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Baby’s Last Eldrazi

What is the sound a dying Eldrazi makes? I don’t know, but it’s the sound you’re going to hear all across the world when the next ban announcement comes out. It’s the sound of thousands of Eye of Ugins deflating in price. Womp Womp Wowoaaaaah. It’s the sound of the demolitions that blow up the Eldrazi Temple.

The GP this weekend in Detroit is my last chance to play the bad guy. It’s my last chance to take my Lamborg-drazi out for a spin before it gets repossessed. I’m writing this Saturday night in my hotel room, after a long Day 1.

This is my goodbye tale of Modern Eldrazi, and quite frankly, I’m just happy to be along for the ride.

Mike Sigrist messaged me early in the week with an RG Eldrazi list that looked, well, horrendous. It was the normal Eldrazi creature base of Mimics, Endless Ones, Thought-Knot Seers, and Reality Smashers, but also played 4 copies of Eldrazi Obligator and some World Breakers. It didn’t play Kozilek’s Returns or any Mind Stones or Talismans. Just raw, unadulterated World Breakers. It seemed all over the place.

I agreed to test it, expecting it to be horrible. I’d lose a few matches with it, and then move on with my life.

That never really happened. In fact, I was smashing with it. Meanwhile, I was also testing out UW Eldrazi and I had a less-than-50% win percentage with UW Eldrazi on Magic Online. I was losing to everything and everyone.

At the peak of testing RG Eldrazi, however, I was unstoppable. At one point I rattled off 15 consecutive match wins, 4-0’ing a bunch of Dailies and 3-0’ing 8-player events.

I was hooked. After a lot of knob-turning and beaker pouring, this is the final list I settled on.

RG Eldrazi

I ended up deviating a bit from the list that Mike Sigrist and all the other “nut high averages” that played this deck ended up on. I played one Gemstone Caverns. You can’t win a GP without getting lucky. Also the card is basically a free roll. You want colorless mana anyway, so it doesn’t cost much, and the times you have it and it’s good, well, it’s really good.

I also played one All is Dust, because in a wide-open format like Modern, it’s nice to have one card that just deals with the random BS that people will play. Enchantment control? Dust it off. Bogles? Dust mite get there.

Turns out, those cards were pretty sweet.

I rolled in after my two byes and hopped into my seat for round 3, ready to see where these crazy-legged tentacle beasts would carry me. I hadn’t figured out my dinner plans yet, but my opponents were getting a 2nd helping of Spaghetti, that’s for sure.

Round 3: RG Eldrazi

My opponent was playing the bigger version of the deck that plays 4 Kozilek’s Returns, 4 World Breakers, and cards like Talisman of Impulse and Mind Stone to set them up.

He won the die roll. I take a look at my hand.

I led off with a Gemstone Caverns with a luck counter, played turn-1 and turn-2 Eldrazi Obligator and my opponent’s reality was smashed shortly thereafter. Had I drawn another Temple or an Eye of Ugin, I would have played turn-2 Reality Smasher after a turn-1 Obligator.

That’s why you put Gemstone Caverns in your deck.

3-0

Round 4: Melira Company

I played this round against Valentin Mackl on Patrick Dickmann’s Melira deck. Game 1 I opened on turn-1 Dismember, turn-2 Thought-Knot Seer on the draw, and didn’t need much followup to seal the deal from there. Game 2, an early Kozilek’s Return bought me time to set up an All is Dust that destroyed his entire board. Simple, yet effective.

So far, I had played two matches, and the two 1-ofs I put in my deck—Gemstone Caverns and All is Dust—both won me a match. Just how we drew it up.

4-0

Round 5: Ad Nauseam

Ad Nauseam is an extremely popular deck on Magic Online. It’s relatively cheap and generally pretty decent, which makes it an attractive option for people looking to play a deck online that’s not bad, but also won’t break the bank.

After losing a quick game 1, I see this hand in game 2:

Turn 2, I dealt my opponent 12 damage. Turn 3, he was dead. Now we’re having fun.

