Cube Spotlight Series – Grixis Cube

Posted in Magic Digital on August 13, 2019

By Wizards of the Coast

The next entry in the Spotlight Cube Series is the Grixis Cube, created by well-known Magic commentator Ryan Overturf (@RyanOverdrive). Like those that came before it, most recently the Khans Expanded Cube, the Grixis Cube offers a pretty radical take on what Cube means. Ryan had a pitch to adapt his personal cube to Magic Online. I have to admit, we were a little skeptical at first: skipping two colors? Really? But then how do I cast my Kitchen Finks? Setting our doubts aside, we played an early draft, gave it a chance, and were quickly won over.

Ryan's cube is deep and interesting, with a novel concept that pushes the boundaries of what cubes on Magic Online are without sacrificing even one iota of fun. I'm confident you'll really enjoy the Grixis Cube.

Events will begin around 10 a.m. PT on Wednesday, August 28, and last until the same time the following week, when we swap out for the Modern Cube.

Alli Medwin
Digital Product Manager, Magic Online


Greetings, Magic fans! Ryan Overturf here, and if you're reading this, that means that you're about to be able to share in one of my absolute favorite ways to play Magic. Many of you know me from the commentary I provide for the SCG Tour, but what you might not know is that on my off weekends I'm a huge Cube enthusiast. Today's spotlight might not be quite what you're used to, so prepare yourself, because the Grixis Cube is coming to Magic Online!

Back when I first started cubing, every cube was more or less a stack of the same powerful cards with a few of the cube owner's personal favorites peppered in to taste. The only question you'd really ask before drafting was whether a cube was powered or not. Cube design has come a long way since then, and there's no shortage of creative ways to build your own Draft experience. The first unique design I ever encountered was one featuring only blue cards, and it completely changed how I thought about Cube.

I'm largely known as a Grixis mage, so building a cube that eschewed green and white cards was something that immediately excited me. On its face, the guiding principle for construction is simply "no Selesnya allowed." I do break this rule a little by including some hybrid mana cards, but in my defense I have blacked out the green and white costs on the physical cards. Of course, the Grixis Cube isn't so much about not playing green and white as it is about experiencing the full range of effects that blue, black, and red have to offer.

Playing a cube with fewer colors changes drafting and deck construction in some interesting ways. For starters, drafting a three-color deck with good mana is much easier than doing so with all five colors. As such, you'll generally be able to play most or all the cards in your Draft pool. We've all had the experience of being short on cards that you want to put in your Draft deck, but the Grixis Cube actually tends to generate the opposite experience. Most Grixis Cube decks have robust main decks as well as access to a number of relevant sideboard options to adjust to whatever your opponent has brought to the table. There are a handful of cards in the cube that are deliberately included as sideboard options, such as Pyroblast and Hydroblast, but if you're feeling feisty they can pay off in the main deck, too.

I find that this increased relevance of sideboards adds a lot to the gameplay and mitigates the feeling of just running into a bad matchup. I recently drafted an aggressive mono-white deck in Vintage Cube and immediately ran afoul of a Reanimated Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, which made every card I had brought to the table feel embarrassing. The Grixis Cube has a heavy emphasis on interaction, so you'll typically have something in your Draft pool that will help you more directly engage with your opponent's strategy. This emphasis on interaction combined with increased relevance of sideboards helps to make matches more competitive on average.

Beyond that, featuring fewer colors in the cube makes it easier to support multiple archetypes within the represented colors. Storm and other spell-based combos have historically struggled in unpowered cubes, but these archetypes get much better support here given that you just get more slots for red rituals and what have you without having to cut slots from the other red decks. A few notable recent printings have improved these decks quite a bit as well, such as Bolas's Citadel and Thousand-Year Storm.

The cube features great support for the fully Grixis decks, though there's a lot to explore in every two-color pair, as well as powerful monocolor options. Colorless is sort of a "fourth color" for the cube in many ways as well. The artifact count is very high, which supports multicolor artifacts-matter strategies as well as making monocolor decks easier to draft. Colorless is also more literally a fourth color with the inclusion of Though-Knot Seer and a few other Eldrazi. There are a handful of lands that generate colorless mana, such as Shivan Reef, to cast these Eldrazi, and they certainly increase the value of Mutavault. There aren't a ton of Eldrazi in the cube, but I wouldn't sleep on Eldrazi Temple!

