Last weekend, I took down the 400-player SCG Classic in Worcester with my tried-and-true Colorless Eldrazi Stompy deck, losing only four games over 12 rounds. I've long championed the deck as a sleeper behemoth in the format, but haven't had much time over the last year to show it off in tournament settings. My previous finishes with the deck include an undefeated record at the SCG Season 1 Invitational and a Top 4 at Regionals last year. This Classic win marks the deck's highest-profile achievement thus far, and is garnering enough attention that I doubt its days in the dark continue.
Notes on the Deck
Little has changed with my list since I completed my mini-primer series on the deck last month, but I have made one fundamental alteration for the Bloodbraid/Jace metagame: Matter Reshaper now entirely usurps Endless One. The unbans make midrange as a whole more aggressive (with Jund leading the charge), and the rest of the format has trended more aggressive to keep up or otherwise go under control decks. Reshaper is one of our best options on the back foot, while Endless shines in a proactive role against disruption-light opponents. Given how the metagame seems to be shaking out, I don't anticipating modifying the new 4/0 split anytime soon.
SCG Worcester Classic - Swiss
Colorless Eldrazi Stompy doesn't just mulligan a lot, it Serum Powders a lot. At the beginning of every game, I'll use a key to simplify relaying die rolls and the mulligans taken by each player. Some examples:
(Play; MPM 5 - 7): I'm on the play. I mull to 6, Powder for 6, and then mull to 5; my opponent does not mulligan.
(Draw): I'm on the draw. Nobody mulligans or Powders.
(Play; P 7ss - MM 5): I Powder for 7 and end up with two copies of Eternal Scourge in exile. My opponent mulligans twice.
Round 1 vs. Bant Company (2-0)
Game 1, W (Play): I open Temple and quickly establish a clock of two Mimics and two Reshapers. Dismember takes care of a mana dork while Mutavault helps apply pressure, and my opponent's turn four Company whiffs enough to make way for a lethal attack.
Game 2, W (Draw; 7 - 6): My opponent keeps a shaky six with Plains, two Ghost Quarters, and no other lands. He Quarters my turn one Eldrazi Temple, which I'm fine with; I actually led with Temple to bait the activation. He then draws one green source, but never finds a second. A pair of Scourges beat him up and absorb Path to Exiles while Dismember chops up Tireless Tracker. I eventually draw Smasher for lethal a turn early.
Round 2 vs. Humans (2-0)
Game 1, W (Draw; 7 - M 6): My opponent starts with Champion of the Parish, which I neglect to Dismember immediately. The instant gets dropped in response to Phantasmal Image the next turn, which leaves him with an empty board. From there, Simian Spirit Guide joins Temple in powering out a turn two Thought-Knot Seer, which sees 2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Meddling Mage, and Reflector Mage. I go for Reflector and start swinging; my opponent wisely calls Reality Smasher with the Meddling.
A few Blinkmoth Nexuses chip away in the air while Thalia after Thalia jumps in front of Thought-Knot and Meddling Mage turns sideways back. My clock is faster, and my opponent laments that he drew all four Thalias that game. As a show of sportsmanship, I don't tell him I had a hand of three uncastable Smashers!
Game 2, W (Draw): Vial comes down turn one, but I respond with Ratchet Bomb. The Bomb ends up trading for Vial alone after denying my opponent a turn of plays, and I meet another Vial and Champion of the Parish. Fortunately, I have a second Bomb, which ends up trading with those two cards. In the meantime, I spot-remove a pair of Hierarchs to keep my opponent from ever reaching three mana, and clock him with Reshaper and Blinkmoth. A final-turn Smasher seals the deal.
Round 3 vs. Burn (2-0)
Game 1, W (Play; P 7 - MM 5): My opponent mulligans to 5 and I Powder into the nut of turn one Mimic, turn two Guide into Thought-Knot, turn three land into other Thought-Knot. Nothing to see here...
Game 2, W (Draw; 7 - M 6): I cast a couple Scourges with Eldrazi Temple instead of slamming Chalice of the Void, waiting for my opponent to fetch himself off green to play around Destructive Revelry. I put him on a bunch of two-drops anyway. I have an opportunity to Chalice on 2 one turn, but prefer to Spatial an Eidolon and get in another hit. A timely Ghost Quarter shuts him off white before Deflecting Palm and Boros Charm can ruin my day, and he dies to a pair of Blinkmoths with me at five life and four two-drops in hand.
Round 4 vs. UW Control (2-0)
Game 1, W (Play): I pair with the same friend I played against at the last "Classic" I won, Noah Andrew, who's been racking up 5-0s online with UW Control. Chalice on 1 handles Path to Exile so Smuggler's Copter can soar over Jace and Wall of Omens (as well as Supreme Verdict) for a handy win in Game 1.
Game 2, W (Draw): Copter comes down again, but is quickly exiled by Detention Sphere. So I resort to piling on incremental hits with Eternal Scourge. Runed Halo ruins that plan, and I topdeck Reality Smasher. Noah has a card in hand, but I'm fairly confident it isn't Cryptic Command, so I cross my fingers and slam the Eldrazi. Smasher does away with him in three turns as he draws into soft permission.
