Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Making Magic in the Arena - Grixis Discard

Once more, we find ourselves venturing into Magic: Arena, this time with a deck I've fallen in love with for Theros standard. People who know me know that one of my favorite color combinations in Grixis, and we have a concoction that best shows off what it can do: Grixis Discard.

I can't claim credit for the deck though. The idea came from Dev from Strictly Better MTG, whose deck tech you can check out here.

My formula for this list is only slightly different from his, but it's still mostly the same deck. You can find my list here.

(I was today years old when I realized Dream Trawler has to tap to give itself hexproof.)

Our primary strategy is to take advantage of a synergy between Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger and Lazav, the Multifarious. Kroxa is a 2 mana 6/6 than forces our opponent to discard a card from their on either attack or ETB. However, if we cast him for his normal cost instead of his Escape cost, we must sacrifice him after he enters, dumping him into the graveyard to be escaped later....

...Or, once he's there, we can play Lazav and use an additional 2 mana to turn him into a copy of Kroxa, which dodges the ETB trigger entirely, allowing us to swing in without having to escape our titan. And to further work with the shapeshifter, Thief of Sanity is another attack that, grants us additional card advantage in the form of our opponent's cards if we connect with him, along with another transformation target if one of them every hits the graveyard (and they will).

Beyond that, we're basically a control deck, with the aim to wear down our opponent's resources, accumulate our own, and finish them off once they're exhausted. And to that end, the deck packs a ton of removal to take care of threats as they appear, and most of it consists of cards we're already familiar with from both Ravnica and Eldraine standards.

Thought Erasure is one of the cards we hope we draw into early, because we can use it to surgically extract important threats in our opponent's hand. In addition, being able to look at their hand gives us valuable information on how we might be able to best play against them. And our spot removal consists of Angrath's Rampage, Murderous Rider, and Bedevil. Tyrant's Scorn exists not just as a removal piece, but also to potentially bounce one of our creatures if our opponent attempts to kill them with their own removal.

Disinformation Campaign allows us to take advantage of the Surveil abilities from both Thought Erasure and Lazav (which can additionally fuel a Kroxa escape attempt), and provide us additional card draw while further squeezing our opponent. And if our opponent wastes removal on it, all the better. Dev puts Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths in this slot, but I like the synergies with Disinformation Campaign a bit more. In addition, we run Ritual of Soot to act as board clears when going up against aggressive decks.

As for how we clear up, our big win cons once we've established control are Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God and Ashiok, Nightmare Muse. Both planeswalkers are extremely powerful, and by the time they touch down our foe should be running critically low of options. If Kroxa/Lazav swings don't turn the tide, those two certainly will. Part of what attracted me to this deck was being able to play Nicol Bolas again. He's a terrible villain, but his cards are usually really cool.

Thanks to Dev once more for building this incredible cool shell. It's been my go-to deck in Arena for a while, and odds are I'll still be jamming games with it until the next set.

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