Basically every on-color two-mana artifact that taps for mana is included in the cube, which allows ample acceleration for control decks to get on the table quickly as well as adding a strong supporting cast for cards like Urza, Lord High Artificer and Goblin Welder. The artifact-heavy decks take many forms, from being Upheaval or Wildfire decks to beating down with Master of Etherium. You don't see Mox Opal in many cubes, but it's right at home here.

While artifacts and answers to them are abundant, that's not the only card type that functions a little differently in the Grixis Cube as compared to other environments. The Grixis shard is notably pretty vulnerable to enchantments, and as such enchantments should be valued more highly here than they would be in something like the Legacy Cube. Sulfuric Vortex and Phyrexian Arena tend to be very high picks for their respective archetypes, but they should be valued even more highly in a field of all-Grixis decks.

The Grixis Cube is unpowered, but I often describe it as being about as powerful as a cube can be without including Black Lotus et al. The cutoff for cards that are too powerful to include exists somewhere between Grim Monolith and Mana Vault. Grim Monolith is included and is among the higher picks in the cube, being both an artifact and a tremendous mana accelerant, though the power level of the cube is otherwise high enough that you can cast the card on turn two and lose often enough. Mana Vault on the other hand is excluded, as it gives you a little too much mana if cast during a combo turn while also facilitating really messed up turn-two plays before your opponent can even get Abrade mana online.

I offer my sincerest apologies to Selesnya mages. While I do have an affinity for Gaea's Cradle and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, they are more "sometimes foods" for me. When it comes to cantrips, direct damage, and Yawgmoth's Will, I am always ready for another plate. I do implore you to give the Grixis Cube a try, though. The Conclave will be waiting for you when you're done, or perhaps you'll acquire a taste for the Grixis section of the color pie.

The Grixis Cube was the first design of mine I ever fell in love with, and if half of you love it half as much as I do then this will have been a huge success for me. Happy drafting!

