By Corey Murphy
Our last cast (CKL Episode 31) got me pretty excited about Eldrazi in Modern. I began experimenting with this RB Eldrazi Control list from an MTGO Constructed League event and eventually stumbled upon a Reddit thread about budget modern decks in which a user named Kerrick Long posted a UB version of the deck running some very interesting interactions. I decided to combine the elements that I liked in each deck and came up with a very competitive jund attrition-style ramp deck. Let me explain…
This interaction right here is really why this deck can exist. Since BFZ brought us a whole slew of new colorless (aka devoid) Eldrazi creatures, we can run a deck chock-full of them. This makes the card Eye of Ugin much better. Now, look at the following pieces of the “eldrazi engine” and see if you can solve put together our game plan:
We talked about this interaction on our cast so for those of you who have listened, feel free to skip ahead. For those of you who haven’t, imagine this line…
- Turn 1: Basic land, Thoughtseize or Inquision of Kozilek
- Turn 2: Eldrazi temple, Scrabbling Claws or Relic of Progenitus (exile discarded card or fetch land in opponent’s yard)
- Turn 3: Eye of Ugin, tap artifact to exile another card, Blight Herder to process two cards
Many of these decks run 6-7 one cmc discard spells and 6-7 copies of either Relic, Claws, or Nihil Spellbomb making this a very consistent pattern. In “magical christmas land” you might follow this with…
- Turn 4: Another Eldrazi Temple, sacrifice 3 scions for (3), Ulamog, opponent concedes
The most wonderful part is that both Ulamog and Sower trigger on cast so we are not really too terribly concerned about losing the bodies to a counter spell. If Oblivion Sower does not resolve but nets you 2 or 3 lands, you still have plan B of searching for your next Eldrazi with Eye of Ugin’s activated ability. If Ugin doesn’t resolve, he’s still taking two permanents with him. Rawr.
Relic is a Pro
First of all, let me just gush about how useful maindeck Relic of Progenitus is. This is a very under-appreciated turn-one play. Let me just introduce you to my “modern christmas list” this year:
Can you make my opponent’s Snapcasters useless? Also, I hate losing to Tarmogoyf, can you make them all 0/1s? While you are at it, let’s take care of Mindslaver lock, Vengevine beatdown, Goryo’s Vengeance shenanigans, Melira infinite combo, and Jace Vyrn’s prodigy flashback.
And Sant even wrote back!
Dear Corey, you’ve been good this year so here you go! I took the liberty of putting a cycling ability on the card just in case my gift wasn’t satisfactory. I hope you like it!
If you remember to activate the tap ability whenever possible, even if removing a fetch land is seemingly irrelevant, you can combat a list of all sorts of common problem cards/interactions on the other side of the table. I like running about 6 of these types of cards in the deck and, against certain decks, mulling until I see one in my opener.
With a Blight Herder and Oblivion Sower occurring rather naturally via Eldrazi double-colorless lands, we’ve got plenty of room in the remaining portion of the deck to include removal pieces and Eldrazi-processor facilitators. Based on some testing with a few different versions, I like dedicating about 6-7 cards to a Thoughtseize/Inquisition/Duress package so that Relic of Progentius and other similar artifacts can begin filling your opponent’s exile the turn they are played. This plan not only fuels the processing strategy, but also serves as a great proactive plan against many of the tricky match ups like Twin making your deck much more versatile in the meta.
Some red versions include red for Lightning Bolt in the main, Rakdos Charm, and Slaughter Games, and artifact hate in the side. I am finding that blue might be a better fit for a few reasons. Here are a couple of very compelling ones:
Let’s start with Delay. As we’ve said in the cast, this is a very underrated modern-legal counterspell. In a deck that can play tricks on suspended cards via Wasteland Strangler, Blight Herder, and Oblivion Sower, it becomes 1U: counter target spell…with UPSIDE! I don’t think this requires much more explanation. Why not run 4?
Ashiok is already borderline modern-playable. We’ve talked about this as a Grixis sideboard option in the cast before but many of us were hesitant because it has little impact on the first turn that it is played and often will just brick. Eldrazi processor creatures make an Ashiok trigger for “e.g. mountain, scalding tarn, serum visions” seem much, much better. Still, I am not too comfortable running more than one or two in the deck because all that is ever needed is one in play at a time.
Lastly, it’s hard not to acknowledge the fact that Ulamog’s Nullifier seems to fit in this sort of build. Since we are less of a “tap out” ramp deck than other versions, holding for a rare flash and flying (relevant) “mystic snake” in this sort build seems to demand at least a one-of. In my build I run 2, making the count of pseudo-unconditional counterspells 6.
I’m going to refrain from posting this today because it is still a work in progress. As I continue to do more testing, this will take shape. For now, I know that I need a bit of the following:
Some life gain…
Some mass removal…
4 – Relic of Progenitus
2 – Scrabbling Claws
4 – Blight Herder
4 – Oblivion Sower
2 – Ulamog’s Nullifier
2 – Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
4 – Wasteland Strangler
4 – Delay
2 – Go for the Throat
1 -Slaughter Pact
3 – Inquisition of Kozilek
2 – Thoughtseize
1 – Liliana of the Veil
1 – Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
2 – Creeping Tar Pit
4 – Eldrazi Temple
3 – Eye of Ugin
2 – Ghost Quarter
2 – Island
4 – Polluted Delta
2 – Swamp
4 – Watery Grave
1 – Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth (<-very good to make use of fetches taken with Oblivion Sower)
Thanks for reading. Leave your comments below!