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Friday, October 20, 2017

Tribal Theme – Not of This World

February 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Deck Ideas, FAQ, In-Depth FAQ

Not of This World

Not from this part of the Town

Hi and welcome to yet another Tribal theme in EDH. Today showcased Tribe is very small and new Creature type – Eldrazi. This group of Creatures is divided into two main groups – the colorless Eldrazi and their colored Drones. The colorless Eldrazi are humongous Creatures which usually ends games quickly for an unlucky opponent. The Eldrazi Drones on the other side are like support, providing the means and ways to cast the bigger Eldrazi. Since mana is going to be develop in long games of EDH, the bigger Eldrazi makes great late finisher for their great power, and being colorless are easily available to all decks. Now you know what they are, let’s have deeper look into this group of “not of this world” Creatures.

 

Back History:

Rise of Eldrazi Fat Pack

Gods better left asleep

Eldrazi as a Creature type was introduced in Rise of the Eldrazi, the last expansion set of Zendikar block. The set was special in that it broke away from traditional block structure of one big set followed by two small sets. Rise of the Eldrazi was a large expansion set and breaks away in mechanics of the first two sets of Zendikar block. All the themes of Landfall, Land matters, Allies, Quests Enchantments are all not present in Rise of the Eldrazi. Replacing all those were a new Creature mechanic called the Levelers and the Eldrazi.

Story wise, the Eldrazi are native to the Blind Eternities (the void in between Planes). They neither have physical form nor color alignment. They have ceaseless hunger and travel between Planes to devour the Planes of its mana and life energy till that Plane’s destruction. All Eldrazi descend from one of the three Eldrazi Titans:Emrakul, Ulamog, and Kozilek. They were trapped millennia ago by three Planeswalkers; Sorin Markov, Ugin and an unnamed Lithomancer on Zendikar. Their plan was for Sorin to lure the Eldrazi to Zendikar and allow Ugin to bind them with its colorless magic, while the Lithomancer constructed a planewide prison to imprison the Eldrazi.The plan worked initially and the Eldrazi were trapped on Zendikar for many centuries before awakening again, wrecking havoc upon Zendikar. During which they were able to enslave an entire Vampire race. It was probably during this time that the natives of Zendikar had the memory of the Eldrazi which was later translated into them being great gods. Although able to break free of their prison, they were unable to return to their true form and escape Zendikar. The three Planeswalkers returned and sealed the Eldrazi once again, vowing to return should the Eldrazi will to stir again. During the events of Rise of the Eldrazi, Nicol Bolas had arranged for Sarkhan to stay watch over the Eye of Ugin where the Eldrazi prison is, awaiting the arrival of Jace and Chandra. The gathering of the three Planeswalkers caused the Eldrazi to again awaken and this time only Sorin returned to Zendikar without his two companions. Without any choices, he teamed up with Nissa Revane to seal Eldrazi only to have her betray him at the last moment, leading the Vampire Planeswalker to leave and left the Elf Planewalker and Zendikar to fare for themselves. The Eldrazi Titans had left Zendikar now, but their brood lineage are still on the Plane sucking its essence, leaving Nissa regretting her betrayal to Sorin. She had since vow to leave and never return till she find a way to save Zendikar.

Pathrazer of Ulamog

Unstoppable Force of Unnatural

 

All of the colorless bigger Eldrazi have the Annihilator ability and huge power, toughness and casting cost. Because of their colorless color identity, any EDH deck can play them as a game ender. Artisan of Kozilek is the best of this lot as it pulls a Creature from its caster graveyard to the battlefield when it is casted, effectively a one for two card trade. The color aligned Eldrazi Drones on the other hand are much smaller in power, toughness and casting cost. They served as support to cast the bigger Eldrazi, by producing tokens called Eldrazi Spawn, colorless 0/1 Creatures which can be sacrifice for 1 mana. The Eldrazi Drones usually either has an Eldrazi Spawn producing ability or an ability interacting with the Eldrazi Spawns, eg. Broodwarden.

 

History of the Three

The three Eldrazi Titans which all Eldrazi descended from were mistaken as the ancient gods of Zendikar. Due to the length of time passed, they were regard as the gods of the numerous races on Zendikar. In truth, they are the doom of all and nothing the likes of the gods the people of Zendikar worshipped. All the Three Titans have the replacement ability of shuffling itself and its owner’s graveyard back to the library when they go to the graveyard from anywhere. This is sort of a preventive measure to prevent the abuse of the Eldrazi titans in reanimator decks. Also this could also be view as a mean to replenish your library, a Mill deck’s worst nemesis.