Grixis Cube Card List

Card Name
Delver of Secrets
Enclave Cryptologist
Pteramander
Augur of Bolas
Baral, Chief of Compliance
Glint-Nest Crane
Harbinger of the Tides
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
Looter il-Kor
Phantasmal Image
Snapcaster Mage
Stratus Dancer
Thing in the Ice
Spellskite
Arcane Artisan
Champion of Wits
Grand Architect
Man-o'-War
Spellseeker
Tempest Djinn
Trinket Mage
True-Name Nemesis
Vendilion Clique
Master of Etherium
Thassa, God of the Sea
Glen Elendra Archmage
God-Eternal Kefnet
Master of Waves
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Urza, Lord High Artificer
Venser, Shaper Savant
Whirler Rogue
Phyrexian Metamorph
Mulldrifter
Riftwing Cloudskate
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Consecrated Sphinx
Frost Titan
Torrential Gearhulk
Agent of Treachery
Tidespout Tyrant
Inkwell Leviathan
Jace Beleren
Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer
Narset, Parter of Veils
Jace, Architect of Thought
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Tezzeret the Seeker
Brainstorm
Flusterstorm
Force Spike
High Tide
Hydroblast
Mystical Tutor
Opt
Quicken
Spell Pierce
Blink of an Eye
Brain Freeze
Counterspell
Daze
Impulse
Mana Leak
Memory Lapse
Miscalculation
Mission Briefing
Negate
Remand
Disallow
Forbid
Force of Negation
Frantic Search
Intuition
Supreme Will
Thirst for Knowledge
Commit // Memory
Cryptic Command
Fact or Fiction
Turnabout
Force of Will
Mystic Confluence
Commence the Endgame
Repeal
Dig Through Time
Ancestral Vision
Careful Study
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Preordain
Serum Visions
Chart a Course
Compulsive Research
Show and Tell
Timetwister
Drawn from Dreams
Time Warp
Echo of Eons
Mind's Desire
Time Spiral
Upheaval
Finale of Revelation
Aminatou's Augury
Treasure Cruise
Search for Azcanta
The Antiquities War
Dream Halls
Future Sight
Treachery
Vedalken Shackles
Bloodsoaked Champion
Carrion Feeder
Cryptbreaker
Dread Wanderer
Gravecrawler
Gutterbones
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Putrid Imp
Blood Artist
Bloodghast
Dark Confidant
Gatekeeper of Malakir
Gifted Aetherborn
Kitesail Freebooter
Mesmeric Fiend
Oona's Prowler
Pack Rat
Priest of Forgotten Gods
Relentless Dead
Vampire Hexmage
Zulaport Cutthroat
Scrapheap Scrounger
Brain Maggot
Dreamstealer
Geralf's Messenger
Hypnotic Specter
Liliana, Heretical Healer
Magus of the Will
Midnight Reaper
Ophiomancer
Plaguecrafter
Vampire Nighthawk
Braids, Cabal Minion
Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Phyrexian Obliterator
Ravenous Chupacabra
Sling-Gang Lieutenant
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Erebos, God of the Dead
Doom Whisperer
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Grave Titan
Massacre Wurm
Noxious Gearhulk
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Griselbrand
Vilis, Broker of Blood
Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage
Liliana of the Veil
Liliana, the Last Hope
Liliana, Death's Majesty
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Dark Ritual
Defile
Entomb
Fatal Push
Rain of Filth
Vampiric Tutor
Cabal Ritual
Cast Down
Go for the Throat
Goryo's Vengeance
Liliana's Triumph
Moment of Craving
Shallow Grave
Ultimate Price
Corpse Dance
Dismember
Hero's Downfall
To the Slaughter
Makeshift Mannequin
Vraska's Contempt
Wretched Confluence
Duress
Imperial Seal
Innocent Blood
Inquisition of Kozilek
Reanimate
Scheming Symmetry
Thoughtseize
Chainer's Edict
Collective Brutality
Demonic Tutor
Exhume
Hymn to Tourach
Night's Whisper
The Elderspell
Buried Alive
Drill Bit
Never // Return
Painful Truths
Ruinous Path
Toxic Deluge
Yawgmoth's Will
Damnation
Languish
Tendrils of Agony
Dark Petition
Finale of Eternity
Animate Dead
Arguel's Blood Fast
Bitterblossom
Chains of Mephistopheles
Necromancy
Phyrexian Arena
Recurring Nightmare
The Eldest Reborn
Lashwrithe
Bolas's Citadel
Falkenrath Gorger
Figure of Destiny
Goblin Bushwhacker
Goblin Guide
Goblin Welder
Grim Lavamancer
Monastery Swiftspear
Stromkirk Noble
Zurgo Bellstriker
Bomat Courier
Abbot of Keral Keep
Ash Zealot
Dire Fleet Daredevil
Dreadhorde Arcanist
Earthshaker Khenra
Goblin Cratermaker
Goblin Engineer
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
Lightning Mauler
Mogg War Marshal
Rix Maadi Reveler
Runaway Steam-Kin
Stormblood Berserker
Viashino Pyromancer
Young Pyromancer
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh
Eldrazi Obligator
Goblin Chainwhirler
Goblin Rabblemaster
Goblin Ruinblaster
Legion Warboss
Magus of the Wheel
Manic Vandal
Pia Nalaar
Reckless Bushwhacker
Seasoned Pyromancer
Simian Spirit Guide
Avalanche Riders
Hazoret the Fervent
Hellrider
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Rekindling Phoenix
Glorybringer
Goblin Dark-Dwellers
Ilharg, the Raze-Boar
Siege-Gang Commander
Thundermaw Hellkite
