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Grixis Fires Deck Guide – Throne of Eldraine Standard – October 2019

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Introduction

Hi folks! Today I’m going to be showing you a sweet deck I’ve been tuning, and have a very solid win rate with across fifty or so games by this point. I would highly recommend this deck for ranking up, and it has proven my favorite deck to play since Throne of Eldraine release; I always love all manners of Grixis and this one feels powerful and well-positioned.

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Are you ready? Because he is…

Decklist (BO1)

4 Thought Erasure (GRN) 206
4 Fae of Wishes (ELD) 44
4 Angrath's Rampage (WAR) 185
3 Bedevil (RNA) 157
1 Cry of the Carnarium (RNA) 70
3 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61
4 Fires of Invention (ELD) 125
3 Ritual of Soot (GRN) 84
3 Drawn from Dreams (M20) 56
3 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God (WAR) 207
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General (WAR) 97
1 Enter the God-Eternals (WAR) 196
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257
4 Watery Grave (GRN) 259
2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
1 Mountain (XLN) 273
2 Island (XLN) 265
3 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253
2 Swamp (XLN) 269
2 Dismal Backwater (M20) 245
 
1 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God (WAR) 207
1 Thought Distortion (M20) 117
1 The Elderspell (WAR) 89
1 Kaya's Wrath (RNA) 187
1 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales (WAR) 220
1 Ritual of Soot (GRN) 84
1 Enter the God-Eternals (WAR) 196
1 Command the Dreadhorde (WAR) 82 
1 Casualties of War (WAR) 187
1 Planewide Celebration (WAR) 172
1 Planar Cleansing (M20) 33
1 True Love's Kiss (ELD) 34
1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno (M20) 127
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General (WAR) 97

Decklist (BO3)

4 Thought Erasure (GRN) 206
4 Fae of Wishes (ELD) 44
4 Angrath's Rampage (WAR) 185
3 Bedevil (RNA) 157
3 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61
4 Fires of Invention (ELD) 125
3 Ritual of Soot (GRN) 84
3 Drawn from Dreams (M20) 56
4 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God (WAR) 207
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General (WAR) 97
1 Enter the God-Eternals (WAR) 196
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257
4 Watery Grave (GRN) 259
2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
1 Mountain (XLN) 273
2 Island (XLN) 265
3 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253
2 Swamp (XLN) 269
2 Dismal Backwater (M20) 245
  
1 The Elderspell (WAR) 89
1 Kaya's Wrath (RNA) 187
3 Aether Gust (M20) 42 
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
 1 Enter the God-Eternals (WAR) 196 
1 Casualties of War (WAR) 187
1 Planewide Celebration (WAR) 172
3 Duress (M20) 97
1 Ritual of Soot (GRN) 84
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General (WAR) 97

Deck updated: October 15, 2019

All Grixis Fires Decklists

Why should I play this deck?

There’s been a pretty big resurgence of aggro in the last couple of weeks to counteract the Field of the Dead Fall we’re currently experiencing, and Grixis Fires is a deck that is strong against aggro while having decent game against everything else.

Why should I play this deck in Bo1?

I have been playing this deck a lot more in Bo1 for a few reasons. While we have a reasonable matchup against Golos, we’re more likely to run into aggro (the better matchup) in Bo1 and even though I have favourable results against it, I would rather play quicker matchups if I can since that is more conducive to ranking up (and I’ll talk about Golos a bit more in a second).

Having a sideboard in Bo1 through Fae of Wishes is a gigantic advantage in the mid to late game over decks that don’t have that – you get to run a ton of situational haymakers in your board and if you reach the point where you can cast them with Fires out, they generally just win. In Bo3, this is not only less of an advantage but you also have to worry about pesky sideboard slots, so you get far fewer wishslots…

Even so, I have included a Bo3 list along with the importable Bo1 list at the end (but I haven’t tested that one as much).

Why should I play this deck and not Golos?

