Placing Eldrazi Displacer

Eldrazi Displacer is making a lot of noise as we approach the release of Oath of the Gatewatch. What’s the best way to abuse this monster? Will it be good enough for Modern? Pro Tour Champion Shaun McLaren makes the case!

Eldrazi Displacer is named appropriately, because it is going to rearrange the metagame.

But before we get into all that let’s talk a little about Wastes first since they are relevant to how Eldrazi Displacer functions.

Oath of the Gatewatch has had a rocky spoiler season so far. On the positive side, the cards look interesting and powerful. The negatives have been the way they’ve been revealed. This was largely in part due to a good handful of the best cards being leaked early. The way Kozilek, the Great Distortion and Wastes were spoiled created a lot of questions about what Wastes mana actually was. Nobody actually knew exactly how they worked and confusion and speculation flowed freely. What could have been a beautiful reveal was, well, a waste.

I thought the way they handled Wastes was an obvious mistake and it took quite some time for me to really get what Wastes mana was until I saw reminder text on a common. It’s just colorless mana, actual mana without color. Fairly simple.

My opinion took a 180 degree turn. I feel Wastes and the colorless mana mechanic will actually be unique, challenging, and fun, especially in Limited. It creates a secret sixth color, or kind of half of a sixth color, that all decks will have relatively easy access to.

It makes Eldrazi Scions look completely different. It makes picking up an off-color Blighted Gorge relevant without being strictly better than Wastes since they’re not basic and can’t be found with something like Pilgrim’s Eye.

I’m still not sure what to actually call the little diamond thingies, but I actually like Wastes now.

Wastes mana is easy to get if you want it in Constructed, but not easy enough that Wastes fit into every deck. In fact, surprisingly few decks in Standard have abundant access to Wastes mana right now, and plenty have no access to it at all. This is mostly due to how powerful the fetchlands and Battle lands are, but we might see a solid push back towards painlands.

Now. About that one card…

Hey, kids! It’s Blinky the Clown! Are you ready to get hyped about Eldrazi Displacer?! I think Eldrazi Displacer is an incredibly powerful card and we’re going to jam it into everything we can!

So where does Eldrazi Displacer fit? The simple answer is it fits everywhere that white mana, colorless mana, and creatures are found. If it were double white in the mana cost, I think that would greatly limit the amount of decks it sees play in, but as it is Eldrazi Displacer is very splashable.

A 3/3 for three is a solid but unexciting rate, which means that its ability is where the good times are.

{2}{<>}: Exile another target creature, then return it to the battlefield tapped under its owner’s control. ({<>} represents colorless mana.)

This effect not only looks powerful on the surface, but it’s also unique, and will give its wielder plenty of opportunities to make tricky plays. That is almost always a broken combination in Magic.

Flickerwisp and Deadeye Navigator are good starting points for comparison although they don’t quite measure up. Deadeye Navigator was powerful but overcosted, and Flickerwisp had comparable stats and cost, but it gave you an immediate blink effect instead of a reusable one.

This ability is an immediate blink instead of an “at beginning of the next end step” blink. Being able to target opponents’ creatures and making the creatures enter the battlefield tapped are what make the ability so unique. Being able to tap creatures is going to usually be much better than making them come back untapped and makes the ability better overall. You can’t give your creatures pseudo-vigilance by attacking and then flickering them since they’ll come back tapped, but that isn’t a huge loss since you can tap your opponents’ creatures anyways.

The first application would just be using it defensively on your opponent’s turn to blink out and tap opposing creatures that are looking to smash you in the face. You could also use it to clear the way for a lethal attack by tapping down opposing blockers during the end of their owner’s turn and then once again during your turn to smash face. You can also chump block and blink with your punier creatures.

Next would be that it protects your own creatures from spot removal. This gives Eldrazi Displacer a kind of Mother of Runes feel. Eldrazi Displacer can’t blink itself, but having out multiple Eldrazi Displacers allows them to protect each other. There will be times you won’t want to tap out to blink an important creature for value if you suspect your opponent is waiting on a removal spell. Even if you do though, it will cause your opponent’s stress by having to answer the age old question: What do you target with removal, the blinker or the blinkee?

