I think Worship is quite useful in the current meta - its good against Burn, Affinity and mostly the Mirror (with applications in fringe matchups - Merfolk, Bogles come to mind) - I think you need to play 1x minimum.
Phantasmal Image sounds worthy of testing - id be interested to hear how it goes - I might give it a whirl on the weekend..
Blessed Alliance is a bit on the meh side - however with DS Jund and Burn around you have to play 2x IMO..
The Gx Tron matchup IMO is pretty much 50/50 - I cant get behind the idea that we are favoured. Impressive SB cards include - Stubborn Denial (I love hitting scrying or Maps - the best feeling is hitting turn 3 Karn!), SS, Pithing Needle (often you have to do this blind in the absence of an early TKS - if you have it in your opener I often name Map - O stone is also a great choice blind). Basically bring in all counters, natural states. Mulligans are crucial - you need to either get fast TKS or have interaction to mess with them getting tron. Your priority is generally stopping Tron, taking O stone and ruthlessly applying pressure - you dont really care as much about Karn, Ugin or Wurmcoil. The TKS + Displacer lock is super strong..
The Eldrazi Tron matchup is def in our favour. Pithing needle (Map, Ballista or Endbringer) and SS are good against them as is Displacer. I bring in Unified Will, natural State and the cards above. You should be faster and more consistent with ramping out dudes while they dither - sure you will lose to their ridiculous natural tron hands but your avg hands are better then their avg hands..
AD NAUSEAM - IMO we are unfavoured. However this (like a lot of matchups) is improved by SB configuration. The more counterspells and cards like SS, Natural State, EE you have the closer it gets to even.
MANA BASE - most lists run 23 lands, 5 dorks - this is probably correct. I prefer 24 lands and 4 dorks - I run GQ and Hallowed Fountain in my 24 land list (2 yavimaya coast). I really dont like talismans (for many reasons that i've stated multiple times) - they originally entered Bant Eldrazi lists in response to the once popular 'Sun and Moon' deck. If Blood Moon concerns you then play Talismans.
ELDER DEEP FIEND - IMO 4x Drowner of Hope and zero EDF is the optimal config of 6 cmc fatties. I tested it months ago and outside of fringe cases Drowner is superior. Furthermore, I do not know of any lists that run EDF that have placed highly in genuinely competitive tournaments.
ELSPETH or Worship - I think Worship is superior to Elspeth in the mirror and outside of the mirror I don't understand the importance of Elspeth.
Skyspawner vs Matter Reshaper - 4x Skyspawner and 1x Resphaper (can be 1x E-Wit) is what I play currently. There is too much Affinity around for me to play less the 4x Skyspawner - also important is the ramp it provides. Side benefits are that it helps against Blood Moon. Matter Reshaper is superior against Burn and arguably GBx (esp traditional Jund) - metadependent call..
EE is often a 1-sided board wipe when set on sunburst = 2. In other matchups it is often the difference against go-wide strategies that Bant can have difficulty beating - Affinity, Small Zoo, Merfolk, Elves etc. Further to this it is the 'swiss-army knife' of removal - hitting artifacts, enchantments that may otherwise lock us out or just need removing to advance the board state optimally.
In summary I would always play a minimum of 2x EE - ratchet bomb is a possible 'budget' option if you dont want to pay for EE..
Interesting points you bring up KevPlace - re. Stony vs EE against Eldrazi Tron. I'll have to re-think bringing in Stony Silence over EE. The increased use of MindStone in addition to your other points has me thinking I need to bring in SS and cut EE..
Id agree with your sentiments. If you are using a higher number of E-Wit or Matter Reshaper - then your gy hate is better off with a higher number of Relic's.
For example when I was running 2 E-Wit and 2-3 Reshaper - all my gy hate was Relics. My more recent builds have 1 E-witness main (or 1 reshaper). With this build im less concerned about the non-bo and am comfortable pushing up to 2x RIP.
My major comment is that you def keep in EE even though there is a non-bo with Stony. Both cards are too powerful against Affinity to leave out. Similarly I bring in Worship. Yes they can play around it with inkmoth or even blow it up with wear//tear - it's still won me plenty of matches despite all of that..
Similarly I would keep in E-Wit against Jund - yes you are bringing in gy hate (mostly relics anyway) but its still worth it for the grind value - if you aren't playing E-wit against an attrition/grindy deck then what are you playing it against?
