Welcome to Modern Musings, this week we are going to explore two different archetypes of eldrazi. The first is an archetype that saw quite a bit of play when the new wave of eldrazi were released in Battle for Zendikar, the second is a more controlling eldrazi build that has been almost entirely overlooked for its more aggressive or ramp-based counterparts.
Up first we have Heartless Summoning, a card begging to be broken and one of my all time favourites. If you weren’t around when eldrazi players were using this archetype the first time, the concept is pretty simple: make expensive eldrazi cheap. The idea behind using eldrazi instead of other creatures is that they are colourless, meaning that you aren’t as restricted by your mana base and you can use Eldrazi Temple, effectively acting as an additional Heartless Summoning. The other reasons to use eldrazi are because of their typically fat stat lines and above average ETB/on cast abilities. It’s this second reason that negates the -1/-1 drawback of Heartless Summoning.
The reason that this archetype stopped seeing play is mostly due to the fact that it was outclassed by colourless eldrazi aggro and the other eldrazi winter decks. Since the ban of Eye of Ugin however, I think many players forgot this deck existed or felt that the loss of Eye of Ugin was too much of a hit to the deck’s consistency. Regardless, I think this deck is deserving of a second chance. My list looks like this:
Ancient Stirrings and Conduit of Ruin are both key cards in this deck. Ancient Stirrings allows you to dig deep and find either the creature or land that you need, while Conduit of Ruin helps ensure that you find and are able to cast your Ulamog. Playing a turn 3 Conduit of Ruin into a turn 4 Ulamog, The Ceaseless Hunger is the dream with this deck, and a line that not many other decks can beat. In addition, Conduit of Ruin can act like a tutor for expensive silver bullets like Distended Mindbender or World Breaker. Oath of Nissa does a pretty good impression of Ponder in this deck as it can help find what you need early as well as utilize your mana on turn 1. All in all, its a pretty fun deck to play, and I think it might have potential even in the competitive scene.
The second eldrazi archetype that I want to talk about today is also from before Oath of the Gatewatch. The second archetype utilizes eldrazi processors. If you’re scratching your head right about now about what a processor is, here’s an example:
This admittedly strange mechanic is commonly referred to as “processing”. The tricky part of processing is getting your opponent’s cards into exile in the first place. Fortunately for us, magic has a long history of printing cards that exile your opponent’s stuff. The easiest way to do this specifically is by exiling your opponent’s graveyard.
While exiling your opponent’s graveyard is pretty good, how about their spells:
Oh yes, suspending your opponent’s spells, then processing them is in fact something that you can do and I can assure you it’s as sweet as it sounds. Not only does this turn your Delays into Counterspells but it also feeds your processors, which seems like a pretty good deal to me. Spell Queller fills a similar role as it allows you to permanently eat your opponent’s spells.
Finally, We need our payoff cards, the ones that we are jumping through so many hoops to activate:
It’s interesting to note that both Wasteland Strangler and Ulamog’s Nullifier are enter the battlefield abilities while Blight Herder’s ability is on cast. Finally when we put it all together we get something like this:
I love the multitude of synergies and trick that are present in this deck and I think once I work out the kinks in the mana base I’ll include Tidehollow Sculler in the maindeck. One of these synergies is with Eldrazi Displacer and Ulamog’s Nullifier. It is one of the late game strategies with this deck designed to lock your opponent out of the game.
Anyway that’s all for this week, as always let me know what you think of my articles in the comments and join me again next week when I look at what I think are the best decks for GP Vegas and what I’ll be playing there.