrazi Winter is long gone….Or is it?

Todd Stevens had a breakout Bant Eldrazi deck in Indy about a month ago. Since then it’s been putting up results on Magic Online, not to mention Pascal Maynard Top 8ing Grand Prix LA with his own updated version. I started with Todd’s newest version of the deck:

Bant Eldrazi by Todd Stevens

This deck is just playing a smattering of powerful cards. I also enjoy the 2 Stubborn Denials that have made their way to the mainboard over other cards like Eldrazi Mimic or Birds of Paradise. Nobody, and I mean nobody, plays around Force Spike, or Shadow of Doubt in this format, so the “getcha” cards are low risk high reward almost always, sign me up.

Now I wasn’t satisfied with just looking at the Bant deck and playing it. I really just want to be playing Reality Smasher and Thought-Knot Seer, so I explored another option:

G/R Eldrazi by Mat Bimonte

The Bant deck is inherently weak against Infect and other aggressive decks, so adding Lightning Bolt as well as Kozilek’s Return helps give you some breathing room against those offenders. A lot of what it comes down to is, “What do you want to beat?”

After playing some games with the GR version I realized just how much I missed being able to lock my opponents out with Eldrazi Displacer/Drowner of Hope. Being in 3 colors also allows a ton of room to work in the sideboard. I also missed the best sideboard color in Modern, white, in the board. Speaking of sideboarding, what options do we have and why should we be playing them?

Engineered Explosives is a card I hate leaving home without. Being in 3 colors lets you play this catchall card rather easily. I alluded to how hard the aggressive decks are for Bant Eldrazi, and EE mows those style of decks down. Merfolk, Bogles, Affinity, Zoo, you name it, Explosives helps you catch up, and then turn the corner rather quickly with follow up Reality Smashers and other large monsters.

Graffdigger’s Cage might be the best sideboard card in all of Modern right now. I understand that is quite the bold claim, but it locks down Abzan Coco and Kiki Chord. It is also a nuisance for Snapcaster Mage decks, namely the Jeskai Nahiri decks that are growing in popularity. I’m tempted to run 4 of this card, but that’s probably overkill.

Spellskite is the other “best” sideboard card in Modern. Some Bant decks are running this in the maindeck which I can definitely respect. Game 1 is very hard against Infect so having at least one of these is quite the necessity. For me, I like the Tarmogoyfs in the Spellskite slot as I want to be more aggressive early on and I’m not sure how many Infect decks I’ll be seeing.

World Breaker is a card this deck needs in case you run into some brave soul running a Blood Moon based deck or someone who hates themselves enough to play Lantern Control for 15 rounds. Those are two of the resolved cards that we have a hard time beating Game 1, so if you suspect Blood Moon or Ensnaring Bridge, bring this friend in!

Stony Silence. Hi robots, meet aliens. This matchup is pretty close, but as I’m sure you know dropping one of these is just putting the nail in the coffin and following up with a Reality Smasher is the hammer pounding down on top of it. It’s flexible against Tron too, where stunting their development can be the difference between winning and losing a close game. I’m likely on 2-3 of this card for the weekend.

Dismember. Nothing to really see here. Dismember has been in Eldrazi deck sideboards and main decks since the Pro Tour. A nice answer to large threats, especially in matchups where your life total isn’t in jeopardy.

Negate. Ah, Negate. The old sideboard staple. This deck can use a little push against Burn, and countering one of their 4-damage spells or Path to Exiles post board is a big deal as you are basically in a flat damage race against them.

Timely Reinforcements. Did somebody say Burn? I’m probably going to end up on a pair of these, with the 3rd one turning into a Thragtusk. Thragtusk is a pretty nice card that requires 2 answers from the removal based decks like Jund and Burn. I haven’t had the opportunity to flicker this beast with Eldrazi Displacer yet, but I can imagine it isn’t pleasant for your opponents to deal with. That earns a check mark for me.

Wrap Up

While I’m still undecided on which flavor of Eldrazi I will be taking with me to Dallas, one thing is for sure, this shell is still alive and kicking. I can’t decide whether or not I’m supposed to be happy or sad about that fact, but one thing I do know is I am happy to play ahead of the curve with these powerful cards, and I suggest you give it a spin too. If you have a wild Eldrazi variant, bounce it off of me, I’m sure there are a bunch of unexplored options out there to try! I’ll catch you in Dallas, come say hi!

Thanks for stopping by,

-Mat

Mat Bimonte

Mat Bimonte

Mat Bimonte began his Magic playing career midway through the release of Theros. Despite his short time playing the game, he has a Modern 5K championship title along with a handful of smaller Standard tournament wins. Mat spends most of his time on the Star City Circuit with aspirations of qualifying for the Pro Tour in the coming years.
Mat Bimonte

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Published:June 24, 2016

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