Tag Archives: Eldrazi

GP DC and a Foray into the Unknown!

Good Afternoon Readers!

This weekend I was able to do something I haven’t done in a very long time. I went and played some Magic. The GP was Team Sealed and was hosted in Washington DC. On Saturday we went and played in some side events, and It was fun jumping back into the scene. As always Matt and I tried to sleeve up close to the same 75. We both Played Jund. Here’s the List I played:

Jund:
Creatures (14):
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Kalitas, Trator of Ghet

Planeswalkers (4):
4 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (18):
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Terminate
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (24):
1 Forest
2 Swamp
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Overgrown Tomb
3 Raging Ravine
1 Stomping Ground
3 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Woodland Cemetery

Sideboard (15):
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Shatterstorm
1 Thoughtseize
1 Duress
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Dismember
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Spellskite

Round 1, I played against Naya Burn. Game 1, I was facing down 3 Goblin guides by turn 2, and the game was quickly over. There wasn’t much I could do. I brought in the extra Finks, Courser, Duress and Spellskite. I was able to tear up his hand early, land a Liliana to clear the board along side a Finks and stabilize. Shortly after I closed out the game with a Tarmogoyf. Game 3 was similar, Early Discard combined with his one land allowed me to stabilize early. Finks and Huntmaster were able to put it away. I was super rusty, but it felt good to win the first round with a little luck.

Round 2, I keep a slower hand, but it’s good. In hindsight, it didn’t really have any early interaction, and maybe should have been a mulligan against ANY opponent. Regardless it was a terrible keep against.. a second Naya Burn player. He beat me very quickly after I got stuck on two lands. I sided almost the same way, Kept a decent hand, but kept getting boned on my lands. I was forced to play shocks when I didn’t want to, compound that with a bad Tarmo block into a Nacatal + Atarka’s Command and I couldn’t defend myself. I was quickly run over in what felt like two non-games. Oh well, can’t win them all.

Round 3, was G/R Tron. Running Stone Cold at this point. Game 1 I do my best to get under his tron lands, but a one turn late Inquisition allows him to play the Map and get the land he needs. He plays Karn, and I kill it after one activation. He plays… another Karn, and I kill it after one activation. then when I’m starting to mount a comeback he plays the new Ulamog and I literally have nothing in my deck to deal with it. He wrecks my board and I’m quickly dead. Game two, I get a quick start combined with turn 3 and 4 Fulminators. I keep him off mana the whole game and close it out with a Goyf and a Ravine. At this point I know my only hope is to be quick and Thoughseize the Ulamog out of his hand. He mulligans to 5 on the play and Turn 1s a Chrome Star. I have an early discard spell, don’t see an Ulamog and I take his only way to get more lands. Turn 2 he cracks the Star, makes Green and draws into Ancient Stirrings and casts it hitting the land he needs. Then does it again the next turn. He then draws into Ulamog a turn or two later, and I have no way to deal with it. GG

Tron is brutal for us, but I felt like I played decently against him. I feel I got a bit unlucky, as after my first turn he had nothing of any merit in hand. He just happened to draw very well into what he needed.

Finally, Round 4, my opponent didn’t show. Well… Quite the hollow victory, I suppose, to end 2-2.  Matt did a bit better than me. Beating Lantern Control Round 1, Losing to U/R Eldrazi Round 2, beating Merfolk Round 3, and beating U/W Eldrazi Round 4. The last match of the day also lead to the single greatest line I have ever heard in a sanctioned match of magic, but maybe I’ll let Matt tell that story if he’ll do a write up from his side of the tournament.

We both really like’d our lists, I definitely need to add a Damnation. He was playing the single Seal of Fire, which is something I’d like to add moving forward. He played Olivia in the side and I did not. I didn’t miss her. I was glad I did not include Slaughter Pact, Matt is thinking about dropping his. Finks we’re great all weekend as well, and I am still a huge fan of Kolaghan’s Command. Kalitas over performed for both of us, as did Huntmaster, so we both like the 1-1 split.

Kalitas really gives us a way to get extra value out of all of our removal spells. Things like Pact and Seal of Fire give us the ability to get value off Kalitas right on Turn 4 when she comes into play. If you manage to untap with Kalitas, you’re going to start to steamroll your opponent with 2/2s while clearing their board. There’s also the bonus of Kalitas being able to eat it’s own Zombies and become monstrously huge. Tack on Lifelink, and we have one very formidable creature taking a very impactful role in Jund.

