A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: [Decklist] Grixis Dragons

A Magical Huffalump Resides Here

My name is Ed, I am a programmer. Just another dude with another blog. I like MTG, Open Source (more towards FREE software). I like sports, and eventually I hope to do business and do good for the world in general. This blog is gonna be about Magic The Gathering. Decklists and snippets will be posted here. It may lead somewhere or nowhere, as with all things arcane, that was bloody obvious =)

Sunday, May 03, 2015

[Decklist] Grixis Dragons

So there is a recent rash of Dragons in standard.

First Atarka then, the Esper variants with Ojutai and Silumgar

Nice thing is I already have my playset of DTK and FRF. And the more expensive stuff is not bought from local packs since... well the local retailers have indicated they are not interested in my business by increasing prices and constantly price gouging. 

Start RANT:

I know this sounds snappish and vindictive, but I think I still have to state that I CAN get my products from elsewhere. This is simply to let whomever is looking that: The local retail source (including LGS) is VERY dispensible. So try not to kill it guys, stop trying to kill the golden goose. MM2 is currently on the loose, so lets see how the price gouging goes. And oh I already have everything MM2 can offer, but I like alternate art and all and I give a rats ass about value crashing of my cards, so the price of MM never ceases to annoy me when the cost is obviously low.


4 x Tasigur, the Golden Fang
2 x Silumgar, the Drifting Death
2 x Dragonlord Silumgar
1 x Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
4 x Thunderbreak Regent
3 x Treasure Cruise
4 x Thoughtseize

3 x Anticipate
4 x Silumgar's Scorn
3 x Bile Blight
2 x Ultimate Price
1 x Stubborn Denial
2 x Temple of Malice
4 x Temple of Epiphany
4 x Polluted Delta
2 x Shivan Reef
3 x Mountain
4 x Swamp
4 x Bloodstained Mire
4 x Island

3 x Duress
1 x Deathbringer Regent
1 x Dragonlord Kolaghan
1 x Treasure Cruise
1 x Stubborn Denial
1 x Bile Blight
3 x Foul-Tongue Invocation
2 x Dragonlord's Prerogative
2 x Ultimate Price

On the deck: 

I was very enamoured with the Atarka r/g aggro/midrange deck by Vanmeter. Its just so very cool to have a dragon deck be viable (even if its just Standard).

Then the Esper Dragons came about, yet more cool stuff. And I like Hane's playstyle so it was all good!

So I kinda refuse to think that the Atarka variant is just a fluke and will die out (well r/g monsters normally come in with a bang and then die to both control and blitz aggro).

But the Vanmeter deck was kinda rampish, which just was'nt quite my style. I did like the burn and thunderbreak regents however (and I somehow hit 2 foils, yay me!). So it was something I was trying to shoehorn in.

And the strength of the Esper decks was the new counterspell + strong fat (a la Baron Harkonnen - tho to be honest there was much more in that deck)

I also felt that Tasigur should be used in all things with black and fetches. I also really like Treasure Cruise.... so theres U/B. In fact before the Esper dragons deck was running around I was messing with a U/B deck. My focus then was to make discard work, and i was messing with Tasigur and Scorn... which kinda then involve both Silumgars. I was not too keen to add white for Ojutai so I did'nt really pull it towards Esper. Idid'nt really like Crux of fate though, as I used Tasigurs. I was partly inspired by the way Hanes used Tasigur to beat down in the mirror. I was surprise he only had two. But i figured, why only beat down in the mirror? Beatdown forever I say! So I haz four in the main =D 

Now obviously the Esper deck is built with more restraint in mind while my Grixis Dragons is quite happy to be go for the throat with fast fat flyers. ... okay Tasigur no fly, but the dragons they do. If you get it you do.

So I looked for a way to fuse the things I liked, and Grixis kinda fit the bill! And I tweaked it roughly to what I thought was good takeaways from the net decks, mostly the land count and took the cue on the number of Anticipates.

And so there. that was roughly the thought process that led to the deck.

And actually after mucking around with the deck. The TRUE hellspawn (well everyone treats counterspell and combo like they are from hell or aliens or something... oh wait they treat blitz, discard, LD and oh... they actually HATE magic.... I'm sorry for that mini-rant  :P ) is...


