Opinions, and How to Beat Eldrazi

Last week’s article touched off a bit of a firestorm in the comment section. I’ll admit I didn’t phrase my point as well as I could have, but I still maintain the hysterics are overblown and, despite its power (and metagame share!), Eldrazi can be beaten. Later on, I’m going to show you how by diving into some decks that have proven that they can take on the Eldrazi. But before that, I feel the need to eat a little crow over how I approached last weeks article. If your only here for deck tech skip down a bit but for those who actually enjoy Trevor being Trevor, I’ve got some Trevoring to do first.

Damned Banner

Part One: Opinions (or, The Spilling of My Heart Onto Your Screen)

I’ve never professed to be something I’m not. I’ve Day Two’d a couple of GP’s, gone deep in a few StarCityGames Opens, and got to 8-8 at a Pro Tour, but never cracked the barrier into Top 8. I dedicated myself heavily to the game of Magic for a few months and got good, maybe even very good, which (with a bit of luck) I used to get myself onto that Pro Tour stage. For that tournament, I did the best I could without a testing team, and relied on prior format knowledge and a few drafts to get my feet wet with the new set to pass as “preparation”.

I started that Pro Tour 1-4, and started to question whether I had any business playing this game at all. Maybe I just faced a soft Regional Pro Tour Qualifier crowd, and I really don’t have what it takes to play Magic. Maybe I’ve read enough articles that I consider myself intelligent when it comes to this game, but really I’m just delusional. Maybe I should go back to playing Destiny and focus more on architecture.

Three wins. Three wins equates to an 8-Player single-elimination event win on MTGO, which is good for a pack or so and about 80 SchruteBucks nowadays. Three wins gets you a sweep of a draft, which does feel pretty good (if it’s an 8-4). Three wins gets you victory in an insert-random-three-out-of-five challenge here. But three wins got me into Day Two of Pro Tour Magic Origins in Vancouver and, more than that, three wins got me the confidence I needed to finally start believing in myself and my abilities.

The only thing that I can truly call mine are my abilities and my opinions. I posted this in the comments of my article last week, but I want to re-state them here (as last week’s discussion is the genesis for my topic this week):

“It has always been my hope that the truly awesome readers of my articles would understand that my primary goal as a content producer for this site is not to “be right”, or “seem smart” or “get it first”. I have been, and always will be, focused on attempting to generate interesting conversation and a unique point of view.”

Whether we realize it or not, almost everything we experience in life is an opinion of some form or other, put through some type of filter. News broadcasts are spun to fit political ideologies, if not in content then simply by the choice of what and what not to report. Scientific research studies are rarely credible; both methods and vernacular of data presentation can be manipulated to fit any preconceptions.  Economics studies are one example, unemployment numbers are another. Google “coffee studies” right now and you’ll find five different opinions as to how much you should/shouldn’t drink, with credible data to back up every side. Why do we take these as facts, when they are clearly not?

There are, and always will be, smarter individuals with better accomplishments than me writing words about Magic: The Gathering. However, I think there’s a reason that you listen to me even if my accomplishments are few, my writing style is atrocious, and my humor is flat. Why? Because, and I’m guessing here, I offer something unique (or you’re just really, really bored).

What makes me unique, in my opinion, is my honesty, and the way that I embrace it. I may be wrong in some places (the Eldrazi feel pretty dang strong…), I may be right in others (gotta love Origins Jace!), but I will always be honest about my opinions. As long as there is an audience to listen, I will present them to you the only way I know how. Sometimes, it’s with puns, witty humor, and off-the-wall references. Sometimes, it’s with barely passable connections to seemingly dissimilar topics. Sometimes, it’s with sarcasm; edgy, unsettling, bordering on offensive. I may not be right all the time. I may not be right half the time. But at least I’m honest, and at least I own my opinions as my own.

Hopefully you didn’t come here for hard, unyielding facts alone. You came here for my opinion about those facts, or to be entertained, or to be persuaded, or because football season is over. I strongly believe if everyone else is focused on discussing how and why the Eldrazi deck should be banned, I should take a different opinion. This doesn’t make me an idiot who doesn’t understand the fundamental rules of Magic. This makes me unique, or at least semi-interesting to listen to, which is, and always will be, my primary focus.

Part Two: How To Beat Eldrazi

Endless oneAnyway, enough naval gazing! Last week I argued the Modern community was severely overreacting to Eldrazi and that if we put our brains to it we could Wipe Away the threat and continue about our business like there never was a panic. That’s a hard sentiment to stand by given what we now know definitively about the metagame, but I maintain the deck is beatable by conventional means. We need to at least examine our options and try to win before running around like the sky is falling (even if it actually is).

Eldrazi is one of the fastest and most powerful aggressive decks to ever exist in Modern. The combination of undercosted fatties and multiple Ancient Tombs sets the deck’s speed and power well apart from the pack, and to forget this is fatal. However, at the end of the day it is still a linear creature deck that runs almost no interaction (Dismember and Thought-Knot Seer alone doesn’t cut it).Eldrazi Temple This isn’t Affinity, with multiple angles of attack and the ability to shift gears in the middle of the combat phase. Eldrazi is a souped-up, colorless version of Zoo. If you can survive the initial explosion, traditional control methods can still take over and win the fair way. Or you can take advantage of their lack of interaction and less-explosive draws to simply out-unfair them. Rather than panicking, I’m trying to adapt to and defeat them. To that end lets look at some decks that actual have been beating Eldrazi online. MTGO has been running PTQ’s and while, yes, Eldrazi has been winning them, other decks have done surprisingly well. With some work and dedication, we may be able to push back the tide and win the day, Gatewatch or no.

