Colorless Cards?

Thanks to MtG:Salvation user Redtwister for providing the lion’s share of the content on this page. I’ve added my thoughts here and there, but this writeup is primarily his.  I have edited his content for clarity and formatting.

Battle for Zendikar introduced a fundamental change to colorless cards. There is now a distinction between cards that require any generic mana and cards that specifically require a colorless source. Cards that specifically require colorless mana use the diamond-shaped symbol (henceforth [C]). Eldrazi Displacer and Warping Wail are very interesting possible inclusions in the D&T shell. The discussion below focusing on “splashing” these colorless cards.

Since both Eldrazi Displacer and Warping Wail require [C], you will need to edit your mana base to make it more probable that you have [C] when you need it.

If want to use these colorless cards reliably, you want a minimum of 10 lands capable of producing [C] mana. I will discuss possible manabases below, but first I want to discuss the benefits of these cards. D&T’s manabase is already strained as is, so why would you put even more pressure on that manabase?


Benefits of Eldrazi Displacer 
Eldrazi Displacer costs 2W for a 3/3 body. In D&T, a 3/3 for three mana isn’t bad. In fact, the only 3/3 the deck typically plays is Serra Avenger, which also can’t enter the board before turn three and requires WW. Due to those restrictions, Serra Avenger often feels almost like a cmc 3 spell. Displacer’s large size means that it will survive most anti-DnT cards like MassacrePunishing Fire, and Dread of Night.

However, the real value of Eldrazi Displacer is the blink effect. It has the ability to blink any creature on the board for 2[C]  at instant speed, returning it to the field tapped.  Like Flickerwisp, this effect has fantastic synergy with other creatures we play. You use the ability to exile an additional permanent with cards like Leonin Relic-Warder and Fiend Hunter. You can blink Mangara of Corondor to set up the Mangara lock. You can blink Flickerwisp to blink non-creature permanents again. You can also blink creatures with Containment Priest in play in order to exile them permanently. You can blink Phyrexian Revoker to reset its target. And, of course you, can blink creatures you control to protect them from removal.

Secondly, you can blink creatures to tap them. This serves a two-fold purpose, allowing you to stop potential attacks as well as preventing creatures from blocking. This hinders your opponent’s attempts at offence and defense.

Thirdly, and this is where the card really shines, in my opinion, you can repeatedly blink tokens out of existence for the low, low cost of 2[C].  In grindy matches, this allows you to potentially “machine-gun” your opponent’s tokens.


The Impact of Eldrazi Displacer
Eldrazi Displacer is strongest in grindy matchups, matchups where mana denial will be less effective, and matchups where you need to reuse Flickerwisp or Mangara activations. Displacer is particularly good against Miracles and Lands, but it has many applications elsewhere.

Against Miracles, Displacer blinks tokens from Entreat the Angels and Monastery Mentor. Displacer also increases the chance of establishing a recurable Mangara lock, which Miracles has always struggle to deal with.

Against Lands, Displacer survives their most common source of removal, Punishing Fire, while also blinking their Marit Lage tokens all day.

Displacer is also good in any match where you are going to bring in Containment Priest, allowing you to perform more removal tricks. This is especially true against the tribal decks of Legacy like Merfolk, Eldrazi, and Goblins. Displacer is there to blink their creatures with Containment Priest in play when possible as a repeatable removal engine, and to slow their attackers when Priest isn’t there. It is particularly powerful against Eldrazi, as blinking an Endless One is a good as a removal spell. Against many of these decks, it also just might mitigate enough damage to keep you alive for another turn until you can find a solution to whatever problem you have at the moment

In equipment mirrors (e.g. D&T, Stoneblade, Maverick), Displacer can keep your opponent from connecting with their equipment, which is essential to their entire gameplan. It particularly shines in the mirror because it has Devoid, making it colorless and therefore unaffected by Mother of Runes activations or other sources of protection. It also blinks Batterskull tokens, which is a handy ability in the long game.

Against Delver decks, Displacer is an okay way to reset their Insectile Aberration to Delver of Secrets, but I would rather have Mirran Crusader in these matches because it can block or attack through Tarmogoyf and Gurmag Angler.


 

Benefits of Warping Wail 
Warping Wail costs 1[C]  for an instant with three usable and viable modes. You choose one mode on casting it: exile target creature with Power or toughness 1 or less; counter target sorcery; or create a 1/1 Eldrazi Scion token (which can be sacrificed to produce [C]).

The exile effect is extremely strong against a wide-range of creatures in Legacy. It exiles Deathrite ShamanStoneforge MysticInkmoth NexusBlighted AgentDelver of Secrets, most creatures in D&T, most creatures in Goblins, Young Pyromancer, most creatures in Elves, IchoridBloodghastNarcomoeba… you get the idea. It’s a useful removal spell.

