Innovations – Zendikar Limited and an Analysis of Gavin’s Grixis Deck

Visit the StarCityGames.com booth at Grand Prix Tampa!
Monday, October 12th – Patrick Chapin, currently winging his way to Pro Tour: Austin, weighs in with a split article covering both Zendikar Draft and Standard Control! He shares his thoughts on the forty-card format before turning his eye to Gavin Verhey’s Grixis Sphinx Control deck…

Heezy, Nassif and I are about to go to the airport, so I am left with an interesting challenge. What to write about, given that the Extended Pro Tour is next week, I haven’t played much Standard, my Vintage deck is totally busted but I already listed it in my column here, and I haven’t got anything new for Legacy beyond the Entomb deck here.

One thing I will say about Extended… You can tell a lot about what people are saying by what they are not saying. Just saying…

I know I don’t do a lot of limited articles, but as fate would have it, I have done over a dozen drafts already, so I have a bit of experience with the set. With the upcoming PTQ season being Zendikar Limited, it might be a particularly useful time to discuss some Limited Magic. I have a few things to say on Gavin’s Grixis (Sphinx) Control deck as well, which I will secretly insert into some random place in the article, forcing you to read my Limited article to get to the Constructed info (Limited articles never hit as well as Constructed ones). Still, if you are trying to qualify this season, you would be wise to seek the greatest understanding of the format that you possibly can.

Besides, I will probably end up just writing two full-length articles today anyway. It’s a free roll, heh.

I have been drafting in preparation for Pro Tour Austin later this week. I, like most, really enjoy this format. Maybe it is that my perspective is skewed from M10 drafting, but there are a lot of great things going for Zendikar Limited.

All the colors are fine. Red and Blue might be a little better, but all in all, the colors are pretty balanced. More than this, though, I love how many bad cards there are (or can be, contextually). It is actually subtly bad for Limited when all of the cards are good, as then your opponents couldn’t play with bad cards even if they tried. Let’s be serious… if you are a halfway decent drafter, you are not going to be short on playables more than one in twenty times when you sit next to some random American that can’t make up his mind.

Boy, I am old. You kids don’t know how good you have it. When I was your age… it was random Europeans that were the stereotypical rando-commandos… (Also, we had to walk 10 miles barefoot on broken glass in the snow uphill both ways, to draft 4th-4th-Homelands-Homelands, and we were thankful to bust Baron Sengir, never mind a Bloodchief of Ghet….)

So the fact that there are so many bad cards is awesome, because players like you and I know to avoid them if possible, or at least when the circumstances aren’t right. This leaves the vast majority of opponents to play these cards against us, giving us edge over and over. It is not really about cards that are bad on their own (I hear you saying “Mindless Null,” which is wrong, but give me a minute). It is about cards that are bad contextually. Cards that are easy to use in the wrong way.

A quick aside about Mindless Null: This guy is easily one of my five favorite cards in the set. Oh I know, I know, they “accidentally entered him into the computer database at 2B instead of 1B,” and now some people are pissed because they didn’t fix it. Let me just tell you, Ken Nagel is a genius. I believe it is he that first advocated keeping the “Fixed Scathe Zombies” on account of it being more in line with the mindless zombie flavor.

If Mindless Null was 1B, it would obviously be good in Limited and unplayable in Constructed. There would be almost no tension, as it would be a straightforward card that is nowhere near as good as Fallen Askari, but better than Scathe Zombies. It would be fine… I would like it, but I wouldn’t love it.

At 2B, Mindless Null has purpose. Now it is a thing of beauty. Obviously it screams out to you that it is a Scathe Zombie with a drawback, and Scathe Zombie is the baseline for bad. It is even a Zombie, really sending the message home. The thing is, the drawback is actually an advantage in many ways. I am not even talking crazy Mindslaver or Sower of Temptation scenarios.

See, most people see that drawback and rule out the card. They don’t draft it, they pass it, they don’t play it in their Sealed deck etc. It is literally one fewer card for them to work with, and the truth is, it is actually not that bad. I mean sure, it is just a Scathe Zombies, but that is certainly not the worst thing going on in this block.

As a result of this “drawback,” we will get attacked by less Mindless Nulls because people think they shouldn’t play them against us. We will get passed Mindless Null 13th, ensuring that we always have options for our Black decks. We may even get damage in because our opponent has too much pride to use their Burst Lightning on our Mindless Null. The “Power of Suck” actually has some merit to it (the concept of cards that appear bad and create an intangible advantage because your opponent cannot bring themselves to respect the card as a legitimate threat).

