Upgrading UR in Modern

I’ve spent the last few weeks studying Modern to figure out the format’s strongest deck. In my opinion, the UR Shell is the current tier 1, but I tried to understand if this strategy could be improved. 

 

I found an interesting list of Grixis that struck me because it looks like a new version of UR Shell. After playing a few online events, I made some small changes and am currently playing this list:

 

Marco Cammilluzzi - Modern - Grixis Midrange

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Creature (12)
4
Dragon's Rage Channeler
1
Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger
4
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
3
Snapcaster Mage
Sorcery (8)
3
Expressive Iteration
3
Inquisition of Kozilek
2
Thoughtseize
Instant (15)
3
Drown in the Loch
3
Kolaghan's Command
4
Lightning Bolt
2
Terminate
3
Unholy Heat
Artifact (5)
1
Engineered Explosives
4
Mishra's Bauble
Land (21)
4
Blackcleave Cliffs
1
Blood Crypt
2
Bloodstained Mire
1
Island
1
Mountain
4
Polluted Delta
3
Scalding Tarn
2
Steam Vents
1
Swamp
2
Watery Grave
Cards 61
Sideboard (15)
2
Aether Gust
1
Alpine Moon
1
Chalice of the Void
2
Engineered Explosives
2
Flusterstorm
1
Kozilek's Return
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1
Mystical Dispute
3
Nihil Spellbomb
1
Terminate

 

This deck looks absolutely gasoline with some important differences compared to the more solid UR version. Why play Grixis instead of UR? Discard spells (Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize) are better than Countrips (Thought Scour and Serum Visions).

 

                   

 

Playing many Countrips allows the deck to be leaner, play fewer lands, and play a fast Murktide Regent. However, it being a fast format means playing the discards allows further interactions with your opponent’s deck in early game, which is essential when playing against the various combos or aggro-combos of the format.

 

                   

 

Drown in the Loch is better than Counterspell. It sounds strange to read, but putting pressure in the early game is necessary. Rarely can you stay open with two mana while waiting to counter the next threat when your opponent is trying to put early threats. You will have to answer problems that are already in the battlefield.

 

You have access to further removals in a creature-based format, and Drown in the Loch can be used as a counterspell in many spots.

 

Terminate

 

 

In a format where Path to Exile is rarely played, there is a need to have solutions to a big Murktide Regent and a creature equipped by Colossus Hammer. Sometimes Unholy Heat is not enough!

 

Kolaghan’s Command

 

 

This card might seem slow for the format, as it expresses its full potential in grindy match-ups, but it’s the best card against Hammer Time, which is achieving incredible results online.

 

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger

 

 

A great way to fight control match-ups full or removal where sometimes you don’t have a chance to play Dragon’s Rage Channeler or Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer.

 

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

 

 

Lurrus is one of the main reasons why I prefer grixis to UR Shell. It allows the deck to have more depth and have a very strong plan in the late game.

 

SIDEBOARD PLAN

 

 

                                       

                   

 

 

                                       

                   

 

Hammer looks a great match-up for a deck full of removal with 3 Kolaghan’s Command and 1 Engineered Explosives in the main deck. I like Inquisition of Kozilek, but I don’t want to have many discard spells, so I like to cut Thoughtseize, Kroxa and 1 Expressive Iteration because I don’t want to have an opening hand full of cards that have to be used in late game.

 

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is still good in this match-up, but I don’t want to draw too many copies of it against a deck that plays Memnite.

 

In the sideboard, Engineered Explosives is the best card, and Alpine Moon is a great way to deal with Urza’s Saga.

 

 

                                   

                   

 

                                       

                   

 

This is a close match-up, but you’re slightly favored due to the addition of Black. The main objective is to find a solution to a big Murktide Regent and 3 Terminate and 3 Nihil Spellbomb provide an answer. I like to cut just one copy of Kolaghan’s Command because it’s too soft as a removal, but it’s a great answer to a graveyard hate (Relic of Progenitus), and it works perfectly with Snapcaster Mage in late game.

 

After game one, remember to fetch the two basics because your opponent will board in copies of Blood Moon, and you don’t want to be unprepared.

 

 

 

                                       

 

                                                           

 

 

This is one of few match-ups where I would play Murktide Regent because I want an almost unblockable threat. The match-ups are very grindy because Asmor has many ways to kill Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler, but we are prepared for the late game thanks to Kolaghan’s Command, Expressive Iteration, and Lurrus.

 

 

                                       

                                       

                   

 

                                       

                                       

                   

 

The main deck looks good because we have 3 Drown in the Loch and 1 Engineered Explosives against Crashing Footfalls. If your opponent plays a stock list full of  Fire//Ice and Bonecrusher Giant, then you don’t have many chances to hit with Ragavan.

 

Post-side, Grixis looks ahead thanks to Flusterstorm, which is a perfect answer to a spell with cascade. 

 

I like to have some removals in the deck to prepare for casted Bonecrusher Giant and after sideboard to Endurance.

 

As it worked against Izzet, you have to fetch for basics to be prepared to deal with your opponent’s Blood Moon.

 

This deck looks insane and fun to play. This weekend, I will play the Super PTQ on modo with it, wish me luck!

 

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