Saw - I want to play a game (Grixis Control)

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Before I start this thread, I would like to give a shoutout to HonorBasquiat and how he posts his decks.  His posts are fun to read and very well presented.  I will now attempt to shamelessly copy his format while presenting my deck.


Deck Design


Since I started playing magic again, I was enamored by Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker.  I know he isn't the best planeswalker out there, but as far as I can tell, he is one of the meanest and nastiest to play against.  So I have been toying with the notion of a deck that tortures and dismantles it opponents deck before finally, and graciously killing them.  With that it mind, the deck would not play fast and would need lots of ways to mitigate opponents onslaughts.  There is card synergy here, but no incredible combos that win games.   All in all, this type of play fits well with the nature of Grixis and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker.  This deck is designed for modern.  I am not a big tournament player, but someday I might field this.  I don't expect to win any great prizes, but hopefully it is not a pushover.


Tools of Torture

      

These cards are the primary inspiration for this deck.  Slaughter Games (and much like its cousins Memoricide and [c]
Cranial Extraction[/c]) is a very cruel card that removes the key measures of decks and dismembers combos.  The reason I chose it is because of the fact that it can't be countered.  So when I play it, I know my opponents will be hurting. Boomerang is the second tool.  There are other bounce cards, but not of them move at instant speed and can target any permanent.  Match this with Isochron Scepter and you have a classic pair that breeds pain and annoyance with land bouncing, removal of planeswalkers or anything else that might harm me turn after turn, and then gives me the chance to strip it from the game with Slaughter Games.

 However, Slaughter Games is great against playsets and cards that cause decks to function.  And relying on Isochron Scepter to pair with Boomerang every time is not likely. So to I choose several other cards to mix into the deck that draw on the utility of Isochron Scepter to further make this deck a pain to play against.

      

These are a somewhat odd collection of cards to put together.  In no way do they win the game, and this is something I considered, but they each have their purpose, are cheap and can become infinite in this deck with Isochron Scepter.  Duress is a way for me to get research about what a player's deck is like and basically a spot check for Slaughter Games when I want to remove singletons.  Thought Scour is another interesting choice which at first I thought was very out of place with this deck.  I am not playing a mill deck, but removing several cards from a players deck, while getting a free draw for 1 mana is solid. This gives me more insight into what I am playing and again, helps me pick targets for Slaughter Games.  The last two cards are about control.  Spell Pierce is an amazing early counter and with isochron scepter can become a consistent pain.  Reverberate is an underrated card I think.  If you drop it once, your opponent now must consider if you have another one, and what will any instant or sorcery do to them.  In addition it can work as a wonderful counter-counter.  Again, pair this with Isochron Scepter and opponents will squirm.  Spell Pierce and Reverberate make it uncomfortable for your opponent to play non-permanents, while Boomerang makes it hard to play permanents.  Combine this with deck removal and the torture and pain begins.



Ending the Pain

So I have outlined how to make opponents squirm.  But eventually I will need to end the game.  For this I mainly use these two cards:

   


Both are beasty cards in their own right.  The Deathrite Shaman is used to pick apart opponents with the large number of instants and sorceries this deck uses, but synergizes with Thought Scour to help ramp by utilizing any discarded land cards and give more instants and sorceries to target.  Demigod of Revenge is just a monsterous beater card that comes back time and time again. With Boomerang removing creatures, he should be able to get through and cause damange and help close off games.  If he gets removed, he will come back in force when the next Demigod of Revenge gets played.  But sometimes games do linger on, so I have included 4 finishers/bombs.

      

These guys need no introduction.  Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker fits perfectly in the deck and ends games by himself.  Also, he is one of my favorite cards.  Sorin Markov is probably my softest choice.  Like Bolas, I think he is cool, but his first and second ability are killer.  His ultimate is a bit odd, but it is not the main reason I am playing him.  Sorin Markov pairs very well with Sorin's Vengeance to just flat end a game, but Sorin's Vengeance pairs nicely with Reverberate also to end games.  [C]Cruel Ultimatum[/c] is just well, devastating if you can play it.