  1. Golos isn’t that great in Bo1 right now – the aggro decks are very good against it. This deck plays a bunch of sweepers and Enter the God-Eternals to deal with aggro. I have about a 72% winrate against various aggro decks, averaged out, according to my Arena tool.
  2.  You’ll rank up a lot faster if you get more games in, in the same amount of time. This version of Fires can kill at a very quick speed – a lot of matchups come down to assembling Fae of Wishes for Planewide Celebration while having a planeswalker out (which is pretty fast to do post-stabilising), and a lot of aggro opponents will scoop to your early wraths. I find games with this deck usually take 5-10 minutes. Let’s compare to Golos, which can easily spend 20-25 minutes on one game, especially in the mirror…
  3. This deck has decent game against Golos – they find it very difficult to interact with your planeswalkers, and to deal with the giant pressure that Fires can put on very quickly. If they ever leave a planeswalker in play, you can assemble Fae for Celebration – with Liliana, this will reduce them to one land in play and with Bolas, they lose the game immediately if they don’t have Teferi or Golos in play (and you are very good at killing those cards).
    You don’t even necessarily need the planeswalker out – you can Fae for the pieces individually and then play Liliana into Celebration in one turn, and that comes up a lot. I’m not saying you’re going to crush them or anything – it’s sometimes difficult to keep the board clear long enough to do all of this – but the matchup is much less lopsided than with other Fires decks/with green midrange decks. I have about a 57% winrate against Golos, according to my Arena tool.
  4. Well… personal preference. I’ve played with and against Golo a lot by this point, and it’s a bit boring and samey now in my honest opinion. This deck is playing with a ton of sweet cards and you get to play with Fae of Wishes, which is one of the most fun and interesting things you can do in Standard. The mirrors with Golos are also incredibly boring, and I would way rather be playing a different deck that has a good winrate against it.

Why should I play this deck and not aggro?

Okay, so I think aggro is a fine choice and this mostly comes down to personal preference – I enjoy playing this deck a lot more, and it varies a lot more game to game. This deck is good against aggro, whereas the mirror isn’t necessarily in your favour. This deck doesn’t really just fold to one card, whereas a lot of aggro decks will fold to a wrath, and that can make for an annoying experience. Other Fires decks are also good against aggro, so you don’t really want to face them whereas Grixis is favoured against them. 

Why should I play Grixis and not Jeskai Fires?

  1. So I played with Jeskai Fires a bunch before this, and was really missing having a great tool like Thought Erasure, which can hamper every midrange and control deck’s gameplan so tremendously, and which can straight up win you games against decks that mulliganned, or kept a borderline hand on the basis of one card.
  2. Jeskai Fires also misses a really powerful midgame play – Sarkhan pales in comparison to Bolas if you don’t already have planeswalkers on the board; he is a much more situational card and he doesn’t immediately answer problematic threats. Sarkhan loses to aggro and removal on the dragon hard.
  3. This deck has a favourable matchup against Jeskai Fires – like I said, Sarkhan struggles if they don’t have planeswalkers in play, and you are going to kill them over and over. You are going to Thought Erasure their Fires away, and their deck can’t function nearly as well as yours, if they don’t have that. I have about a 62% winrate against Jeskai Fires, according to my Arena tool.
  4. You are better against aggro – you have more sweepers, more removal and Enter-the God Eternals. You don’t straight up lose to big creatures like Questing Beast, which Jeskai Fires really struggles with – okay, you do too but you have Bedevil as instant speed removal for it and it has to get through your Thought Erasures and you can Bolas or Angrath’s Rampage it after it comes down. Most Jeskai lists can only wrath the board (slowly) or bounce the beast; you have numerous ways to answer it immediately.

I’m not going to lie to you though; there are tradeoffs. We don’t get to play with Teferi which is a nuts card, a super-powerful answer to a ton of permanents, good against aggro and has the combo potential of bouncing Fires in the late game to cast more spells or just bouncing opposing Fires.

