New Build-Arounds with Eldritch Moon

Posted in How to Build on July 22, 2016

By Gaby Spartz

By night, Gaby streams Magic on Twitch. By day, she's co-founder and VP of Content at Dose, the Chicago-based media company behind Dose.com and OMGFacts.com.

Eldritch Moon has been released, and that makes this the best time for deck building. Today we're taking a look at some build-around-me cards and sweet decks we can brew around them. Our first build-around card is Whispers of Emrakul.

Having your opponent discard one card at random isn't strong on its own. But once we get delirium going, this card becomes Hymn to Tourach, a card powerful enough to see play in older formats. Now we're talking! The longer the game goes on, the worse Whispers of Emrakul gets. For this reason, we want to put Whispers of Emrakul in an aggressive shell that can achieve delirium quickly.

Whispers of Madness

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This deck is trying to empty its hand as quickly as possible. Once our hand is empty, we start reaping the rewards.

Lupine Prototype is great in this deck. A two-mana 5/5 is an incredible rate, but not being able to attack or block is a downside that makes the card unplayable. Because this deck plays its hand out quickly, Lupine Prototype gets a chance to shine.

Asylum Visitor triggers on both players' upkeeps, which creates tension for our opponent. On one hand, they want to cast their spells, but if they play out their hand they let our Asylum Visitor draw us cards. If they try to hold cards to stop us from getting card advantage, we can cast Whispers of Emrakul and have them discard what they had left.

Our madness package means we get to play our hand quickly, without losing value. Heir of Falkenrath, Tormenting Voice, Sinister Concoction, and Lightning Axe enable us to discard Stromkirk Occultist and Fiery Temper.

If you want bonus points, you can cast Tormented Thoughts sacrificing Lupine Prototype to have your opponent discard five cards on turn three. All aboard the discard train...choo choo!


Next up, I brewed a deck around Grim Flayer.

Grim Flayer brought his axe and is ready to get aggro. The color requirements on him are somewhat restrictive, but if you enable delirium his payoff is well worth it. He also helps you enable delirium and sculpts your draws later in the game.

Grim Flayer Aggro

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This deck wants to do two things: be aggressive (B-E-aggressive!) and enable delirium quickly.

These are our delirium enablers. Vessel being an enchantment helps in the pursuit of delirium. Grapple with the Past smooths out our draws and helps us buy back key cards from our graveyard. Mindwrack Demon doesn't come out until later in the game, but we lean heavily on him turning delirium on.

Once delirium is online, our cheap threats from early in the game get buffed and become difficult to block. This deck doesn't have a strong late game, so it's important to get on the board quickly and leverage our cheap removal to reduce our opponent's life low enough that a Mindwrack Demon can finish them off.


Who doesn't like fried Octopus? To be fair, Eldrazi Octopus sounds less appetizing than regular Octopus. The next build-around is Elder Deep-Fiend.

Deep-Fried Octopus

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Emerge is a fun mechanic and this deck tries to abuse it. When we emerge a big Eldrazi, we are technically losing a card, so we have to mitigate that downside. Cue the introduction for the creatures who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater cause.

These little critters let us be proactive in the early game and become fodder for our emerge creatures in the late game. Our opponents are disincentivized from killing them, because they draw us extra cards. If they do end up killing the creatures, they'll slow us down, but they aren't able to stop us from eventually casting our emerge cards.

These are our Eldrazi overlords and primary win conditions. Elder Deep-Fiend has flash, which we can use on both offense and defense. If we cast Elder Deep-Fiend at the beginning of the opponent's combat, we can stop a large attack from them. If we cast it at the end of their turn, it'll let us tap their team and attack freely.

Fun fact about Hedron Crawler: even though it's only a two-drop, it can tap for mana and then be sacrificed to pay for the emerge cost. This little guy contributes three mana in total on its way out.


The last card I have a soft spot in my heart for is Mirrorwing Dragon.

The coolest thing about Mirrorwing Dragon is that while its ability works for both players, the effect that it will have on the board is drastically different based on how each deck is built. We are rewarded for having beneficial spells that target Mirrorwing Dragon, such as Expedite or Confront the Unknown. Our opponents are punished if they have removal spells that target Mirrorwing, because it'll create copies and kill all of their creatures in the process.

Where Are My (Mirrorwing) Dragons?!

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There are three cards key to this deck:

All of these cards benefit from spells that target them. Mirrorwing and Zada create copies of the spells, and Silverfur Partisan gives us Wolf tokens for our troubles. If we have three creatures in play and we target Mirrorwing Dragon with Expedite, we've built our own Ancestral Recall. Confront the Unknown is also cute because each additional copy will pump your creature +1/+1 more than the previous copy. This can help your smallest creatures win in combat or deal lethal damage in an attack.

These are the spells we want to target our key creatures with. They all either draw us cards or pump the creatures.

Lastly, we have Spirit of the Hunt, a surprise blocker that has good synergy with Lambholt Pacifist, Silverfur Partisan, and Wolf tokens. While Spirit of the Hunt's ability doesn't have any synergy with our key creatures, the extra toughness it provides can help our creatures survive through combat or a Wrath effect such as Languish, Radiant Flames, or Kozilek's Return.

I hope you enjoyed these fun Eldritch Moon brews. These lists are just starting points and they need some fine-tuning, so I would love to see what you come up with if you take them to an FNM. What other cards would you have wanted to see decks built around? Did you like the decks I brewed up? You can let me know on Twitter @gabyspartz or on my stream at twitch.tv/gabyspartz.

—Gaby

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