After playing TarmoDrazi for a while, in my search for the best Eldrazi build, i came to
how many times did you lose to Affinity with Displacer and say TKS in the battlefield
Literally 2 weeks ago, I won a match 2-1 vs Affinity thnx to Worship + the Displacer Drowner combo twice in a row.
I agree that Displacer isn't great in this deck, but he works fine as a 3-of. He's a body that DEMANDS a bolt/path/whatever or he just makes the rest of the game a giant pain for the opponent.
As far as the land/dork conversation, I'm not against cutting the BoP, but Noble is great, not just for her mana producing abilities, the +1/+1 while attacking is deceptively relevant when you throw down a 5/5 haste trample, it completely tilts trades and makes otherwise relevant blockers no longer relevant. I have won multiple games due to the exalted trigger, I think she's a great part of the deck in general at this point.
This gives us more painlands that can be turned into cards as games drag on and we start to flood out. The bad sides are obvious, 1 less fetchable land, 1 less colorless source, no Ghost Quarter to interact with opponent lands when needed, we are going to deal more incidental damage to ourselves, this makes our already bad aggro matches worse, we're still playing 24 lands so there's a good chance the card we draw is just another land anyway.
I can't think of a better solution than this and this also begs the question of if 4 windswept heath is correct. Maybe we should be dropping that down to 3 and adding something else instead?
I will give this a whirl and report back with results on Friday.
I totally agree with your logic in typical deck building and just focusing on doing what you do well rather than spending time, effort, and cards in making your losses less bad. But given where we are at with Eldrazi right now, I REALLY don't feel like it needs help winning the good MUs. If you can resolve a TKS and/or reality smasher in the early stages of a game, your chances of winning skyrocket, assuming you don't die next turn.
And that's where I think shoring up the problem MUs is worth investigating further. We don't need help beating decks that let us do our thing, we need help beating decks that kill us before we get there. This is why Noble is such a huge card. Not only does it give us increased chances of landing big threats early, it ALSO helps those threats hit even harder than usual. This is where the original justification for MD Spellskite came from. If it hits the board, it slows infect WAY down and buys you time to get your own guys to the opponents face and take the game. This is why I'm trying out things like Thalia and Arbiter. All I want to do is slow down my aggressive opponents. Thalia costs my opponent AT LEAST 1 extra mana if she resolves and Arbiter hits problematic MUs like Company and Valakut. it doesn't STOP them, it just slows them down, and that's all we really need.
I REALLY like Ajani and the idea you're working with there, I do. But I also feel like we tend not to need a lot of help against tempo and control. I have watched Jund tear my hand apart only to hit them with a turn 4 smasher and have the game instantly turn around.
My problems are consistently decks that get under what we're doing or not pulling interaction when I need it.
In the case of Eldrazi, I really think we need to focus on interacting with our faster opponents because our good cards can already carry us through the better MUs.
I regularly pull my Wastes and BoP out in post-board games, but I think the deck is trying to do too many things to permit us to add taplands and the like.
We REALLY REALLY want to go T2 TKS into T3 Reality Smasher. That is hands down the best play in the deck and I can't think of a deck in modern that is going to shrug that play off. This is what broke the format a few months ago.
We ALSO happen to have a very strong grinding game between Displacer and bouncing targets like Drowner and TKS.
Because all the good stuff in our deck costs 4+ mana, we have to play a significant amount of lands and those lands need to come into play untapped. I don't really know how to solve the problem other than sideboarding mana sources out during grindier MUs.
A lot of people were concerned with my inclusion of Thalia in the MD and Arbiter in the side, but all I have to say to that is "I REGRET NOTHING!"
Round 1 was against Company, and it did Company things. I lost G1 uneventfully, and G2 even with an Arbiter in play, he just CoCo'd his way to victory. I drew 1 interactive spell across 2 games.
Round 2 was against Blue Moon. Kill all my dudes into T4 Blood Moon into T5 Batterskull. That's G1. G2 I smashed, completely uneventful. G3, my hand had was a bunch of big dudes, and Temple Garden and a Wastes. I opted to keep since the Wastes was a huge out vs a resolved Blood Moon. I drew a bunch of lands which helped me curve out well enough, he slammed it on turn 4 like he was getting away with something, then I played the wastes and went smasher, smasher, smasher, win. Feels good bro.
