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  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Hey all, I just got second in a 5 round PPTQ and wanted to share my list with everyone along with a few thoughts on the archetype as a whole. Let's start with the list I ran and then I'll talk about how it all went down.

    I've been having a lot of success with this list and the few odd choices I've been making. I'm down to only 2 scours because I've been constantly reminded that in most games I just don't have the time to durdle in the first few turns. Beyond that I also never want to draw more than one in a game so going down to only 2 copies seems correct and with the extra early spells I can still play a fast tasigur without a need for scours. Nonetheless it still does a lot for the deck (and is hilariously good with JTMS) by letting you hunt down key spells for snapcaster mage so I wouldn't want to cut them entirely.

    Bolas is still amazing and while jace has been much maligned in modern, it is another bomb to drop to either pull far ahead or just win on its own. In the past I've ran jace, architect of thought and was very happy with him as there were a bunch of lingering souls flying around making it quite easy to get ahead with him. But lately they've gone down in popularity so it's time to bring out the big guns. The biggest difference in this list is that the addition of bolas makes it far easier to protect him by, gasp, blocking! Sure pyromancer can also block, but that can easily fall apart with a single poor brainstorm while bolas just prevents attacks by virtue of simply being bigger than everything else on board.

    Finally are the two main deck angers which I added in out of fear for graveyard centric aggro decks. The lack of path to exile is the primary thing that you're losing by choosing grixis over jeskai and this helps make up for that. I count this as my "interactive flex slots" where it could be angers today or more counter magic next week or possibly extra threats next month. Right now I love having some kind of sweepers in the main, especially since nobody expects it from grixis, and I'll most likely be keeping them for a while.

    R1: Jeskai (Ben Nikolich list with peeks and settles) 2-0
    I sit down across from a friend of mine that I play with locally and we share a laugh, especially since we both know what deck the other is on and that this is going to be a long and interactive match. Game one they mull to 5 and it wasn't much of a contest. I aggressively use my Kommands as shock discard and spew off snapcasters to double up on the effect. Since they're on such low resources I wanted to force trades as often as possible to preserve a large mana advantage and ability to fight over the finishers. Once they finally manage to get their feet under them I drop a tasigur and bolas in the same turn and the pair clean it up in short order.

    Second game we both keep seven and take turns trying for an end step vendillion clique. Mine resolves cycling an azcanta and theirs gets countered. I stick a jace and start to go to town until a combination of snap and electrolyze manages to clear it. Sadly I haven't drawn much of note past a pair of cryptics in hand while their hand is flush with cheap permission but lacking in threats. A bit of draw go later we start a fight over a Teferi which they win. I am able to get a hit on it with a tar pit and follow up with bolas which threatens to clear it.

    They force through a jace the following turn leaving me with just a snap in hand and nothing else. I end step a snap Kommand and manage to kill jace and leave teferi at 3 loyalty so short of a wrath or path/snap/path I could clear the board and have some giant monsters ready to fight. Both of us are on empty but I have a massive board advantage with a manland, bolas, snap, and tasigur. They field my creep and make an error when they go for an upkeep cryptic tap+draw. I instantly say resolves, flip bolas, use him to burn down teferi and with just 2 minutes on the clock my opponent decides to concede the following turn.

    R2: Humans 2-1
    They win the roll and start with cavern into noble. I have a mediocre hand with some dead permission, but I have a turn one push for the noble and a turn 3 Kommand for a champion and aether vile. They follow up with a thalia and lieutenant and a mantis rider the next turn after cycling a canopy. I drop a bolas to get their last card but they have an image to get their own bolas. I take a draw step we trade off dragons and I bolt the rider to clean up the battlefield. Next turn I have a Snap/Kommand to eat their draw step, get back my bolas and chump with the snap. Next turn I cast bolas while they brick on their following turn. I flip bolas. They read it. They scoop.

    Next game I keep a really poor 6 that's heavy on lands but has a Kommand and a bolt. I pop their noble and Kommand a thalia, but a back up thalia into bugler plus kitesail prevents me from getting off an anger of the gods and I die the turn before I was able to wipe the board.

    Game three we do the threat/answer dance for the first 5 turns and we once again end up in the situation where I have a bolas and they clone it. This time I have the perfect answer and Kommand to shock their image and shatter a vial putting them massively behind in mana. I snap Kommand to take out a thalia and stick a jace the following turn which gets the concession.

    R3: Tron 1-2
    A very short, almost comedic round, as all three games were identical. Game one they're on the play and run the classic natural tron into turn 3 karn, turn 4 ulamog. Well played. Game two I go turn 3 field of ruin a tower and draw step surgical it, turn 4 bolas and kill you. Skill game. Next game I once again have the 2 card combo of surgical plus LD, but they have the 5 card combo of tower, mine, plant, karn, ulamog and win the match because they won the roll. Out played. But I suppose that's modern for you.

