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Drafting Rise of Eldrazi Part 4: Choosing a Theme May 14, 2010

Posted by James in : all, reviews, strategy, tips, limited, draft , trackback

One of the most important elements of drafting Rise of Eldrazi is to try to use a theme, which is basically just getting a lot of cards that work well together. I have noticed six main themes that you can shoot for in Rise of Eldrazi:

  1. Mana ramp
  2. Spawn Tokens
  3. Level up
  4. Walls (Defender)
  5. Instant/Sorcery
  6. Aura

I will discuss my two favorite cards of each theme. If you can get one or two of the best cards in a theme, then there is a good chance you should take it and then try to make a deck built around the card(s).

Mana Ramp

Mana ramp is a deck that uses mana acceleration (cards that produce extra mana) to play large creatures. Green and red have the best cards for Mana Ramp, but there are some good black mana ramp cards as well. Mana ramp and tokens are the two easiest decks to pull off and could be made in several different ways. Nonetheless, my favorite cards for Mana ramp are the following:

Artisan of Kozilek

Artisan of Kozilek is one of the most powerful uncommon cards in the entire set, but it is extremely expensive. It will usually only be worth playing in a deck with a lot of mana acceleration.

Joraga Treespeaker

Joraga Treespeaker is such a powerful card that it is worth playing in any deck with green, but it is also the best mana acceleration in the entire set.

Spawn Tokens

Spawn Token decks can be easily combined with the mana ramp theme because Spawn Tokens can be used to produce mana. Additionally, green and red are the best colors to make and improve your Spawn tokens, which are the best colors for mana acceleration. Nonetheless, it can be worth building a deck around Spawn tokens. Such a deck makes as many tokens as possible then makes them bigger to attack for a tremendous amount of damage.


Broodwarden is the perfect card for a token deck, but it isn’t that great in anything else. Of course, the card is so powerful that it is worth building a deck around it.

Lavafume Invoker

Lavafume Invoker is a powerful card in any deck with red, and it is perfect in a token deck.

Level up

Level up decks have a decent amount of cards, but they are mainly built around the two cards mentioned below. The best level up cards tend to be white and blue, but black also has quite a few decent level up creatures. The main idea of a level up deck is just to play cards that give level up creatures a bonus with as many creatures with level up that you can get.

Time of Heroes

Time of Heroes is the most powerful card made for level up decks.

Venerated Teacher

Venerated Teacher isn’t quite as good as Time of Heroes, but it is still quite good. It makes level up creatures bigger.


You can probably force a Defender deck and make it whether or not you are being sent the right signals because chances are that no one else will try to make it. You could usually make a defender deck as long as you are looking for the right cards. The idea of a defender deck is pretty much just to take as many creatures with defender as possible as well as cards that benefit you for playing lots of defenders. For example, the following:

stalwart shield bearers

Stalwart Shield Bearers aren’t particularly powerful by itself, but with other creatures with defender it can become quite powerful.

Vent Sentinel

Vent Sentinel becomes quite powerful with lots of defenders.


Instants and sorceries have become a theme in Rise of Eldrazi because of the card that benefit you for playing as many instants and sorceries as possible, which tend to be found in red and blue. There aren’t a lot of great cards that benefit you for playing an instant/sorcery deck, but it should be pretty easy to make considering the fact that very few people try to make the deck and they fight you for the cards that benefit you for playing instants and sorceries. Here are a couple of the best cards made for instant/sorcery decks to look for:

Kiln Fiend

Kiln Fiend can become very dangerous if you are playing a lot of instants and sorceries.

Mnemonic Wall

Mneumonic Wall is a two for one and it can help you get back creature removal.


I don’t think you should make a deck with as many Auras as possible, but it can be a good idea to make an Aura themed deck, which should have a good mix of Auras and cards that give you a bonus for playing an aura. Green and white have the best cards that benefit you for playing Auras, but there are decent Auras in just about every color. You probably won’t have to fight tooth and nail to make an aura deck, so you can pretty much decide to make an aura deck due to the fact that probably no one else will. The cards to look for are the following:

Aura Gnarlid

Aura Gnarlid not only gets bigger when Auras are in play (even if you don’t control them), but it can also become unblockable. This is the game-winning card any decent Aura deck should have.

Totem Guard Hartbeest

Totem Guard Hartbeest is a two for one and the fact that it tutors for an Aura is great. One of the best commons you will want to get with it is Narcolepsy (even if blue isn’t one of your your main colors).


I didn’t realize there were so many themes in Rise of Eldrazi and knowing what to look for should be quite helpful while drafting. I am a little disappointed that there are three themes that require green and possibly no theme that requires black. I’m not sure the best black deck to make other than a deck that just uses the best black cards possible.


1. 神の一手 - May 14, 2010

The defender deck only works if you get 2 or more vent sentinels. If you get the mana wall, you could power out some Eldrazi though.

In the online prerelease, I was able to cast Artisan of Kozilek targeting a second one in my GY that had previously died to Deathtouch. This resulted in a concession.

2. James - May 14, 2010

I lost to defender and they didn’t have to get a single vent sentinel. I might talk more about that at a later time.

I made a mana ramp deck on Sunday and got a Hand of Emrakul turn 3 and he killed it after being hit for 9 damage. Then I got an Artizan on Kozilek out by turn 5 and got the Hand of Emrakul back.

3. Jimmy - May 15, 2010

there’s a pretty cool black theme. pawn of umalog + bloodthrone vampire. if you can get the vampire through, each non-token creature is a +4/+4. you can pair it with blue for the evasion (distortion strike, etc) or green for all the small creatures. you can also add mortician’s beetle for some crazy large beetles.

4. James - May 15, 2010


That’s pretty much the same thing as the token theme mentioned earlier, but I guess black can have quite a bit to offer that theme after all.