I said Grixis could take Eldrazi. Many of the comments said Grixis could never take Eldrazi. Nothing could take Eldrazi. But lookie here, Grixis DID take on Eldrazi, and acquitted itself quite well.

Grixis Control, Ingrish, 6-2 – MTGO PTQ

Creatures (9)
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Snapcaster Mage
Pia and Kiran Nalaar

Instants (17)
Cryptic Command
Kolaghan’s Command
Lightning Bolt
Mana Leak
Terminate

Sorceries (10)
Serum Visions
Inquisition of Kozilek
Damnation
Thoughtseize

Lands (24)
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Creeping Tar Pit
Darkslick Shores
Island
Mountain
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Swamp
Wandering Fumarole
Watery Grave
Sideboard (15)
Dispel
Engineered Explosives
Ensnaring Bridge
Liliana of the Veil
Nihil Spellbomb
Pyroclasm
Spellskite
Spreading Seas
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

First, opinions. Now, the facts, bullet-point style.

  • DamnationTwo Damnation in the main isn’t just for Eldrazi. It fits into the overall strategy. This deck always should have been playing Damnation main, and I wish I’d realized that sooner. I had one in the board that always came in against Jund, every creature deck, Living End, etc. Talk about missing a hint…
  • Spreading Seas is in the board. No Fulminator Mages or Molten Rain, so the Spreading Seas are a swap for those spells to better fight against Eldrazi. Two-mana land destruction is so much better than three, especially when it cantrips. Against Eldrazi, we’re really looking to shut down Eye of Ugin and the unending threat stream it brings. Seas is perfect for the job, with the added benefit of a better curve position.
  • Ensnaring BridgeEnsnaring Bridge is excellent, both against Eldrazi and random beatsticks you don’t want to spend a Lightning Bolt on. Combined with Keranos, Bridge is a hard lock against most of the format.
  • While Wandering Fumarole is cool, I haven’t played with it myself and don’t want to speak much on it until I do. Still, I’m interested to see whether it’s better than the fourth Creeping Tar Pit or a singleton Ghost Quarter.

Despite all this and Ingrish’s MTGO run, I’m not quite sure if Grixis Control has what it takes to survive in a post Splinter Twin world. Piloting Grixis Control, I was always happy to play against any blue deck, but that might be due to my preference and skill playing blue mirror matches rather than any distinct advantage the deck had against Twin. Grixis Control always seemed stretched a little too thin trying to fight Affinity/Infect/Tron/Jund/Scapeshift/Burn/Twin, and maybe the new metagame without Twin and Scapeshift could let it focus a bit more on beating the top archetypes. Certainly now that we know Tier 1 is almost exclusively linear aggro, control players have a much easier time selecting answers and building their gameplans. Ensnaring Bridge pushes the deck firmly into topdeck-Jund territory after boarding, and definitely makes me want to take a second look at the archetype. It may be that playing a Burning Bridges style control deck is what Grixis mages have been looking for this entire time. Definitely something to watch.

Next we have something to warm the cockles of not only control players hearts but former Twin players’ hearts. Eldrazi might rule the ground, but the sky still belongs to Restoration Angel and infinite combos are still very good.

Jeskai Control, Godfather, 7-1 – MTGO PTQ

Creatures (15)
Restoration Angel
Snapcaster Mage
Vendilion Clique
Wall of Omens
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

Instants (20)
Cryptic Command
Electrolyze
Lightning Bolt
Lightning Helix
Mana Leak
Path to Exile
Spell Snare

Land (25)
Arid Mesa
Cascade Bluffs
Flooded Strand
Mountain
Hallowed Fountain
Sacred Foundry
Plains
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Island
Celestial Colonnade
Sideboard (15)
Crumble to Dust
Izzet Staticaster
Keranos, God of Storms
Leyline of Sanctity
Shadow of Doubt
Stony Silence
Supreme Verdict
Wear // Tear
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)
  • Wall of OmensFour Wall of Omens buys time against Eldrazi Mimic, which is really all you need. Sure, it’s chumping when Mimic is triggering off Reality Smasher and Thought-Knot Seer, but saving four/five damage and drawing a card is worth two mana to me. Besides, if you ever blink it with Restoration Angel you’re immediately ahead, and a deck with this many one-mana removal spells needs a way to generate card advantage.
  • This deck does all it needs to for beating Eldrazi; kill stuff, buy time, combo out. Colorless Eldrazi lists are running a playset of Dismember at most, and Thought-Knot Seer gets worse when we’re drawing so many cards after turn three. Eldrazi may have an advantage in explosiveness and power but this deck holds card advantage fueled inevitability and the ability to just win unexpectedly.
I really like the idea of Kiki Combo, even if it needs a better name. Threatening to win over an untap step from far behind is still very good, especially with a deck as potent as Eldrazi stomping around. However, I feel the Supreme Verdicts really needs to be maindecked, and not just because I said to run Damnation last week and in the Grixis section. Aggro decks are everywhere and despite the card draw and removal, having a reset button for when you fall behind is very good. Still, if you’re pining over lost infinite Exarchs, this is probably the way to go.

And finally, because it’s always best to end on something fun and different, have some Eggs.

Krark-Clan Combo, Spokes, 5-3 – MTGO PTQ

Artifacts (29)
Krark-Clan Ironworks
Terrarion
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Lotus Bloom
Mox Opal
Ichor Wellspring
Pyrite Spellbomb
Codex Shredder

Planeswalkers (2)
Tezzeret the Seeker

Sorceries (6)
Reshape
Open the Vaults

Instants (4)
Faith’s Reward

Lands (19)
Buried Ruin
Darksteel Citadel
Flooded Strand
Ghost Quarter
Island
Plains
Radiant Fountain
Sideboard (15)
Aether Spellbomb
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Nihil Spellbomb
Sunbeam Spellbomb
Virulent Wound
Buy deck on Cardhoarder (MTGO)Buy deck on TCGPlayer (Paper)

I admit, this is just here for the lol’s. Still, 5-3 in an MTGO PTQ is fun. Come on guys, live a little!

