Grixis Thieves



  • I have been trying out Grixis Thieves the last couple weeks on MTGO with some good success. Been doing pretty well with it in the tournament practice rooms, and I managed to 3-1 the daily with it last night. The deck is super fun to play (Timetwister with Notion Thief is the best..), but was looking for some tips on specific card choices, so opening up to some discussion. Here is the list I am running currently:
    2 Flooded Strand
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 Volcanic Island
    3 Underground Sea
    1 Tropical Island
    1 Tolarian Academy
    1 Library of Alexandria
    1 Island
    1 Strip Mine
    2 Notion Thief
    1 Snapcaster Mage
    1 Blightsteel Collosus
    2 Dack Fayden
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Ponder
    3 Preordain
    2 Mana Drain
    1 Ancient Grudge
    1 Timetwister
    1 Time Walk
    1 Yawgmoth's Will
    4 Force of Will
    3 Mental Misstep
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Tinker
    1 Vampiric Tutor
    1 Demonic Tutor
    1 Treasure Cruise
    1 Dig Through Time
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Sensei's Divining Top
    1 Time Vault
    1 Voltaic Key
    SB:
    2 Ancient Grudge
    1 Mindbreak Trap
    3 Sulfur Elemental
    3 Tormod's Crypt
    3 Grafdigger's Cage
    2 Hurkyl's Recall
    1 Ingot Chewer



  • I don't have any constructive criticism, other than to say if you reached into my brain and pulled out a list of 75 cards I most want to play in vintage.... this is probably it.

    Except Misstep. I will go to my grave despising that card even if it's a necessary evil in this meta.



  • @Cambriel Just curious (,and this is not a set up question as there will be no negative repercussions from me concerning your answer.) Why do you think Misstep is necessary in this evil meta?

    PS. I also think this deck is really cool. Chains of Mephistopheles is another card that is in my brain under the heading, crap I want to play. Chains and Dack together?... oh the dream!


  • TMD Supporter

    I'm surprised about 0 Pyroblast in the 75. IMO it's a pretty solid card right now that does everything from stopping broken draw spells, to cheaply fighting counter wars, to killing most resolved planeswalkers.

    Overall I like this list though, nice mix of broken stuff happening.

    In most Grixis decks I think I like 1 Hurkyl's main instead of 1 Grudge main -- at least if you have a way to Hurkyl's them on their end step, untap, and just win. (This is what I wound up doing in Gushbond Pyromancer pre-restriction, since you had tutor for Hurkyl's into storming off as an out vs Shops g1.) Then again, in your deck, Tinker is a good maindeck plan against Shops, too...


  • Administrators

    @Topical_Island It seems self-evident, but a lot of people seem to skip over it: the value of Misstep in a list is almost entirely proportional to how important your opponent's 1-drops are against it.

    While a lot of decks use Misstep well, this list seems like it would particularly like the card. Compared to say, Jeskai Mentor, Grixis Thieves is a softer to an opposing Swords to Plowshares and Pyroblast, both of which answer a Notion Thief or a Tinker.

    In particular, note that as a 4 mana spell, the ability to defend a Notion Thief with Misstep for free (as opposed to say, a Mana Drain or Flusterstorm) is more important than it might be if you were protecting a Jace, Vryn's Prodigy or an Oath of Druids.

    While the deck doesn't have a ton of one-drops, it does have a few mission-critical ones (Vampiric Tutor, Voltaic Key) which mean running Missteps to win fights over your opponent's Missteps could still be relevant.

    On the other hand, this deck doesn't have much in the way of a tempo gameplan, so aggressively going after enemy Preordains doesn't seem as important as it might in other decks (though on occasion I'm sure it's opportunistically correct)

    If this leaned more heavily on 3 or 4 Notion Thieves, I might argue for the full four. The mix of kill cards in this list make it probably not strictly necessary, and if the deck had some more show-stoppers that weren't specifically answered by common one-drops, Misstep becomes less important

    Necessary evil in this meta in general? Not sure I'd say that. But if you play a deck that has trouble with opposing one drops , it's probably going to be good in that deck.


  • Administrators

    You can kind of see where my headspace is by my focus on the one-drops out of Jeskai Mentor (Swords to Plowshares and Pyroblast). That might be a metagame bias, depending on how things shake out.

    If your metagame had no Mentor and instead had a blue mix of Oath, Paradoxical Outcome, Big Blue decks, As Foretold decks, maybe BUG Fish, Misstep is less relevant. All of those decks have one drops in them, and all of those one drops are good in their respective decks ...

    But are they good explicitly against Grixis Thieves? Maybe not as much.

    Against Nonblue decks things get more nuanced. Obviously the card is dead against Shops ... but is it dead against Dredge?

    That entirely depends on what the rest of your sideboard is ... if you're trying to Leyline their graveyard than Nature's Claim is a matchup-critical card ... if you're trying to Ravenous Trap them, then it is isn't (whether or not they know which card you have) ... if they're bringing in Dark Depths then they suddenly care about your potential one-drop removal, so they'll have their own Missteps ... but do you care about those?

