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Upgrades of the Spark: Grixis Midrange (Standard)

With #MTGWAR on it's way out in a few weeks, I've already taken some time away from playtesting for #MTGLondon to plan for future standard! There won't be any new brews in this article but there will be cards I can see adding or trying in decks that already exist in standard! This will be the first entry in the series Upgrades of the Spark!

Let's start off with the Grixis as everyone's friendly neighborhood elder dragon, Nicol Bolas has been up to some things in #MTGWAR!

This is currently what I'm playing for a Grixis Midrange list but moving forward we'll have access to what I would say is the best Nicol Bolas ever printed in Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God

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Dragon-God will be one of the biggest payoffs to go Grixis. The colors to cast this will be brutal but like many spells and things before it like Cruel Ultimatum, it will be worth it! Let's not concern ourselves with the ultimate as it's obviously a game winner but the +1 is absurd. With how this deck plays out, we eat our opponent's hand quite easily and often they will be out of cards. Once at this point, we start eating their lands while also drawing us more cards! In between the passive and +1 of this card, I already want to jam 3 copies in this deck. 

What about a spell that is powerful in a tap out deck? Well, that's what we got in Enter the God-Eternals

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This card does everything. It removes a creature, heals you for 4, and then creates you a 4/4 at the very least. The mill effect may or may not seem relevant but it pairs with Search for Azcanta or milling the opponent out to deal with any gods like Illharg, the Raze-Boar the opponent might have on top of their deck. Not only does getting our opponent to throw away gods help us but they potentially give us a spell to target with Dire Fleet Daredevil.

Now we do have Plaguecrafter currently but what about a card like Angrath's Rampage? Is there enough application for this in the format? 

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Plaguecrafter does supply us with a body but can sometimes hurt us if the opponent removes the crafter with the ability on the stack. This doesn't leave us with a 3/2 body but instead, we choose which mode is used as opposed to Crafter letting the opponent choose between a Llanowar Elves or a Vivien Reid at the cost of potentially getting our opponent to discard the last card they have in hand. 

I am a firm believer that Dreadhorde Butcher is the truth and probably something I'll try out week one. 

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It can become a massive threat if not dealt with early and I love the fact that I can send the damage anywhere after it dies! 

Speaking of Dreadhorde related things....I'm also looking to try out Liliana, Dreadhorde General. Maybe this will change by the release of this article but I feel like Liliana hasn't had enough hype when I think this card is such good value.

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The passive ability on this card is exactly what we want to be doing. The +1 feeds into its own passive ability which is so good. The -4 deals with opposing Carnage Tyrant and other hexproof or indestructible threats. Often times opponents will line up their board to get around The Eldest Reborn and cards like it but this has a built-in Barter in Blood which is absolutely bonkers. Once again, I won't even take into account the -9 here as ultimates will usually win the game in some way!

This is currently what a rough draft of Grixis looks like moving forward. Maybe we can move to full control? Who knows, but the tap out aspect of Grixis seems too strong to pass up on. A few other honorable mentions I'll be adding to this deck will be Price of Betrayal and Ugin, the Ineffable. For the most part, Betrayal will be a one mana planeswalker removal spell. Ugin is our concession to cards like Experimental Frenzy and Wilderness Reclamation and other problematic permanents.


I think the Grixis decks get the biggest power boost next set and even though my build may not be final, I do plan on playtesting a ton of these decks and coming back with more concrete builds — but for those looking to get a rough draft this is a sweet start. I'll probably have to trim a little bit of my late game curve as it's obviously clogged but the process is one of the biggest joys of a new set! Make sure to come back as I post more rough drafts on a few popular existing archetypes in the coming weeks!

See you at the next one and thanks for reading!


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