You also don’t get traditional wrath effects main – yours are more situational. But those wrath effects are slow anyway, and you can get them out of the sideboard with Fae some of the time. Your wrath effects are far more efficient at dealing with aggro, and Golos is obliterating midrange and keeping it out of the meta anyway (and I’ve still had a better winrate with Grixis against midrange than Jeskai).

The lands you have to run worse with Grixis, since you only have access to one Temple whereas Jeskai has two; still it’s not too bad, and the lifegain from Dismal Backwater is nice in many games.

I think the tradeoffs are well worth favouring Grixis over Jeskai and my winrate reflects that – I had about a 56% winrate with Jeskai over ~35 games and 66% with Grixis over ~50, according to my Arena tool. These are still small sample sizes, and not necessarily representative of your experience, but both in theory and practice, Grixis has been better for me.

Why should I play this card? Why in this number?

Core Cards

4 Fae of Wishes – I already talked about this, but it’s a hallmark card of every Fires deck, providing huge and unique value while also being a good body against aggro. Fae will protect your planeswalkers, pressure theirs and stop a surprising number of creatures from attacking in the first place. You can run 3 Fae if you prefer, but I have been impressed enough to run the full 4.

4 Thought Erasure – I already talked about this. Never play less than 4 in Grixis.

4 Fires of Invention – If you haven’t had the pleasure of playing with Fires yet, it gives you an immediate advantage in the midgame that is insurmountable for a lot of decks. It essentially doubles your mana, lets you scry with Castle Vantress every turn and Fae into whatever ridiculous haymaker you want, whether you have the mana to cast it or not. This is the best card in the deck, and the one you want to draw the most in the most matchups.

3 Ritual of Soot – you need some number of these to play Grixis. They’re backbreaking in a lot of matchups and not very good in others, but I still like having access to 3 and 1 in the sideboard for Fae. Remember that their 4 drops will survive, and prioritise those with your spot removal – it’s easier to have the time when you have Fires out. 

Key Inclusions

3 Drawn from Dreams – I was running 4 Drawn for the longest time, and honestly I’m really not sure if I made a mistake in cutting the 4th. Drawn is the best thing to do with Fires on turn 4, it finds Fires if you don’t have it and it sets up your future turns magnificently. It occupies a slot in this deck that it’s difficult to find other good cards for. It finds any card in your deck you need, where Narset fails to find Fae of Wishes (which you really need in some matchups) and lands (which you really need plenty of in every matchup).

3 Narset, Partner of Veils – Narset is still a broken planeswalker that singlehandedly wins some matchups, and will usually at least provide a bunch of value and gain you some life. Narset costing 3 makes a huge difference over Drawn. You can run only 2 if you want, but then I would recommend the 4th Drawn.

Remember you don’t always have to minus Narset and in matchups like Izzet Phoenix, I usually won’t ever – preventing them from drawing is so valuable in that matchup, that I just don’t want to risk her. I usually won’t minus her t3 on the play against Jeskai Fires either – she is very good at stopping them getting value with Teferi and letting you 1 for 1 answer him, and there’s no need to risk her since she dodges all their removal but Prison Realm (which is a niche inclusion) on 5 loyalty.

3 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God – I already talked about him but he is a huge upgrade on anything jeskai can muster at 5 mana, an insane value engine and a great answer to many threats. You can play 4 if you want, but he’s not great against aggro and clunky in multiples, so I prefer 3.

Other Choices

1 Cry of the Carnarium – this is a concession to the uptick in aggro, you can replace it if you’re not seeing much anymore. I had a 4th Bolas in this slot before.

1 Enter the God-Eternals – this is a nice card to be able to grab with your many ways to look through your library. I like having 1 with the uptick in aggro, but I had a Chandra, Awakened Inferno in this slot before, and that is better against Golos if you would rather improve your matchup there.

1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General – Combos with Planarwide Celebration for an easy win and is a nice card to have access to in midrange matchups. Can be a Chandra, Awakened Inferno if you prefer (there’s also one in the sideboard to grab for the combo). 

