Generally the broken things in Magic revolve around serious cost reduction. As a result, Heartless Summoning was a much-hyped card during the preview season for Innistrad. However, it never made any waves in Standard, as the format was built more around going low than going over the top with big creatures.
But the card plays very nicely with Eldrazi, a mostly colorless tribe of creatures with excellent abilities to help mitigate the size reduction from Heartless Summoning. In particular, using the black emerge Eldrazi lets you effectively get a four-mana discount on their emerge costs, two from the creature itself and two from the creature you sacrifice to cast it. In fact, a Heartless Summoning on Turn 3 leads seamlessly to a Matter Reshaper into emerged Distended Mindbender on Turn 3, a powerful play.
Abundant Maw may not look like much, but in this deck it plays out well and gives you some reach, especially considering that you have several copies of Sanctum of Ugin to tutor for multiples. Sanctum also lets you find the singleton copy of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, which this deck can cast in the late-game fairly easily. It’s a nice way to go completely over the top in haymaker matchups at the low cost of one slot in the deck.
Given that much of the deck relies on landing an early Heartless Summoning, the supporting cast adds much-needed resilience. Relic of Progenitus is a solid disruption piece that also ensures your Eternal Scourges keep coming back to be sacrificed to the bigger Eldrazi. Thought-Knot Seer is just the best Eldrazi around and makes it in here so you can have both early disruption and aggressive starts with Eldrazi Temple.
The pleasant surprise here is the density of removal, which, while not high, is better than you typically see in these decks, including Dismember, Spatial Contortion, and Wasteland Strangler. You also get Kozilek’s Return in the sideboard, which is incredible here, since you can easily trigger it from the graveyard to kill most creatures in the format.
Distended Mindbender was outshined in Standard by Elder Deep-Fiend, but the black emerge creature seems better-suited for the faster Modern format. This shell takes advantage of it by letting you play two styles, either over the top with expensive threats like Tron or a grindy midrange deck with discard, removal, and solid creatures that are hard to kill. You can’t go wrong by blending power and versatility.
- 1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
- 2 Wasteland Strangler
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
- 4 Matter Reshaper
- 4 Eternal Scourge
- 4 Distended Mindbender
- 4 Abundant Maw