Standard Deck Tech – Grixis Control

Like I’ve said for the past two weeks, I’m pretty grateful for the most recent series of SCG IQs. It seems they each had some pretty unique decks in them, and seeing as we’re currently on the eve of Aether Revolt’s release, new decks appearing in Standard is usually a pretty tall order. The IQ in O’Fallon in the beginning of December was no exception. That’s where I found this exciting list, piloted to a Top 8 finish by Brad Nolan. It’s always a joy when you can still find new decks so close to a new set coming out, so thanks, Brad!

Grixis Control by Brad Nolan

I’ve noticed as recently as this latest set of videos that there are a bunch of U/R Control lists running around. We even wrote about one in the past few weeks. This is basically that deck, only with, you know, black cards. Which gives us more removal and access to things like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Oh, also one of my favorite planeswalkers that’s still legal, Ob Nixilis Reignited. While our card options are more varied, let’s see if that makes the deck any more powerful.

Its worth noting that Torrential Gearhulk might very well be the most powerful creature in Standard. The card is just ridiculous, with Void Shatter and Unlicensed Disintegration being two of the more powerful targets you can replay with the huge 5/6. While this deck was great, and definitely felt like a traditional control deck, we did have some traditional control issues to contend with.

One of the biggest problems that a control deck can face, which we were at the mercy of in our last match, is not drawing enough lands. It’s hard to even blame the deck for this considering we do have some 26 lands, but whenever you’re facing down another control deck, the first one to miss multiple lands drops is often the one that’s going to lose. That’s simply how it goes unfortunately.

Second to missing land drops, the second biggest problem is drawing a bunch of cards like Harnessed Lightning and Radiant Flames against decks that they’re not good against (you know, those aforementioned control decks). Don’t get me wrong, in the deck they’re good against, they shine. Hence our positive record. But when your opponent has relevant counterspells and you have irrelevant burn spells, you’re not doing yourself any favors there.

The last problem I had with the deck was simply drawing the correct colors. There were regular times where we wanted double black and double blue for spells, along with double red simply to be able to cast more than one red spell in a turn. Sometimes this proved difficult to accumulate. This was the single biggest factor in me wondering if the U/R version was a little superior, but I’m still not sure. Like we mentioned, cards like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Unlicensed Disintegration are both very strong, as is Ob Nixilis Reignited. All of these make black seem worthy, so long as you can navigate some of the colors issues that can crop up from time to time.

The deck definitely felt solid, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Give it a shot if you’re looking for something sweet in the control area. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch ya later!

Frank Lepore
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Frank Lepore

Frank Lepore has played Magic for over 20 years, in which time he has created popular columns like The Leporatory, The Lepore Report, and Modern Monday. In addition to a Grand Prix Top 8 and being a member of the 2014 Magic Community Cup, he recently added a Pro Tour Top 8 to his resume at his very first Pro Tour.
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Published:December 29, 2016

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