Obviously Mindless Null has a drawback, I am just saying that with the proper frame of reference, we can use this to our advantage. In the big picture, there is nothing truly “bad” about cards. When we remove our attachment to a particular card or strategy and seek to understand what really is, then everything becomes an advantage, since everything is the way it is and we will accept reality as it is and use it to our advantage, whereas some or many of our opponents will not understand the truth.

Basically, complaining that a Mindless Null cannot block without a Vampire is like complaining that your Bishop is just strictly worse than a Queen in Chess. It is the wise man or woman that realizes that by agreeing to play a game with two Bishops instead of two more Queens, you are stranding your opponent with two more Bishops instead of Queens, and hopefully you will understand how to use them better than him.

When there are cards like Mindless Null that are “worse” than other cards, it is an opportunity to profit from your greater understanding. Let’s say that half of your opponents don’t even consider using Mindless Null, whereas you do. That is now an added option that you have over half of your opponents, simply because you have an open mind and a greater understanding. If Mindless Null didn’t have that “drawback” then almost everyone would consider it, despite the fact that it is functionally very comparable.

In addition to how beautiful MN’s drawback plays out, I like the flavor, the art, and the audacity of the card. It makes me smile. It is not about making bad cards so that the good ones are good. That is always going to be part of it, but that is not what is really going on with Mindless Null. The beauty of this card is that it forces you to think (ironic?). How much is that drawback really worth? How bad is Scathe Zombies anyway? When is it time? What were they thinking? How can I use this to my advantage?

Anyway, back to Zendikar draft. In addition to loving opponents being able to draft bad cards, I really enjoy the fact that aggro is encouraged but control is playable. Control is often more satisfying when most of your opponent’s are agro, and when everyone is fighting for the six aggro decks and two people get all the control cards it is often a great way to 3-0 a draft. This was a huge part of my success in Shards Block Draft. I just forced Five Color Control every time, over and over. It was so widely accepted that aggro was the best, and I would easily clean up by splitting the control cards with one, maybe two, people.

Zendikar definitely seems to have a ton of inherently beatdown cards to it, and I keep looking at the card lists and imagining that I will draft aggro, but when I sit down next to Nassif, Heezy, MJ, and others at RIW to practice draft, I keep finding it alluring to go a little more controlling in many ways. As a matter of fact, what is wrong with good old-fashioned “tie up the ground and win in the air” strategy? Blue is so good in the air, and it seems so easy to tie up the ground. That Kraken Hatchling is actually kind of sweet.

Here are some decks I drafted this week, with which I enjoyed success:

U/B/w Zendikar Draft Deck

2 Kraken Hatchling
1 Reckless Scholar
1 Windrider Eel
1 Living Tsunami
1 Sky Ruin Drake
1 Shoal Serpent
1 Sphinx of Jwar-Isle
1 Ior Ruin Expedition
2 Paralyzing Grasp
1 Whiplash Trap

1 Surrakar Marauder
1 Giant Scorpion
1 Soul Stair Expedition
2 Heartstabber Mosquito
1 Marsh Causalities
1 Hideous End

1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Luminarch Ascension
1 Expedition Map
1 Explorer’s Scope

2 Jwar Isle Refuge
3 Plains
7 Island
6 Swamp

U/W Zendikar Draft Deck

2 Umara Raptor
2 Reckless Scholar
1 Sky Ruin Drake
1 Sphinx of Lost Truths
1 Cancel
1 Whiplash Trap

2 Ondu Cleric
2 Kazandu Blademaster
1 Kor Aeronaut
1 Kor Skyfisher
1 Devout Lightcaster
3 Journey to Nowhere
2 Narrow Escape
1 Pitfall Trap
1 Arrow Valley
1 Celestial Mantle

1 Seijiri Refuge
1 Soaring Seacliff
10 Plains
6 Islands

The first deck does not actually use Soul Stair Expedition that well, and it should probably go. It should also be noted that I took a Heartstabber Mosquito over a Journey to Nowhere early, then a Giant Scorpion over another, before finally caving in and picking some White cards. I already had Marsh Casualties and Sphinx of Jwar Isle, so I was trying to stay two colors, but maybe I should have realized that a 3rd pick Journey to Nowhere, and certainly a 4th pick Journey to Nowhere, are a pretty loud signal.

