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Thread: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

  1. #1

    Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Main thesis:
    - The esper mentor shell is solid
    - Sedgemoor Witch functions similarly as a Monastery Mentor kind of card and the fact that it shoots your opp when it gets targeted has synergy with playing Bolt instead of Plow (you are more likely to put opponents in range of bolt-snap-bolt kills for example
    - The smog combo making infinite tokens is intriguing but you don't want to draw smog at awkward times because the card is not very good by itself
    - Play burning wish in the deck to access Chain of Smog + other good options

    Cons
    - Bolt much worse as a removal spell than plow especially wrt Uro
    - Using burning wish as a tutor in a fair deck is kind of clunky/slow/bad

    Adapting Whitefaces esper list basically just swapping Mentor for Witch and Teferi for Burning Wish

    4 Polluted Delta
    4 Scalding Tarn
    3 Bloodstained Mire
    1 Mountain
    1 Swamp
    2 Island
    2 Underground Sea
    2 Volcanic Island
    1 Badlands

    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    1 Cling to Dust
    1 Fatal Push
    2 Inquisition of Kozilek
    2 Unearth
    2 Of One Mind
    3 Force of Will
    2 Force of Negation
    3 Burning Wish
    1 Kolaghan's Command

    1 JTMS

    3 Snapcaster Mage
    4 Baleful Strix
    3 Sedgemoor Witch

    Possibly want to fit 1 more Cling due to the lack of Plow
    I've seen someone suggest a JVP instead of e.g. the JTMS (more synergy with Of One Mind, Unearth, etc)

    Notably Flusterstorm works well with Witch but idk if that brings it up to maindeckable status (probably not)

    Sideboard
    1 Chain of Smog
    1 Artifact Destruction (Shenanigans, Meltdown etc)
    1 Sweeper (e.g. Toxic Deluge)
    1 Flexi-Spot-Removal (e.g. Dreadbore)
    1 Value spell (e.g. Painful Truths)
    From here the utility of tutor options kind of drops off I think but there are a few reasonable choices
    1 Thoughtseize (probably worth)
    1 Alternate wincondition (not really sure what the best option is, there is like Haunting Echoes/Neverending Torment, Army of the Damned / Worm Harvest / Tokens, idk probably something better than these exists but I'm not sure what it looks like)
    1 Telemin Performance
    1 Unmoored Ego / Necromentia type of card
    1 From the Ashes type of card

    Then for non-wish target sb
    - Pyroblast
    - Plague Engineer
    - Flusterstorm
    - Surgical
    the usual stuff

    Seems at least reasonable but idk if there is actually a reason to play it

  2. #2
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    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Cabal Therapy is very strong in black decks with "whenever you cast a sorcery spell, create a token".

    Young Pyromancer would be good here too. Good with Therapy. Also both YP and Witch result in both a Human + non-Human token, which synergizes very well with Of One Mind, the powerhouse of this shell.

    Comparing Grixis to Esper version, Bolt is worse than Plow so the real reason to play this is the possible infinite combo with Burning Wish into Chain of Smog. But your only payoff is Witch. You can make infinite tokens but you can't win this turn. Infinite tokens loses to more things (Terminus, Plague Engineer, Ensnaring Bridge, Dead of Winter). Is it not worth having at least one Magicraft creature with a "win this turn" mode?

  3. #3

    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    I'd like to try jund which opens up 3 cmc gsz into witherbloom then at 4 cmc next turn b wish into smog. More redundancy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Laser Brains View Post
    With the printing of Gigantosaurus, Thrashing Brontodon and Steel Leaf Champion the deck has evolved from good to very competitive. Anyway, give it a few play tests if you are interested and let me know what you think.

    Winter Maze
    Quote Originally Posted by CptHaddock View Post
    With veteran explorer I know that I 100% will not enjoy a 30 minute grindfest against someone who can barely afford dual lands and believes that their deck can cast a 10 mana 8/8.

  4. #4

    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Cabal Therapy is very strong in black decks with "whenever you cast a sorcery spell, create a token".

