While many decks in Modern attempt to make broken plays by turn 3 or 4, Colorless Eldrazi is only content making broken plays on turn 1 or 2; "Land, pass" is never an acceptable first turn play for us. This is a deck that is extremely aggressive; Attacking, interacting, and yes, even mulliganing, require brutally calculated choices.
Why Play Colorless Eldrazi?
Unlike many of the more linear decks in Modern, this deck is very interactive and requires an understanding of your opponents wincons and options to maximize your chances. The deck has a strong match-up against many of the popular decks in the format, as it can usually overwhelm your opponent with fast, heavy damage, while simultaneously restricting their choices and/or shutting off their outs. The look of shock when you play a Chalice of the Void for 1 on opening turn, or swing for 10 damage on turn 2 is something to behold.
Because of the limitations of using only colorless mana sources, the availability of cheap, colorless eldrazi, and the need for fast, interactive gameplay, the majority of the deck is generally consistent from player to player. There are generally 5 non-land flex spots in the main deck, and about 5 in the sideboard, depending on your meta. The land count in this deck may also seem high for an aggro deck, but many of them are utility or man-lands, which serve alternate purposes to our strategy.
4 Eldrazi Mimic
4 Eternal Scourge
4 Reality Smasher
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Simian Spirit Guide
3 Matter Reshaper
2 Endless One
4 Eldrazi Temple
3 Blinkmoth Nexus
3 Zhalfirin Void
3 Ghost Quarter
2 Blast Zone
2 Gemstone Caverns
1 Scavenger Grounds
Again, most of the deck is locked-in. The lands can be played around with depending on the utility needs of your meta. Generally the flex spots in the above list are the three Matter Reshapers and the two Endless Ones. Alternatives include Smuggler's Copter(1-2 copies) for draw consistency, and Karn, the Great Creator if you transform the sideboard into a toolbox.
The deck thrives on four copies of Chalice of the Void, with the four Simian Spirit Guides and the Gemstone Caverns helping us drop chalice for 1 on our opening turn, effectively shutting down many decks. Four Eldrazi Temples accelerate us with the Spirt Guides so that we can drop Eldrazi Mimic, then into our larger threats to push huge damage in the early turns, while the Dismembers help clear the path for us. A set of Eternal Scourges provides us with recurring threats in the face of removal that let us grind out the match.
The sideboard is a mix of additional removal and hate-specific cards, but is highly flexible to your local meta. Generally the copies of Relic of Progenitus stay consistent, as they perform double duty as graveyard hate and also a means of putting our dead Eternal Scourges back into exile for grindier matches. Ratchet Bomb used to be our only boardwipe available to us, but the printing of Blasting Zone has improved our ability to deal with wide threats. Bomb does stick around though, since Zone can't deal with tokens.
The 4 serum powders help with one of the most fundamental aspect of the deck, which is in the mulligans. I've looked at three copies in light of the new London Mulligan rules, but the consistency loss while mulliganing is a bit more than expected. Speaking of mulligans...
One of the unique aspects of this deck is how aggressive it is when it comes to mulligans. Mulliganing is a tricky skill in Magic and most players tend to be timid when it comes to this decision. Colorless Eldrazi wants us to take full advantage of the mulligan to maximize our early turn plays. If your opening hand is going to dawdle for a few turns before doing anything, you may have already lost the game. We purposely run Serum Powders so that we have a better chance of getting those impressive openers. Unless we know what deck our opponent is running against us, we want that opening hand to drop a turn one Chalice of the Void for 1, or have a strong curve of creatures dropping on turns 1, 2, and 3 fueled by Eldrazi Temple and Simian Spirit Guide.
The London Mulligan rule change has improved our mulliganing as well, by letting us see a full seven cards each time, and even letting us put cards back into the deck before exiling to a Serum Powder! As an example, say you just took your first mulligan and you draw a new seven of: Wastes, Zhalfirin Void, Endbringer, Scourge, Dismember, Powder, and Chalice. This is an underwhelming hand and should not be kept in any circumstance. But while many of the cards are not super important, we do want to keep our chances of a turn one Chalice of the Void up, should we need to mulligan again. The new rule lets us put the Chalice back on the bottom of the library, then we exile the remaining six (including an Eternal Scourge, giving us +1 card advantage) and redraw six new cards from the remaining 54 card deck.
Because of the advantages of this system that let us fish out our broken early plays, We can win games even when mulliganing down to 3 card hands.
Pros and Cons
- Aggressive in the face of non-interactive decks. If our opponent can't block or remove, they'll be overrun in a few turns.
- Has a equal-to-strong match-up against many meta decks. Chalice on 1 as an opening play will keep many decks idling for a few turns while we deply threats.
- Fun and rewarding to learn to play and understand how to combat a variety of decks. Knowing your opponent's gameplan is important for our openers, as well as our interactive cards for removal and hand-disruption.
- Inconsistency is the biggest enemy of Colorless Eldrazi. When the deck is on, it's crushing. But when it strumbles, it falls hard.
- Weak to very grindy matches with mid-range decks that run creatures outside our removal range.