With the three Legendary Eldrazi finally spoiled, I feel like I need to say something about them. I’ve heard people go on and on about how wonderful they are and how they should go into every EDH deck they have. Some of the people say they’re going to build EDH decks with them as their Generals. I have to ask them one simple question:
Listen, I’m all in favor of them being printed, and the fact that they’re colorless is actually kinda awesome. Yes, they can fit in every EDH deck, but I’m not starting out my list with these three at the top of the list. There are some very simple things you got to keep in mind. Sure, they aren’t bad, but they aren’t amazing.
Blasphemy? Well, they are Gods.
Consider this your General review for all three.
All three of these Eldrazi are huge, and at 10, 11 and the largest (legal) card ever printed at 15, they won’t be down on the first turn. And that’s some of their appeal, you actually have to cast these guys to get your benefit of their “Enter the battlefield” ability. Right now, there’s only a few ways to cheat their cost and have their cast ability trigger (Yes, Jhoira of the Ghitu is going to be insane as these will be must includes in that deck) but most people who cheat these out into play won’t be drawing 4 cards, taking an extra turn or, um, destroying target permanent (one of these is not like the other).
So, if you aren’t casting them and just using them for beat sticks (where the Annihilator mechanic comes in handy), then these guys are not as special. The best one is clearly Emrakul, and for “paying” 15 you better believe it’s one of the most powerful creatures in Magic. You have evasion (flying) and protection from colored spells (not creatures or abilities so keep that in mind), and Annihilator 6, which is the largest we’ve seen up to this point. If there there was going to be one of these that you should have in your deck, it should be this one.
Because these guys are colorless and pretty big and awesome, they can be put in any EDH deck. You’ve got 10 mana lying around? Bam! Draw 4 cards. 15? Bam! Take another turn. 11? Bam! Um, yeah, destroy something. These Eldrazi are the reason EDH exists: playing big fatties that everyone has fun seeing on the battlefield.
Does this mean that everyone will have Eldrazi in their EDH deck, so you have to prepare for them? Well, it’s always a good idea to prepare for creatures and other permanents in any deck you play (and it’s something we’ll cover it in a future column), but personally, I’m not going to change around my deck to tackle a huge 15/15 creature that someone cheated into play. In a 100 card deck, it’s a little hard to do that with some consistency. Plus, it’s all fun and games when you get to throw down your Eldrazi and laugh and everyone at the table.
Until an opponent pays 3UU and gets to keep it all for their own.
Yes, Bribery, which used to get Darksteel Colossui and Inkwell Leviathans, now have a new target to usher in on their side. I’m not talking about other Control Magic effects (because hopefully you can protect your Eldrazi from trouble when you play it), if you have an Eldrazi in your deck, you have to have a way of defeating it as well in case you go up against that Blue mage and suddenly on turn three (three lands and a Sol Ring) you have your own Eldrazi staring back at you. They have eyes, right? It’s a metaphor.
This is one of those “you play with fire, you could get burned” situations. I’m sure you’ve got one of those players in your playgroup where all they do is steal your stuff and they have this card ready to go and they salivate when they have this in their opening hand. You have to prepare for the chance that your guy will get used against you and prepare for it. They love using your own deck against you and will lavish at that thought. 9/9 Terastodons are a bit different than huge creatures with Annihilator which will destroy your table.
As for Generals, again, they’re the most expensive Generals ever (Three of the top eight) and you’re going to have to play colorless decks. Now that we’ve seen several colorless spells (including one that at this moment is squarely in the Top 10 EDH cards in the set), there is not one difference between playing Karn (the only other colorless EDH General) and one of these guys in their deck construction. Yeah, it’d be great to cast a 15/15 and take another turn, but really? Suddenly someone plays a Shriekmaw and you’re back at square one waiting for that 17 mana (but hopefully you put in Lightning Greaves).
You’re really limiting yourself with the things that you can do if you run any of these as your General. If I play against you, I know exactly what I’m doing: turning my cards sideways and punishing you. You’re going to come out too slow and don’t have any tricks to stop me from doing what I what. When I see Karn on the other hand, I hold back because I know that you’ve got something else going; it becomes a mind game, trying to break your game.
Final Word: The Eldrazi are awesome, but at the current time there is nothing exciting me to build a deck with them as a General. We might see a few more colorless spells that could change my opinion, but at the moment, nothing to get excited about. Would I put them in my decks for beats? Yes, but not every deck I have. It has to fit, don’t just cram it in there.
Don’t worry EDH fans, there are 7 hits in the Orb of Insight for “Legendary,” and they’ve used 3. We’ve got a couple more Generals to go.