    R4: Monored Prison 2-1
    Me and my opponent are friends and we tend to play against each other in nearly every event so we both know what the other is on. As I'm walking up to see the pairings, he walks past me and jokes "well it wouldn't be a good event unless you and me end up playing each other, come on let's do this." I win the roll and they announce pregame effects. Uh oh! They drop a gemstone caverns into play pitching an abrade. UH OH! This says a first turn blood moon or 4 drop walker. I fetch a basic swamp and inquisition to see if I should concede right now. They show a hand of ritual x2, Koth, bridge, land. I take a ritual and get to snap inquisition the other rit when they miss land 4 for their pay off. Cryptic comes online and I counter the Koth, they drop a bridge and I play jace to fateseal them out of the game.

    Game two they get a turn 2 spirit guide into blood moon and I fetch an island. They follow it up with a rabble master and then top it off with a chandra. I pick up my cards.

    Final game I keep a hand with basic island, swamp, scour, tasigur, fetch, and knot. I play my fetch and pass they pitch a spirit guide and cast a sorcerous spyglass. I think for a second and respond by fetching an island. They playfully groan in dismay hoping i would "get got" with a turn 1 LD spell. They name JTMS and I follow up with a turn 2 tasigur, turn 3 knot a chandra, Kommand an Eidolon of the great revel and drop a bolas taking their last card. They peel a chandra to burn down bolas, but they have nothing left so tasigur stands tall. I kill chandra and draw step a clique seeing a boil and only 3 mana available on their side. Shortly after they scoop as they can't assemble an answer to him with no live cards left in hand.

    R5: Jeskai (classic secure the waste build) 2-1
    Game one I start out fast with IoK, snap IoK, Bolas. They get to lyze the snap, path the bolas and flip a search for azcanta. Unfortunately for me I proceed to draw lands and terminates while they find 3 counterspells off of azcanta. I try to induce a mistake my getting them to use their cryptic on a tasigur plus my own search to sneak through a field of ruin activation but they don't bite and I scoop to save time in the round.

    Next game I once again open with a flury of discard spells and leave them with a very weak hand. I follow up with a jace, but the one card I didn't know about was a knot. A teferi comes rolling off the top for them and I respond with a tasigur. They have to drop a bolt and a lyze to handle him and I follow up with a bolas. They're forced to minus teferi on him which lets me Kommand to finish him off and get yet another card out of their hand. I draw a search for my turn and leave up a negate with tags their jace. I drop a search but can't flip in the face of their field of ruin, next up I jam a bolas and they respond with a path. Rampant growth plus free discard in the control mirror? Please and thank you! We trade turns of draw go until I get to end step a clique, they have to electrolyze it and show me a hand of double negate. I untap and just plop Pia and Kiran in face of their negates and they go all the way.

    Final game I keep an awkward hand of triple snap, jace, and lands. I draw a scour and hit it on myself end step and my opponent surgicals a milled Kommand and sees my hand of triple snap. So now I'm pretty worried about running out a snapcaster into a potential snap/surgical to get the remaining snaps out of my hand. I end up finding a negate and I try to induce this play and end step snap scour myself. I attack and they flash in a snap to block. I let it happen and they end step try to surgical my snaps but I throw down a negate.

    They untap with a search, I field it. I drop bolas, they path. I then run out tasigur and activate, they snap path leaving me up several cards on them with a solid mana advantage. This dance continues for a bit where we trade off threats and answers but mine always leave me up in value. Eventually we get a few turns of the classic draw go and they run out a baneslayer but lose a counter fight over it which leaves me in the clear to resolve PnK to go the distance. Once again the superior card advantage comes through for grixis along with an assist from the opponent playing surgical.

    I made the top 8! Huzzah!

    Quarters: Humans (rematch from the swiss) 2-0
    This goes about the same as before. I turn 1 a kill spell for a noble, terminate their 2 drop, snap bolt a rider, cast bolas and he goes all the way. Game 2 they manage to assemble a nice board, but it's a house or cards with a mage naming my one removal spell and a kitesail holding an anger in exile. However they can't attack because they know I have a clique to eat an attacker which will make their entire board fall apart like dominos. I run out the clique on myself to cycle a jace trying to find a cheap removal spell so I can clear the board in a single turn. Their inability to attack gives me enough time to kill the mage, unlock a push, push their kitesail, anger away their final threats and tasigur walks it in.