  • You only have a few business spells but the deck is so full of cantrips you don’t always have to mulligan to find them. This gives Thought-knot Seer fits too.
  • Radiant Fountain and the spellbombs out of the board buy you a surprising amount of time against aggro.
  • Admit it, you’ve always wanted to hardcast Emrakul!

In all seriousness, Eggs was a very competitive deck before Cifka convinced Wizards to ban Second Sunrise.Thought-Knot Seer Even now, it’s not a bad deck, and with the format being pushed in an aggro direction unfair combos may be a legitimate way to go. Old School conventional wisdom always assumed combo beat aggro, so if you’re going to try and take advantage of the warped metagame then going for an unfair, uninteractive combo is a good place to start. Thought-Knot Seer may be good at taking a critical combo piece, but when your deck is so packed full of cantrips it is far less damaging than you think. With counters at an all time low Eggs is far better positioned than it has ever been. It is still a bit risky to durdle around with all your eggs which is probably why Spokes had a full set of Aether and Sunbeam Spellbombs in his sideboard. Thankfully, processors aren’t popular anymore because running Relic of Progenitus scrambles Eggs.

Conclusion

Sheridan does the metagame information updates and statistical breakdowns that will make your head hurt and wish you paid attention when they were teaching bar graphs in school. Patrick Chapin does the “actually is a genius, so here’s 2000 words that blow your mind” pieces. ChannelFireball… well, I stopped reading their stuff, because their articles have absolutely no heart. That’s what I’m all about: heart. When you’re putting yourself completely out there, some people will find it uncomfortable. Some people will hate you. Some people will find it entertaining, and worth a minute of your time. Regardless of which one you are, I’m glad you took the time to read this, and I hope I’ll see you next week. As always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading.

Trevor Holmes
The_Architect on MTGO
Twitch.tv/Architect_Gaming
Twitter.com/7he4rchitect

Trevor started playing Magic in 2011. He plays primarily online and studies Architecture at UNCC. Recent paper Magic accomplishments include a 2015 Regional PTQ win qualifying for Pro Tour: Magic Origins and a Day Two performance at GP Charlotte. He also streams weekdays at twitch.tv/Architect_Gaming! Follow him at twitter.com/7he4rchitect and architectgaming.wordpress.com!

63 thoughts on “Opinions, and How to Beat Eldrazi

    1. You still don’t understand. No one said that mana leak or thoughtseize weren’t the best answers. They are just not good enough. Your comments made people roll their eyes not because they were jealous you thought of it first but because they have tried them and found them wanting.

      I’m not sure if you get this or not, but a metagame where you HAVE to play eldrazi or something narrow that answers it is not healthy. No one is arguing there aren’t cards that can beat eldrazi, people are upset because the deck is doing unfair things. You just sound like one of those people that was saying Bloom shouldn’t be bad because “hey just run more blood moons or fulminators noobs lawl”. We all see how that ended up.

      The fact of the matter is that most people playing modern have found that the few decks they have or brewed up (of which I have many) are literally unplayable now. sure some merfolk people got lucky or company pilots don’t have to change much, but that’s not the point. A format that says eldrazi, merfolk or bust isn’t healthy, fun or sustainable.

      Another key thing is that generally, in a non rotating format, a deck’s positioning changes depending on what decks are on top, so even though you may point to decks having bad matchups against affinity or infect or x linear deck, eventually the meta can adjust and beat those decks back so your deck is viable again. In an eldrazi metagame, eldrazi is always top dog since why wouldn’t it be and your deck will never be viable again.

      Seriously, you just have to think a little and you will see why oh sound so off base with your comments

        1. I’m sorry if I misinterpreted things, but perhaps you should be careful with how you word things. Many of your comments on here basically come off as

          “Guys we aren’t evaluating eldrazi right, you are trying to kill their lands, we just need good ol interaction (you forget about that all you linear players lal?) and this deck just isn’t as scary as all you plebs are thinking”

          It’s very easy to assume you just think you have a secret grasp on this that others don’t and we all would see how benign eldrazi is if we just played against them correctly.

          You even said that a ban was only “maybe” necessary. If you actually think that a ban is only “maybe” necessary then your credibility is in serious peril

          1. Regarding how I sound, you inserted the name-calling yourself. Is there a different way I could be communicating the message that I think other people are making a mistake that wouldn’t sound equivalent to name-calling?

            Regarding “maybe” needing a ban, I just try to avoid speaking in absolutes. (Also, wouldn’t it be cool if Modern was managed with relevant new cards or reprints more than with bans?)

          2. Honestly, I completely agree with you that new cards should police old ones rather than bans. The funny thing is that I am almost always on the other side of the argument when a “broken” deck comes out. I was always appalled that anyone would ask for a ban on lantern control or blood moon. However I was also the person that was adamantly against amulet bloom because it was fundamentally broken. The question you should be asking is not whether a new card can police a broken deck. It should be is what this deck is doing fundamentally broken when taking into account the restrictions Magic has in place IE playing one mana a turn or drawing one card per turn. Somethings bend the rules to give the deck an advantage which ends up being what the deck is about, others out and out break the rules.

  1. Rolls eyes* Yeah man, you can beat eldrazi. Any deck can be beaten, that’s variance. That ptq you’re talking about had 15/32 eldrazi decks. The 10 most creatures were 9 eldrazi’s and kitchen finks. It’s fine for the format though. Gone in April and it can’t come sooner.

