If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

Posted in Event Coverage on March 5, 2016

By Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

The Eldrazi seemed relatively harmless during the Battle for Zendikar, running about with their Eldrazi Scions all over the place. I mean, who couldn’t love a Blisterpod? But then came the Oath of the Gatewatch, and it very quickly became apparent why the Oath had been necessary. We all stood helplessly as the newsreels came in from Pro Tour Atlanta. The Eldrazi were here, and they were going to destroy us all.

Jiachen Tao triumphed in Atlanta with a Blue-Red Eldrazi build that seemed almost perfectly tuned to take down the predominantly Colourless Eldrazi builds many others in the Top 8 were playing, but given the Eldrazi’s propensity for ingesting anything in their path, they’ve surely evolved past that somewhere between Atlanta and Melbourne. I approached some of the better known players in Australia and New Zealand to get a feel for where the Eldrazi were at now.

Zen Takahashi, Paul Jackson, and Anthony Lee weigh in on the Eldrazi menace.

New Zealand’s Zen Takahashi worked alongside Perth’s Paul Jackson and Anthony Lee on refining the deck, and definitely agreed that White-Blue was the correct colour combination to build around. While Jackson felt that they were as close to on optimal build as they were going to get, both Takahashi and Lee disagreed. “I know White-Blue is the best colour combination for Eldrazi,” Takahashi explained, “but I’m not convinced we’ve found the best build of it yet. There’s a lot of variation in what you can play white for in the sideboard, so it’s difficult to know what an optimal build looks like.

Wilfy Horig, Maitland Cameron, and Patty Robertson welcome our new Eldrazi overlords.

From Melbourne, Patty Robertson, Wilfy Horig, and first name Maitland last name Cameron had also settled on White-Blue Eldrazi as the ideal build, stating that it had the best sideboard cards and the best spells with no drawbacks. Cameron had been playing Eldrazi before Oath of the Gatewatch and was happy to keep playing it. “I figured I’d keep going until we found something that could beat it, but we just didn’t find anything that could beat it consistently.”

Horig summed it up. “Even if you could find a deck that could beat Eldrazi 80% of the time, which is probably impossible outside of maindeck Ensnaring Bridge, there would just be too many non-Eldrazi decks in the field to risk playing such a narrow strategy. I also didn’t want to register cards like Runed Halo and Oblivion Ring if this was my last chance to play Eldrazi in Modern, I don’t think I could live with myself.”

So are the Eldrazi overlords here to stay, and is White-Blue the best outfit to dress them in? We’ll certainly know one way or another by the end of this weekend, that’s for sure.

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