    Semis: Humans once again 2-1
    First game I keep a very strong hand while my opponent is on a mull to 6 and misses their second land drop for several turns. I just dropping bombs on them for several turns and they are never really in it. Next game is much more of a contest thankfully where we take turns exchanging blows with them keeping pace with buglers to keep up with me in cards. They manage to get a strong board presence and I can't find my way to a sweeper and eventually they can attack pass my blockers to take it down.

    Final game they start with vial into thalia, but I get to bolt thalia and Kommand the vial with their follow up and snap bolt a rider. With them being stuck playing a single spell a turn, the humans deck is incapable of competing with grixis and I am easily keeping pace with them. They cast dorky creatures, I kill them, I cast jace, I cast PnK and the entire game was rather academic and just the way we all draw it up.

    Finals: Storm 1-2
    Game one I keep a hand of terminate, cryptic, and 5 lands. I don't feel comfortable mulling a hand with the 2 important cards in it in this match up before board. They end step a gifts, I cryptic, they untap and kill me. Whoa. That was fast.

    Game 2 was also fast, but in a much more amusing way. I start with land pass, they shock for a serum visions and tank for a bit. They go double top and I end step surgical their serum visions. I see a hand of many rituals, baral, and an empty the warrens but no lands. I pull the serums from his deck and see that he set up two lands on top. I really dodged a bullet by preventing a potential turn 2 empty for "oodles." They miss a land for two turns before finding it and making a giant mess of goblins. I pop a spellbomb to hit their yard and anger away the tokens. Bolas once again comes down emptying their hand and turning sideways five times.

    Final game was another fast one. They go turn 2 thing in the ice with another on the following turn and then manage to flip both of them on the next turn. I have a damnation in the yard but can't get up to 6 mana to snap it back before the horrors eat me up.

    I didn't get the RPTQ invite sadly, but managed to walk away with some cash money and another mess of experience with bolas being awesome. The card is very subtle in its power level, but combining the raven's crime effect with IoK and Snap/Kommand makes it very easy to create and then leverage a resource advantage. PnK were great every time I cast them and I'm really happy with the threat package in the 75.

    I still want more in the side for storm and/or tron so I'm considering trading a fulminator for a damping sphere and would be quite happy with a second. I feel so overwhelmingly favored against every single fair deck of the format so I don't mind losing something if it can dramatically increase my chances against the super unfair decks. Here's a few of the changes I'm considering.

    Main Deck:
    No changes.

    -1 fulminator mage
    +1 alpine moon

    -1 nihil spellbomb
    +1 collective brutality

    I'm wanting the brutality as burn is still a thing and still bad for us (even though bolas helps a ton there) and is still solid against storm. Most of the time I'm annoyed by casting IoK and being unable to take an empty or a cryptic or gifts which brutality will solve. It still allows me to take out all of my bad cards against control/aggro and bring in cards that I'm happy with. I'm trying very hard to "elephant" my deck so that I can twist and bend my 75 so that post board I'll have little to no bad cards left.

    Right now I have an even number of swaps for aggro, control, midrange, but am still lacking a little in the all-in GY decks but there aren't too many of those since bridge-vine has died off in popularity quite a bit. That leaves storm and tron as the primary targets for boarding. Perhaps I could cut a damnation for another wet ball and run a board something like the following:

    This leaves me much better off against storm and tron, but leaves me a bit more vulnerable to the graveyard oriented decks. I'm willing to make this trade because of the two main deck angers and the ability to find them with snaps and scours.

    Do you have any thoughts on potential main deck or sideboard changes to be better prepared for the unfair decks? I don't want to have to give up large percentages against the fair decks or humans by removing sweepers entirely so I really want to keep a damnation and EE, but still want to wiggle my way up in favor against storm, tron, and KCI. Suggestions? Comments? Halp?

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Another question about priority [SOLVED]
    Quote from user_938036 »
    Quote from stokpile »
    Here is the line of play that I'm hoping works. My opponent has azcanta, the sunken ruin and also controls a sorcerous spyglass. What I want to do is cast Commit // Memory on the spyglass and then shuffle it away with a field of ruin activation. What I want to do is use field on their azcanta, they activate in response, after that activation resolves I commit the spyglass (while the field of ruin activation is still on the stack), the spyglass gets tucked away then field of ruin shuffles their deck.

    This is a viable line of play. However you should be aware that if they choose not to use Azcanta you will miss your opportunity to cast commit before field resolves. Make sure you properly communicate what is happening with the opponent and do be afraid to call a judge these types of timing plays often confuse players and make them feel cheated so proper communication so there is no confusion as to what and when you are acting is important.

