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>Introduction on the deck and why to play it

This deck is a control deck, built around ETB creatures and wizard tribal synergies.
It is powerful, and has a lot of interactions with opponents' stuff, but do not usually wins rapidly: a true wizard is a master of patience.

>Deck game-plan and strategy

The main aim of the deck is to slow down the game until the point where we can take everyone else out in one turn.

To do that, we are taking advantage of the eminence ability of Inalla, Archmage Ritualist: when a wizard enters the battlefield under your control, we can pay 1 generic mana to create a token that is a copy of the wizard, with haste, and that will be exiled at the end of the turn. Since it's an eminence ability, it will trigger while Inalla is in the command zone, therefore, it's a "free trigger" and we don't even have to ever cast Inalla during the game!

Some comments about Inalla's ability:

  • since the copy tokens have the same name as the card they're copying, we do not want a lot of legendary wizards in the deck (unless they are really really good, such as Azami, Lady of Scrolls)
  • we do not have to make the copy token each time, but the game-plan really revolves around that ability, therefore it is almost as if all your wizards cost 1 mana more than their CMC, that is why we want wizards with mana costs as low as possible (or ways to reduce the normal casting costs of wizards, such as Nightscape Familiar or Stonybrook Banneret)
  • the wizard does not have to be casted, any non-token wizards entering the battlefield under our control will trigger Inalla's ability, therefore we can play a reanimator subtheme in the deck (with cards like Apprentice Necromancer or Havengul Lich)
  • creating copy tokens that are exiled at the end of the turn might seem harmless, but it generates a lot of value (+ you always have a free attacker with haste). For example: Aether Adept will bounce two creatures, Watcher for Tomorrow will draw two cards, Spellseeker will search for two instants or sorceries, Bloodline Necromancer will return two creatures from our graveyard, etc.

Apart from wizards with ETB, we are relying on the standard "grixis control package" of powerful instants and sorceries to keep our opponents in check (destroy their creatures, bounce their permanents, counter their spells). And since we are playing the long grindy game, we also need a lot of card draw to keep the engine going (don't worry, wizards and blue in general are really good at that).

>How the deck wins

The main win conditions are the following (I recommend you to not play those card in the early game, but rather keep them as finishers when life totals of your opponents are getting are low enough):

There is also one infinite combo in the deck:
Twinflame + Dualcaster Mage
You cast Twinflame targeting any creature you control, before it resolves you cast Dualcaster Mage, you copy Twinflame, targeting the Dualcaster Mage, which creates an infinite loop (that you can stop whenever you want because you don't have to target something with the last Twinflame that is casted). Then you have a infinite amount of Dualcaster mages with haste who can crush the opponents life total.
(Note that "Spellseeker" can search for "Twinflame" and that "Vedalken Aethermage" can be recycled to find "Dualcaster Mage")

>Single card discussion

>Some cards are especially good in the deck:

>Some other cards are just good grixis control cards:

>A few cards that I used to play but finally removed from the deck:

  • Cephalid Constable: if it comes in play early, it can be a nightmare (since it can bounce lands in opponent's hands), but otherwise it is just too slow.
  • Siren Stormtamer, Cursecatcher, Martyr of Frost: they are good 1 drop, but they usually lose interest in the very long game.
  • Shadowmage Infiltrator: having to attack to draw is not very good compared to all the wizards that draw simply by entering the battlefield.
  • Arcanis the Omnipotent: it's legendary + it never lives long enough to be activated anyway.
  • Voidmage Husher: it's too expensive, and too situational.
  • Naru Meha, Master Wizard: it is a bit too mana expensive, and is better in a instant/sorcery heavy deck (you can go for this build if you want to, but I chose to focus on wizards ETB here).
  • Havengul Lich: the card is not bad, but 5 mana is too expensive for a creature that always gets killed before I can really use it.
  • Kindred Dominance: 7 mana is really expensive, and you usually don't really care if your wizards die anyway.
  • Memory Plunder: it's always a lot of fun when you play a powerful sorcery from an opponent's graveyard at instant speed, but it's not very "on theme" (and there are too many wizards to choose).
  • Capsize: it's a good removal that can deal with any permanent, but I never really had the opportunity to pay the "buy back" cost, so it's probably not the best deck to take advantage of the card.

>A few options that might be good in the deck (if you want to change some cards or adapt to your local meta):

>Budget options

Only a few wizards are very expensive, and they are not really necessary to the game-plan:

A list of alternatives wizards are proposed in the sideboard (reasonable options are for example: Disciple of Bolas, Stern Proctor, Jace's Archivist, etc.)

A few good control spells are expensive, and you can find cheaper alternatives if you want to:

The mana base can also be built on a budget:

  • Remove the fetchlands, shocklands and Winding Canyons
  • Add filter lands or tapped dual lands instead

>FAQ

Q: When should I cast Inalla?
A: Almost never (unless you're in a very very bad position and have nothing better to do).


Q: Why don't you play sol ring in your deck?
A: This card is broken and I think that a good deck doesn't need it to win (but you can play it if you want).


Q: Why don't you play the combo with Wanderwine Prophets or Timestream Navigator to have infinite turns?
A: A one card combo is not a combo (but you can play it if you want).

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This deck appears to be legal in EDH / Commander.

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