Game 3 was a weird game, but I had just enough pressure to barely get there.

5-0

Round 6: UW Eldrazi

My round 6 opponent is Alex Majlaton. He’s playing UW Eldrazi. Spoiler: he went 9-0 after day 1. I probably didn’t win this round.

I mulliganed many times and never kept a hand with Eldrazi Temple or Eye of Ugin. After running well all day, this was my chance to hit the back half of the variance with the deck. Our games were weird as Alex didn’t draw particularly well either, but he had enough gas to finish the trip anyway.

5-1

Round 7: Ad Nauseam

After a number of really close games against Ad Nauseam a few rounds ago, I was hoping for a nice easy win this time around.

It wasn’t to be.

Game 1 I mulled to 5, but had exactly lethal on turn 4 off of 3 cards. Damn, this deck is nice.

Game 2 I had a phenomenal hand with multiple Thought-Knot Seers. I cast the first of many on turn 3 but he had Pact of Negation into killing me on his turn 4. Brutal.

Game 3 was really interesting. I won’t go into every gory detail, but it involved an Ancient Grudge on a Lotus Bloom in his upkeep forcing him to cast an Ad Nauseam without Angel’s Grace. He hit the cards he needed off of Ad Nauseam, but was left at 3 life with only a Polluted Delta. He needed 1 more life point to crack that fetch for an untapped white source to win. Sometimes you win by inches.

6-1

Round 8: Melira Company

I played Melira Company again this round, this time against Kazu Negri. Kazu is a strong player from West Virginia whom I’ve played in a number of events in the past. Somehow I always have his number, and this was no different.

Two relatively painless games later and I was up another match.

7-1

Round 9: Lantern Control

This round was against Paulo Vitor Dama Da Rosa. I knew he was playing Lantern Control, and I knew I had almost no interaction game 1, so I would need to keep a nice hand. He also won the die roll, which is very important.

I kept:

This hand was nearly perfect. I can smash him for 6 on turn 2, and nearly lethal on turn 3 if I draw another Temple or Eye of Ugin. This hand was fast enough to get under Ensnaring Bridge, assuming he’d still have some cards left in his hand when he played it.

He curved Spellskite into Bridge and I was dead.

Game 2 I won very quickly, but game 3 was interesting. I tanked for a while and decided to keep:

It’s a turn-2 Thought-Knot Seer and possibly a turn-3 Thought-Knot Seer with the Ancient Stirrings. It’s light on action but has a good curve and good mana.

Unfortunately, PV kept a hand that involved him dumping nearly his entire hand into play on turn 1 with Mox Opal to play turn-2 Ensnaring Bridge on the play. It’s very rare for Lantern to have a hand that can play a turn-2 Bridge, but he had it and it was enough to stop me.

I didn’t find a piece of interaction and got slowly locked out.

7-2

Not a bad day.

Right now, I’m sitting in my hotel room, about to go to sleep for Day 2. Going 6-0 locks me for Gold. Gold is something I’ve been trying to accomplish for three years now. Both of the last two years I fell barely short, finishing with what I called “Polished Silver.” It’s the kind of Silver that is just so close to Gold, but isn’t quite there.

If anything can get me there, it’s this deck. Out of 8 people playing the deck in Detroit, I have the second worst record at 7-2. The deck is quite nice.

I can only hope it’s enough to carry me across the finish line.

Win or lose, though, I will say this much. This Modern format is much hated. People despise Eldrazi and the stranglehold it has on Modern. So many people skipped GP Detroit or the other GPs around the world today because they couldn’t stomach the idea of playing in Eldrazi-infested waters.

To provide a different perspective: this was, by far, the most fun day of Magic I’ve had in a very, very long time. Normally, long GPs are a grind. Not today. Today was great. Today was just plain fun.

The Eldrazi are not long for the Modern world, but I thoroughly enjoyed their last hurrah, and a part of me will be sad to see them go. It was fun while it lasted.

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