I know this was a short “tournament” report, but you gotta dip your toes back in somehow. Also the meta is going to shift again with inevitable nerfing of Eldrazi in April. I will be staying by the old faithful of G/B/x in one form or another, but right now I’m enjoying casting Bolt and Bobs. Jund is still very viable in modern, as it can always be tuned to have the advantage in almost any match up. I would absolutely give it a shot if you want to play “fair magic.”

Lastly, Matt has been getting into legacy, and I think I’m going to do the same. I literally know nothing about the format, but a local shop does Tuesday tournaments with a proxy limit. Matt also knows a guy who is gracious enough to hook us up with real duals and the like so we can partake. I am very excited to learn this format and mostly get to cast things like Deathrite Shaman, Brainstorm, and Hymn to Tourach. Matt intends on playing BUG Delver, while I think I’m going to take a stab at Shardless BUG. Again, I know literally nothing about the format so i’m going to start here:

Creatures (15)
3 Baleful Strix
4 Shardless Agent
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Tarmogoyf

Planeswalkers (4)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Liliana of the Veil

Lands (22)
2 Bayou
2 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Polluted Delta
2 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wasteland

Spells (19)
1 Sylvan Library
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
3 Force of Will
3 Ancestral Vision
2 Hymn to Tourach
2 Thoughtseize

Sideboard
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Null Rod
1 Thoughtseize
1 Divert
2 Flusterstorm
1 Force of Will
1 Golgari Charm
1 Krosan Grip
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Chill

List looks sweet, no idea what changes I’ll need to make for the board, and I’m sure things will change once I see the local Meta. I am excited to try this out and see how it goes.

Thanks for reading. and hopefully I’ll have some Legacy reporting to do in the next few weeks. I will be out of town, for 3 of the next 5 blog post days. I will try to have some posts ready to go up while I am gone.

You can email me comments and questions at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Click “Follow” over on the right side to follow the blog and never miss an update! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini for stream times and posts. Thanks again, and keep fighting the good fight against the Eldrazi Menace.

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Pro Tour: Rise of the Eldrazi

Good Morning, Readers!

No, you did not read that wrong, no, I did not wake up after being in a coma for several years. The Pro Tour was ACTUALLY Pro Tour: Oath of the Gatewatch, but looking at the results, the Gatewatch didn’t really do their job:

1st – U/R Eldrazi
2nd – Colorless Eldrazi
3rd – Colorless Eldrazi
4th – Affinity
5th – Colorless Eldrazi
6th – U/R Eldrazi
7th – Affinity
8th – Processor Eldrazi

Holy Smokes, that’s a lot of colorless creatures. There were a couple of teams who were able to successfully “break” the PT meta, and the work they did really paid off. Lets take a look at this nifty charts I saw on the internet (I did not make these and the first one is from Wizards Website).

ptogw_breakdown_deckstyle

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This is clearly not the entire picture, but its gives a really great idea of what was going on.  We assumed Affinity, infect, and Burn would be popular. In an unknown meta you want to killing you opponent quickly, and not wasting time with overly complex strategies. We see this idea reflected in the fact that Affinity, Burn, Infect were the top three most represented in Day 1, followed by Eldrazi in its various forms. What happens next is the interesting part. Infect and Burn drop each day (meaning those pilots were losing) until we see them cease to exist. While that small Eldrazi showing absolutely steam rolled everything, and refused to lose. They placed 6 out of 8 for top 8, which is truly incredible. These teams were able to develop a brand new deck that absolutely dominated.

EldraziTemp EyeofUgin

These decks rely on the power of of the colorless lands to pump out threats quickly.

thoughtknot smasher mimic

The combination of Eldrazi Mimic, and anything big, like Reality Smasher end the game quickly. Being able to send out early Thought-Knot seers, will slow down your opponent and prevent them from stopping you. A 4/4 body is also nothing to scoff at along side a couple of Eldrazi Mimics.

In one of the Semi-Final matches, by the fourth total turn of the game, something like 25 mana worth of spells had been cast on both sides. Which is absurd. The deck is lightning fast, and has the ability to kill on turn 2 (but not reliably enough to be degenerate).