Other Cards

    

Coalition Relic is one of my favorite utility cards and I rarely make a deck without it.  The extra mana is great, but it can also ramp and put out 2 mana a turn to help your force out big hitters a turn or two early.  I was stuck between Cyclonic Rift and Into the roil.  I wanted more bounce cards than just Boomerang but decided to go with Cyclonic Rift because of the overload.  If you are in a longer game, the overload is devestating and I already had card advantage with Thought Scour, hopefully on a Isochron Scepter.


These are some cards I toyed with, but didn't make my list, but that will likely change as I constantly toy with my decks.  Notably Painful Quandry was one of the original cards that got me thinking about this deck.  However, in the play testing I did, I never chose to play it.  Maybe if it was just a bit cheaper to play or if I had better ramp.  It also synergized well with Sorin Markov's ultimate.  Perhaps I will switch those two around.

       
      


Continued below:
Personally, I'd go 4x Augur of Bolas and why bounce creatures when you can just blow them up? You should be able to counter all of the other important stuff and control the board till turn 8. I like playing Liliana Vess in this deck too. Helps you find that finisher (Bolas, Demigod, my personal favorite or whatever). I would also try to find room for another set of counters instead of bounce. Syncopate, Dissipate, etc.

EDH decks I play:

 

Prossh: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4101381

 

Derevi: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4115936

 

Kaalia (the beats)

 

Zur (disgusting combo)

 

Damia (Bug Elf deck)

 

Numot (Stax)

 

Griselbrand (French)

 

Ghave (Uber combo)

 

Muzzio (Oops, Blightsteel)

This is pretty neat, I like the primer layout a lot. First and formost you don't have enough lands, running 22 lands in a tri color deck with more than a dozen cards that cost 3 or more to cast won't work. I would run at least 24, especially if you are going to play lands that enter the battlefield tapped. I understand you have Coalition Relic, but I'm not really feeling it and Chromatic Lantern would give you a more consistent mana base.

I like Deathrite Shaman here, I think he synergizes well, and I actually do like mainboard Thought Scour, especially with Slaughter Games. I also really like Demigod of Revenge here.

You are running no creature removal, which is very very odd for a Grixis Control deck, you can't just bounce everything ,especially without the Isochron Scepter. I would look into running something like Terminate, Go For The Throat or Lightning Bolt. Mizzium Mortars also could be good. Also, because you run few creatures, a major board wipe like Infest, Damnation, or Barter in Blood seem like a must run. Another option is Black Sun's Zenith. Personally, I would cut the scepter.

I don't like Reverberate here, paying 2 red to copy something isn't going to be easy to do always. I would run Countersquall over Spell Pierce, this deck will have a late game, and Spell Pierce will be a dead draw later. If you want to run Duress I would up the count to 4 (maybe 3), other wise it probably should be cut.

Creeping Tar Pit is another alternate win condition that helps mana fix. I think this is the type of deck that might want to run Phyrexian Arena, I don't think Thought Scour alone is going to do it for card draw. You might want some type of lifegain to offset life loss over the course of the game. Consuming Vapors actually could fit very well. You also could run another Sorin Markov If Slaughter Games is the corner stone of the deck, keep it, but honestly, it costs 4 to play, you could play Surgical Extraction instead and do almost the same thing.

 Hopes this helps!
I don't bite, don't hesitate to message me if you have any questions or thoughts about deck ideas I post or anything Magic the Gathering related. My Causal Modern Decks Swag Flu (Mono Black Infect) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29788619/Swag_Flu_(Mono_Black_Infect) American Super Friends (White/Blue/Red Planeswalker Control) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29772319/American_Super_Friends_(Budget_WhiteBlueRed_Planeswalker_Control) Hong Kong (White/Red Norin Tokens)http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29636557/Hong_Kong_(WhiteRed_Norin_Tokens)
Thanks for the advice.  I think I will switch out Duress for Gitaxian Probe.  Same basic idea, but I think I will benefit more from draw.