 

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

The Powerful is destined to be forever alone….

Emrakul is the largest and most fearsome of the Three. It is the inspiration of the Zendikar Merfolk Sky god Emeria, also called Kamsa by the Kors. Emrakul causes silent terror wherever it soars, embodying desolation, emotional and physical distance, chill of the void, and the terror of being alone. Emrakul lineage is characterized by fleshlike lattice structures, uneasy bilateral symmetry, and tentacles which end in knobby, vestigial digits. Like a spongy alien baleen, the lattice respires independent of the Eldrazi itself, supporting a host of unseen mite-like Creatures within. Like Emrakul, some within this lineage float above the ground and also using unknown powers to alter the surrounding gravity too.

 

Emrakul’s Annihilator is 6, which means that the defending player has to sacrifice 6 permanents even before deciding what to throw at the 15/15 Flying monstrosity to block it. Adding to all that, Emrakul also has Protection from colored spells; uncounterable; and grants its caster an extra turn when casted. As a general, this is one mad powerhouse. And all those abilities had warrant a ban for Emrakul in EDH. This is quite understandable as EDH is about having fun and Emrakul is everything but fun. We had our chance in our play group to witness Junlin using the power of Emrakul as a general before it got banned, and it was not a pleasant game. We have to constantly keep watch on him while every other spell he played was either an Artifact ramp or colorless board controller. Reaching 15 mana was not a difficult task at all. It was an either take him out first or get killed situation. It became apparently then why Emrakul was banned eventually even though playing it as General would mean a colorless EDH deck. Below are the Eldrazi and Eldrazi Drones linked to Emrakul.

Emrakul’s Lineage

Nest Invader

Eldrazi Drone

2/2

Produces an Eldrazi Spawn as it enters the battlefield.

Emrakul’s Hatcher

Eldrazi Drone

3/3

Produces three Eldrazi Spawns as it enters the battlefield.

Hand of Emrakul

Eldrazi

7/7

Annihilator 1. Alternate casting cost of sacrificing four Eldrazi Spawn.

 

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Answer and Problem at the same time

Ulamog’s name was forgotten over time and half of its name came to be known as the Zendikar Merfolk sea god Ula. It is the symbol of plague, the blind bonds between parasite and host, and overabundance. It is both creation and destruction wrapped in unholy harmony. Ulamog’s lineage is characterized by dense mass of suckerless tentacles, multiple withered arms bifurcated at the elbow, and most unsettling and characteristic of all, the eyeless bony plates in inhuman but vaguely facial forms over the face. The ravenous and brutish Eldarzi of this lineage lurch and shudder over the ground, adept at spreading disease and draining from psyches as well as the life force of their victims.

 

Ulamog’s Annihilator is 4, a bit smaller than Emrakul. The bonus for casting it is the ability to destroy target permanent. Its casting cost is also by no means low at a whopping 11. But after you manage to cast it, you will have an indestructible 10/10 monster on your side. Since Emrakul is banned, Ulamog is the second best Eldrazi Commander for its Vindicate-like casting ability. Taking out a permanent as you lie down yourself is quite powerful if you had gone with Artifact mana ramping route to cast it out. Considering that since it is your General, it would be easily accessible to cast as long as you have the mana. Although it would be better to use it as a normal Creature and let the next Titan be the Commander. We will come to that next. Below are the Eldrazi and Eldrazi Drones linked to Ulamog.

Ulamog’s Lineage

Ulamog’s Crusher

Eldrazi

8/8

Annihilator 2. Must attack each turn if able.

Pathrazer of Ulamog

Eldrazi

9/9

Annihilator 3. Can’t be blocked except three or more Creatures.

Spawnsire of Ulamog

Eldrazi

7/11

Annihilator 1. 4: Put two Eldrai Spawn onto the battlefield. 20: Cast any number of Eldrazi cards you own from outside the game without paying their mana costs. (This means cards in your sideboard)

 

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth

Ever Ready to Teach the Importance of Card Advantage

Kozilek is the inspiration of Zendikar Merfolk trickster god Cosi. This could be due to its natural as a reality-slicing abomination of relentless insanity. Kozilek represents themes of deception, puzzles, lies, mind domination, transformation, and experimentation. Sages refer to Kozilek as the confusion of panic, trap of enigmas, and the harrower of thought. Lineage of Kozilek have many eyes growing near the joints or along body ridges. Jagged plates or blades of lustrous black material juts from or floats around their bodies. They usually have animalistic or insectoid anatomies covered in tough carapace. The Drones can absorb life just by their presence, but prefer to rend flesh with their onyx-like projection.

