Once again we will have all the videos included in this very article for this week’s Modern Monday! Be sure to let us know whether you like this format better or not.

While I’ve definitely had some success with Eldrazi in Modern, all of that may have come to an end after the banning of Eye of Ugin. Fortunately for us, a pretty unique Bant Eldrazi list reared its head recently at Grand Prix Los Angeles a couple weeks ago.

Instead of Eye of Ugin, the deck used things like Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch to fulfill the same roles as the two-mana-generating Eldrazi land. This isn’t the exact list that made it to the Top 8 in the hands of Pascal Maynard, but instead, was played to a 5-0 finish on Magic Online in the hands of NielsieBoi. The main decks are the same, while there are a few minor changes to the sideboard.

4 Ancient Stirrings
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Breeding Pool
3 Brushland
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Drowner of Hope
4 Eldrazi Displacer
1 Eldrazi Mimic
4 Eldrazi Temple
2 Forest
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Hallowed Fountain
4 Matter Reshaper
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Path to Exile
1 Plains
4 Reality Smasher
2 Spellskite
1 Temple Garden
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Windswept Heath
2 Yavimaya Coast

1 Dismember
1 Eldrazi Mimic
2 Engineered Explosives
3 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Gut Shot
1 Negate
3 Stony Silence
2 Stubborn Denial
1 World Breaker

As you can see, the deck has a very similar strategy to the previous Eldrazi decks that dominated: most notably, getting things like Reality Smasher, Thought-Knot Seer, and Matter Reshaper into play as quickly as possible, and crushing with them.

Let’s see if this version of the deck can still enact that plan.

So a few things have become apparent from our matches. Against other tempo and/or midrange decks, it feels like we’re extremely far ahead; there still doesn’t seem to be efficient ways to deal with some of the best Eldrazi. They can be dealt with, yes, but it’s often very inefficient. However, against the less fair decks, we do seem to struggle a bit. The two decks that we lost to managed to bury us in card advantage and/or selection and planeswalkers. This was hard to deal with, due to our deck mostly lacking disruption.

If our opponent is trying to ultimate a Nahiri, the Harbinger, and we don’t have numerous Reality Smashers or Drowner of Hopes to punch through damage, it’s very likely they’re going to do it. We simply don’t have access to either evasion, or cards like Maelstrom Pulse or Oblivion Ring. Similarly, this was also why the Doubling Season matchup was difficult. If they ever resolved a Doubling Season into a planeswalker who could instantly ultimate, we were in pretty rough shape (re: dead). We just don’t have ways to deal with troublesome permanents that aren’t creatures.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of times that’s fine. There actually aren’t that many decks trying to do degenerate things right now, or decks trying to put permanents that aren’t creatures into play. Against those decks we’re golden. I just worry about the others.

Ultimately, this deck proved that Eldrazi are still going to do what Eldrazi do, and that’s exploit slow starts, or decks that can’t deal with them. We have enough removal to take out problematic threats, and that can make double blocking a very risky proposition. I would definitely run this list again, I would just hope that I don’t run into any of the niche decks I faced again when I do.

Thanks for reading and I’ll catch ya later!

Frank Lepore
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