Explorer’s Scope is underrated, and I was definitely happy with it. I assume it is at its best in a Landfall deck, of course, but even just sticking it on a Kraken is fine. Don’t reveal if you miss. Everyone does this.

I think that 2/3s are more important in this set than ever before, as there are so many Bears and so many spells that deal two damage. I am not sure of all the implications of this, but it feels like one of the most important concepts to understand in this Limited format is that the line is between 2/2 and 2/3 with regards to what is big and what is small.

On the topic of Limited observations, it should also be noted that this is not a bomb-heavy format. There are bombs, no question, but it is not like M10 where only 7-8 cards in your deck matter at all. As such, removal, while still good, is not as critical as it is in M10, and permission is worse.

That second deck has some cute tricks. Obviously, I got a ton of removal, which is nice, but I want to call special attention to the Narrow Escape plus Journey to Nowhere combo. Obviously Journey is awesome in its own right, but Narrow Escape is a fine card as well. Saving your card or reusing your kicker or retriggering landfall are all great uses, plus the four life can be very relevant, especially if you are racing with fliers.

When you play Journey to Nowhere, Narrow Escape your Journey to Nowhere with the trigger on the stack. This is a classic move most famously used by Oblivion Ring, and it works just fine here. The Narrow Escape resolves (gaining you 4 life and putting the removal spell back in your hand), and then the Journey to Nowhere trigger resolves, removing the creature from the game forever. Since Journey left before the trigger resolved, its leaves play trigger won’t bring anything back, and its “enters the battlefield” ability is permanent.

Another card I want to call attention to is Celestial Mantle. It is rare and won’t come up that often. It is just about as good as it looks, which is good but not insane. The interesting feature is that the card does NOT grant flying. I have had this card three times and seen it played by teammates once. In all of the games that I have seen it on the battlefield, only very rarely has any opponent ever realized that is does NOT grant flying. I have literally won a game where my only out was to suit up my guy and confidently attack over and over into a hopeless board if they realized that they could block.

I don’t have the deepest ally theme in this deck, but it should be kept in mind that the order you play your allies is very important. For instance, I would regularly not play Ondu Cleric on two, even if I had nothing else to play, so that I could play Umara Raptor on three, then Ondu Cleric on four, ensuring that my attacker is relevant. A 1/1 with no evasion is not going to exert that much pressure on the board on turn 2. Don’t be a slave to mana efficiency. It is good to be efficient (in general), but that doesn’t mean it is always right.

I want to talk about some cards that I think are noteworthy, cards to which there is more than meets the eye, as far as Limited goes.

Kor Sanctifiers is deceptively good. To begin with, he is 2/3 for three mana, which I would generally play anyway as it is the perfect size. On top of this, the ability to fight Quests and equipment is much appreciated, not to mention answering Journey to Nowhere or Paralyzing Grasp. This guy is one of the premier White common creatures.

The other is, of course, Kor Skyfisher. Most people realize at this point that a 2/3 flier for two (that in many ways has a special ability) is good, but maybe they don’t realize that there is so much more you can do with him than just trigger your landfall. Resetting kickers is a fantastic way to gain card advantage going long, and Kor Skyfisher is a great kill card for a “tie up the ground and win in the air” deck. Personally, I think this guy is even better than the Sanctifier, though it is no accident that they both have three toughness.

Caravan Hurda, Pillarfield Ox, Narrow Escape, Shieldmate’s Blessing, and Bold Defense are all underrated. While none of these cards is strong enough to simply run because of how broken it is, they are all contextually good. When you use these cards in the wrong way, they are pretty mediocre, but when used correctly they can obtain great value for you. Caravan Hurda is an awesome defender, holding off multiple attackers easily. He also benefits from the fact that you can reliably pick him up late on account of his sucky look.

Pillarfield Ox is a reasonable sized body, as a 2/4 is basically a 2/3, which is fine. He is not going to blow you away with his efficiency, but he is nice for a defensive deck. Bold Defense is a fine combat trick for a deck that attacks, and it is a very nice plan going long that costs you so little to your deck. The poor man’s Overrun is awesome because you can get it 11th (unlike Overrun proper).

