OK, let’s improvise

Hi everyone and welcome back to think outside the box!

After some number of weeks talking about dinosaurs, my friends, it pains me to say: I don’t think they are good enough. Standard right now is in great shape, playing a deck like the dinosaurs that is one dimensional or linear is not where you want to be. The thing is though, when this deck has it’s curve 1,2,3 then 4 it can be really challenging to beat. Outside of splashing blue for control it is very near unwinnable and don’t get me started on hazoret the fervent. So, I went on a hunt for another sweet deck to play and boy was it a doozy! Today, we think outside a funny looking box!

It all started shortly after I released my second article. I was watching Brennan Decandio stream some MTGO. He was playing grixis improvise. His list was slightly different from the one i’m going to show today (which is my own build, after toying with numbers) but still, I would like to mention the difference in the lists. Brennan was playing some number of champion of wits and hostage taker in the main, while i’m not saying this isn’t correct, it just changes the dynamic of the deck slightly. What was noticeably absent though was:

Tezzeret the schemer wasn’t there as he was playing hostage taker in this spot. Tezz has been in a funny spot in standards past. Competing with the likes of Chandra, torch of defiance which is absurdly good. The thing is though, I just don’t think he ever had the support which was necessary or at least he did, Ulamog, the ceaseless hunger had some questions to ask him which kept him at bay. Lets be real though, Tezzeret could never have competed against a turn 4 marvel. Ever. Now my friends, it’s certainly his time to shine.

Me and my friends were talking and yes, Tezzeret does not affect the board if its empty, he only makes a lotus petal right? This is true he goes to 6 loyalty though which passes the Glorybringer test and leaves him 2 turns from an ultimate which is incredibly hard to beat, endless streams of 5/5 creatures. I could honestly spend an article talking about Tezzeret the schemer because i certainly believe he is good.

The main question I had about the deck was if it was good enough to play in the current metagame we are in. I noticed that there had been a 5-0 list crop up on MTGGoldfish. I tested the deck a bit and found it was great! For example, against one of my friends when we were testing I went 11-4 in games versus Temur splashing black. These numbers have got to count for something right? Oh and Zac Elsik wins the standard classic in Dallas with the deck.

Lets get to the decklist and as always, I will explain the card choices!


Contraband Kingpin

Pia Nalaar

Maverick Thopterist

The Scarab God

Herald Of Anguish


Tezzeret The Schemer


Fatal Push

Metallic Rebuke

Renegade Map

Servo Schematic

Cogworker’s Puzzleknot

Prophetic Prism

Sorcerous Spyglass

Aethersphere Harvester


Dragonskull Summit

Drowned Catacomb

Fetid Pools

Ifnir Deadlands




Spirebluff Canal

Spire Of Industry



Battle At The Bridge


Scrapheap Scrounger

Tezzeret’s Touch

Vraska’s Contempt

Aethersphere Harvester


Lets talk about some of the cards now.

contraband kingpin – this is secretly one of the better cards in the deck I believe: it survives lightning strike, a blocker versus mono red (and a lifelinker) and it scrys versus control, just a versatile card.

maverick thopterist – one of the payoffs for playing all of the little artifacts, it comes down as early as turn 3 making 4 power over 3 bodies is pretty respectable it also makes 2 artifacts to use towards improvise.


herald of anguish – the main payoff for the deck, this card is really good! The only deck (outside of fumigate.deck) that can one for one i reckon is Temur with harnessed lightning, the energy decks floating around now play walk the plank and vraska’s contempt but i think it’s irrelevant giving your dropping this thing earlier and maybe making them discard a card so most of the time it’s a 2 for 1. If this card sticks around, be certain that you are probably going to win that game!

metallic rebuke – this card is really good right now with all the midrange mirrors that will be happening, it also happens to be good vs control.


The reason i went for 2 cogworker’s puzzleknot and 2 servo schematic is simple. They both have utility at some point in the game. Whether it being making a surprise 1/1 blocker having utility with the herald, i settled on a 2/2 split. I do think these are the main engine pieces of the deck though.



scrapheap scrounger and 3 tezzeret’s touch are a nod towards control decks and give you another plan, rather than just making 1/1 and hoping the demon sticks.

As a side note Tezzeret the schemer can kill a lot of things with the amount of artifacts that you randomly have lying around. I also want to try a build with a Marionette Master or 2 just as another finisher to see what that is like.

That’s it then!

I honestly believe this deck to be very good and also very fun! I believe it to be competitive enough to play in the current standard also. Next time after I have played a bunch more games I will be looking to give you guys and updated list and even a sideboard guide if all goes to plan.

As always, any questions, suggestions etc feel free to leave a comment and i’ll certainly do my best to answer!

Thanks for reading!




Aaron "Ronnie" Brown

Aaron "Ronnie" Brown

Hi! I'm Aaron Brown, more know as "Ronnie". I'm from north Ayrshire in Scotland. I have a 2 year old daughter and a very supportive fiancée. I aspire to play magic for the Scottish national team and to one day play on the Pro Tour.

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