  2. “Eldrazi can be beaten.”

    So does cancer.

    That doesn’t mean you should not be pissed if you have it.

    And if you knew someone had the power to get rid of it, you would demand it.

    1. I can understand your opinion, but why be pissed? It doesn’t make sense to me. Sure, Wizards has the “power” to get rid of it, but who says we need to stop playing Magic until April? I am of the firm opinion that Eldrazi can be beaten, we’re already seeing evidence of changes to archetypes happening, and I think it’s very possible we can discover a foil to Eldrazi without having to resort to bans. Even if I’m 100% wrong (and I very well could be) I don’t understand the anger over wanting to at least try.

      All I’m advocating is that we continue to play Magic and think critically about the metagame. I don’t understand the backlash.

  3. I love this article. The first part was soulful (and very magnanimous of you, to be honest; you were treated quite unfairly in your last article, and I’m glad that you put it behind you and decided to be the grown-up) and insightful, and the decklists look sound and are frankly surprisingly solid. Jeskai Kiki Control (though that one looks kind of like midrange, but to-may-to to-mah-to) has been on people’s radar before (glad to see we didn’t totally whiff on that), but Grixis’ success honestly took me by surprise. I had that archetype as dead and buried in this meta, and yet here it is. I find myself questioning if you will truly burn through enough cards in hand to make use of Ensnaring Bridge (though I guess Liliana helps here), but everything else looks pretty good. I particularly like the adjustment of going up to 24 lands plus removing cards like Thought Scour – it cuts the durdling down, and makes more room for manlands. Good stuff!

    1. I completely agree! I really enjoyed this article as well, and I thank Trevor and the team in putting forth a lot of hard work and effort as well! I’m also glad Grixis Control is still around, I think Grixis and the control archetype is super flexible and can adapt to the current meta, despite naysayers.

      1. Yea – Grixis cntrl is def the answer to Eldrazi – how has this been overlooked by the mtg community all these weeks – go forth grixis and smash eldrazi..Wtf – as if grixis can beat eldrazi – you off your meds again Trevor

    2. As great as your comments always are and I truly do appreciate your tact and effort to make them great, I urge you to analyze what you are saying and understand just how unhealthy his or may is. As I stated above, it’s ok for an archetype to be dead in a given metagame if the metagame is cyclical and we can see that deck reemerge given natural metagame shifts, I contend that the eldrazi metagame is essentially fixed and will not naturally shift away from what will essentially be an equilibrium right now.

      Again, I appreciate your optimism about the eldrazi menace being fought back naturally, but if it means I must play only a handful or decks to realistically have a chance to succeed, you have to realize that is something that the community should band together to denounce and having people like you and Trevor “holding out” only makes the experience for a majority awful (because willing pilots of one or two archetypes will always be a minority).

      1. “…you have to realize that is something that the community should band together to denounce and having people like you and Trevor “holding out” only makes the experience for a majority awful…”

        What the heck are you talking about? Roland was only adding his input on making an interesting deck work, thinking positive, and giving insight (Quite frankly, it’s a deck I am interested in too!) What are we suppose to band together about? NOT proactively thinking of ways of making decks work, because, oh noes, the meta is broken!? STFU, srly.

      2. I understand your concerns, and frankly I share them to an extent: Eldrazi has gone up to truly insane metagame levels, and if the trend doesn’t start actively reversing soon, something has to be banned in order to restore balance. Those are the facts, and I think even the most optimistic person (and I’m pretty up there) wouldn’t bother denying that.

        What I am not willing to do yet, however, is concede the point that the deck is unbeatable or that the format has to warp in unreasonable ways around it. For example, 8-Seas was a Merfolk variant that was already being played pre-Eldrazi; I’ve experimented with it in the past myself. The current state of affairs just pushed it to the forefront. Even more metagame-sensitive decks like Jund are trying relatively conservative changes (less Abrupt Decays, more Terminates, “hard sweepers” like Damnation in the sideboard, and Hissing Quagmire over Twilight Mire aren’t truly drastic changes, and some folks in the Jund thread have been reporting success against Eldrazi thanks to them). Even decks like Zoo (which was the first deck that I thought had no shot against the Eldrazi, since it lacks evasion and is generally outdone by the larger ground bodies) have held firm, thanks to adjustments like packing in more large 3-drops (so that Collected Company fetches them bodies that are roughly similar in size to the Eldrazi) and cards like Molten Rain in the sideboard.

        Bans should be the nuclear option, after we’ve tried everything and come to the conclusion that we have a choice between losing to Eldrazi or warping ourselves to beat Eldrazi and lose to everyone else. If and when that happens, I’ll be among the voices saying something has to change. Until then, however, I’m going to try and help find a way out of the hole.

        1. Maybe you missed the memo, but you can’t actually talk about things like that right now. Only two comments exist: “Eldrazi needs a ban ASAP” and “Eldrazi is fine and there’s nothing wrong”. There’s nothing else to discuss. You might *try* to talk about topics like “What might I play in the meantime?”, but if your comment doesn’t focus on how irredeemably broken Eldrazi is, then by default the content of your post (regardless of what words you typed) becomes “Eldrazi is fine and there’s nothing wrong”. Ironically, this means there’s no point in my writing this very post, but hey, I’m a noob. Maybe if I’d just think a little…

          1. And this is exactly what I’m talking about even though I haven’t said it yet. The correct thing for any content producer right now should be to advise anyone going to tournament to play Eldrazi. Or Affinity if that’s your jam. It would be disingenuous for anyone to say “hey play these decks because they might beat Eldrazi”

            The answer to your question, “what should I play in the meantime” is rather simple: play eldrazi.

