The BR Dragons deck has a lot going for it.
It also has a lot of stuff that isn’t exactly going for it.
The Dragons themselves are great! A big, flying clock is exactly what you need to beat Rally the Ancestors and Eldrazi Green. They’re high-impact creatures that are capable of winning games all on their own. They also facilitate use of the excellent Draconic Roar, Foul-Tongue Invocation, and Haven of the Spirit Dragon.
The rest of the BR Dragons deck, other than the Dragons? Well…
I spent a few days on BR Dragons and found that I was winning most games where I could actually stick and connect with a Dragon, and I was losing most games where I could not. It was very rare that I could actually cobble together 20 damage using Flamewake Phoenixes and Thopter tokens. If I ever got behind against an Anafenza or a Siege Rhino, my cards felt pathetic and incapable of either defending me or racing any kind of respectable offense on the other side of the table.
So I got to thinking, why not keep what I liked—the Dragons—and scrap what I didn’t—the unexciting aggro shell. Adding a color would give me a new 2-drop, excellent sideboard options, and it would correct some of the major weaknesses of the deck.
Grixis Dragons isn’t exactly a control deck. But the cheap cards are chosen with the goal of playing defense, answering problems, and smoothing out draws. In other words, the deck serves the Dragon game plan instead of forcing you to engage in a damage race that you can’t always win.
Here’s what the addition of blue gives you:
- A creatureland in Wandering Fumarole.
- Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy—the best 2-drop (maybe even the best card?) in Standard.
- Painful Truths. Many games are won or lost based on this deck’s ability to hit its fourth land on time. A powerful card-draw spell is the perfect way to spend turn 3, and also plays into the “kill everything” spot removal plan.
- Permission spells out of the sideboard to beat Rally the Ancestors, Eldrazi Green, and control decks.
Grixis Dragons hits a sweet spot in Standard. With card draw, removal, and life gain in the form of Kalitas, Traitor to Ghet and Foul-Tongue Invocation, it can take a controlling role against fast decks and grind people out in the late game. With Thunderbreak Regent and Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury, it can put a fast clock on combo and control decks, which, backed up with some well-placed disruption, is the absolute best thing you can do.
A weakness shows itself against opposing midrange decks, since cards like Goblin Dark-Dwellers are better than the Dragons in grindy attrition battles. However, Grixis Dragons is a perfect candidate for Outpost Siege, which is one of the most under-appreciated cards in Standard right now. Few players play dedicated enchantment removal spells, and anyone hoping to play a long game against you is simply dead in the water against an Outpost Siege.
Try out Grixis Dragons for yourself, or see if you can take a lesson from what it does, and adapt it for whichever deck you’re playing in Standard.