We are delving even deeper into Standard this week as we tackle Grixis Control. Three-color control decks are tricky. There are multiple ways you can build them, but inevitably there will be some sacrifices to the mana base as punishment for playing three colors. The question becomes is that sacrifice worth the additional power boost. In this particular set of matches we definitely experienced both sides of that coin. I have been an advocate of straight Dimir builds, yet there is no doubt that cards like Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and Angrath, the Flame-Chained can provide a powerful top end to the deck.

Juggling the correct mix of removal is tricky. Cast Down is really good, and because the deck has more black sources than red it makes sense over a card like Lava Coil. You want to have cheap removal that can get rid of large flyers like Tempest Djinn or Crackling Drake. Unfortunately Cast Down cannot deal with Niv-Mizzet, Parun, which ended up being a problem in this set of matches. We want to be able to use cheap removal on early creatures, so that The Eldest Reborn is able to be great, dealing with the last opposing threat.

The issue is that by taking this approach if the opponent does get too far ahead on the board it is pretty difficult to catch back up. We don't have maindeck sweepers like Ritual of Soot, and that's a choice. We have to pick and choose removal spells, you can't have it all. Bedevil is another perfectly serviceable removal spell that ended up getting left on the sidelines here. I did like the flexibility Carnival // Carnage provided because both parts of the card are pretty good in their own right.

After the games, Grixis Control is still about what I expected it would be. The deck is a perfectly reasonable choice, and you get to play some sweet games with it. I'm not sold it's actually better than Dimir. Both Dimir and Grixis however do rely a decent amount on hitting the opponent with Thief of Sanity. Once you get that going the deck will look amazing.


Seth Manfield

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