Deep Analysis – The Eldrazi Invasion

Deep Analysis - Jesper Ejsing

Three Modern GP’s this week proved that the Eldrazi are the prime time players of Modern.

First up is GP Melbourne with 1105 players that sleeved up for the event.  Of those, 311 players made it to day 2.

Top 100 Archetypes

Eldrazi Displacer - Daarken

Eldrazi Displacer – Daarken

43 Eldrazi (30 W/U, 6 G/R, 3 U/R, 1 Bant, 1 G/U, 1 Colourless, 1 Esper)
11 Affinity
8 Abzan Company
7 W/U Control
4 Infect
5 Elves
4 Living End
4 Scapeshift (3 Bring to Light, 1 Classic)
2 Tron
2 Jeskai
2 Dredge
1 Classic Jund
1 Goryo’s Vengeance/Griselbrand Combo
1 Lantern Control
1 Merfolk
1 U/R Storm
1 W/G Wilf-Leaf Liege Aggro
1 W/U Extra Turns

This was a recurring theme this weekend as 43% of the Top 100 decks were Eldrazi based.  That usually means that the power level of the deck is severely skewed.

Top 32

18 Eldrazi (12 UW, 4 RG, 1 UR, 1 Bant)
4 Abzan CoCo
4 Living End
1 RG Tron
1 Dredge
1 Affinity
1 Lantern Control
1 Goryo’s Vengeance
1 Jeskai

So we have 50% of the top 32 decks from this event are some form of Eldrazi.  If you take the Top 3 decks of this Top 32, they made up a total of 75% of the metagame.  In a typically balanced format, usually the top 3 decks of the format make up around 30-40% of the total field.  These numbers suggest a massive problem.

Top 8

3 Living End
3 Eldrazi (2 UW, 1 RG)
1 Dredge
1 Abzan CoCo

Finals was a UW Eldrazi mirror.

The decklists that caught my eye from this event were a Jeskai list (with a standard all star in it) and a Dredge list.

Let’s look first at Jason Chung’s 8th place Dredge deck:

Vengeful Pharaoh - Igor Kieryluk

Vengeful Pharaoh – Igor Kieryluk

4 Squee, Goblin Nabob
4 Bloodghast
3 Vengeful Pharaoh
1 Golgari Brownscale
1 Stinkweed Imp
1 Golgari Grave-Troll
1 Necroplasm

1 Deadly Allure
4 Faithless Looting
4 Life from the Loam
3 Conflagrate
2 Lingering Souls
4 Darkblast
4 Zombie Infestation

1 Mountain
1 Swamp
1 Forest
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Bloodstained Mire
2 Blood Crypt
1 Stomping Ground
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Temple Garden
4 Ghost Quarter
1 Vault of the Archangel

Sideboard

4 Ancient Grudge
3 Ray of Revelation
2 Memory’s Journey
4 Thoughtseize
2 Raven’s Crime

This list is very interesting. The deck abuses Flashback, recursion, and dredge mechanics to give the player an incredible advantage. Stinkweed Imp and Vengeful Pharaoh make attacking difficult.

Aidan Frisch finished 32nd with this interesting Jeskai list:

Pia and Kiran Nalaar - Eric Deschamps

Pia and Kiran Nalaar – Eric Deschamps

1 Ajani Vengeant
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
3 Restoration Angel
1 Vendilion Clique
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Wall of Omens

2 Cryptic Command
2 Electrolyze
2 Lightning Helix
3 Mana Leak
2 Remand
1 Think Twice
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile
2 Spell Snare
1 Detention Sphere

4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Sacred Foundry
2 Steam Vents
3 Island
1 Mountain
1 Plains
3 Celestial Colonnade
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Desolate Lighthouse
1 Ghost Quarter
2 Sulfur Falls

Sideboard

1 Spell Snare
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Keranos, God of Storms
2 Stony Silence
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Negate
1 Dispel
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
1 Shatterstorm
2 Supreme Verdict
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Vandalblast

Pia and Kiran Nalaar? I hear that they are good against Infect and are really effective if you get more than just the 2 tokens out of them with Restoration Angel.