        2. Thanks for your reply

          Our disagreement then is that I already see the massive warping from which this metagame is suffering and has no reason to let up. Again, an important fact of the eldrazi decks, as I stated in other articles, is that they are infinitely customizable, as has been reinforced with data and recent articles about the subject. The eldrazi will always be top dog because whenever an answer is found (a la permanents like worship and bridge) another flavor of eldrazi comes to absolutely wreck their day (hello world breaker).

          However, what I will concede and am actually looking forward to, and have said before, is an eye-less metagame where eldrazi can actually be a normal and healthy part of the metagame. If (when) this happens, I hope eldrazi temple sticks around to allow for this, and we will need to know the cards and strategies that are good against them. All of these brainstorming sessions will be very valuable to a real metagame where you can dedicate only a couple slots to the deck like any other. So in that respect, I guess I should be more open to these kinds of things. It is just frustrating that people like you are still holding out when it is so clear the metagame is unhealthy, and more importantly, a lot less fun than before the brokenness.

          Oh, and I mentioned this in a previous post, but I would highly recommend against 8 of the seas effects. I have never played merfolk, but I will tell you, there is nothing that makes me happier to see against a merfolk player than for them to flood out on that effect and have no pressure.

          1. The thing is, Seas effects and pressure aren’t mutually exclusive. You usually give up a token amount of interaction for them, which makes you a bit softer to combo and control in Game 1, but not so much as to cause concern (as you can usually still race, and you can format your sideboard to account for the fact that you need counterspells against those decks). My creature count for 4-Seas and 8-Seas is virtually identical (28 vs. 26, with just as many 1, 2, and 3-drops), so the edit is not as drastic as you seem to be under the impression it is.

          2. As a long time Fish player, 8 is definitely overdoing it, but in recent testing I’ve found 6 maindeck to be the sweet spot (I’ve swapped out two Vapor Snags in favor of 2 Sea’s Claim and haven’t looked back.) Having access to more of these effects not only makes it more likely to disrupt/punish mana bases/take out man-lands, but of course grants Islandwalk, thus potentially quickening your clock in combination with Lords. Just my two cents and experience with testing it out.

            On another note, it’s nice to see so much work being put in by the community to assess the format, along with some healthy (albeit at times contentious) discussion. Keep grinding everyone- Cheers!

          3. I’ve been agonizing over 6-Seas vs. 8-Seas of late, so a data point in favor of 6-Seas certainly helps. I’m a bit loath to cut bounce altogether, though I can understand the appeal of keeping the guts of the deck intact. I’m going to go ahead and test 8-Seas first, then adjust down to 6 if it’s too many.

          4. Right, I hear you. I kept two Snags in the main still. My current list is below for reference. Mind sharing yours? – Cheers!

            Maindeck: 60 Cards

            4 Cursecather
            4 Silvergill Adept
            4 Lord of Atlantics
            4 Master of the Pearl Trident
            4 Harbinger of Tides
            2 Phantasmal Image
            2 Merrow Reejery
            3 Master of Waves

            4 Aether Vial

            2 Vapor Snag
            1 Dismember

            4 Spreading Sea’s
            2 Sea’s Claim

            4 Mutavault
            2 Cavern of Souls
            1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
            13 Island

            Sideboard: 15 cards

            2 Dismember
            2 Gut Shot
            4 Hurkyl’s Recall
            3 Tidebinder Mage
            2 Relic of Progenitus
            2 Negate

          5. Thanks for sharing your list. This is what I’m going with next week:

            Roland’s 8-Seas Merfolk

            Artifacts (4):
            4 Æther Vial

            Creatures (26):
            4 Cursecatcher
            4 Harbinger of the Tides
            4 Lord of Atlantis
            4 Master of the Pearl Trident
            2 Master of Waves
            4 Merrow Reejerey
            4 Silvergill Adept

            Enchantments (8):
            4 Sea’s Claim
            4 Spreading Seas

            Instants (2):
            2 Echoing Truth

            Lands (20):
            2 Cavern of Souls
            2 Ghost Quarter
            10 Island
            1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
            4 Mutavault
            1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds

            Sideboard (15):
            3 Chalice of the Void
            2 Dispel
            4 Hurkyl’s Recall
            2 Negate
            2 Relic of Progenitus
            2 Tidebinder Mage

            Chalice is in there for Bogles/Burn/Elves (kinda)/Infect/Living End/RG Tron, Dispel is in there for Blue Moon, Burn, CoCo decks, and Jeskai Control (though I’m seriously considering swapping it for Swan Song), Hurkyl’s is for Affinity and Lantern Control, Negate is for Blue Moon, Jeskai Control, Scapeshift and Tron, Relic is for Abzan/Abzan Company/Blue Moon/Jeskai Control/Jund/Living End, and Tidebinder Mage is for Abzan/Abzan Company/Burn/Elves/Jund/Titanshift/Zoo. My strategy is basically come in with an optimal maindeck to fight off Eldrazi, and then make adjustments based on what I actually end up facing. If 6-Seas ends up being the way to go, I’ll either bring in 2 Echoing Truth or 2 Spell Pierce.

          6. Roland,

            I am just speaking from anecdotal experience, and I do think it would be a mistake not to at least test it out for yourself. I just wanted to relay something I have found so you can keep it in mind as you test. However, if this route will be successful it will surely be because you trimmed on the higher casting cost rather than the lower ones. I also think the playset of Reejerey will help that. On the other hand, it might not actually be A question of threat density but rather tempo. If the first threat that you commit cannot attack until turned four , then I am much less scared of your deck and mine has had a chance to set up what it wants to do.