Had we gone to Game 3, I would have brought in Bomb for Halo and Sphere, and cut Powder to hedge against Stony Silence.
Round 5 vs. Affinity (2-0)
Game 1, W (Play): My opponent inadvertently shows me Ornithopter while shuffling up, so I punish her with a blind Chalice on 0. Besides that, I've got two Temples for Thought-Knot into Smasher. When my opponent tries Galvanic Blasting the Seer, Guide exiles for red to Dismember her Vault Skirge and turn off metalcraft.
Game 2, W (Draw; MM 5 - 7): The only land in my five cards is Eldrazi Temple; joining it are Smasher, Scourge, Dismember, and Chalice (which I again stick on 0). I kill a Signal Pest, turning off her Mox, and fade any other payoff cards; my opponent animates her Inkmoth Nexuses each turn to attack me for 2 infect.
Finally, I draw some lands: a Temple, and then a Ghost Quarter. I get to racing with Scourge into Smasher, tapping out the turn cycle before she'd have lethal infect damage; then, Ghost Quarter and Spatial Contortion allow me to remove my opponent's win conditions, baiting Blinkmoth pumps in the process to tap her out.
Round 6 vs. Naya Ponza (2-1)
Game 1, L (Draw; P 7 - 7): Ponza's usually a fine matchup for us, but my opponent replaced his Utopia Sprawls (which make them extra soft to Ghost Quarter) with Tarmogoyfs (which are actually great against us pre-board, and force us to bring in Relic after siding). After Stone Rain deals with Scavenger Grounds, Nahiri, the Harbinger ticks up behind a good ol' fashioned Goyf board stall, and I'm forced to crash my team into his to not die to Emrakul. I die to Inferno Titan instead.
Game 2, W (Play): My opponent has a whopping three Bloodbraid Elves this game, but they're just too slow. Dismember deals with Birds of Paradise and I resolve Thought-Knot on turn three. A couple of Nexuses join the fray as I tick Ratchet Bomb up to 3, preventing him from fading lethal from the Blinkmoths with Blood Moon.
Game 3, W (Draw): I start the game with Gemstone Caverns in play, exiling Eternal Scourge, and Spatial Contortion the Birds on turn one. I Spatial another Birds the following turn. Chandra, Torch of Defiance is the pick off Thought-Knot Seer, which also shows me two Moons, Bolt, and Tireless Tracker, and soon trades for Tracker and a Bolt. My opponent struggles to get to four mana, though, letting me repeatedly attack with a single Scourge and Blinkmoth Nexus, and critically tick Ratchet Bomb up to 1 to destroy yet another Birds on sight.
Round 7 vs. GR Eldrazi (1-2)
Game 1, W (Draw; M 6 - 7): We each have two Temples, but my three Thought-Knots out-muscle his Matter Reshapers. I keep Dismember on call for his impending Smasher, and force bad blocks with one of my own before closing out the game.
Game 2, L (Draw; 7 - MM 5): My okay-not-great seven is no match for his double-Temple five, which pulls far ahead in the damage race when Eldrazi Obligator steals Smasher and puts me to 1.
Game 3, L (Draw; M 6 - 7): This grindy game sees him Crumble to Dust my Eldrazi Temple and then inexplicably leave the rest in my deck. Meanwhile, we trade Scourges and look for bombs. I Thought-Knot two straight Obligators, and fly over an eventual board stall with a Blinkmoth Nexus. But I miss a critical attack one turn to represent blocks for a Bloodbraid Elf after miscounting, when my opponent in fact did not have attacks that turn anyway. He Stirs into Obligator and beats me at 1 life.
When Noah asked me earlier in the day what I didn't want to pair against, my response was simply "Eldrazi Temple decks." Pseudo-mirrors tend to favor whoever draws more Temples, but the other Eldrazi decks all boast mirror-breakers the likes of which Colorless can only dream of (Drowner of Hope; Eldrazi Displacer; Walking Ballista; Eldrazi Obligator).
This match was my first ever against GR Eldrazi, and I think I sided horribly—we definitely want Chalice for Stirrings, which lowers their odds of seeing Obligator and otherwise stunts their development; Mimic blows against Bolt, too. In any case, I was relieved to dodge Collin in the Top 8.
Round 8 vs. UR Pyromancer (2-0)
Game 1, W: After the first of my day's three deck-checks, my opponent gets a game loss for a transparent sleeve.
Game 2, W (Draw): I start with Caverns in play, exiling Scourge, and chase Chalice on 1 (which gets me Bolted) with the 3/3 and a Seer. My opponent bounces the board with Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror and attacks me down to 10. I stick Reality Smasher and attack him back; he hits me down to 3. A second swing puts him too low to make another attack, as I have Mutavault on defense, giving me lethal with another Smasher the following turn.
