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Budget Magic: $98 (48 tix) Standard Post-Rotation Mono-Blue Eldrazi


Hyvää päivää Budget Magic lovers! It's that time once again. This week we are doing something a little bit different. I've had quite a few people ask for some Standard Budget Magic since we've spent the last three weeks in Modern, but I had a dilemma: We are just two weeks away from rotation. It didn't seem right to make a sweet budget deck, only to have it be irrelevant in a fortnight.

I decided if I was going to play Standard, the deck was going to be playable post-rotation. Fortunately, Mono-Blue Eldrazi gives us a unique opportunity to make a strong post-rotation list. Not only is it competitive in the current Standard format, which means it should be better post rotation, when the overall power level of the format drops, but it doesn't really get any new cards (except for some sideboard stuff) from Shadows over Innistrad. If you build this deck, you'll not only be ready to go to your first tournament after rotation, but you have a list you can play today, and a list you won't have to add much (or any) money to in coming months.

The other thing that's great about Standard Eldrazi is that once you own the core pieces, you have the ability to play four or five different decks for minimal financial investment. By putting out $100 to buy Thought-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher, Eldrazi Mimic, Matter Reshaper, Hedron Crawler, and some relatively inexpensive colorless lands, you can easily and cheaply play Mono-Blue Eldrazi, Mono-Red Eldrazi, Mono-Black Eldrazi, Blue-Red Eldrazi, Black-Green Eldrazi, and a bunch of other color combinations as well.

One more piece of news: We'll be starting a Weekly MTGGoldfish Stream featuring Budget Magic and Against the Odds decks. If you ever wanted to come ask questions or make suggestions, here's your chance! Drop by our twitch.tv/mtggoldfish channel Thursday March 24 from 4:00-6:30pm Eastern!

Let's get to the videos, then I'll talk more about Post-Rotation Mono-Blue Eldrazi. 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.

Post-Rotation Mono-Blue Eldrazi Intro

Mono-Blue Eldrazi vs Esper Dragons

Mono-Blue Eldrazi vs Four-Color Rally

Mono-Blue Eldrazi vs Mono-Blue Eldrazi

Mono-Blue Eldrazi vs Four-Color Dragons

Mono-Blue Eldrazi vs Temur

The Deck

Mono-Blue Eldrazi walks the line between aggro and midrange. Sometimes we play a bunch of powerful two-drops, pump them up with Ruination Guide, and win quickly. Other times we play a bunch of Thought-Knot Seers, strip our opponent's hand, and win the long game. It's this flexibility, the ability to pivot from aggro to controlling midrange, that makes the list so powerful.

The Foundation

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These three cards are the foundation of not only Mono-Blue Eldrazi, but all of the midrange / aggro builds of Eldrazi in Standard. While they are also the most expensive cards in the deck, once you buy these cards (and a few others) you are most of the way to playing a bunch of different decks. Whether you want to play Mono-Blue, Mono-Red, Mono-Blue, or a two color build, these cards will be four-ofs in just about any build of Eldrazi you can find.

Eldrazi Mimic is our nut draw card. While it's not all that powerful on its own, when we go turn two Eldrazi Mimic, turn three Eldrzi Mimic, turn four Thought-Knot Seer, take our opponent's best card, attack for eight, turn five Reality Smasher attack for 19, it is really hard to lose. 

Thought-Knot Seer has a reasonable body (that gets better once Siege Rhino rotates), while also allowing us to Thoughtseize away our opponent's best card when it enters the battlefield. While it's annoying our opponent gets to draw a new card if they kill Thoguht-Knot Seer or bounce it with Reflector Mage, we still come out ahead in this exchange since we end up replacing our opponent's best card with a random draw. 

Reality Smasher is a powerful and resilient threat. Not only does it turn our Eldrazi Mimics into 5/5's, but it attacks for five itself, with haste. Better yet it's really hard for an opponent to block or kill it profitably, thanks to the "when it's targeted by a spell an opponent controls, counter if unless they draw a card" trigger. Our opponent getting rid of it with Ruinous Path or Anguished Unmaking will always be a two-for-one in our favor. 

Almost Foundations

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Hedron Crawler shows up in most, but not all builds of Eldrazi. I expect it will see even more play after rotation. While it doesn't do anything on its own, it does make our draws more explosive by allowing us to play Thought-Knot Seer on turn three and Reality Smasher on turn four. Since our deck has a lot of cards that require colorless mana, the fact that it produces colorless mana (which has traditionally been a downside) is a benefit in our deck. 

In all honesty, I'm not sure Endbringer is good enough for Standard, but the card is so sweet I tested it out. After playing a bunch of matches with it, my impression is that it is extremely high variance. Sometimes it kills a bunch of our opponent's creatures, draws us some cards, and dominates the game. Other times I sideboard it out because it feels too slow or fragile. While you don't really need Endbringer to play Eldrazi, it probably isn't a bad idea to have a few copies. Even if you don't need them for your main deck, it could end up being a very good sideboard card for various Eldrazi builds. 

Reasons to Be Blue

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Dimensional Infiltrator and Eldrazi Skyspawner give Mono-Blue Eldrazi something most of the other Eldrazi decks are lacking: a good way to finish the game in the air. While neither is a fast clock, they get the job done eventually. They both benefit from our colorless synergies and are on curve. Plus, Eldrazi Skyspawner gives us an Eldrazi Scion token, which can help us play our Reality Smasher or Endbringer a turn early. 

