It’s Not the Thought-Knot that Counts

Have you ever believed something so thoroughly that you simply “knew” it was true? Evidence to the contrary was somehow wrong. You may not have known how or why it was wrong—you just knew that it was. There was no point in arguing with you, because nothing anyone could say would alter your point of view. You lived your merry little life in complete ignorance and complete bliss. However, one day, something inexplicable happened. Perhaps it was a major event that shook you to the core. Maybe it was something as small as a passing comment. Who knows what triggered it, but the fact remains that something happened that day. Something challenged that belief you held and began to introduce a rift. Like a crack in your windshield, the rift continued to grow and grow and grow until eventually the windshield of your life was smashed, and you were forced to face the reality of the lie you had been living with.

That moment happened to me about a month ago. For years, I had been living my life in ignorance. I had believed something and I was comfortable in that belief. I mean, there’s no way I was wrong, right? Couldn’t be. Hell nah. Not possible. You see, I believed that a company called Wizards of the Coast wouldn’t print a colorless 5/5 for 5 with haste, trample, and resistance to removal. It simply wasn’t realistic.

Then I took 5 to my face. And another 5. And another. It didn’t take long to realize the folly of my ways. It didn’t take long until my Reality was Smashed.

“This is absolute madness. Why should you build such a thing?”

Thought-Knot Seer was the card that got the hype. This is the card that gets the job done. I can forget me a Thought-Knot. A hasty 5 going upstairs leaves a bigger mark. Thought-Knot Seer is a good card, but Reality Smasher is a definer. Reality Smasher says hello and goodbye at the same time, because its first impression is the crater left in your face. Reality Smasher invites you over for Netflix and Smash, and then puts on Making a Murderer because it’s about to murder your life total and then cover it up.

Meanwhile, Thought-Knot Seer takes a sip of wine as it finishes cutting up the cucumbers for a house salad without dressing.

Now don’t get me wrong. Thought-Knot Seer is a messed up card. That thing is disruption slapped onto a prime cut of beef. It’s efficient and powerful. But Reality Smasher is just on another level, and it only takes playing with it a few times until you realize how quickly it ends the game and how brutal it really is.

I don’t think enough people are playing with this card or building decks around it. I imagine that will change. I welcome it. I guess you can call me an Eldrazi sympathizer. Sometimes worlds must be broken, and you can’t make an omelet without cracking a few Hedrons.

Here’s a good starting point for a list:

Mono-Black Eldrazi

Barry Woerner, Top 16 at the SCG Atlanta Open

This is a solid shell for this archetype, but I also feel like it can be improved. For one, I look at this style of deck as an aggressive deck, but one more like Abzan Aggro from the last Standard format rather than something like Mono-Red Aggro. Abzan Aggro had early pressure, but each creature was a reasonable threat by itself, even late into the game. Contrast that with Mono-Red, where a card like Zurgo Bellstriker is a 2/2 on turn 1 and also on turn 8. I don’t want those types of cards in my deck.

I don’t think this deck is trying to curve out and win the game on turn 5 or anything like that. Rather, I see it as a deck that plays big and hard-to-remove-threats that end the game quickly when they do get around to smashing. For that reason, I think a card like Reaver Drone is very much out of place in this deck. That kind of creature is better suited to a hyper-aggressive black shell that plays cards like Unnatural Endurance and is looking to win with cheap threats before the opponent can react.

I also feel that only 8 ways to exile a card is too few for Wasteland Strangler. One of them is also Thought-Knot Seer, which comes after Strangler on the curve. It would be much more powerful to be able to play a processed Strangler on turn 3 and then get Knotty on turn 4. “Oh, I’m sorry, did you have plans to win this game? Thought-Knot.”

I’m also skeptical about Matter Reshaper, and whether that card is powerful enough to Matter in Standard. Having Matter Reshaper also demands earlier access to colorless mana, which can be a problem depending on how the mana base is designed.

I’d like to try out a version that is a bit greedier.

Black/White Eldrazi

Splashing white gives you access to a number of cards. First of all, Eldrazi Displacer, a card that I am very high on, is a great combo with both Wasteland Strangler and Thought-Knot Seer.

I believe that it is a stronger card than Matter Reshaper. Although Reshaper is likely to replace itself, Displacer is simply a more powerful card late in the game.

Silkwrap and Utter End both provide you with phenomenal removal and with more ways to ensure that Wasteland Strangler is always going to be able to get his strangle on. Being able to exile creatures is a powerful effect, especially against decks like Jeskai Black and Rally, two decks that abuse graveyard interactions.

Lastly, white offers some quality sideboard cards.

Arashin Cleric provides some much needed game against red decks and also provides both reinforcements and refreshments when combined with Eldrazi Displacer. Gaining 3 life hasn’t been this cool since Angel of Glory’s Rise was bringing back Cathedral Sanctifier. Hallowed Moonlight provides a plan against Rally the Ancestors, but is also a pretty sweet combo with Eldrazi Displacer. Moonlight plus a Displacer activation permanently exiles an opposing creature. Just don’t do it to your own creatures!

I’ve opted to play more removal spells over Ghostfire Blade. That could easily be a mistake. Ghostfire Blade is the blade when you put it on a big creature, as it makes it very hard for opposing creatures to block. But simply having access to more removal plays a similar role in that you can just clear the way, rather than trying to muscle your way through. Not being able to Blade up a Bearer of Silence is a travesty, though.

The mana might be too clunky for a list like this, but the deck itself looks like it has a lot going for it. It offers a clock in Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher. It offers up hand disruption with Transgress the Mind and Thought-Knot. It has both good and plenty of removal. It’s important to diversify how you kill things, and this deck can do it all. You can exile, -x/-x, destroy, and make them sacrifice. Lastly, cards like Sea Gate Wreckage and Eldrazi Displacer ensure that you have things to do with your mana if the game goes long. All in all, I think this deck has the makings of what it takes to succeed in Standard.

Anyone wanna get smashed?


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