Twenty of 32.
That's how many slots Thought-Knot Seer and friends took in the Top 32 of #SCGLOU. While there may have been a number of different flavors of the deck, this level of dominance by an archetype is almost unheard-of. There were 80 copies of Thought-Knot Seer in the Top 32! There is still hope that an answer will be found, but it's very likely that there will be bannings at the next update.
However, this weekend is not about Modern. Legacy is on tap with #SCGPHILLY only a few days away, and it appears our alien overlords will stop at nothing until they have conquered all formats.
- 2 Spellskite
- 4 Eldrazi Mimic
- 4 Endless One
- 4 Matter Reshaper
- 4 Reality Smasher
- 4 Simian Spirit Guide
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
Most of the current Eldrazi variations have focused on adding colors to aid themselves in defeating the mirror and Affinity, but the original CFB/FtF list from the Pro Tour was almost completely colorless.
It also contained full playsets of Chalice of the Void and Simian Spirit Guide, cards much more often seen in Legacy than in Modern. Turn 1 Chalice of the Void has long been one of the attempted answers to the format, as turning all of your opponent's Brainstorms, Ponders, Lightning Bolts, and Swords to Plowshares off before they can even cast them creates a ton of virtual card advantage.
The issue with Chalice of the Void, of course, is that you can't play your own one-mana spells either. There's a reason cards like Brainstorm are the cornerstone of Legacy, and not being able to play them is a monumental opportunity cost. As such, Chalice of the Void decks need to be built in a manner where they can skip straight to two mana, lock their opponents out of their key spells, and finish the game quickly.
The most common example of this in Legacy is a deck like MUD:
- 1 Blightsteel Colossus
- 4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
- 4 Lodestone Golem
- 4 Metalworker
- 1 Platinum Emperion
- 1 Sundering Titan
- 3 Wurmcoil Engine
Using lands like Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors, MUD decks can easily deploy a Chalice of the Void on turn 1 and then quickly cast huge beaters like Lodestone Golem and Wurmcoil Engine to end the game. The deck also contains a Kuldotha Forgemaster package, along with some other random expensive colorless junk. In a lot of ways, what actually kills your opponent doesn't even matter; what matters is you can quickly deploy a Chalice of the Void or Trinisphere to cripple your opponent.
The Eldrazi represent a significant upgrade in the "random cards to kill your opponent quickly while they struggle under lock pieces" category. Thought-Knot Seer provides pinpoint disruption to handle the things the lock pieces cannot, and Reality Smasher ends the game very quickly.
Adding Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin to your Ancient Tomb / City of Traitors deck also gives you an absurd number of lands that functionally tap for two mana, a great way to get past the restrictions that Chalice of the Void creates and deploy threats very quickly. We've seen how swiftly the Modern Eldrazi deck can deploy threats, and when you pair this with Legacy-level lock pieces, you've got something quite scary on your hands.
- 4 Phyrexian Revoker
- 4 Eldrazi Mimic
- 3 Endbringer
- 4 Endless One
- 2 Matter Reshaper
- 4 Reality Smasher
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
While this deck is essentially just a port of the CFB/FtF Modern Eldrazi deck, it contains some significant upgrades. Thorn of Amethyst joins Chalice of the Void as a brutal turn 1 play that is great against a large portion of the format, and because the deck is so creature-centric, it hardly even affects us. Legacy is all about cheap, efficient spells, and Thorn of Amethyst is our Thalia, Guardian of Thraben that is hard to interact with.
Aside from the obvious upgrades of Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors to increase the count of two-mana lands in the deck, the Legacy version also gets to upgrade to Mishra's Factory as its creature-land of choice.
The downside to adding all these colorless lands to your deck is that it really limits your interactive options and your sideboard options. It can be difficult to interact with creatures or planeswalkers, and if the battlefield gums up, it can be hard to get though.
Adding a color is very difficult, but possible:
Magic Online player Sunyveil has been working on this deck nonstop for the last few weeks, and this is where he is currently.
This deck borrows even more from MUD decks and is much more focused on locking your opponent out of the game as soon as possible. Gone are grindy and flexible cards like Matter Reshaper and Endless One, and in their place is even more disruption. Lodestone Golem is a cornerstone of the MUD deck and one of the most feared creatures in Vintage, and even though it slows us down as well because the Eldrazi are not artifacts, it is still a very powerful effect.
