A new Standard is upon us and along with a new set, Rivals of Ixalan, four more Standard cards are banned.
Nathan Fountain, 14th place at an SCG Open, 1/20/2018
The deck Nathan brought to the table is essentially a U/B deck splashing red for Virtuoso and Harnessed Lightning. These are both incredibly powerful cards that make your matchup against aggressive decks much better than a regular U/B deck would have.
Double-blue might be more problematic, and I’m not sure how much I like Disallow here. Granted, there’s a split with Supreme Will, so it makes sense that in your early game you have access to Supreme Will, and later in the game, you’ll have double-blue for Disallow and Torrential Gearhulk.
There are two cards from Rivals of Ixalan I can see fitting into this strategy:
This deck isn’t a traditional U/B Control deck. It tends to tap out a lot, and I can see playing 2 copies of Chupacabra as a good 2-for-1 and a crazy good target for The Scarab God.
You could trim a removal spell and a counter for it, or trim 1 Search for Azcanta, as the Chupacabra should be in the deck to control the board and produce card advantage. I saw some lists of Grixis Midrange playing Gonti, Lord of Luxury, which I think is the closest analog.
While Gonti can be a better main-deck card in a pinch—against Approach or Tokens the Chupcabra is awful while Gonti is good—the Chupacabra can help you get out of some bad situations against aggressive decks such as Mono-Red or Mardu Vehicles where you can’t afford to play a 4-mana 2/3 deathtouch on turn 4. You need to be proactive there, and playing a 2/2 that destroys a creature and blocks another is much better.
So it’ll all depend on how the metagame shapes up. If it’s more aggressive, I think the Chupacabra deserves a 2-of in this kind of deck.
Tetzimoc, Primal Death
This is another bomb card in Limited that isn’t popular in Standard yet.
Tetzimoc will perform best in long and grindy games where you’ll manage the board slowly, chump-blocking here and there with a Thopter, and then suddenly wrathing your whole opponent’s team with a 6/6 deathtouch.
I can see playing Tetzimoc in the sideboard for now, and boarding it in against the midrange decks like Temur or B/G-based decks.
Tomas Morales, 14th place at an SCG Classic, 1/21/2018
Thomas’ take on Grixis Energy is much different. This isn’t a U/B Control deck that splashes for removal and Whirler Virtuoso—this is an R/B midrange deck that splashes for The Scarab God, Glimmer of Genius, and some powerful sideboard options.
With this version, you’re going to cut down on the control elements like Torrential Gearhulk, Search for Azcanta, and Supreme Will to have access to the combo of Chandra, Torch of Defiance plus Glorybringer.
This list is good if you want to be more proactive in a metagame with lots of aggressive decks, or Mardu Vehicles. That might make it hard to play countermagic, whereas if the metagame gets more midrange, then Torrential Gearhulk and friends can come back stronger than ever.
Asmodean1990, 2nd place at a Standard PTQ, 01/20/2018
In case you want everything, here it is! A combination of the two prior archetypes, where you can play the Chandra plus Glorybinger combo, as well as Torrential Gearhulk and some countermagic.
Can this work, or is it just a mix of two different decks?
As you can see from the results, it can definitely work, since Asmodean1990 came in 2nd at the MagicOnline PTQ this past Saturday, only losing to Mardu Vehicle in the finals.
A new Standard is shaping up, and Grixis Midrange could definitely be its newest boogeyman!