    Cool thanks a lot for the help!
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on Another question about priority [SOLVED]
    Here is the line of play that I'm hoping works. My opponent has azcanta, the sunken ruin and also controls a sorcerous spyglass. What I want to do is cast Commit // Memory on the spyglass and then shuffle it away with a field of ruin activation. What I want to do is use field on their azcanta, they activate in response, after that activation resolves I commit the spyglass (while the field of ruin activation is still on the stack), the spyglass gets tucked away then field of ruin shuffles their deck.

    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on Another question about priority [SOLVED]
    My reason for asking is I might want to tuck away something with Commit // Memory and I don't want them to be able to take it with the azcanta activation. From the way I'm reading this response I should be able to do that and have it work out the way I want, correct?
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on Another question about priority [SOLVED]
    My opponent controls azcanta, the sunken ruin. I attempt to destroy it with field of ruin. They respond by activating it. After they finish resolving the activation, does priority return to me with the field still on the stack? In other words, can I respond to my own field activation while it's still on the stack? Does it matter who's turn this is happening on? Do I have to explicitly state that I am holding priority at some point in this sequence?
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Wanted to post my bolas list that I'm toying with to get some initial feedback on. So far it seems just as good at my normal go to list, but bolas does add a different dimension with being able to really attack the hand without overloading on IoK and thoughtseize. It might just end up being six of one, half a dozen of the other, but the extra element that bolas adds to your mid and late game is very interesting. I decided to also try a version without cantrips so that my entire deck is action or card advantage and have been surprisingly happy with it. Granted cantrips are incredibly hard to evaluate, but so far I haven't missed them. Bolas is actually safe to flip a large percentage of the time believe it or not, even against jeskai. With the ETB trigger, IoK + brutality, and recursive Kommand discards it's very common for them to be hellbent or have a single draw step when you go for the flip.

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Figure I might as well chime in with my GY hate selection, especially with vengevine decks suddenly getting popular with Stitcher's Supplier. Previously, I was on 2x surgical and 1-2 anger between the main and side depending on how much aggro I expect and that was more than fine since I was ok with conceding the match to living end. Today I'm on 1 anger main and 1 more anger in the side next to 2 surgical and 1 spellbomb. I decided that it was time to finally add in a hard graveyard nuke for games where you just need to clear it out entirely. Surgical is the hotness when you're against dedicated combo like storm, but medium to abysmal against the all in GY decks depending on their focus. I'm also on 3x tasigur which does help a ton next to anger for recursive threats, but I still think we need some amount of "you lose" hate for the time being.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Yixlid Jailer + Bridge [SOLVED]
    Cool thanks a bunch!
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    I have a lot of experience playing with and against storm in both modern and legacy and I can say with confidence that if your plan is to "get them" by using a stifle effect on the storm trigger you are still dead. For stifles to be a live card you need a very specific texture to the game where they are entirely out of gas, are dead on board or are dead in two turns AND you have more interaction available. Proper stifle might be a thing if you have 4x snapcaster, but that doesn't apply to modern.

    The bird is definitely a trap against storm without a VERY fast clock backing it up and even then it isn't considerably better than just a negate to stop them from getting their engine rolling. You'll be much better served to play with cards that either shut off their combo turn like the wet ball or can stop it part of the way in like permission.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Yixlid Jailer + Bridge [SOLVED]
    I control a Yixlid Jailer and my opponent has a Bridge from below in their graveyard. My opponent casts a walking ballista for X=1, removes a counter and kills my jailer. What the heck happens with the bridges? Zombies? Are they exiled? /HeadAsplode
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Also a follow up question about the hollow one match up, what is your experience against them? Thinking back on when I've played it, I have yet to have even a single game that wasn't a nongame. Either they discard their big monsters and don't do anything all game, I die on turn 3, BM'd before I see a basic or fetch, or get triple thoughtseize'd by inquiry. How do your games typically play out where both players get to take somewhat impactful game actions? What do you see as the important cards on both sides and what SB options or strategies do you like the most?
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    I'm pretty firmly in the 24 land group since you're cutting spells for field and field only counts as a spell in a small percentage of matches while something like a vendilion clique or an extra cantrip always does something at the very least without being a liability. I'm on think twice because it is not a cantrip that may or may not be meaningful like remand or shadow of doubt. It is actual card advantage which the deck needs a small amount more of, it's the straw that stirs the drink.

