Let’s not beat around the bush. I’m not going to pretend you’re here for my usual witty banter, euphemisms, or deck building. You’re not here because ManaDeprived.com is the best darn MTG site in all of Canada (and Canada is a larger country than America so… you do the math).
You’re here for the Oath of the Gate Watch preview. Behold, Reaver Drone:
It wasn’t always like this. I remember when getting a two-power creature for one mana was rare. It was SPECIAL. I remember opening packs of Exodus and being more excited about finding the handsome visage of a Carnophage than the rare. Savannah Lions was once an expensive, powerful rare for goodness’ sake. Nowadays, you young whippersnappers with your Mantis Riders and your Hangarback Walkers don’t know what it’s like. Spoiled, the lot of you.
Truth be told, we are spoiled. All of us. Every block gives us another efficient two-power one drop. It’s gotten to the point where most are no longer excited by the prospect of turning a dude sideways on the second turn to reduce their opponent’s life total by a measly ten percent. Yawn, right?
I’m here to tell you, we do this at our own peril.
Aggressive deck pilots aren’t about being cute. They’re not about style, or flamboyance. No, an aggro deck pilot wants to do nothing more than put you in the ground, as fast and as efficiently as possible. Even if they have to leave a piece of themselves behind. Even if it hurts. They like repetition. They want the same thing to happen over-and-over again until the tournament is nothing more than a smoking crater behind them. You see a 2/1 for B and laugh. They see opportunity.
Aggro decks are largely built on velocity. One card in and of itself is never going to be enough to get the job done. You find a good one drop here, a powerful three drop there. A two drop that doubles as card draw. A land that fits into the, “let’s get as many cards on the table as fast as possible” game plan. Eventually, the pieces come together and you have something fast and nasty enough to make Eleanor Roosevelt blush.
Aggro Eldrazi – Travis Hall
First up, for any deck looking to get aggressive in Standard, it’s important to know thy enemy. The biggest, baddest, life-gainingest dude on the block is Siege Rhino. It’s not enough that he’s bigger than your duders, he also gets to undo a turn’s worth of damage and smack you in the face while he’s at it. The card is so good, every time you play it you feel like you’re cheating. I’m not saying that people that play with Siege Rhino have poor morals, but I’m not, not saying it either.
Now, onto the deck.
Reaver Drone: This may be the missing piece, the one-drop the aggressive Eldrazi deck has needed to push it from “Budget Deck” to a true contender. The jump from Endless One (a card we are still going to run, as it’s the next best one drop available) to this is huge. Sure, this thing can hurt you as well as help you, but the drawback is so minimal, especially in a dedicated Eldrazi deck.
Abbot of Keral Keep: The only non-colorless creature in the deck, but the “card draw” ability in a low mana cost deck is so powerful that he’s worth running, off theme.
Eldrazi Obligator: This is probably good enough to play as a three-power haste creature. When you throw in the ability to come down on turn five and steal a blocker, he becomes one of the spicier cards in the deck. Stealing a Siege Rhino can undo the life gain, and then some. We have to be willing to dilute the mana base a bit, as that sparkly, new mana symbol is a bit of an enigma. However, this deck has no problem running Corrupted Crossroads and *drool* Sea Gate Wreckage to meet that requirement. Many opponents will fall before the forthcoming theft of Rhinos. I expect big things from this card, one of my sleepers of the set.
Flayer Drone: I give this the nod over Dominator Drone because of first strike, allowing it to get into a few more fights. The fact that he can sit back and drain your opponent in an equal board state is just gravy.
Ghostfire Blade: Not just for artifacts anymore. Reaver Drone into an equipped Ghostfire Blade is the golden start, one that I expect will have many opponents grinding their teeth and silently muttering to themselves in the coming months. I can’t wait!
Corrupted Crossroads: In case you haven’t heard, pain lands are the new thing (since they can technically be considered tri-lands now). Not only will this fix the mana for all of the non-Abbot creatures in the deck, it will also satisfy the colorless requirement for Sea Gate Wreckage and Eldrazi Obligator. Oh, and it still casts Ghostfire Blade. Nifty. Pretty nifty.
Sea Gate Wreckage: The anti-Library. This card is going to give many, many people headaches in the future. It fits perfectly here, as this deck wants to empty its hand as fast as possible, and youe average casting cost is low enough to do so early. I’ve even toyed with the idea of adding Molten Vortex as a way to pitch extra lands so that you can always use this to draw the extra cards. This card feels like a game changer, one that we’ll see in decks across the board and across formats for years to come.
This is just an early brew, nothing more than scratching the surface with Reaver Drone, and an aggressive Eldrazi deck. While many players are excited about ramping to ten and dropping Kozilek, I’m more intrigued about taking advantage of the early game and exploiting the fetchland-heavy manabases. Reaver Drone may be the card to get us there.
If you like my suggestions, you can follow me on Twitter: @travishall456. I throw around random observations and deck ideas every day.