Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)
Lifelink (Damage dealt by this creature also causes you to gain that much life.)
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The Vampire Nighthawk would be a really good one here, so I will definitely add it!!
Thanks again for your help!!
right, id probably classify the current build as more 'midrange control' than full control. im thinking i probably wont be deploying Dig Through Time here because ive only got 4 and I want to save them for two color decks that have a higher chance of hitting the double blue easily, but i definitely will be injecting some treasure cruises. im hesitant on Vampire Nighthawk even though i like it and I have a playset sitting idly in the binder because I want to continue to abuse Anger of the Gods. I traded for 2 more angers back in the states and I now have two Slagstorm as well. Its been working quite well, theres really not too much stuff that gets down in serious modern with four toughness. The problems usually come from not drawing angers than the angers not working.
I've got a Grave Titan, an AEtherling, some foil Prognostic Sphinxs and some Pearl Lake Ancients. Im quite nervous about 6 drops though. Desecration Demon has been a bit disappointing here, but Hypersonic Dragon has been pulling its weight so far.
Ill let you know when it falls into its final position for this ladder (probably 20th or 19th) and I start the rebuild!
Hey so you asked me to look at the Grixis deck and think about why its doing so poorly in your league, so here are my thoughts on it:
Broadly: the deck is weak because it has control elements in it, and is kind of trying to be a control deck, but doesnt have some of the key features of a control deck. Mainly, the deck has no card selection or card draw options.
Control decks want to be able to:(1) Find answers to their opponents early game threats by first having good answers in their decks and secondly having good card selection to find these answers(2) Stay ahead in card advantage with a combination of raw card draw and two-for-ones (or more). (3) Use this card advantage to continue to play lands until the control deck has the cards and mana to deal with any threats the opponent can play so they can(4) Play out a threat that they can protect, is hard to deal with, or will (nearly) end the game simply if it resolves.
This plan is much less linear than aggro or midrange decks, as a lot of your game plan involves answering what your opponent is doing rather than enacting a proactive strategy. (Note: this is for pure control decks; aggro-control or tempo decks like delver want to set up an early game threat and then use control elements to protect that treat and prevent the opponent from winning before their threat finishes the game). Because of this, the control deck will probably always be at a disadvantage in your league system: control decks want to tune themselves for an expected meta of maybe 4-5 expected decks and have appropriate answers for the threats they expect. Also, the control decks want to be able to side in good answers for a particular matchup and throw out bad answers, which again wont be possible in your league. But still, its probably possible to at make the grixis control a bit stronger than what it is now.
The first glaring omission from the grixis deck is the lack of any card selection (through looting or scry effects) and card draw. Most control decks want some kind of draw engine that lets them basically continue to chain draw spells together late game to stay way ahead of their opponent on cards and ensure that theyll never run out of gas. Previously in standard, the engine that drove this was Sphinx's Revelation. If the control deck was given the breathing room it needed to cast sphinxs for x = 5 or greater, the deck would refill its hand, almost certainly drawing into another copy of Sphinx's Revelation, and running away with the game. Since were grixis here, now blue/white, we cant cast sphinxs, but there are other options too: currently, the standard control deck uses Jace's Ingenuity and Dig Through Time as its draw engine. Why these cards instead of Treasure Cruise? Treasure Cruise is great, but its better in a tempo or aggro control deck like delver or counter-burn or something where the average card quality is a lot more even (your deck is basically a bunch of burn spells, cheap threats, and protection). With our control deck, its more important to find exactly the cards we need, whether it is a wrath effect or specific answer to a hard threat or if we need to find our own game-ender. Also, Dig can often find you another dig or a jaces ingenuity, which will get us the raw card advantage if we have enough lands (which we want to have anyway). Jaces ingenuity and Dig are also instants, which is very important because it allows us to keep our mana untapped until the end of our opponents turn, giving them as small a window of opportunity as possible to get threats under our counter-magic or instant removals spells. Inspiration and Foresee are also possibilities; Foresee has a more powerful effect, but the instant speed of Inspiration is really nice here.
Anyway, thats why those cards work in the current standard control deck (which isnt actually in a fantastic spot in the metagame right now, but its still a reasonable example). Standard is slower than Modern of course, but your modern league isnt fully powered up in card pool, so maybe that slower package will work in this deck.