    The primary upside to alpine moon in the versatility discussion is that you can name cavern of souls if you get paired against eldrazi where fulm is fine but not great. I do like the card but I'm not sure I'll ever be 100% on the correct combination of land hate between main and side is. But the amount that we have access to and with enough cheap dorks to beat down with tron is palatable now rather than our lunch break. I haven't been feeling the pain of them not being down a land since you just need a turn or two to get your permission online and things are rather straight forward form there. Even against valakut I don't care about trying to surgical their namesake or stone rain them to oblivion. I just want them to be off a lethal scapeshift and for everything else there's cryptic command.

    What about bolas? I know there was some discussion a bit ago, but it was primarily speculative. Has anybody actually gotten in some games with him? I'm not that interested in dropping $80 on something I'm not playing in standard and might not even sleeve up in modern.

    EDIT: One further note on fulminator vs moon that I forgot to mention is against jeskai. Fulm is amazing against them as sometimes a simple stone rain is crippling, but it has much more value than a "gotcha" card. It lets us completely ignore colonnade as a threat even if we take out 100% of our spot removal that can hit it. It also answers a flipped azcanta without neutering our own and can help us sneak through a threat if they tap low and aren't expecting a full on LD spell. Ever since cutting AV and teferi being printed the match has gotten much closer to even for them and with the deck being obscenely popular for some reason, I do like having an extra problem card for them to deal with in my 75. It may not be much, but when it comes to SB slots every point in favor of one card over another counts for something.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Hey hey! I ended up running grixis control in the recent scg modern classic and ended up with a very close miss on the top 8 that I'd like to talk about. As per usual, here's the list I registered for you to reference and I'll go over the oddities in my list towards the end.

    Now that the list is out of the way here is how the rounds shook out for me.

    R1: Lantern 0-2

    This was a fairly standard affair of a dozen plus turns of not doing anything of significance until they are dead on board with a bridge protecting them. Unfortunately for me on the critical turn both games I was a single mana short of being able to play a final draw spell such as Clique on myself or scour on them to clear the bridge for a single turn to attack for lethal. Regardless, both games were very enjoyable to play and it's hard to say if I played correctly each game.

    R2: Abzan Counters Company 2-0
    Game one they assemble a formidible board with finks, vizier, shalai, birds, noble, and E.witt while my hand was choked with cryptics and Kommands. I struggled in the early turns to convert the various commands into a meaningful point of interaction and their board kept developing each turn. Luckily a tasigur next to Jace, AoT were able to hold the ground and prevent some massive attacks while they were gaining 2 life a turn with chump attacks from the finks. They soon hit six mana to start activating shalai in combat and turn everything sideways. I flash in a Clique to block shalai, flash in a snap to trade with vizier, and trade tasigur with half of the finks. Snappy flashes back a bolt to finish off shalai which lets me untap and dump my hand of Kommand, terminate, and push to clear their board and re-buy tasigur and start the Jace minus train to an easy victory.

    Game two they have a very long game oriented hand with finks, ballista, double E.witt chord and coco. I Iok and Snap IoK early on the witness and chord, logic knot the second witness and snap knot their coco then clean up with terminate plus Kommand on the finks. They rebuild with a noble and ballista on 2 which I anger away and follow up with a tasigur. They main phase a coco with some solid hits and I draw a damnation. I decide to slow play it and start activating tasigur to get some goodies back until they commit a bit more and then blow everything up. I stick an azcanta shortly after and the game is academic from there as I walk in the victory with a tarpit and a lone snapcaster.

    R3: Burn 2-1
    Another match where every game goes exactly according to the script that has been written throughout history. First game I get clowned by double swiftspear on the play with double lava spike into eidolon. I am vaporized in a mere two minutes. Game two I'm on the play with a turn 2 tasigur and on turn 3 I fully escalate brutality killing a guide and snagging a helix. They don't have a path for the grixis goyf and I take it down with ease due to my "nut draw." Game 3 they mull to 6 and I get to IoK a charm and snap IoK another burn spell and brick wall a goblin guide. Clique and tasigur show up shortly after to team up with my tarpit and they weren't able to draw enough charms to race me.

    R4: RG Ponza 2-1
    Oh look. The 0% victory 100% misery match up. Huzzah. Game one they have the play and double stone rain me on turns 2 and 3 with moon on 4 followed up with a couple random 4 drop monsters. I luckily drew my basic swamp and was able to fight back a little with terminates and snap bolts, but a thragtusk shuts the door right in my face the moment I get hopeful about a comeback.

    Next game they get a turn 3 trinisphere and I have a bit of an internal giggle at how ineffective the card is. They deploy some midrange threats that I 1-for-1 with removal and a logic knot and stick a Clique to start pecking away at their life total. They get off a pair of mid game stone rain effects, but by then I have enough lands to operate and without a moon to break me it isn't enough and the 3/1 flyer takes it down.

