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Much Abrew: GriselDeathVine (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, the crazy Modern mashup of GriselDeathVine came out on top of our Instant Deck Tech competition, which means we are heading to Modern today to see if we can kill our opponent quickly in one of any number of ways. You probably remember that we played GR Vengevine on stream a few weeks ago and that the deck was amazing. GriselDeathVine looks to build from that GR Vengevine shell, replacing some of the aggressive red cards and burn spells with even more combos, including the massive Death's Shadow and the reanimation package of Griselbrand with Goryo's Vengeance. The biggest question I have for GriselDeathVine heading into our league is whether this build is better than the original build. Does adding even more combos make the deck better or just less consistent? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll have some brief thoughts on the deck.

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GriselDeathVine (Instant Deck Tech)

GriselDeathVine vs. Burn (Match 1)

GriselDeathVine vs. Abzan (Match 2)

GriselDeathVine vs. Death and Taxes (Match 3)

GriselDeathVine vs. Titan Shift (Match 4)

GriselDeathVine vs. Mono-U Architect (Match 5)

GriselDeathVine (Wrap-Up)


  • As you probably noticed, rather than playing two-player queues, we played GriselDeathVine in a competitive league, which is the most competitive daily event on Magic Online. While things started off rough as we lost our first two matches, GriselDeathVine recovered nicely, and we ended up posting a winning record of 3-2, which isn't great but was a reasonable performance for the deck.
  • If you compare GriselDeathVine to GR Vengevine, you'll see two major changes. First, instead of Goblin Guide and Monastery Swiftspear in the one-drop slot, we have Death's Shadow and Gurmag Angler. Second, the Griselbrand / Goryo's Vengeance package replaces the Become Immense / Temur Battle Rage combo (along with Lightning Bolt. Do these changes make the deck better? Let's break both down individually.
  • Are Death's Shadow and Gurmag Angler better than the red one-drops? Here, I'm not actually sure. Death's Shadow is certainly bigger, although in a weird way, it's also less explosive, since it doesn't have haste. It also incentivizes us to lose a lot of life, which certainly came back to haunt us against Burn (although it's very possible I played that game wrong and should have been less aggressive with our life loss). Here, I'd probably call it a toss-up.
  • As far as the other big change, I was actually very disappointed in the Griselbrand plan. In fact, we ended up siding it out in a lot of matches, and it felt like we might have stolen another game or two if we had Become Immense. The biggest problem was inconsistency. We had a lot of games where we drew Griselbrand without having Goryo's Vengeance, other games where we had Goryo's Vengeance without Griselbrand, and still others where we had both pieces but no way to discard. While the reanimation combo does offer another way to win the game on Turn 2, it felt super clunky and inconsistent, at least in our matches.
  • As such, there were two major issues with the Griselbrand / Goryo's Vengeance plan. First, neither of the combo pieces does anything without the other. Our deck literally does not have enough mana-producing lands to ever hard cast Griselbrand, and we don't have any other legendary creatures to reanimate with Goryo's Vengeance. Second, one thing I learned while playing the original version of the deck is that it's usually best to sideboard to make the deck less reliant on the graveyard, since as soon as an opponent sees Insolent Neonate or Vengevine, they automatically overload on graveyard hate, and sideboarding to avoid the graveyard is a lot harder with this build of the deck. All in all, while the Griselbrand plan is fun and unique, I'm pretty sure it makes the deck less competitive.
  • The other weird aspect of this build is we have zero interaction in the main deck, which left us in a position where we pretty much just scooped to Scavenging Ooze in both of our games against Abzan. While neither of the Vengevine builds has room for much interaction, finding a way to squeeze in a little bit would be helpful.
  • All in all, GriselDeathVine felt like a less consistent build of the original GR Vengevine deck. While it does add some raw power, it also loses to itself more often than I would like. While it's possible that adding Death's Shadow is correct, I'm pretty sure the archetype is better without the Griselbrand plan thrown in.
  • So, should you play GriselDeathVine? While the deck is fine and competitive enough, I'd encourage you to drop the Griselbrand / Goryo's Vengeance combo and play Temur Battle Rage, Become Immense, and some sort of removal (either Lightning Bolt or Fatal Push if you stick with black for Death's Shadow) instead. This being said, I do think the Vengevine / Hollow One archetype is real and will likely stick around in Modern for a while. All it really needs is someone to spike a Grand Prix or even an SCG Open, and suddenly it could end up a top-tier deck. 


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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