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Budget Magic: $88 (66 tix) Standard Displacer Combo


Zdravo Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week we can finally start exploring Oath of the Gatewatch Standard, so we are pulling out all that stops and playing an infinite combo deck built around Eldrazi Displacer, Brood Monitor, Altar of the Brood, and Zulaport Cutthroat. While it might sound silly, the deck feels a lot like a Standard version of the too-good-for-Modern Splinter Twin combo. Instead of being all-in on the combo, we are basically a value-heavy Abzan midrange deck that randomly combos off when our opponent least expects it!

Let's get to the videos, then I'll talk more about Displacer Combo. A quick reminder. If you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Displacer Combo Intro

Displacer Combo vs UW Control

Displacer Combo vs GW Tokens

Displacer Combo vs Abzan Aggro

Displacer Combo vs Goblins

Displacer Combo vs UW Tempo

The Deck

In case you didn't catch the video, here's how the combo works. First off, we need an Eldrazi Displacer, which allows us to pay two generic and one colorless mana to "blink" (exile and return to the battlefield) a creature. Second, we need a Brood Monitor, which makes three 1/1 Eldrazi Scion tokens (that can be sacrificed for colorless mana) when it enters the battlefield. With these two cards on the battlefield we can generate an infinite number of "enter the battlefield" triggers and an infinite number of "death" triggers by sacrificing the Eldrazi Scions, using the mana they generate to activate the Eldrazi Displacer, blink the Brood Monitor, and make more Eldrazi Scions. And we can do this over, and over, as many times as we like. Our next step is to simply find a way to win the game with the enter the battlefield or death triggers that the loop generates. Our deck uses Altar of the Brood (for infinite milling) and Zulaport Cutthroat (for infinite life drain). There's also other options like Rot Shambler (infinite power and toughness), Impact Tremors (infinite damage), and Outpost Siege (also infinite damage).

While it might seem like a stretch, my favorite comparison for the Displacer Combo is the now-deceased Modern Splinter Twin deck. Displacer Combo, while having an infinite combo that can win the game on the spot, is by no means an all-in combo deck. In fact, we win a lot of games by valuing our opponent out. Instead of playing a bunch of bad cards to facilitate a combo win, we get to play a bunch of good cards and sometimes combo-off by accident. Similar to Twin, we can sideboard the combo out when the situation calls for it. For example, if we run into an opponent playing a bunch of Hallowed Moonlights or Virulent Plague, we take out of Brood Monitors and some copies of From Beyond. In come a bunch of removal and discard spells, and suddenly we become an Abzan Midrange deck playing Eldrazi Displacer for value.

The Combo

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I have to admit I severely underrated Eldrazi Displacer. I thought it was a good card, but my love of blinking things, value, and combos steered me towards using its ability on my own creatures. As I was playing matches, I found myself consistently amazed at how good Eldrazi Displacer is against a lot of popular creatures in the format.

First off, it will kill Hangarback Walker for only three mana and does so in a way that doesn't result in Thopter tokens. Second, it destroys tokens, including those produced by Wingmate Roc, Linvala, the Preserver, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and Secure the Wastes. Third, it resets some annoying creatures. For instance, we can blink a Goblin Glory Chaser to get rid of the renown counter or blink a Warden of the First Tree to undue all the work our opponent put into leveling it up.

That's not all. Since the creature it blinks enters the battlefield tapped, it can get rid of all kinds of problematic attackers, like Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury and Dragonlord Kolaghan. We can use it to get rid of blockers as well, allowing for a lethal attack. Oh yeah, and it facilitates a Splinter Twin-like infinite combo in Standard. The card is just insane! If you have two Eldrazi Displacers, you can use one to blink the other, making them ridiculously hard to kill.

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Brood Monitor isn't a great card, especially when you consider how much power constructed-playable six drops typically offer (e.g. the Titan cycle or Consecrated Sphinx). However, after playing a bunch of games with it, Brood Monitor is better than it looks. Since we are often a draw step away from winning the game with the combo, Brood Monitor and the three Eldrazi Scion tokens it offers is a really good way to buy a couple of more draw steps. Even without a finisher (Altar of the Brood or Zulaport Cutthroat) we can use Eldrazi Displacer to blink Brood Monitor to make three fresh chump blockers every turn. While we wouldn't play Brood Monitor if it wasn't enabling an infinite combo, just casting Brood Monitor on turn six is less bad than I imagined on paper.

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Honestly, these two cards are pretty much the same in Displacer combo. When we aren't comboing off, Zulaport Cutthroat is clearly the superior card since he actually does something, even if it is just attacking for one, draining a few life points, or eating a Silkwrap. In these situations, Altar of the Brood does nothing. The odds of us incidentally milling our opponent out with a Altar of the Brood is almost zero. When we play it on turn one it is basically a do-nothing that sometimes helps fuel our opponent's delve cards or flips their Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.

