Standard Grixis control list that I have been testing out on arena. So far, the list has taken me to low plat. Currently looking for any tips on further refining the list, especially against esper control.

There are a few changes I'm currently considering. Thief was originally added in help clock low removal decks like Nexus. I'm finding that I almost never bring it in anymore, so it may be time to replace it with something better. Ugin may end up replacing Lili in the six mana slot. While he doesn't present as much of a game ending threat, he makes up for it by removing permanents that the deck normally has trouble with like enchantments). I'm also looking for something I can board in against Gruul. Ravager becomes a liability in that matchup, but I don't want to leave myself with no defense against small creatures. I'm thinking Murmuring Mystic might be an option.

Sideboard Guide

(6/24/2019) This guide is a bit out of date. I will update with the current version of the list soon.

Mono Red:

Out: 2x Narset, 2x Search for Azcanta

In: 2x Moment of Craving, 2x Duress (draw) / 2x Negate (play)

This matchup is surprisingly good. The key is to control the board early and keep out of burn range. If we can make it to turn 5, Ravager and Enter The God Eternals let us turn the corner and grind them out of the game. Priority targets for duress/erasure are Tibalt, Frenzy, and Chandra. Light up the Stage should also be a high priority target depending on what their hand looks like.

Gruul Midrange:

Out: 2x Narset

In: 2x Moment of Craving

This is actually a tough match to board for. Pay attention to what cards you see game one and try to make an educated guess what your opponent might bring in. If you see Nullhide, it may actually be better to swap out Ravager for Thief of Sanity and just hope they don't see a lightning strike. If you expect them to bring in enchantment removal, take out Search instead of Narset. The good news here is that we are favored game 1, especially on the play. Post board is not as good, but the matchup is still reasonable if we play smart. Keep the board under control and make sure to respect haste damage from spellbreaker and hellkite.

Jeskai Superfriends:

Out: 3x Cry, 2x Cast Down, 3x Enter The God-Eternals, 1x Tyrants Scorn

In: 3x Duress, 1x Narset, 2x Negate, 3x The Elderspell

While this match is not favorable game 1, it is winnable. Early thought erasure is critical here for getting rid of Teferi, Time Raveler and Narset before they can gain value. Be ready for Sarkhan and don't get blown out by letting low value walkers hang around. Post board, things swing back in our favor. We bring in a heavy package of hand disruption and planeswalker removal. If you are on the play, consider brining in a few copies of Thief as well (you can cut additional copies of Tyrant's Scorn and Angraths Rampage to make room). The basic strategy remains the same, grind them out and then stick a big threat one they are out of gas.

Esper Control:

Out: 3x Cry, 2x Cast Down, 3x Enter The God-Eternals, 2x Tyrants Scorn (draw)

In: 3x Duress, 1x Narset, 2x Negate, 4x Thief (play) / 2x Thief (draw)

This is probably our worst matchup. They are better at grinding out the long game than we are but we don't have a lot of options to pressure them early. The game often comes down to who gets the first thought erasure and who manages to stick a Search. Thief helps us apply some pressure post board, especially if they sell out against our walkers and cut creature removal. Make sure you respect the potential for a Lyra out of the board; don't get caught in a situation where you spend your last removal on a walker only to see Lyra put the game out of reach.

While I'm not going to go into detail, make sure you correctly identify which of the many variants of esper you are dealing with. If you see cards like Interplanar Beacon, expect a more PW heavy deck and bring in some copies of The Elderspell. If you see Hero of Precinct One, you want to keep in some creature removal (take out Angrath's Rampage instead of Tyrant's Scorn) and possibly a copy of Cry as well.

Izzet Phoenix:

Out: 2x Tyrant's Scorn, 1x Nicol Bolas Ravager / Enter the God Eternals

In: 2x Moment of Craving, 1x Narset

This is by far our best matchup. Pick off their threats one-by-one and use Cry to clean up their Phoenixes when they try to go off. Keep an eye on their graveyard and how many Phoenix the could potentially deploy. The long game favors us, so don't deploy big Bolas or Lili until the hasty birds are safely exiled.


Updates Add

I finally had a chance to run the deck in paper at a small showdown. The final tally was 1-2 but the deck felt solid. It was able to hang with a simic nexus deck which is normally a horrible matchup. The esper loss was a combination of incorrect sideboard choices (I overcommited on the anti-control plan and got blown out by unanswered Thief) and severe flooding.

Thoughts: Moving Negate and the third copy of Narset really helps give the deck a sliver of hope against some of the really bad matchups and also improves game 1 against esper. Legion Warboss has also been a great sideboard addition.


29% Casual

71% Competitive

Date added 4 months
Last updated 3 months
Exclude colors WG

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 3.21
Tokens 1/1 Spirit, 2/2 Manifest
Folders Uncategorized, Nice decks
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