Eldrazi decks are too powerful in Modern right now.
This has been established, repeated, and written in the sky via small aircraft.
Modern is officially a format of Eldrazi decks, decks trying to beat Eldrazi decks, and Eldrazi decks trying to beat Eldrazi decks.
Which really leaves Magic players one reasonable option: to toss our Modern collections in the trash and complain until the sun explodes.
Well, maybe not quite. We do have a couple other options.
Option One: Stay Positive
I personally enjoy playing Magic: the Gathering more than Monopoly.
Monopoly has stayed the same since I played it as a child. Monopoly doesn't test any particular skills all that well, unless the true game of Monopoly is trading properties and stealing from the bank when no one's looking. What, it's only fair, if I'm the banker I should be allowed to skim a little off the top for my services... ahem.
Are people talking about how busted the railroads in Monopoly are? How they should be banned and the game re-balanced?
No! At least not to my knowledge. Nobody is calling for Monopoly to be anything different than what it already is. What you see is what you get. Same with chess. Same with plenty of games.
Things change very quickly in the world of Magic. Magic keeps us entertaining by constantly evolving and providing new and diverse strategies. Which is why it's easy to get frustrated when a format appears to be dominated by one strategy.
A little Eldrazi isn't such a bad thing. The volatility and potential for overpowered decks is necessary to keep the game interesting. It is not reasonable to stop broken cards and decks, they are virtually guaranteed to slip through the cracks.
Positivity is good for your mental health and makes you a happier person. Magic would still be better than a lot of games even if all you could play was Eldrazi mirrors.
This too shall pass.
Option Two: Complain
Not all complaining is created equal. There is constructive criticism which can be useful for letting your voice be heard while not trying to specifically drag an idea down.
Let's look at some different reactions to Eldrazi decks being very good in Modern, both good and bad:
“I haven't been feeling like playing much Modern lately. I feel like the games are too quick and non-interactive. I also feel that the decks I invested time and money into before Eldrazi became popular aren't worth playing anymore. Eldrazi decks are crushing my experimental and interesting decks.”
This is honest feedback. Sharing your opinion and moving on without too much embellishment or cruelty.
“Eldrazi decks suck. I'm quitting Magic.”
“Obviously Wizards should've figured out Eldrazi decks were too good.”
“Modern is terrible now.”
Negativity is killer. It is a double-edged sword that will hurt you as much as your target. Even if you feel this way, it is better to frame things in a positive light otherwise you will shape your brain to always be looking for negatives rather than positives. Conflict leads to more conflict.
“But Shaun, I invested in Modern and my deck sucks now! How could I ever learn to trust again? I just want to make Modern great again! Isn't complaining going to be good for that?”
I think we've reached the saturation point for that and can let the results speak for themselves.
The truth is that you don't have control over what happens with the banned list! The only thing you can really control is your own thoughts and reactions to the world around you. Sometimes you just have to be the change you want to see in the world.
Not to mention, this is weak complaint game. If you're going to complain about something you care about, try turning it into art! Like so:
Listen to the clip and read the words:
Play Eldrazi, and you'll be
In a world of pure annihilation
Take a look and you'll see
Into Modern's stagnation
We'll begin, with a mulligan
Traveling in the world of number generation
What we'll Seer will deny their Damnation
If you want use a pair of dice,
Simply Endless One for eleven
Anything you want to, brew it
Want to play real Magic?
Then just say screw it.
Express your feelings as art. It doesn't matter if it's good or not as long as you try to turn it into something creative.
It's easy to try and tear things down, much harder and worthwhile create something of value.
The silent majority. Speak with your actions.
We live in internet times. It's easy to toss out words without consequences. Sometimes clamming up is the best option.
Option Three: Beat Them
The Modern StarCityGames.com® Philadelphia Classic Top 8 actually looks fairly diverse and decent with seven different archetypes represented, the only overlap being two Eldrazi decks.
This represents one of the biggest challenges you face when tuning a deck specifically to beat Eldrazi decks: you still have to deal with the rest of the format. Even with Eldrazi being cheap, powerful, and easy to play, plenty of people will still go against the grain and play what they like in Modern.
There also aren't many cards that are incredibly good against Eldrazi decks. The nut start from an Eldrazi deck is capable of beating anything.
The Eldrazi aren't unbeatable though. Even if it's an uphill battle, there are options. Here are my thoughts on the best decks to defeat them.
