July 13, 2017

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Standard Deck Tech – Nicol Bolas Grixis Control – Part 1

Hello all, and welcome to another Standard Deck Tech as I delve into the world of Grixis Control.

I’ve always been a big fan of Grixis Control, but I haven’t been able to find a good build for it for a couple of years now. With the return of Nicol Bolas, Hour of Devastation has inspired me to look at Grixis Control once again. There are a lot of cards from the new set that I believe would fit well into a Grixis deck, and I'm very interested to see what will come out of this. There's one card from Hour of Devastation that inspired me more than Nicol Bolas, and that's Wildfire Eternal.


The thought of being able to get off some free spells with this card just got my deckbuilding juices flowing. I want to build a Grixis deck focused around this card.

To start off, what I like to do when making a deck is look at the groups of cards that I want to choose cards from. Today, I’ve decided to break it down into card types. Below is a list of cards that could potentially work in the deck, and after each section I’ll break down the pros and cons of some of the choices.









The three new exert spells from Hour of Devastation (Kefnet’s Last Word, Hazoret’s Undying Fury, Bontu’s Last Reckoning) all look very appealing thanks to the ability granted by Wildfire Eternal. Being able to cast these spells without having to tap any of your lands would be a huge bonus, since casting them would have no drawback. But since we want to be casting spells with Wildfire Eternal, it doesn’t make sense to have either Radiant Flames or Painful Truths in the deck.

Lost Legacy and Disposses could be used in the sideboard. Baral’s Expertise and Yahenni’s Expertise are more ways to get extra value out of a spell. Split cards like Cut // Ribbons and Never // Return appear to have more value in them than Incendiary Flow and Ruinous Path. Release the Gremlins and Collective Brutality seem that they could be potential Sideboard cards.

A card that intrigues me with its pure value is Dark Intimations. This could provide a big swing in the game, especially if you're able to cast it using Wildfire Eternal. Hour of Devastation could end up being the best sweeper in the format, as it will be able to take out any potential problem Planeswalkers on top of all the creatures on the battlefield.

Sorcery Phase 2

- Kefnet’s Last Word
- Hazoret’s Undying Fury
- Baral’s Expertise
- Hour of Devastation
- Dark Intimations
- Bontu’s Last Reckoning
- Cut // Ribbons
- Never // Return
- Yahenni’s Expertise

Sorcery Sideboard Potential

- Lost Legacy
- Disposses
- Collective Brutality
- Release the Gremlins






To start off, Glimmer of Genius and Harnessed Lightning seem like easy picks for the deck. Being able to cast a Glimmer of Genius off of Wildfire Eternal would be heaven. Since this deck will be focusing more on creatures and powerful spells, I don’t think there's a main deck space for counterspells, but Disallow and Negate could find their way into the sideboard.

Commit // Memory is a great spell to have in the deck, as it can deal with a lot of threats. Plus, drawing seven cards is always fun, especially if you have The Locust God in play. I think that Magma Spray is better suited for the sideboard, and I’d like to have some Abrade in the deck for early removal and to deal with artifact threats like Heart of Kiran and Torrential Gearhulk.

I think playing double black mana cost spells will be too hard in this deck, so that eliminates Murder and Grasp of Darkness. This makes Unlicensed Disintegration a better option, even if there won’t be many artifacts in the deck. Open Fire, Flame Lash, and Lightning Axe don’t seem like good fits for the deck, as we already have a lot of better removal. I think Hour of Glory will be a good sideboard card if lots of God creatures start seeing Standard play. Fatal Push is one that I’m debating on whether it will be better in the main deck or sideboard, but only time will tell.

Instant Phase 2

- Unlicensed Disintegration
- Commit // Memory
- Abrade
- Censor
- Fatal Push
- Glimmer of Genius
- Harnessed Lightning

Instant Sideboard

- Negate
- Magma Spray
- Hour of Glory
- Disallow





As decided when talking about Instant spells, it looks like it might be too difficult to cast spells with double black in the mana cost, so I would eliminate both Liliana, the Last Hope and Ob Nixilis Reignited. Since some of our spells will be acting as sweepers, I think Chandra, Flamecaller isn’t going to be a great fit for the deck. The other three Planeswalkers all seem like they could work well with what we are trying to accomplish though.

Planeswalkers Phase 2

- Chandra, Torch of Defiance
- Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
- Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh







Wildfire Eternal is obviously a great choice, seeing as we are building this deck around it. Of the three new God creatures, only The Locust God seems like it would fit well in the deck. The other two seem like you'd need to build around them more in order to be effective. Since we haven't chosen many Sorcery spells that are three mana or less, I think I’ll leave out Goblin Dark-Dwellers, but Torrential Gearhulk will do the trick.

When it comes to card advantage, I’m leaning towards the new creature, Champion of Wits instead of Sin Prodder, Kefnet the Mindful, or Jori En, Ruin Diver. It’s a great filter in the early game, and can trade with an opponent’s creature. It’s also great in the late game to get a larger creature out while gaining card advantage.

Thermo-Alchemist doesn’t seem like it would be a good fit for the deck. Dragonmaster Outcast could be a good sideboard card to take over late in the game. Baral, Chief of Compliance could be great in the early game to help you cast some of the more expensive spells. Combustible Gearhulk and Bedlam Reveler don’t look like they will make the cut.

Creature Phase 2

- Baral, Chief of Compliance
- Champion of Wits
- Wildfire Eternal
- Torrential Gearhulk
- The Locust God

Creature Sideboard

- Dragonmaster Outcast

Now that we have completed Phase 2 we see that we have 25 potential different cards to use in the main deck and nine different cards to use in the sideboard. This is probably a little too many, considering there are some cards that we want to be playing more than one of, and in some cases a full set of four.

Here's what the deck looks like after Phase 2.

Join me tomorrow as I continue fine tuning this deck towards the final product of a Nicol Bolas Grixis Control deck for Standard. Thanks again for reading and your continued support of these articles and this site.