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[PRIMER] Torment From the God-Pharaoh

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




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

The Primer [Updated]

    -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.

Coming soon...
Coming soon...


Updates Add

Another week, another FNM. I optimized this deck over the past week, getting my last two pushes and the other cards I needed. I played four rounds, placing 3-1 overall. I won against WB Vampires and two Dinosaur decks (RG and RGW), while losing to mono-red (again... this is easily my worst matchup). The extra removal and added consistency was just what this deck needed.

Dominaria cards were officially spoiled (https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/dominaria-leak-2018-03-08). I'm not too sure yet how this deck will adapt, but I'll be thinking about it. I'm especially interested in the Sulfur Falls reprint.

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97% Competitive

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Date added 5 months
Last updated 11 hours

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 3.21
Tokens Chandra
Folders Standard, H A, Standard, Interesting Commander Decks, std, Bolas, Grixis, Uncategorized, Standard, Favorable Fodder, See all 13
Top rank #30 on 2017-11-17
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