Grixis colors are arguably the best in Legacy. That’s where you’ll find the cheapest and best disruption and threats.
Grixis Delver is probably the best deck around, but lately some control versions are taking over, and today I’ll explore one of them.
Playing without Deathrite Shaman isn’t something fair decks are used to—it’s most likely the best card in Legacy, and leads to some busted starts if unanswered. But, playing Deathrite Shaman requires Tropical Island, it also makes your Young Pyromancer and Gurmag Angler slightly worse.
The original version of this deck was played by Pierre Dagen to an X-2 finish at Grand Prix Vegas. I toyed with the deck for awhile and landed on this version.
Snapcaster Mage is probably one of the best creatures in Legacy, but it isn’t at its best here because you’re always short on mana and you don’t have great spells to flash back. The original list played 0 copies, and instead included Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, which underperformed. So, I decided to try Snapcaster instead, and they performed well—but you could just as easily replace them with Baleful Strix or more impactful cards like Kolaghan’s Command and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
Many people dismiss this list because of the 4 Preordain, a cantrip that sees play only in combo decks. But playing 16 cantrips is wonderful. It makes your Gurmag Angler come into play as quickly as possible and helps you find your combo faster (Gitaxian Probe + Cabal Therapy + Young Pyromancer). You also aren’t playing Delver of Secrets or Deathrite Shaman, so you really need 1-drops to sculpt your game plan.
Sequencing cantrips is important with this deck. If I have both Ponder and Preordain, and multiple fetchlands, I prefer to play Ponder first, as I will be able to shuffle away the third card. If I don’t have any fetchlands then I will play Preordain. Brainstorm is better later in the game, but those who play Legacy know that already.
Cabal Therapy is the most unfair card in the deck, and it’s how you win most of your games. If you have only one without Gitaxian Probe or a discard card, don’t fire it until you cantrip into one of them (or you know they have a certain card in hand). Playing Cabal Therapy blind is usually a very poor play with this deck.
The same thing goes for Gitaxian Probe. If you don’t have Cabal Therapy and you have Young Pyromancer, don’t fire it off on turn 1 (unless you’re up against combo) as you’ll get a free Elemental on turn 2.
The sideboard is pretty straightforward and self-explanatory.
Blood Moon is the only card that might be confusing, as this deck only plays 3 basic lands and requires multiple blue mana to operate.
This is why you sideboard Blood Moon very rarely, and you should never hesitate to board it out once your opponent acknowledges that you have it in your deck and start fetching for basics.
If you can drag the game out and stop their early aggression and land destruction, you’re the favorite. Fetch for basics if you can (if you don’t have to Bolt their creature) and that will get you to the late game. True-Name Nemesis is very hard to deal with, so be ready with your sideboard. Kolaghan’s Command might not be the best sideboard card against them, but it creates card advantage and it’s good in the late game. I wouldn’t get fancy with sideboarding Blood Moon in like Miracles would—remember who you are.
Sneak and Show
This matchup is good. You have plenty of disruption, some countermagic, and a relatively fast clock, though slower than Delver decks. On the other hand, you have a truckload of cantrips to help you find the pieces you need.
Czech Pile (4-Color Leovold)
This matchup is a grind fest and very close. Kolaghan’s Command isn’t exceptional, but it’s better than Force of Will. That’s why I like it in the sideboard. Leovold, Emissary of Trest, Snapcaster Mage, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor are their key cards. Value your discard spells and Pyroblasts very highly.
Death & Taxes
Again FoW comes out—they just don’t perform well in fair matchups (here, mainly because of Aether Vial). Baleful Strix isn’t exciting, but you don’t really have much to bring in. Discard spells are powerful against Stoneforge Mystic, and Kolaghan’s Command is amazing against artifacts.
The only problem might be getting your mana base established, so draw as many lands as you can with your cantrips as your late game will outclass theirs. You just have to get there with enough lands to cast your spells.
This deck is a blast to play and also very good—that’s why it’s my favorite deck for now and I hope you get to enjoy it as much as I do!