Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Eldrazi Just Keep Coming

As I discussed last time, all this week I will be looking at the many Eldrazi printed at Common in Battle for Zendikar. There are 20 Eldrazi in the set altogether, represented not only as colorless creatures but also each of the five colors except White (although, thanks to the Devoid mechanic, they are technically still colorless in all respects save for their casting cost).

Yesterday Part One of my Standard Pauper review of Battle for Zendikar was published over at PureMTGO, where I analyzed all of the White and Blue Commons. Here's an excerpt from the article, which you can read here, covering the remaining Blue Eldrazi:

1. Benthic Infiltrator is this set's twist on the classic Horned Turtle. The Ingest ability will probably never be used to mill an opponent out, since it will always damage your opponent faster than it can run them out of cards. Instead, it sets up the so-called processor cards to allow you to take full advantage of them. In this specific case, the four Toughness will also allow this card to block well, while the unblockable ability all but guarantees the ability to utilize the processor cards later. If those cards are part of your strategy, Benthic Infiltrator may be your best bet for setting them up.

2. We've essentially seen this card in White, Red, and now in Blue (yes, technically it's colorless), where three mana gets you a 2/1 and 1/1 creature, one of which has Flying. In the case of Eldrazi Skyspawner, it's the 2/1 that gets Flying, and the 1/1 can even be sacrificed for a point of colorless mana. All that certainly adds up to an upgrade to cards that were already pretty good in the format. Overall this card seems quite reasonable on its own, and in a Control build that's looking to ramp up to play some giant creatures, this is quite strong. So while it's not amazing, this should see play.
3. Murk Strider is the first of the processor cards in Battle for Zendikar that we've looked at, requiring you to have exiled one of your opponent's cards in order to get its full effect. A 3/2 for 4 mana that bounces a creature when it enters the battlefield is an upgrade to Separatist Voidmage, a card that is playable but not great. This will still tend to trade down with your opponent's 2- and 3-drops, but the extra point of Power is certainly a nice bonus. Time will tell whether or not this is good enough to make it worth running some Ingest cards in your deck.
4. Oracle of Dust, on the other hand, seems like it offers some significant rewards for getting your opponent's cards into exile. The ability to loot multiple times in a turn for a mere 2 mana is quite strong. On its own, a 3/5 for 4U isn't that exciting, but it does have the ability to block most other creatures on the ground profitably. In a Control archetype that's looking for the game to go long, if you can exile enough of your opponent's cards, this will generate a steady supply of card advantage over the course of the game.
5. Salvage Drone is yet another Ingest creature, and this time it's a meager 1/1 for 1. As I mentioned before, such cards simply don't give you enough value to be worth a card slot in your deck. At least in this case it gives you some additional value when it dies, since you get to draw and then discard a card. Again, if you're all-in on colorless cards or exiling your opponent's cards to activate processor cards, this is at least worth considering. It may also be worth a second look in a deck looking to cheat in big creatures early using Extort. But outside of those particular uses, this doesn't seem that good.

It remains to be seen just how good these cards will prove to be in the new metagame. Both Benthic Infiltrators and Eldrazi Skyspawner will probably see play regardless of how good a dedicated Eldrazi deck turns out to be, as will Incubator Drone (which I reviewed earlier). For the rest, I have my doubts that the so-called processor cards will prove good enough to make the other Ingest cards worth playing.

So what do you guys think of the set so far?

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