- 4 Arcbound Ravager
- 1 Etched Champion
- 3 Master of Etherium
- 3 Memnite
- 4 Ornithopter
- 4 Signal Pest
- 1 Spellskite
- 3 Steel Overseer
- 4 Vault Skirge
The “natural predator” of Eldrazi decks that already existed. Fliers and Cranial Plating are amazing in the matchup and you're at least as fast and consistent as Eldrazi decks. The issue, as always, is you're still rather susceptible to hate cards out of the sideboard.
A deck that seems to consistently overperform, but is always has an extra opponent in dealing with the clock and gets hit by Affinity hate.
- 2 Spellskite
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 3 Eternal Witness
- 1 Fiend Hunter
- 4 Kitchen Finks
- 1 Murderous Redcap
- 3 Noble Hierarch
- 1 Orzhov Pontiff
- 1 Scavenging Ooze
- 2 Viscera Seer
- 2 Wall of Roots
- 2 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
- 2 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
Having ground blockers and a few creature-based combos is often going to be fast enough, especially against less interactive versions of Eldrazi.
Beyond that, there are some other reasonable options including Infect, Burn, Storm, Living End, Blue Moon, and Merfolk. Realistically speaking, though, none of these options seem like you're massively advantaged against Eldrazi if you're even advantaged at all.
Option Four: Just Play Eldrazi
Winning is fun. It's not hard to enjoy playing the best deck when you're winning with it.
Here's what I've been running:
- 4 Drowner of Hope
- 4 Eldrazi Displacer
- 4 Eldrazi Mimic
- 4 Eldrazi Skyspawner
- 4 Endless One
- 1 Matter Reshaper
- 4 Reality Smasher
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
U/W Eldrazi decks are fairly similar and straightforward, but I'll go over a few choices and cards.
I think Dismember is one of the best cards for the mirror; being able to remove an opposing creature efficiently is very valuable, so I wouldn't want to run fewer than four maindeck. Path to Exile functions similarly, with the only major downside being that you don't have too many sources of white mana so it can be risky to run since it may stay stuck in your hand. I really like having access to removal though.
Stony Silence and Hurkyl's Recall are great against Affinity and Lantern Control. Since Affinity is starting to run Ensnaring Bridge and Ghirapur Aether Grid in the sideboard, that makes Hurkyl's Recall much more appealing and Stony Silence much less appealing. Hurkyl's Recall also works well in multiples and with Chalice of the Void and Thought-Knot Seer.
World Breaker deals with many of the main hate cards you can expect to encounter like Ensnaring Bridge and Worship, but isn't particularly exciting otherwise and requires a commitment to green mana. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger acts similarly at a higher price. If you expect lots of enchantment and artifact hate, World Breaker is likely worth the splash. Either way, make sure you aggressively bring in at least one answer to cards that would otherwise prove very problematic.
Eldrazi Displacer is the main draw for playing this version of the deck. It's incredibly versatile while still just being a decently efficient Eldrazi card. Common uses are:
- Blinking your own Thought-Knot Seer, Drowner of Hope, and Eldrazi Skyspawner.
- Blinking a creature that's blocked Reality Smasher so you can trample through.
- Blinking a creature to trigger your Eldrazi Mimic's ability and make it grow.
- Blinking an opponent's Endless One or tokens to kill them.
- Tapping blockers and saving your creatures from spot removal.
Eldrazi decks are standing up to the hate the format is throwing at them. It's difficult to truly recommend any deck now as having a good matchup against Eldrazi.
That doesn't mean you can't still have a good time just playing an Eldrazi deck. The deck is good for testing your mulligan decision skills and there's plenty of combat decisions. Games are often fast and exciting, and playing the deck optimally still takes plenty of finesse.
One man's ruined format is another's playground. Enjoy the Eldrazi decks while they last. They are a completely different type of deck than what Modern is used to.
Option Five: Take A Break
There are plenty of different formats. Standard, sealed, draft, legacy, and... casual. If Modern isn't floating your boat and you have a hankering for some Magic, then just try something else.
Eldrazi decks are actually great in Legacy and Standard. Sometimes it's all about looking at things from a different perspective.
These decks are cool beans.
If you aren't enjoying the deck you're playing, find a new one. Playing Magic is voluntary. Taking some time off will make you realize why you started playing in the first place and draw you back in.
It's easy to mix bad emotions in with your games of Magic if you're always looking for your next dopamine hit from a win and not taking a step back from time to time. Fun will eventually turn into obligation when we feel we are forced to play and forced to win. Remember what you love about the game.
It seems like it's only a matter of time before Eldrazi gets the axe in Modern. Until then, I know what I'll be doing when I play Modern. Winning with Eldrazi decks, and enjoying it.