An Emerging Strategy

When I got the email from the Courier Griffin at Wizards telling me Emrakul was on the way, I believed it, I wanted to believe it. I have fallen in love with the Eldrazi and I wanted more. Glossing over the Eldrazi Winter in Modern, I was ready to accept the final titan to my deck. I watched the reveal on my phone during my commute. With my headphones in, I watched as Innistrad’s creatures mutated and Liliana gave her powerful speech. The view panned around Liliana and her army of zombies to reveal Emrakul shadowing over them all. I got shivers then and I still get shivers now (it has been mentioned that I may be a Magic fan girl). After reading the Uncharted Realms articles and seeing the implementation of the new mechanics in Eldritch Moon, I am pleased to say that anyone who doubted Wizards was indeed wrong. The Lovecraftian style of the Eldrazi just works so well on Innistrad, far better than on Zendikar, I feel.

One of the newest mechanics, Emerge, has given a lot of brewers something to play around with, and after what we saw at the Eldritch Moon Pro Tour is something we will now see a lot of. The ability to use creatures as a resource is nothing new, but being able to throw out an eight drop as early as turn 4 can certainly bring the game to a nightmarish end. I can’t quite decide whose deck I was more in love with. Owen Turtenwald, like a classical musician, played so beautifully I couldn’t help but want to play his combination. I love to see extra lands out in play and would have never considered Pilgrim’s Eye as a mana fixer and Elder Deep-Fiend enabler. Reid Duke used a wonderful version of the standard GR Ramp deck we have been seeing for a while now. I love the addition of delirium in that deck. I can’t wait to try both of these but until then, let’s look at a couple of Pro Tour influenced decks, specifically looking at the Emerge mechanic.

Luis Scott-Vargas congratulates Owen Turtenwald on making the finals of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.

Sultai players have always had the habit of pushing the boundaries of what’s natural, but even they have to feel a little uneasy around creatures like Lashweed Lurker and Elder Deep-Fiend. These monstrous Eldrazi have great tempo potential, they can throw your opponents plans into disarray by putting them back a turn or locking down the board just before combat. Even after you resolve their cast triggers, they have more than enough hitting power to act as an effective finisher. Both of these creatures have an Emerge cost of 7, and the quickest way to get them onto the board, is sacrificing a 3 cost creature on turn 4. Luckily for us, we have a couple of ready and willing volunteers.

As a 1/1 for 3 mana, Foul Emissary certainly falls short compared to the more dominant three drops, but as with all thing in this deck, looks can be deceptive. Not only does this human horror look through our top deck for one of the bigger threats, it also replaces itself with a 3/2 Eldrazi horror token when you cast the larger creature on the next turn. That, ladies and gentlemen, is value. He isn’t the only creature we have to make the most of Emerge. Matter Reshaper from Oath of the Gatewatch may not give us a token creature, but will either put a three cost permanent into play or find us another big threat. As we are in Blue, Green and Black, we can run Yavimaya Coast, Llanowar Wastes and Corrupted Crossroads, giving us easy access to colourless mana.

Since we are also running Black, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about two other all stars in the deck, Abundant Maw and Distended Mindbender. It wasn’t too long ago that standard was trampled all over by Siege Rhino. One of the main appeals of this juggernaut was the ability to hit your opponent with a six-point life swing. Abundant Maw doesn’t have trample, but a 6/4 body is still nothing to be ashamed of. Distended Mindbender doesn’t go after your opponent’s life total, but their hand instead. Not only can this hit a relevant removal spell, but can also get rid of any end game threat. With all that said, let’s see what we can come up with.