 

Like Ulamog, Kozilek’s Annihilator is also 4. Its casting cost though is the lowest among the Three at 10; however it is bigger at 12/12 as compare to Ulamog. The reason we mentioned earlier why Kozilek is a better Commander than Ulamog is due to the casting bonus of drawing four cards when you cast Kozilek. Card advantage is a very vital in MtG and EDH is no less the same. As Eldrazi are usually the late game plays, Kozilek could be used as a hand refiller during then when you had cleared your hand. Also due to its casting cost for being easier to reach by 1 than Ulamog, you could cast Kozilek a bit earlier. Sometimes that 1 mana is all the difference that you need to cast other spells to win the game. Also the fact that it is bigger than Ulamog at 12/12 makes it easier to finish off opponents. Below are the Eldrazi and Eldrazi Drones linked to Kozilek.

Kozilek’s Lineage

Dread Drone

Eldrazi Drone

4/1

Produces two Eldrazi Spawns as it enters the battlefield.

Kozilek’s Predator

Eldarzi Drone

3/3

Produces two Eldrazi Spawns as it enters the battlefield.

Broodwarden

Eldrazi Drone

4/4

Pump your Eldrazi Spawns by +2/+1.

Rapacious One

Eldrazi Drone

5/4

Trample. Produces a Eldrazi Spawn for each combat damage it dealt.

Artisan of Kozilek

Eldarzi

10/9

Annihilator 2. Casting bonus of returning a Creature from graveyard to battlefield.

It That Betrays

Eldarzi

11/11

Annihilator 2. Gain control of nontoken permanents sacrificed by your opponents.

 

 

Casting the Hard Way

Eldrazi as a whole tribe consist mainly of three colors; Black, Red, and Green, that is if you did not choose the Eldrazi Titans as your Commander. But for the adventurous, it is not totally impossible but requires a lot of work in the Land portion since the Lands you are using can only be producing colorless mana. It is to be noted that if you used an Eldrazi Titan as you Commander, as long as a color mana symbol is on the Land, you cannot use said Land for your deck. Most 5c Lands could be used because they do not used mana symbols on them. Below are a couple of Lands which you could use when you chose one of the Eldrazi Titans as your Commander.

Lands

Remarks

Ancient Tomb / City of Traitors / Crystal Vein / City of Shadows / Temple of the False God / Urza’s Power Plant / Urza’s Mine / Urza’s Tower / Scorched Ruins

All these Lands produce more than 1 mana. Makes it easier to cast out the man ramping Artifacts and Eldrazi.

Blinkmoth Nexus / Dread Statuary / Inkmoth Nexus / Mishra’s Factory / Mutavault / Stalking Stones / Zoetic Cavern

All could be become a Creature to attack.

Gods’ Eye, Gate to the Reikai / Gargoyle Castle / Springjack Pasture / Urza’s Factory

All could produce a Creature token once or repeated times.

Desert / Quicksand / Rath’s Edge

Can be used as damage source to Creatures or Players or Creature removal.

Dust Bowl / Ghost Quarter / Strip Mine / Tectonic Edge / Wasteland

All could be used to destroy Lands, either any or just nonbasic.

Petrified Field

Can be use to retrieve destroyed Land.

 

Urzatron

Set of 7

 

Once you got the Land sorted out, the next step is the Artifact mana sources. Artifact mana are good in that they help to ramp up your mana. This method is very commonly used in EDH regardless of the deck type. Sol Ring was included in all the Commander decks and is the very cost effective for the amount of mana it could produce with its casting cost. EDH multiplayer games are long; therefore it is advantageous for the one with more mana in the late games. Since Eldrazi all have very high casting cost, it will be advantageous to have more mana as soon as possible to be able to cast them. Below are some useful Artifacts you could consider using. These Artifacts can also be use out of Eldrazi Tribal too.

Artifact

Remarks

Altar of Shadows

The initial activation cost is high but benefits increases as you use it. Any Eldrazi is an easy cast by the time it can or near to support its own activation cost. It is to be noted that its color identity is Black due to the Black mana symbol it has in its rule text.

