Deck Tech with Luis Salvatto and Sebastian Pozzo: Grixis Control

Posted in Event Coverage on October 31, 2015

By Chapman Sim

A very familiar name caught my eye (and perhaps maybe yours too!) while perusing through the extensive list of Grand Prix Trial winners. As a matter of the fact, the very first Grand Prix Trial winner yesterday happens to be Luis Salvatto, our reigning Super Sunday Series Champion!

Preparing for this event with his fellow Argentinian teammate from Magic Lair, Sebastian Pozzo, both players are on the exact 75 for the main event today. They spend a minute in between their rounds to discuss their weapon of choice this weekend.

Salvatto: Well sure, post the decklist! The cat's out of the bag anyway, since I won a grinder yesterday. The only difference is that I removed the 3rdMolten Rain for a copy of Crumble to Dust!

Grixis Control

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Let's start by getting them talk to us about Pia and Kiran Nalaar.

Salvatto: It feels like Lingering Souls, except that we have to pay all the mana upfront rather than in two installments. I love this card not only because it provides thee bodies in one card, but also because of its synergy with Kolaghan's Command.

Of late, Grixis players have enjoyed the recursive powers provided by the Dragons of Tarkir instant coupled with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Snapcaster Mage but the pair of Argentinians are going one up and threw in Chandra's parents into the mix.

Pozzo: It's really good against Affinity, which is always one of the most popular aggro decks in Modern. The Thopter tokens block Signal Pest, Inkmoth and Blinkmoth Nexus and most importantly, it also blocks Etched Champion!

Salvatto: Originally, we tested with Young Pyromancer, but we never really wanted to cast it on turn two anyway. Besides, it is a very bad topdeck when we're running low on cards. Pia and Kiran Nalaar on the other hand is something you'd be happy to draw in the mid to late game!

The beauty of the deck is how many one-mana spells they've deliberately chosen to included. Counting sixteen of them, they've tuned the deck and made it a huge priority to play a sufficient amount of cheap spells, even going to the extent of shaving Remands.

Salvatto: The reason why we have so many one-mana spells is because we have Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Snapcaster Mage in our decks. You need something to do on turns one and three.

Pozzo: Snapcaster Mage is not a two-mana card, and you need to pair it with enough one-mana spells in order for it to be truly efficient!

So what kind of metagame are they expecting this weekend and what are the best and worst matchups for Grixis Control?

Salvatto: It's a Grand Prix, so we're really expecting a mix of everything. Modern is very diverse, but I feel that Splinter Twin is one of our best matchups.

Pozzo: Also, we like our chances against Jund and Affinity, which we expect to be very popular. The only problematic card in Jund is probably Scavenging Ooze in the hands of a good player. An early Scavenging Ooze is rarely the problem, and a good Jund player should know to hold them and clean out our graveyard in the late-game.

Salvatto: I believe Grixis Control can beat all the Tier 1 decks. It's the Tier 2 decks that Grixis Control has problems against, such as Bogles. Or Tron! This is also why we're adding Crumble to Dust in the sideboard, the sole representation from Battle for Zendikar. Haha!

Pozzo: The deck is really hard to play, because you have so many options most of the time. It's not a fast deck because most of the games go very long and you need to plan very far ahead.

In particular, we're drawing attention to the pair of Countersquall and Vampiric Link in the sideboard. Nope, this isn't a Halloween joke. They are running Vampiric Link.

Salvatto: At first, we had Negate in the sideboard but of course Countersquall is the upgrade. We're still a damage-based deck and we win by attacking with Tasigurs, Snapcaster Mages and Creeping Tar Pits. The damage does add up and we found that a second copy of Countersquall was amazing against any of the control matchups. The damage does add up!

Pozzo: Also, the Vampiric Link is very good against the Burn decks and ideally we'd like to stick it on our opponent's Eidolon of the Great Revel. Once we do that, he actually needs to kill his own Eidolon of the Great Revel, otherwise each spell he casts will deal himself damage and gain us life!

Salvatto: Yes, also if we manage enchant it on Tasigur, the Golden Fang and go in for one attack, the game is usually over.

As we speak, Salvatto is at 4-1, while Pozzo's at 5-0 and both Argentinians are poised for a great weekend. We'll check back with them later to find out how they did!

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