Backed by 4 copies of Dismember and Ghost Quarter (since the entire deck is colorless) and you’re suddenly looking at a ton of disruption to allow their monstrosities to get to you.

While most version were colorless, some (like the list that won) were Blue/Red, which apparently has the edge in the Eldrazi mirror. the U/R version gets added benefit from having more creatures, and some that do some interesting stuff.

drowner oblligator sky vile

Drower in huge because you can use any of your other creature to tap down your opponents’ blockers to win outright. The Obligator is a Threaten on legs. Sky Spawn gives you more ramp and fodder for the Drowner, and Aggregate is a big Trampling threat that works well alongside your Reality Smashers, acting almost like extra copies.

Not only are these creatures great in different scenarios, but having Blue and Red opens your side board up to some options such as Hurkyl’s Recall, and Stubborn Denial.

So what do we do about this deck? Well the deck is beatable, but the issue becomes playing a deck that might just fold to the OTHER decks you have to beat. Out racing them is hard because their creatures are just always going to be bigger than yours. I still like the Jund list I posted a while back, due to all of the removal. If we can’t race them, we need to use our super cheap, or nearly free removal, to keep them in check. Between Terminate, Dismember and Slaughter Pact, I don’t hate our chances. Bolt is nearly worthless against them, so we can side that out, and our side board options are solid, but I don’t think our game one is completely hopeless.

We’ve seen the stats on how Burn and Infect handled the menace, but it’s very possible these pilots were just unprepared for this type of Eldrazi deck. I’m sure Tron was still nearly non existent, as the Tron lands look down right embarrassing when you’re facing down a Reality Smasher and double Mimics.

Again, looking at our options, there’s a few routes we can take. As previous mentioned, I still like the idea of Jund:

Creatures (13)
4 Dark Confidant
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

Planeswalkers (4)
4 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (19)
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Terminate
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Maelstrom Pulse
3 Thoughtseize

Lands (24)
1 Forest
2 Swamp
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
1 Blood Crypt
3 Bloodstained Mire
2 Ghost Quarter
1 Overgrown Tomb
3 Raging Ravine
1 Stomping Ground
1 Twilight Mire
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
2 Fulminator Mage
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Shatterstorm
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Obstinant Baloth
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Night of Souls’ Betrayal
3 Crumble to Dust
2 Painful Truths (???)

We need to get lean and aggressive against the Aggro decks. Kalitas is great along side out removal,  gives us more pressure and blockers. Finks helps us stay alive and survive to the mid-game. Thoughtsieze, IoK split helps us disrupt their plans, and stop them from Thought-Knotting us, etc. We may want more copies of Ghost Quarter, but then we’d need to re-balance the land base to cast all of our spells. Decay isn’t as good, so we’re maxing out on Terminate to deal with anything. We also have decent side options in Fulminator, and Crumble to Dust. If we can get an early Crumble, we can slow them down big time. Night of Soul’s Betrayal will kill future Mimics and Eldrazi Spawn from hitting the board. Bolt will shoot the little guys before they get huge, but we have a very small window of opportunity before the Eldrazi get out of hand. It remains to be seen if Lili is good against the Eldrazi, but I suspect she may be when paired with turn 1 discard, into turn 2 Goyf. We just need to survive, and early disruption backed by Goyf might be able to do it.

**Side Note: Painful Truths may still be worth considering, as we DO have to actually beat other decks and its a good card in the G/B/x Mirror and against control. We just may have to find a balance for how much eldrazi hate we keep in our board. **

A friend of mine is taking Merfolk to a tournament this weekend, so we will see how that goes. Spreading Seas paired with Ghost Quarter could be enough to slow them down. Plus the Seas cycle so you’re not losing anything by main decking 4. Merfolk also has the added benefit of being mono-color, and can load up on Ghost Quarter. I am not sure Merfolk has the best match, but we will find out. It’s fast, we just have to see how fast.

