Eldrazi Red Is Coming

Red-bearded Flamecaller Chris VanMeter knew that Mono-Red Eldrazi would be great at #SCGINDY. See the card he thinks the deck needs in order to truly Warp the format!

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease March 26-27!

The SCG Tour® in Indianapolis last weekend was Standard’s last hurrah as we start to get into the home stretch of Shadows over Innistrad spoilers. The prerelease will be soon, and the next time we get to watch some sweet Magic being played on SCGLive, it will be at #SCGBALT, the Release Weekend for Shadows over Innistrad.

Honestly, though, is anyone all that upset about not having to watch or play against Four-Color Rally? I will give credit where it is due. Four-Color Rally was the best deck in Standard. It took the crown of numerous events and was continually championed by some of the best players in the game. You can also check out the Top 32 decks from #SCGINDY and see just how much of a presence it was even at what is basically the last big Standard event.

Myself, though, I’ve been firmly on the Eldrazi train for some time now. I wasn’t able to battle in anything last weekend that was Magic-related, although I did get to battle rain, furniture, and a U-Haul truck as I moved us into a new condo, but I did give a little advice to someone who was battling.

I told Kent Ketter that the Mono-Red Eldrazi deck was absurd, and Ashcloud Phoenix had been putting in work for me against decks like Four-Color Rally.

Kent recorded a Deck Tech with his list and did a very good job articulating just why I think the deck is insane. He started out 9-0 and was poised to make a very nice run to the Top 8, but ended up falling a little short and placed thirteenth, which isn’t all that shabby anyway.

“But CVM! Why are you talking about a dead format?” I can hear you all say.

Well, my beautiful Flamecallers, this Mono-Red Eldrazi deck is basically untouched by the rotation as it is primarily focused on Magic Origins and Battle for Zendikar block cards.

The Boss himself even used an updated version in his Premium VS. Video earlier this week against Todd Anderson.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t pretty.

Chandra, Flamecaller is great. Reality Smasher is great. Nightly news at eleven!

I really like a lot of what Tom had to say about the deck and fully plan on adopting his use of Warping Wail moving forward.

With a lot of the creatures at four or more toughness that were seeing play before leaving the format, needing to rely on Roast isn’t going to be as important. There will definitely be some creatures that we’re wanting to Roast, but Warping Wail is extremely flexible and feels like it’s going to slot right into what we’re wanting to do and stopping opponents from doing things that are good against us.

Here is a list of creatures that I expect myself to kill with Warping Wail (at least once).

Not to mention Chandra, Flamecaller’s Elemental tokens, Thopter tokens, Plant tokens…

I’m sure I’m even missing some, but that is a very healthy list of creatures that we want to kill, and that’s only one-third of the card.

We can also play a makeshift Hedron Crawler role and generate a 1/1 Eldrazi Scion token to ramp with, or we can counter a sorcery. This is pretty huge, since the G/R Eldrazi Ramp style of deck basically survives the rotation as well and hitting a timely ramp spell is important. Let’s see what we can realistically be countering with Warping Wail:

Again, I’m sure that I might be missing some, but that is quite a list of cards we get to snag with a Warping Wail.

I actually really like Tom’s first draft of a Shadows over Innistrad Mono-Red Eldrazi deck, but I think that we might be missing one card in particular that can have some potential in the deck.

One of the benefits of being mono-colored and splashing colorless for the Eldrazi creatures is that we get to make use of some of the colorless-providing utility lands. Foundry of the Consuls has more than earned its slot in the deck as a four-of, but with Tomb of the Spirit Dragon no longer available due to rotation, we have an open slot in the roster.

Ruins of Oran-Rief has been very good for me, so I want to stay with the two copies that I had before, but Sea Gate Wreckage has been less than stellar, and I think that Westvale Abbey can fit right in, especially with Hedron Archive. Getting to a point where we can generate 1/1s with the land is very realistic, and between Hangarback Walker, Thopter Engineer, Pia and Kiran Nalaar, and Foundry of the Consuls, getting to five creatures that we can sacrifice for a 9/7 haste, flying, indestructible, lifelink is also very realistic. The scenario, that is, not the card. I mean, come on. What kind of stats are those?

Since we are able to get by with sixteen red sources, that leaves us either nine or ten colorless lands, depending on if we decide to go with the old standby of 25 lands or Tom’s new 26-land build that cuts Hedron Crawlers.