———-

Next up is GP Bologna which had 2181 players registered for the event.  Of those. 694 players made day 2.

Top 100 Archetypes

Reality Smasher - Jason Rainville

Reality Smasher – Jason Rainville

39 Eldrazi (26 W/U, 11 R/G, 1 G/U, 1 G/W)
11 COCO (10 Abzan, 1 Bant)
9 Affinity
9 W/U Control
7 Living End
4 Bring to Light Scapeshift
3 Abzan Chord
2 Elves
2 Lantern Control
2 Merfolk
2 Naya Burn
2 Urzatron
1 8-Rack
1 Abzan Midrange
1 Ascendancy Ascension
1 Goryo’s Vengeance
1 G/U Infect

Top 32

17 Eldrazi (4 RG, 10 WU, 1 Bant, 1 WG, 1 UR)
3 Living End
3 CoCo (2 Abzan, 1 Bant)
2 Bring to Light Scapeshift
2 Affinity
1 Ad Nauseam
1 GW Tron
1 Ascendancy Ascension
1 UR Storm
1 WU Control

Here again, 17 of 32 decks were Eldrazi flavored.  Add the next two highest placing archetypes and we have 23 of 32 for a total of 71% of the metagame.

Top 8

5 Eldrazi (2 RG, 3 WU)
1 Affinity
1 Living End
1 Bant CoCo

UW Eldrazi mirror finals.

So the two decks that I noticed here were Living End and Ad Nauseam.

Alessio Lin played this Ad Nauseam list to a 29th place finish:

4 Simian Spirit Guide

Ad Nauseam - Jeremy Jarvis

Ad Nauseam – Jeremy Jarvis

4 Sleight of Hand
4 Serum Visions
4 Ad Nauseam
4 Angel’s Grace
3 Spoils of the Vault
2 Lightning Storm
1 Slaughter Pact
3 Pact of Negation
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Pentad Prism
3 Phyrexian Unlife

2 Darkslick Shores
2 Seachrome Coast
3 Temple of Deceit
1 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Watery Grave
1 Hallowed Fountain
2 Polluted Delta
1 Flooded Strand
3 Gemstone Mine
1 Tolaria West
1 Swamp
1 Plains
1 Island

Sideboard

1 Slaughter Pact
3 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Angelsong
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
2 Silence
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Echoing Truth
1 Laboratory Maniac
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Patrician’s Scorn

Ad Nauseam attempts to use Angel’s Grace and the deck’s name sake card to setup a turn where it draws an absurd amount of cards and then casts Lightning Storm and use all the extra lands to finish an opponent off.

Roberto Biondi placed 16th with this Living End list:

4 Fulminator Mage

Living End - Greg Staples

Living End – Greg Staples

4 Street Wraith
4 Monstrous Carabid
4 Deadshot Minotaur
2 Shriekmaw
3 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Architects of Will
2 Jungle Weaver
1 Ingot Chewer

3 Living End
4 Demonic Dread
4 Violent Outburst
2 Beast Within

4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
1 Blood Crypt
1 Forest
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Swamp
1 Stomping Ground
3 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Watery Grave
1 Mountain
1 Copperline Gorge

Sideboard

2 Shriekmaw
1 Beast Within
3 Ingot Chewer
2 Gnaw to the Bone
1 Brindle Boar
3 Faerie Macabre
1 Jund Charm
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Ricochet Trap

Living End was a popular deck to fight the Eldrazi deck.  Sadly though, they soon learned that Rest in Peace was a problem card if it was landed in the matchup against the Wx Eldrazi.

Next up was GP Detroit with 2555 players.  Of those, 702 players made day 2.

