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Grixis Control, Hour of Bolas

Standard* Control U/B/R (Grixis)



Hour of devastation Grixis control. I have taken deep notes and forced myself to jusify each card's slot in the deck by writing a few sentences proving why the card should make the cut down in a notebook I have solely for deck brewing after reading both of Chapin's books, this seems like the most optimal build. Primer to hopefully come. I've been tuning and running a grixis control build in standard to above average results (2-1/3-1 average) since Amonkhet's release so any grixis control strategies feel free to ask.



So this is the exact list I played at the GP. I went into this wanting to beat mono-red and though I only played it once, I did in fact beat it.

Wins: Jeskai midrange, Mardu, BW Zombies, Ramanup Red

Losses: GB Delirium, Temur Emerge, Mono-B Zombies, Mono B zombies, BW Sunmare.

The zombies match ups I saw 0 sweepers unfortunately, The Temur match up was very grindy, I outlasted ulamog til i got rid of it but the same worldbreaker was cast 4 times limiting my mana, The GB match up hurt because in testing it's 70-30 in my favor before the changes to beat red. Without removal for gearhulks and trackers once they get too big it hurt main deck. Sunmare was a very winnable match up but a misplay on my part cost me the match. I played turn 3 tap land with an untapped land in hand setting up for turn 4 chandra even though I had a supreme will in hand. He gideons that turn and it carried him to victory so thats really the only match up I can't say went poorly due to variance since it was that misplay.


pax. says... #1

psychosmurf96 was hoping to see a Grixis control deck NOT centred around the usual UR torrential control build.

I feel like rakdos splash U is the best, focussing on early removal, mid game threats and late game Nico. What do you think? I haven't drafted a list up yet, just looking around.

Nice username btw 10/10

July 7, 2017 12:28 a.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #2

pax. The Pre-hour build im playing a the moment is basically the RB splash blue with more removal and main deck discard and I noticed a huge problem in many weeks and revisions. We don't have 1 mana versatile discard to help us in the control match ups. BR base is for more of an aggro meta-game call. With the Blue being more prominent and making our 3 colors evenly distributed we can create a control deck with an above-average aggro and mid-range game 1 deck that has a 50/50 control match up with a primary weakness to combo. The BR splash U version was VERY weak to control in game 1. Also, I personally think that the Black has a crucial element in this shell that is being overlooked. We ultimately can function as a graveyard control deck, something UR critically lacks. UR can have the flaw of having all of your win-cons killed whether that's 4 Gearhulks, Chandra, and 2 wandering fumaroles like the traditional build, we can Utilize the Black Planeswalkers and Kalitas which are arguably better than gearhulks at least with the pre-hour build. I think it's just the best instants and sorceries in standard ARE UR so the non instant and sorcery cards kinda get the underlying value overlooked, Any Cards in particular you have questions on?

July 7, 2017 12:48 a.m.

pax. says... #3

psychosmurf96 When you say discard, do you mean hand disruption (like Harsh Scrutiny) or do you mean discard for value (like Tormenting Voice)?

I don't see how making more prominent helps against aggro? Maybe against midrange you can counter heavier threats, but against aggro I think it's better to focus on for the sweepers and removal. Control matchups are going to be hard in game 1 if their draws line up, but I don't know any good control deck that isn't UR Gearhulk (and therefor very predictable and disruptable). They don't even run Void Shatter anymore so loading the graveyard isn't even that bad anymore.

On that note, I like the graveyard control idea - that's what I was leaning towards (using Liliana to reanimate creatures) and incorporating the still-great Delirium cards. In the mean time we have access to the best early interaction/removal. You win on value.

Basically all offers is Torrential Gearhulk + Glimmer of Genius with all the various counterspells, which are either too narrow or too expensive (except Censor which is still situational). So if you remove this core of 'counter, counter, glimmer, hulk' then the deck is nothing.

So I guess the question is, why is everyone sticking to Control and just adding Bolas (which doesn't even synergise) when you could just build a stronger Grixis shell with Bolas as the legitimate finisher?

July 7, 2017 2:18 a.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #4

pax. i guess I worded it weirdly, The addition of more doesn't make aggro better, is what makes the aggro match up a breeze/about 60/40 depending on what aggro deck we are facing. (humans being more 55/45) The does however make control a 50/50 game one where as a base has about a 30/70 control match up game one sue to the immense amount of dead draws we have.

By Discard i meant hand disruption yea. Part of why Grixis Control is so good in other formats on a base vs the standard base/core of has to be the varied amounts of hand disruption for only 1 mana. in modern you have Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtseize, and Duress. In legacy you get the previously mentioned cards but also Unmask and Cabal Therapy. I believe that is why most list look similar to UR Control. It also could be the idea of attacking different match ups. I focus more heavily on having a better match up vs control so I have a higher spell count and a lower spell count but to prepare for all in aggro those 2 amounts of cards could easily flip.

July 7, 2017 9:06 a.m.

