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Processing Emerge

Written by John Cuvelier on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

Emerge was the breakout mechanic of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon. I was hoping it would be madness but that was pretty unlikely. This breakout shouldn’t have been very surprising to anyone though. Everyone knows Elder Deep-Fiend (EDF) is a heck of a magic card. It was only a matter of time before someone figured out a decent shell for the card. The emerge creatures are also just fantastic with Sanctum of Ugin and Kozilek’s Return. Being able to chain multiple Elder Deep-Fiends thanks to Sanctum of Ugin is reminiscent of when Mistbind Clique and Cryptic Command where running around in Standard. The free flashback on Kozilek’s Return thanks to the casting cost of EDF clears the way for the calamari to get the job done.

What I’m interesting in talking about today are some of the Emerge cards that didn’t see much love at the PT. There are a couple of reasons why we mostly just saw EDF. It’s obviously powerful and the players spent most of their time finding the best possible shell for it. When you’re qualified for a PT you actually don’t have a lot of time to brew up new decks. This is especially true if you’re not on a super team full of players devoted to doing such activities. Sadly the average PT player doesn’t have much support. This is why there hasn’t been much branching out on the emerge front. Lurking in the shadows however are emerge cards I think can overtake the EDF throne going forward if a correct shell is found for it.

Distended Mindbender (DMB) has a lot of good things going on for it. It curves out on turn 4 by sacrificing a 3 drop. It being an emerge creature gives us the same benefits that EDF has but instead of providing a tempo play it provides disruption. Taking out two cards from your opponents’ hand is usually quite backbreaking. This is especially true when you get a 5/5 out of the deal and often means you’ve taken any answer your opponent could have for the DMB. Let’s take a look at some potential homes for my new pet.

The 3 slot fodders I have for DMB are Thopter Engineer, Matter Reshaper and Wasteland Strangler. These are all value creatures which helps ease the burden of having to sacrifice one of them to the DMB. Speaking of which Wasteland Strangler is in a pretty good spot. It curves very nicely with Incendiary Flow or Transgress the Mind. Any game where you can curve Transgress or Flow into Wasteland Stranger, then follow that up with a DMB sounds like a nightmare for the opponent. Don’t get me started if you can follow that up with a Thought-Knot Seer. We still get the added benefit of playing Kozilek’s Return and Sanctum of Ugin. I added 1 Abundant Maw as a tutor target for the Sanctum of Ugin. It gives us a little reach and life gain which can be important in certain matchups. Hangarback Walker I have as the two drop of choice. It’s possible Eldrazi Mimic could be better. I like having a creature I can blow up from Kozilek’s Return and get a nice reward for it. I’m super excited to try out this deck as it looks like it has a lot of play against the popular decks of the new format.

Next up I have a similar build but changing up the color pairing to see what that’d look like.

I’m still trying to abuse the Wasteland Strangler and Distended Mindbender. This time I’m pairing it with white so I get some additional powerful exile effects. Declaration in Stone helps turn on our Wasteland Strangler and gives us unconditional removal. I added Eldrazi Displacer and Pilgrim’s Eye for some additional value. I wanted to try out Eldrazi Mimic over Hangarback Walker in this version. The red version can utilize Hangarback Walker better so I wanted it in that build. This build doesn’t have a lot of ways to abuse it so I opted for the Eldrazi Mimic. Curving him into other Eldrazi always feels pretty powerful in Legacy and previously Modern so it should have a similar feeling here. I’m really hype on the concept of playing hand disruption right now since the hyper aggressive decks are near non-existent. This makes playing Transgress the Mind and DMB very powerful and will often give you free wins when played in tandem.

Playing off the idea of underplayed emerge creatures there’s one other guy I thought I could play off of.

What I really like about this deck is its ability to both grind someone out and play aggressive. Decimator of the Provinces (DoP) can provide a surprising lethal attack on turn 5. The mana curve is also low thanks to it being a tribal elf deck. This leads to some very aggressive starts and finishes thanks to Shaman of the Pack. The ideal fodder for DoP is Sylvan Messenger. This allows you to have some really impressive turn 5 plays if you want. However the card advantage that Sylvan Messenger, Elvish Visionary, Nissa and Collected Company bring allows you to go long if needed too. This deck might not necessarily be a great option in fighting against Kozilek’s Return and EDF but it does show you can build something new with some of the other emerge creatures. These cards are powerful and asking to be broken wide open.

It’s also possible that there’s another shell using the Eldrazi that make scion’s such as Eldrazi Skyspawner, Eyeless Watcher, Scion Summoner or Catacomb Sifter. All these creatures provide bodies for DoP while adding board presence. There are a lot of options to think about which leads to a brewers paradise.

For me there are only 1 or 2 relevant standard tournaments the rest of the year. The 1 is the LCQ for Hawaii. The 2 is after winning that LCQ to play in the RPTQ. Therefore although it’s Modern and Sealed season I still have a staked interest in what’s happening in Standard. My goal here is to grind some games online and maybe attend a couple of FNM’s to familiarize myself with the local and digital metagames. I lost in the t8 of the PPTQ last weekend and hoping I can clinch a slot on the weekend of the 20th/21st. That weekend there’s one Modern and one Sealed so I’ll get my crack at each and let you guys know how it went!

John Cuvelier
@JCuvelier on Twitter
Gosu. on MTGO

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