Today I’ve got quite the brew to share with you—one that is slowly taking over the Standard landscape. This past weekend, I unleashed Bluedrazi on my local RPTQ at ChannelFireball and Top 16’d with the following list:
A Brief History
This deck all started after the Eldrazi takeover at PT Oath of the Gatewatch. I was pleasantly playing a match of Magic Online when my podcast cohost Tristan Killeen messaged me on Facebook with a terrible looking blue/red Eldrazi deck that was essentially the Modern build without Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple. You can imagine how that doesn’t exactly look terribly busted. With that in the back of my mind, and passing the time with Oath of the Gatewatch drafts, I suddenly realized that I needed to start preparing for the upcoming Standard RPTQ and GP Houston.
I tested Ramp, some Bant decks, and then some more Ramp, but felt I wasn’t happy with where Standard was at. Rally and Ramp were the clear litmus tests of the format for me and I was settling into Ramp since I thought it had a good Rally matchup. Its weak matchups like Atarka Red were a bit weak to the rest of the format too, which didn’t hurt. But maybe there was something else? I remembered Tristan’s Eldrazi deck and tried to build a playable UR version focused around Herald of Kozilek dumping a ton of creatures into play very quickly. I kept wanting to add counterspells and Whirler Rogue to the deck but the mana base only encouraged sorcery-speed mana because of Crumbling Vestige, or devoid spells because of Corrupted Crossroads. Then a message came from Tristan:
“I think I broke it.”
He sends me the first incarnation of Bluedrazi that I’ve seen that can support counterspells and Whirler Rogue. I snap-jumped on board. I started testing the deck in Leagues, in queues, and on stream, and got the deck to a place I really liked with some minor tweaks for the RPTQ. If you want more background, I recommend checking out our podcast on it.
Why You Should Play the Deck
First off, this deck is a total blast to play, but it’s not a joke deck to play just for fun. Now I’m not going to claim this deck is busted like its counterpart in Modern, or that it’s the next Caw Blade of Standard, but I do think it’s highly competitive. The deck at its core is an aggro deck, but one that has some disruptive elements. Stubborn Denial is the key card to beating Rally, and, combined with Thought Knot-Seer, helps disrupt Ramp’s plan. Ramp will often get one to two draw steps where there’s not a lot you can do to stop them, but if they whiff you win. Sometimes you’ll have enough pressure backed by Whirler Rogue to end the game even if they’re chaining World Breakers. The deck is nice.
Its weakest matchups are midrange control decks like Mardu Green or Dark Jeskai. These decks simply have too much removal for you to have a critical mass of threats in play. On top of that, these two decks pack the best two cards against you: Kalitas, Traitor to Ghet and Kolaghan’s Command. Yet even though you sit around doing nothing like a flailing fish when every last one of your creatures has been killed, sometimes you just curve out and your opponent forgets that you’re both playing a game of Standard. Post-board you have a lot more options, and Disdainful Stroke does a lot of heavy lifting. In these types of grindy games, you can actually turn into a counter tempo deck sitting on Prophet of Distortion and answers, which ends up being difficult to stop. Having the option to go bigger with Oblivion Sower is nice since it can nab a land or two to help activate the expensive utility lands in the deck while still holding up counters or deploying more threats.
Bluedrazi also gets to play a highly synergistic plan in a proactive environment. It’s fast enough to go under the bigger decks while also getting to play incredible cards like Ghostfire Blade, which many decks cannot take advantage of. What’s even sillier is that you just get to play 4/4s and 5/5s with upside after playing 2- and 3-drops.
Those games where Bluedrazi curves out look incredible, but even when they don’t happen there’s resiliency built into the mana curve. Equipping Ghostfire Blade fits into an otherwise wasted turn. Ruins of Oran Rief helps you to curve out better since you can now play two 2-drops and have the second one play a nice impersonation of a 3-drop. Foundry of the Consuls is a great mana sink and just happens to provide lethal damage when combined with Whirler Rogue to make another creature unblockable. When all these moving pieces line up like this, you end up with a deck that plays out much better than the pile of draft commons it looks like on paper.
This deck is also extremely customizable despite it only being one color. If you cut counters and Whirler Rogue, you can add a second color extremely easily (red and green are easiest because of the painlands available). Within mono-blue, there are even more aggressive versions with Ruination Guide, bigger versions with Hedron Crawler and Drowner of Hope, and versions with more permission and 4 Prophet of Distortion. Depending on what metagame you expect, you can adapt Bluedrazi to do any job. Sideboarding also offers a lot of flexibility in how your games play out, and you can stay very aggressive or more controlling post-board.
We’ll see whether Bluedrazi will be a mainstay of Standard or more of a metagame deck, but it’s a real competitor for the time being. Get in while the getting is good and try it for yourself. It doesn’t hurt that the deck is cheap to build, either. I’ll see you in Houston where I’ll very likely obey the call of our Eldrazi overlords.