Throwback Draft Guide – Rise of the Eldrazi

Rise of Eldrazi was one of the best draft formats of all time by broad consensus. The power level is well spread out between the commons, uncommons, and rares, there are many good archetypes, and you get to play and cast powerful Eldrazi!

The Archetypes

1) Green Ramp

The best archetype is green-based ramp. If you are able to assemble the combination of the green mana accelerators and some powerful Eldrazi creatures, your deck is going to be close to unbeatable. One of the best features of this archetype is the ability to easily splash some bomb rare or any of the really good, cheap removal. For that reason, taking the extremely powerful and versatile removal early on is the best way to draft this archetype (and also conveniently leaves you open to drafting any of the other decks available). For this reason, I would take a card like Vendetta first pick for the archetype, even though it isn’t actually a green mana accelerator or an Eldrazi. So my common pick order goes something like this:

But in reality, since those picks are so high for every deck that can actually cast them, I’m going to be looking for these cards to really cement me into Green Eldrazi ramp:

The card quality starts to drop off significantly after that. Overgrown Battlement is a fantastic first pick and all-star in this deck. It blocks efficiently at 0/4 and is one of the better ramp spells we have ever seen. Conveniently, Battlements on turns 2 and 3 lead to a turn-4 Ulamog’s Crusher, a.k.a. the DREAM. I would take all the ramp spells and powerful Eldrazi over even the middle-tier removal spells, including something as powerful as Staggershock, since dealing with smaller creatures isn’t really your goal in this deck.

2) UW Levelers

My #2 archetype is UW Levelers. There are lots of cheap and powerful level-up creatures in Rise, but the biggest issue with this deck tends to come from the enablers. Venerated Teacher is a premier common for this deck and is unplayable in every other deck, which is generally going to be great, but there are likely to be several people at any given table looking to draft this archetype. Training Grounds and Time of Heroes are all-stars in this deck, but without getting several copies of these key enablers you are playing a bunch of small creatures that take time to develop and are far more susceptible to removal spells than the other decks out there. The pick order for this deck will vary fairly dramatically as you both need lots of enablers and lots of efficient creatures to power them out. You are also looking to take premier removal spells, like Narcolepsy, very highly.

3) BR Tokens

My #3 deck is a BR tokens strategy. The highlight of this deck is that it isn’t super popular, and the #1 card you are looking for, Bloodthrone Vampire, is not a high pick for anyone else at the table. There are tons of token producers in this set and many of them also go very late as they are simply producing 0/1 tokens. Threaten effects like Traitorous Instinct are also fantastic in this deck. A card like Raid Bombardment, which looks on the surface to be completely unplayable (and most people initially thought it was) turns out to be fantastic in this deck. Sure, a couple 0/1s will get eaten each turn, but if you have 6 tokens and 2 are chump attacking, that’s between 10 and 12 damage alone!

The removal spells are still extremely high picks in this deck and the premier ones include Vendetta, Staggershock, and Heat Ray. This deck is extremely powerful because you don’t actually need ANY of these high picks to be successful. There isn’t as much priority on removal since you are basically playing a combo deck. You don’t need bombs or big finishers, just Bloodthrone Vampires (and any way to force them through is a bonus).

The Best Common in Each Color

Here are my top commons for each color (which can all be conveniently splashed into the green ramp deck)


One of my favorite parts about Rise is there aren’t that many rares that just NEED to be answered. Sure, Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief and Sphinx of Magosi are slam first pick complete bombs, and it’s going to be extremely challenging to ever defeat a Gideon Jura or Sarkhan the Mad, but the format’s top 3 decks expand all the colors and there are lots of common ways to interact with most everything. I, for one, can’t wait to cast some more Eldrazi! Which card are you most hoping to level up or annihilate with?

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