    Final game they snap keep their opening 7 on the play. I mull to 6. I mull to 5. I see a hand of island, island, steam vents, logic knot, and explosives. I have to keep and scry seeing a blood crypt on the top and start to think about how I can possibly win this game. What sequence of events needs to happen for me to beat a stellar 7 cards from the opponent on the play, no matter how unlikely. Crypt gives me black for the EE to clear a moon, but on the draw I'm not going to get there before blood moon "interacts with me" and stops me from taking a game action. I decide that the only way I can win is if I find threats and can use the EE and knot to keep myself alive and pray that the 2 islands are all I need to function and that they don't get destroyed.

    I bottom the crypt and they open with sprawl into stone rain your steam vents. I draw a tar pit and get blood mooned the next turn. They BBE into ooze and I use EE to clear the ooze and knot their follow up chameleon colossus. They follow up with a tracker into forest while I draw a click and a terminate over this time. I decide that I can't click them because there is no way I can beat anything good without a swamp for the terminate. Since there is only 1 swamp in the deck my best chance to win is to click myself and not trade my clique with the tracker.

    I cycle my terminate into a watery grave and start racing. I clear the tracker with a bolt and they BBE into another ooze and I draw the one card I knew I had to find since turn 0 of this game to have a shot at the win, Pia and Kiran Nalaar. I smile as I see the blood moon on the other side of the table and tap 2 islands and 2 UB duals to cast mom and dad with a pair of tarns next to them. As I put my tokens into play my opponent also looks at their moon and slumps into their chair.

    They know full well that the blood moon is what caused this situation to turn from a win for them into a loss. Life totals being what they are, their only out was a resolved tragtusk. We take turns attacking past each other and on the final turn I throw my thopters at them to put them to -1 with me being dead to their attack on the following turn. I was so very tempted to mimic the 'Cloudthresher beats faeries' story by spouting off "...and they say blood moon beats grixis control. Lul. LUL!"

    Play to your outs, get rewarded. FeelsGreatMan!

    R5: Mardu Pyro 2-0
    Apparently this player drove to the event with the lantern opponent I had in round 1, but they thought I was on grixis death's shadow and not control. They keep a 1 land have stuffed to the gills with pushes, dreadbores, and an IoK. I get the play and IoK theirs and they miss a land drop for 3 turns and they were never really in it with zero live cards in hand. Game 2 I stick a jace and minus which eats a Kommand shock/discard and then they fire off another shock/discard at my face. This screams to me that they have a reveler which I have a knot for so I play accordingly.

    I start using snaps on thought scours to incentivize them to start committing to the board and tag the reveler with my counterspell. Several turns pass with them durdling with looting and me doing my thing of land go and flashing back think twice while chipping away. I eventually Kommand back a scoured tasigur and start to really pressure them. I counter their first 2 removal spells and they stick a reveler this time pitching a souls which I get to surgical. But with them being so low on life I'm able to take down the last few points of life with a tar pit and a cryptic tap draw.

    R6: GW Value Town 2-0
    Another game where the extra card draw of jace and think twice helped push me across the finish line. Things start off relatively scripted with noble into bolt, knight into terminate, coco into cryptic and courser plus tracker into Kommand plus snap terminate. Uneventful first several turns of the game and we continue the threat/answer dance for several turns while I start to flood out. I scour into a think twice and manage to keep pace but they keep drawing gas and I struggle to find a threat or an engine. Finally I stick a jace and go to town by finding a Kommand and emptying their hand to clear a path for tasigur to bring it home. I win the first game on turn 20-something with only 3 cards remaining in my library.

    The next game is similar to the first but ends up much more nerve wracking. They open with a flood of value dorks and start getting ahead while I start to take a bunch of hits before managing to clear the board at a meager 6 life. They have been pecking away with a single lotus cobra and cast a noble. We both share a laugh as it is a very relevant card on turn 15 as it takes a full turn off the clock. I have only a single logic knot in hand and I have to spend it here to give myself an extra draw step and I delve an enormous amount of spells from my yard in anticipation of finding a tasigur. I pick up a jace and plus to slow the beats further while they horizon canopy into a courser and get a free land off the top. I minus into a think twice that finds a bolt and flash back think twice which peels a terminate.

    They end step a coco into knight plus a naked renegade rallier to clear the jace and take the last terminate from my hand leaving me at a precarious life total. I top deck a snapcaster and snap Kommand in the draw step to rebuy another snap. I do this for a second time and get back a tasigur which quickly refills my hand with action thanks to my 13 lands in play. With a grip full of known answers, they scoop when I cryptic their top deck'd coco.