Either way, I want to start with the typical:

10 Mountain
4 Shivan Reef
2 Battlefield Forge
4 Foundry of the Consuls
2 Ruins of Oran-Rief

This gives us 22 lands that I know for sure that I want to run, which leaves us three or four open spots. I think that three Westvale Abbey and another Mountain if we are running 26 lands, or just three Abbey for 25 lands, seems right.

Man, I can’t really express just how excited I am to transform a Westvale Abbey. I think that it may even have some potential in a deck with Dragon Fodder and other token generators as well, but that will have to wait for later.

Earlier this week we had a card spoiled that seems to be getting mixed reviews. My initial evaluation on the card was that it was just another “punisher” mechanic card that would end up being trash. Most of the time, when you give your opponent the choice on what happens, it’s never going to end up well for you, so most cards with that kind of mechanic are usually just bad. This little devil, though? I’m not so sure that’s the case.

Breaking this card down, it’s a 3/2 for 2R with menace. That by itself isn’t all that shabby, since red is all about getting as much damage as it can from all of its cards, so even having pseudo-evasion is decent.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying Boggart Brute is exciting. What I am saying, though, is that there may be more than what meets the eye going on here.

The secondary text is what I’m interested in. It is a “punisher” effect, which means that our opponent is going to get to control it, but I think that this one may be just enough of a stacked deck that it may be worth it.

“At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library. Any opponent may have you put that card into your graveyard. If a player does, Sin Prodder deals damage to that player equal to that card’s converted mana cost. Otherwise, put that card into your hand.”

Let’s go over some scenarios that are pretty likely to happen with Sin Prodder so that we can get an idea of what exactly we’re paying 2R for.

First scenario:

We reveal a land. Our opponent chooses to put in our graveyard and pays zero life, since the converted mana cost of a land is zero.

This was the first thing that came to mind and I was instantly turned off. The thought was that cards like Dark Confidant, which this is already getting referenced to (which I think is quite incorrect), are powerful because they have the chance to give you whatever you need at whatever point it is in the game. A Dark Confidant on turn 2 can get you much needed lands to keep your gas flowing or said gas when it’s needed. Since Sin Prodder is literally never going to draw you a land (unless for some reason we need to turn on delirum with a land), I instantly wrote it off, but is that really all that bad?

That land that was on top of our deck is not in our hand and now we get to draw a card for the turn. Since we already have three mana available to us (because the Sin Prodder is already on the battlefield), I don’t really think that’s all that bad. We will more than likely need to hit more land drops, but we always have a chance to draw another land, and we could even play something like Drownyard Temple if our color requirements allow it.

Ultimately, I think I’m going to write this scenario off as a win. Getting the land off the top of our deck and getting us closer to gas once we already have at least three mana available to us is a good thing.

Second scenario:

We reveal a nonland card and our opponent decides to give it to us. Either they don’t have enough life to pay to stop us from getting it, or it doesn’t really impact what’s currently happening in the game.

In this scenario, we get an extra card and then get to draw for the turn. We have basically lost nothing, and for our 2R investment, we get an extra card and a 3/2 with Menace. There is also the possibility that the card we get that’s extra doesn’t do anything right now but will play a role later in the game, which is definitely a huge win. Our opponent will have knowledge of the card and can play accordingly, but I have a feeling that, if our deck is built correctly enough, we can engineer these flips to be extra-punishing.

Third scenario:

We reveal a nonland card and our opponent decides to put it into our graveyard and takes damage equal to its converted mana cost.

In this scenario, we are losing the top card of our deck, but we still get to draw a card for the turn. Depending on what card we flipped, there is a chance that we may be losing out on potential damage, but that’s still damage that we spent zero mana on (that turn) and gained extra from our initial 2R investment.

If our deck is built with the mindset of trying to extract as much damage out of every card as we possibly can, then we are likely to run into a lot of situations where our opponent is taking one, two, or three damage from a card that we were expecting to deal two, four, or six damage, but again, this is at no cost for the turn and we still get to draw a card.

I think that all of these scenarios are wins for us; obviously at different levels of win, but wins nonetheless. So what does a deck look like with Sin Prodder?

I had initially started with a deck that looked similar to the Mono-Red Eldrazi deck, but, honestly, it just looked bad. I don’t think that paring our Devilish friend with the Eldrazi is where we want to go. I think that the first home is going to be in a U/R Prowess type deck where we are already putting on immense pressure and getting extra value out of our cards is going to be very important.

I’m interested in what your opinion is of Sin Prodder. Is it going to be a breakout card? Will we all continue to misevaluate it, or am I totally off my rocker and is it just another trash “punisher” card?

I think I’m right and it’s going to be a very good card, so you tell me!

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease March 26-27!