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While it sounds strange to be excited about a tapper in constructed, Blinding Drone is a super strong card in some matches. As a 1/3 it blocks most of the two-drops in the format. Second, and more importantly, it's one of the best ways to win the Eldrazi mirror. In a Standard where a lot of people are playing Reality Smasher, Thought-Knot Seer, and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Blinding Drone reads, "Pay one colorless: never take damage from your opponent's biggest Eldrazi." Even better, since we are playing some really powerful threats that can end the game quickly, we can pivot and go on the offensive with Blinding Drone, using it to tap down our opponent's biggest blocker. While its value depends on the matchup, I think it's good enough to deserve a main deck slot moving forward. 

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Ruination Guide not only works well with all of our colorless creatures, our deck also plays five lands that produce colorless tokens. While giving a Reality Smasher +1/+0 isn't that exciting, the bigger benefit of Ruination Guide is that it offers our deck an alternate way of winning the game by pumping Thopter tokens, Dimensional Infiltrator, and Eldrazi SkyspawnerWhirler Rogue does something similar. Not only does it produce four power and toughness split across three bodies for only four mana, it gives us another way to break through a ground stall since we can tap the Thopter tokens (or Hedron Crawler) to make a Reality Smasher or Thought-Knot Seer unblockable. 

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Negate gives us a main deck answer to some really hard-to-beat noncreature spells including Chandra, Flamecaller and wraths. Since we sometimes need to going wide with tokens to finish the game, things that can sweep away our entire board are devastating. Negate is essentially a hedge for those situations. Hopefully we never have to cast it, but when we do need to cast Negate, it often wins us a game that would otherwise be unwinnable. 

Other Cards to Own

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While Matter Reshaper didn't make our deck (mostly for budget reasons), it shows up in about half of the various Eldrazi lists. If you're just planning on playing Mono-BlueEldrazi you probably don't need it, but if you are going to branch out to other builds / colors, which we will talk about momentarily, it's probably a good idea to have a playset. 

Hangarback Walker is an honorary Eldrazi at this point because most builds play it. I really would have liked to run it in our deck, but I couldn't get it to fit under budget. While it's not as expensive as it used to be thanks to a Clash Pack reprinting, even at $32 a play set it is a bit too much for our budget, which is already on the high end of Budget Magic with Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher. If you are planning on making Eldrazi your primary Standard deck moving forward, it's worth picking up copies if you don't already.

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The other great part of playing Eldrazi in Standard is you don't need expensive dual lands. Since these decks really need colorless mana to function, pain lands are better than Battle for Zendikar duals or even fetch lands. If you want to explore the various builds of Eldrazi, it is a good idea to have a set of the painlands and other colorless lands like Ruins of Oran-Rief, Foundry of the Consuls, and Sea Gate Wreckage. No matter what color of Eldrazi you want to play, these cards will likely be in your deck. 

Other Post-Rotation Eldrazi Builds

Assuming you already have the Mono-Blue Eldrazi deck, building Mono-Red Eldrazi will set you back another $85, mostly for the Chandra, Flamecallers, Pia and Kiran Nalaars, and Hangarback Walkers. 

Turning your Mono-Blue Eldrazi deck into a Mono-Black Eldrazi build is even cheaper than Mono-Red Eldrazi. Even counting the painlands, the total cost of the switch is around $30.

Adding Red to your Mono-Blue Eldrazi list is extremely cost effective, since most of the additions are either Uncommons or inexpensive Rares. Total cost: less than $30. 

Finally we have Green-Black Eldrazi, which happens to be one of the most expensive builds since it plays Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Matter Reshaper, and Sylvan Advocate. That said, even adding in these expensive Rares, it will only cost you around $80 to build once you have the pieces for Mono-Blue Eldrazi.

Once you have the foundation of Eldrazi, your options are endless. If you get bored playing Mono-Blue Eldrazi, you can pay a few extra dollars and switch to Mono-Black Eldrazi. Even though these decks share many of the same cards, they play quite differently. Mono-Black is more removal / discard heavy, almost like Mono-Black Control. Green-Black is grindy and card-advantage oriented. Mono-Red is likely the most aggressive, since it has Eldrazi Obligator to steal a big blocker. Even though you'll be casting Eldrazi Mimic, Thought-Knot Seer, and Reality Smasher, no matter which colors you play, the decks play differently enough that you won't end up getting bored quickly.

Building an ultra-budget version of Mono-Blue Eldrazi is difficult, mostly because the most expensive Eldrazi are also the most powerful. Downgrading Reality Smasher to Drowner of Hope and Thought-Knot Seer into Spatial Contortion are huge losses, but also necessary to get the deck down to the $30 range. I think this version is probably fine to mess around with on kitchen tables, but I wouldn't expect to have much success without Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher.

Not any huge changes here, really. The biggest addition is four copies of Hangarback Walker, which is too powerful an option to pass up on when budget is not a concern. Hangarback Walker works extremely well well with Ruination Guide, provides protection from wraths and synergizes with Whirler Rogue. It's pretty much the perfect two-drop for the deck. The other big addition is four copies of Matter Reshaper, which like Hangarback Walker gives us some additional resilience against cards like Planar Outburst and Chandra, Flamecaller. While I think this version is better than the list we played in the videos, mostly because Hangarback Walker is insane, the budget list performs nearly as well.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. I was pretty impressed by Mono-Blue Eldrazi. The fact that it could keep up with (and beat) all of the broken cards and mana from Khans block bodes well for its future after rotation. As a budget conscious Standard player, I really believe that investing in some of the more expensive (and playable) Eldrazi is a good idea. I expect these cards are going to be competitive in Standard for the next year. By getting them now, you not only have the option to customize your colors for a small additional investment, you'll have a worthy Standard deck for a long, long time.

As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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