Eldrazi Versus the World

Posted in Event Coverage on March 5, 2016

By Corbin Hosler

The first rumblings of the Eldrazi came with the release of Battle for Zendikar, when the ancient titans began to make their way back to Zendikar and clashed with the planeswalkers embedded there. Those rumblings became a roar as the Eldrazi rose and forced the formation of Oath of the Gatewatch.

The battle spread. From the plane of Zendikar to the Pro Tour, the Eldrazi overlords began to take over. Six of the top eight decks at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch were Eldrazi-fueled monsters, and the monsters began extending their tentacles from there.

Blue-Red Eldrazi — Jiachen Tao, first place Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch

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Very quickly, the Modern world has become a battleground that mirrored the battle on Zendikar. Players need a plan and face a divisive choice: play Eldrazi or have a plan for beating them?

The answer has come in many forms. While a large number of players at Grand Prix Detroit opted for the former and sleeved up the world-bending monsters, plenty of competitors arrived prepared to try and knock the Eldrazi off their newfound perch at the top of the heap.

Not that it will be easy. Not only have the Eldrazi arrived in force, they've done so in multiple forms. While the colorless and blue-red variants that found success at the Pro Tour are out in force, they've been supplanted by the white-blue variant of Eldrazi that is essentially an amalgamation of the best parts of the other decks.

Drowner of Hope and Eldrazi Skyspawner join the core of Eldrazi Mimic, Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher to form the shell of the “normal” Eldrazi deck, but access to white mana adds another twist: Eldrazi Displacer. The blink machine cycles Eldrazi triggers over and over to provide tons of enters-the-battlefield triggers to help the deck grind out value. On top of that comes counterspell Stubborn Denial and additional removal options in Path to Exile.

Add to that a smattering Red-Green Eldrazi decks and you have a format filled to the brim with the enemy.

But some players have come armed and ready to combat the menace. Former Pro Tour champion Craig Wescoe arrived with his typical white-green Æther Vial deck tricked out with ways to slow down the Eldrazi, while other players have leaned on mass removal like Supreme Verdict or land “destruction” like Spreading Seas or Sea's Claim to try and slow down the Eldrazi “ramp” lands in Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin.

Other decks have risen from the blind eternities to put up a fight. Elves is a popular choice in the room as a deck that can out-race Eldrazi while also having the option to go big with Ezuri, Renegade Leader. There is also the usual suspect from the combo portion of the field, as decks like Ad Nauseam or Reanimator strategies try to go over the top of the Eldrazi.

That's where Modern stands as we enter Grand Prix Detroit, and the only question that remains is what will reign supreme in the biggest Modern tournament since the Pro Tour. Will the Eldrazi continue their dominance, or will the field finally be ready to stop them in their tracks?

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