            On a more general note, I’m happy for you that the deck you already were playing ( I believe you were already playing it based on your comments but I might be wrong ) only needs a few adjustments to tackle the eldrazi menace. I just hope you also realize that many many other people’s choices of decks have been made completely unviable. And again, not just for a couple weeks or months because of a shift in the meta-game, but most likely until eldrazi eats a ban.

          7. Yeah, I’ve been playing Merfolk for quite a while. I count myself as one of the lucky ones; I’ve been able to devote my attention to a previously-overlooked variant of the deck that I already owned all of the cards to build, whereas other players have had to start completely from scratch or have had to drop their deck of choice.

            My usual sequence is not to start out with Seas (unless I suspect a huge wave of Eldrazi will spring forth if I leave an Eye/Temple unattended) – instead, I try to cast them on curve. This is easiest with a Vial, obviously, but even a sequence of T1 Island –> Cursecatcher, T2 Island –> Lord of Atlantis, T3 Island –> Sea’s Claim + Master of the Pearl Trident can put a ton of pressure on most opponents.

          8. I like that line a lot

            Or like t1 vial t2 curse catcher/sea’s claim.

            Sea’s claim actually looks really solid over spreading seas. I know it cantrips and ultimately might be the better card, but I would also test out 4 claim/2 seas as a variant if 8 seems like too many. I don’t think a normal metagame would ever need that split, but it seems very strong against eldrazi to preempt a t3 smasher

          1. That’s a great idea. I think Trevor should take our fishy friends out for a spin and see how he does against Eldrazi (Magic Online is absolutely crawling with them, so joining any random league or 8-man virtually guarantees you’ll bump into them).

    3. Thanks Roland, glad you enjoyed the article! I’ll take all the heat the Internet has to give if it means there’s a dissenting voice to the “emergency ban” opinion. Maybe Eldrazi is too strong, but I’m not ready to give up playing Magic just yet.

  4. I agree Eldrazi can be beat and I don’t think that is the right question? I think the real reason people are upset is because the bigger question now becomes; at what expense (metagame) can Eldrazi be beat? Most of the decks listed in this article are “hard” control decks, and most mainstream MTG sites are advocating the control route as an alternative option to playing Eldrazi. I understand the sentiment of trying to tackle the deck and not overreacting to the current metagame situation but looking at the larger picture, you have to admit it is a rather unhealthy deck for the format: a format that has devolved into control decks, Eldrazi decks, and a handful of other decks: chord, affinity, etc. I would posit that currently, this Is a format DEVOID of all midrange decks, aggro-control decks, and most aggressive strategies. Jund, Abzan, zoo, delver, etc… are all obsolete strategies now. One or two decks dropping out of Tier 1 or tier 1.5 is normal during a new set release but 5-7 and entire strategies? That is a warning sign. Obviously none of this will matter after a ban, but right now Modern seems to be a very simple format to solve: Play Eldrazi or a deck with a lot of sweepers and control cards.

  5. Very nice follow-up man. I think your issue was one of missing the requisite framing, failing to adequately acknowledge that there may very well be a real issue, and these are ideas to try to metagame and survive between now and the likely eventual ban. Anything without that just smelled like BS or bravado, and obviously rubbed us all the wrong way.

    This week I think you framed it much more appropriately and I for one appreciate your follow-up points. While nobody was criticizing your heart (only your framing, which is a separate matter altogether), you do make a good point that your content *does* bring something fresh, interesting, and thought-provoking to the table. I appreciate what you’re producing, and would only, as one of the readers who was rubbed the wrong way, caution you about tone. Acknowledging your modest (by professional standards) pedigree is a fine start, but if you go on to write the way you did last article I think you’re likely to see the same push-back. You don’t need to repeat the self-deprecating start of this article (which honestly was possibly a bit over-the-top, but I know how frustrating that must be to hear…). All you need is the proper framing up front in the introduction, acknowledging that things may actually be rough and imbalanced right now, but here’s an idea to gain some edge back and make the best of things in a tough meta, and to use words (may, could, might, etc…) that back this tentative attitude up. That’s basically what you did in part of this article’s introduction, and I just wanted to say in my opinion *THIS* is the part that rang true and is what matters to us in reading articles of this kind, not any of the stuff about your actual credentials (or self-digs at the lack thereof).

    Also for what it’s worth I think your writing is perfectly solid, and I do really enjoy your ideas and the fact that you actually put some serious thought into the brews, with well-reasoned explanations of their strengths and weaknesses. That’s something that is often lacking in other sites by writers who you can tell don’t really care about modern, or put much time, effort, or care into the brews they put forth – just writing an article to meet a content requirement for their site. Whatever criticism we have for you, and I sincerely hope you’ll take it as the relatively minor criticism it’s intended to be (tone is easy to fix!!), you do have a passion that’s refreshing, and I appreciate your ideas!

    Thanks for the content and a worthy follow-up to your previous article. I’m looking forward to trying out that Jeskai brew (I’ve been toying with something quite similar, but more durdley), and to whatever comes next!

    1. Preston, your points make sense, I should have done a better job framing my opinion, this would “probably” have helped those that disagreed with me understand that I do, in fact, know whats going on in the “real world”. Definitely a learning experience and one I will think about in the future!

  6. Modern is a joke. So many bannings throughout it’s short lifetime already. Saffron Olive wrote a great article stating that if you bought into a tier 1 modern deck at it’s birth, there is a 66% chance that your deck would have been banned and completely unplayable today. I think only affinity and jund have survived and even jund has eaten 2 bans. So I think many people’s frustration including myself is the fact that we bought into this format, have seen almost every single tier 1 deck get banned along with a 30% increase in price of every single deck across the board. Now we have eldrazi doing completely broken things with mana and the best way to beat them is by playing the most un-interactive hate cards in the format and HOPING that it is enough. I hope tourney numbers drop considerably for the next year. Sick and tired of seeing bans into a format that is supposedly so great at adjusting itself.