Another option thrown around is Kiki-Chord. This is a deck that has been long championed by Jeff Hoogland. He recently wrote an 8000 word primer on the deck, and I would absolutely take the time to read it. You can find it on his twitter feed. This deck is flexible and has combo finishes, which can be great when facing down Eldrazi. It apparently plays a lot like Pod used to. He also suggested running Painter’s Servant as some side board tech against them. This card allows you to make everything NOT in play a certain color, meaning the Eldrazi lose their Colorless attribute, and cannot be cast off mana produced by Eldrazi Temple’s second “ramp” mode as well as being unable to be fetched up with Eye of Ugin.

Now people are already clamoring for this deck to get the ban hammer, and EVERYONE knows how I feel about bans. The fact of the matter is that it is just too early to tell. The real test will be in the up coming weeks. Now that everyone knows this is the deck to beat, people will be gunning for it. If it is still nearly unbeatable, THEN we may have a problem.

We all know wizards hates the idea of “fast mana,” so it’s also possible we could see bans in the for of Eye of Ugin or Eldrazi Temple before we ever seen a creature ban, like Mimic. So now we just turn out eyes to the next Modern GP, (which I believe is Detroit). Regardless, I’m going to start keep track of stats like I always do from the PT on wards so we can see what happens as the tournaments move forward. Then after GP Detroit we can compare and see how the meta has shifted to adapt. Fun stuff.

In other news, tons of rumor are flying around regarding Eternal Masters, vendors, WotC leaks, and reserved lists. After seeing the beginning of the end for Legacy, it looks like there could be a potential revitalization, but that’s an article for next time.

Thanks for reading and, as always, you can email me comments and questions at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Click “Follow” over on the right side to follow the blog and never miss an update. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini for stream times and posts. I will most likely be streaming this weekend, Friday and/or Saturday Night League of Legends. Come hang out!

-Andy

Battle for Zendikar Modern Set review!

Good Afternoon Everyone!

I just got back from a short vacation yesterday, so that’s why there was no post on Friday. In the short span on three days, I stayed in a cabin in Virginia, built fires, hiked, traveled to PA to watch my brother play football against my other brother’s school, tailgated, played drinking games AND went to a toga party. It was a great weekend. Then I watched football, was reminded just how bad the eagles are, and watched as my fantasy teams slowly burned to the ground. The Eagles Defense basically played about the best they possibly could have for 55 minutes, took Romo out of the game for the next 6-8 weeks and then STILL couldn’t get any offensive momentum.

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But that’s life, I guess. Anyway, we’ve got a new set to take a look at. What cards will make it into Modern? I’ve got an idea of a couple, so let’s dive right in:

First up are the “New Duals.” I think several of these could potentially make it into Modern. Control decks may want these to avoid taking extra damage. Scapeshift may want these as they have the “Moutain” type, and also don’t cause pain. I think these will be better than I initially thought. They aren’t a huge increase in power level, but they give decks more options that are Fetch-able and that’s important.

Stasis Snare

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It’s a Flash Oblivion Ring. O-Ring already doesn’t seem much play, but giving it flash could be what it needs to see some play. This is unfortunately creature only, so that may hold it back.  There is not a ton o enchantment hate in Modern, you see much more artifact hate. Regardless, I think the Flash part is the thing that makes this unique.

Felidar Sovereign

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Soul Sisters win-con? Test of Endurance is a thing… that ISN’T modern legal. Does this mean the already fringe archetype gets a new toy? Who knows? Creatures are already very easy to remove and Soul Sister’s barely sees play. Regardless, here this card is… existing.

Zada, Hedron Grinder

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This guy does some wild things. Currently there aren’t a lot of single target “buff” style spells in Modern to abuse this, but he does something very unique. I don’t think I’m smart enough to “break” this card, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Any time you add a card to an already very large pool, you have the opportunity for something new to happen. Hopefully someone creative can find a neat interaction.

Lumbering Falls

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We’ve talked about this one a bit. It’s a non-Choke-able blue source. Could be used in Tarmo-Twin or Scapeshift. It cannot be easily removed. Somewhere, a deck will want a copy or two of this card.

Drana, Liberator of Malakir

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This is a card that looks pretty solid in a less combo-oriented Junk Collected Company list. It reminds me on something that should be in Pod Decks. It helps make your small army more formidable like Gavony Township. It can reset, Kicthen Finks and the like. It is bolt-able, but against CoCo, your opponents removal should be stretched thin. Plus, hitting this off of CoCo basically gives it haste.