After posting the deck I was thinking about creature removal, and I feel like I do need more of it.  I have 4x Terminate and 4x Dreadbore so those are easy to rotate in, and are again nasty on a scepter. I feel like the scepters fuel a lot of the potential nastiness of the deck.  In a few play tests on cockatrice with other decks, the Isochron Scepter with just a Dreadbore or Pyroclasm has caused people forfeit/rage quit.  So I think I will attempt to keep them around for now.  I also like Consuming vapor.  That fits nicely with the bouces I have as it would allow me to target specific creatures better.

I do think Countersquall makes for a better fit than Spell Pierce and it is a hard counter too.   

I actually have 4x Chromatic Lantern as well.  I tent to collect high utility cards like that as they are so useful in all sorts of decks, like a all colorless land deck I am toying with as well (Urza's lands anyone?).  I debate between Chromatic Lantern and Coalition Relic a lot.  However, considering the amount of dual lands I plan to play, the extra speed that I get out of Coalition Relic may prove more beneficial.  However, I Chromatic Lantern synergizes better with Deathrite Shaman.

Perhaps if I make this deck a bit "milly" Surgical Extraction would be very nice.  Again, would go well on a scepter.  Makes me also consider Consuming Aberration as an alternative if I want to make this deck a bit more blue/black.

And I just picked up a NM Thraximundar off of ebay for $5.  He will be a nice addition to my Grixis collection.

I will toy with the deck a bit and put up an updated list.

 
The Scepter is cool, I just wouldn't totally rely on it, it often will get blown up. 

I would consider keeping Duress, it works really well with Surgical Extraction because you can play both of them on turn one and totally shut down combo decks. Gitaxian Probe is cool though.

I don't like Thraximundar, generally if a creature costs more than 5 to cast and it doesn't give me anything when it enters of leaves play, it probably isn't that good, unless it has some type of evasion (Hexproof, protection, etc). I also don't like Consuming Aberration (in this deck). I would really consider running another Sorin Markov, I think he's really underrated. If you think you can get to late game a lot, running another Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker could be good.

As far as the land base goes, I'd consider running one or two Academy Ruins or Buried Ruin to get back Isochron Scepter when it dies. By the way, Painful Quandary is an underrated card, but you need to be able to play it on turn 5, so you would need more lands.

By the way, I meant to say I'm glad you like how I post my decks, I really try to make it presentable and I sort of put a lot of time into them. Looking forward to seeing the second take. 
I don't bite, don't hesitate to message me if you have any questions or thoughts about deck ideas I post or anything Magic the Gathering related. My Causal Modern Decks Swag Flu (Mono Black Infect) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29788619/Swag_Flu_(Mono_Black_Infect) American Super Friends (White/Blue/Red Planeswalker Control) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29772319/American_Super_Friends_(Budget_WhiteBlueRed_Planeswalker_Control) Hong Kong (White/Red Norin Tokens)http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29636557/Hong_Kong_(WhiteRed_Norin_Tokens)
1 duress should not shut down a combo deck
NO WAR

 

Sivitri Scarzam rose to challenge the Craw Wurm but was slain by Durkwood Boars.

Liliana emergent

1 duress should not shut down a combo deck

If you grab Goblin Charbelcher from a deck and then Surgical Extraction, it becomes much harder for that deck to win.

Same goes for grabbing Unburial Rites from human reanimator, doesn't literally shut it down, but makes it very difficult for them. 
I don't bite, don't hesitate to message me if you have any questions or thoughts about deck ideas I post or anything Magic the Gathering related. My Causal Modern Decks Swag Flu (Mono Black Infect) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29788619/Swag_Flu_(Mono_Black_Infect) American Super Friends (White/Blue/Red Planeswalker Control) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29772319/American_Super_Friends_(Budget_WhiteBlueRed_Planeswalker_Control) Hong Kong (White/Red Norin Tokens)http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29636557/Hong_Kong_(WhiteRed_Norin_Tokens)
If you're not putting Silence on Isochron, you're doing it wrong.

EDH decks I play:

 

Prossh: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4101381

 

Derevi: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4115936

 

Kaalia (the beats)

 

Zur (disgusting combo)

 

Damia (Bug Elf deck)

 

Numot (Stax)

 

Griselbrand (French)

 

Ghave (Uber combo)

 

Muzzio (Oops, Blightsteel)

If you're not putting Silence on Isochron, you're doing it wrong.