Eldrazi Displacer is powerful build-around-me card, but it also works really well with already good cards. Enters-the-battlefield trigger cards are already plentiful. Oddly enough, it doesn’t work with friendly Eldrazi Processors, but Vorthos will just have to suck that up I suppose. Here are some cards it works really nicely with.

Siege Rhino – Infinite Rhino drains and you can remove blockers after they’ve blocked a Rhino to trample over. Eldrazi Displacer works nicely with your trample creatures. Siege Rhino is one of the few cards Eldrazi Displacer has a really bad time dealing with on the opposite side of the table. Blinking opposing Siege Rhinos doesn’t work well and you can’t chump block and blink. Of course, Siege Rhino wins again.

Wingmate Roc – Trigger raid off of a Wingmate Roc multiple times a turn. Blink out enemy Roc tokens or blink the Wingmate Roc to tap it before it attacks and it won’t trigger raid.

Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar – Flickering a friendly Planeswalker that can become a creature works nicely since after you’ve attacked with it you can use it again to make a 2/2 or what-have-you. Flickering an enemy Planeswalker that has become a creature can remove it from combat or at end of turn after it’s attacked, reduce its loyalty.

Mastery of the Unseen – Blink your manifested cards and have them return to play face up. That means if you blink a manifested Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Dragonlord Atarka, you’ll feel great! Blink a land to enable more manifesting or blink a second Mastery of the Unseen to gain more life. Blink a manifested Eldrazi Displacer to enable more blinking!

Reflector Mage – Turn your blinks into bounces and really devastating tempo swings.

Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy – Blink your own Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy that you don’t want to flip if you want to keep looting. Stops an opposing Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (or any of the flip walkers) from flipping.

But wait, there’s more!

Kills Hangarback Walker, Hangarback Walker tokens, Eldrazi Scions. Kill any tokens. Well, not kill em’, just make em’ disappear, see?

It puts awakened lands back to sleep.

Shrinks Warden of the First Tree.

Redirect a spell to Spellskite then blink the Spellskite to fizzle the spell. Eldrazi Displacer doesn’t even get Stony Silenced no matter how much it looks like an artifact! It also blocks Etched Champion and turns off all Control Magic effects. My chances of winning another Pro Tour with Threads of Disloyalty just went down.

It seems like Eldrazi Displacer’s ability can almost always be used to help your creatures and hurt your opponents. This is surely just the tip of the iceberg of fun things you can do while blinking anything and everything.

Eldrazi Displacer will likely see play at the upcoming Modern Pro Tour for Oath of the Gatewatch. It could help spice up some archetypes or spawn new ones.

Dig up your Aether Vials and toss those Merfolk in the trash because Eldrazi Displacer is all you’re ever gonna want to Vial into play again.

Tectonic Edge, Ghost Quarter, Cavern of Souls and the filterlands like Flooded Grove are all powerful cards that help enable your colorless needs. The Wastes restriction is actually quite nice since it will take some time and tuning to find the right balance of colorless lands.

Chord of Calling and Collected Company decks with Eternal Witness seem like a great fit for Eldrazi Displacer after a little tuning. U/W Control for value with Snapcaster Mage, Vendilion Clique, Wall of Omens, Kitchen Finks, and Sun Titan could also work well. Death and Taxes style decks seem like an excellent fit for Eldrazi Displacer, except there isn’t anything you really want to blink that much in the deck. Maybe if Stoneforge Mystic gets unbanned?

Speaking of which, Legacy Death and Taxes already runs Flickerwisp despite not having many good targets to blink. It already runs Cavern of Souls, Rishadan Port, and Wasteland as well. Eldrazi Displacer seems like an excellent card to try.

Sea Gate Wreckage seems like another nice addition to Death and Taxes as well and could easily be a broken new card. I am a firm believer in Desolate Lighthouse, and Sea Gate Wreckage might be better and open for all. It seems the lighthouse was so desolate that the ships crashed into the gate.

