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Much Abrew: Grixis Unearth (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, our Modern option—Grixis Unearth (which I probably should have called Four-Color Unearth)—came out on top. As such, we are heading to Modern this week to see if we can win some games by unearthing a board full of Extractor Demons and Sedraxis Specters with mana from Crypt of Agadeem! The plan of the deck is actually similar to Dredge: we are looking to mill our graveyard as quickly as possible, even going as far as to play Glimpse the Unthinkable just to mill ourselves for 10, and then hopefully use our graveyard as a resource to close out the game. Can we dodge the graveyard hate and pick up some wins? Let's get to the videos and find out, and then we'll talk more about the deck!

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Grixis Unearth (Deck Tech)

Grixis Unearth vs. Jeskai Control (Match 1)

Grixis Unearth vs. Jund (Match 2)

Grixis Unearth vs. Eldrazi Tron (Match 3)

Grixis Unearth vs. Storm (Match 4)

Grixis Unearth vs. Elspeth Zoo (Match 5)

Grixis Unearth (Wrap-Up)

Discussion

  • As for our record, we played a league and finished 3-2, which is pretty reasonable for a very unique and off-the-wall deck.
  • One thing that stuck out in our matches is that Grixis Unearth doesn't really play many close games. We either completely blow out the opponent because they can't interact with our plan, or we get completely blown out, either by our sketchy mana or by opposing graveyard hate.
  • As for the deck, it felt a lot like Dredge, which is both the biggest benefit and the biggest drawback of Grixis Unearth. On one hand, we have a pretty decent shot at winning the game if our opponent doesn't have graveyard hate, assuming our mana cooperates. On the other hand, there's a pretty realistic argument that Grixis Unearth is basically just a slower (and thereby worse) build of Dredge, especially from the perspective of someone who's looking to win a Grand Prix.
  • The good news is that Grixis Unearth is way more exciting than Dredge. Getting back four Extractor Demons in the same turn to kill the opponent out of nowhere is a pretty sweet way to win the game.
  • Probably the biggest problem with the deck is that we are 100% all-in on goldfishing for the win. Not only is the main deck lacking interactive cards, but the sideboard is almost 100% focused on protecting the combo (with cards like Shriekmaw and Nature's Claim to kill graveyard hate cards) and winning through graveyard hate (with Pack Rat). While this is fine in a lot of matchups, we struggle when we run into other goldfish decks because our clock is usually slower than our opponent. In theory, we can win the game on Turn 3, but it takes a really absurd string of luck (usually involving Hedron Crab milling a bunch of black creatures), but more realistically, we are looking to win on Turn 5 or even later, which is pretty slow compared to decks like Storm or Titanshift.
  • As for the individual cards, we already have all of the best unearth creatures, so that part of the deck seems solid. Glimpse the Unthinkable looks strange, but it might actually be the best available option for the deck because it's hard to play many non-black creatures, thanks to Crypt of Agadeem. Similarly, the sideboard is all-in on the combo, and while it is temping to play some Thoughtseizes or counters to interact with the opponent, it might just be that this would weaken our combo too much.
  • The most questionable cards in the main deck were the cyclers and Phantasmagorian. While cycling to get an extra dredge is nice, and we do want to get black creatures in the graveyard by any means possible, it seems weird to be playing Horror of the Broken Lands when we couple be playing an entire playset of Street Wraith, which cycles for free. We are already so all-in on the combo that paying a little more life to make it as efficient as possible seems worthwhile. As for Phantasmagorian, we sideboarded it out just about every game and didn't activate it a single time. If we need more ways to discard cards from our hand, moving Pack Rat into the main deck might just be a better option. 
  • Worm Harvest seems questionable as a backup finisher, mostly because it loses to the same thing the rest of our deck loses to (graveyard hate). While we came close to making Wurms a couple of times, we never managed to make it happen. 
  • Gnaw to the Bone is matchup dependent, but it's extremely powerful. Probably the best example of this was against Jund, where we were on the edge of dying for several turns, but once we dredged a Gnaw to the Bone, we shot up to almost 30 life and won the game easily.
  • So, should you play Grixis Unearth? This is a complicated question. If your goal is to win a big tournament, the answer is pretty clearly no. I can't really figure out any reason to play this deck over Dredge, which is faster and more consistent. On the other hand, if you want a spicy graveyard deck to play at an FNM for fun, Grixis Unearth has enough power to win a reasonable number of games, especially if it doesn't run into too much graveyard hate.

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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