Even More on Greedy Grixis… sort ofmichaelj | November 30, 2008 | 12:26 am
In the comments to my previous post More On Greedy Grixis, enzoreal asked me to try to improve upon Will Price of Progress’s deck focusing on Ajani Vengeant, Bitterblossom, Cryptic Command, and Mulldrifter (cards I identified as being some of the strongest in Will’s deck).
This post is an attempt to modify Will’s deck to fulfill this request.
These were my goals…
1. Preserving [some of] the unique elements of Will’s Greedy Grixis deck
2. Staying competitive in the metagame, specifically against the Fae, Reflecting Pool Control, the Red Deck, and Kithkin
3. Minimizing weak draws in early Stage Two
4. Preserving game in Stage Three in the face of decks with Cruel Ultimatum
5. Increasing the deck’s ability to control the board (Will’s version has minimal board control capabilities)
6. Of course focusing on the unique combination of both Ajani Vengeant and Bitterblossom in a single deck
One of the issues I had with Will’s deck is that it obviously boasts some very powerful cards – especially Reveillark – but that a lot of the elements in the deck are at odds with one another. For instance it is a “Mannequin” deck with no Shriekmaw (I know Will mentioned this in Kithkin Testing, but I don’t know his most recent list, if there has been a change).
I have heard from various sources that Fulminator Mage should to be great in this format because of the mana bases but it was actually pretty mediocre. Even at its best, this card is pretty middling unless you are on the play, plus it presses your mana base, requiring (b/r)(br) untapped on the third turn, which is difficult.
I really like the 2/2 synergies in this deck with Reveillark, but they create some strange incentives… In particular there is the RR mana cost on Siege-Gang Commander… Like I said in my previous post you have to play twelve Red mana sources (which of course can be accomplished simply by increasing the number of Vivid lands)… But I have a different RR I’d rather play end game in this strategy.
4 Mind Stone
4 Cryptic Command
2 Agony Warp
4 Ajani Vengeant
2 Cruel Ultimatum
4 Esper Charm
1 Austere Command
4 Arcane Sanctum
3 Cascade Bluffs
3 Crumbling Necropolis
3 Mystic Gate
4 Reflecting Pool
4 Sunken Ruins
4 Vivid Creek
2 Mind Shatter
1 Cruel Ultimatum
4 Gutteral Response
2 Wrath of God
We know from the Brian Kowal Boat-Brew that Mind Stone into Ajani Vengeant is some kind of two-three sequence. Playing Mind Stone gives us something to do on turn two in the games where we don’t draw a Bitterblossom. In addition, this gives the deck a faster potential Stage Three in the mirror with those Mind Shatters (though obviously Mind Stone is worthless [directly] in conjunction with the main deck’s Stage Three sorcery).
I know that Cruel Ultimatum is old hat for similar decks in this format but I decided that it is the Stage Three this deck wants for a non-intuitive reason: With Bitterblossom as the main threat, life total actually matters! The five life increase is nothing to sneeze at.
You will notice I switched the reanimation from Fulminator Mages into Reveillarks to Pyroclasms into Nucklavees. This is pretty important… The deck is set up to take heavy advantage of Nucklavee; it seems like the change in the metagame towards Elves (possibly) will demand more quick defense than Will’s deck had previously. Pyroclasm is fast, and it has relatively low downside versus Firespout in this environment.
I know the Austere Command looks strange but… Okay, it will probably become a Wrath of God. Fine.
Condemn is a no-brainer for this deck; my friend Antonino De Rosa says you have to play four copies of this card between main and side in Reflecting Pool Control, and there are four in this board; the reason for Agony Warp in the main over Condemn is simply to increase the synergies with Nucklavee. Agony Warp is generally superior to Condemn unless you are actually facing a Demigod of Revenge or Hell’s Thunder. Though Condemn might take over Agony Warp’s spot in the main in order to free up sideboard space.