The Many Flavors of Modern Eldrazi

Welcome to the spaghetti factory. Eldrazi Winter is in the distant past but the banning of Eye of Ugin did little to exterminate the tentacled menace. Today we will cover the various builds that are seeing play in the Modern format. We will present decklists from MC London while going over their various strengths and weakness. Believe it or not the colorless horde has adopted each color at one point or another to great success. Let’s break them down.

Colorless Stompy Eldrazi
Lands (19)
3 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Eldrazi Temple
2 Gemstone Caverns
4 Ghost Quarter
3 Mutavault
2 Scavenger Grounds
1 Sea Gate Wreckage
2 Wastes
2 Zhalfirin Void
Creatures (29)
4 Eldrazi Mimic
1 Endbringer
4 Eternal Scourge
4 Matter Reshaper
4 Reality Smasher
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Thought-Knot Seer
Spells (12)
4 Serum Powder
4 Chalice of the Void
3 Dismember
1 Warping Wail
Sideboard (15)
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Damping Sphere
2 Karn, Scion of Urza
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Ratchet Bomb
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Warping Wail
75 Cards Total

The Eldrazi build that has garnered the most attention as of late is its purest form. This example list above managed to go 7-3 at the recent Mythic Championship under London mulligan rules. As explained in our initial London mulligan article, Serum Powder is not as busted as it first appears under London rules but it definitely improves. This is the most consistent and aggressive build that exists. Serum Powder allows it to start with Eldrazi Temple far more often than other builds and the curve is lower to boot. Obviously the lack of color requirements means that there is no chance that it will lose to color restrictions. The lack of requirements also allows the deck to run the best colorless utility lands in the format. It was not legal for the MC but Blast Zone will be a huge boon to the deck. So why even consider the other builds? Much of the deck’s power comes from Gemstone Caverns and  Simian Spirit Guide enabling Turn 1 Chalice of the Void. If a deck does not mind Chalice, the remaining colorless disruptive elements are often quite underwhelming. For example, the Humans matchup is quite negative.

Eldrazi Taxes
Lands (23)
4 Caves of Koilos
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 Ghost Quarter
1 Godless Shrine
2 Plains
3 Shambling Vent
1 Swamp
Creatures (29)
1 Blade Splicer
4 Eldrazi Displacer
4 Flickerwisp
4 Leonin Arbiter
1 Restoration Angel
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Tidehollow Sculler
3 Wasteland Strangler
Spells (8)
4 Aether Vial
4 Path to Exile
Sideboard (15)
2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
1 Consulate Crackdown
1 Damping Sphere
1 Dismember
1 Fatal Push
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
1 Leyline of the Void
2 Ravenous Trap
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Stony Silence
75 Cards Total

At the complete opposite end of the spectrum we see Eldrazi Taxes. They have no form of deck manipulation or tutoring to help them find Eldrazi Temple. However, the deck is plenty powerful as the example list was another 7-3 from the Mythic Championship. The deck may have Eldrazi in the name but it is much closer to a traditional taxes deck. It uses the typical taxing and blink effects but it supplements that package with a handful of Eldrazi. They comprise less than half of the creature base though, so drawing an Eldrazi Temple alongside them is just a bonus; not the primary gameplan. The deck is full of tricks to learn but can make some outrageous plays with Displacer. For example, blinking a Tidehollow Sculler in response to its own ETB will leave the card in exile forever. Of course those cards and Flickerwisp targets can processed by Wasteland Strangler to toss them into the graveyard. The individual cards can be underwhelming but the ceiling is so high if you can get them together. Of course as a white deck it also has access to premium sideboard hate, unlike the colorless build.

