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[PRIMER] Torment From the God-Pharaoh

Standard Competitive Control Goodstuff Primer Tempo U/B/R (Grixis)




So, this is going to be my last update to this deck. While I am super interested in RtRtR, I do not currently have the money to keep up with standard. Thus, I will be investing in Commander/EDH. Thank you all for the support.

(Ixalan Updated) After reading a bunch of articles to get back into the current meta, I decided to attempt to make an Grixis control deck. Will I be able to survive the Dinos and RDW floating around? Only time will tell. Please leave suggestions!

The Primer

    -The Scarab God is one of the best cards in the format. Its incredible versatility allows me to reanimate my own Gearhulks as well as my opponent's creatures. The extra scry + lifeloss is just icing on the cake.

    -The Torrential Gearhulks are also great, a 5 power body with pseudo-haste and the ability to reuse my instants allow me access to better card advantage.

    • Disallow counters anything. Unquestionably the best counterspell in the format.

    • Essence Scatter is unconditional creature removal, and counters anything from Longtusk Cub to The Scarab God. Also great against Regisaur Alpha.

    • Fatal Push is the single best removal spell in Standard. We run a playset, as should every deck with access to black.

    • I run Glimmer of Genius for the scry + the 2 energy. I can dig with Glimmer, and it also guarantees me at least 2 mana of any color (Via Aether Hub) to cast the cards I find with it.

    • Harnessed Lightning kills anything played turns 1 or 2, and can even be used to kill big creatures later on, which is great in a format with Dinosaurs and Gearhulks. Alternatively, I can use it just to get 3 energy for 2 mana, which powers my Hubs or even a second Lightning.

    • Hieroglyphic Illumination is a slightly better Opt in my eyes. It cycles early game, and can be recast via a Gearhulk.

    • Moment of Craving is a nice, cheap removal spell. It kills any little dudes before they get too powerful, and nets me a bit of life.

    • Supreme Will serves several purposes. One, it counters spells relatively easily. Second, it digs at instant speed, helping me find that card I need when I need it. Finally, it gets recast via Torrential Gearhulk, allowing me to do it again. By having this in my graveyard, I can force my opponent to wait an additional few turns to cast their important spells.

    • Vona's Hunger is something I should have considered sooner. This is by far my most reliable way to deal with a Carnage Tyrant as I generally keep boards clear as much as I can. Ascend is relatively easy to get, because this deck by its very nature keeps games going long, and that only makes this card better. Once again, it can be returned with Torrential Gearhulk and fetched by Azcanta, making it better in my eyes over Doomfall.

    • Vraska's Contempt is one of the best removal cards in the format. Removing The Scarab God or Hazoret the Fervent is great, and the 2 life gained keeps me alive for longer as well. Still, the double black requirement is tough, so we only run two.

See sideboard.

  • Chandra, Torch of Defiance needs no introduction. Everything she does is great. She makes mana, she draws me cards, she can even kill a creature if I need her to. It's rare that I can get her ultimate, but if I do, I win the game very easily.

  • Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh is a very ambitious win-con, but this deck is built with Lord Bolas in mind. Again, every ability he has is great. I can steal my opponent's best spells, I rip apart their hand, I can bolt them with 7 damage to the face. And, on the off-chance that they have a well-stocked battlefield, I get to remove that too. Still, no more then one of them in the deck list, as 7 mana is prohibitively high.

    -Aether Hub gives me any kind of mana, as long as I have energy to pay for it. Automatically a playset.

    -Arch of Orazca is a relatively new inclusion. As mentioned previously, Ascend comes pretty easily, and getting to draw a card every turn (albeit at a high cost) is great for keeping this deck running.

    -Canyon Slough and Fetid Pools, and both perform the same function. They count as the basic land types for my checklands, and if I don't need them, I can cycle them away. I don't want too many of them though, as they do enter tapped.

    -Dragonskull Summit and Drowned Catacomb are my checklands. They usually enter untapped, and help fix my mana. It is worth noting that with a single Swamp, both my checklands are satisfied.

    -Evolving Wilds fixes my mana. It's a staple in any multicolor deck, and it's not going anywhere. It and the Field are also reliable ways to trigger revolt if necessary.

    -Field of Ruin is my only out to a transform land. In the future, I might swap it for Blood Sun, but it stays in for now. In a pinch, it can also fix my mana.

    -Basic lands, because everyone needs some basic lands.

    -Abrade is another quick answer to early threats. Alternatively, it removes God-Pharaoh's Gift and Aethersphere Harvester before they become relevant.

    -Crook of Condemnation is in place of Sentinel Totem as my graveyard hate piece. Being able to target my graveyard removal is much better than just nuking them all, as that would hurt my Searches  Flip and my Gearhulks. Of course, I still have the option of doing that if necessary.

    -Duress goes in against a control mirror. Early game hand disruption is always good, and knowing what is in my opponent's hand is always great.

    -Lost Legacy is basically a win-con against Approach of the Second Sun decks. It can also remove pesky creatures and other threats before they ever hit the board.

    -Negate replaces my Essence Scatters in the control mirror. Sometimes, it also goes in over removal against token decks and similar.

