Video Daily Digest: Christmas Eldrazi

Christmas is a few weeks past, but today’s list is almost festive! It’s red and green and even has Karplusan Forests, but those aren’t ornaments on the tree…they’re Eldrazi! Ross Merriam has the notes you need.

Today is the last installment in my weeklong series highlighting decks from the recent Pro Tour in Bilbao. This one will look very familiar to those who have played Bant Eldrazi, because it’s cut from the same template.

At the bottom end of the curve are a couple of mana creatures to supplement the acceleration provided by Eldrazi Temple and the now-ubiquitous Ancient Stirrings for some card selection. The various midrange Eldrazi fill up the curve, notably Matter Reshaper, Thought-Knot Seer, and Reality Smasher. And the remaining slots are taken up by efficient removal spells.

But rather than traditional Bant, this list is R/G, which makes for some interesting swaps. On the whole, you lose Eldrazi Displacer, Drowner of Hope, and Path to Exile, but gain Eldrazi Obligator, Endbringer, and Lightning Bolt.

Clearly the Bant options are better as the games go long, especially in combat-centric matchups. The combo of Displacer and Drowner can dominate the battlefield if left unchecked for a couple of turns and Path to Exile gets better and better as the game goes long, since the extra land is less important and its ability to answer nearly any creature is a huge advantage.

However, the popular decks in Modern right now are quite fast, especially the creature decks. Humans and Affinity are interested in racing, not going long, and several of the Human creatures have enters-the-battlefield triggers, making Eldrazi Displacer a potential liability against them. The matchups that go long are control decks and Lantern, where your ability to dominate the red zone is largely irrelevant.

As such, the R/G cards that focus more on the early game look better. Lightning Bolt is better early than Path to Exile and provides the deck some reach, while Eldrazi Obligator is great in races and provides reach via haste. The reduced emphasis on the six-drop in this version allows you to trim there for a couple of copies of Dismember to help answer Tarmogoyfs and Gurmag Anglers in the early game.

There’s also a significant gain in the manabase by limiting the deck to two colors. Cavern of Souls, Karplusan Forest, and Grove of the Burnwillows are all effective tri-lands in the deck, with Grove putting in work against Death’s Shadow. Also, the reduced color requirements afford you the ability to play a utility land, and Kessig Wolf Run is a great one for a deck with lots of mana and big creatures.

Bant Eldrazi has mostly given way to Eldrazi Tron as the favored way to Thought-Knot Seer people, but this list has a lot going for it. It could be a sleeper pick for this weekend in Toronto.