The Blue cards are tricky, because you really have to decide if you attack or if you block. If you attack, then Welkin Tern, Umara Raptor, and Windrider Eel are all great. If you block, Sky Ruin Drake, Reckless Scholar, and Kraken Hatchling all pick up a lot. Paralyzing Grasp is better than a lot of people give it credit for. Did these people not play Thirst?

Into the Roil and Whiplash Trap are nice, of course, but both are a little overrated, I think. Ior Ruin Expedition is also very overrated. It is playable, but it is nowhere near good. Spreading Seas is also a card that is generally overlooked. It isn’t great, but a cantrip is often better than a lot of the bad cards people play. The ability to shut down someone’s splash or special land is not to be neglected.

In Black, obviously the removal is all good, but one card that I think doesn’t get the respect it should is Giant Scorpion. It is often functional removal, and it trades up a lot. It is pretty insane how good it is at holding off Bears, and it can’t be killed by a lot of the common removal. I actually think it is the second best Black common creature (behind the Mosquito, of course).

So far, I have not been a fan of Black as a beatdown color, though it does work well with Blue or Red. This may just be a function of Blue and Red being so good in these roles

Looking at Red, there is not much to say about Burst Lightning and Torch Slinger, except that I think Burst Lightning is better and it is not particularly close (and I love a good two-for-one). That said, Torch Slinger is more appealing to me than many of the popular aggro creatures, like Plated Geopede, Bladetusk Boar, and Highland Berserker. Those guys are all great, but I like card advantage more than I like creatures that die to Disfigure.

I actually think that the Shatterskull Giants are underrated. A 4/3 body for four is no joke, and you know how much three toughness means to me in this format.

At the other end of the spectrum, Magma Rift has really disappointed me. I used Acceptable Losses as much as the next guy back in the day, but it is killing me having to sacrifice a land when I want to be kicking expensive spells, pumping creatures, and pitching extra lands to Looters. I get that it can be a fine play if you need to kill something, but what do you need to kill? Honestly, what is so important that you need to kill it? This format isn’t about Baneslayer Angels.

Green is another color that can really go in two directions. Oran-Rief Recluse, Vastwood Gorger, and Harrow can all be very important to a control deck, whereas Oran-Rief Survivalist, Timbermaw Larva, and Vines of Vastwood are fine aggro cards. I think that Mold Shambler, Nissa’s Chosen, and Territorial Baloth are nice cards for both styles of play. This is really a color where you have to figure out which style you are going for and run with it. Playing the wrong half of the Green cards for your deck makes you the guy playing “bad cards.”

Khalni Heart Expedition is overrated. It can be fine, sure, but man, it is card advantage in a way that matters little. It is fixing that is very unreliable and requires you to have five other lands already, it is awful to draw late, and it is not a great turn 2 play for most decks. Don’t get me wrong, it has its uses, especially landfall. I am just saying it is not Harrow 2.0, like some say.

Why doesn’t anyone like Savage Silhouette, out of curiosity? Yeah, it is an aura, but +2/+2 is a nice boost, and regeneration is sweet. If your opponent isn’t Blue, this card can be a total blowout. Everyone has a couple of answers, but they won’t always have them, and you can often wait to play this card when your opponent may have exhausted most of the types of tricks that would blow this out. You don’t want a lot of this type of thing, but the card seems better than people say.

I don’t see much love for the Expedition Map. What is the problem? Sure, it is slow, but it is a nice way to help cement a splash, and it is cute that it gets your dual land (or Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, or Emeria, the Sky Ruin…). I think it is a fine card, and generally worth it if you are playing a control strategy.

Finally, we have lands. I guess I don’t have much to offer here, beyond what everyone else says. Piranha Marsh is bad. Soaring Seacliff is sweet in a non-Blue deck.

I have a reputation for drafting control, but I think that is a little unfair, as Shards block was a bit of a special case. During Shadowmoor/Eventide, I used to force Mono-Red Aggro for quite a while. I would be all about playing some sort of really aggressive strategy in this format, but I keep feeling like the people around me are overvaluing random aggro cards and undervaluing control cards, pushing me into control. Maybe it will be different in PT: Austin, but if the dozen or so drafts I have done are any indicator, I will most likely be drafting control at the Pro Tour (surrounded on all sides by aggro…)

Wish me luck! See you on the other side…

… Oh wait, Gavin’s deck, heh. Here it is:

Let’s take a look at this build, shall we? First of all, it should be noted that Gavin is currently of the opinion that a fourth Cruel Ultimatum should be used.