Round 3 was against a Temur brew. This guy is a great player who likes to bring random crap. That said, G1 resulted in an 8/8 Scooze smashing into my face until I ran out of things to block with. G2 was me smashing and him scooping. G3 was a little closer but not really. Turns out TKS and Smasher are pretty good against tempo-based creature decks, even if they play Tarmo and Scooze.
Round 4 contains perhaps the greatest game of Magic I've ever played. Opponent was on Living End. G1 was pretty much just me smashing face and him finding everything except a cascade spell. G2 was Living End doing Living End things. G3, I just had to do it. I chose to draw. Opened my hand to 5 lands, Drowner of Hope, and Noble Hierarch, looks like a keeper to me. He plays a land passes, I draw a card and discard Drowner. Everyone in the area busted up laughing. Turn 2, I draw a card and discard a Thought-Knot Seer. Turn 3, I draw a card and discard a Thought-Knot Seer. And all of a sudden, everyone realizes, this could work... This leads to perhaps the grindiest game I've ever played against Living End. He eventually put a Fulminator Mage on the board, I had slowly gotten to 3 mana since I wasn't drawing things worth Discarding, so I throw down a Matter Reshaper. We trade some guys, and he eventually cascades into Living End. I get a bunch of huge *****, he gets a bunch more of not so huge *****. We trade dudes a bunch more, he resolves a 2nd Living End, I get a bunch of huge *****, he gets a bunch more of not so huge *****. My matter reshaper shapes into a Worship, he blows up my lands, and I end up in the situation where literally all I have left is a single Matter reshaper, and he's stacked the top of my deck with a forest. I play the forest, play the Noble I've had in my hand the entire game, pass turn. He swings for lethal, block with Matter Reshaper going to 1. Matter reshaper reveals a plains, put that into play, slam a Caverns next turn and put Worship into play. I then go on to put 2 Thought-Knot Seers and a Reality Smasher on the board where as he has a bunch of SSGs and a Monstrous Carabid, time is called, he's at 11. I swing with everything since I don't have to block anymore, he chumps all his guys except the Carabid to trade with the TKSs, drawing 2 cards, he's at 6. He wiffs, and I have exactly lethal on turn 5 of turns thanks to that damn Hierarch!
I know I stole that game, especially with Worship coming into play exactly when it did, but I don't even care, I beat Living End with a Dredge strategy, and though people may play a more strategic game of magic from time to time, they'll never play a better strategy than discarding 4/4s and 5/5s as a strat to beat Living End.
Round 5 is Jund. I'm coming off the high of having played the greatest game of magic ever and pretty much just smash face 2 games in a row. Ezpz.
I don't feel like Thalia and Arbiter are the best cards in the deck, far from it. The entire deck is basically an excuse to play TKS and Smasher, but they both do a good job of buying time for you to get to the fun stuff if you don't open your hand with a perfect 7.
Snappy is not worth playing with a typical 8 spells (up to 10) in the MD.
I DO think that Advocate is interesting though, the Vigilance makes her very annoying to deal with.
I am still sticking with Thalia - as my goal with the 2 and 3-drops is to shore up my bad MUs as best as possible. TKS, Smashy, and Drowner do more than enough to get me there in the less problematic MUs.
I see people hating on the Elspeth choice, but honestly, that's my favorite part of your list.
You can use her to help clutter up the board when you're stuck on D and she can effectively act as a 3/3 haste with a bunch of evasion for 4 when you're on offense. Not a bad 1-of in the deck. I might see where I can fit her myself.
In regards to the Thalia argument, I think that would be reasonable if we were cutting "Eldrazi power" but we're not. I directly replaced 2 Spellskites and 1 Skyspawner (easily among the worst Eldrazi in the deck). She offers a different way to slow down problematic decks, I feel like it hits a wider list.
There's a reason Eldrazi Taxes is popular right now. Thalia goes well with TKS and Reality Smasher.
So, clearly Cavern is the better pick for multiple reasons. Can't counter the creature, capability to make colorless, no other drawbacks.
Given a lack of Caverns, I would first be inclined to fill out my Brushlands, Yavimaya Coasts, maybe add another fetch or two in there and the accompanying basics (up to maybe 5-6 fetches and 4 basics). I think Crossroads is a fine budget option, though it will ultimately cost you a percentage point or two. I really don't like Ziggurat as it's not uncommon to turn all our mana into Displacer activations, and Ziggurat is completely incapable of doing this.
We have a guy at my LGS who plays RG Titanshift. I got matched up against him and that match was silly, definitely worse than Affinity.