On the other hand, Altar of the Brood is better when we are comboing off. There are less artifact destruction spells in Standard than there are creature destruction spells, so it is typically harder to deal with than Zulaport Cutthroat. After playing the deck for a while, my theory is that we slam a Zulaport Cutthroat on turn two (if we don't have any better plays), but I typically avoid playing Altar of the Brood on the early turns because it often helps our opponent more than it hurts them. Instead I hold it until we're close to comboing off.

Tutors

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Catacomb Sifter is a fine three drop, offering three power and four toughness across two bodies. It is even better in an Eldrazi Displacer deck since it can be blinked for value. Even if we didn't have the infinite combo, I would play some number of Catacomb Sifters in our deck. 

A while ago we played RallyFenza in Modern, which was built around using Viscera Seer to scry into combo pieces. Well Catacomb Sifter does almost the same thing in Displacer Combo. With the Eldrazi Displacer / Brood Monitor loop and a Catacomb Sifter on the battlefield we have access to an infinite number of scrys, which means we can "combo off" on our upkeep and scry until we find an Altar of the Brood or Zulaport Cutthroat. While requiring an extra draw step, comboing off with Catacomb Sifter on the battlefield is almost as guaranteed to win as Altar of the Brood or Zulaport Cutthroat.

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From Beyond is another key card to the deck. While it is powerful on its own as an overpriced Bitterblossom that generates mana, the reason we play it in Displacer Combo is because it's a Demonic Tutor for Eldrazi. Basically we can play it on turn four, play Eldrazi Displacer, and sac From Beyond to tutor for Brood Monitor on turn five, and play Brood Monitor on turn six to win the game with the combo. Plus, it can be really hard from some control decks to deal with a 1/1 token for free every turn. In the worse case it makes a bunch of chump blockers to keep us alive while we assemble the combo.

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This one is pretty obvious. Sidisi is a tutor that we can blink with Eldrazi Displacer. Since a lot of our cards make Eldrazi Scion tokens, we usually have a semi-worthless creature to exploit. Plus, it finds anything, which is helpful because From Beyond can only find Eldrazi, and sometimes we need an Altar of the Brood or Zulaport Cutthroat to actually close out the game.

Valuetown

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Siege Rhino and Elvish Visionary are pretty much in the deck to get blinked by Eldrazi Displacer. They are solid cards on their own and integral to our "transform into Abzan Control" sideboard plan for matchups where comboing is difficult. While it may not be as flashy as going infinite with Brood Monitor, blinking a Siege Rhino a couple times is almost as good when it comes to winning the game. Playing Siege Rhino means we don't automatically get overrun by opposing Siege Rhinos, which is good, because the rest of our cards match up fairly poorly to the Rhino. 

Answers

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We have a very minimal removal suite, headlined by Abzan Charm. It's definitely the best of the bunch because it can deal with things like an animated Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. After playing a bunch of matches, we use Abzan Charm to draw cards and exile creatures about equally. Our limited number of answers gives us a small amount of interaction, so we need to try our best to hold them for meaningful threats and not just the first available target.

 

Displacer Combo is actually difficult to downgrade. The best I could do, while keeping the deck functional, was to get it down to $60, mostly by changing up the manabase. The problem is that nearly $15 is locked into the manabase (even the downgraded manabase) because we have to play the painlands to have access to the colorless mana necessary to activate Eldrazi Displacer. Then we have another $25 tied up in the combo and tutors, which the deck can't do without. That said, the ultra budget version shouldn't be significantly worse than the build in the videos.

 

The non-budget version of Displacer Combo gets access to slightly better mana. Now we really can't play 12 fetchlands like Abzan Aggro because we need to keep the 8 painlands for Eldrazi Displacer. We also get a couple Den Protectors, which don't work that well with Eldrazi Displacer, but offer a lot of value and allow us to return a combo piece to our hand. Finally, we get a few sweet one-ofs. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Anafenza, the Foremost are silver bullets to Rally the Ancestors decks and also help the deck perform like a real Abzan Midrange deck when it's not comboing off. Wingmate Roc can can take over the game, especially with Eldrazi Displacer, which can repeatedly blink it to make more Bird tokens.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. My overall impression of the deck is that it's really powerful. You get most of the good aspects of Abzan, plus the ability to randomly combo off. Just like Twin in Modern, the biggest benefit of playing the Eldrazi Displacer / Brood Monitor combo is that it plants the thought in an opponent's head that they could lose at any minute, which changes the way they play the game. For an opponent, tapping out is risky in the late game. We get to use all our mana playing and blinking Siege Rhino and Elvish Visionary while our opponent can only use part of their mana, or risk dying. I'd definitely take this deck to an FNM, and with some upgrades I could imaging playing the combo at a SCG / Grand Prix level event. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestion in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.


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