Matchup Mulligan: Grixis Phoenix

Turbo Depths Hand Answer

Hand 10: (on the draw)

Mox OpalLions Eye DiamondLotus PetalRite Of FlameRite Of FlameRite Of FlameDarkRitual


Yes, we’re on the draw and have roughly 17 live draws (9 that flat out win the game), which is about 33% to win the game for every draw step. The big issue here is that we’re on the draw and that discard spells shut off our hand. Post-board Turbo Depths decks have four copies of Thoughtseize, Duress, and possibly Inquisition of Kozilek depending on the list. You can expect around eight discard spells total and for your opponent to be more inclined with your opponent being more likely to keep a hand with a discard spell. I believe that 33% is more like 16% to win the game if you account for losing Metalcraft for Mox Opal to any discard spell on top of needing a live draw.

Grixis Phoenix


For reference: Example List

Hand 1: (on the draw)

DarkRitual Rite Of Flame Polluted Delta Badlands Lotus Petal Empty The Warrens Volcanic Island


Sadly, against Grixis Phoenix eight Goblins won’t be enough. On top of Young Pyromancer being a natural foil to Empty the Warrens, Arclight Phoenix can race you pretty easily. What they aim to do on average is on the second turn play a discard spells or a cantrip into Dark Ritual and Buried Alive, which would make our Goblin tokens look very foolish. In order for you to make Goblins, you really want to be making 14-16 tokens.


Hand 2: (on the play)

DarkRitual Lotus Petal Rite Of Flame Mox Opal Chrome Mox Polluted Delta Ad Nauseam


Yes, Grixis Phoenix plays blue… but they don’t play Force of Will. We should be treating this match-up somewhat similarly to how we would combat Ad Nauseam Tendrils. What we have in this hand is a incredibly high percentage of an easy turn one kill. What I’ve noticed with people playing Mox Opal is they aren’t taking advantage of the imprint triggers of Chrome Mox while Mox Opal gained Metalcraft from Chrome Mox resolving. I would start off by playing Polluted Delta, search up a red source, cast Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, Mox Opal, and Chrome Mox. With the Imprint on the stack, tap Mox Opal, cast Dark Ritual and Ad Nauseam. “Why would I do this?” for the most part, it doesn’t matter. But you’re guaranteed to have extra cards you don’t need off of the Ad Nauseam and I was taught to take advantage of every single incremental amount of value you can, this line also helps you prepare for the worst case scenario. What if for some reason you can’t win? You previously burned a Lotus Petal for next to no reason or possibly cut yourself off of a color by getting rid of the Lotus Petal. It’s a small thing, but doing the little things correctly does add up in the long-run.


Hand 3: (on the draw)

Ponder Brainstorm Duress Volcanic Island Underground Sea Rite Of Flame DarkRitual


This is a well-rounded hand that can fight back through discard based disruption, as well as being able to disrupt your opponent. Not every hand needs to be blazing fast!


Hand 4: (on the play)

Lions Eye Diamond Chrome Mox Lotus Petal Rite Of Flame Mox Opal Badlands Polluted Delta


I normally like hands like this in discard mirrors, you’re able to play out your hand and sit back waiting for those 33% odds every draw step to win. Arclight Phoenix changes things, typically you’re waiting to just draw Infernal Tutor into Ad Nauseam. The difference here is the Arclight Phoenix decks pressure your life total a lot faster while having plenty of hand disruption.


Hand 5: (on the draw)

Ponder BurningWish Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame Lotus Petal Rite Of Flame Thoughtseize


This hand just loses to a turn one discard spell or possibly even Daze (usually only two copies), but making more than 10 Goblins puts you in a position where you can race a second turn swing for nine game from the firebirds. It’s certainly a risk versus reward scenario, but you’re not playing #blackbelcher to play it safe!



Recommended sideboarding:


Hand 6: (on the play)

Thoughtseize Duress Thoughtseize DarkRitual Echoing Truth Polluted Delta Bloodstained Mire


This hand is incredibly close, but ultimately, I think you’re too far away from winning. While discard spells are good in combo mirrors and Echoing Truth can bounce or counter a Buried Alive, I can’t see this hand winning by turn four. What this means is that your opponent will have plenty of opportunities to cast their discard spells or dig for Flusterstorm.

I can’t fault anyone for keeping this hand, I just think I’d rather be more proactive.


Hand 7: (on the draw)

DarkRitual Lions Eye Diamond Infernal Tutor BurningWish Lotus Petal Chrome Mox Badlands


Post-board your opponent has access to Flusterstorm, Spell Pierce, Engineered Explosives, Echoing Truth, and Tormod’s Crypt on top of their main deck discard spells (plus Daze) — these still aren’t Force of Will. If your opponent casts a cantrip, they’re likely dead. I really don’t like the Goblins plan post-board as your opponent just sided in three to four answers, which means with this hand I want to cast Ad Nauseam. While this hand could lose, the probability of winning is just so much higher.


Hand 8: (on the play)

Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame BurningWish Badlands Bloodstained Mire Duress Echoing Truth


Some of you may be looking at this hand as an Empty the Warrens hand, I think that’s wrong. As I mentioned in hand seven, they bring in too many answers for our token friends. Instead, this is a Dark Petition hand that will likely win on turn three or four while having two pieces of back-up. Sign me up!


Hand 9: (on the draw)

BurningWish Infernal Tutor Echoing Truth DarkRitual DarkRitual Polluted Delta


It’s not pretty, but this hand is definitely better than your average five. Without drawing a Lion’s Eye Diamond or Brainstorm, you’re pretty far off from winning but it’s certainly possible!


Hand 10: (on the play)

Ad Nauseam Infernal Tutor Lotus Petal Lotus Petal Rite Of Flame Lions Eye Diamond Duress

Stay tuned for the next article!

I’ll provide my answer in the next article, but for now, make sure to post your thoughts!