    Young Pyromancer would be good here too. Good with Therapy. Also both YP and Witch result in both a Human + non-Human token, which synergizes very well with Of One Mind, the powerhouse of this shell.

    Comparing Grixis to Esper version, Bolt is worse than Plow so the real reason to play this is the possible infinite combo with Burning Wish into Chain of Smog. But your only payoff is Witch. You can make infinite tokens but you can't win this turn. Infinite tokens loses to more things (Terminus, Plague Engineer, Ensnaring Bridge, Dead of Winter). Is it not worth having at least one Magicraft creature with a "win this turn" mode?
    The infinite combo is just an option, you can easily make a non-infinite number of Pest and wish for whatever shatter variant instead of smog to kill ensnaring bridge and win that way (I just realized shattering spree makes extra pest for every red mana which is kind of cute, but it has drawbacks also)

    All of the other magecraft creatures are too useless by themselves I think

    The YP idea is okay but
    - Dies more easily
    - Attacks for less, no menace
    - No ward
    - Worse tokens (no lifegain)
    - No synergy with flusterstorm etc
    - Can't do the infinite

    With all of those considerations what do you cut for it
    Seems like theres no space for Witch plus YP, you can definitely just be that deck (grixis oom without burning wish / smog combo) if you value bolts/pyros over plow/teferi

    And yeah it's totally possible that the smog combo is not realistically relevant in any matchup/situation in which case probably you would rather have YP + some good cards instead of Witch/Wish (or even if you like Witch you would probably cut wish)
    Like vs any fair deck with counter/removal options you are probably not going for it unless you can clear the way first due to the risk of hellbenting yourself in which case it seems a bit winmore/narrow
    Vs combo taking 1 turn to win vs storm etc can be a liability, maybe you would rather just wish for thoughtseize instead

    I think the argument has to be something like "grixis can get the opponent hellbent relatively easily with e.g. discard-snap-discard but the deck needs a way to end games quickly and/or recover board position after untapping with a threat on turn 4" like if you spend your resources on the first few turns of the game to make sure that your 3drop can stick then you might not have many resources left, so the difference between having burning wish -> infinite pest compared to like another Hymn or Fatal Push or whatever those slots would be (1 pest) is pretty big in terms of letting your opponent topdeck their way back into the game, and if you are already basically hellbent anyway at that point in the game then there is much less risk of going for it. Maybe this makes sense or maybe it doesn't

    Therapy is a reasonable shout but I'm guessing there's a reason why Callum didn't play it which would also apply (e.g. you want to keep your creatures in play to enable OOM or the initial cast is too unreliable compared to TS/IOK etc)

    I'd like to try jund which opens up 3 cmc gsz into witherbloom then at 4 cmc next turn b wish into smog. More redundancy.
    If there is a build of Jund that makes sense with a bunch of Wish AND GSZ then I guess it could work but that is a lot of extra mana you're spending
    Like the Nicfit decks that played Burning Wish for scapeshift or devastating dreams or whatever
    I'm not sure how reliable/useful that would be with 1 Apprentice + 1 Smog SB, I wouldn't want to play more than this because these are such bad cards by themselves (I guess you could also play witch maindeck, maybe with PFire? Doesn't seem completely terrible)

  5. #5

    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Although not as cool, a strong plan is just paint-by-numbers Grixis delver. You sort of mentioned yourself but by fair Grixis oom with strix might not take advantage of daze/ward as well as a more aggressive approach.


    4 Delver
    4 Daze
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Young Pyromancer
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder

    3 Volcanic Island
    3 Underground Sea
    4 Bloodstained Mire
    4 Flooded Strand
    1 Misty Rainforest
    4 Wasteland

    3 Cabal Therapy
    2 Thoughtseize
    2 Cling to Dust
    2 Of one Mind
    4 Sedgemoor Witch


  6. #6

    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    Although not as cool, a strong plan is just paint-by-numbers Grixis delver. You sort of mentioned yourself but by fair Grixis oom with strix might not take advantage of daze/ward as well as a more aggressive approach.


