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Nicol Bolas' Master Plan

Standard* Control U/B/R (Grixis)



Nicol Bolas, master of Black, Blue, and Red magic and most powerful Elder Dragon in existence may be gone from standard, but his arm is ever reaching.

Nicol Bolas' Master Plan

"There is no greater folly than standing against me."

Taking control of matters from afar, Bolas still seeks to control the Multiverse, whether the battleground be Alara, Ravnica or Theros. Grixis Control brings the wrath of Bolas down upon the opponent's head, embodied in low mana deadly counter spells and removal. Control the board as Nicol Bolas controls the Multiverse and make sure nothing stands in your way.

This deck is built in preparation for the loss of Innistrad in Standard and the arrival of Theros. While it's possible to make this deck a lot better with Innistrad-M13 cards, I preferred to challenge myself and see if an all Ravnica and M14 (for the moment) deck could challenge the likes of Jund and Aristocrats. Although Bolas operates alone, feedback would be much appreciated.

The Finishers

"After years of world-bending machinations, Bolas's triumph is at hand."

Master of Cruelties - The finisher for this deck, Master of Cruelties doesn't care if the opponent does 19 points of damage to you before he swings, once he does they can go straight from twenty to one and you can finish them off with a Magma Jet or Lightning Strike. Deadly and efficient in both offense and defense, he is an amazing card.

Aetherling - Quite possibly the best finisher in the Standard format at this time, solid in both offensive and defensive capabilites, Aetherling is here to seal the deal in the end stages of the game. While seven mana might be high by some standards, once you force the game to reach Aetherling, little can stop him from finishing the game in as little as three turns. However, he is not vital in the early stages of the game and cannot be played, so you do not want to have him clogging your hand. I run one so that I can find him but will (hopefully) not draw him too early.

Rakdos's Return - Gets damage in AND disrupts your opponent's hand forcing them into topdeck mode, when the mana is piling up on your side this can wipe their hand and put the timer on their game.


"There is always a greater power."

The Izzet 'walker

Ral Zarek

A Lightning Bolt on legs, Ral Zarek can provide deadly removal if need be, but he also shines with his first, +1 ability. The versatility it offers is exception, including early turn Opportunities, meaning that your hand is full earlier in the game, allowing for complete control. If you get lucky enough, his final ability in itself can be another card draw engine, allowing you to flood your field with mana and re-fill your hand with extra turns.

The Mill Master

Jace, Memory Adept

The control finisher since Innistrad standard and before, Jace can easily mill the opponent out if left unchecked and can be used to close the game in place of Master of Cruelties devastating swings and Aetherling's full on offensive if need be.

Instants & Sorceries


"Where will you run when I punish you with the very ground you flee on?"

Anger of the Gods - The red sweeper that makes Grixis possible in this meta, Anger of the Gods not only destroys but exiles all creatures with X/3 or less. While our own finishers dodge the deadly fire, many of the opponent's creatures will be destroyed, leaving the field wide open for Master of Cruelties or Aetherling to close the game.

Far // Away - Great multi purpose card which answers multiple creatures. An easy way to deal with hexproof, this card is your early game Cyclonic Rift and a slightly more expensive Devour Flesh with no downside.

Hero's Downfall - An absolute house of a card, taking down both creatures with no draw back and planeswalkers like Domri and Xenagos, as well as Jace and Ral in control match ups, Hero's Downfall at instant is amazing, with the one downside being the double black cost.

Dreadbore - Kill a creature, no questions asked, and can also kill planeswalkers. The only downside to this is that it is a sorcery. To be honest, this is half the reason that I started playing Grixis Control, the lovely art and finality of it's removal.

Cyclonic Rift - An early game Disperse, a lategame boardwipe, which can be deadly when followed by a Rakdos's Return. Good against decks running Detention Spheres.

Magma Jet - A Shock that for one extra mana allows you to scry into your deck and sort your next card, this card could be one of the great burn spells coming out of Theros. For now, it will sit in the mainboard at 2 in the mainboard, but this depends on the amount of X/2 creatures that dominate the meta.

