Today, I'm putting a spotlight on a deck that really speaks to me. Grixis Improvise takes advantage of strategies by going big, and going wide—a combination you usually don't see in modern-day Magic. That's what drew me to this deck in the first place: Being able to kill your opponent with an army of tokens while still having the option to slam a huge Herald of Anguish is a big selling point for me. That kind of versatility makes it hard to play against.

The deck can really do a lot of powerful things for a very cheap cost, if your draws allow it. That also brings me to the deck's biggest weakness: Itself. If you end up with no early artifacts to make your improvise cards cheaper you're left with a very clunky collection of cards. If you get all early artifacts without any of your payoff cards then you are just a very weak tokens deck.

If you get that perfect mixture of early artifacts into your big improvise cards the deck is pretty unbeatable.

Cheap enablers—Cogworker's Puzzleknot, Prophetic Prism and Renegade Map—are the bread and butter of the deck. Without these cards the deck really can't put up a good fight, so you need to aggressively mulligan to find these cards. Improvise strategies play very well when ahead or at an equal board state, but coming from behind when all you are doing is littering the board with 1/1s is a tough spot to be in.

The biggest problem matchup is U/B Control. As you see in the recorded match above, it is hard for Improvise to stick threats. Having to set-up your board for the first couple turns without pressuring your opponent is problematic. By the time you are ready to stick one of your threats the control player Has had enough time to set up a decent hand of countermagic. Search for Azcanta lets the control player just sit back and react to anything you play. When you're a deck that only casts two or three spells that really matter in a game, this becomes a big problem. The way you beat U/B Control is by sticking a Maverick Thopterist and protecting it with Negates and Metallic Rebuke.

Temur Energy is a much better matchup. Improvise has cheap ways to interact with Longtusk Cub and Servant of the Conduit in the form of Fatal Push. Temur also has problems with tokens in general. The loss of Radiant Flames opened up a hole in the versatility of the deck. The way Grixis Improvise beats Temur Energy is by progressing its board as far as possible until your opponent has access to four mana. When that is going to be a reality just make sure to leave up Metallic Rebuke to counter their Bristling Hydra or Chandra, Torch of Defiance. That big tempo swing is nearly impossible for them to come back from, especially followed up with a Herald of Anguish or Maverick Thopterist.

Ramunap Red is a little bit more tricky. One of the worst cards against you is actually Shock. When a good red player realizes that they need to kill all of your Thopters and Servos to keep you from ramping out a quick Herald of Anguish, the games become much tougher. That said, once you stick a Herald of Anguish it's basically impossible to kill. Being able to untap with a Herald and give -2/-2 to kill just about anything in their deck is a fast way to take over the game.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy improvising!

Corey Baumeister