Bant Eldrazi with Sam Pardee and Ben Weitz

Posted in Event Coverage on May 22, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

Though there were few that mourned the passing of the Eldrazi deck of old, there are players who still yearn for the feeling of turn-two Thought-Knot Seer. Two of those players this weekend are Sam Pardee and Ben Weitz. The new Eldrazi shell might eschew cards like Eldrazi Mimic and Endless One, but there’s still plenty of shenanigans to go around. Bant Eldrazi masquerades as a fair deck, but it can “get ‘em” plenty good.

Both Pardee and Weitz immediately credited the inception to Todd Stevens who played the deck last weekend to a strong finish. “It’s the best deck I’ve seen so far that can cast a turn-two Thought-Knot Seer,” Pardee said. This same sentiment was echoed by Ben Weitz, one of Team East-West Bowl’s Northern California representatives. He fell in love when he shuffled up the deck and in the first game, and won off the back of a turn-two Thought-Knot Seer.

Weitz said it was really the convergence of two reasons that he found himself playing the deck this weekend. “First, historically, I do well when I’m playing the same deck as Sam Pardee.” He said that at both Grand Prix Toronto and San Diego, taking Pardee’s advice was a route to success. But that wasn’t the only thing.

Secondly, “a few [East-West Bowl] members who are notorious for not liking any deck— *cough* Pascal Maynard *cough*—was loving the deck.” So because Weitz was on a trip to Japan leaving precious little time to test, he took those two data points, and decided they were good enough for you. Oh yeah, then in his first game he did that Thought-Knot thing.

Not to harp so much on this, but Seer is still in a great place in Modern. Because of the emphasis on removal that can hit small creatures efficiently, a 4/4 with a converted mana cost of four is tricky to remove. Both Abrupt Decay and Lightning Bolt are basically dead in the water.

With the banning of Eye of Ugin, these Eldrazi decks needed to supplement the fast mana ramp somehow, and in this deck, it’s done by Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise. “The dream is turn-one Birds; turn two Eldrazi Temple, Thought-Knot Seer,” Pardee told me.

The trick is that the deck doesn’t over-rely on that interaction. Weitz explained that the deck “attacks holes in the midrange decks,” while still having a reasonable aggressive plan against the less interactive decks like Infect, Affinity, and etc.

Plus, Weitz added, “You have Blue and White in your deck,” so the sideboard has access to cards like Stony Silence, Path to Exile, Negate, and Stubborn Denial.

With the addition of Eldrazi Displacer, the deck has a way to also go long. “I played against [a Gifts Ungiven deck] and took three Wraths during his draw steps,” Pardee ecstatically relayed. Just by blinking out Thought-Knot Seer with the Displacer, you have some good ways to leverage additional mana.

Bant Eldrazi, though less explosive than some other decks, still has some solid lines of attack, and some really good draws. Weitz noted how important that second aspect is in Modern. “You can die on turns two or three sometimes ... you have to have a deck that can draw well. Even Jund can draw well—Thoughtseize into Dark Confidant into Liliana of the Veil can beat almost anything.”

When I asked Pardee if there’s any card that’s really a marquee to the deck, he said, “Eh, it’s all four-ofs, and all the cards are great.” Weitz also used “great” a lot when describing his feelings towards the deck.

“Look, I know I love Bant decks with bad creatures, but this isn’t really a Bant deck.” It’s not; it’s the next evolution of Eldrazi.

Sam Pardee's Bant Eldrazi – GP Los Angeles

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