Friday, July 15, 2016

Two Angels, One Body: Eldritch Moon Two Headed Giant Tips

Gaige and I at pre-release. You can decide who is who.
Hey there nerdburgers, it's Dan once again. Pre-release is this weekend! Huzzah! If there's one thing that team Heavy Salami truly enjoys, it's playing with other men, so this weekend we'll be entering several Two-Headed Giant (2HG) events for the pre-release. (Not sure what 2HG is? The start of this article gives you a basic outline. The rest of it just talks about how shitty we are.)

We always have a ton of fun with 2HG sealed - it's an interesting format that always presents you with some unique deck building decisions. It's similar to regular sealed in that the format is typically slower and more bomb dependent, but a lot of times that can be blown wide open by a few innocuous cards that suddenly become heavy hitters in 2HG. Also, you get to fight with your teammate about who gets to play what colors and use what dope ass rares. If you're on my team, there's only one thing I have to say: DIBS ON BLUE.

For today's article, we're going to take a look at some Eldritch Moon cards that might be mediocre or just acceptable in regular sealed/draft, but get knocked up a few notches when thrown into 2HG. We'll explain to you what makes these cards so much better in this funky format, and ideally plant the seed in your mind for what types of cards to look for whenever you play 2HG with a new set.

Also, I highly recommend taking a peek through this article if you plan on attending a 2HG event. They explain some weird card interactions that are specific to this set, and they are definitely worth knowing in case you open up one of these cards, or in case someone casts it against you. Wizards: don't go into battle without a tome of knowledge - otherwise you're just an old dude in a bathrobe holding a stick.

General Advice:

Ok, so just some general shit. This applies to every set for 2HG, and it's worth keeping these tips in mind any time you sit down to build a deck.

  • Positive spells that say "target creature" get slightly better - For example, a simple +2/+2 pump spell or enchantment. Since you can target both yours and your teammate/life partner's creatures, the chances of you being able to make good use of the card go up. It's marginal, and not enough to make trash cards good, but it opens up some more options for you.
  • Spells that say "each opponent" get much, much stronger Tunneling Geopede from Battle for Zendikar is a perfect example of this. In a 1v1 game, it is a solid card, and will usually be included in a red deck. In 2HG though, the card is busted as fuck. Rather than pinging for one each turn, you smack them for two. In mine and Gaige's 2HG pool for that pre-release, I had two Geopedes, some Evolving Wilds, Blighted Woodland, and three Nettle Drones. So many double pings. Needless to say, we did insanely well at that event.
Suddenly bugs!
  • Aggro strategies generally get weaker - It's much harder to quickly burn through thirty life than it is to burn through twenty. Even though you get to deploy twice as many threats, they get twice as many blockers and twice as much removal. Also, the chances of opening the pieces for a fast enough aggro deck out of a sealed pool is just fairly low. That said, sometimes you get some sick packs, and it can indeed be done.
  • Fliers, reach, or flying removal is essential - In solo games, if you have a strong enough ground presence, you may be able to ignore fliers as you beat down. This isn't true in the durdly 2HG format. Typically at least one opponent in each match will have fliers, and they'll kill you if you can't handle them. In SoI, I main decked a Clip Wings, and it was never a totally dead card. One time I killed a Flameblade Angel and an Avacyn with it, and it felt like I cheated.
  • Counter magic is dope - In draft, counters are meh, but good ones are playable. In sealed, counter magic is reasonable. In 2HG, it's pretty stronk. With two opponents, chances are you're going to get to nab a good spell with it, and countering a bomb feels fuckin' goooood.
  • Some Artifact/Enchantment removal is necessary - Since there are no sideboarded games, you should have at least one main deck piece of artifact/enchantment removal. Something like Reclaiming Vines from BFZ is ideal, because it has the fallback of nuking a land. If the stars align and you can get something like Reclamation Sage, then you're in great shape.
Neat, that's out of the way. Now that you know some general bullshit, let's take a look at specific cards in this set that are gonna be the big ballers in EMN 2HG. Or at least medium ballers. Some of them might even be pygmy ballers.

I don't think there are enough tentacles in this set.
Common theme here, and I'm gonna get it out of the way before anyone complains: A lot of these cards are just going from "total shit" to "playable," not going from "bad" to "best card in the set." Mind's Dilation is a great example. With two opponents, you have a much higher chance to actually score something off of this card. It is also each turn, so if they play a creature on their turn they flip one up for you, and then if they play a counter or an instant on your turn, you get another chance. The format is generally slower as well, so getting a seven drop on board is more achievable.

All that said, this is still like a 5/10 at best. It's expensive and still has a chance of being useless, but whatever. If you're playing a controlling long game, this may be worth including. I know for a fact that I'm going to play it if I open it, and I'll let you all know if that makes me sad.

