Full Force drafting is a series dedicated to forcing archetypes in draft formats. Join me every Thursday as we learn the ins and outs of the most recent Magic draft formats.
This week, by popular demand, we’re going over Grixis spells. This is a slight departure from the series format previously as I added a little bit of flexibility to our drafts, just for this week. The voting requests were tied for Burning Vengeance or Reanimator strategies and the decks have significant overlap, so we drafted knowing we would be drafting a spell-based Blue, Red, or Black deck and move in on whichever of the two archetypes became available.
This format helped a lot in this week’s episode as it proved something I assumed when I set out to record the episode. Basically, that Burning Vengeance would be nigh-impossible to force without a fair amount of luck. The problem is that Vengeance is extremely powerful, with a lot of synergy in the format. It’s playable in a deck with only a handful of cards that work with it because of the consistency of retrace cards. With a Flame Jab and an Oona’s Grace, and one or two flashback spells, Vengeance is a powerhouse and a lot of people will take it just in case they find some of those cards. It’s also a lot of fun to play, so people will pick it just hoping they can mess with it.
The same is true (if a little less pronounced) with the better reanimation spells, Animate Dead and Victimize. Victimize in particular is powerful in a lot of decks just looking to grind out value with enter the battlefield abilities on creatures like Man-o’-war, Gravedigger, Phyrexian Rager, etc. Most black decks will find some way to gain value out of a Victimize and snap it up early.
So what does this mean for the Grixis based control decks? It means you need some flexibility. This episode really highlighted the need to take the cards that are good alone first, and find synergies that are open. The way to get a Burning Vengeance or Reanimation deck isn’t to force it, but to find good control cards like Counterspell, Deep Analysis, Fact or Fiction, and Merfolk Looter then look for opportunities to hedge in either direction. If your pack has a marginal sideboard card and a Desperate Ravings, grab the Ravings and hedge on a Vengeance. Late Havoc Demon, with little else? Maybe you can find an Animate Dead or Extract from Darkness later. Just don’t grab these cards early, assuming you’ll find the engine. More than ever, you’ll get punished heavily, with a deck that has bunch of fuel, but no engine to power. This is all good advice for drafting normally, but it’s especially pronounced in these decks as they *need* their big set pieces or your deck can almost literally do nothing.
I hope you managed to Extract some value from today’s series on the Grixis in Eternal Masters, and a Burning desire to take down more drafts!