Modern is one of my favorite formats. The range of decks you can successfully create runs a wide spectrum. Nearly any major strategy from sets since Mirrodin can be competitive—and the unique (and often unexpected) interactions between sets generates some truly unique decks.
It should probably come as no surprise, then, that Modern Masters 2015 Edition is a set I've been anticipating eagerly.
In addition to releasing more copies of people's favorite cards into the wild, like the first Modern Masters it also comes with a really unique and exciting Limited format full of wild archetypes mashed into one place. This is the arena that Limited archetypes from years past battle it out for supremacy.
Today, we're going to step aside from our normal look at Constructed decks for a little while and talk about one of the sweet 40-card decks you can build in this Limited format.
One of the most-lauded Limited formats of all time is Rise of the Eldrazi. While a bit tricky to get your head around, once you did, the format was full of possibilities.
That format had so many dreams you could live. Foremost among them, of course, surviving long enough to cast a string of Eldrazi and slowly whittle away your opponent's board.
Well, prepare to do it all over again.
If you've never been able to cast this monster of a card in Limited, start salivating at your chance.
Not only is it a 10/9 that eats two permanents every time it attacks, it comes with a buddy. Sometimes there's a problem with ramp decks where you ramp up and play your huge creature, but still get overrun by smaller creatures. Artisan helps mitigate that by pulling back one of your unquiet dead to help you out.
Another problem with ramp decks is that a timely counterspell can shut down your big threat. But thanks to the cast trigger on this card, you're going to get at least one creature out of the bargain—counterspell or no.
I could go on and on—but everything in Limited is contextual. So how about some context? What new foes will your Eldrazi need to fight? What new tools do you have to cast them?
Let's take a look.
The key to playing Eldrazi in Limited, perhaps unsurprisingly, is making sure you can cast them. After all, your nine-drop Artisan of Kozilek looks awesome…until it's stuck in your hand and you can't cast it.
Rise of the Eldrazi helped make up for this by slowing down the format and creating strong defenses to the point where the games would just go longer. But Modern Masters 2015 Edition is a whole different animal: the format has some very strong aggressive decks, and you're going to need ways to make sure you can get to nine mana before you die to, say, a hyper-aggressive red-black deck.
Well, the development team had a few tricks up their sleeve for you.
I remember the first time I playtested Modern Masters 2015 Edition. I joined a draft and started going down the Eldrazi path. Then I saw a particular rare in the pack that was perfect for my archetype, so I slammed it. Two picks later, I saw the same rare. Then, after moving onto the next pack, I saw another one a couple picks in.
That's odd. We opened up so many of this rare! Is something off in this playtest? This is going to give us skewed results.
Then I looked at the playtest card again. It was an uncommon.
Yes, that's right. This former Constructed powerhouse is ready to bring its Eldrazi-ramping skills to the Limited table in droves.
While it might look unassuming, we very rarely print any lands that tap for two mana without a significant drawback. This one doesn't come into play tapped. It doesn't deal damage to you. It doesn't sacrifice. It's super powerful! And, perhaps most importantly, it doesn't even take up any spell slots in your deck; Eldrazi Temple essentially gives you a "free" Rampant Growth for your Eldrazi.
If you have two of these, it means you only need seven lands to cast that Artisan! While seven is still certainly not cheap by any definition, keep in mind that Eldrazi Temple is only one of the many ways to turbocharge your mana in this set. Not only will the Eldrazi Temples float to the Eldrazi drafter, but plenty of other tools will as well.
And if you're really fortunate, maybe you'll open up one of these:
While you aren't going to see this card that often, if you do—and you're Eldrazi—you should probably take it.
Not only does it help your cast your Eldrazi faster, much like Eldrazi Temple, but it ensures you have a never-ending stream of them. Even if you're entirely out of cards in your hand, Eye of Ugin can search up any Eldrazi (or even colorless artifact creature) in your deck! It's an endgame that's very difficult to overcome. Eye of Ugin has been played all over Constructed—and now it's once again in contention for your Limited deck!
Say Hello to my Little Friends
So you have some Eldrazi, and you have some lands that help cast them. But, while a strong start, you're going to need more than that to make your deck work.
And that's where the accelerators come in.