Regarding the Eldrazi Tron matchup - we are def favoured. They absolutely hate Eldrazi Displacer (displacing Ballista feels pretty good amongst other things you can displace) and good players will try to Needle it. They durdle a lot - we have ancient stirrings and dorks to get things going. We are faster and can get TKS and Smasher down faster. Furthermore, our removal and sb is just superior in every way.
I don't side in Stony against Eldrazi Tron because EE is very strong against them - blow up any hate like Needle or Chalice - you can snag numerous other cards such as Collar, Ballista etc as well. If you play Unified Will you should consider bringing this in, I play Needle and Natural State - you should def bring those in as well if you have them.
Regarding Affinity - I have an overall positive matchup in paper and on MTGO. The 4x Skyspawner build with a reasonable sb IMO is def favoured. However, if you starting shaving hate cards you will be in a bad way - I currently have SS, Natural State, Needle, Worship and 3x MD EE. You def side out 4x TKS as well as any reshapers - Displacer and Drowner is great against them if you can drag the game out.
Regarding Jund - IMO since Jund switched out GY hate for Land hate the matchup has become a lot harder. I think its hyperbolic to say Jund is our easiest matchup. Jund punishes mulligans and applies pressure, combined with the ability to easily kill all our dorks and blow up temples with Mage - if you cant answer Bob quickly you tend to get buried in removal and under certain circumstances Lilli can just lock you out..
Thragtusk is more for locking out and closing the game after stabilizing with worship, and just happens to be a value card too. I'll have to test it and see...
For which is better between Nissa Vital Force, Thragtusk and EWitness, I would say it depends a lot on the meta you're expecting. If Control, Nissa is a practically unstoppable threat to Grixis/Esper Control if she resolves. But, she's a little slow to actually produce Value against BGx, since her 5/5 land likely can't attack into an untapped Goyf/Death's Shadow, and is highly vulnerable to Fatal Push.
I don't think Voice of Zendikar is worth anytyhing to Bant Eldrazi. It's initial bodies arn't even 1/1s, and so produce no pressure what so ever for the first turn or two, and while her Ult is nice, it takes 5 turns to get there, and your tokens will never grow beyond 0/1s while you tick her up. Better to play Gideon and just pump out a steady stream of 2/2s and have a 5/5 waiting for when you need it, or an Anthem for a game winning attack otherwise. Vital Force at least can pull double duty by turning lands into extra attackers, pulling back lands or threats, and provides a lot of late game grinding with her very achievable ult, etc. In many ways, Vital Force is a repeatable EWittness plus a 5/5 attacker, barring needing Ewitness to get back a Path, but that's a very narrow situation.
For Witness, her cheaper cost is helpful, but her body is lackluster, and her upside over Vital Force is negligible unless you REALLY need that Path, or need to cast whatever you got back in the same turn. Since most of what Wittness gets back is going to be 4-5cmc, I don't think its going to come up anyway, but even getting a Displacer to combo with a Thoughtknot/Drowner you already have out costs yet more mana to do anything that turn. Not sold. Nissa's biggest downside is not synergizing with anything our deck is doing. She reliably produces beat sticks even through multiple creature removal spells, but playing something that will synergize with a Displacer might be better.
As far as Thraghtusk goes, wouldn't play him over Worship, but might play him alongside if both Burn and BGx were running my Meta. He combos with Displacer even better than Ewittness does, which is saying a lot, and he is very easy on the mana by only costing one green compared to the two green of all the other cards being dicussed here. Casting Wittness on curve is difficult with no Dork, and while Nissa is better at 5 at that point it is doubtful our Dork survived 3+ turns in play to help us with color fixing. Thragtusk is great against anything in BGx that's NOT Discard--> Goyf--> Lilliana, and even there it will buy us two+ turns to get back in the game.
Sorry I meant to say Nissa, Vital Force (5 cmc bomb) NOT the other Nissa (which is of course not very good in Bant Eldrazi)
Metamorph is a bad topdeck on an empty board state - I think that's why no one plays it. My flex spot in the last 2 weeks has gone to another non-creature spell (Extra EE, Dismember or Blesed Alliance), 1x Reshaper or E-Witness..
I've tried Thragtusk and well - I really don't like playing any bombs out of the sb. Maybe someone can help me understand what bombs are actually good for and why they are better then other sb cards?
