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Five-Color Ramp & The Best Grixis Deck

Rivals of Ixalan is out in full force. A new set alongside new banned cards will shake up Standard a good bit. If nothing else, Temur energy rests and it is no longer the default best (energy) deck. Were the bannings enough? I honestly don’t think so, but I hope I’m very wrong. I wish they would’ve banned one more Red card, my choice would’ve been leave Ramunap Ruins and take Hazoret. I understand the bannings, you don’t want to ban anymore money cards and this way the people that have invested in Mono-Red still have a good deck to play. Today I’m going to give you the best Standard decks that I’ve had success with and a sweet Mastermind's Acquisition brew. If you want to go into a GP, PPTQ, or even FNM these are the Standard decks I highly recommend.

People are sleeping on two cards from Rivals of Ixalan. Dusk Legion Zealot and Rekindling Phoenix. I had both in the top ten cards for Rivals of Ixalan in my last article. Rekindling Phoenix is insane in Standard right now. It laughs at Ravenous Chupacabra, Glorybringer, and Fumigate. It can trade with a creature after you play it, then when you untap it comes back with haste ready to attack. You even can block Hazoret the Fervent until you draw another Phoenix or you’re ready to turn the corner. The card is phenomenal and it’s better than Chandra, Torch of Defiance in most midrange decks.

Dusk Legion Zealot is a very simple card, but it fills a great a role. It helps close the gap into the midgame. The life loss doesn’t matter against control decks and against aggressive decks you’ll gain more life from it when you block. If you get to trade the vampire visionary in for a Bomat Courier, Earthshaker Khenra, Fanatical Firebrand, or Veteran Motorist you’ll jump for glee. People aren’t playing this card yet, but they will be soon enough.


Dusk Legion Zealot
Before we dive into this deck, I must give credit where credit is due. This deck and technology wouldn’t be possible without great friends Joseph Herrera and Chirayu Patel. We all came together to try and make the best Grixis deck possible. Joseph proceeded to take the deck to multiple 5-0 finishes on Magic Online. The only think we are still not sure on is the mana base. It might be better running the full eight cycle lands but we haven’t gotten around to testing that. We’ve been hesitant to change it because it’s just been doing so well.

The deck is like other Grixis Energy decks but the cards that are different main deck, really change its dynamic. Dusk Legion Zealot is no Rogue Refiner but it does something similar in that it helps progress the game plan to where you want it to be. It’s great at chump blocking, trading with X/1 creatures, and it’s pretty good at triggering Revolt for Fatal Push. Dusk Legion Zealot is also a great target for The Scarab God later in the game.

We haven’t seen any Grixis decks playing Cut // Ribbons. Sorcery speed hurts it a lot, but four damage is relevant against things like Glorybringer. Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca dodges Magma Spray, Abrade, Harnessed Lightning, Sweltering Suns, and it can be hard to trigger Fatal Push for the Simic Merfolk lord but Cut gets him. Ribbons is also a decent finisher later in the game when you have a ton of mana laying around.

The last odd ball is Pia Nalaar. Pia is basically another Whirler Virtuoso but one that can make the smallest of Thopters take down dragons, Chandra, or just take out your opponent. We’ve really liked it and it might be right to go up to two Pia Nalaar.

I like all the numbers in the Sideboard except one card. That last two cards can be Vraska's Contempt, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Search for Azcanta, Moment of Craving, or Hour of Devastation. Regardless of whatever they are, they should be a high impact cards.

Thinking about how Grixis Energy uses minimal Blue mana I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be better and more consistent as a straight br deck. This is the list.


Azor's Gateway
A grindy br deck with tons of removal. So much removal that even your creatures are removal! The deck just tries to keep the battlefield clean while refilling its hand with Chandra, Arch of Orazca, Treasure Map, and to a lesser extent, Azor's Gateway. Sanctum of the Sun will kill the healthiest of opponents when you Aftermath a Ribbons, especially since you gain five life when Azor's Gateway transforms. The deck has a good amount of utility lands and you might find yourself having one too many colorless lands. If that happens, just remember you can turn Field of Ruin into a basic land if you need colored mana badly. Field of Ruin is important because you don’t want to get buried against Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin.