Bone Splinters

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One mana removal is always worth a look. If you sac your Kitchen Finks or Voice of Resurgence, you’re making a pretty good trade. It’s “Unconditional” if you can pay the additional cost, and I think that make’s this card worth looking at.

Emeria Sheperd

 en_KC3c4UfNEX

Looks like a solid Esper Gifts Reanimation target. This, again, is a fringe deck but with the right mana base, it does a solid job of Reanimation on it’s own.

Void Winnower

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When I see Eldrazi, I think Tron. This is a card that can lock your opponents out of cards, which is valuable. That being said, most of the removal I can think of is odd. Path to Exile, Bolt, Maelstrom Pulse, etc. Splinter Twin is even, as is Cryptic Command and Remand. It’s another really odd card (no pun intended), that really only Tron can cast. We will see if they can make use of this guy.

Crumble into Dust

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Speaking of Tron, this is a slightly easier to cast Sowing Salt. Salt sees some play, does one less red make this more viable? I guess it’s almost strictly better due to cost and being colorless.

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

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Black/White Tokens might want this. Again, that’s a deck that doesn’t see a ton of play.  It seems worse that Elspeth, and/or Sorin in those decks. Turn four is THE turn in Modern, and I don’t think this is going to cut it. The emblem can fight Night of Souls Betrayal, but that’s corner case at best.

Brutal Expulsion

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This costs as much as Crytpic and does less. It’s like a slightly more flexible, over costed Remand. It’s in a strange space where it looks like it has potential. It can Remand a spell back to hand or bounce a creature, then you can finish off a Walker or kill a small creature. I would venture to say it doesn’t see play, but again, it’s an interesting card, that does unique things. It’s like Kolaghan’s Command, and Remand, but slightly worse versions of both… hmmm.

Bring to Light

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This card is a more flexible Chord of Calling in certain aspects. Its not Instant, but can fetch up more things. Do I think this is better than Chord? Probably not. It’s expensive and slow. As I’ve said many time so far in the post, it’s a card that does unique things.

Mortuary Mire

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Eternal Witness sees play because it returns a card to hand. Creature based combo deck like CoCo may want more recursion. It’s a land that gives you value, I don’t think it’s too much of a reach to think this might be a one of. If you have a Dark Confidant in play, you can set up your next draw with a Tarmogoyf, or Scavenging Ooze. Late game re-purchase of threats is huge in creature based decks. I think this is a neat card.

Skyline Cascade

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In a very similar vein as the card above. This is land that provides value. In Merfolk, it can help you push through damage. It’s another non-Choke-able blue source. coming into play tapped is an issue, but the value gained from the land might be good enough.

Earthen Arms

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This is the card we’ve been waiting for. This is the legit meta breaker.

JUST KIDDING! I just thought the art was really freakin’ cool. I love Awaken as a mechanic, but it has no place in Modern. Just enjoy that guy in the magic rock-and-vines suit being a boss. That is all.

All in all, this set is fairly unimpressive from a Modern stand point. There are so many cards in this set that do new unique things. From an EDH/Standard stance, that’s great. There are a ton of POSSIBLE fringe playables, but that’s not what were looking for. It doesn’t FEEL like any of these card are great.  I have a feeling the meta may remain relatively unchanged. There are definitely a few potential Collected company targets. I think CoCo will get way better in Standard, but Modern can be hard to break into. I am sure there will be a few surprises that pop up in the first big Modern Tournaments after release, as always. We are still waiting on 3 of the remaining Man Lands, and trying to hold out hope for the B/G one.

Also, recently an Ally deck did well in Modern, I don’t know enough about it to make a judgement, but there are a TON of new allies coming to standard, there may very well be a few strong tools to add to that deck. Anything that can be used as Collected Company ammo is a potential game changer. There will be an ally deck or two in Standard, the question becomes can some of these New Allies make it to Modern?

Thanks for reading. If I missed something, or you feel like there is a card we should discuss, leave a comment, or send me an email at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini. Be sure to click “Follow” on the right to never miss an update. the goal is to stir up conversation so don’t be afraid to reach out! I think this set may be really solid for Standard, and I’m excited to see what the future holds. Good luck at your Pre-Releases!

-Andy