R Koster's picture
By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Jan 01 2021 12:00pm

You read the title. You say to yourself: "This guy must be an idiot (Tale's End) doesn't even counter literal spells." And you are not wrong; I can be an idiot at times. However, Tale's End has impressed me to no end in Modern, and I'm currently running 4 of them in every Blue deck I'm playing.

I got tuned into the card due to Aspiringspike talking about it on his stream. I thought he was meming for content, but I decided to take his list out for a spin and see what would happen.

This is the list I played:

Some things about this list. First off, it is really sweet. This deck is a ton of fun, and I highly recommend it. It plays in the same way a Blue Tron deck does, where you are always doing the most powerful thing in the late game. You, however, sacrifice some of your early game to do it. Be warned, though, this deck is hard to play and gives no mercy. If you screw up, you die. I learned that the hard way. My first league with the deck was miserable because I kept messing up. I kept at it because I was having a ton of fun, and I could feel the real power coursing through my veins when it all did come together. Who knew playing a Hexproof Urza's Tower that makes every color you like could be powerful?

Anyway, this is an article about Tale's End. So let's talk about that some more.

I played three Leagues with the Jeskai list, and every single game I found Tale's End to be wildly impressive, and once I started fiddling around with the list, I immediately went up to four copies. The card does it all.

But it doesn't counter spells.Yes, I know. But here's a list of things that it does target:

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
Omnath, Locus of Creation
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Heliod, Sun-Crowned
Skyclave Apparition's trigger
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Primeval Titan's trigger
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Stoneforge Mystic's trigger

That's just excluding your stuff that you would like to target. Countering a Lotus Field trigger is a big game, big brain stuff. All in all, that makes for a pretty big chunk of the format that it's hitting.

After playing Aspiringspike's list, I ended up moving away from the white cards more and more. I felt that the Flagstones of Trokair were asking a lot of the deck, and I honestly couldn't deal with how swingy this deck was. I'd rather play something more consistent(ly bad). One of the things that I found was that while you are playing a potent late game, it happens very often that you are already behind too far, so I wanted more things that powered me through the early game and late game stuff that got me back into safety more. I'm also a Grixis mage at heart. Thus this pile of cards was called a deck.

While you can see the resemblance between this deck and the Jeskai deck, I based it off. There are also some things that I'm very much trying to do differently.

First off, I dropped the White cards. One of the main things that I died to with the Jeskai deck was giant creatures that survived Lightning Bolt. You could play Path to Exile in its place because you will out mana your opponents even with them getting a few basics. But in the end, I decided to go for Grixis because I didn't feel that the Teferi, Hero of Dominaria was enough of a catch-up late game card. I'm just a giant nerd for Grixis, whereas Jeskai tickles my fancies a bit less. It's fun, but it's just not Grixis. It's not them; it's me.

I did, however, want something that had the same impact on the game as Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and as I was listening to music and heard the sentence "Why be a king, when you can be a God?" I knew what I had to do. It was time to add Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God to this deck.

The Karoo lands are added because I wanted to run more colored mana making Ancient Tombs and Tron lands. Have you ever played Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God with Cryptic Command up way earlier than should be possible? I have. I've also cast it off of 2 lands. It's a good time.

I also wanted something that would hammer the game away. Thus I added two Cruel Ultimatum. Mainly because I really, really, really wanted to play Cruel Ultimatum. But also because it seemed like a good idea at the time. And while it has been laughingly bad against counterspell decks, it has been way more reasonable than I had ever expected it to be against the rest of the format. Against the Counterspell decks we pitch it to (Force of Negation). Hey, that excuse works for Legacy. And we all know, if it works for Legacy, it works in Modern.

I lived the dream of casting Cruel Ultimatum, getting back a Snapcaster Mage, playing said Snapcaster Mage, flashing back the Cruel Ultimatum, and casting it again. With Cryptic Command to back it up. In the same turn. That, my friends, was a turn I will never forget.

I still lost that game, but man, was it sweet. I lost to them topdecking an Archmage's Charm and hitting exactly Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Deceiver Exarch off of it. The world is a funny place, and you know what they say: "Can't Thoughtseize the top of the deck." I laughed so hard about how this entire game played out that I didn't even care that I lost.

A fair warning, though, while the Jeskai deck has been proven to be powerful by a few 5-0 results and a Challenge top 32 at this point. The Grixis deck has been well, not. If you ever want to play some casual Modern and want some great stories to flow out of it. Put the Grixis deck in the deck pool. Every game is an adventure with that one. It's a wild deck that makes for a ton of laughs.

One of my friends asked me how we put the Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play. I told him laughingly that we can easily cast it in most games because this is basically Grixis Tron.

There is still a lot of work to be done on the Grixis deck, but I am on a quest to get more Grixis decks into the Modern, viable pool of decks. Whether it be by playing Arclight Phoenix in a Grixis shell or breaking the game entirely by playing a pile of Colored Ancient Tomb's and Urza's Tower together with Tale's End and Blood Sun. I miss Grixis being good, and I'm not one to sit down and accept it.

May the Grixis be with you.