    R7: Hallow One 0-2
    By far the most disappointing match of the day. Game one they're on the play and I die on turn 3 before Kommand could clear a hollow one and an adept. Game two I clear their giant monsters and anger away 4 of their sticky threats just before they blood moon me and hard cast a hollow one. I never drew a basic or a fetch land and I just fall over dead for top 8.

    Had I not been gibbed by hollow one and managed to win that round instead, I could have ID'd the last round into the top 8 which was a big letdown considering how much of a nongame it was. After that depressing loss I decided to drop from the event to try and beat rush hour traffic on the highway I was taking home to shorten my drive by two hours. Found out when I got home there was a wreck on the road that happened shortly before I got back so I sure dodged a bullet with that decision. In any case, here are some thoughts for you to mull over with the non-standard choices I've made and how they preformed both in the event itself and in testing.

    2 Vendilion Clique MD - Clique was great all day and has been for some time. There have been many games that I needed a threat to close out because I had fallen behind or needed the extra bit of hand disruption early on or perhaps drew the wrong half of my deck in the match. They're abysmal against mardu pyro for sure, but everywhere else they always do something and that "something" tends to be important.

    2 Inquisition of Kozilek MD - These are replacing the typical countersquall and extra spell snare slots and I have been very happy with them. They aren't as good as snare against snapcaster decks, but they are still good there and we are already a favorite so the slight percentage loss isn't very pronounced. They act mostly as a way to clear early value spells that demand a counterspell like tireless tracker, blood moon, pyromancer, and the information itself is invaluable.

    It also gives you the IoK-Snap-IoK-Cryptic openers which are absolutely amazing and makes it incredibly difficult for most decks to enforce their will before your mana and draw engines have been set up. Even though they're not that great on turn 19, they can still clear the way for a tasigur to end the game so they are still useful once we get to where we want to be. I highly recommend running some number of discard right now, but thoughtseize I found to be much too painful to be included as much as I wish I could register them.

    2 Think Twice MD - I've always said that you can't rely on just 2 search for azcanta as your draw engine and I still stand by that claim. People run field of ruin, they blood moon, they molten rain, they cast rest in peace and so on. These mopey draw spells really help push you over the line in a resource battle when search isn't able to stick around and I was very happy to have them paired with thought scours to occasionally get some added value. Obviously they're embarrassing against burn, but so is every draw spell when your opponent doesn't care about going past turn 5. In the past I have run Glimmer of Genius and was very impressed with how well it performed, but I wanted something that I could do earlier on and didn't want to have even more 4 drops in the deck. It works with snapcaster and is a very powerful play considering what you are drawing into, but currently I'm leaning towards cheaper spells for my raw card draw.

    0 Serum Visions MD - I'll always miss serum because of the great consistency it adds, but I don't feel like we can afford the full on Turbo XeroX play style in modern right now. This meant I had to choose one cantrip or the other and scour had more value when you add in think twice. I tried playing just 2 copies in addition to some number of scours, but there wasn't enough card advantage to keep me ahead once I stabilize to warrant the inclusion.

    3 Cryptic Command and 3 Kolaghan's Command - I've tried the 8 command version of grixis in the past and every time I hated it. There are just far too many games and entire match ups where they are too clunky for you to convert into a meaningful advantage. You don't always have worthwhile targets for Kommand and aren't always able to hold open 4 mana to drop a cryptic in a meaningful fashion. Because of that I trimmed down a copy of each in favor of other forms of advantage that are easier to translate into a favorable position and have been extremely satisfied with the change.

    1 Anger of the Gods MD - Without path to exile we need some kind of exile effect, especially with hollow one being such a high variance match. I've enjoyed having a sweeper in the main before, and today the creature decks tend to be going very wide and this is a great tool to have in the first game. For a while I was running two copies main and zero in the side, but I wanted to diversify my spells a bit more to make the snaps and scours a little bit better. I can easily see two main being the correct route to take due to us lacking Path to Exile, but am unsure of which swap is the best to make it happen.

    Jace, Architect of Thought MD - This one partially fills the role of sweeper against go-wide decks and threat plus card draw against slower fair decks. I've been very impressed with how it performs and he colds early lingering souls spam from mardu cleanly while being able to be a draw engine in its own right. Right now I am certain on the inclusion, but in two weeks that could easily change based on how the meta continues to develop.

    Pia and Kiran Nalaar SB - A fairly simple and generic mid game threat for when that is desired. It has the upside of being castable through a blood moon and very good against decks that would play it while not being answered cleanly by a lone celestial purge like keranos against jeskai. This slot changes from week to week depending on what fair deck you expect the most and currently I want the promised value from mom and dad.

