Oath of the Gatewatch has brought some new toys to play with. The standard format was already filled to the brims with a plethora of viable options and that hasn’t changed. Oath of the Gatewatch has given us enough aggressively slanted Eldrazi creatures to revisit and fully explore the archetype. It has given us so many options that I have five different versions of the deck to explore and the reasons why you may want to play each of them.
First up we have probably the most straightforward and most talked about of options in Devoid Rakdos.
The most aggressively slanted deck has a lot going for it and some solid reasons to be Rakdos. Flayer Drone and Forerunner of Slaughter highlight the color restrictions in being Red. Ghostfire Blade is a great reason to be an aggressive Devoid deck and you’ll be seeing this in just about every aggressively slanted list. Spatial Contortion is also very similar to Ghostfire Blade in that you’ll be finding it in almost every Devoid deck you see because we’re in desperate need for an effectively three damage spell for two mana and this is our best bet. It also can offer as a pump spell in a pinch when combined with Ghostfire Blade on the right creature. Flayer Drone and Dominator Drone offer some reach in the already aggressively slanted deck. What I like most about this deck and its creatures are Eldrazi Obligator and Bearer of Silence. These two are just fantastic because of the flexibility they offer. They both are serviceable creatures on curve and both give you an incentive to hold them for the later turns in the game to get maximum value. You’ll notice there’s no Thought-Knot Seer or Dust Stalker because I don’t want my hand gummed up with expensive creatures. Everything in this deck is cheap and efficient with the flexibility of if you get flooded you still have some playability with Eldrazi Obligator and Bearer of Silence. You want to play this deck if you’re looking to be aggressive but want something besides Atarka Red as your option.
Next up I have another take eschewing Red for Green with Devoid Golgari.
Going Golgari allows us to utilize some different cards than we would in the Rakdos deck. Cards like Blisterpod, Catacomb Sifter and Scion Summoner are all going to provide some value throughout the game. The payoff for playing these cards is Smothering Abomination and Stoneforge Masterwork. We’re focusing solely on ourselves here and have very little interaction at all. That will change after board and perhaps with a little more information on the metagame you can adjust things accordingly. However between Stoneforge Masterwork and Ghostfire Blade this deck will certainly pressure your opponent reliably and allow you to have a large creature on both offense and defense. You will want to play this deck if you want to be aggressive but are okay being defensive when you need to against decks like Atarka Red.
The last two color deck we have today is Devoid Dimir.
This list is a bit different then the last two but it’s still on the aggressive side of things. The big pull for Dimir is the evasion these colors offer. Outside of Fathom Feeder everything has flying and works incredibly well with Ghostfire Blade. But since Fathom Feeder is an inherently powerful magic card I’m willing to forgive its inability to drink Red Bull. There is a decent amount of ingest effects in the deck to fully utilize Ulamog’s Nullifier. This deck reminds me a lot like the blue devotion decks of old standard that would peck you to death with a bunch of Cloudfin Raptors and Nightveil Specters. I’m really interested to see how this deck plays in testing because it’s so much different than other aggressive variants. You’ll want to play this deck if you like being aggressive and messing with your opponent.
Next up we start to get a little bigger and slightly greedier with Devoid Esper.
We’re going for raw power and a midrange shell here. Eldrazi Displacer has two very good targets in Wasteland Strangler and Thought-Knot Seer to provide some value. Of course speaking of value Fathom Feeder is still here to do his job of being useful in all aspects of the game. It can ingest for the Wasteland Strangler, trade up in combat and draw cards late in the game. Then there is the other value creature in Matter Reshaper. He trades off in combat well and can either ramp us on defense if we hit a land or reapply additional threats on offense when he dies. Reality Smasher tops off the curve as solid finisher that at worst gives you card advantage when he dies in either combat or by a removal spell. Having access to both Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher lets us play Titan’s Presence without worrying about it being stranded in our hand because it can’t kill what we need to kill. The mana in this deck is surprisingly good with effectively 16 Blue sources, 18 Black sources, 18 White sources and 12 Colorless sources. The reason to play this deck is if you enjoy playing a midrange deck and you want to try something different.
Finally we have a marginally different deck with similar concepts in Devoid Grixis.
The big draws to Red are Brutal Expulsion and Herald of Kozilek. This deck still plays out similarly to Esper since the majority of the creatures are the same. I believe the big difference here is that Herald of Kozilek offers more explosive draws and tempo plays since it reduces the cost of everything in the deck but Fathom Feeder; since not only does he not like Red Bull but he can’t get on board the tempo train either. This deck is looking to win a bit faster than Esper thanks to Herald of Kozilek and Brutal Expulsion. Overall I think both these lists are quite similar and I’m interested to see how each playout and which is better. You’ll enjoying playing a deck like this if you like playing tempo decks.
There we have it. Five different Devoid decks and we can thank Oath of the Gatewatch for that. Each of the lists has their merits and it will be interesting to see which can hang with the big boys of standard and which aren’t strong enough to compete. With that said, I have some sealed PPTQ’s next weekend and I look forward to sharing my results with you.
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