Prior to Warping Wail, D&T didn’t have access to counterspells outside of very narrow cards like Judge’s Familiar or Mana Tithe. Warping Wail hits a very wide variety of targets, many of which either end of the game immediately or drastically impact the game in some way. Warping Wail counters TerminusEntreat the AngelsMassacreToxic Deluge, ThoughtseizeInfernal TutorHymn to Tourach, Natural OrderGreen Sun’s ZenithPonderPreordainDread Return, Burning WishReanimate, Exhume… once again, you get the idea. The list is huge.

The least impressive ability is creating the 1/1 token, but even that has its uses. Sometimes you just need a creature to pick up equipment to poke for the final points of damage. Creating an instant speed creature on your opponent’s end step leaves them with little opportunity to react and plan, making it a nasty surprise. Similarly, your opponent may leave back one chump blocker only to find it suddenly in exile.


The Impact of Warping Wail
Warping Wail drastically changes the dynamic of many matchups, especially the combo matchups. It can serves as a hard answer to primary win conditions. Against Elves, it counters Glimpse of Nature, Natural Order, and Green Sun’s Zenith. Against Reanimator, it invalidates most of their reanimation spells as well as the back up Show and Tell plan. Against ANT, it counters most of the business spells from Infernal Tutor to Burning Wish to Dark Petition.

Warping Wail also serves as a protection spell. It can counter sweepers like Massacre, Terminus, and Toxic Deluge. In many matchups, once you have enough pressure on board, you can hold up Warping Wail for the rest of the game as a safety net to the “outs” your opponent has.

Our sideboard often wants some sort of additional removal spells. In addition to the above tasks, Warping Wail serves as another removal spell against the aggro, tempo, and creature-combo decks like Infect, Delver, and Elves. Finally, it is extremely powerful in the mirror, as it kills just about every creature in the deck; Mother of Runes can’t even protect against it since it is colorless.


 

Mana
In order to run Eldrazi Displacer and Warping Wail effectively, you need to support colorless in the manabase. The tension comes from needing as many W sources as possible while also using majority of our colorless mana for mana denial rather than for making mana. The eight built in sources are Wasteland and Rishadan Port. In many cases, if these aren’t constraining someone’s mana, chances are, you are probably doing something wrong.

On top of that, to use these cards on curve consistently, you probably need to add at least two additional colorless mana sources, and I recommend a third if you end up with three or more cards with a [C] symbol. Let’s discuss the options.

Cavern of Souls is a great option if you are using a Human-heavy build in particular. However, running two of three Caverns starts to greatly decrease the number of true white sources in the deck.

Manlands like Mutavault and Mishra’s Factory (which is in most cases a strict upgrade due to the activated ability), are another great option. Once again, running too many of these will decrease the number of true white sources in the deck.

Alternatively, you can try to fill the mana requirements using utility lands. Ghost Quarter is perfectly viable in a format as mana-greedy as the present one as a “fifth Wasteland.” Sea Gate Wreckage is an interesting alternative that serves as a late game draw engine, and is valuable against grindy match-ups like Miracles and Lands. Again, however, you probably do not want either of these in multiples.

This leads me to my personal choice of preference, the pain lands like Adarkar Wastes and Battlefield Forge. Just like Horizon Canopy, you do end up paying some life for your white mana, but this serves as a pseudo-dual land for white and [C].  Feel free to run a few of these alongside the lands above as a way to increase your [C] sources without decreasing the number of true white sources.


 

Sample Decklist
You don’t need to overload on these colorless cards. 1-2 copies of Eldrazi Displacer and Warping Wail are probably fine in most cases.   If you run Displacer, you will want to run cards that synergize well with it (Mangara of Corondor, Fiend Hunter, Leonin Relic-Warder, Containment Priest, etc.). Warping Wail is fine even if you don’t run Displacer. It requires no extra work to get full value and adding two sources of colorless is more than adequate.

Sample

Creatures (26)
Mother of Runes
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Stoneforge Mystic
Flickerwisp
Phyrexian Revoker
Serra Avenger
Mangara of Corondor
Eldrazi Displacer
Mirran Crusader

Spells (11)
Swords to Plowshares
Aether Vial
Batterskull
Sword of Fire and Ice
Umezawa’s Jitte

Lands (23)
Plains
Wasteland
Rishadan Port
Karakas
Cavern of Souls
Adarkar Wastes
Sideboard (15)
Enlightened Tutor
Rest in Peace
Ethersworn Canonist
Seal of Cleansing
Pithing Needle
Containment Priest
Warping Wail
Council’s Judgment
Disenchant
Cataclysm
Absolute Law