Evolution of the Eldrazi: New Titans on the Attack

Posted in GRAND PRIX BOLOGNA 2016 on March 6, 2016

By Tobi Henke

Consider this an addendum to yesterday's piece about the evolution of Eldrazi decks. Once the dust settled at the end of the day, after the Eldrazi had trampled all over Bologna, it became clear that there was indeed more going on inside Eldrazi Headquarters than just players figuring out sideboard tricks to beat Worship (Essence Depleter) or to succeed in the mirror match (Spellskite plus Tomb of the Spirit Dragon).

In fact, several players made it to Day 2 with unusual color combinations or an unusual strategy within an established color combination. Most notably, World Magic Cup champion Andrea Mengucci was piloting a version of Red-Green Eldrazi without Kozilek's Return, instead going for the full line-up of aggro Eldrazi from Eldrazi Mimic to Eldrazi Obligator.

Andrea Mengucci

"We knew from the beginning we wanted to play Eldrazi," said Mengucci who had built the deck together with Player of the Year Mike Sigrist. "We quickly decided on red-green, the main appeal being Ancient Stirrings and Grove of the Burnwillows. Having eight triple lands, together with Karplusan Forest, as opposed to just the regular four is huge. Also the deck mulligans way less because of Ancient Stirrings.

"We decided not to go with the popular big version of the deck. The format is fast, after all. Sure, you have good cards against beatdown, but what about combo? The only shame is we have to play Matter Reshaper which is not a good card in the deck."

Mengucci said that a total of five people were playing the same list in Detroit. "I think all of them went 8-1."

Andrea Mengucci: Red-Green Eldrazi

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Not playing the same but a similar red-green list was Federico Ronchi, whom I watched in the feature match area as he demolished an unfortunate pilot of the big version of Red-Green Eldrazi. In a world full of Reality Smashers, Eldrazi Obligator looked downright unfair, and Kozilek's Return way too slow.

With a record of 10-1 at the time of writing, Wouter Noordzij meanwhile was the most succesful of the Eldrazi innovators so far, running green and white. The reasoning behind his choice of colors: "Ancient Stirrings, and for white, the sideboard. White simply has the most unfair cards."

He described his matchup against other Eldrazi decks as "pretty even," and said, "I have Oblivion Sowers and World Breakers, so Kozilek's Return doesn't really do all that much." He was less optimistic about his chances against White-Blue Eldrazi though and recommended. "Hope they don't draw too many Drowners."

Wouter Noordzij: Green-White Eldrazi

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Not doing quite as well was Bence Bokor, although he may have found the missing piece of the puzzle in the combination of blue and green.

"Blue has the best creatures and green has Ancient Stirrings," he explained. "Ancient Stirrings adds amazing consistency to the deck and turns hands that in other decks would be a mulligan into a keep. It's the best card in the deck, the card I want to have in my opening hand, the card I want to topdeck late in the game. It even helps with finding a sideboarded Chalice of the Void or Relic of Progenitus."

Bence Bokor: Green-Blue Eldrazi

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