So historic is hard, very hard at current unless you’re playing one of the top decks of the moment:
- Uro – anything with Uro and Nissa because it is just busted and Wizards are blind
- Rakdos grave sac shenanigans with Kroxa, lurrus, controling your stuff and then drawing a ton of cards
- Goblins – insane card advantage and they can kill you in a turn
To give you an idea – virtually all the decks are the top two currently in pro play as released by Wizards here. Uro is like 50% of those decks.
As a fan of Nicol Bolas, we wanted to find a deck to play that could gain some ranks. The problem with Grixis is it is a fair deck, trying to play fair games in an unfair world. Even against other decks like elves, blue white teferi control, or colourless ramp – they can all do insane things and make life miserable.
Even though there have been Nicol Bolas grixis decklists that have made the top decklists, I’ve found they really struffle in bo1 once you get past gold and really need the sideboard to tailor some matchups (graveyard hate!!!).
However, we thought we’d share this decklist which is ranking us up in platinum currently. It’s for best of 1 and uses the lands/cards we have, so could be more optimised, we’ve beaten elves, rakdos sac, blue white control, mono blue flyers in the last few games.
The idea of the deck is simple and is based on hand disruption followed by more disruption as that is what Nicol is good at:
- Thoughtseize and thought erasure to interrupt opponent hand (AND FUEL drown in the loch which is key)
- Disruption allows turn 3 thief of sanity – stripping removal with thoughtseize and erasure usually allow this to drop safely and thief is brutal at gaining card advantage and answers
- More disruption with turn 4 bolas, 5 bolas
- Torrential gearhulk is one of my favourite cards and whilst pricey at 6 mana – is just amazing and flashing in a drown in the lock or graveyard exile.
A few tips:
- Shocking in for thoughtseize turn 1 is usually worth it especially if you have a turn 2 play – getting a card in their graveyard allows you to drown in the loch any 1 mana spell turn 2.
- If you have a turn 3 thief – try to protect it with your disruption spells – being able to strip playable cards from the opponent provides huge midrange fuel.
- Really plan your land drops given the few tap lands – we went down to 1 life against mono red by shocking in everything but was crucial to stay on tempo. If you get time to plan a tap drop to allow a turn 4/5 play it is key.
BUDGET ALTERNATIVES / & FLEXIBLE SLOTS
- Cling to dust vs Grafdiggers (graf is better vs goblins and rakdos) but cling to dust is good for flexibility and budget.
- Lands – a lot of shocklands and historic rares, if you want to play with more standard rares, drop in the pathways and up the fabled passages to 4, pulling in more basics. However, this will slow the deck down and you probably want to swap out cry of the carnarium (double black) for something easier.
- Nicol Bolas – playing him because it’s fun, can’t swap
- Torrential Gearhulk – flexible slot: you could change it for shark typhoon (standard rare) or anything you prefer.
- Cry of the carnarium – flexible slot: we need some aoe removal. There are other options but we’re trying this out. Double red gives options at 3 and 4 mana but makes the land drops a bit more troublesome.
- Fatal push/Abrade – flexible slot: the key here is having cheap removal. Both of these are uncommons so budget friendly, but they’re also flexible to other cheap removal. Instant speed is key though!
- Thief of sanity – not really any alternatives here at the three drop that generates so much threat.
Why is there no search for azcanta or mazemind?
- The simple answer is they’re both too slow. At 2 mana we want to thought erasure, hold up jwari counterspell or drown in the loch
- For card smoothing/draw we have dust, surveil from thought erasure, and thief of sanity generates advantage.
- On the draw, life is hard – you need early removal and drown in the loch can be a dead card as you’re behind in the mana curve to disrupt and then counter threats.
There are alternative grixis decks we aren’t saying this is the best, this is just the version we’re playing at current.