Sunday, February 7, 2016

Modern, UR Eldrazi, 7-1 at the Baltimore Regional Championship

Blue-Red Eldrazi


4Endless One
4Eldrazi Mimic
4Eldrazi Skyspawner
4Vile Aggregate
4Eldrazi Obligator
2Ruination Guide
4Thought-Knot Seer
4Reality Smasher
4Drowner of Hope




4Eldrazi Temple
4Eye of Ugin
3Cavern of Souls
4Scalding Tarn
2Steam Vents
4Shivan Reef
1Gemstone Caverns

So I went 7-1 at the SCG Baltimore Regionals with Blue-Red Eldrazi. Today was the first chance I had to play the deck; I did not practice or anything with it before this event.  But I felt unstoppable.

I was actually missing several cards in this list -- I was missing Obligators 2 through 4, the 2nd Ruination Guide, and the 4th Drowner of Hope, instead playing 4 Matter Reshaper and an Endbringer. I never drew the Endbringer, and the Reshapers were fine, not spectacular.

I played and beat Burn, Merfolk, BW Tokens, Mono-U Walks, GW Hatebears, GR Tron, and Burn again (although the final Burn matchup was a casual game against a friend whom I had already conceded to, since I had to leave the event early); I lost to Living End.

The Eldrazi simply ran over the other decks, both in the pre- and post-sideboard games. Most decks can't beat an Eldrazi Mimic followed up by a Thought-Knot Seer or a Reality Smasher. This is probably the case even without Smasher's discard requirement!

The loss to Living End was rough. He beat me the way Living End usually does in game 1. In game 2, I had to mulligan to 5 and didn't see my sideboard cards. Living End seems like a tough matchup for Blue-Red Eldrazi, though 3 Chalice (casting it on 0 to counter Living End) and 2 Stubborn Denial out of the board seems like a good place to start.

As for the sideboard, I had 3 Hurkyl's Recall, 3 Chalice of the Void, 2 Grafdigger's Cage, 1 Spellskite, 1 Ratchet Bomb, 2 Gut Shot, 1 Gemstone Caverns, and 2 Warping Wail. The Warping Wails were obviously terrible; I only played them because I couldn't find Stubborn Denial, which would have been great vs. Living End. Going forward, I think I would want to have at least 2 Ratchet Bomb, 3-4 Hurkyl's Recall, 3 Chalice of the Void, 2-3 Stubborn Denial. I'm not convinced on the Gemstone Caverns. It's cute, but I think I might want to save that sideboard slot for something else.

Being able to cast Chalice of the Void without it affecting your spells was pretty great, and I was often able to lock out my opponents with it. Chalice was the best card in my sideboard (and, given the right meta, might even should be in the main deck, like the CFB list).

It is unclear to me which version of the deck, Colorless or UR, is better. The Colorless deck has a better mana base, but the UR list has more threats, and does not have to lean as heavily on Reality Smasher to win games. Because the Colorless deck runs out of other colorless creatures to put in the deck, the CFB team tried to find the highest impact interactive cards, opting for 4 Dismember, 2 Ratchet Bomb, and some number of Spellskite. I'm sure the CFB team predicted a particular meta game that warranted these cards, but, for me, when picking a day one deck, I'd rather play the more threat-dense deck. Why try to beat their cards when we can just make them try to beat ours?

Also, for what it's worth, for an event like the Pro Tour, I'd probably want the more powerful version of the deck: I do not want to get into longer, more interactive games with Pro-Tour level opponents, I just want to beat them as fast as possible.

The deck might prove to be hard to hate out. Melira Company, Living End, Infect are all supposedly tough g1 MUs, and a Vault Skirge with a Cranial Plating can also cause problems. Otherwise, the deck plays resilient and dangerous threats; it can go wide with Ruination Guides and Skyspawners, it can lean on Mimic into Reality Smashers, it can play a longer game with Drowner of Hope.

One obvious way to attack the deck is to destroy its lands with Fulminator Mages, Ghost Quarters, Molten Rains, and Spreading Seas. I think it's probably correct to hit the Eye of Ugin before an Eldrazi Temple, if only because Eye is so much better, but that will lead to feel-bad moments where you opponent follows up with the other Eye they were holding in their hand. If you can get a read on your opponent where you put him on having an Eye, then hit the Temple obviously. Also, the deck runs only 2 Island, so the 3rd Ghost Quarter or Path to Exile is going to be better than the first.

Some other quick thoughts:
  • Mulligan until you find an Eldrazi Temple or an Eye of Ugin. Eye of Ugin is especially broken, as there are some turns where it can generate 4 or even 6 mana. If you don't have Eye or Temple, it feels like you are playing a draft deck.
  • Eldrazi Mimic copies the base power/toughness of the creature that just entered the battlefield. So if you have 2 Eldrazi Mimics in play, and then play a Vile Aggregate, the Mimics become 3/5s. Had to explain this to a few opponents.
  • You can't use Eye of Ugin to cast <> mana. E.g., if you have Eye of Ugin and 2 Islands, you can't cast Thought-Knot Seer.
  • Be careful about using Cavern of Souls -- you can't generate <> mana and make the spell uncounterable! I had this come up in a match where I was trying to play around a counterspell, so I had to sacrifice a Scion and tap the Cavern for U mana.
  • The current Modern meta seems woefully unprepared for Trample. Many decks, such as Affinity (RIP Etched Champion), rely on chump-blocking while they kill you in another way or dig to cards that they need. Trample also puts your opponents in weird situations where, if they are at low life, they have to block in awkward ways to avoid dying.
Shout out to team East-West Bowl for creating this deck, and especially Alex Majlaton and Timothy Wu, who helped me out with building it.

1 comment:

  1. Good point about the trample, one of the reasons why Siege Rhino was so powerful before the Twin banning era.