    I hope everyone else out there that is truly sick of the way wizards has handled modern just stops playing. I really question whether people have fun signing up for a tourney then playing 9 rounds of un-interactive goldfish-esq decks. Oh wait, just wait a year and the best deck will be banned again and then the format will be better…

  7. Wow. So many Boo hoos. Cry that they ban cards. Cry that they don’t ban cards. Cry that the format is stale. Cry that the format changes. If anything is going to get me to quit magic, it’s not the game. It’s the people. None of you have been a part of a truly busted format.

    Trevor you are right. Given time the meta will change. Decks will change. The format will change. This is not oppression. This is growth. Eldrazi isn’t a busted deck. It’s a tier 1 deck that’s made a sudden appearance on the field and instead of changing, everyone wants to be lazy.

    1. Thanks Jeramie! Eldrazi might actually be busted, but that doesn’t mean we should just give up. Since when do we flop down in the dirt and cry when the bully pushes us down? In my opinion, we shouldn’t cry “ban” until we’ve spent at least a few weeks with a deck dominating the top, and the immediate post-Pro Tour outcry was definitely unwarranted. A couple weeks from now, if Eldrazi is still dominating, then I think a calm ban discussion is warranted. Until then, I’m going to keep trying to beat it!

  8. I assure you that none of those decks are favoured against Eldrazi. How about you put these decks to the test in a video series. I for one am completely sick of ppl carrying on as if their deck can ‘beat’ eldrazi! Sure you steal a win due to variance but you will for sure lose overall.

    Trevor do us all a favour and put some numbers to your solutions – currently its just a bunch of theory crafting nonsense..

  9. I remember in the Caw Blade days people would still write about how their brew was “good” against it. Same shit, different format.

    Even if your brew genuinely manages a positive win % vs. Eldrazi, how does it fare against all the other linear strategies in Modern that attack from completely different angles?

  10. I’m losing faith in the Magic community. Whine whine, limited thinking.
    The eldrazi are frankly straightforward to beat. My take on a hate deck is undefeated in two leagues and several 2 mans, and it’s performing well overall. It’s not that bloody hard.

    The mistakes are twofold:
    1) thinking a bit of interaction will beat it- it won’t. It’s not a silver bullet, but a strategy backed up by a sideboard that wins. That’s why company is always doing fine.
    2). Trying to get more linear. The people playing infect burn deaths shadow and even affinity are just wrong. They also get frustrated and whine a lot when they get raced at their own game. The solution is to get controlling or fight them on the ground.

    Eldrazi? Learn to play guys.

    PS LSV always has heart 🙂

    1. Oh I’m sorry I forgot that a healthy format means you play hate deck. Here I was thinking that whole archetypes being unviable in a format that was marketed as play what you want was a bad thing. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before, you’re right a healthy format is where a person is forced to play a certain kind a deck or have no chance of realistically winning anything.

      Another fine example of people arguing against a ban making the argument for the ban even stronger.

    2. You know, while we’re at it let’s just unban everything. Blazing Shoal infect and artifact land affinity are actually fair I don’t know what I was thinking. Clearly I just haven’t put enough effort and thought into beating the decks. I mean nothing is actually broken after all we just need to find a solution right guys ?

      The rules of magic are really just an impediment and are meant to be broken. They aren’t you know restrictions that allow the game to be more fun and survive all this time. Heck, we should just play like I played in middle school we used to drop all Our lands and play anything we want whenever we want.

    3. I have nothing bad to say about company. Great deck fun cool etc. Just to be clear, a format that is eldrazi, company, merfolk, lantern or bust isn’t healthy.

      1. Lantern probably doesnt beat eldrazi anywhere towards what ppl are stating – I know for certain that Merfolk doesnt – company does beat eldrazi it but eldrazi still has game and will sb appropriately to fix this..Eldrazi is busted and no amount of Trevor bravado will change that.

  11. Man, I love the discussion, thus I love the internet inquisition that all the sudden DEMANDS action from WoTC…
    Gasoline is mostly the only fuel available, you don’t see people complaining that they feel hurt because that’s their only option, plus you can’t even try to buy an eletric or whatever other power source car in your garage, in mtg, you can at least do that.
    Polarizing articles are the core thing we need as a community, to defy status quo, evolve metagames, and to quit the robot created mtg texts that flood the web (we never had so much to read, but never so little was relevant).

  12. Nice article,
    I’m on your side with this 1 – there are ways to tune your existing decks to beat eldrazi. People seem to think that that is an unfair restriction on their deck building in some way… “why should I have to change my deck to beat this new 1″… yet everyone packs 3-4 sideboard cards for affinity and don’t think anything of it.
    In essence, there are ways to beat eldrazi (I used sheridans enduring ideal last night and went 3-0 vs eldrazi). Jeff Hoogland is having some (and only some) joy with a tweaked version of kiki-chord. Why can’t we all just tune our decks to fight what’s out there. That’s what the good players are doing (or they’ll play eldrazi or standard)!
    Nice article, and keep encouraging discussions. To the haters – if you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it.

      1. How do you know he hasn’t done any testing? It’s fine to have a different opinion, but don’t present your opinions as facts unless you know they are. This was kind of the sub-point of my article; it doesn’t move the discussion forward in any meaningful way. Thanks for the comment David!

