Last week I took on a different take of Modern Eldrazi. While most builds of the deck are Bant, using Noble Hierarch to power out the big tentacle monsters a turn faster while also pumping them in combat, Cody Lingelbach showed that other builds were possible when he took Black-Red Eldrazi to the Top 64 of Grand Prix Dallas.
Playing that deck last week, I replicated a lot of that success. But I missed having some of the core parts of the Bant build – namely Eldrazi Displacer and Path to Exile. So the wheels started turning. If Bant can play three colors plus colorless, why couldn't we?
Enter Mardu Eldrazi.
I don't usually stick with decks for more than a week for this series, but in this case I think it was worth it. Mardu Eldrazi is a legitimate contender in Modern, and a deck I would be comfortable taking to a large tournament. It has all the early interaction you could want in the form of Lightning Bolt, Inquisition of Kozilek, Relic of Progenitus and even Path to Exile, though that particular one is better late.
The two-drops fill the role of additional removal or crucial mana ramp in the form of Talisman of Indulgence. Like all Eldrazi decks, this one thrives on Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher, and having six ways in Talisman and Eldrazi Temple to play those a turn early is key. There's a world of difference between a third turn Thought-Knot Seer and one that doesn't arrive until the fourth turn.
At the three-drop spot, in this version of the deck we get access to Wasteland Strangler – paying off the synergy with Relic and Path – as well as Eldrazi Displacer, easily the most broken of the eldrazi, if not the flashiest. Being able to displace a Strangler or Thought-Knot Seer is game-changing, and in a worst-case scenario it still serves to protect Reality Smasher.
It also gives us access to the “lock” that Bant Eldrazi has that Black-Red Eldrazi doesn't – Displacer and Thought-Knot Seer. At the end of an opponent's draw step, we can displace the Thought-Knot and stack the triggers so they draw first and then we exile a card. Doing this repeatedly every turn locks them out of playing anything but instants, and often ends the game for all intents and purposes.
Mardu Eldrazi is the real deal. I'm sure my list isn't tuned perfectly right – the sideboard could undergo changes and it's possible we can support a Cavern of Souls by cutting the Arid Mesa. The mana in the deck is obviously worse than the straight black-red version, but to be honest I rarely ran into problems with having access to my colors, including colorless. In fact, cutting the Arid Mesa for a Cavern adds a colorless source while really not even taking away a full white source, since we can use it to cast Displacer, meaning it's just the Paths in the main deck that would suffer from this change, though you typically don't want to cast those until later anyway.
Either way, I'm excited by what we've stumbled onto with this deck, and I'm excited to see if it establishes a place in the metagame moving forward.
Thanks for reading,