Except Silence isn't a Grixis colored spell...

Complexpants, if you have the money, this deck probably wants to run Remand 
I don't bite, don't hesitate to message me if you have any questions or thoughts about deck ideas I post or anything Magic the Gathering related. My Causal Modern Decks Swag Flu (Mono Black Infect) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29788619/Swag_Flu_(Mono_Black_Infect) American Super Friends (White/Blue/Red Planeswalker Control) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29772319/American_Super_Friends_(Budget_WhiteBlueRed_Planeswalker_Control) Hong Kong (White/Red Norin Tokens)http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29636557/Hong_Kong_(WhiteRed_Norin_Tokens)
Complexpants, if you have the money, this deck probably wants to run Remand 


Is Remand really that expensive now?  Man, I gotta search through my blue boxes of commons and uncommons and find them... I think I have a few floating around...

Aside from that, I really love Fire // Ice for control.  It can keep something tapped down during your opponent's upkeep which is a similar idea to bouncing the permanent or spell, while also drawing cards.  And eventually, if you have it on a stick, it's a decent burn.

~SE++ 

http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/index.php

Complexpants, if you have the money, this deck probably wants to run Remand 


Is Remand really that expensive now?  Man, I gotta search through my blue boxes of commons and uncommons and find them... I think I have a few floating around...

Aside from that, I really love Fire // Ice for control.  It can keep something tapped down during your opponent's upkeep which is a similar idea to bouncing the permanent or spell, while also drawing cards.  And eventually, if you have it on a stick, it's a decent burn.

~SE++ 

Remand is a 10 dollar card now.

Fire // Ice is cute, but I would rather run Izzet Charm
I don't bite, don't hesitate to message me if you have any questions or thoughts about deck ideas I post or anything Magic the Gathering related. My Causal Modern Decks Swag Flu (Mono Black Infect) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29788619/Swag_Flu_(Mono_Black_Infect) American Super Friends (White/Blue/Red Planeswalker Control) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29772319/American_Super_Friends_(Budget_WhiteBlueRed_Planeswalker_Control) Hong Kong (White/Red Norin Tokens)http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29636557/Hong_Kong_(WhiteRed_Norin_Tokens)
While I only skimmed most posts, it seemed like OP was suggesting they included Duress for Isochron Scepter, when it's not an instant.

I personally prefer Into the Roil over Boomerang. Sure, Boomerang can hit lands, but ItR can cantrip which is always handy.

Slaughter Games is mostly a sideboard card. It's often going to be dead in game 1 unless you know what your opponent is playing (which I suppose is normal if you're playing with your typical playgroup), but if you come up against a new deck you'll often whiff with it, or not hit a card worthy of it. It's certainly not necessary to remove, but I wouldn't run it in the main myself.

While Thought Scour being an instant is nice for the Scepter, you must be able to find a better option. If nothing else, Brainstorm.

I'd probably go another Cruel Ultimatum over Sorin's Vengeance. If your mana base is worthy enough for the deck, the card advantage grossly outweights the extra 10 points of life swing.

Deathrite Shaman is pretty much just life loss with a requirement in this deck, given you aren't running green or fetches. Spikeshot Elder might be better - can pump more mana into it, and can hit creatures.

As for stuff you're missing, if you're running Isochron Scepter anyway, you should really go all in with it. So a hit-anything counter would be the order of the day - something like Counterspell or Remand is usually a good choice. Some more card draw would also be quite useful. Impulse is a good choice under the scepter, Fire // Ice gives you options, and Mind Spring/Blue Sun's Zenith can give you significant card advantage if you're constantly hitting lands.
I'm all about super-control in MTG. If you're able to stop my shenanigans, then there aren't enough shenanigans. Lv 1 Judge Current Decklists Sweeping Beauty (Casual) A Vision of Clones (Casual) Coming soon... more decks! :-O
so is this just Grixis control, or do you really want to make a Saw themed deck?  Because there are plenty of cards that would follow the "let's play a game" theme:  Choice of Damnations, Gifts Ungiven, any card like Fact or Fiction that offers a choice (that's always a win/win for you), etc.
I like those suggestions, very mean indeed. Unfortunately I don't have many of those, but I think I should get a hold of some of them.
so is this just Grixis control, or do you really want to make a Saw themed deck?  Because there are plenty of cards that would follow the "let's play a game" theme:  Choice of Damnations, Gifts Ungiven, any card like Fact or Fiction that offers a choice (that's always a win/win for you), etc.