  13. Awesome article Trevor. Please don’t let the internet get you down, people are always gonna piggyback on content creators to be noticed. You don’t have to explain yourself, though I do enjoy how personal your articles are, and you are right that it makes you unique. Keep up the good work!

  14. Trevor – not only did you not frame or state your point in anyway towards a respectful approach previously – you also did not provide any answers other than some deck ideas that fall woefully short of competitive. Similarly you have done nothing with this follow up article other than fire off a few decks that seem to have cards that could be good against eldrazi (but to anyone that has done any testing – which you clearly havent – knows are bad).

    If you are serious and are truly not taking the alternative view point for the sake of taking the alternative view point (which most readers can deduce) put your convictions out there – choose a 75 to play and record evidence of you beating UR eldrazi, colourless eldrazi and RG eldrazi – only then can we really take anything you say remotely seriously. Until then STFU!

  15. Despite the fact that many of these post’s are coming across as harsh and overly critical, they all do have valid points. Sure, you can tune your deck against Eldrazi to get a >50% win percentage against them. The problem is that you are then screwed against the rest of the meta (or at least what remains of the meta). SBs aren’t good enough in this case.

    Like others said, put some numbers to what you’re saying. Right now, you’re only stating possible theories, not evidence. Prove what you’re saying by recording several games against Eldrazi players who know what they’re doing, and show us an overall >50% win percentage against them.

    1. Completely disagree – you cannot just tune any deck to beat Eldrazi – again this smacks of no testing and not really understanding eldrazi. There is only 1 deck know of that can consistently beat eldrazi – Junk Combo/Chord/Company. All the other decks that ppl posit – including the laughable options that the Modern ‘GURU’ Trevor has put forward fall short – of course he hasnt tested them – but hey – he’s providing an ‘alternative view point’ ..

  16. Thank you! Good article! Honestly i am absolutely happy about the rise of the Eldrazi 🙂 It’s an interesting challenge and in my opinion the question will be if the metagame can adopt without using too narrow sideboard cards. If the removal heavy midrange and control decks, affinity, merfolk, chord/company decks etc cant “control” them we could start thinking about banning. Lets see what the open and the grand prixs will be like! 🙂

  17. +even if a ban is needed we get a free “rotation” which is cool for deckbuilding and unlike standard you do not have to sell and resell strange cards which wont be played anymore after a short period.

    And i cant hear the ancient tomb comparisons anymore. Most of the cards in eldrazi versions wouldnt be played without the lands, they are (slightly) overcosted. Ancient tomb does not have the limitation to be used for overcosted cards only.

  18. I have had good success against Eldrazi, with Allies, of all things.

    I run an Abzan core with the 2 cost +1 entry trigger allies (Kazandu Blademaster, Hada Freeblade, Oran Rief Survivalist, and Bojuka Brigand). I use Harabaz Druid and Beast caller Savant as Mana Dorks with the upside that they trigger my allies, and Collected Company to speed things up.

    I run 4 Chord of Calling mainboard, and run 1 of Kabira Evangel, Lantern Scout, Mirror Entity, Abzan Falconer, Ondu Cleric, and Zulaport Cutthroat, creating a pretty decent toolbox to deal with threats or swing in for the surprise victory.

    I run inspiring calls, which are critical against decks with board wipes.

    In the sideboard I run Return to the ranks, Path to Exile, Extra Ondu Clerics, and other creature cards to act as tools vs. specific decks/Problems (Pridemage, Scooze, Akoum Battlesinger, Hellraiser Goblin, Blood Artist)

    The Lands are basics, Abzan Shocks and fetches, 4 ally encampments (sometimes surprisingly useful), and two Gavony Townships.

    Against Eldrazi, it works really well, since they don’t interact much. Allies nut draws are not quite as quick as Eldrazi, (2 turn 1 mimics hardly ever happens, and TKS is not usually turn 2) but they go both wider and bigger. Turn one Hada Freeblade into an unanswered turn two Harabaz Druid/BeastCaller Savant really lets you unload your allies on turn three and Chord/Collected for the win by turn four or five, and seems to happen much more frequently. Ondu Cleric is one of the best cards against Eldrazi because it buys you time while you ramp your allies, and very quickly puts the game out of reach. Vs. Eldrazi, I sideboard two more in, replacing Cutthroat and Evangel.

    I mostly play FNM, or with friends,so I haven’t played vs a lot of different people, (Haven’t played the colorless version, so chalice of the void for two could really hurt, with Chord for Qasali Pridemage being the decks only answer). Anyway, the deck is fun. It has some weakness against creature control decks, but I feel it is favored to win vs eldrazi.

  19. My list has massive success against Eldrazi (Anecdotal evidence however, seek ye statistics from elsewhere)

    4 Lava Spike
    4 Rift Bolt
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Searing Blaze
    4 Forked Bolt (Brought in specifically for the 2/1 Eldrazi)
    4 Electrolyze (Again, brought in for x/1 Eldrazi)
    4 Remand
    4 Flame Slash (Not my ideal choice I board this out against non-creature type stuff)
    2 Keranos, God of Storms

    4 Ensnaring Bridge
    2 Welding Jar

    6 Fetch lands
    4 Steam vents
    5 Mountain
    1 Island
    4 Ghost Quarter

    Resolved bridge + welding jar = GG in 90% of games as their removal in the form of ratchet bomb can’t kill it fast enough for me to not draw to 20 burn.

    Keep them off Eye of Ugin with Ghost Quarter.

    Turn two Thought-knot is an issue. Especially when you are on the draw and it picks off ensnaring bridge. Hence flame slash.

    Keranos does work. I’d consider dropping it to a one of and putting a singleton Mom and Pop Thopter Shop in though.

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