This deck also adds to the disruption with a Trinisphere and a full set of Wastelands. Without disruption, this is basically just a powerful but underwhelming ground-and-pound beatdown deck, so you really want as much as you can pack in.
The deck is playing Mox Diamond to help power up the early turns, but it also has the side benefit of providing you with colored mana. Alongside Cavern of Souls and a few copies of Karakas, you can support Eldrazi Displacer, which goes a long way towards giving you some element of battlefield control. Eldrazi Displacer and Thought-Knot Seer also make a nice mid-game disruption combo. Cavern of Souls is already great in the deck to make sure your threats resolve, and the fact it can make colored mana is just gravy.
Last, this deck plays a card that might not have been on your Eternal-playable-Eldrazi radar. Endbringer is a very powerful Magic card, and while six mana is a bit much in these decks, it feels more like three or four. Once on the battlefield, Endbringer is able to do many things and gives the deck many more options in the mid-game rather than just hoping a Chalice of the Void and some mid-sized creatures are enough to win the game. Endbringer has been very impressive.
It is not entirely clear how the maindeck should be built, and the sideboard is even more up-in-the-air. Being colorless affords you very few options when it comes to powerful sideboard cards, and while you have some very good ones, you have difficulty interacting with certain creatures and types of permanents.
Many of these cards could be in the maindeck if the format were to call for it. Equipment cards like Umezawa's Jitte and Sword of Fire and Ice give the deck a lot more firepower in fair matchups, and Jitte in particular could a very reasonable maindeck one-of. The deck would really like some removal, but Warping Wail, Dismember, and Spatial Contortion all have major limitations. As such, a lot of these niche answers are often ending up in the sideboard, but this speaks more to the lack of better options than anything else.
One card that is quite powerful in fair matchups is All Is Dust. The deck has some troubling handling permanents or difficult battlefield states, and All Is Dust is the ultimate answer. It's obviously not great in some matchups and may only be a sideboard card, but All Is Dust has a lot of potential in the deck.
Playing The Deck
Disruption, disruption, disruption.
This deck is all about setting up one of your disruptive artifacts and then pounding your opponent into oblivion before they can draw themselves out of it. It is almost always correct to lead with a disruption piece like Chalice of the Void or Thorn of Amethyst before you start casting your threats, and Wasteland should also be used very aggressively. Your creatures are potent, but the overall power level of Legacy is much higher than Modern. You can't just muscle your way through your opponents with your creatures; you'll need to keep them off-balance.
Because of how important landing a turn 1 Chalice of the Void or Thorn of Amethyst is, mulliganing aggressively is very important with this deck. You often don't need many cards to win. You just need the correct ones.
If you were given the option to simply start every game with this five-card hand rather than a random full seven, you would probably take it. This just goes to illustrate how important smart mulligans are to this deck. If your hand can't produce a turn 1 Chalice or Thorn, strongly consider sending it back.
I'd even go as far to say that deciding what hands to keep with this deck might actually be more important than playing the games. Use the scry rule to your advantage and make sure you've got a quality opener.
Regardless of the lack of consensus about how to build the deck, Colorless Eldrazi is most certainly a contender in Legacy. Chalice of the Void decks like MUD were already fringe-playable, and Colorless Eldrazi is perhaps the best Chalice of the Void deck the format has ever seen. The deck has some truly broken openings, and if you are not prepared for it, you will lose to it.
This is as far as I've gotten with the deck, and I'm sure it can be improved.
Do not be surprised if we see our new friend Thought-Knot Seer and its buddies infesting another Top 8 this weekend, and don't say I didn't warn you!
My stream kicked off with a bang last week, and we've been rolling along all week with some good drafts Monday on Limited Mondays and some serious Legacy Eldrazi testing Tuesday on Constructed Tuesdays.
Now comes the fun part… Challenge Thursdays!
You fine folks have been tweeting challenges to me all week, and I have selected my favorite four. Now you get to vote, and whatever wins will be the challenge I must undertake on tonight's stream! Choose wisely:
The poll will end at 6:00pm EST, which will give me one hour to construct my deck. Then you can tune in at 7:00pm for the start of the stream. I will be playing an entire League with the challenge deck, trying to get as many wins as I can.
Cast your vote and tune in to my stream at 7:00 to see how it goes!