Modern Masters 2015 Edition is full of ways to speed up your mana production, artifacts and sorceries alike. And while I can't quite share what those artifacts and spells are just yet, I can show off one returning mechanic which partnered well with the large Eldrazi the first time—and is arguably even more important in this limited format than in Rise of the Eldrazi.
Here come the Eldrazi Spawn!
That's right—the beloved Eldrazi 0/1s are back in Modern Masters 2015!
Eldrazi Spawn provide a temporary mana boost to charge you up to your Eldrazi. While you do sacrifice them after spending them for mana, often all you need is to cast a single Eldrazi to dominate the board—or to entirely take over the game! In a Limited Eldrazi deck, you're definitely going want to have some around to help you cast your Eldrazi.
But there's another very crucial purpose they serve in the Eldrazi deck. I mentioned they were potentially even more important to this version of the archetype than in original Rise, and that's because of the potential speed of the format.
In both formats, you can use them to cast Eldrazi, sure. However, Modern Masters 2015 Edition can be a lot quicker—and that's where Eldrazi Spawn come in as a line of defense. If you need to soak up some damage for the advent of your large Eldrazi next turn, the spawn can do that—or serve as several chump blockers early on.
Kozilek's Predator is just one of the spawn generators in the set, and you'll want to pick these early and often. While strongest in the Eldrazi archetype, a lot of different decks will happily snag these in a draft, so prioritize them appropriately. And in Sealed, if you open up a bunch of spawn makers, suddenly your Eldrazi strategy will look a lot more plausible.
This One Goes to Eleven
How much mana do you really need?
Well, the answer is a lot.
No, really. A lot.
After all, you're going to need all the mana you can get if you want to get to eleven.
It just wouldn't be my Modern Masters 2015 Edition Eldrazi article if I didn't show you a legendary Eldrazi, now would it?
The legendary Eldrazi are certainly expensive to cast, and Ulamog clocks in at eleven. Ulamog makes for a particularly good reason to move into the Eldrazi deck: if you open one, you can grab it and move in on the Eldrazi deck.
Unless you see something like Ulamog in your first pack of a booster draft, you might want to give it a couple picks to see what people are passing you before deciding to go Eldrazi. It's a deck that really wants to have a critical mass of cards like Eldrazi Temples, spawn, sorceries that ramp, and so on. If someone to your right is taking those cards, you're going to have a hard time.
But once the coast is clear and the cards are still there a few picks in, grab those cards and go for it! It's a powerhouse deck, provided you can get the pieces. Generally you will want to draft ramp and spawn makers early in the pack, then pick up Eldrazi a few picks in. After all, you can probably find something to do with all that mana as long as you have the mana accelerators, but if you take a bunch of Eldrazi and then don't have a way to help get to eight-plus mana… well, let's just say waiting until turn eight to cast a spell isn't a winning strategy in Modern Masters 2015 Edition Limited.
Pick up some ramp, some spawn, some lands, and definitely some Eldrazi—and prepare to smash face. Modern Masters 2015 Edition once again promises a fresh Limited format with cards from all over the place in a completely new setting, and this is definitely one of my favorite decks to draft. Have fun with it!
While this article may have been about one of the many exciting archetypes of Modern Masters 2015 Edition Limited, there are, of course, plenty of powerhouse Modern staples in the set as we. So let's put those to good use, shall we?
It's time for this week's deck building challenge!
Deadline: Monday, May 11th, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.
Submit all decklists by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Decklists should be submitted with YOURNAME's DECKNAME at the top. Underneath should be one card per line, with just a leading number. For example:
4 Satyr Firedrinker
3 Ash Zealot
4 Lighting Bolt
…and so on. Please don't use anything but a space to separate the card numbers and names—don't write "4x Lightning Bolt," for example. Well-formatted decklists have a much better chance of being read and making it into the column. Poorly formatted decklists are more likely to be ignored. (If I can't read your decklist, I certainly can't talk about it!)
What exciting Modern decks do you have in the works? What has Modern Masters 2015 Edition inspired you to create? Send them my way!
I hope you all are as excited about Modern Masters 2015 Edition as I am! It's a set full of Modern staples and a great Limited format to boot. Keep checking back all week as you begin to see the shape of the format more and more. I can't wait for you to all play it!
I'll be back next week with something a little different. Talk with you again then!