2 Angrath’s Rampage/2 Bedeck/Bedazzle – I’m trying this split for the moment. Rampage is good at killing planeswalkers, Golos (remember you can make them sacrifice an artifact, even on a full board!) and stuff like Circle of Loyalty/Witch’s Oven. Bedeck is better against aggro since you can kill specific problem creatures with it, and is much better against the black sacrifice decks generally, while also being a good answer to Field of the Dead late. I have it this way for now, because I’m not entirely sure which is better, and also having the split is nice when digging with Narset/Drawn. 
EDIT: With the Field ban, I have switched over to 4 Angrath’s Rampage and would recommend that.

3 Bedevil Angrath’s Rampage but targeted is your best option for slower spot removal. It can be a bit clunky and require shocking yourself to play, but it saves you from a ton of the common problems you’ll run into. You can run only 2 if you like and include a slower card like 4th Bolas or Chandra but I like this number for the moment.  

2 Castle Vantress – I’m only going to mention this from the land base, as it Is an incredibly important card in the deck – with Fires, you can scry every turn while still adding to the board, and should often do so in your upkeep (remember to set a stop!) to give you the least chance of drawing bad cards. I get it off Drawn a lot since it provides huge value in every slower matchup, with or without Fires (but especially with) and lets me hit my late game land drops.

Sideboard Inclusions

I’m not going to go individually into each choice for the Fae wishboard since you can really build your own, as there are tons of great choices out there but I would recommend always having Casualties of War (potentially even 2), Planewide Celebration, a good 5 drop that is castable without Fires, a wrath effect, Ritual of Soot and a land (I have Castle Vantress for now but Fabled Passage is also a good choice).

For Bo3, I would recommend keeping just a few wishboard cards you can’t cast without Fires, and filling the rest with regular sideboard cards/wishboard cards that also have sideboard applications (see my example in the Bo3 decklist below).

Why did you talk my ear off so much?!

I had a lot of stuff I wanted to talk about and it ran on a bit! I’m wrapping up here anyway, but thanks for listening to my long spiel. Enjoy the deck and may your games be ever sweet!

Other Info

I also do draft articles! You can find those here:

Throne of Eldraine Draft Strategies and Tips – Learn How to Evaluate New Formats
Drafting with Style:
– Part 1: Drifting Through the Signals
– Part 2: What do those pretty symbols in the top right really mean for draft?

The MTG Arena Zone Discord: Engage with your favourite arenazone content creators there, myself included!

Changelog

  • October 15, 2019: Deck guide added.

9 Responses

  1. David Moore says:

    You may want to consider Thought Distortion as a sideboard card for control and combo matchups.

    • Drifter Drifter says:

      In the Golos meta, I think they had too many creatures for it to really end up being worth it since you could Distortion them and they’d just draw out of it with Krasis – and that might still be the case with the current decks like Simic Oko. But it’s a reasonable inclusion; I could certainly see it and will try it out a bit.

  2. Denis Kublitsky says:

    With Field of the Dead banned, many people expect Oko, Nissa, Hydroid Krasis decks will be the new broken thing everyone plays.

    Obviously, Thought Erasure and Ritual of Soot are good against that shit.

    But how do you think this deck will generally hold to green-blue madness?

    • Drifter Drifter says:

      In my testing with this deck, it struggles with the really fast starts like Goose/Grazer -> t3 Questing Beast or early Nissa, but is very favoured in the late game and you have a ton of good removal for Oko – a card like Rampage (which I now run 4 of) can still answer t2 Oko quite cleanly.

      Unfortunately, I think every deck in the format is going to struggle with Goose/Grazer -> fast plays and Shock isn’t great against the decks running Grazer. Still, I’ve been performing well with the deck and my winrate against the various Oko decks is positive, since you are so much better in the late game, and they often struggle to answer a bunch of midgame planeswalkers if they don’t have a fast Questing Beast.