So I move toward the Taxes concept with 3 Thalia MD and 3 Arbiters in the SB.
The purpose of Thalia is obvious. We don't play many non-creature spells and when we do, +1 cost is fairly trivial. Her biggest contention for slots is with Spellskite since both serve the same primary function - slow down aggressive, spell-based decks like Infect and Burn. There are other considerations along with that of course, but in general, I figured I prefer 3x Thalia over 2x Spellskite and 1x Skyspawner. A secondary aspect of Thalia over Spellskite MD is that my opponents are less likely to bring in artifact/enchantment hate if they never see a spellskite, making my Worships that much better as well.
Arbiter was specifically a response to RG Titanshift, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. It hits Chord of Calling from the Company decks and Kiki Chord. It hits Scapeshift/Titan and all the other land searching those decks do. It hits Tron. It hits fetchlands. It hits all those other annoying spells like Gifts, Nahiri, and even nonsense like Open the Armory. It combos well with Path and Ghost Quarter. We only play 4 fetches, and again, aren't typically in a rush to throw lands down and run dudes out, especially fetching on turn 3+.
Basically, when thinking about it, I will want to bring Leonin Arbiter in any time I think slowing down my opponents ability to search the library will help me win more, which is fairly often.
MD: -2 Spellskite, -1 Eldrazi Skyspawner, +3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Just general good stuff for the deck. We don't cast many non-creature spells and her first strike is annoyingly relevant in combat. Thinking about the role that Spellskite performs in the deck, it's a pretty easy swap and I'm not going to miss the 3rd Skyspawner much.
SB: -2 World Breaker, +2 Leonin Arbiter, -1 Grafdigger's Cage +1 Rest in Peace
Control MUs are surprisingly easy. I just sorta run straight over my opponent and never look back, so the idea of bringing in World Breaker for recursion and targeted non-creature removal is ultimately pretty silly. +2 Leonin Arbiter fits much better as an answer to things we actually need help with like Scapeshift and Company, I think 3 would be the right number for those MUs, but can't decide where I want to put it. Rest in Peace just seems to have more general applicability than GDC, correct me if I'm wrong. I have yet to play against but have read that this deck can struggle in dealing with Living End. While RIP is by no means a game-ending answer to Living End by itself, it's something they have to spend significant effort to play around while we smash them in the face. Good enough. The card is already a staple in any Modern deck playing White (hey look at that, we play white) when attempting to deal with things like Abzan Company (a problematic MU for us), Dredgevine, Snapcaster Mage, and Tarmogoyf, all good things to be accidentally crapping on. The one consideration with RIP is that it's a nonbo with Matter Reshaper so you'll definitely want to heavily consider SBing those out when you bring it in. Possibly also an excuse to turn into a more general Bantdrazi Taxes style? Promote the Arbiters to MD, take out the Windswept Heaths, replace them with a couple Horizon Canopies, Ghost Quarters, and/or blue sources since we are starting to deny searching the library? Something to consider, but I'm sticking with this for now...
Going to give this a whirl next week and report back with change-related notes of interest.
The SB is still not perfect, but it was good enough to bring to a weekly and I went 4-1!
Round 3 was my only loss at 0-2 against Valakut and I think it might just be the worst MU for the deck. Valakut is REALLY good at getting a titan into play by turn 4. Even with a fast hand that went T2 TKS T3 Reality Smasher T4 Reality Smasher, I could only get him down to 2 before he killed me. Lets not talk about my other game that started out with a Noble into a Reshaper into 2 spellskites into nothing useful... Not sure where to go for this MU or if it's even worth trying to address.
Round 4 was against Affinity and the 3x Worship was absolutely sick tech. I brought him down to 6 before dying in G1. G2 and G3 were both defined by early Worships into Displacer/Drowner for a dozen tokens or so into "tap all your guys and kill you". I think the Worships are staying even if they're only good for a handful of MUs.
Other than that, TKS and Smashy Smashy just tore straight through my opponents. Great deck!
Personally I think 3x Cavern is fine (it's what I've been running). You still have a 38% chance to have it in your opening 7 or mull to 6 and you really only NEED it against control. For being a $60 chunk and one of only a few expensive cards in the deck.. I think #4 can wait.
Oh, I already own the Caverns, part of why I am so happy to build this deck. Just wondering if it's better than the other lands in the list and which one I should replace. I haven't gotten to run the deck at a FNM or anything yet, so I'm happy to take criticisms right now and I'll be back with results once I have something to contribute