What is going on with this deck? For reference, let’s put it side by side with my Control list from last week’s article.

Let’s compare card choices side by side, to see the relative strengths and weaknesses of both approaches.

The most obvious comparison is the choice of Sphinx, though they serve very different roles in the two decks. My Sphinx of Jwar Isle is a reliable long term victory condition that can be counted on to seal the deal when the rest of the deck puts you in a good position. As Gavin has three Sphinx of Lost Truth, three Chandra, four Jace, and his Cruel Ultimatums, it is not nearly so important to have a durable victory condition (not to mention random Lightning Bolts, which can help with a burnout plan).

To say which is better is impossible in any meaningful way without a look at the rest of the deck, but it is interesting to note that neither of us uses Baneslayer Angel or Broodmate Dragon.

The most important element of both of our decks is that they revolve around Cruel Ultimatum. Since we both use these (and should probably use four) we can move to the next two important elements: card advantage and answers.

My build uses 4 Esper Charm, 3 Jace, 2 Ajani Vengeant, and sweepers to compliment Cruel, whereas Gavin has 4 Courier’s Capsule, 4 Jace, and Sphinx of Lost Truths to draw cards outright (in addition to Cruel), plus the good Chandra and Pyroclasm on the battlefield. I think few would disagree with Esper Charm’s superiority over Courier’s Capsule. The Capsule is a fine substitute in a build without White mana. Gavin’s liberal use of one-mana removal is particularly well suited for the Capsule, as he can efficiently cast removal on one, Capsule on two, then activate and removal on three. This is without mentioning that most of his land entering the battlefield untapped.

It is hard to say if Ajani or Chandra is better, though I will say that I love Chandra as an answer to Baneslayer Angel, and I think there should be a lot more Chandras than there have been. My main reason for preferring the Ajani here is that Baneslayer has never really been remotely good against Cruel Ultimatum decks, whereas Ajani has. This is where we overlap into the answer part of the decks. Without Day of Judgment or almost any permission, Gavin’s deck does need more answers to big monsters, and Chandra helps.

Obviously, the biggest advantage to Gavin’s deck is that its mana is going to be better, with fewer taplands and one fewer colors. In addition, some will particularly appreciate how much cheap removal he employs (fourteen actual removal spells that cost two or less). Gavin has more card advantage on account of his Planeswalkers, and a Sphinx that draws cards rather than give information.

It is hard to say which will be better for the metagame that does not yet exist, but Gavin’s deck seems like it has two major weaknesses: Bloodbraid Elf and Cruel Ultimatum. I know it sounds funny to say, given my outspoken position that those two cards define the format, but look closely and consider how his deck will play out against those two cards.

Keep in mind, by the way, that I have not played with Gavin’s deck, so this is merely conjecture. Also, I like a lot of what he is doing here, and I’ve liked a lot of decks he has built this year, so please do not interpret this perspective as being overly critical. I am not saying that his build is wrong, or won’t work, or shouldn’t be explored. I am just pointing out the potential problems I see (just as I point out that my build’s mana is somewhat shaky, etc).

Let’s imagine how games will play out against Jund. Putrid Leech doesn’t seem to be a big problem for Grixis, though Sign in Blood is a fine card against us. Sprouting Thrinax is problematic, as it is just about always a two-for-one, and generally we will lose tempo fighting it. Great Sable Stag is deceptively annoying, as we have nothing but Lightning Bolts and Chandra to deal with it. Lightning Bolt is a great answer of course, but when we draw Bolt and they don’t have Stag, we don’t profit, whereas when we don’t draw Bolt and they have Stag, it can be a disaster for us.

Blightning is (not surprisingly) amazing against us, as three Negates is hardly a reliable line of defense. I am not saying that my version is any less vulnerable to them, just that it is another problem with the Jund matchup.

Bloodbraid Elf is a huge problem for decks like this. If your plan is all Lightning Bolt, Terminate, or Wretched Banquet, a Bloodbraid Elf revealing Sprouting Thrinax or Blightning can be game-ending.

It should be noted that the Lightning Bolts and Bituminous Blasts are not good against us, though Broodmate Dragon is actually quite powerful against us unless we have a Cruel Ultimatum ready. Maelstrom Pulse may not be the best against Chandra and Jace (sometimes even Capsule), but it is better than nothing.