      Another reasonable maindeck inclusion now is Aether Gust since it is very good in this meta. I recently posted a 4C Fires deck guide, which showcases some strategies for dealing with the Oko decks (you can find it here: https://mtgazone.com/four-color-fires-deck-guide/) and I might well update this Grixis list soon.

  3. Jon says:

    I second Denis above. How does this deck can deal with Oko?

  4. Joshua Caswell says:

    Anyone know how to beat this stupid deck?? It poops on everything I like to play which is mostly midrange/aggro (you know, fun decks). Getting tired of losing to it and my opponents saying GGs as they wipe my board.

  5. Alex Anderson says:

    I’ve been playing a version of this deck for about three weeks now and have a few observations to consider.

    In the main:

    Bedeck is weak. I run three Murderous Rider (only 1 Bedevil though, and I think that should be a 2-of). This gives me some much-needed lifegain against Red and Black aggro and more ways to deal with Oko/Nissa.

    4 Narset is a must. Good advice on not using him right away against Dance or the RU cantrip decks, but he can be really important in finding your Fires for T4.

    No Chandra, Awakened Inferno’s? I run two and another in the SB. Really like them.

    SB:

    Thought Distortion is too good not to run in the board. It autowins against Dance decks (although Unmoored Ego is faster and just as back-breaking so it’s the 1st play unless I think they have counters) and it’s amazing against lots of other strategies.

    True Love’s Kiss is a wasted slot. I just run another Casualties of War. If you think casting one of those is disheartening, wait until you drop #2 on them.

    And how has Mass Manipulation been for you? I tried it and never really liked it.

    This deck was a great choice in the Golos meta, but it loses something now. Some of the really fast Aggro decks are a problem (my Red match-up is really crap, going about 35% and I really don’t love UG Flash) but I’ve done okay against Oko and Adventures decks and GB Food decks are a veritable bye. Jeskai Fires is much better against RDW, and I especially like the addition of Kenrith to that deck, but it’s also a bye for us.

    Fires is, just generally, an insane card. Combined with FoW it is beyond busted — especially in BO1. But even is BO3 matches, increasing your G1 win % gives you a massive advantage. And, really, you only need about 6-8 SB slots to get the most our of FoW anyway. Adding some Duress’ and/or Mystical Disputes isn’t difficult at all. I love this deck and have it both on Arena and in paper.

    • Drifter Drifter says:

      Hi there! Thanks for the feedback and for giving me a lot to think about; I haven’t updated this list since pre-Field ban and plan to do so now.

      1) With the Field ban, I have switched to 4 Rampage. I’m going to update the list to reflect that. Bedeck is a lot weaker than Rampage now. I’m not very fond of Murderous Rider though – I think Bedevil is generally better because Murderous Rider immediately loses you 2 life and you don’t gain that back until you cast the creature, which can often be hard to find the time for. I think you generally have better things to do with Fires.

      2) I haven’t been that fond of maindeck Chandra since the Field ban – she’s mostly a very slow clock and I think the deck has enough more efficient answers to things than she is; Liliana combos with Planewide Celebration and is better against midrange.

      I’ve also found Simic Flash, a matchup she really shines in, to be on the downtick lately. There’s still the one in the sideboard which we can go and get sometimes; not sure she’s good enough for the main.

      3) I’ve been trying out Thought Distortion lately and think you’re right that it is good enough to occupy a slot.

      4) The nice thing about True Love’s Kiss is that sometimes you don’t have 6 lands, and there’s a Fires or a Doom Foretold you really need to answer. But you could be right in that it doesn’t do enough to occupy a slot.

      5) Mass Manipulation has been a bit niche; I think I’m probably going to cut it in the update I’m about to do.

      6) I’m still doing decently against aggro with this deck, but I have also been playing 4 colour Fires lately. You might enjoy that deck also! You can find it here: https://mtgazone.com/four-color-fires-deck-guide/. I think that deck is better against aggro than this one.

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