    Alpine Moon SB - This has been a fine "no button" to hit against tron and valakut. I like the one because it shuts them down even when on the draw and can buy enough time for us to set up so that tron either doesn't matter or has been blown up with fields and fulmns. I could take it or leave it to be honest, but as a one of I don't have much data to make any strong claims.

    0 Dispel SB - I chose to go with more versatile counters that are always good against the big mana decks as I feel that the matches where dispel is good so are negate/stroke (aside from burn) where I don't need the extra help. This is a point I feel strongly about as half the decks where you want to load up on permission are heavily in our favor and the other half are very bad for us so I want to ensure that 100% my permission is live when I need the help.

    2 Damnation + 1 Anger of the Gods SB - My list is far more heavy on wrath effects than ones I have seen for a while. Much like my comments on Jace, AoT, the creature decks tend to be going quite wide and you can't always keep pace in the early turns with spot removal. Post board the mantra has always been "make sure your hate cards are Powerful" and a playset of wraths is exactly that. With a large portion of the field being decks that dump a handful of dorks into play for one reason or another, being able to ensure that you find an early sweeper is how you should be boarding. It also lets you ensure that you won't have to leave in any permission against the vial/cavern decks or other creature decks where permission is embarrassing and just pray you get a target for them.

    3 Field of ruin + 1 Spirebluff Canal - Another uncommon choice for the lands and this one I found to be partially incorrect. It was a calculated risk on my part and a conscious choice to do so which was a less tested (or less noticed) aspect of my list going into the event. I'll be sticking with 24 total lands however and change the third field back into a UR dual to help facilitate anger of the gods on curve ever so slightly. I do like the fast land to help alleviate your fetch/shock tendencies early on, but I'm not sure how many fast lands I would be comfortable having in total.

    Moving forward I'm going to be running the following list and trying to find room for an extra think twice to total 2 copies in the deck or consider a third search for azcanta over the one think twice I currently have. Here is what I am currently fiddling with:

    I absolutely want 2 cliques in the 75 somewhere and prefer some in the main because of their perpetual usefulness and flexibility. I'm also happy with the total number of draw spells, but the configuration does determine the amount that I want. I'm back on 3 tasigur because the games where you have one before the late game and when you don't are like night and day when you compare how easily you can leverage your commands and close out the game. He also fills the role of a draw engine which the deck wants, especially with knots to help curate the yard.

    I have played a number of games with Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and I have been impressed with him, especially with a pair of IoK in the deck. He really helps you do a number on your opponents hand and whittle them down to nothing. It is also a late game "I Win" card that also helps by blocking early beats in fair matches and brick walls lingering souls tokens. Unfortunately I don't own any and the price tag is why I haven't tried them in a competitive setting. I'll be fooling around more with him in the list and I am hopeful, but I really can't say for sure if he is a worthy inclusion or not. What I can say on that subject however is that it is a strong enough card that it is worth thoroughly testing as opposed to just speculating on paper without a good amount of games being played.

    The creature split that I am most interested in testing to include bloas is as follows:

    I hope you enjoyed reading through my thoughts on the archetype and am curious what your thoughts are on bolas for those who have actually played a number of games with him. How does everyone feel about the heavy cantrip versions of grixis against the field? Do you just yolo against blood moon decks and hope to dodge it resolving? Has anybody else enjoyed some amount of discard in the main deck? Are there any players that have liked Alpine Moon as a sideboard card that have in game experience with it?

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Quote from skeeler87 »

    I'm just about to put this deck together and I was just wondering why people play Young Pyromancer instead of Goblin Rabblemaster? It seems to me that YP would be not as good of a late game topdeck as Rabblemaster, especially against other control decks. Not to mention the super fast clock it presents if you play it early. Also, Rabblemaster is slightly harder to remove with Fatal Push.

    The tokens generated by pyro are able to block every turn while the rabblemaster prevents that. Also a resolved pyro lets you guarantee some value with a follow up spell always generating a token and the goblin can be killed before you get to your attack step. They also fill different roles as well. Rabblemaster is a fast clock for combo matches while pyro is a defensive option that can become a strong clock. All in all pyro is more versatile with how our deck is constructed, but you can lean on the goblin if your only concern is having a fast clock when facing little to no removal.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Advancing the game state
    So in situation one somebody will be forced to make a game losing action, bleh that sucks. What this basically means is call a judge when you are not the active player and your opponent will have to intentionally lose instead of you since you are both locked in the same stalemate. What of the second situation? Is player A able to sit there and let his opponent mill out with their draw step since they are technically advancing a game plan or does that still count as a fragmented loop and they'll be forced to "choose" to lose the game?
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
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