Qolorful says... #5

Have you considered Hour of Devastation? It is a great boardwipe, even better in a deck that uses bolas

July 9, 2017 8:50 a.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #6

Qolorful It's been considered but ultimately didn't make the cut, the biggest reason being that with our other planeswalkers, we are likely killing our own walkers. Chandra has either been Flame Slash or a damage spell the first turn she comes down. so if we plus her and then she takes even one damage the next turn hour would kill her, same goes for baby liliana, even by plussing all the way until turn 5, she dies too if even breathed on before then. Personally, Chandra is the most important card in the deck in a majority of match ups. She allows turn 5 Bolas, kills creatures, applies reach/card advantage, and wins with her ult. I decided to stick with sweltering suns instead in all of my sweeper slots for this reason, the reason I'd want hour over suns would mainly be for Eldrazi. So maybe if the Mono-red eldrazi or another eldrazi variant takes off I would reconsider and put 1 in the sideboard.

July 9, 2017 11:01 a.m.

Qolorful says... #7

I actually am down for that reasoning. If Chandra is more important to the deck function hour of devastation would not work indeed. I think in the sideboard it would be a good option anyway, because sometimes you will end up needing to take out huge boards, or occasionally multiple planeswalkers. Most likely against decks that have solid protection against spot removal.

July 9, 2017 12:09 p.m.

ramuzzini says... #8

Great deck! And I want to say I was glad to see a control deck that doesn't include 26 lands when the curve peaks at 3 CMC. Good luck!

July 12, 2017 11:30 a.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #9

ramuzzini I'm glad you like the look of the list! the deck gets its first taste of action at my LGS's FNM this friday. The meta is usually Zombies, Monument, MAdness, UG Eldrazi ramp, and Vehicles but who knows what the new set will do to that.

July 12, 2017 7:19 p.m.

Eh, just wanted to say, especially to Ramuzzini, that Frank Karsten, one of the biggest analytical statistics MTG guys around, doesn't even have a land count recommendation for a deck playing 3.73 average CMC cards, because it was so high. This deck should be playing at least 26 lands with the 5 cyclers you have. Also, the mana base could use some fixing; it is running more black sources than blue sources, but you are playing more blue spells. Riddleform is also often a dead card and is not a real threat and not a good blocker, because your opponents should be playing second main phase. Just trying to be honest, but good luck with it!https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/how-many-lands-do-you-need-to-consistently-hit-your-land-drops/

July 16, 2017 1:51 a.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #11

oMass_Assassin I appreciate the feedback, The land count thing is preference. Since I have started playing the deck back when Amonkhet released, very rarely do I not have mana on time and that has only gotten better with the card filtering of anticipate and supreme will (though I'm still not sold on it). The colors of mana I can agree with. I've been thinking of adding some number of wandering fumarole in the list but the biggest problem in standard is that UR doesn't have too many untapped options in nonbasics but UB and BR do. If I decide to add fumaroles I'd probably replace the sunken hollow and a basic swamp for 2 of them. Now the riddleform point: on the play, riddleform can be great. as an enchantment a surprising amount of players forget it can be animated however I do think TiTi might just be better in this spot. IT was fun to get people mid combat with fatal push and then riddleform block your dork though I'll say that. Might just be me being stubborn but I find myself being flooded with little mana sinks in the late game with the variety of card filtering/selection available so I'm determined to find answers on time. Definitely do appreciate the feedback though!

July 16, 2017 9:33 a.m.

lords2001 says... #12

I've been running a similar deck for a while now.

I find fatal push to be very situational in a lot of matchups - it is hard to get Revolt going some games, so it can be limited. I would try to maybe try out a combination of 2x more unlicensed disintegration and 2x Harnessed Lighting. This would also mean turning to Glimmer of Genius as well over Hieroglyphic Illumination.

I think that big Liliana is better removed, by replacing with Chandra, Flamecaller as it is much more of a finisher- often the board is clear and if you can resolve Chandra, most players just can't recover.

I would also suggest a couple more copies of Disallow as you are light on hard counters, though I know it hurts the mana base.

I like your card draw angles too - plenty of options there.

July 18, 2017 11:24 a.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #13

lords2001 Yea I'm posting an updated list to what I'm testing this week and some of the changes mentioned after addressed specifically big lili and Pushes. I was starting to feel the same way about fatal push and going over the 2 grixis lists that top 64ed at SCG Cin I decided to remove them all together. I'm personally avoiding the energy package all together due to choice and having been burned by it too much in the past. Main changes in the build I'm trying this week: different removal, counterspell, and planeswalker package main deck and a sideboard turning me more into a midrange Grixis deck with more creatures, have a few more sweepers, or fevered visions for control.

July 18, 2017 5:55 p.m.

lords2001 says... #14

psychosmurf96 Easy. I like this much better - Ob Nix is so solid as a kill spell and hand filler.

Abrade is a great choice as well.

I think the rest is personal choice - I've been running Thing in the Ice mainboard, mainly so my opponent knows he can't sideboard out his removal game 2 - it seems to work for me. I still think Chandra Flamecaller should be in the 60 - I can't see a plainswalker I would hate resolving on an open board more, and I'm including Bolas here.

