Last week I spoke about where you can find inspiration in deck building. I wanted to continue with that trend today as I love building new decks. This Standard format gives you a ton of different options with the fantastic flexibility of the mana. It also doesn’t hurt that there are some very powerful spells that are either banned in other formats like Treasure Cruise or played in multiple other formats like Tasigur, the Golden Fang or Monastery Mentor.
Today I would like to focus on a particular Modern deck and bridging that list to Standard. Now clearly this strategy doesn’t work with every deck or even many decks really. I mean good luck bringing a Storm deck to Standard. But there are some decks in Modern that play a lot of Standard cards or ones that have a similar Standard counterpart. Let’s take a look at one such deck.
Gerry T Grixis
Gerry Thompson has been a pretty big advocate of Grixis Control ever since people realized that Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy is good in every format. He placed 16th last weekend at the SCG Super IQ in Denver with this list. I think this is a perfect deck to bridge over to Standard with only a few missing pieces that need to be filled in. Let’s break down the card choices and what can be replaced to have a similar feel.
The creature suite is pretty convenient. Everything outside of Snapcaster Mage is already Standard legal and can be added to the deck without much thought. A good replacement for Snapcaster Mage I feel is the Red version of it in Abbot of Keral Keep. It offers card advantage similar to Snapcaster Mage but also produces a more reasonable threat that can’t be ignored like Snapcaster Mage.
The spells are going to be a little tougher to replicate as obviously these are some of the more powerful effects that Modern has to offer. Most of these however aren’t as tough to replicate as one might think. Kolaghan’s Command and Murderous Cut are the only two cards that can automatically be bridged over to the Standard version. I do think however that Kolaghan’s Command is not as good in Standard as it is in Modern and I’ll only want two instead of three. Although Lightning Bolt; Fiery Impulse is not; it still offers the effect of doing three damage and is a suitable replacement for the cost. The closest thing to Mana Leak is probably Dispel but we can save that for the sideboard. Not to mention playing counterspells with Abbot of Keral Keep is a bit of a nonbo. This will open up two slots for some minor adjustments. The Terminates can be swapped out by finishing off the playset of Murderous Cuts as they serve the same purpose. Thought Scour surprisingly has a very similar counterpart in Standard with Magmatic Insight. You end up with one less card in the graveyard but one more card in your hand. The trade-off of course is you end up having to play more lands in your deck then you traditionally would like. Inquisition of Kozilek can be replaced with a card that is already seeing main deck play in winning decklists in Duress or Despise. Rise // Fall doesn’t really have anything resembling a replacement effect in Standard since it’s a split card. I think this best represents a bounce effect however which leads me to believe Clutch of Currents would be a reasonable choice for its replacement. I also think we really want this effect simply because these colors in Standard have a hard time dealing with an opposing Hangarback Walker. Serum Visions of course is something there is simply no suitable replacement for. The closest thing we have available to us in Standard is Anticipate which I believe although fine, definitely isn’t something you can play four of and have success. This is going to be our flex spot in the deck that we can use something else in standard to sort of bring the deck together. I’ll definitely make sure there is a few additional draw card effects to balance things out a little bit. Finally there’s a singleton Thoughtseize that can be replaced with a Duress or Despise. It will be interesting to note that it’s possible that the Despise and Duress count may need to be switched depending on what decks in Standard gives this deck the most trouble. It’s something to keep in mind going forward when testing this deck.
We have to play more lands in the Standard version thanks to Magmatic Insight, but other than that the mana bases are going to be very similar. Since there is additional delve cards in the Standard version we’ll need to add more fetch lands to reduce the stress on the graveyard. The only card in the mana base we cannot replicate is Creeping Tar Pit. We can however recognize that the Modern deck contains two additional threats that we will need to add to the Standard version to make sure it too offers the same amount of threats if not a couple more.
The sideboard is one of the very few things that you really don’t have to pay much attention to. It has no real influence on what is played in Standard and the only help it really provides is showing what the weaknesses the deck has in Modern. This may help in giving us an idea of what needs to be played in the Standard version at a minimum. With that being said, here is the initial list.
As you see I did my best to replicate everything that Gerry is trying to do with his Modern deck. That being said, I felt it necessary to fit some amount of Hangarback Walker simply on the basis that the deck feels slightly weak to the aggressive starts of Atarka Red and it gives us some sort of defense early. The deck also has a lot of cheap spells, lending me to believe you should be able to activate it and not be choked up on mana. Not to mention it also has Pia which does wonders when you have Hangarback Walker. The sideboard is all cards that have various applications across the current metagame. This of course is very flexible and can be improved upon after some testing with the deck.
I can honestly say I’m quite excited to play some matches with this deck. Recently I haven’t been too excited to play much Standard as I haven’t become very attached to anything. Knowing that the RPTQ is Standard and upcoming PPTQs will be Standard I feel now is as good of a time as any to dive in. With so many powerful cards and such a wide open metagame this really is my wheelhouse.
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