Friends and potatoes, Anticipate is waay better than telling time. Why? Easy. It lets you remove two useless cards rather than one useless card.

I guess it is subjective. (but the fact that telling time is not used much is rather telling no? sry...) Both let you dig 3 cards deep and keep one. But anticipate allows you to dump two instead of one. (Serum Visions is stronger than both because it lets you choose whether to dump both or keep both or whatever ... well that plus it is only 1 cc =D totally different ball game sry). Thing is by putting one in your hand, it means you already got the most useful card of the three (I don't have the cards on hand so I am assuming you can choose which of the three to keep). So unless all three are gas (which might be the case), it is better that you push the "useless" cards away. 

Useless is relative to current board state of course, so whether telling time or anticipate is better, is directly bound to the way your deck is built. However. If your deck is built to handle multiple things, and not all cards do generally the same thing (for instance aggro or burn tends to have heavy redundency, whereas control will have discard, removal, counters and all answer something specific, whereas for the aggro and burn... yeah its mostly to your friendly opponent's face),  then the ability to filter the top of your deck is premium for the control player. This is where the ability of Anticipate to sweep away rather than Telling Time's ability to keep is stronger. (which is partly why JTMS is strong, he messes with the top of your library)

Anyways there is some heat on whether silumgar's scorn is the herald for counterspell's return. I don't know. (like duh). But...

I really feel that WOTC is testing waters with this (silumgar's scorn). I think it was very smart to tie the new counterspell to the dragons for the following reasons:

1) Dragons are always heavily costed
2) Counterspell is deemed too stong (or at least in perception)
3) Dragons are useless early game and clog the hand, counterspells need to be early to be of use

Combine these and you turn the cons of dragons into pros (by enabling silumgar's scorn) and at the same time add a con to counterspell. This creates a "safe" spot for counterspell since any deck attempting to use counterspell must built the deck with dragons in mind. Which is interesting.

The key thing to understand, for all who think counterspell as an effect is too strong, counterspell effects must come before the threat to be of any use. There is a reason why there is following for the concept of "there are wrong answers, but there are no wrong threats". This is also why cancel has been abandoned time and again. Counterspell as an effect is effectively neutered by manacost. Force of Will is strong only because it circumvents its 5cc by going for free if you feed it one blue card.

Now should counterspell be in the standard environment? Not that I care about standard mind you. I think standard is the marketing platform for WOTC. They can do whatever they want with it, at the moment it is Pokemon fest (its been pokemon for at least the past 5 years me thinks). So be it. I play whatever comes along. (and oh I always look for an aggro deck to build to go by, since thats the bone that WOTC throws to me and it is an effective way to get under all that midrange fat ;) sure you can meta against it but you will then lose to something else. Wonderful is'nt it. Thats magic). 

So standard is the marketing platform, this is also why I feel that it can be argued both ways. Standard is the best platform to unleash counterspell. Why? it only lasts 1 year plus (now. it used to be two years plus). So you can actually go crazy with standard. Now why is it okay to go crazy, one would probably argue that whatever is printed in Standard leaks into Modern. But people arguing that are conveniently forgetting that Modern, is still very much the wild wild west. WOTC has already broken over the sacred cow of banning cards many times over. So one more counterspell to the list is hardly earth shattering. There is no reputation of keeping existing cards Modern legit to speak of. On the other hand, I guess I am forgetting that most modern players are ported from Standard? I don't actually know if that is true, but if it is true, then I can understand the logic for not letting counterspell touch Modern. Modern players can't handle it. That is partly why I view Silumgar's Scorn more as a test water thing. 

Standard players are finally getting a real taste of counterspell (albeit forced into a dragon shell). If standard fails because of the pokemon effect (i.e. Standard players can't handle counterspell) then it is likely we will never see an un-nerfed counterspell in Modern. However if standard remains healthy. Then counterspell returning becomes a little more real.For anyone who says "insert something" will never come back/be printed: I always refer them to poison :)  It may take 10 years, but hey infect it did come back.

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