Coax from the Sideboard.
This card is for the most part totally unplayable in regular draft. In 2HG sealed however, you get 12 entire packs worth of cards, and there's a chance you won't be able to fit every Eldrazi you opened into your deck. If you manage to get a few in the right colors chillin' in your board, this is a nice flexible card that lets you grab what you need. Rather than shoving a crazy expensive emerge-drazi mainboard, you can leave it side and grab it with this when you need it, or if you don't have the mana, grab one of your lower cost durzi's to come out earlier. 

Like Mind's Dilation, this just goes from shit to decent. Only consider running this if you have three or more Eldrizzles in the right colors hanging out in your sideboard.

This is the most begrudged high-five I've ever seen.
Typically "opponent sacs a dude" effects aren't great in limited - especially so in this format, where there are a lot of 1/1 tokens and creatures that actually want to be sacrificed. But, as I said in the general advice section, having this hit each opponent makes it better. If this comes down turn three or four and they have to sacrifice their only two creatures on board, that is an absurd play, and you'll be way ahead. Later game, if only one of them sacs a real creature, and the other just flops a token, then that's totes acceptable. You can also play this along with your teammate's removal to make sure they sacrifice what you'd like them to.

Also, just open several planeswalkers and this card is great. Seems simple enough.

I dunno what that thing is, but why did they bury it in a regular graveyard?
This is simple. Rather than only getting yours and a single opponent's GY to choose from, you get yours, your teammate's/lover's, and both of your opponents'. Chances are you'll be able to snag something good with this. Your teammate can kill off the opposing bomb, and then you can steal it before they have much chance to do anything about it. Dope.

Maokai is now both my favorite champion and my favorite card.
Lol. Ok, so this is good regardless, but the idea of alpha shotting your opponents for 17 life is too funny not to mention. Then you also have a 0/30 defender.  Sure, it just kind of sits around and photosynthesizes, but c'mon. Is anyone not going to play this if they open it? If you don't play this, just go do your taxes or some shit because apparently you hate fun.

Thermo-bro is already set to be a solid card in every flavor of EMN limited, but in 2HG he's going to be one of the top dogs. Ping for two every turn is a fast clock that demands an answer immediately, and if you manage to sling a few spells with him on board, you're going to be pulling way ahead. If you open one of these and don't play it, you probably fucked up. It's a common, too, so there's a good chance you can end up with multiples, which is just absurd.

Why are you people throwing nets at her, she's not a fish. At least not yet.
Subjugator is already pretty damn bomby. It can let you close out a game in short order, or at least get a bunch of damage in. In 2HG, you're tapping down two players' creatures, and it lets you and your teammate swing in for a buttload. If the board has been stalled for a bit, there's a good chance that this angel allows you to one-shot your opponents.

"Fuck this hut in particular."
This is going to be a sweet card for 2HG. As I said earlier, incidental artifact/enchantment removal is very strong, and you'll want to come packing some in case your opponents drop something like Fevered Visions. Hardcasting this isn't very realistic, but even if you eat a three drop, this becomes a bigger Conclave Naturalist, and that isn't so bad.

The counterpart to the Great Aurora, this is just the OK Aurora.
The front side of this is acceptable - it ramps, fixes, and slaps both teams for two. If you can get this to flip, you probably win. It swings in for a mighty seven in the air, and six of it happens even if they block it. That's a two turn clock for those of you keeping score. If you're way behind this is a dangerous play, but it comes down early enough that you should be able to get some good advantage from it before you accidentally kill yourself and your teammate gets pissed at you.


There you have it peeps. Short, sweet, and simple. Sss. Like a snake. Those are the cards that you should take a bit of extra time to consider than you normally would. Pay particular attention to Thermo-Alchemist and Oath of Liliana, since they go up in value significantly in 2HG. In this set there really aren't any cards that become absolutely useless in 2HG compared to regular sealed (though I probably wouldn't reveal Providence if it's in my opening hand).

I hope you guys have fun this weekend, and I hope all of your pulls are bomb ass rares and mythics. Unless you're playing against us, in which case I hope there was a printing error and every one of your packs just has 15 copies of Peace of Mind.

"Well, we probably win, but it's going to take a while."

Excited for 2HG Pre-Release? Have questions about some specific interaction? Want to order me a pizza for lunch? Whatever the situation, leave us a comment or send us a message using the form on the right! 

You can also find Team Heavy Salami on the Twatter machine @Heavy_Salami, on, and Dan's MTGO account, HeavySalami!


  1. Gaige is obviously JD and Dan is Turk.

    1. I'd have to see a dance-off to render a fully informed judgment.