It should also be noted that Anathemancer is hardly effective at all against this build, which is a major selling point. Also, we will stumble on our mana less with a build like this.

Still, Bloodbraid Elf seems like a total nightmare, and while Double Negative is not the greatest answer in the world, it helps. Also, having hard counters can be nice for giving up less to Sprouting Thrinax and Broodmate Dragon. Having Day of Judgment takes a lot of pressure from Great Sable Stag and Broodmate Dragon off us.

Finally, I would like to point out that Esper Charm as a discard spell is used against Jund more than almost any other match-up, and this is one place where the Courier’s Capsules are much weaker.

I struggle to imagine wanting to play so many one-for-one removal spells in a format dominated by Bloodbraid Elf. The flipside, of course, is the Cruel Ultimatum head-to-head. I am not talking about our two decks clashing head-to-head, as that should not be the test. I am speaking about any sort of traditional Cruel Ultimatum strategy one might encounter.

First of all, generally, in Cruel mirrors, all that matters is Cruel Ultimatum. As such, spells that find or interact with this part of the game are good, while everything else (Lightning Bolt, Day of Judgment, Terminate, Wretched Banquet, Sphinx of Lost Truths, Pyroclasm) is bad.

Once we view the game through the lens of Cruel Ultimatum resolving being all that matters, we see that three Negates is a thin line of defense, as opposed to decks that can manage seven or more counters that actually stop Cruel, as well as the possibility of discard in the form or Esper Charm or Blightning. Obviously, Gavin’s board is set up to switch into a configuration that can actually fight a permission fight, but I wonder if this is the optimal way to fight this match-up. For instance, what would he do if someone stuck a turn 2 Scepter of Fugue? It doesn’t have to be that, by the way; I am just offering a potential flaw in this line of sideboarding.

Also, I am a huge fan of Identity Crisis. Obviously, Gavin does not have the White, but that is one of the selling points of White, at least to some. Haunting Echoes is fine, but Identity Crisis is better. I love his Magosi, the Waterveils. I will probably have one-plus-one as well, though it will cost me far more than it costs Gavin, since I have a ton of tapped lands as it is.

Perhaps the build that I listed is too ambitious, taking too many liberties with its manabase. I think that the countermagic printed right now may not be great, but contextually it is even better than it normally is. Whatever direction you take your deck, it would seem vital to build it with Bloodbraid Elf and Cruel Ultimatum in mind. These two cards are the fundamental pillars of Standard right now.

The things I like most about Gavin’s deck (aside from the mana, which is of course the primary selling point): the revival of Chandra, the solid use of Courier’s Capsule, the Magosis, and some of the removal. My main complaint is that the excessive use of “Plows” to make up for the lack of “Wraths” leaves the deck vulnerable to the never-ending stream of two-for-ones in Jund, or the extreme vulnerability game 1 against any Cruel Ultimatum deck that can actually counter yours. If you think that the Countersquall sideboard will be enough to win over the Cruel Control match-up, then what if someone has the audacity to run Cruel Blood?

Now we are talking about a potential disaster, as this deck combines many of the weaknesses of the Jund match-up (Bloodbraid or Remnant revealing Blightning, or even Esper Charm), with the weaknesses against Cruel Control (almost no way to stop their Cruel, and they have 8 discard spells, plus a number of Cascade spells to make it difficult to Cruel yourself, not to mention the possibility of Traumatic Visions or even Mindbreak Trap).

The real problem here is that you can’t count on the sideboard to bail you out, as they will continue to hit you with a never-ending stream of two-for-ones, especially when they board out their Bolts, Pulses, and Judgments. To make matters worse, the stream of discard spells makes it much harder for Grixis to Cruel on turn 7, and tapping out for a Sphinx of Jwar Isle is potentially a very powerful play.

Again, I love Gavin, and I only call out his build because it looks much more promising than just about any other non-traditional Cruel deck I have seen recently, and because of multiple people writing to me asking about it in particular. This build has nice features, but I am concerned about the Bloodbraid Elf and Cruel Ultimatum match-ups if Grixis is to become a tier 1 archetype. Is Double Negative really out of the question for Grixis? Seems like it would help solve a few problems, if you can stand how slow it is.

I’ve really gotta go this time. This weekend is going to be a blast, and I hope to see some of you guys there. Thanks to everyone wishing me luck and sending positive energy. See you next week.

Patrick Chapin
“The Innovator”