Approach, and Blue control decks in general, can be tough for this deck. They tend to cut most of their targeted removal out and just leave in the board wipes. This is where we can sideboard out a ton of removal and try to get under them with Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and hand disruption. Angrath is an effective way to keep attacking their hand while also dealing damage.

I like this deck a lot, especially since the meta seems to be very creature heavy right now and main deck Sweltering Suns. Having Rekindling Phoenix, Chandra, and Glorybringer double as removal and threats is what makes this midrange control deck good. ur Control could keep the battlefield clean, but it really struggled with ending the game. br has an easier time doing that.

The last deck I want to talk about a brew that I’ve been working on.


Hour of Promise
Beautiful, right? It’s still a work in progress but one I’ve really enjoyed playing. The deck is essentially a Bant control deck that is splashing Black and a touch of Red. Red being only to help cast Zacama, Primal Calamity. Gift of Paradise is a four off in this deck because it buys us time by gaining life, ramps us, and it gives us two mana of any color which allows us to cast any spell. The main win condition is Approach of the Second Sun but you can also just win with zombie tokens off Hour of Promise, Ipnu Rivulet, or Zacama.

The deck has inevitably in that if it gets enough time, it’s going to win. You don’t have many ways to transform Conqueror's Galleon. Your main way is through Hour of Promise. If you do have Conqueror's Galleon in hand or in play, when you Hour of Promise make sure to get Hashep Oasis so that you can still crew it if one of your zombie tokens dies. When you do get Conqueror's Foothold you are able to re-buy cards from your graveyard and this is essentially a soft lock against a lot of decks. If you have nine mana you can re-buy Haze of Pollen and cast it every turn, same is true for Negate. Every other turn Fumigate is good enough too. If you’re able to start re-buying Mastermind's Acquisition, the game is over.

Speaking of Mastermind's Acquisition. Mastermind's Acquisition gives you access to any card in your main deck or to a card in your Sideboard. What’s so great about this card is that you don’t have to reveal whatever you tutored for. You just put it into your hand, so your opponent is left not only guessing what you wished for but if that card was in your main deck or Sideboard. I tried to have cards in the Sideboard that you just need to get one time with Mastermind's Acquisition to really help you out in your matchup. Solemnity is great against bg Snake. Lost Legacy is a wonderful way to get rid of opponent’s Approach of the Second Sun Game 1 Gideon of the Trials is also an effective way to stop them from winning with Approach of the Second Sun. Fraying Sanity turns up the Ipnu Rivulet mill plan. River's Rebuke is game over against tokens. And Overwhelming Splendor is a safe way to stop creatures from recurring as well as stopping activated abilities, though it may be better as Sandwurm Convergence. Don’t forget with Mastermind's Acquisition you don’t need to put another Fumigate in your Sideboard to wish for since it can just get a card out of your deck.

This deck is very fun and again, I’m still working on it. It may end up that I just play Authority of the Consuls main deck depending on how the metagame shapes up. The Grixis deck is still the best deck right now and the br Control deck is also a good option. I couldn’t recommend this five-color deck for an event that’s not FNM right now until I get more reps in and I’m able to tune it more.

Well, that’s all I have for you today. I hope you’ve gotten something out of this article, be it a competitive deck for your next big event or a fun deck to mess around with. This weekend I’ll be going to Philly for the SCG Team Open. I’ll be playing Modern, most likely Jeskai or Lantern. If you’re there, make sure to say hello!

If you haven’t checked out Think Twice podcast, you should. Justin Parnell and I talk about Commander, competitive ends, pop culture, lore, and so much more. It’s a great podcast if you like podcasts.

As always, thank you for reading.

Much love,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi on Twitter

Think Twice MTG Podcast


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