If you've been playing Modern for the past 18 months or so, chances are you're familiar with the terror inflicted by a first-turn Eye of Ugin. Of course, it was never just the Eye of Ugin. It was the Eye plus the Eldrazi Mimic plus the Endless One plus the Simian Spirit Guide into Matter Reshaper.
In other words, I'm talking about Eldrazi Winter, the dark period after the release of Oath of the Gatewatch that led to the Eye of Ugin banning.
Eldrazi Winter is back.
I saw this list a few weeks ago, and I immediately slotted it into Mining Modern. After all, who can pass up a deck with Serum Powder in it?
No Modern deck – even Jund or Birthing Pod at the top of their games – could match the busted starts of Eldrazi Winter, so when I saw an opportunity to relive those days (though I was fortunate enough to be doing coverage at Grand Prix Detroit 2016 , where six of the Top 8 decks were Eldrazi of various flavors), I jumped at the chance. This deck is basically the uncanny valley of Eldrazi Winter – not anything like the original, but just close enough to make you worried.
Basically, we're looking at the old-school colorless Eldrazi decks minus Eye of Ugin. Of course, Eye was incredibly important to the deck, increasing both the frequency of severity of its broken starts. While we'll never match that with this build, we can match the Eldrazi Temple-fueled starts of the old deck. The problem, of course, is drawing Eldrazi Temple in your opener, which is where Serum Powder comes in. Suddenly, the deck has a bunch of extra ways to get a shot at seven opening cards, which is extremely powerful in a deck running Eldrazi Temple but also Simian Spirit Guide and Chalice of the Void. Chalice on one on the first turn of the game is backbreaking, as is a second-turn Thought-Knot Seer.
Serum Powder is one of the weirder Magic cards ever printed, but it does great work in this deck. In addition to giving you a second chance at a broken opening hand, it also provides value to another odd Modern card: Eternal Scourge. Conveniently an Eldrazi that is resilient to several forms of removal, Eternal Scourge also functions as essentially an eighth card in our hand when we mulligan it away from a Serum Powder. Talk about icing on the Eldrazi cake! Heck, in a pinch Serum Powder can also accelerate the deck into Reality Smasher on occasion.
But wait, there's more! (cue montage). Gemstone Caverns gives us yet another way to ramp by “stealing” the play from our opponent when we're on the draw – and giving more value to exiling Eternal Scourge from our hand. With so many ways to explode out of the gates with early Eldrazi or Chalice of the Void, this deck can put a game away from the very beginning.
The rest of the deck is exactly what you would expect – a greatest hits list of Modern's best colorless lands (Mutavault, Ghost Quarter, Blinkmoth Nexus and Sea Gate Wreckage all make appearances), as well as the broken Eldrazi you've come to expect in Eldrazi Mimic, Thought-Knot Seer, Matter Reshaper and Reality Smasher.
I honestly didn't think we'd see a deck like this have any success in Modern again, but this has the power to steal plenty of games. I won't lie, I hope this deck never becomes “great” again in Modern, but as a fringe deck to toy with, this was an absolute blast I would love to take to Friday Night Magic.
Thanks for reading,