Enemy Eldrazi In Standard

It’s pretty apparent you need painlands to make colorless work in Standard. So which enemy color do you work with at #SCGBALT? Bennie has options aplenty!

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease April 2-3!

Thanks to everyone for all the great comments and feedback on last week’s column about The Gitrog Monster! It looks like I’m not the only one excited about our new legendary Frog Horror. I forgot to mention being creature type Horror is helpful in defeating the pesky Thing in the Ice if that turns out to be a big player in the Standard metagame.

So how was your Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease? I did my customary midnight prerelease at Collector’s Heaven. I’m sad to report that, despite all the hype I poured into the awesomeness of The Gitrog Monster, I did not get a shiny foil Prerelease copy to toss into a Commander deck as soon as the Prerelease was over.

Instead I opened Wolf of Devil’s Breach as my Prerelease foil, which is certainly a Limited bomb but not exactly something I was super excited about tossing into a Commander deck. I also had two playable rares/bombs in black with Mindwrack Demon and Asylum Visitor, so I definitely wanted to see what R/B had in store in the rest of my pool. I wasn’t entirely sure whether Tamiyo’s Journal was good or a trap, but I figured it was probably closer to good in Sealed, so I gave it a try and was not disappointed.

With three copies of Watcher in the Web and a Sage of Ancient Lore, I was really sad the rest of my green was so terrible. I briefly thought about stretching my mana into a third color, but my mana fixing was nonexistent.

Sadly giving up on green, I looked into what my rares were telling me to play. I had a good core to make the R/B Vampires/Madness deck and that’s what I went with. I would have liked to have a few more Vampires than four for Stensia Masquerade, but the card was still decent in giving your attackers first strike. I did get the dream draw once of turn 2 Heir of Falkenrath, turn 3 discard Gisa’s Bidding to transform into a 3/2 flier and play Bidding with madness for two 2/2 Zombies. Yeah, I won that game. In fact, I went 4-0 for the night, which made up for the fact that I didn’t get anything overly exciting in my Prerelease or prize packs.


I know I’ll be joined by thousands of other players in turning our eyes to the coverage of #SCGBALT this weekend to see what the new Standard looks like. That hasn’t stopped me from brewing my own Standard creations in the meantime. You may recall that I’ve had some success with various midrange Eldrazi builds in Standard the past few months and was really excited about my hybrid U/W Eldrazi/Dragons deck most recently. Unfortunately, with the rotation of Crucible of the Spirit Dragon and the Khans fetchlands out of Standard, I don’t think the mana works for the concept anymore.

I still think Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher are insanely powerful and will do tons of good work in the right shell. The trick is to figure out how to make the mana work, since these Eldrazi and other colorless cards basically count as an extra color for your deck. Luckily for us, we have five “three-color” lands that could help make it happen:

A land that produces all three of the colors we want and enters the battlefield untapped is insanely powerful, right? I did some thinking and came up with this formula for enemy-colored Eldrazi decks:

6 colorless lands

4 enemy painlands

4 enemy creature-lands

4 Evolving Wilds

3 basic lands of enemy color #1

3 basic lands of enemy color #2

1 Wastes

These 25 lands give us fifteen sources of each enemy color and fifteen sources of colorless mana. Eight of them enter the battlefield tapped if we include Evolving Wilds, so we’d probably want to be careful with the choices for colorless lands like Ruins of Oran-Rief and Mirrorpool.

I really like Westvale Abbey a ton in these decks. It’s a colorless source of mana that enters the battlefield untapped and can either toss out an extra body here and there or cash in five bodies to transform into a game-ending monster. Of the decks I’m seeing people write about for the new Standard, I don’t see that their mana allows them to run too many copies, but I think we can run a full four copies in these decks.

That means we can play towards it being a reliable threat. Basically, once you get four creatures on the battlefield, you can more or less stop playing creatures and force your opponent to react to you potentially making an end-step Cleric, untapping, and having the ability to transform into Ormendahl, Profane Prince in the face of mass removal is sick. A 9/7 flying, lifelink, indestructible, haste creature sounds pretty good to me!

First up, let’s see what our shell looks like in B/W:

We get the best removal spell in the format in Declaration in Stone, pepper in some more removal from black, and supplement the threats of Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher with top-notch threats like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Archangel Avacyn. Eldrazi Displacer can provide some disruption either to opposing defenses or blunting removal spells (like opposing Declaration in Stone), and even start some shenanigans with Thought-Knot Seer and Archangel of Avacyn. We can even tie it together with Read the Bones for quality card draw, paid for with the lifegain from Kalitas or Shambling Vent. Just an all-around tight little package of powerful cards.