    I still haven't figured out if I want Missteps against a White Eldrazi player who I know to be running Swords to Plowshares ... it seems very good and very bad all at once.

    There is an addendum to this, I guess ... Misstep might not be a necessary evil in the sense that every blue deck wants four of them ... but there might be an argument to be made -> there are a lot of very powerful, popular one drops out there right now. If you're playing a blue deck that doesn't care about ANY of them, there's a chance it's not a very good deck. Indirectly, that makes the card necessary. I'm not sure I'm ready to fully commit to that argument myself.

    ( ... plus, I personally think it does more good for the format than harm :D )



  • @nucleosynth The one flusterstorm kind of serves the same purpose as a pyroblast. Pyroblast is a little more flexible by killing Dack or Jace too, but with Notion Thief, I really don't mind if the opponent lands one.


  • TMD Supporter

    @mourningpalace Yeah, that's very reasonable.



  • The most successful Grixis Thieves list placed second at Champs in 2015 and ran 0 Mental Missteps, 3 Mana Drains, 1 Pyroblast, and 2 Flusterstorms. It used Slaughter Games from the sideboard very effectively against opposing Mentor decks which at that point were already largely similar to the ones we knew from two weeks ago.

    http://magic.wizards.com/en/events/coverage/vintagechamp15/top-8-decklists-2015-08-23



  • @Brass-Man That's really good advice, as well as being an opinion that I didn't previously agree with, but can feel myself sort of coming around too after reading that a couple times. Thanks as always.



  • @brianpk80 Seems pretty interesting. I'm gonna test it out and see how it works in current meta. I love mana drain, so a reason to play more seems good to me.



  • So I've also been goldfishing this list and have been wondering about using x4 Thief, and or +1 Wheel of Fortune and or Memory Jar. With Library I just want to be drawing 7! But this might merely be an unhealthy personal obsession. I like the mix of trops and volc as well for Grudge

    This is the list that Eightfarms took to a 9th place in the April 29th P9 challenge that got my attention and generated some interest in this deck the other day so I'm glad others are perking ears up as well!

    Creatures (3)
    2 Notion Thief
    1 Blightsteel Colossus

    Planeswalkers (4)
    2 Dack Fayden
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    Spells (26)
    1 Ancestral Recall

    1 Brainstorm
    1 Flusterstorm

    3 Mental Misstep
    1 Ponder
    3 Preordain
    1 Vampiric Tutor
    1 Demonic Tutor
    3 Mana Drain
    1 Time Walk
    1 Timetwister
    1 Tinker
    1 Yawgmoth's Will
    4 Force of Will
    1 Gush
    1 Dig Through Time
    1 Treasure Cruise
    Artifacts (11)
    1 Black Lotus

    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Sensei's Divining Top
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Voltaic Key
    1 Time Vault
    Lands (16)
    2 Island
    1 Library of Alexandria
    4 Polluted Delta
    3 Scalding Tarn
    1 Tolarian Academy
    3 Underground Sea
    2 Volcanic Island
    Sideboard (15)
    1 Mountain
    1 Nihil Spellbomb
    1 Pyroblast
    2 Hurkyl's Recall
    1 Arcane Laboratory
    1 Toxic Deluge
    4 Leyline of the Void
    2 Mindbreak Trap
    2 Ingot Chewer

    I absolutely +1 @Cambriel as this is a list of cards that I really really enjoy playing, even if it is a little more conservative. I love that it runs Drain and LoA, though both feel a little bit slow.



  • Yup. Drain is just one of those cards I will always associate with awesome old Magic. It's an iconic vintage card.



  • @brianpk80 it was a conscious decision to not play missteps and over the course of the day playing against many blue decks I did not miss them at all and was very happy with the other cards I was able to fit in the deck by not playing them



  • @caggii I thought it was a conscious choice as well, not an oversight, and it definitely had a lot of upside.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Brass-Man said in Grixis Thieves:

    @Topical_Island It seems self-evident, but a lot of people seem to skip over it: the value of Misstep in a list is almost entirely proportional to how important your opponent's 1-drops are against it.

    While a lot of decks use Misstep well, this list seems like it would particularly like the card. Compared to say, Jeskai Mentor, Grixis Thieves is a softer to an opposing Swords to Plowshares and Pyroblast, both of which answer a Notion Thief or a Tinker.

    In particular, note that as a 4 mana spell, the ability to defend a Notion Thief with Misstep for free (as opposed to say, a Mana Drain or Flusterstorm) is more important than it might be if you were protecting a Jace, Vryn's Prodigy or an Oath of Druids.

    While the deck doesn't have a ton of one-drops, it does have a few mission-critical ones (Vampiric Tutor, Voltaic Key) which mean running Missteps to win fights over your opponent's Missteps could still be relevant.