Ashnod’s Altar

Can be used to sacrifice Eldrazi Spawns for more mana.

Basalt Monolith / Grim Monolith / Mana Crypt / Mana Vault / Sol Ring / Thran Dynamo / Worn Powerstone

Relatively low cost Artifact mana producers.

Black Mana Battery / Green Mana Battery / Red Mana Battery

Can store for more mana over time. Black, Red, Green is mentioned here as they are the three main color s where Eldrazi Drones are found.

Everflowing Chalice

Produces more mana as you pay more to kick it.

Dreamstone Hedron / Mind Stone

Mana producers which can be sacrificed later when mana is abundant.

 

Everflowing Chalice

Let the Mana Flow 

 

Cheating Natural

Quicksilver Amulet

Power at No Cost

As mana intensive as the Eldrazi are, you do not have to cast them the hard way all the time. Hand of Emrakul is one example as it has an in-built alternate casting cost. Reanimating them from the graveyard is also one good way to make use of them. Each Eldrazi, except for the Eldrazi Titans, makes good reanimate targets. Below are some cards which you could use to cheat the Eldrazi in.

Card

Desription

Animate Dead / Chainer, Dementia Master / Dance of the Dead / Diabolic Servitude / Living Death / Patriarch’s Bidding / Rise from the Grave / Zombify

Ways to cheat Eldrazi in from the graveyard.

Belbe’s Portal

Choose Eldrazi and throw them out like crazy. Avoid counterspells too.

Call of the Wild / Lurking Predators / Summoning Trap / Zoologist

Cheat Eldrazi in from the library top.

Cryptic Gateway

Use Eldrazi Spawns to drop the big guys out and avoid counterspells too.

Deathrender

Recommended to use Eldrazi Spawns for this as they provide a way to sacrifice them when needed.

Quicksilver Amulet

4 mana for an Eldrazi. At instant speed if needed.

Omniscience

The worst Enchantment to be seen on the opposing side.

Sneak Attack

Sometimes one attack from an Eldrazi is all you need.

Summoner’s Egg

Cheats Eldrazi in as it dies.

 

Going into Colors

Awakening Zone

Growing out of Control

As mentioned earlier, Eldrazi tribe also expends to three colors; Black, Red, and Green. All these colors have ways to produce Eldrazi Spawns which could help in casting the bigger Eldrazi. Most of them do more than just producing Eldrazi Spawns and are even worth including into non-Eldrazi Tribal decks, just so for the Eldrazi Spawns which make good chump blockers or extra mana sources.

Name

Type

Remarks
Awakening Zone

Enchantment

Gets one Eldrazi Spawn at each of your upkeep.
Brood Birthing

Sorcery

Gets one Eldrazi Spawn normally. Gets three instead if you already has one when casting the spell.
Corpsehatch

Sorcery

NonBlack Creature removal and Eldrazi Spawn producer at the same time.
Essence Feed

Sorcery

Drain for 3 life and get three Eldrazi Spawns.
Growth Spasm

Sorcery

Land ramp and get one Eldrazi Spawn.

Pawn of Ulamog

Creature

Controller gets an Eldrazi Spawn as it or another nontoken Creature controller control dies.

Spawning Breath

Instant

Small damage spell which gets you one Eldrai Spawn.

 

Anyone Can Play Us

All Is Dust

Let there be Nothing

The natural color for Eldrazi is colorless, not belonging to any color of MtG. Therefore any EDH decks can use them as we mentioned earlier as their finisher. But the story will be different if you are using Eldrazi Titans as your Commander. All your spells will also be colorless. This is made possible by using Artifact to help out with the board control. Following are some cards which could be consider for Eldrazi Tribal. They could also be used out of Eldrazi Tribal theme if so needed.

All Is Dust

Powerful sweep which sweep all colored permanents.

Eldrazi Conscription

Changes any Creature into a super powerhouse.

Nevinyrral’s Disk

Board sweep all Artifacts, Creatures, and Enchantments.

Not of This World

Voltron protector since most Voltron Creature grows to immerse sizes.

Oblivion Stone

Best selective board sweeper of nonLand permanents. Mana intensive though.

Powder Keg

Selective board sweeper for Artifacts and Creatures. A good mental stop as opponents might not cast things which might destroy when you activate it.

Ratchet Bomb

Almost the same as Powder Keg but sweeps nonLand permanents instead of just Artifacts and Creatures.