Next up, let’s look at B/G:

I like the mana acceleration that Deathcap Cultivator provides. I’m not sure how reliably we can turn on delirium for its deathtouch, but I’ve got creatures, lands, instants, sorceries, artifacts, and even a couple of planeswalkers that could pull it together. This is going to be a grindy deck but it’s got a ton of ways to grind out games. It’s weak to fliers but I wasn’t sure I could reliably count on delirium to justify running Mindwrack Demon over Kalitas.

Next up is U/R:

This is a callback to my earliest Eldrazi decks before we got the goodies from Oath of the Gatewatch. Chandra, Flamecaller is a house and well worth topping out the curve with, so I’ve tweaked the mana towards red a little bit and added Hedron Archive for acceleration. It helps that I can play Hedron Archive (maybe for just three if I’ve got a Herald on the battlefield) and be able to cast Spatial Contortion or Warping Wail off it.

Let’s take a look at U/G:

Back to green, back to the grind. I like that all the Megamorph gives you tons of potential for squeezing value out of Ruins of Oran-Rief. Kiora, Master of the Depths can do some work here by paying for a Hangarback activation, and if you’ve got a Cryptolith Rite, you can generate a nice bump of mana for late-game Den Protector shenanigans.

It makes me wonder if I should push further down the Cryptolith Rite route here. Being able to tap our Megamorphs to pay for their flips seems like it could be big game. Should I find room for three or four copies? I worry about drawing extra copies that would be blanks unless I was running something like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy to pitch the extras, but then I’d want to play more instants and sorceries I could flash back. Maybe something like this:

Sylvan Advocate’s vigilance combos nicely with Cryptolith Rite, and once you get enough lands, making Lumbering Falls into 5/5s is big game. I think it’s a little bit awkward that you can’t cast Spatial Contortion or Warping Wail with mana exclusively from Cryptolith Rite, but U/G is in desperate need of removal and the colorless spells can help with that. With Cryptolith Rite potentially providing a lot of mana, I trimmed a land from the list down to 24. I figured I would rarely be empty-handed with this deck, so I trimmed away the Sea Gate Wreckage.

Last but not least, there’s R/W:

Much like how we started with B/W, W/R gives us a ton of high-quality cards, including the dream team of Archangel Avacyn and Chandra, Flamecaller. Declaration in Stone is better, but Silkwrap is still going to be a quality card to ensure you can deal with Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and probably better than Spatial Contortion or Warping Wail. I’m a little torn between Hedron Archive to help cast the higher-end spells or jettisoning them for copies of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. I’m intrigued by the idea I could attack with Gideon, blink him with Eldrazi Displacer, and make a 2/2 creature.

Where do you think the Eldrazi fit in our new Standard? How would you go about fitting them into decks?

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):

Zurgo Bellstriker (Bellstriking Like a Boss)

Dragonlord Ojutai (Troll Shroud)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Dragons, Megamorphs, and Dragons)

Dromoka, the Eternal (One Flying Bolster Basket)

Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (Tempests and Teapots)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Hatching Evil Sultai Plots)

Scion of the Ur-Dragon (Dragon Triggers for Everyone)

• Nahiri, The Lithomancer (Lithomancing for Fun and Profit)

Titania, Protector of Argoth (Titania’s Land and Elemental Exchange)

Reaper King (All About VILLAINOUS WEALTH)

Feldon of the Third Path (She Will Come Back to Me)

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Calling Up Ghouls with Sidisi)

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Two Times the Smashing)

Anafenza, the Foremost (Anafenza and Your Restless Dead)

Narset, Enlightened Master (The New Voltron Overlord)

Surrak Dragonclaw (The Art of Punching Bears)

Avacyn, Guardian Angel; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled; Sliver Hivelord (Commander Catchup, Part 3)

Keranos, God of Storms; Marchesa, the Black Rose; Muzzio, Visonary Architect (Commander Catchup, Part 2)

Athreos, God of Passage; Kruphix, God of Horizons; Iroas, God of Victory (Commander Catchup, Journey into Nyx Edition)

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)

Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Possibility Storm Shenanigans)

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease April 2-3!