Unnatural Evolution

Lands (26)
 Evolving Wilds
 Corrupted Crossroads
 Yavimaya Coast
 Llanowar Wastes
 Lumbering Falls
 Hissing Quagmire
 Forest
 Island
Swamp

Others (4)
 Oath of Nissa
Creatures (30)
 Sylvan Advocate
 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
 Duskwatch Recruiter
 Deathcap Cultivator
 Foul Emissary
 Matter Reshaper
 Lashweed Lurker
 Elder Deep Fiend
 Abundant Maw
 Distended Mindbender

 

Sideboard (15)
 Unsubstantiate
 Naturalize
To the Slaughter
 Imprisoned in the Moon
 Negate
 Murder
 Ultimate Price
 Duskwatch Recruiter

 

 

Since the end game plan is to play our Emerge creatures, the main deck is structured to help find and play the larger threats. Deathcap Cultivator may just look like another mana dork, but as a two drop it can tap to generate mana before being sacrificed to an Emerge Creature, effectively making it another three drop. Both Duskwatch Recruiter and Oath of Nissa help us dig through our deck to find any one of our win conditions, not to mention a flipped Recruiter will also make all Emerge creatures cheaper.

Lastly, Sylvan Advocate provides an effective early game beat stick, and since we are running Lumbering Falls and Hissing Quagmire, we can run an effective alternative win condition with our land creatures.

There are many ways you could take this deck, from dropping a colour to focus on a particular strategy, or running other Emerge cards such as Decimator of the Provinces or the humble Wretched Gryff.

Another take on this theme is to fully invest in the creature Emerge strategy. With this kind of deck, it is theoretically possible to chain Elder Deep-Fiends on multiple turns, essentially allowing you to take extra turns whilst your opponent is forced to watch as you mercilessly tap their lands every turn whilst beating them to death with giant Eldrazi octopi.

G/U Octopus Emerge

Planeswalkers (2)
Kiora, Master of the Depths

Creatures (27)
 Sylvan Advocate
 Matter Reshaper
 Foul Emissary
 Primal Druid
 Elvish Visionary
 Elder Deep-Fiend
 Duskwatch Recruiter
 Decimator of the Provinces
Drowner of Hope

Lands (25)
 Lumbering Falls
 Woodland Stream
 Yavimaya Coast
 Sanctum of Ugin
 Forest
 Island

Instant (6)
 Titan's Presence
 Clash of Wills
 Negate

Sideboard (15)
 Den Protector
 Clip Wings
 Naturalize
 Aerial Volley
 Negate
 Reality Smasher
 Evolutionary Leap

 

 

 

The combo this deck wants to pull of is fairly effective and consistent. From a turn 3 Matter Reshaper, a turn 4 Elder Deep-Fiend locks out the opponent on their turn, essentially allowing for an extra turn for you. There are many targets for Matter Reshaper in the deck – it is able to put a Foul Emissary onto the battlefield, allowing us to dig for another Deep-Fiend if we need to find one, or it could put another Matter Reshaper onto the battlefield, keeping the Emerge chain alive. On turn 5 we are able to Emerge a Deep-Fiend from any creature that Matter Reshaper is able to dig up, so the chances of another Elder Deep-Fiend to lock our opponent out further is very possible. With Sanctum of Ugin we are able to dig creatures out of our deck to suit our needs, as they are triggered by CMC, not Emerge costs. In need of tapping some blockers to push damage or to keep us alive? Fetch Drowner of Hope. In need of more Octopus action? Elder Deep-Fiend. Need to push through a massive attack involving a large, mutated pig? Decimator of the Provinces is the way to go. After forcing the opponent to essentially skip their turns, and having 2 5/6’s or more out on turn 5, a win is almost guaranteed. Follow that up with a Decimator of the Provinces to trample over blockers, and the deck becomes incredibly scary. Even in grindy, long matches, the Sylvan Advocate/Lumbering Falls combo allows us to push damage through with 5/5 Hexproof attackers.

The sideboard fixes a lot of weaknesses we run into in these colours, and allows us to have a chance in unfavorable matchups. Aerial Volley is a good answer to Spell Queller and other flying nasties seen in the U/W spirits deck as well as Bant Company decks, and Reality Smasher is a great answer to Planeswalkers, allowing us to Trample over blockers and bash their walkers in the face. 3 extra copies of Negate allow for an easier time against control decks as when the combo is slow to start, preventing a control deck’s sources of card advantage allows us to catch up in tempo and begin the 8-armed carnage.

Whichever way you take this archetype, why not play it at your local gaming store? Never played at a store before? Give it a go, you’ll make life long friends and join one of the biggest gaming communities in the world! Pop into your local gaming store or find them on Facebook, they should be friendly and able to help you.

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