Zealous Conscripts
Inferno Titan
Bedlam Reveler
Greater Gargadon
Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Daretti, Scrap Savant
Koth of the Hammer
Sarkhan the Masterless
Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Chandra, Flamecaller
Burst Lightning
Lightning Bolt
Pyroblast
Abrade
Desperate Ritual
Fire // Ice
Magma Jet
Manamorphose
Pyretic Ritual
Kozilek's Return
Risk Factor
Seething Song
Stoke the Flames
Through the Breach
Fireblast
Electrodominance
Chain Lightning
Devastating Summons
Faithless Looting
Firebolt
Flame Slash
Forked Bolt
Overmaster
Rite of Flame
Arc Trail
Cathartic Reunion
Mizzium Mortars
Pyroclasm
Anger of the Gods
Hordeling Outburst
Light Up the Stage
Molten Rain
Pillage
Sweltering Suns
Trash for Treasure
Wheel of Fortune
Empty the Warrens
Fiery Confluence
Mizzix's Mastery
Hour of Devastation
Burning of Xinye
Wildfire
Finale of Promise
Release the Gremlins
Goblin Bombardment
Aria of Flame
Mana Flare
Sulfuric Vortex
Experimental Frenzy
Sneak Attack
Shrine of Burning Rage
Sygg, River Cutthroat
Baleful Strix
Countersquall
Tyrant's Scorn
Discovery// Dispersal
Thought Erasure
Nightveil Specter
Thief of Sanity
Undermine
Hostage Taker
Notion Thief
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
The Scarab God
Silumgar's Command
Dragonlord Silumgar
Rakdos Cackler
Slavering Nulls
Terminate
Angrath's Rampage
Cut // Ribbons
Dreadbore
Fulminator Mage
Judith, the Scourge Diva
Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast
Bedevil
Kolaghan's Command
Theater of Horrors
Falkenrath Aristocrat
Sire of Insanity
Rakdos's Return
Goblin Electromancer
Expansion // Explosion
Izzet Charm
Dack Fayden
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
Electrolyze
Ionize
Dack's Duplicate
Ral Zarek
Ral, Storm Conduit
Ral's Outburst
Prophetic Bolt
Keranos, God of Storms
Niv-Mizzet, Parun
Thousand-Year Storm
Kess, Dissident Mage
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God
Cruel Ultimatum
Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
Chrome Mox
Everflowing Chalice
Lion's Eye Diamond
Lotus Bloom
Lotus Petal
Mox Diamond
Mox Opal
Candelabra of Tawnos
Manifold Key
Pithing Needle
Relic of Progenitus
Sensei's Divining Top
Skullclamp
Wayfarer's Bauble
Charcoal Diamond
Coldsteel Heart
Defense Grid
Dimir Signet
Fellwar Stone
Fire Diamond
Grim Monolith
Guardian Idol
Heart of Kiran
Ichor Wellspring
Izzet Signet
Lightning Greaves
Mind Stone
Pentad Prism
Prismatic Lens
Rakdos Signet
Scroll Rack
Sky Diamond
Smuggler's Copter
Sorcerous Spyglass
Star Compass
Talisman of Creativity
Talisman of Dominance
Talisman of Indulgence
Thought Vessel
Treasure Map
Umezawa's Jitte
Winter Orb
Basalt Monolith
Chromatic Lantern
Coalition Relic
Crucible of Worlds
Darksteel Ingot
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Sinew and Steel
Tangle Wire
Worn Powerstone
Coercive Portal
Firemind Vessel
Hedron Archive
Mystic Forge
Sentinel Tower
Smokestack
Thran Dynamo
Batterskull
Gilded Lotus
Memory Jar
Mindslaver
Staff of Nin
Epochrasite
Phyrexian Revoker
Filigree Familiar
Metalworker
Palladium Myr
Pilgrim's Eye
Lodestone Golem
Solemn Simulacrum
Kuldotha Forgemaster
Precursor Golem
Duplicant
Steel Hellkite
Wurmcoil Engine
Meteor Golem
Myr Battlesphere
Sundering Titan
Hangarback Walker
Walking Ballista
Blightsteel Colossus
Matter Reshaper
Thought-Knot Seer
Reality Smasher
Endbringer
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Emrakul, the Promised End
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Karn, Scion of Urza
Ugin, the Ineffable
Karn Liberated
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
All Is Dust
Academy Ruins
Ancient Tomb
Badlands
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blast Zone
Blinkmoth Nexus
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Canyon Slough
Cascade Bluffs
City of Traitors
Creeping Tar Pit
Crumbling Necropolis
Crystal Vein
Darkslick Shores
Darksteel Citadel
Dragonskull Summit
Dreadship Reef
Drowned Catacomb
Eldrazi Temple
Fetid Pools
Fiery Islet
Graven Cairns
Great Furnace
Lavaclaw Reaches
Mishra's Factory
Molten Slagheap
Mutavault
Myriad Landscape
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Peat Bog
Polluted Delta
Prismatic Vista
Ramunap Ruins
Rishadan Port
Sandstone Needle
Saprazzan Skerry
Scalding Tarn
Scavenger Grounds
Seat of the Synod
Shelldock Isle
Shivan Reef
Smoldering Marsh
Spire of Industry
Spirebluff Canal
Steam Vents
Strip Mine
Sulfur Falls
Sulfurous Springs
Sunken Hollow
Sunken Ruins
Tectonic Edge
Temple of Deceit
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Malice
Tolarian Academy
Underground River
Underground Sea
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Vault of Whispers
Volcanic Island
Volrath's Stronghold
Wandering Fumarole
Wasteland
Watery Grave

 

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