Skittering Invasion

Makes a bunch of chump blockers. Combo with token increasing effects to maximize effect.

Steel Hellkite

The best selective board sweep on a single opponent.

 

Combos:-

Here are some combos worth including in an Eldrazi Tribal deck: –

Cards

Combo

Awakening Zone + Parallel Lives / Doubling Season / or both

Double the amount of extra blockers and mana.

Skittering Invasion + Parallel Lives / Doubling Season / or both

This combo is effectively a 7 mana for 10 tokens for the first enchantment; and 20 tokens for both.

Deathrender + Greater Good + Token Producer Creatures (Ambassador Oak / Avenger of Zendikar / Broodmate Dragon / Caller of the Claw / Deranged Hermit / Dread Drone / Emrakul’s Hatcher / Guardian of Cloverdell / Hearthcage Giant / Kozilek’s Predator / Marsh Flitter / Nest Invader / Sengir Autocrat / Siege-Gang Commander / Skeletal Vampire / Worldspine Wurm / Wort, the Raidmother)

Besides being use to cheat in the Eldrazi, Deathrender could also be used to create a horde of token if you are lucky enough. Pawn of Ulamog can be added to the mix to produce more Eldrazi Spawn for mana to switch the Deathrender if need to. Throw in Eldrazi Monument or Akroma’s Memorial for the kill. Eldrazi Titans can also be use to refill your library if you are afraid of over drawing. This combo is much deadlier in normal variant and easily infinite possible.

It That Betrays + Annihilator

Gets everything your opponents are forced to sacrifice when your Eldrazi attack.

All Is Dust + It That Betrays

Like pouring salt onto the wounds of your opponents when you sweep and claim their boards.

Omniscience + Kozilek, Butcher of Truth

Reap the rewards for casting Kozilek on the same turn.

Eldrazi with Annihilator + Rite of Replication

One of the most commonly seen Blue spell for the play groups I had been to here, Rite of Replication copies any threats on the battlefield and when kicked; makes a ton of the threats. Any of the Eldrazi with Annihilator is a major headache for your opponents. So it is of no wonder how much hate you will generate when you cast a kicked Rite of Replication on one.

 

Recommended Generals:-

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth – Provides the most up front rewards for casting it; and also bigger and easier to cast than Ulamog.Kozilek, Butcher of Truth

 

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre – Permanent removal made easily available when chosen as Commander.Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

 

Rakdos, Lord of Riots – As discussed in the Commander Review, his cost reduction is a combination made in heaven with the Eldrazi. A normal attack from Rakdos alone would minus 6 mana cost off all your Creatures which makes a lot of the Eldrazi, even up to the Eldrazi Titans affordable to cast. If you used mass damage spells in a multiplayer game, all your Eldrazi might be even free to cast. Good way to put a BIG target board on your head.Rakdos, Lord of Riots

 

Braids, Conjurer Adept – Although this might be seen as a dangerous threat to allow your opponents to put stuff onto the battlefield, the color identity of this Braids compensates that by having cards which can help you to control your opponents. As this Braids is a Group Hug General, few opponents would take you out (if they do not already know what is coming) and if you time your threats right, it would be too late for them to react. Using this Braids as General is also a good outlet to get out the Artifact mana ramp to cast the Eldrazi; or even getting the Eldrazi onto the battlefield for free as well.Braids, Conjurer Adept

 

Kresh the Bloodbraided – Solely recommended here for his color identity which allows all the Eldrazi Drones and Eldrazi Spawn related cards to be played. Kresh also benefits from the Eldrazi’s Annihilator when the defending player sacrifices Creatures.Kresh the Bloodbraided

 

Gods or Destroyers:-

Eldrazi Conscription

Feeling End of the World at your Door Step

Although a small tribal group, Eldrazi are pretty decent group to play on a whole. Each is a big threat that no one want to face on the other side of the table. Most of the bigger Eldrazi are already in most EDH decks acting as support to the deck as finisher or bomb spell. One such example is the Artisan of Kozilek, which I had seen in a lot of the decks in our group, chosen for its power and reanimating ability. Due to their late introduction and only available in one set, they will require some assistance to make it into a Tribal deck. It is not really a Tribe we are aiming for here for them but rather the power they provide in Annihilator. As those with Annihilator are colorless, any EDH decks can just use them. And with that, we shall end today article here and let you digest and explore a bit more of the Tribe. So till our next article…..

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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