The trouble is getting there. One really big problem with the deck is that it has no early card draw or selection, so if it has the answers in hand to deal with the opponents threats, it is OK, but if it doesnt, then its going to lose, because it doesnt have fast enough threats on its own to win if it cant keep the opponent down. This means we need to be able to find the tools for the job. A really good card to do this, if it is available to you, would be Serum Visions. We can play it turn 1 on an untapped land, so it doesnt take up a huge spot on our curve, it cycles to fill our graveyard for Dig, and it effectively scries 2 cards, which will be great at helping us find the answers or action we need (we might not know exactly what we need game 1, but it will at least smooth out our draws, and game 2 and 3 or any later turns we should know exactly what we need).
We can also get card selection by tagging it onto our action spells. For example, Magma Jet may be a better card in this deck than Lightning Strike. Because we will usually be using our 1R burn spell to kill creatures rather than trying to burn out our opponent, the scry 2 of magma jet is much better than the extra damage from lightning bolt- provided we are trying to kill creatures with 2 hit points rather than 3. This really makes the metagame surrounding the control deck really important. Against your mono-white deck, magma jet is a lot better because most of the threats have 1 or 2 healthy; against the mono-black deck, magma jet may not be good enough because of the prevalence of Herald of Torment (though it may still be better because it can hit Black Knight and Nantuko Shade).
Scry lands would also be great to help here, if you have access to them.
The first 1-3 turns for this deck want to be spent finding answers and dealing with threats on a usually 1-for-1 basis with removal or hand disruption. Once we hit 4 of 5 lands, we want to change modes to 2-for-1ing our opponent when possible and setting up our card draw engine. This often means having access to powerful Wrath of God type effects around this mana cost. For this deck, it has these options in Anger of the Gods and Drown in Sorrow. I think the main question with these is, do these reliably end the threats that we would be facing at this time? If most decks top off their curve with two- or three-toughness creatures at these mana costs, then they might be fantastic. But, if a lot of decks have threats that go above these spells that they can deploy at this time, then maybe we need to put in cards like Damnation. The last thing we want is to play a board wipe that only hits half of their threats and we still die the next turn. There may be some cards that get around it, but we want our board wipes to kill the majority of their threats and buy us some breathing room to start turning on our card draw engine. Maybe you have access to Perilous Vault? Though, were going to need to shore up our early game a lot better to have time to cast that card in this format.
Lastly, our threat: how we win the game. For our control deck, the speed of the threat is less important than its resilience and its ability to take over the game or make the game safer for us. For examples of this concept, the current standard control deck uses Pearl Lake Ancient and Prognostic Sphinx. Neither of these cards are particularly fast of efficient. Both of them, however are very resilient and hard to deal with- Peal Lake Ancient can be returned to hand to dodge removal and cant be countered by our opponents, and the Spinx can be given hexproof by discarding cards (taking advantage of our card draw engine). They also have other upsides- the Ancient has flash, so we can play it at the end of our opponents turn and present as small a window for them to dodge our instants as possible, and the Sphinx has a whopping scry 3 on attack, ensuring that we continue to have the answers to anything our opponent could do. Keep in mind that were not presenting many threats to our opponent, so any removals spells they have will still be in their hand when we play out our threat unless we take them out of their hand through hand disruption, or protect our threat with counter spells or built-in defenses.
Other threats include lands that can kill, such as Creeping Tar Pit, which dodges any counter spells by being a land and can avoid removal spells until we have the mana and cards necessary to deal with them. Planeswalkers are other good threats, as they provide continuous advantages and escape a lot of creature removal. Spells like Grave Titan are good because you get a pretty strong bonus even if it is instantly removed. Similarly, Consecrated Sphinx can give you great bonuses even if it is doesnt live too long.
One strategy to take would be to have a strong threat that is big enough to be hard to kill, but cheap enough to be relatively easy to play with mana up to protect it. The Desecration Demon is pretty reasonable here; it is to big to kill with any one burn or X/-X spell, but cheap enough that we might be able to protect it from destroy effects. Also consider cards that help you get out of range of you opponents finishers; Batterskull is excellent here because it is both resilient to creature removal and also gains you life to get out of range of your opponents reach spells.
Anyway, those are my general comments. Now, Ill discuss some particular card choices. I cant really comment on what you should put in, as I dont know the cards you have available. Also note that Im mostly looking at the metagame of the decks I remember being at the top of your list; as I said, you cant prepare for everything, so its best to prepare your deck for the better decks.
