Idle Thoughts – Grix-IS the way to Modern

Hello and Welcome to the first issue of Idle Thoughts!

To start things off, I want to tell you a little about myself. I’ve been playing with Magic cards for as long as I can remember, but first started reading them as soon as Portal came out!  I still remember my first FNM as if it were yesterday.  I showed up with a cool Sundering Titan deck that I thought would surely crush all of my opponents.  When I cast my Titan I had quickly lost, for that card was no longer Type 2 legal.  Coldsnap was the newest set at the time, so Darksteel had already phased out of the format.  However the result, this still was my first real competitive event and it started the fire inside of me!

When High School came, the flame had started to dwindle due to school work, sports, etc.  It wasn’t until just after High School where overheard a coworker talking about the game, I was shocked that people still played it.  He invited me to a local store, where he played on a regular basis. So I decided to tag along and instantly I fell back in love with the game that i grew up with.  That night, I ended up buying an entire booster box (M12).  We took it home and they taught me how to draft and it was exciting!  Getting to open and read all these new cards.  I was a bit rusty on the newer rules, but never the less, we played for hours on end. I probably never won a game, but I still wanted more.  The flame had regained its spark.

I have kept playing since then, but my game has constantly continued to grow both as a player and as a competitor. I have made many friends playing this game.  I have been traveling a lot more to larger events and plan to keep doing so. I recently made Top 8 of the the SCG Modern Open in Indianapolis this past weekend with Grixis Delver.  So naturally this week’s article will be covering my Deck, Card Selections, Brief Tournament Review and why I want you to try this deck out!

Grixis Delver is a fun deck that can both close a game quickly and stretch the game out if need be.  It’s a perfect balance of removal, cheap creatures and cantrips.


Delver is no secret.  It’s what the deck is mostly built around.  It’s a one mana creature that can quickly become a 3/2 flier that your opponents are forced to deal with it quickly or it will punish them. Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Gurmag Angler are both big creatures that you are able to play on turn two.  They are extremely powerful when they are played early in a game and can help gum up the ground or pressure your opponent.  Snapcaster Mage is the real MVP.  He allows you to control the tempo of the game by allowing you to cast spells for your graveyard at anytime.


The removal in the deck is pretty straight forward with the addition of Fatal Push to the format, we now have the access to one of the best early game removal spells to the format. That being said we still have to factor in that there are still creatures that Fatal Push can’t handle.  So this is why we are running Terminate to help us deal with problem creatures.

Lightning Bolt is still a staple both as a cheap removal spell or an alternate win condition.  It’s cheap, efficient, and to the point.


One mana cantrips are getting fewer and far between for playability in modern due to how powerful it can make control decks.  Serum Visions is just the best option left for one mana spells.  Thought Scour on the other hand is essentially a Dark Ritual for our Delve creatures which enables us to play turn two Tasigur and Gurmag.


Counterspells can allow you to take momentous swing in a game, especially cheap efficient ones.  Mana Leak has always been an efficient counterspell.  It works very well in a format where our opponents are tapping out for their spells.  Spell Snare is just as good in most matchups since there are many powerful two drops in the format.   Countersquall isn’t necessarily a main deck card since it can only hit non-creature spells, however it can be an option if the meta is right.   It can allow you to shift your opponent’s life total lower while also helping you slow there plays.

Sideboard Options

Sideboard cards are where Delver can hedge most of its games because you have many options and are able to swap out many cards based on the match up.  Cards that I selected in my board for Indy where mainly based on what I thought I would see.  That doesn’t always mean they are the correct call for your meta, so I want to cover cards that are meant to be in the board most of the time.  To start Collective Brutality is one of the best cards you deck can play because you have so many options with the card and you don’t always mind discarding cards.  It allows you to fuel Delve and/or your Snapcaster Mage ability.  Painful Truths is an amazing card as it allows you to refuel the hand after exhausting your resources.  It is a slightly better option than Ancestral Vision since you can play it as early as turn three and you want to play your Delvers on turn one.  Engineered Explosives also has many options.  It can be utilized to remove many different types of permanents from the field that could normally be a problem for one for one removal.  Some of your hardest matchups can be land based decks, such as Tron.  This is where Fulminator Mage comes in as it can give you the extra turns in the match that you need.


Round 1 Won 2-1 (Elves)
Round 2 Won 2-1 (Grixis Delver)
Round 3 Won 2-0 (Abzan Midrange)
Round 4 Won 2-0 (Bloomless Titan)
Round 5 Lost 1-2 (Abzan Midrange)
Round 6 Lost 1-2 (Goblin Burn) I lost to a lot of Goblin Grenades….it happens.
Round 7 Won 2-1 (GB Tron)
Round 8 Won 2-1 (Death’s Shadow) – Gerry Thompson
Round 9 Won 2-1 (Infect)

Round 10 Won 2-0 (Abzan CcCo) – Andrew Maine
Round 11 Won 2-0 (Death’s Shadow)
Round 12 Won 2-1 (Naya Burn)
Round 13 Won 2-1 (Grixis Control) – Riche Sledz (Top 8)
Round 14 Lost 1-2 (Death’s Shadow) – Michael Majors (Top 8)
Round 15 Won 2-1 (Merfolk)

Quarter Finals Lost 0-2 (Bant Eldrazi)

All in all it was a good run.  Unfortunately my top 8 seeding did not pan out the way I wanted it to as Bant Eldrazi can be a rough matchup.

If you enjoy playing fair magic I recommend you try this deck at your next modern event.
If you have questions, comments or concerns. Feel free to email or tweet me!
@IOWAMTG on Twitter

Grixis Delver – Garrett Strause – 8th Place at Modern Open on 2/25/2017

Creatures (13)

4 Delver of Secrets
1 Gurmag Angler
4 Snapcaster Mage
3 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
1 Vendilion Clique

Spells (27)

4 Fatal Push
2 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Mana Leak
3 Spell Snare
2 Terminate
4 Thought Scour
1 Collective Brutality
4 Serum Visions

Lands (20)

2 Island
1 Mountain
1 Swamp
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
2 Darkslick Shores
4 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Spirebluff Canal
2 Steam Vents
1 Watery Grave


2 Engineered Explosives
2 Fulminator Mage
1 Izzet Staticaster
2 Countersquall
1 Dispel
1 Surgical Extraction
2 Collective Brutality
1 Crumble to Dust
2 Painful Truths
1 Vandalblast

Check In Next Week For Another Edition Of Idle Thoughts


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