Awesome Emrakul Plays

Posted in GRAND PRIX RIMINI 2016 on August 14, 2016

By Frank Karsten

Emrakul, the Promised End is an incredibly skill-testing card that, due to the nature of Mindslaver turns, generates plenty of great stories. We asked some of the pros here in Rimini for their best Emrakul stories, and they shared plenty of sweet plays.

First up, let's start with what not to do. When you're controlling your opponent's turn, don't sacrifice their Selfless Spirit before combat; don't force their Hissing Quagmire or Gnarlwood Dryad to attack into your vulnerable-to-deathtouch Emrakul; and don't target yourself with their Transgress the Mind or To the Slaughter when you can also target them. The players who made these missteps shall remain unnamed.

As for what you should do, let's start by tapping all of their pain-lands for damage. Next, well, here's a list:

But the best stories come from more unusual situations, where you might discover ways to use cards that you may not have thought of before. You can get the stories I assembled by watching the following video or by reading the transcripts below.

Gold level pro Simon Nielsen kicked off. "One of the cool Emrakul plays I made was at the Pro Tour, where my opponent had Dark Salvation. (He was playing Zombies.) Dark Salvation says "target player gains Zombies". So I could go like "oh, I give myself three Zombies and kill your guy." That was pretty nice."

"Another thing that came up in our EUreka testing—I think that was Michael Majors and Thomas Hendriks, playing Temur against another Emrakul deck—was a game where Thomas topdecked an Emrakul when he was just dead to the opposing Emrakul and all the other stuff. He took the opponent's turn, and on that turn, Majors drew Sidisi's Faithful. So Thomas could use it to sacrifice Emrakul, bounce the Faithful; sacrifice Elder Deep-Fiend, bounce the Faithful, and sweep up the entire board with that one Sidisi's Faithful."

I witnessed that game as well in the EUreka house, and I can tell you one thing: Sidisi's Faithful was cut from the deck shortly after that game.

(3) Lukas Blohon

The next story comes from Pro Tour Eldritch Moon champion Lukas Blohon himself. "My opponent played Emrakul and was going to control my next turn, but I had Archangel Avacyn, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, and a Zombie token in play. So I sacrificed the Zombie token and on my upkeep, Avacyn flipped and was going to deal 3 damage to him. He was at 1 so he died [during the Mindslaver turn]! But actually he had a planeswalker—a Nissa, Voice of Zendikar—so he could've redirected the damage to Nissa and survived, but luckily, he didn't think of that."

Martin Dang, eager to pick the worst possible target for his opponent's Ruinous Path.

For the final set of stories, this time from a play made in Rimini, we'll turn to Pro Tour Dragon's Maze champion Martin Dang. "A couple rounds ago, I played this Mono White guy, and he had like five creatures down while I had nothing. But he also had a Stitcher's Graft. So on my turn, I played—you guessed it—Emrakul, which is pretty good against Stitcher's Graft. I was like at 2 life, but for 2 mana I could just bounce the equipment from creature to creature, killing them off. And the last creature just attacked into my Emrakul, which cleared the board for me to actually win that game."

Dang also had a sweet play while testing an Emrakul deck against G/W Tokens. "I played Emrakul and he had Evolutionary Leap in play. So I kept sacrificing his creatures and finding other creatures, but I had to get them out of his hand some way. So I kept sacrificing his creatures, and the last creature I sacrificed hit a Noose Constrictor, which was just perfect because I could play it and discard all the cards I gained from Evolutionary Leap!"

Emrakul can achieve mind-boggling things, but I'm confident that we haven't yet exhausted the full range of crazy plays. For the next 14 months or so, Emrakul will loom over the Standard horizon, forcing us to learn not only how to play as well as possible but also how to play as poorly as possible. I love this game.