Big Elspeth - Good in the mirror - but isn't Worship just better for the mirror? We are already favoured against control and Junk. Against Jund its too slow and with bolt the bird and Fulminator Mage we aren't getting to 6 mana (non-temple) consistently in a timely manner.
Thragtusk - seems good for grindy matchups - but the life gain seems mostly irrelevant - are you really going to beat burn with this card? 5 mana is a lot for what it does. I think id rather obstinate baloth - as it actually is relevant against Burn and is 'good' against BGx. For 5 mana I think Nissa, Voice of Zendikar might be preferable over Thragtusk.
E-Witness - in my opinion this is prob the best 'bomb' for grindy matchups. Early games gets back lands that are Mage'd or helps hit land drops by bringing back a fetch - brings back other important cards to 'grind' in the mid to late game - is relevant against a wider range of matchups - like matchups were you really want an extra EE, path, natural state or just get a fatty back..
Thanks for the report regarding E-Witness. I played the card in GP Brisbane and found it worth the slot at the time - I ws running 2 Matter Reshaper as well.
I'm now back to 4x Skyspawner and given this build and meta I dont play E-Witness anymore. However, I am trying to find a slot in the sb as I agree it is good as your grindy/bomb card. Ive found that cards like Elspeth and World Breaker - just arent good enough against decks that kill all your dorks and blow up your temples - they have performed badly in my hands.
Im currently on 24 lands and 4 dorks (but switch between 23 lands and 5 dorks) - the only utility land I play is GQ (have tested Sea gate, Gavony Township and 2x GQ). Gemstone Caverns is not even on my list to test - seems way too cute and inconsistent to bother with.
Perhaps if you are on 'colourless stompy' lists (which is a somewhat different deck) you can go 'all-in' and play 3 Caverns and 4 SSG - I personally have never tested such a list but it seems pretty bad (esp with Shadow decks ripping your hand with 10+ discard spells).
My approach to Shadow is to be more redundant with removal and GY hate - I run 4x PTE, 1x Dismember, 3x EE MD with 2x Blessed Alliance,2x RIP and 2x Relic SB. My win rate has been decent but the match-up is not a slam dunk - Shadow is a great deck.
I like Needle as well - I usually run at least one. You make very good points - I keep my Natural State's in mostly because of Moon and Bridge (my list is super weak to Moon) and random cards like Crucible.
Im interested in your reasoning for the cards that you are cutting - this is def something that I have difficulty with - you are keeping all your drowners in? They sure are powerful if you live long enough to have 6 mana to cast them (through Mages as well)I was thinking that cards like spawner and reshaper are cards that are ok to keep in - perhaps im cutting the wrong cards..
What are people doing in response to the rise of Shadow atm? I'd like to get a better handle on this match-up as the "new" lists are much more resilient then the lists prior to the Git Probe ban. It seems pretty die roll dependent - we certainly aren't in bad shape but Fulminator Mage from the sb has been problematic on top of all the other things that we have to deal with. The other change I've noticed from the "old" lists are 9-12 discard spells - they truly shred your hand - I think we need more redundancy in removal and gy hate? What do other people think?
Our best cards are:
Path to Exile
Relic of Progenitus
Rest In Peace
Surgical Extraction?? (Doesnt play well with PtE)
Worship?? They do run collective brutality so not sure about this one..
Left Field Idea's
Besides attacking their threats and grave yard Shadow decks are also weak to cheap/fast land destruction - Merfolk showed at GP Vancouver that Spreading Sea's goes a long way. Another thought is that Shadow decks heavily rely on discard to clear the way for their threats - so perhaps Leyline of Sanctity could maybe be worth testing (it's also golden against Valakut, Grapeshot decks and useful against BGx).
Chalice of the Void? As a huge fan of CoTV I will be testing this - however my initial thoughts are that it won't be as effective as it used to be - they have 2 cmc threats that get around Chalice on 1 and it cuts you off your own answers like Path and Relic. Further to this the "new" decks are running Abrupt Decay and K Command - I think we will need to look elsewhere for answers..
Detention Sphere?? This is a bit crazy and hard on our mana but they play just 1 copy of abrupt decay and all their threats are redundant (4x Goyf; 4x Shadow) - likely EE is just better due to utility and ease on mana.