    -Nezahal, Primal Tide is my secondary finisher against control mirrors. Its hard to kill, it draws me cards, and the Spellbook effect is nice as well, although rarely needed.

    -Sweltering Suns is my saving grace against a board full of creatures. Not only does it miss all of my own creatures, but if I've reanimated anything with The Scarab God, it will keep them alive as well. It's also got cycling, so I can pitch it if I have to.

This deck's mainboard is built for creature-heavy decks, with cards such as Fatal Push and Moment of Craving designed to kill early creatures such as mana dorks and aggro creatures. Within a few turns, we should be able to figure out what kind of deck we're playing against, and therefore determine our strategy. Below are a few basic deck archetypes, along with the strategy to beat them.
The best way to beat a dinosaur deck is to keep the board clear as much as possible. Even if their early plays are Drover of the Mighty or Otepec Huntmaster, kill them anyway. Much of our removal suite does so very efficiently, thus allowing our more expensive answers to target late-game threats such as Gishath, Sun's Avatar or Ghalta, Primal Hunger. Save the unconditional counterspells for cards like Regisaur Alpha and Deathgorge Scavenger, cards that we don't want to resolve. The most problematic card they have by far is Carnage Tyrant. This is another reason to keep their board empty, so that Vona's Hunger (our best answer to a resolved Tyrant) will force them to sacrifice it. For game two, our board stays mostly the same. Sometimes we now have to watch out for Cast Out, Ixalan's Binding, and the occasional Abrade. If the Tyrant is too much trouble, consider boarding in Lost Legacy. TL;DR - Force a dinosaur deck to burn through their hand, and control the board. We have a much better draw engine then they do, and keeping them in topdeck mode is important.
Merfolk are a bit tricky. They like to overwhelm the opponent with creatures, and with access to blue comes countermagic and better card draw. However, they still suffer from the same problem that plagues all tribal decks: they need a critical mass of creatures to do well. They can play lots of them, but our priority should be the ones that give them long term value. Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca is the number one target here. If this card never resolves, we have a much better chance to do well. Secondly, Simic lacks good removal and clean answers to threats. Once we resolve one of our win conditions, they don't have much they can do about it. In game two, look out for the suite of countermagic they board in - Negate, Spell Pierce, and occasionally Kopala, Warden of Waves to tax our removal spells. Keep this in mind, and play around these cards. Our sideboard puts in the pair of Sweltering Suns. A well timed boardwipe can win us the game on the spot. Otherwise, this deck plays the same way - answer their threats, and then level them with ours. TL;DR - Merfolk need a large board of creatures to work well. Deny them this, expect countermagic, and sweep through.
Expect this game to take a LONG time. Game one usually comes down to who can resolve a threat first, and keep it alive. There are two main flavors of control: Azorius Approach, and Dimir Control (With the occasional splash of red). I will detail both types below, as each has their own threats and weaknesses:

White brings threats such as Cast Out and Settle the Wreckage, with the typical finishers being Gideon of the Trials and Approach of the Second Sun. Cast Out is their analog to our Vraska's Contempt, but Ixalan's Binding takes it a step forward by preventing us from casting more of the same spells. They typically run few to no creatures in the mainboard, while the sideboard brings a few in. Look out for Kefnet the Mindful, Nezahal, Primal Tide, and the ever-present Torrential Gearhulk. Be mindful of swinging all-in for attack, as a well-timed Settle the Wreckage can mean the game. Post-board, consider Lost Legacy to remove the Approaches, and always keep mana open.
Both of these lists run much of the same cards that we do - Vraska's Contempt, The Scarab God, etc, while red will sometimes have Abrade as well. Post-board, watch out for Gonti, Lord of Luxury and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner in addition to the standard mirror suite.

In games two and three, both players will usually board out most of the creature hate in exchange for the control mirror suite - Negate, Duress, graveyard hate, and Nezahal, Primal Tide over Moment of Craving, Harnessed Lightning, and a few Essence Scatter. Be prepared to wait to cast our big threats for when the opponent is tapped out and we have mana open to counter removal. Again, these games will go on for a long time, and one mistake can cost the game on the spot. Against both types of decks, almost always wait until the end of the opponent's turn to cast spells, and try to keep the cards flowing. Flipping Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin early can really make a difference. TL;DR - Remember that much of these games will take a long time. Always try to think several steps ahead of the opponent, and try to maximize card advantage.

To be added...
Coming soon...


Updates Add

Dominaria is upon us, and with it a farewell to this deck. Well, more accurately, a transformation. With the new pieces offered in Dominaria, I have decided that I will be changing this to an Esper (WUB) build. You can find it here: EsPURE Domination. Thank you to everyone who offered me feedback here, and supported the deck. To continue along with this journey, please check out the new deck. Thank you!

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100% Competitive

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Date added 11 months
Last updated 2 weeks

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 3.21
Tokens 1/1 City's Blessing, Chandra
Folders Standard, H A, Standard, Interesting Commander Decks, std, Bolas, Grixis, Uncategorized, Standard, Favorable Fodder, See all 14
Top rank #30 on 2017-11-17
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