Mono-White Eldrazi
Lands (20)
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Eldrazi Temple
3 Gemstone Caverns
4 Ghost Quarter
4 Horizon Canopy
4 Plains
3 Shefet Dunes
1 Wastes
Creatures (30)
4 Eldrazi Displacer
3 Eternal Scourge
3 Leonin Arbiter
4 Reality Smasher
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Thought-Knot Seer
Spells (10)
4 Chalice of the Void
3 Dismember
3 Serum Powder
Sideboard (15)
2 Damping Sphere
1 Declaration in Stone
2 Karn, Scion of Urza
3 Rest in Peace
2 Stony Silence
3 Tocatli Honor Guard
1 Tragic Arrogance
1 Worship
75 Cards Total

At the midpoint between Taxes and Stompy we have Mono-White Eldrazi. The list above is yet another 7-3 list from the Mythic Championship but we must give credit where credit is due. The player that developed and championed this archetype from the beginning was Gabriel Maxson, better known as SpiderSpace. This build combines the mana denial plan of the taxes lists and the speed of the stompy lists. In the past it leaned more in the taxes direction with no way to dig up Eldrazi Temple. The list above, with the London mulligan in mind, has included copies of Serum Powder to remedy this. What I have always enjoyed about these lists is that Chalice of the Void will shut off opposing one drops and the mana denial plan will make it difficult to cast more expensive spells. Furthermore, the premium white sideboard cards can be played on Turn 1 via the fast mana; something that no other tier deck is capable of. The issue I have found with this deck in the past though is a lack of consistency. It can be surprisingly difficult to consistently generate both “colors” with a fast hand if you do not open with a Gemstone Caverns. However, this new Serum Powder build looks promising.

Gruul Eldrazi
Lands (22)
2 Cavern of Souls
4 Eldrazi Temple
3 Forest
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Karplusan Forest
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Mountain
1 Stomping Ground
2 Wooded Foothills
Creatures (28)
2 Birds of Paradise
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Eldrazi Obligator
3 Matter Reshaper
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Reality Smasher
3 Scavenging Ooze
4 Thought-Knot Seer
Spells (10)
4 Ancient Stirrings
2 Dismember
4 Lightning Bolt
Sideboard (15)
1 Abrade
1 Alpine Moon
3 Ancient Grudge
2 Crumble to Dust
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Flame Slash
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Pithing Needle
2 Relic of Progenitus
75 Cards Total

This is where we get into fringe territory. Many players believe that this deck was born with the Bloodbraid Elf unban but it actually won a Grand Prix right before the B&R update. It has not had significant metagame share since then but it has certainly been viable. This example list managed a 6-4 record at the Mythic Championship. Among the lists we have covered so far, I would say that Gruul is most similar to Stompy on the axes of aggression and consistency. With Lightning Bolt and a dozen haste creatures it can end the game out of nowhere. Red-green is the only color combination that has access to two playsets of dual lands that also provide colorless; Karplusan Forest and Grove of the Burnwillows. This consistency is further bolstered by Ancient Stirrings; which can grab more than half of the cards in the list. The deck is very aggressive, very consistent, and has acceptable sideboard options in red and green. So why has it mostly fallen off? A lack of interaction. It can run a number of Chalice but mana dorks, Bolt, and Stirrings are integral to their strategy; they also cannot play it on Turn 1. Furthermore, red and green sideboard options pale in comparison to the white options. Outside of Thought-Knot Seer, the combo decks go off mostly undeterred.

The Forgotten
There are two more Eldrazi builds that ruled the format at different times and are still legal. However, they have been left in the dust. Closest to my heart is Bant Eldrazi; sort of a crosspoint of Gruul and Mono-White. It has the premium sideboard and Ancient Stirrings. Unfortunately, it is a touch too slow and somewhat inconsistent as a four “color” deck. Bant Spirits has very much occupied its niche. The other is Eldrazi Tron which mostly fell off when Eternal Scourge came about. This paved the way for Serum Powder and Gemstone Caverns to take over. Simian Spirit Guide also allowed Chalice, the deck’s core strength, to come into play on Turn 1. There just was not much of a reason to use Expedition Map for a Turn 3 Thought-Knot Seer at that point. I cannot envision a metagame in which you would choose it over Eldrazi Stompy or Mono-Green Tron. These plates of spaghetti have long since expired.

Wrap-Up
We hope that you have enjoyed your visit to the spaghetti factory. As long as Eldrazi Temple is legal, there will be a viable build of the deck. So how do you like your spaghetti? If the London mulligan comes to pass do you expect Stompy to be a top deck? Please come and share your lists in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We hope to see you again tomorrow. Until then my friends.

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