My last article on ChannelFireball was about Grixis Energy in Standard, and just one week later I’m talking about Grixis once again, this time in a quite different format: Legacy.
Next month I’ll be playing at GP Birmingham, and Legacy will be the first of the two GPs at that event. To playtest, I dedicated my last week to that format and I know one thing is certain: I’ll be playing Baleful Strix.
I started off with Sultai Control, of which I tested various versions and brainstormed with Jeremy Dezani, who was going to play GP Seattle. I ended up dismissing Sultai Control, as I didn’t like the matchup versus 4C Leovold and because of how good Pyroblast was against it, especially when I don’t have the same 1-mana card to fight Snapcaster Mage and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
Jeremy proved me wrong as he went all the way to the finals of GP Seattle with the deck.
Jeremy Dezani, 2nd place at GP Seattle
In my own testing, I tried a Grixis Control deck a friend of mine used to play, and I kicked things off with a 5-0 in a Competitive Legacy League on MTGO.
I liked the deck. I played it a lot last week, and recorded my games and how I sideboarded during those games to create a spreadsheet.
Zen Takahashi is an Excel master, and I saw him taking notes while playtesting with his Modern Dredge deck during PT Rivals of Ixalan. Since I am exploring various decks, I figured that it would be helpful in my own testing. I really suggest you do the same—it will also help you sideboard correctly, since you will have more information about how you sideboarded in a past matchup and what you should do in the future.
Here is my final version of the deck, for now:
If you take a look at the spreadsheet, you’ll see that I’ve only played five Leagues and a Legacy Challenge with the deck, for a total of 31 matches.
This is a very small sample size, which doesn’t say much about the deck. You can still use the spreadsheet to see how I sideboard against the decks I faced during those events.
Liliana, the Last Hope was the MVP of the deck, and I’m happy to have so many copies in the main deck. It’s dead against certain archetypes, but it’s excellent in many situations.
Counterspell over Hymn to Tourach is another big difference. Both have their pros and cons. The first allows you to have a better mana base, it’s a better topdeck, and protects you from your opponent’s topdecks. The latter is a 2-for-1 in the early game, but it’s almost dead in the late game.
Finally, the reason to play Grixis Control over the other options is that you gain access to Blood Moon in the sideboard. Since you are playing two Islands and two Swamps, it is very easy to get out of a Blood Moon lock, and I love to board it in versus Lands, Eldrazi, and even 4C Leovold since they might not expect it, and you can snag an easy free win.
Grixis Delver is the most played deck. It’s not necessarily the best one, but you have to be ready for it. Baleful Strix is a house against those decks, but Grixis Delver can adapt post-sideboard, so expect to face Marsh Casualties and Liliana, the Last Hope even from the more aggressive decks.
Liliana, the Last Hope in particular is hard to deal with for this deck since you don’t have access to Abrupt Decay, and that’s the reason I tried Dreadbore and Liliana’s Defeat, but ultimately decided to rely on True-Name Nemesis and keep a couple of Force of Wills in even against the deck with Pyroblast.
Next week I might return to Sultai, or even something new, but the Legacy testing will continue and I’ll be using my spreadsheet. You should as well, as taking notes on your playtesting will make it worth more and be more helpful for you!