Grixis Charm: My concern here is that, for three mana, youre not getting enough effect from this. You cant get a two-for-one of it, and while the flexibility to bounce is nice, the difference between -4 to -5 looks like it might be relevant in your metagame (though, the creature I had in mind was Phylactery Lich, which you could kill by just bouncing the artifact, so maybe this isnt a concern). Still, perhaps consider replacing with Dismember for the extra umph and greater flexibility, or with Hero's Downfall for more generalized killing (though not against the Lich) as well as the ability to hit planeswalkers, which your deck might be soft to.
Negate: The problem with this one is that some decks wont have any targets. Again, this is mostly a problem with having such a huge competition field and not having a sideboard, but still, 4 may be too many.
Id consider adding perhaps something like Electrolyze or Arc Lightning; a lot of the threats in your meta have 1 toughness (particularly the mono-white deck and the Ozhov deck), so these cards might do good work for you.
The sweepers: Discussed above.
OK so Id ditch many (most?) of these, if you want to go the control route. If your goal is to answer-answer-draw-wrath-draw-draw-threat, most of the creatures dont do a great job at ensuring you hit this plan. The Frostburn Weird might help shore up the early game, but unfortunately, most streamlined decks probably have a plan to deal with a blocker, either by removing it, making their attackers bigger, or using some protection or trick, so the Weird may not be as reliable as just casting a removal spell on their creature(s) while theyre tapped out. I think most of the random four-and-five mana creatures arent part of our plan: we might want to cast one or two of them, but not until we have things well enough in hand to cast one with mana up to protect it or answer our opponent. Ive already discussed threats above, so I wont get into detail. But, I think it would be better to replace most of these slots with answers / card draw, so we can get our engine running rather than sticking a dragon and hoping it wins us the game.
Now, having an early creature might not be the worst, if it is good enough to help us get to late game, if you want to run an early creature. Turning on their small creature burn spells is kind of painful, but some creatures may be worth it. Vampire Nighthawk is a pretty awesome little dude that can help us gain life to keep us alive, has evasion to help fight their planeswalkers, and has deathtouch to trade with their biggest threat.
Bump in the Night: as youve mentioned, you already know this card is not doing what this deck wants to do.
Anyway, this ended up being much longer than what I planned, but hopefully you find it useful. Now move back here already so we can do this process in person.
ClutchWorks is right about the shamans and those 2 cards to cut, I thought you had Vampire Nighthawks in your deck already since he is pretty much a auto include in any black/deathtouch deck. It just too good of a card to not have. The Thornbite Staff should only be 2x since you ideally want to see only one.
Hey dude, I like the excitement you got going on with this deck build. I'm not a magic guru here, but I agree with goodair.. Thornbite Staff looks pretty awesome in this deck, especially since you're running a playset of Prey Upon too.
Glissa, the Traitor is only able to recover artifacts from a graveyard, so people you play against are either going to target them or you're going to dredge them yourself - these cards are also going back to your hand. If you think about the cost of Thornbite Staff, it would be 6 mana just to cast and equip it. You're also going to pay two mana and tap to have one of your own creatures do 1 damage to a creature/opponent (better to have that damage come from a deathtouch creature). It's a little expensive to keep having to recast based on Glissa's ability, so try to maximize it's ability the first time you run it and maybe experiment with how many you keep in your deck. The second rule of Thornbite Staff says you can equip it to any Shaman that hits the battlefield (free). Try out cards like Vampire Nighthawk and Mul Daya Channelers because they look like really fun tap/untap combos.
As for cards I'd remove... I think you should get rid of Vengeful Pharaoh first. I only say this because I've been in situations where I'd draw that card over and over - it really slowed down my deck cycling. I also haven't had much success with Abattoir Ghoul just because he's not usually too big of a threat in the 4 MCM group. If you look at the bulk of your decklist, It's primarily green and black. You committed 7 lands to playing white but you only have 3 white cards in the list. You can simplify the deck a little bit by cutting out the white. Even though first strike/deathtouch is really fun to play, you may have better success by cutting out the third color.
Keep me posted on how it goes!
Vampire Nighthawk why isnt that in here
Vampire Nighthawk is a Vampire, Lifelink, and Flying?
How could i resist that? Great suggestion man
|0.59 TIX||0.04 TIX|
|Power / Toughness||2/3|
|Avg. draft pick||1.83|
|Avg. cube pick||5.32|
|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Duel Decks: Sorin vs. Tibalt||Uncommon|