Shadows of a New Standard: BW Eldrazi


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.

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.

Old is now New

Your eyes hurt and your back is sore; you’ve spent the last four hours sifting through thousands and thousands of commons and rare cards trying to find that one card that everyone’s suddenly realized “Hey, this is good!”. We’ve all been there.
In Yugioh, as most trading card games, there are thousands of cards created. These cards generally do anything, from removal to defense, draw power to attack modifiers. However, the difference that usually these cards have compared to some of our favorite staples is that they aren’t as easily utilized as such cards like Mystical Space Typhoon and Torrential Tribute. With the release of a new set every three months, new decks are always on the horizon. To avoid hours and hours of sorting commons, you should always take into consideration some core factors while looking through new and old cards alike.


It’s no mystery that cards that can search for another card, whether it be a copy of itself or another card, are good. Just look at Sangan and Witch of the Black Forest. Both are banned because of how easily they can be used to grab important cards. Alike, recently in the OCG both Senju (of the Thousand Hands) and Manju (of the Thousand Hands) just recently earned their way into the Limited list because of how they are used in the upcoming deck Nekroz. Senju searches for a ritual monster card, while Manju one up’s his friend by being able to search for either a ritual monster or ritual spell card. These two cards were hardly thought about, mainly because nobody really saw ritual monsters becoming a main deck type in Yu-Gi-Oh. They’ve had their stints here and there with decks like Herald of Perfection and Gishki, but now, Nekroz are dominating in the OCG and it’s in shared success with Senju and Manju.

While you’re shuffling through your cards, just remember, if it searches for a card, it may be worth setting aside. You never know if the next deck supports hard to find cards that you could have plenty of. Keep an open mind. Even if a card, such as Chronomaly Crystal Skull, never see’s any real play, it could be worth it to set aside just incase, Chronamalys become big in the TCG (Which they very well could with the release of certain cards.)

You’ve been there, attacking into a face-down monster, expecting to blow through your opponents defenses and attack for game. But what do they have set? Reborn Tengu! Now if you’re unfamiliar with Reborn Tengu, whenever it leaves the field, another one special summons from the deck in either attack or defense position. He had his shine during the Plant Synchro format, but since has been on the Semi-Limited list, until just now. With Tengu making his way off the Semi-Limited list and now back to three copies, a lot of you may be seeing him very soon. But it isn’t just Tengu that’s a pain to get rid of.
Cards like Giant Rat, UFO Turtle, Mother Grizzly, and more, all special summon a monster of their shared attribute (with restrictions based on attack/defense and level) whenever they are destroyed by battle. The new arch type “Yang Zing” do the same, except instead of just battle, they special summon another Yang Zing whenever they are destroyed! A new deck released just a couple of packs away could be that “deck” that utilizes one of the aforementioned floaters, and they are always worth setting aside. Even if a card can only special summon copies of itself, such as Nimble Momonga. ( In my opinion, is still worth setting aside)

dark holeRemoval:
We are all used to the basic forms of removal with cards like Dark Hole, Torrential Tribute, and the recently unbanned Raigeki. However, there are cards that can do the same, sometimes even more, then even the most popular staple cards. A good example of this is Fairy Wind. With the gaining popularity of Qliphorts, Fairy Wind has earned it’s way into many a duelist’s side deck. Fairy wind is a normal trap card that, when activated, destroys all face-up spell and trap cards, and then inflicts 300 damage for each other spell and trap card destroyed by this effect. This card is used to its full potential when activated right after the activation of Qliphort Scouts effect. The opponent will pay the 800 life points, lose their Scout to the effect of Fairy Wind, and then take 300 (possibly more) damage to their life points.

Fairy Wind was a card from Ancient Prophecy, a pack that came out quite some time ago. Cards like Fairy Wind and Needle Ceiling fell short to other forms of removal based on their restrictions, whether being trap cards, or having certain activation requirements. But now, with the current meta, and decks that occupy it, removal has been found in more cards than just Dark Hole or Mystical Space Typhoon. Keep this in mind, if you think it can help you in a duel by changing the tempo and progressing the game state for yourself, you should definitely set it aside. You may need it sooner then never.

Unique Cards:
Sometimes, decks are released that play in such an obscure way, that cards previously thought to be bad or unplayable become actually quite good. When Dark World became a prominent deck after their structure deck released, players were tracking down copies of Dragged Down Into the Grave. Normally, in almost any other deck, this card can’t really see play. It allows both players to look at each others hands, choose one card for them to discard, and then both players draw a card. However, with Dark World cards being able to properly abuse Mind Crush and the Virus cards, and also gain effects based on discarding certain Dark World cards, this card became a staple in any Dark World deck.
This also could be said about Vanity’s Emptiness. When this card released in Starstrike Blast, many a player threw it to the side, not knowing how much it would impact today’s Yugioh. Being able to effectively shut off special summoning and halt the opponents plays while protecting yourself, made quite the impact beginning during the Dragon Ruler format. Even today, it can still be used effectively against most of the decks played.

While you’re wondering to yourself, “How could this card ever see play is beyond me.” Just stop and think for a second. Decide if it’s effect is unique enough, and effective enough if used to it’s fullest ability, to set aside. You could be thanking yourself in the long run.

All in all, if you’re like most duelist, you’ll probably have shoe box’s or tins full of common and rare cards. Some of you may have them organized, and some of you may have them scattered every which way. Just remember, using a little thought, and a lot of common sense, you can decide yourself if a card should be set aside in a box, binder, or tin, dedicated to being the chance to be the next best card. But don’t worry, even if you miss a few, and even if you have to go back through, at least it will give you another chance to wrap your brain around new combos and ideas for the next time you plan on dueling. Until next time, I hope you all have a happy new year!