    4 Delver
    4 Daze
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Young Pyromancer
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder

    3 Volcanic Island
    3 Underground Sea
    4 Bloodstained Mire
    4 Flooded Strand
    1 Misty Rainforest
    4 Wasteland

    3 Cabal Therapy
    2 Thoughtseize
    2 Cling to Dust
    2 Of one Mind
    4 Sedgemoor Witch

    Yeah this is also pretty reasonable just a bunch of OOM in your aggro fair deck with multiple solid enablers
    Im a little bit worried that it's too midrangey for delver but could be worth trying

  7. #7

    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    Yeah this is also pretty reasonable just a bunch of OOM in your aggro fair deck with multiple solid enablers
    Im a little bit worried that it's too midrangey for delver but could be worth trying
    Isnít bug delver playing library and uros?

  8. #8

    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    Isnít bug delver playing library and uros?
    Thats kind of what I mean, if that's what you can get for spending 3+ mana on a spell then why are you only dicking around with a bunch of 1/1, OOM delver seems not fast enough to go under (4x 3drops in that list vs a super lean config with stifle/angler etc) but also seems like it can get ground out fairly easily as well when your only CA is a few therapy/oom/cling, idk where it is an upgrade

  9. #9
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    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    Therapy is a reasonable shout but I'm guessing there's a reason why Callum didn't play it which would also apply (e.g. you want to keep your creatures in play to enable OOM or the initial cast is too unreliable compared to TS/IOK etc)
    One big reason is that Esper has different play patterns and card options than Grixis. Callum didn't play it because Esper is a different deck.

    I think taking his deck, switching colors, and trying to play it the exact same way is just going to result in an inferior build. If you just copy the deck and switch to Grixis with Bolt (worse than StP without other fast pressure), Witch (worse than Mentor without the combo), and Wish (fills a different role than Teferi) then it seems worse and not taking full advantage of the different things Grixis could do well.

    Esper can't play Young Pyromancer. Grixis can. Witch tokens are better to sacrifice than Mentor tokens. Those 2 changes both change the value of Therapy. With both YP and Witch, now Therapy suddenly gets much better without costing you any valuable bodies. That lets you attack the hand in a different way than Hymn-Snap-Hymn does, with higher tempo and targetted vs random. Could have potential.

    With both Witch + YP, Of One Mind is much easier to enable. Another thing Grixis could exploit better than Esper.

    If the Smog infinite combo is a low priority (no "win this turn" line like Witherbloom), Burning Wish seems weak and maybe the deck just wants to focus on the fair Grixis tokens mode with 0 Wish and 1-2 copies of Chain main for the possible combo. Outside of the combo, Wish seems weak and uses up a lot of SB space.

    Reeplcheep's more aggro focus also increases the value of Bolt, vs playing the slower Snapcaster + Strix version that doesn't pressure life total.

  10. #10

    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    One big reason is that Esper has different play patterns and card options than Grixis. Callum didn't play it because Esper is a different deck.

    I think taking his deck, switching colors, and trying to play it the exact same way is just going to result in an inferior build. If you just copy the deck and switch to Grixis with Bolt (worse than StP without other fast pressure), Witch (worse than Mentor without the combo), and Wish (fills a different role than Teferi) then it seems worse and not taking full advantage of the different things Grixis could do well.

    Esper can't play Young Pyromancer. Grixis can. Witch tokens are better to sacrifice than Mentor tokens. Those 2 changes both change the value of Therapy. With both YP and Witch, now Therapy suddenly gets much better without costing you any valuable bodies. That lets you attack the hand in a different way than Hymn-Snap-Hymn does, with higher tempo and targetted vs random. Could have potential.

    With both Witch + YP, Of One Mind is much easier to enable. Another thing Grixis could exploit better than Esper.

    If the Smog infinite combo is a low priority (no "win this turn" line like Witherbloom), Burning Wish seems weak and maybe the deck just wants to focus on the fair Grixis tokens mode with 0 Wish and 1-2 copies of Chain main for the possible combo. Outside of the combo, Wish seems weak and uses up a lot of SB space.

