Shadows of a New Standard: BW Eldrazi

KevinJones

The weeks before a standard rotation are just the best time to be a magic player. There’s a new set release on the horizon and the full spoiler is up! I’ll miss the Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged cards that are leaving. Those sets contained a few cards with which I found a decent amount of success throughout their tenure. So the new format will be bittersweet for me personally. But I’m very excited for the new standard, I enjoy attacking these unknown formats and l want to share some of the brews I’ve created since the spoiler went up. The goal is to put up a couple decks this week and today is the first one. Next week a couple more decks will be added. I’m going to try and stay away from the most obvious decks for this series. So the standard decks that port over extremely well won’t be the subject of my series. That means we can do better than decks like GR Ramp, Bant Company, Esper Dragons, and Mono Red or Mono Blue Eldrazi. These decks are likely to be huge players in the new metagame but outside of new mana considerations, building them isn’t particularly interesting. Today’s deck is a perfect first one, too. It’s a great way to bridge the gap because this deck was a fringe player in the previous standard format. I even played against it at 9-3 at SCG Atlanta. The deck I’m speaking about is BW Eldrazi. This deck capitalizes on the above average manabase the enemy color combinations provide you in the new standard format. The main focus of this deck is to leverage exile effects with the most efficient processor from Battle for Zendikar, Wasteland Strangler. This yields a super powerful removal suite. Processors are poised to be well positioned post rotation because some of the best removal is exile enchantments. Furthermore, the departing of the utterly broken delve mechanic lessens the cost of returning a card to your opponent’s graveyard. BW has some powerful cards with minimal double colored requirements. This allows you to play many of the strong utility lands that produce wastes mana, including, but not limited to, Sea Gate Wreckage, Blighted Fen and Steppe, Westvale Abbey, Ruins of Oran Rief, and Mirrorpool. The wastes mana allows you to play the powerful Eldrazi creatures that have put a stranglehold on modern. Transgress the Mind is especially powerful here because it exiles the card it takes and also, it gives you information and clears the way for your more expensive threats. When you’re playing Thought Knot Seer and Reality Smasher there’s a very limited range of things you actually care about. It can be as simple as removing a Reflector Mage or Stasis Snare and quickly clocking your opponent with a couple giant Eldrazi. Let’s check out a list and then we can go over a few more card choices.

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I’ll admit that the sideboard is purely theoretical, It covers the bases pretty well though. It has some disruption when you’re the more aggressive deck, some added removal for when you’re going to take a more controlling stance, and some extra value for mid-range mirrors. It’s possible Westvale Abbey is simply an insane card and more decks should play a couple copies. I started with one but cut it when I realized I forgot to add Blighted Fen, a card I love in this deck. I think this deck will utilize Sea Gate Wreckage a little more effectively, anyway. The high density of removal leads to a lot of one for one trading. Wreckage is a great way to set yourself up to win a top deck war. And Blighted Fen serves as another spell land which makes for better top decks as well as slightly mitigates the impacts of flooding. This deck is set up decently well against creature decks, both aggressive and mid-range. It could struggle against Planeswalkers, though. Particularly ones top decked in the mid to late game. Outside of the one Quarantine Field and the two Sorin’s, the only ways to deal with a Planeswalker outside of attacking it are the hand removal effects of Transgress and Thought-Knot. I eschewed Anguished Unmaking because I felt like it would be a creature dominated format early on. Between Jace, humans, vampires, and Collected Company there’s numerous payoffs for playing several cheap creatures. Losing three mana and three life to kill a Bounding Krasis or a random two mana vampire is the exact type of exchange that pushes the power level of these creature decks in the first place. Cheap, efficient removal and big creatures that are powerful in their own right are the ways I would approach this onslaught of creatures. It’s possible that I made an error when I omitted Kalitas from the sideboard. I felt the deck had lots of things to do in the midgame as well as a lot of removal that doesn’t actually kill your opponents’ creatures. Plus, the double black mana cost is not something that can be ignored.

That’s basically it for this deck today. I think it could be a powerful option. The aggressive decks all being slower creature based versions as opposed to burn heavy or spell heavy decks as well as the lack of a viable control deck with good mana sets the format up in a spot where a good mid-range deck can really dominate. I think BW loses very little from Khans and Fate Reforged and thus it stands as a great choice for week one standard. It’ll be nice to put my Eldrazi cards somewhere after they’re cruelly banned from modern. I could see myself playing this with minimal convincing. Thanks for reading, I’ll have another deck for you in a couple days.

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Kevin Jones

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