Counterspells // Discard

"Your pathetic ideas lie in shambles, Planeswalker. Where is your arrogant pride now?"

Izzet Charm - Does all the things we need it to, all three modes are all-stars in this deck.

Negate - With the heavy removal that this deck runs, Negate is here to mop up the dregs of non-creature spells that get through, allowing for total board control.

Draw Engines

"No fact escapes me. Why do you think you can?"

Opportunity - The closest thing to Sphinx's Revelation for us, a mana heavy spell that fills the hand again.

Read the Bones - One of the first new cards to be spoiled out of Theros and one that immediately caught my eye, the draw power and deep scry (love scry coming back!) means that this could be a versatile back-up for Opportunity. It's also more easily splashed then Sign in Blood from M13.

Quicken - A great card for letting us play Rakdos's Return or Dreadbore at the end of their turn or in their combat step, but it's also a cantrip that allows us to dig deeper into our deck to look for answers and finishers.


"You will fully understand fear when you discover it is the final thing you put your faith in."

Slaughter Games - Excellent sideboard card. A Surgical Extraction that can't be countered and doesn't have to target a card in the graveyard. Great against control where you can exile their very few win conditions, also helps us get rid of troublesome cards such as Detention Sphere.

Rakdos Charm - Sideboard card thats artifact removal, graveyard hate and great against token swarms.

Doom Blade - Efficient removal against non-black decks.

Ratchet Bomb - Red/Black's response to tokens and enchantments, a danger coming into Theros, the enchantment themed block.

Mizzium Mortars - Early game removal and late game sweeper, the high damage to both single creatures and their whole board side can wipe the slate clean in both early game and late game.

Thoughtseize - The modern staple gifted to us by the Gods in Theros, Thoughtseize is having its time to shine once more in standard. Early game discard to nab those dangerous Smiters and oppositional cards, as well as wreak havoc on combo strategies, Thoughtseize has proved its worth time and time again in Modern, so now we shall see what it can offer Standard.


Updates Add

So after following the comments on the deck, I've come to the conclusion that Negate would be better if it were simply just Dissolve, considering that's such a hard counter and for only one U more it can counter anything I need it to as well as Scry 1, which comes in handy. This was suggested to me by strateupjee.

The second change is one less Mutavault and added in a Rogue's Passage. As well as give me an extra colourless mana if that need should arise, Rogue's Passage allows Master of Cruelties and AEtherling the chance to swing in unopposed and seal the game. This was suggested by [[Itzmogz] and bagthesnoot

Hopefully that helps the deck a little, and now I'm very excited to start acquiring the final pieces, the new Theros cards!

TL:DR: -1 Mutavault, -2 Negate, -1 Hero's Downfall, +1 Rogue's Passage, +3 Dissolve


Compare to inventory
Date added 4 years
Last updated 3 years

This deck is not Standard legal.

Highlight illegal cards
Illegal cards Blood Crypt , Counterflux , Dreadbore , Duress , Far / Away , Frostburn Weird , Hypersonic Dragon , Izzet Guildgate , Jace, Architect of Thought , Lifebane Zombie , Rakdos Guildgate , Rakdos's Return , Slaughter Games , Steam Vents , Syncopate , Turn / Burn , Underworld Connections , Watery Grave
Cards 60
Avg. CMC 3.00
Folders 3.2 - Standard (RTR-M14-THS), possable decks, Reference, Decks I Approve of, Possible decks I can make
Top rank #23 on 2013-09-17
Ignored suggestions
Shared with

Revision 14 See all

4 years ago)

+4 Omenspeaker main
-2 Izzet Charm main
-1 Hypersonic Dragon main
+3 Underworld Connections main
-3 Read the Bones main
-2 Far / Away main
+2 Devour Flesh main
-1 Mountain main
-2 Izzet Guildgate main
+3 Rakdos Guildgate main
-1 Rakdos's Return main
+3 Far / Away main
-3 Devour Flesh main
-2 Anger of the Gods main
-2 Syncopate main
+2 Dissolve main
+1 Island main
-1 Mountain main
+1 Rakdos's Return main
-4 Omenspeaker main
and 33 other change(s)