The Diary of a Pro Player: Getting Back to Reality

I’ve been mostly spending the last week off—I deserved it. I’ve been relaxing, trying to eat a little better (especially since the previous week and a half consisted of quite a bit of fast food), reconnecting on Standard to help out a few local friends who are qualified for the RPTQ, and finally, topping all of my recent efforts with a party!

Next up on my calendar is GP Detroit. I’m not attending GP Houston because I told myself after coming in second for the GP Master slot at Worlds that I would attend fewer GPs and I set the boundary at the East Coast. The week before and after Pro Tours I will make exceptions, and maybe at the end of the year if I’m struggling for a few Pro Points, but that’s it.

What to Expect in Detroit

Usually, it is fair to assume the next big event after a Pro Tour will have a field that looks a lot like the Top 8. Since Detroit is a whole month after, we might see a modicum of innovation and even a shift in decks played because of SCG tournaments and Magic Online PTQs.

Either way, let’s be honest, these two will show up in big numbers. I was clearly wrong assuming this deck wasn’t busted in the past. This past week, I kept thinking there were ways to beat it. Sure there are—but only the PT lists.

You know, the ones without World Breaker or colored sideboard cards.

All these cards were good ways to beat Team ChannelFireball’s colorless version of the deck (only true against the specific list they played). People on Magic Online started playing 4 World Breaker and that just dismantles whatever permanent answers you thought would deal with them.

Blood Moon is another thing. I might just be playing the wrong decks—so far, I’ve tried a Blue-Moon-type of deck and the biggest problem was just in dealing with the cards they played before my Blood Moon—Matter Reshaper was not fun to Lightning Bolt. Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher don’t die to Lightning Bolt. To have Blood Moon work against them, you need good, hard removals such as Go for the Throat. Path to Exile is out of the question of course.

I thought, oh, Lantern is probably great. You just stop them from drawing World Breaker.

But that card has a line of text at the bottom—good luck milling it.

With that said, my conclusion is that having single dedicated cards for them isn’t enough. You need a whole strategy that is naturally strong against the Eldrazi menace. Add a few cards and it becomes a slightly favorable matchup.

Here it is.


Sure, Patrick Dickmann and I both lost to Eldrazi in the Top 8. Still, I remain convinced the matchup slightly favors the robots. Having played UR Eldrazi in testing prior the Pro Tour, Affinity was a bad matchup game 1 and it all came down to the sideboard Hurkyl’s Recall. As for the colorless version, they don’t have any insane dedicated cards like Recall. Instead, they have cheap interaction, which is annoying and makes the matchup really close. With a little tweak, like having some amount of Galvanic Blasts and Painter’s Servant, or even 2 Painter’s Servant if I feel crazy, I’m sure it’ll make me comfortable.

I’ve played close to 7 Modern matches this week. I won’t be able to deliver any exact lists, but from my PT list, I would start with -2 Stubborn Denial +2 Dismember in the main deck, and in the sideboard -1 Torpor Orb -1 Ray of Revelation -1 Relic of Progenitus -1 Etched Champion -1 Sea Gate Wreckage +1 Grafdigger’s Cage +2 Painter’s Servant +2 Stubborn Denial.

Chord Decks

Angel Chord and Melira Company fit into this category. According to data mining Lucas Siow gathered, Melira Company was the only deck at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch that had a favorable matchup against Eldrazi. It makes sense since the general strategy of the deck is good so I’m definitely interested in digging deeper.

Archangel Chord

Matthew Rogers

It is very similar to what Melira Company is doing except you don’t get the Collected Company variance and don’t get hated out of the graveyard by cards like Relic of Progenitus. My only concern with this deck is how bad is it to have your Archangel of Thune die to a 1-mana Dismember? I’m eager to find out.


Paul Rietlz wrote about the deck he and his Ultra PRO teammates played. At first, I thought it could be good against Eldrazi, but the problem remains that Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix are too mediocre—I doubt any red decks will actually do well here. Damnation, Lingering Souls, Path to Exile, and Terminate, on the other hand, are excellent.

GW Little Kid

Just imagine killing a Reality Smasher and putting Wilt-Leaf Liege into play.

That’s all I have, a shell. This type of deck isn’t very complicated to build so I expect to have results as to whether it is playable or not very quickly.


I’ve played more Standard than Modern in the last week as I helped out locals qualified for the RPTQ and I can draw a few conclusions (to be taken with a grain of salt since I have mostly been theorizing and played a maximum of 20 games).

  • Reflector Mage is insane.
  • Rally is the deck to beat.
  • Ramp seems to be the best strategy—but a good 75 hasn’t been found yet.
  • Aggressive decks that can fly over Rally’s blockers sounds promising—any BR Dragons variants, especially the ones splashing Eldrazi Skyspawner (because, you know, that card won a Pro Tour).
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