Browbeat?

EDH decks I play:

 

Prossh: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4101381

 

Derevi: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4115936

 

Kaalia (the beats)

 

Zur (disgusting combo)

 

Damia (Bug Elf deck)

 

Numot (Stax)

 

Griselbrand (French)

 

Ghave (Uber combo)

 

Muzzio (Oops, Blightsteel)

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, I have revamped my deck a bit, and I definitely think it fits the whole saw them a bit better.  As some of you have pointed out, my Isochron Scepters feel a bit lacking, but they are so nice when they grab a Countersquall or Into the Roil.

Here is my updated list.  I am still toying with it, let me know what you think.  You can also solitare the deck here: tappedout.net/mtg-decks/saw-i-want-to-pl...

 
4x Isochron Scepter
4x Chromatic Lantern

4x Into the Roil
1x Cyclonic Rift
1x Slaughter Games

4x Thought Scour
4x Countersquall
2x Cruel Ultimatum
1x Choice of Damnations
2x Consuming Vapors
2x Browbeat

1x Sorin Markov
1x Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

3x Deathrite Shaman
4x Demigod of Revenge

2x Blood Crypt
2x Island
2x Dragonskull Summit
3x Drowned Catacomb
2x Sulfur Falls
2x Steam Vents
2x Watery Grave
2x Mountain
5x Swamp 


If I had the good fetches I would use them.  Other cards I am thinking about are Sadistic Sacrament, besides being mean it works well with Slaughter Games.  I also would work in Remand or Gifts Ungiven but they are a bit pricey.  But I do like collecting, so I might get some at a later date.

 
I'm so glad I got a playset of Remand when Rav was in standard.  They are incredibly annoying when placed on a scepter, though xD

have you considered any of the edict cards?  Cruel Edict and such?  Actually there's that new one...*searches Gatherer* ...Devour Flesh!  It's an instant so it'll work on a scepter, but the lifegain seems like it might suck for you a bit.  I guess you could just use Diabolic Edict if you want, but I feel like that's generaly frowned upon haha

I just figured edicts would fit with the Saw theme pretty well is all.

ooh!  Smallpox might be fun too (maybe not since it hits you too)
Cruel Edict is nice and could help out a lot against a deck with tons of creatures.  However, if I can bounce for long enough to drop a Consuming Vapors I think the effect will be much better, but it is a 2v4 drop.

I am trying to keep this deck modern legal, so Diabolic Edict and a few of the other nice cards mentioned above are out.

Looking at the deck again, Sorin looks a little more out of place, maybe Painful Quandary just to spice things up, as it does go along with making tough choices.
Browbeat is horrible.  You need something more consistent, like Phyrexian Arena to hit those land drops.
Consider lots of swamps and Tainted Lands to get you rother mana, together with the alara 3-colour lands.


Also, you're gonna get DESTROYED by hexproof beats.  I'd want to reduce the amount of targetted removal, and play some cards like Innocent Blood, Barter in Blood etc.  Much more resilient, especially since you're not running much in the way of creatures anyway.   
   
In my solitaire tests, getting land hasn't been a problem, especially with the Chromatic Lantern. I like Consuming Vapor more than Barter in Blood

Innocent Blood is a great card, but not modern legal.  But I would like to get some for a casual play though.
Devour Flesh is from Gatecrash.  It's legal in Standard, so it's definitely Modern legal haha

as I said it's an instant so it'll go on your scepter, and if you wanted you could use something like False Cure to reverse its drawback.  Though I feel like that's too much of a commitment for a single card.

I think your deck could probably work around the Swords to Plowshares effect of Devour Flesh though, considering the damage you can put out the later that game goes.
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