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Shards of Alara Part 8: Grixper January 2, 2009

Posted by James in : all, strategy, tips, limited, draft , trackback

The most unusual Shards of Alara deck that I have seen was an Esper deck (blue-white-black) without an artifact theme. Instead it had an exalted/unearth theme. This might not seem to be worth mentioning, but it’s the only Esper deck that I’ve ever seen that got first place. I call this deck “Grixper.”

Creating a Grixper deck uses the best cards for Bant, Esper, and Grixis. Unearth and exalted have a particularly good synergy. You attack with an unearth creature every turn until it is destroyed. Then you can bring it back to attack with it again.

Reasons to play Grixper

Best cards for Grixper


First Picks

Second Picks

Other cards worth mentioning

The best cards tend to be the same as in a regular Esper deck. However, Deft Dualist, Viscera Dragger, Akrasan Squire, Degscape Zombie, and Windwright Mage are better in Grixper than in Esper:

Deft Dualist is particularly good with the exalted theme. A big first strike attacking creature with shoud is hard to deal with.

Viscera Dragger is one of the best unearth creatures. It can be cycled and unearthed, or it can be played as a creature.

Dregscape Zombie is one of the best low mana cost creatures you can play in an Esper or Unearth deck.

Akrasan Squire is one of the best low mana cost creatures for an Exalted or Esper deck.

Windwright Mage is particularly good with exalted. A big creature with lifelink that might get flying.

My next article will be posted on Tuesday 1-6-2009.


1. Alex - January 10, 2009

Agony Warp, Tower Gargoyle, and Arcane Sanctum are better than quite a few cards you mentioned in the second picks list.

Also, I would put Scourglass way above infest, which you have as a first pick card. It’s the same thing but better…

2. James - January 10, 2009

Alex, you might be right that Scourglass should have been higher. I’m not sure how much I like the card yet. Scourglass is also going to be better in Esper than Grixper though. (I’m also not sure how much I like Infest.)

What exactly are “first picks” and “second picks” and so forth? I don’t rate cards only based on how powerful they are. What I call “second picks” are cards generally reserved for cards you would take in your first pack right away. Usually I would only do that with removal spells involving mono-colored spells. If you are absolutely sure you will be playing Esper/Grixper, then you will definitely rate those cards higher. The point is that my earliest picks are non-committal. I don’t like to decide what I am playing right away.