    Reeplcheep's more aggro focus also increases the value of Bolt, vs playing the slower Snapcaster + Strix version that doesn't pressure life total.
    I mean obv it's a different deck but you said all that without even proposing what you would cut for therapy anyway

    A few burning wish main + sb space I think is VERY likely better than playing smog main but that might not be terrible just as a kind of ghetto hymn, need to reevaluate

    You have extra pressure from the Ward on the witch plus the 1 of K command etc and snapping bolts, like it's not a whole lot but it's not nothing either

    Edit: Assuming you maindeck the smog (e.g. instead of hymn) then you don't need to play red and can just be esper anyway, then you have teferi to silence the opp while you go off with smog

  11. #11
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    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    Although not as cool, a strong plan is just paint-by-numbers Grixis delver. You sort of mentioned yourself but by fair Grixis oom with strix might not take advantage of daze/ward as well as a more aggressive approach.


    4 Delver
    4 Daze
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Young Pyromancer
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder

    3 Volcanic Island
    3 Underground Sea
    4 Bloodstained Mire
    4 Flooded Strand
    1 Misty Rainforest
    4 Wasteland

    3 Cabal Therapy
    2 Thoughtseize
    2 Cling to Dust
    2 Of one Mind
    4 Sedgemoor Witch

    I like this. You could also try a Grixis Pyromancer shell. Sea Gate Stormcaller could be better than Snapcaster with Therapy and OOM.


    //Creatures: 10
    4 Young Pyromancer
    3 Sea Gate Stormcaller
    3 Sedgemoor Witch

    //Spells: 29
    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Cabal Therapy
    2 Thoughtseize
    2 Fatal Push
    3 Lightning Bolt
    1 Cling to Dust
    1 Drown in the Loch
    1 Chain of Smog
    1 Kolaghan's Command
    2 Of One Mind

    //Planeswalkers: 1
    1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    //Lands: 20
    4 Polluted Delta
    4 Scalding Tarn
    3 Bloodstained Mire
    1 Mountain
    1 Swamp
    2 Island
    2 Underground Sea
    2 Volcanic Island
    1 Badlands


    Maybe +1 Chain over another spell.

  12. #12

    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    If there is a build of Jund that makes sense with a bunch of Wish AND GSZ then I guess it could work but that is a lot of extra mana you're spending
    Like the Nicfit decks that played Burning Wish for scapeshift or devastating dreams or whatever
    I'm not sure how reliable/useful that would be with 1 Apprentice + 1 Smog SB, I wouldn't want to play more than this because these are such bad cards by themselves (I guess you could also play witch maindeck, maybe with PFire? Doesn't seem completely terrible)
    Yeah exactly, the slots dedicated to the combo would be one md witherbloom, 4 md witch, 3-4 md burning wish and one SB smog. The rest of the deck would be a competent jund deck. P fire plus witch is definitely cute and since smog empties your hand, discard is naturally much better at protecting the combo than counters.
    Quote Originally Posted by Laser Brains View Post
    With the printing of Gigantosaurus, Thrashing Brontodon and Steel Leaf Champion the deck has evolved from good to very competitive. Anyway, give it a few play tests if you are interested and let me know what you think.

    Winter Maze
    Quote Originally Posted by CptHaddock View Post
    With veteran explorer I know that I 100% will not enjoy a 30 minute grindfest against someone who can barely afford dual lands and believes that their deck can cast a 10 mana 8/8.

  13. #13
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    Re: Grixis Burning Witch Smog

    Quote Originally Posted by kinda View Post
    Yeah exactly, the slots dedicated to the combo would be one md witherbloom, 4 md witch, 3-4 md burning wish and one SB smog. The rest of the deck would be a competent jund deck. P fire plus witch is definitely cute and since smog empties your hand, discard is naturally much better at protecting the combo than counters.
    PFire and Faithless Looting also seem like good ways to keep value even after discarding your own hand and fizzling. Also Cling to Dust, maybe 1 Kroxa.

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