Video Daily Digest: Classic Griselbrand

Just days ago, Ross Merriam was sitting across the table from this masterpiece! Now he demands to take it for a test drive himself!

It’s no secret that I like combo decks. And, like every other Magic player, I’m drawn to value like moths to a flame. So, how could I possible resist a deck that packs three combos in one, all of which overlap in deliciously elegant ways?

Answer: I couldn’t. In fact, when I played against the deck’s creator in the finals of the Modern Classic last weekend, I flat out told him that this would be today’s Daily Digest deck.

He was kind enough to make my job for the week easier and draw quite poorly in our two-game match as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben punished missed land drops.

But make no mistake, Tom Medvec was crushing people all day, taking the top seed after the swiss of a Classic that was larger than a lot of Opens I’ve played. I’m sure many of his opponents had no idea just what the deck is capable of, and I can’t blame them. There’s so much going on here that even with the list in front of me it took awhile to see all the intricacies baked into a tight, sixty-card package.

You have Goryo’s Vengeance on Griselbrand, a classic. But Goryo’s Vengeance can also return Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to combo with Deceiver Exarch or Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, allowing you to activate it, transform it, and keep a Jace, Telepath Unbound on the battlefield permanently. When you’re ready to return your heavy hitters, Jace is there to recast that Goryo’s Vengeance from the graveyard.

But the real outlier here is As Foretold. The card is clearly powerful, but it hasn’t broken out in Modern yet. We see the typical combo with Ancestral Vision, a powerful card in its own right for a combo deck in a world of Thoughtseizes, but the combo with Living End is even more powerful. You get some much needed removal, but also another path to cheat a Griselbrand onto the battlefield; only this time it stays around.

Or, you could just stock your graveyard with both Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Deceiver Exarch and make a trillion Wizards. The nut draw for the deck to start on is Faithless Looting discarding the two combo pieces, then follow it up with Simian Spirit Guide into As Foretold to cast Living End. Bam. Game over. Turn 2.

With so many combo pieces you don’t have much room for interaction, but Izzet Charm and Lightning Axe are quality removal spells that double as enablers for Goryo’s Vengeance and in the former’s case, some card selection. The sideboard has plenty of interaction to come in for whichever combo is weakest in a given matchup.

There’s so much going on here I could write ten thousand words about the list, different interactions, and potential card choices, but I’ll summarize it all in four words:

This deck is awesome.