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Goldfish Gladiators: Grixis Dragons (Standard)


Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators, a new series with a twist: rather than taking place on Magic Online, Goldfish Gladiator is focused on Magic Arena. This week, we're heading into a competitive constructed event to play one of my current favorite decks in Standard: Grixis Dragons! The plan of the deck is pretty simple—slam as many big Dragons as possible as quickly as possible, with the help of Sarkhan, Fireblood, Dragon's Hoard, and some weird Treasure-making creatures and trust that our Niv-Mizzet, Paruns, Nicol Bolas, the Ravagers, and Verix Bladewings will be enough to win us the game. We back up our Dragons with good removal and The Eldest Reborn to grind out our opponents and reanimate our Dragons if they happen to die, and we're good to go! Just how competitive is Grixis Dragons in Guilds of Ravnica Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then we'll talk more about the deck!

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Goldfish Gladiators: Grixis Dragons

Discussion

  • First, as far as the record, Grixis Dragons was great! We cruised through our league to a fairly easy 5-0 finish. While the deck isn't especially synergistic, the power level is extremely high. It seems like a lot of decks in Standard have trouble keeping up with Dragon after Dragon starting as early as Turn 4.
  • Niv-Mizzet, Parun was especially impressive. If we manage to untap with it, our odds of winning the game are extremely high. Even if we don't kill our opponent immediately, we usually kill several of their creatures and draw a new hand of cards thanks to all of our cheap removal spells, which makes it extremely difficult for our opponent to catch up. After playing this deck, there's nothing I want to do more in Standard than to resolve Niv-Mizzet, Parun—it's both extremely powerful and super fun.
  • Meanwhile, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and Verix Bladewing are basically are backup Dragons. While we did get punished by Nullhide Ferox once during our matches, apart from sometimes giving our opponent a free 6/6, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is still great, stealing a card from our opponent, giving us a big flier, and occasionally flipping into a nearly unbeatable planeswalker. As for Verix, it's a pretty good deal if we can kick it to make two 4/4 Dragons, and thanks to all of our random ramp, getting up to seven mana isn't really that difficult.
  • Wily Goblin and Sailor of Means look strange, but they are actually pretty good in our deck by giving us some additional ramp, which isn't very common in the Grixis colors. Sailor of Means is also a pretty good blocker, with four toughness being especially important against various red aggro decks, since it dodges Lightning Strike and Wizard's Lightning and blocks pretty much every creature they play, apart from a fully powered Runaway Steam-Kin
  • The other weird quirk of the deck is that it doesn't play any counterspells in the main deck, instead relying on cheap removal. The basic idea is that cheap removal spells are a lot better with Niv-Mizzet, Parun, since we can pretty much always cast them to draw cards, while counters have the potential to get stuck in our hand. Switching some of the cheap removal for counters might be correct if control becomes more popular, but the efficient removal plan works pretty well in a world where red aggro and Golgari are two of the most popular decks.
  • The only real downside of Grixis Dragons is that it's pretty expensive on Magic Arena, with 11 mythics and 27 rares. While the high rare count is partly due to the three-color mana base (which has 17 rares all by itself), it's also true that the deck is based around powerful, mostly mythic Dragons. There isn't really any way to make a budget-friendly version of the deck, apart from the Dragons and the Dragon support cards (Sarkhan, Fireblood and Dragon's Hoard); the rest of the cards are mostly common and uncommon removal spells. The deck isn't really Grixis Dragons anymore if you cut the Dragon stuff, and you'll probably never cast Niv-Mizzet, Parun if you cut the mana base, so if you're looking to play a somewhat similar deck on a budget, then something like the Izzet Drakes deck we played for Budget Magic might be your best choice.
  • All in all, Grixis Dragons was great. The deck is sort of flying under the radar a bit in Standard, but especially with Mono-Green on the downswing to some extent, I wouldn't be surprised to see more people picking up the deck in the next few weeks. It has solid removal for aggro and huge (sometimes uncounterable) Dragons for control, giving us a reasonable matchup against most of the popular decks in the format. Give it a shot if you like Dragon cards, casting huge fliers, and killing all your opponent's creatures (and have a few million wildcards to blow)—it's a lot of fun and quite competitive!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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