Round 9 vs. Mono-Green Tron (2-0)
Game 1, W (Play): Mimic into Seer puts the pressure on, but Caleb rips Oblivion Stone to compliment his turn three Tron. I get another big hit in before he passes with Stone mana up, and then swing in with Mutavault for some guaranteed damage. Post-pop, a surprise Temple into Thought-Knot takes the Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger he was all-in on.
Game 2, W (Draw; P 7 - MM 5): I Powder an okay hand with 2 Wastes, Scourge, Temple, Sea Gate Wreckage, and Quarter for a double-Temple opener featuring more cheap threats, while my opponent's fruitful five yields turn-three Karn Liberated. The planeswalker exiles one of my Temples before dying to Matter Reshaper as Eldrazi Mimic goes for Caleb's life points. A topdecked Seer again wraps up the game.
SCG Worcester Classic - Top 8
I have the 2nd seed heading into the quarterfinals and never pair against the undefeated Affinity player, giving me the play in all my Top 8 matches.
Quarterfinals vs. Amulet Titan (2-0)
Game 1, W (Play; M 6 - 7): Caleb from last round tips me off that Ian's on Amulet Titan, so I go hunting for an early Chalice. I find it and stick it, following up with Eldrazi Mimic and a turn three Thought-Knot Seer that shows me 3 Summoner's Pact, Amulet of Vigor, Ancient Stirrings, Forest, and Primeval Titan (the pick). I Ghost Quarter the Simic Growth Chamber and it's all she wrote.
-4 Matter Reshaper
Game 2, W (Draw; PM 6s - 7): Gemstone Caverns exiles Scourge on the draw, and I again resolve a turn one Chalice. Turn two yields Eternal Scourge and a Chalice on 0, but I cannot draw another threat. Scourge chips at Ian's life as I Dismember a couple on-curve Tireless Trackers and Quarter a pair of Growth Chambers. At 1 life, my opponent makes his sixth land drop and taps out for Primeval Titan, searching up Radiant Fountain to go to 3. I rip Temple and resolve Smasher for lethal.
Semifinals vs. Traverse Pyromancer (2-0)
Game 1, W (Play; MM 5 - 7): I lead on Temple, Mimic and have the 2/1 Bolted. My opponent resolves Grim Flayer and I slam Thought-Knot Seer, exiling Young Pyromancer. Another Flayer comes down without delirium and we enter a board stall, with me eventually casting Scourge and him eventually resolving Bedlam Reveler. The Reveler gets Dismembered on the spot, and Reality Smasher follows my late Chalice on 1 to put the game away after some Scourge hits.
Game 2, W (Draw): I keep Scavenger Grounds, Thought-Knot Seer, Dismember, Wastes, Ghost Quarter, Eldrazi Temple, and Blinkmoth Nexus, which causes my opponent's turn one Inquisition to whiff. Relic comes down and keeps his graveyard empty. I resolve Seer and some more guys and kill him.
Finals vs. Gifts Storm (2-1)
Game 1, L (Play): My opener is quite good for Game 1, although it lacks Thought-Knot Seer; I've got Eldrazi Temple, some Scourges, and a couple Dismembers, and manage to attack my opponent down to 5 while killing two mana creatures in a row. But alas, he has the third, and successfully goes off at the last minute.
Game 3, W (Draw): This game takes about 40 minutes, as I fail to produce a threat until something like turn ten. Instead, I use Gemstone Caverns to quickly establish Relic of Progenitus and Chalice on 1, the pair of which eventually get Spreed as I take 1-damage hits from Baral, Chief of Compliance. I follow them up with another Relic and a Chalice on 2, which gets Unsubstantiated. Paul can't go off through the Relic and I manage to resolve the Chalice next turn.
Finally, I stick Eternal Scourge, and Paul's forced to Empty the Warrens for four Goblins. I tap my lucky Caverns to Surgical Extraction the Empty on his end step, essentially ridding his deck of win conditions—he now needed to locate his Engineered Explosives, take out the Chalice, and then go off via Grapeshot through my Relic, all before I found one of my three other Chalices to resolve for 0 or just more pressure. The predicament gave Eternal Scourge plenty of time to chew through all those 1/1s.
After years of writing about the deck, my finish at the Classic seems to have finally woken people up to Colorless Eldrazi Stompy. The strategy's already posted 5-0s in online leagues, including a streamed one by Jim Davis.
I want to go on record as saying I don't think the metagame suddenly favors Stompy, or that the deck was a sweet "meta call" for this event; rather, it's just been la vérité for a while, and continues to excel in a Jace/Bloodbraid format. It's just lacked visibility because I was the only dude on it.
What this new visibility means for Stompy is that more folks will pick up the deck; Scourges will hit the exile, card prices will rise, and Ux decks will figure out a way to beat us (or at least not auto-lose). To those of you thinking of giving Colorless Eldrazi Stompy a spin, I wish you success with the strategy. Be sure to check out my Mini-Primer series on the deck, which covers mulligans, sideboarding, and play tips. Until next time, may you mull to eight!