July 19, 2017 10:40 a.m.

Ghosty says... #15

What's the point of having so many cards 1-of?

July 20, 2017 10:07 a.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #16

Ghosty with the amount of filtering with 4 supreme will and 2 anticipate as well as gearhulks, we get a ton of card selection to find our 1 of answers and our 1 ofs function like 2 of ls with the gearhulks. Eternal formats are perfect for showcasing this concept. We don't want the one ofs all the time but when we do want them we can find them

July 20, 2017 11:14 a.m.

Mardu_Maniac says... #17

You have a large base, I'd switch out Unlicensed Disintegration for Never, as you can use Return for other things. Also, why Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet?

Check out my deck, maybe we can help each other?

July 24, 2017 6:27 p.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #18

ACDAMAN So unlicensed and never can easily swap places with preference. I like unlicensed main to help close out the games with gearhulk. the 3 damage has mattered a lot. Kalitas is a great creture to stop eternalize shenanigans and beats some of the worst creatures for a control deck to face like scroungers and other zombies, also the lifelink is a great asset to stabilize.

I looked at you list and saw some things I wasn't a fan of and somethings i was. I like scarab god in the kalitas slot (slot of my build that is) but I like kalitas more in my build. I also found the lack of a chanfra in a bolas deck very "wrong" for lack of a better word. she stabilizes the board, gives psuedo card advantage, reach, and a game ending ult. Also as much as I hate to say it but it was a hard thing to remove from me to is fatal push, its just not in a good place atm in standard. It misses eldrazi, glory bringers, revolt isnt easy to come buy to it misses most of the zombies. MY opinions but just some things I noticed. hope it doesn't come off as harsh.

July 24, 2017 8:18 p.m.

Mardu_Maniac says... #19

psychosmurf96 Hmm... interesting adaption! I just don't enjoy using Chandra, Torch of Defiance as the only reason I see her in the deck is to ramp into Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, but she does it extremely infrequently

July 24, 2017 8:48 p.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #20

ACDAMANI've found her to flame slash a creature and be a fog the turn after quite useful, also her +1 is a great clock/card advantage machine in the late game. The bolas ramp is just icing on the cake. I've even used the mana ability to kill opposing creatures with a removal spell while ticking her up or to cast a blocker.

July 24, 2017 8:57 p.m.

Mardu_Maniac says... #21

psychosmurf96 huh, makes sense... Ok, that works! I've just tried using her as a ramp for bolas

July 24, 2017 10:52 p.m.

Ghosty says... #22

psychosmurf96 – thanks for clarification :)

But still I won't ever understand control decks :)

July 25, 2017 2:09 a.m.

lords2001 says... #23


I would straight swap Abrade for Magma Spray as having the option turn 2 is huge, and being able to kill 3 toughness turn 2 is also huge.

I would also remove Grasp of Darkness and Collective Brutality entirely, mainboard the 2x Unlicensed Disintegration and add 2 more sideboard and 2 more Negate's or Unsubstantiate. Your worst problem is resolved plainswalkers, so bring cards to not let them resolve or get them back into hand.

Since Grixis wins are always grindy, you can't rely on Supreme Will to last much past turn 6 as a counter.

Finally, I would find a 2nd Hour of Devastation for superfriends or midrange. The number of games I have won so far by wiping the board of everything but a Torrential Gearhulk is pretty decent.

August 25, 2017 11:53 a.m.

psychosmurf96 says... #24

lords2001 in the orignial build many of those suggestions were there. The list posted here is the list I tuned specifically to beat ramanup red at the time of the minneapolis GP hence the lack of midrange/anti-control/superfriends cards. I currently have decided to take a break from standard until rotation due to buddy lands replacing the comes into play tapped lands and hopefully some other toys to play with since the core of this archetype survives. Planning on going more graveyard based with ixalan

August 25, 2017 6:22 p.m.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 5 months
Last updated 4 months

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 61
Avg. CMC 3.06
Tokens Liliana, 2/2 Zombie, Chandra
Folders Standard Ideas, posibles, Deck Ideas for Standard, Deck ideas, Cool decks to try., Xmage Decks, Random Decks, Grixis Control, Inspiration Decks, Standard control
Top rank #22 on 2017-08-03
Views 3872

Revision 9 See all

4 months ago)

-1 Magma Spray main
+2 Grasp of Darkness main
+2 Fatal Push main
-2 Hour of Glory main
+3 Thing in the Ice  Flip main
-2 Kozilek's Return main
-1 Liliana, Death's Majesty main
-2 Abrade main
+1 Foreboding Ruins main
+2 Collective Brutality main
+2 Sweltering Suns main
-1 Negate main
-2 Unlicensed Disintegration main
-1 Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh main
-2 Transgress the Mind side
+1 Hour of Devastation side
-2 Sweltering Suns side
-2 Glorybringer side
+2 Hour of Glory side
+2 Unlicensed Disintegration side
and 26 other change(s)