    On the other hand, this deck doesn't have much in the way of a tempo gameplan, so aggressively going after enemy Preordains doesn't seem as important as it might in other decks (though on occasion I'm sure it's opportunistically correct)

    If this leaned more heavily on 3 or 4 Notion Thieves, I might argue for the full four. The mix of kill cards in this list make it probably not strictly necessary, and if the deck had some more show-stoppers that weren't specifically answered by common one-drops, Misstep becomes less important

    Necessary evil in this meta in general? Not sure I'd say that. But if you play a deck that has trouble with opposing one drops , it's probably going to be good in that deck.

    I like this comment a lot. I did notice you mention "aggressively going after preordains" though, and I am of the position that doing so is usually a waste of a card.

    I know this is a little off-topic, but to me I believe that there are usually much better targets for Mental Misstep. As an example, I'm often burning through my one-drops in order starting with the least powerful and working up to Ancestral or whatever. I have baited my opponent's to counter my Preordains or even Vamps just to resolve a Brainstorm or Ancestral.

    Now if the game state suggests that my opponent HAS to find a land or perhaps one particular card that will turn the tide, then I'll attempt to Misstep a Preordain.

    It's neat how a "dumb" card like Mental Misstep still requires a lot more thinking than people give it credit for...



  • Well, I tested a lot, and I believe the missteps are better to have than not to have. With the amount of swords, delvers, pyroblasts, ancestral, misstep, etc... it seems to be better to have it. Played the Vintage challenge today and took 1st place with this list:

    2x Flooded Strand
    4x Polluted Delta
    1x Tolarian Academy
    1x Strip Mine
    3x Underground Sea
    2x Volcanic Island
    2x Island
    1x Library of Alexandria
    2x Notion Thief
    1x Blightsteel Colossus
    2x Dack Fayden
    2x Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1x Ancestral Recall
    1x Brainstorm
    3x Preordain
    3x Mental Misstep
    4x Force of Will
    2x Mana Drain
    1x Ponder
    1x Tinker
    1x Time Walk
    2x Flusterstorm
    1x Vampiric Tutor
    1x Demonic Tutor
    1x Yawgmoth's Will
    1x Gush
    1x Treasure Cruise
    1x Dig Through Time
    1x Timetwister
    1x Sensei's Divining Top
    1x Time Vault
    1x Voltaic Key
    1x Sol Ring
    1x Black Lotus
    1x Mox Jet
    1x Mox Sapphire
    1x Mox Pearl
    1x Mox Ruby
    1x Mox Emerald
    1x Mana Crypt

    SB:
    2x Sulfur Elemental
    2x Ingot Chewer
    3x Tormod's Crypt
    3x Grafdigger's Cage
    1x Toxic Deluge
    2x Hurkyl's Recall
    1x Mindbreak Trap
    1x Arcane Laboratory



  • @mourningpalace congratulations on your victory. I am thrilled to see this deck emerging again. The Gush restriction is working as intended.


  • TMD Supporter

    Congratulations @mourningpalace!

    I piloted the @Eightfarms list from the April P9C (http://themanadrain.com/post/18775) to a 16th place 4-2 finish in the challenge today.

    Some reflections on the list:

    • I like @mourningpalace's choice of 2 Fluster/2 Drain over mine of 1 Fluster/3 Drain
    • The deck as built feels soft to Delver strategies. If they have both Harsh Mentor (nerfs Vault/Key) and Dack Fayden (nerfs Tinker/Bot), it can be very hard to find a path to victory.
    • The deck also feels soft to White Eldrazi, but I didn't face that today.
    • I'd like to find a way to deal with a resolved Stony Silence in the 75 -- Repeal? (Maindeck Null Rod, which I encountered at least once today, is also a beating.)

    My experiences today:
    R1: Dan9IN on Car Shops (W 2-1)
    R2: IdraftTheBeatz on UR Harsh Wasteland Delver (W 2-1)
    R3: ReneRandrup on Jeskai control? (L 1-2)
    R4: tattocek on Jeskai Dack YP Delver (L 0-2)
    R5: TonyMontana on Jeskai Mentor (W 2-1)
    Had one particularly fun moment here game 2: t1 play Key, t2 Mana Drain their Stony Silence, t3 upkeep Vamp for Vault, Force their Force.
    R6: Lovecoil on Dredge (W 2-1)
    Lovecoil was exceptionally unlucky; they mulliganned to 1 games 1 and 3, and basically didn't do anything either of those games :/



  • Thanks @nucleosynth

    Here is what I faced today:
    R1 - Landstill: L 1-2
    R2 - Ravager Shops: W 2-1
    R3 - Ravager Shops: W 2-0
    R4 - Mentor: W 2-0
    R5 - Mentor: W 2-1
    R6 - White Eldrazi: W 2-1
    T8 - Mentor: W 2-0
    T4 - White Eldrazi: W 2-1
    T2 - Landstill: W 2-1

    White eldrazi was tough, but they kind of fold to blightsteel if you can stick it. Won me both matches today. Basically played the games towards vault key or blightsteel and let anything through that didn't mess with that plan.


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