Grixis Eldrazi Control in Standard

The Eldrazi invasion continues!

Oath of the Gatewatch has introduced a slew of awesome new Eldrazi cards for Standard and it is safe to say that the “world eating” tribe is going to profoundly reshape the Standard landscape in the coming weeks.

One of the cool things about the new Eldrazi creatures is that there are tons of different archetypes that can utilize these powerful cards. There is a beatdown shell, a ramp shell, and in this deck I’ve devised a blue-based control shell.

Grixis Devoid Control

I fully expect the RG Eldrazi ramp decks to make a big splash in the week 1 Standard metagame, and my Grixis Control list attempts to exploit some of the weaknesses of that strategy.

For one, this deck plays a much less linear game plan. The deck has ramp elements. allowing us to make big plays quickly, but the deck does not suffer from problems of low threat density. The deck also has a ton of ways to create 2-for-1s that put our opponent on the back foot.

You’ll also notice that between the 4 Grips of Desolation and 2 World Breakers, the deck has a pretty substantial mana denial angle that is particularly well suited to keep ramp opponents from casting their 10-drop Eldrazi.

Also, if you really want to talk about a filthy interaction:

When you get to live the dream of flashing back Grip it is typically very difficult for an opponent to come back into the game. Exiling two lands and two creatures is a pretty huge swing.

There is so much value to be gained from this kind of an interaction. It is also pretty significant that with all of the creature lands in Standard, Grip of Desolation often deals with two threats in one turn. The instant-speed aspect of Grip also allows us to exile creatures and creature lands after our opponent has paid to activate them in combat!

Killing Opponents With Eldrazi Monsters

One of the things that I’ve learned from playtesting over the past week is that Sire of Stagnation is easily one of the best positioned win conditions in the format. Aside from “all-in aggro” decks, Sire of Stagnation is a huge problem for any deck trying to “go big” in Standard.

“Oh, so you thought you’d like to make land drops? Well, I guess I’ll just draw a bunch of cards.”

A fast Sire is basically an unstoppable threat against any of the other big mana decks in Standard. As we move forward I expect the card to be a large metagame player in the future. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a giant 5/7 body that basically trumps 90% of the creatures that see play in Standard.

Do you ever see a card on the spoiler list and think: “Why is this a card? What the heck?”

Well, Thought-Knot Seer occupies that space for me. I saw this card and thought to myself, “How is this even a real card?”

I already wrote about Thought-Knot Seer in an RB aggro shell and now here the card is again, this time in a Grixis Control Shell. I would want to play this card in basically every single deck that I build for Standard moving forward. It is Vendilion Clique, except they don’t get the card back until after they kill it. Thought-Knot is also a much better blocker than Clique. A 4/4 can block the majority of creatures in Standard profitably.

I’ve got 4 copies in the main deck because I simply think the card is one of the best in the format.

The Most Busted Ramp Spells In Standard?

I can’t even say enough good things about Herald of Kozilek in this deck. The card makes nearly all of our spells cost 1 less to play thanks to the devoid mechanic, and also happens to have a very nice 2/4 body for attacking and blocking!

The other card that I’m very high on right now is:

First of all, only paying 3 for this card with Herald in play is insane. Other than that the card does exactly what you’d want a card to do in a Grixis Control deck: it makes mana and/or draws cards!

Accelerating Archive into Grip of Desolation is a gigantic interaction because you are already so far ahead on mana that setting them back a threat and a land is often a play that many midrange decks can’t come back from.

The Best Sideboard Card In Standard

The card is absolutely insane against both Rally the Ancestors (which got better because of its great RG Ramp matchup) and RG Ramp. Taking their Ulamogs or Kozileks out of the equation is often enough to end the game on the spot.

The fact is that the RG deck doesn’t have many threats—but the threats they do have are “maximum effect.” So, removing their ability to cast their over-the-top win conditions basically turns their deck into a big pile of ramp spells and little else.

Whatever you end up playing in Standard post-OGW, if you play with black mana, I highly advise that you include Infinite Obliteration moving forward!

The Eldrazi are so profoundly format-warping that I believe it will take at least a couple of weeks to see how the format actually shakes out. I’ve built aggro, control, and ramp decks with these powerful new cards and all of the decks feel awesome so far.

I love that it isn’t clear that these cards are “supposed” to be played in any specific style of deck. Yes, ramping out Ulamog or Kozilek is pretty straightforward, but most of the other cards are more ambiguous. Is Thought-Knot Seer an aggro card? Midrange card? Control card?

It can do a lot of different things in a lot of different decks.

I must say that after having a chance to test out so many decks with Oath of the Gatewatch cards that I really dig the Eldrazi creatures. Kudos to WotC for hitting a grand slam with these unusual and awesome cards!

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