Untap Open Leage (UOL): Standard Grixis Midrange vs Esper Historic Combo

Hey guys, Sushi here! Today I present to you a Standard Grixis Midrange deck! Grixis Midrange is honestly one of my favourite decks right now, with cards from War of the Spark such as Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God and Liliana, Dreadhorde General (who is honestly one of my favourite cards in the whole set!) causing a rampage of the format. It feels like Grixis is finally making a comeback in standard, cue diabolical laughter.

Today’s article is going to be a two part article, with the first part being a deck tech style section, and the second part detailing the first match of the Untap Open League!

The Deck:

Honestly, Grixis Midrange is one of my favourite decks right now in Standard. With so much versatility, it has a sense of sensibility, sophistication and professionalism, but it’s also just really fun to piece together your hand (because let’s be honest, unless you have a 7-land-hand or have no sources, you really have to just play with what you have – and it usually doesn’t dissapoint!)

Grixis Midrange by Sushiske

Creatures (16)
Dire Fleet Daredevil
Dreadhorde Butcher
Thief of Sanity
Hostage Taker
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager

Planeswalkers (3)
Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God
Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Spells (12)
Angrath's Rampage
Lava Coil
Thought Erasure
Enter the God-Eternals
Carnival // Carnage

Enchantments (4)
Disinformation Campaign
The Eldest Reborn
Lands (25)
Blood Crypt
Dragonskull Summit
Drowned Catacomb
Steam Vents
Sulfur Falls
Watery Grave

Sideboard (15)
Price of Betrayal
Dire Fleet Daredevil
Moment of Craving
The Elderspell
Cry of the Carnarium
Unmoored Ego
Ritual of Soot
Ugin, the Ineffable

To keep things short and simple, the deck basically does what it says on the tin. The aim of the game is to be a pseudo-tempo deck, using cards like Thought Erasure and Thief of Sanity to control the early parts of the game; to deny your opponents resources as you gain value and a lot of momentum, and then use the late game to make a lot of large threats at once – something which this deck doesn’t fall short at (with cards such as Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and Nicol Bolas,Dragon-God reigning havoc on the battlefield constantly). Closing the game with this deck feels rewarding and satisfying, and no matter the matchup you don’t really have a chance to say that you were rolled over – you always have a chance to put up a fight and the deck is very versatile; the deck is very adaptable.

There’s no complicated combo to this deck, it’s honestly just a case of eliminating threats and responding with bigger, harder to deal with threats most of the time, and in control matchups the aim is to have more threats than the opponent has answers.

All in all, I love this deck, and I think that it is pretty solid in the current meta. I won’t be talking about the meta yet, however, as this deck is currently newish, and I want to take it through a whole UOL campaign before I make assumptions against specific decks.

Untap Open League – Introduction and Week 1 Report:

(I am in no way sponsored to endorse Untap.in or the UOL. All views here are my own.)

What is the Untap Open League, you may ask? The Untap Open League is a set of Magic leagues on the online site Untap, organised by a Discord server. Untap.in (in my opinion) the easiest way to test non-Standard Magic decks for free, and generally you’ll find an array of decks and players playing Magic – it’s no MTGA or MTGO/MODO, however it is a very useful tool, and thanks to communities such as the Untap Open League it is becoming more and more like a competitive community for people who can’t afford to play Magic.

This morning, the Untap Open League Standard League commenced, and I found myself facing a very odd deck – FunPhoenix’s Esper Historic Combo deck!

Esper Historic Combo by FunPhoenix

Creatures (33)
Stitcher's Supplier
Chamber Sentry
Fblthp, the Lost
Diligent Excavator
Lazav, the Multifarious
Rona, Disciple of Gix
Militia Bugler
Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle

Artifacts (6)
Mox Amber
Traveler's Amulet
Lands (21)
Watery Grave
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Drowned Catacomb
Isolated Chapel
Glacial Fortress

Sideboard (15)
Deputy of Detention
Kitesail Freebooter
Hostage Taker
Teferi, Time Raveler
Massacre Girl
Bolas's Citadel

This deck is very interesting, and unique. I had never seen it before, and going into the matchup I honestly had no clue how to play against it. According to FunPhoenix in our post match conversation, the way to play the cycle of the deck is:

“Have a teshar out
Cast chamber sentry1
Return rona1
Off of rona1, exile chamber sentry2
Cast chamber sentry2
Return rona2
Sac the old one to legend rule

FunPhoenix on the UOL Discord

With this cycle, you use Diligent Excavator to mill your opponent’s library – which I find very reminiscent of an Altar of the Brood combo.

Even though this is something I’d never seen before, I decided to just play it safe in the first game, keeping an opening hand of two UB lands, a Thought Erasure, two copies of Lava Coil and a Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, with one copy of The Eldest Reborn in my hand – on the play. On the second turn, I grabbed a Lazav, the Multifarious from my opponent’s hand before they could even put down their second land, already leaving them at a slight disadvantage. My luck then all came together, as I drew another Thought Erasure, taking away a Rona, Disciple of Gix leaving only two cards in their hand, one of them being a Chamber Sentry. Eventually, due to Hostage Taker and Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, and then an amazingly swift Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God amongst other draws – I closed out game one with a breeze.

An easy decision, to be honest…

Game 2 was a lot less complicated, as my Thought Erasure was stolen by a Kitesail Freebooter, and so I had no information. I decided to play blindly aggressive, using Thief of Sanity to deny my opponent key resources, and using Nicol Bolas, the Ravager as a beater. By the time I had Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God on the field, I had already secured the 2-0 through the dominating board state.

I enjoyed playing this deck in the UOL for the first time, and I can’t wait to see where it goes! GG to FunPhoenix – I really enjoyed their deck and hope to see it played again soon! Let me know what you think by tweeting me – @sushiske – or MTGSpark at @SparkMTG. Feel free to let me know what you guys want to see next, I’d love to hear some ideas (the jankier the better). Thanks so much for reading!
– Sushiske

Just love Magic tbh!


  1. The jankier the better, eh?

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