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Standard Deck Tech: Grixis Improvise

Unfortunately, if you were paying attention to Grand Prix Pittsburgh, you might have noticed it was business as usual for Standard. Mardu Vehicles came out of the Pro Tour and cemented its place as the top dog of the format. But the top deck always has a rival, and the B/G decks were right on its heels. If you looked at the results of the event, or the Pro Tour before it, you might even be convinced this was a 2-deck format. Maybe 3 if you want to validate the Saheeli Rai decks.

But one thing I have always tried to do is find the outliers. Decks that may not take you to the top tables, but that attempt to innovate and push forward, and break up the monotony of a given format. Sometimes they even end up being pretty good.

The deck I’m exploring today is another Grixis variant that looks nothing like anything I’ve seen in Standard, while making use of a bunch of new cards and mechanics from Aether Revolt. It was played to a successful finish in a Magic Online League by user Charlesjacenorman. Take a look.

Grixis Improvise

It’s hard to even find where to begin with what I like about this deck. Bastion Inventor reminds me of Myr Enforcer, only with hexproof, which is just huge in Standard. You also have Broodstar—or something, I don’t know—in the form of Herald of Anguish. With Unlicensed Disintegration being heralded as one of the best cards in Standard, it’s no wonder that you have all four within your 75 here.

This deck is definitely playing some cards I never thought I would see breach Standard, and definitely not this quickly. Cards like Servo Schematic, Maverick Thopterist, and Cogworker’s Puzzleknot to name a few. I would also lump Bastion Inventor into that list.

Either way, to say I’m curious about how these Draft will commons fare would be an understatement.

I don’t care what the results say—this deck was fun to pilot. One of the main issues I had was definitely mana related, on multiple fronts at that. Unfortunately, double-color issues were pretty prominent. I sometimes had difficulty getting a second blue for Reverse Engineer or a second black for Herald of Anguish. This made me wonder if I wanted a couple more Prophetic Prisms, but every other artifact either costs 1 or gives you 2 artifacts to improvise with.

The only exception is Key to the City, which is actually an incredibly synergistic card in this deck. Not only can you tap it for improvise to trigger its card drawing ability, you can also attach a Tezzeret’s Touch and attack to trigger it. This can become something of an engine for the deck, but again, it’s hard to commit 2 mana per turn in a deck with only 23 lands.

As I learned with the last Grixis deck I piloted, Implement of Combustion is a great answer to the Saheeli combo and if you’re not playing against that, it taps for improvise mana, you can draw a card with it, or you can attach a Tezzeret’s Touch to it and draw a card when it dies.

Another problem I seemed to have was closing out games with the threats I had access to. Of course Tezzeret’s emblem was just as insane as I thought it would be, but ordinarily you’re trying to attack with a 4/4 hexproof or a 5/5 on the ground. Neither of these are that effective against the B/G decks that can get much larger. It makes me wonder if something like a pair of Metalwork Colossus could find a home in here, or Aethersphere Harvester in the main deck. You certainly have enough artifacts to reduce the cost and enough Servos to crew. Usually you don’t see the Demon coming down until turn 4 or 5.

Well, hopefully you enjoyed this deck, because I did. Even if we don’t win them all, I’d like to think that we can still have a good time and learn something. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you later.

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