Sea Gate Wreckage seems good enough to not just toss into any deck that can support it but also alter the way decks are built slightly. In a deck that tries to empty its hand as quickly as possible it could replace card draw entirely and up your land count. Library of Alexandria was busted beyond all return and the fact it is somewhat comparable might be an indicator as to how good it really is. Scrying Sheets was another highly restricted land that drew cards, and it also saw a good amount of play. You can even activate multiple Sea Gate Wreckages if you hold priority and activate the second in response to the first while your hand is empty. The new Black Eldrazi decks seem like another great place to try out Sea Gate Wreckage.

So what about Standard?

Rally the Ancestors X=6?

How about getting Eldrazi Displacer into the mix to save most of your team after casting Rally the Ancestors? You can displace your creatures during your upkeep with the Rally the Ancestors’ exile trigger on the stack and you’ve presumably made some nice Eldrazi Scions to help you do so. We can just stick a few Eldrazi Displacers into an already proven version of the deck or try something new.

Brood Monitor, Zulaport Cutthroat, and Eldrazi Displacer means infinite Zulaport Cutthroat triggers (sacrifice the Eldrazi Scions to blink the Brood Monitor, repeat).

Even without Zulaport Cutthroat involved, having Brood Monitor and Eldrazi Displacer out means that for every spare mana you have lying around you can make an Eldrazi Scion (sacrifice two Eldrazi Scions, blink the Brood Monitor, and profit an Eldrazi Scion). Maybe Brood Monitor for value is the future of Standard.

Eldrazi Displacer doesn’t actually deal with an Anafenza, the Foremost or Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, which could be a problem. You can still win with the infinite combo though thanks to tokens still triggering off Zulaport Cutthroat even through an opposing Anafenza, the Foremost or Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.

After casting a big Rally the Ancestors you can displace your Nantuko Husk on your opponent’s turn: during your upkeep, displace all their blockers, then sacrifice all your creatures to the Nantuko Husk and attack for lethal.

Eldrazi Displacer and Elvish Visionary are quite possibly the most beautiful durdle value I’ve ever seen.

This deck just oozes value. Post-board, you’re going to have access to some of the most powerful hate cards in the format, from Radiant Flames to Infinite Obliteration to Painful Truths, which should give you an excellent configuration against control or aggro.

“Oh, you think the darkness is your ally, you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man.” – Bane

The other best card in the set just happens to pair very with Eldrazi Displacer? Alrighty then.

It would take a special sort of Standard format for Goblin Dark-Dwellers to not be format defining… which might actually be the case with this format. Radiant Flames and Painful Truths are two of the most powerful cards in the format and good against opposite ends of the format. Radiant Flames crushes aggro decks, and Painful Truths is great against midrange and control decks. And they both don’t work with Goblin Dark-Dwellers.

Read the Bones and Kozilek’s Return or Flaying Tendrils will make for interesting decisions during deckbuilding, since they are usually less powerful but work with Goblin Dark-Dwellers, which is fantastic; having to make difficult choices is what Magic is all about.

So what’s the verdict on Eldrazi Displacer?

While Eldrazi Displacer’s base stats are mediocre, its ability is going to scale fantastically in the lategame, it gives you a ridiculous amount of play, and it synergizes with a boatload of cards.

It is a little clunky and slow, dies to Lightning Bolt, and Spatial Contortion. It’s not good against mass removal like Planar Outburst or Languish. Control decks might see a resurgence if Eldrazi Displacer becomes a big hit.

It might only end up in archetypes that really want to abuse it rather than say, replacing Anafenza, the Foremost in Abzan Aggro just because it can. Then again it might just go into most white decks.

It seems to me like Goblin Dark-Dwellers and Eldrazi Displacer are obviously very powerful as far as spoiled cards go. Sometimes a card comes along that completely shapes the metagame and the way decks are built, and I think Eldrazi Displacer is good enough to have a noticeable impact on multiple formats. It almost certainly will still have plenty of unforeseen applications I hadn’t thought of even after looking at it closely. I’d be surprised if Eldrazi Displacer isn’t one of the best cards in Oath of the Gatewatch.