Top 100 Archetypes

Thought-Knot Seer - Svetlin Velinov

Thought-Knot Seer – Svetlin Velinov

47 Eldrazi (26 WU/Bant, 7 Big RG, 7 RG Aggro, 4 UR,  3 Eldrazi Tron)
10 Abzan COCO
5 Infect
4 Living End
4 White-Blue Control
4 Elves
3 Grishoalbrand
2 Affinity
2 Archangel Chord
2 Blue Moon
2 Bogles
2 Lantern Control
1 Ad Nauseam
1 Esper Rally
1 Gifts Storm
1 Jund
1 Merfolk
1 Mono-Blue Tron
1 Naya Burn
1 Naya Kiki Combo
1 Red-White Burn
1 Scapeshift
1 Soul Sisters
1 Storm
1 Blue-Red Delver

Are we noticing a degenerative patter here?  All 3 major Modern events with the top deck at 47%, 39%, and 42% respectively.

Top 32

19 Eldrazi (7 RG, 7 UW, 1 Eldrazi Tron, 2 Bant, 1 Esper, 1 Colorless)
6 Abzan CoCo
2 Elves
2 Storm
1 UW Control
1 Bring to Light Scapeshift
1 Bogles

With 19 of the top 32 decks, Eldrazi had 59.3% of the Top 32 metagame.  Add that to next two archetypes and you get a whopping 84.3%.

Top 8

6 Eldrazi
2 RG
4 UW
1 Storm
1 Abzan CoCo

Finals were Abzan CoCo vs UW Eldrazi with Abzan CoCo winning the finals of GP Detroit.

So the strategies that seemed to work better against the Eldrazi laden field was to simply be faster than them.  One of the big decks that could do that was Elves.

Two lists made the Top 32 (Andrew Baeckstrom at 20th decklist below, Reid Duke at 32nd)

Chord of Calling - Karl Kopinski

Chord of Calling – Karl Kopinski

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Heritage Druid
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Dwynen’s Elite
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Shaman of the Pack
2 Ezuri, Renegade Leader

4 Collected Company
4 Chord of Calling

4 Cavern of Souls
4 Gilt-Leaf Palace
2 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
2 Horizon Canopy
1 Pendelhaven
1 Windswept Heath
1 Overgrown Tomb
3 Forest

Sideboard

1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
1 Reclamation Sage
2 Fracturing Gust
2 Scavenging Ooze
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
1 Chameleon Colossus
3 Dismember
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Burrenton Forge-Tender
1 Thoughtseize

The deck doesn’t even have to attack to win as it can tutor up Shaman of the Pack which was a great idea against Ensnaring Bridge.

The other deck in the Top 32 that caught my eye was a decklist that we really haven’t seen that much of recently, UW Control.

Raymond Perez, Jr finished 10th with the following list:

Supreme Verdict - Sam Burley

Supreme Verdict – Sam Burley

1 Gideon Jura
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Jace, Architect of Thought

3 Snapcaster Mage

4 Supreme Verdict
3 Condemn
4 Path to Exile
4 Remand
2 Cryptic Command
1 Sphinx’s Revelation
1 Crucible of Worlds
4 Spreading Seas
2 Detention Sphere
1 Oblivion Ring

2 Hallowed Fountain
4 Island
3 Plains
1 Mystic Gate
1 Tectonic Edge
3 Glacial Fortress
4 Ghost Quarter
4 Flooded Strand
4 Celestial Colonnade

Sideboard

1 Dispel
1 Negate
2 Stony Silence
1 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Baneslayer Angel
2 Timely Reinforcements
2 Rest in Peace
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Wrath of God
1 Fracturing Gust
1 Disdainful Stroke

Raymond designed this deck brilliantly to pray on Eldrazi with the mana denial (Spreading Seas, Ghost Quarter, Tectonic Edge, Crucible of Worlds) and plenty of sweepers (Supreme Verdict, Detention Sphere, Wrath of God) and pin point removal (Condemn, Path to Exile, Oblivion Ring).

The total of the results for these 3 events means that Wizards is planning on something in April.  Aaron Forsythe stated during the Top 8 that Wizards WOULD take action but he stated that they didn’t want to completely ax the deck.  More on the history of the DCI banned list and how you can tell a card has the potential to being banned in an upcoming article.

“The essence of every world, every spell, and every thought is power. Nothing else matters, because nothing else exists.”
—Nicol Bolas
nicol_bolas@mtgdecktechs.com

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