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Spoiler Highlight: Grief on Timeless

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Modern Horizons 2's elementals left a permanent impact on the eternal formats, but will their inclusion in Timeless, especially Grief, make the Metagame too broken?

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переведено Romeu

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рассмотрено Tabata Marques

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When we talk about formats with higher power levels, it is very difficult to consider that any card or cycle can permanently change its competitive Metagame.

Timeless, for example, has experienced some changes due to cards from the series Special Guestslink outside website, released in each set without entering Standard and including eternal formats staples like Mana Drain and Show and Tell to the Metagame - still, with so many powerful spells available, the Metagame doesn't change that much from one expansion to another, despite some cards having an impact more striking than others.


However, a cycle of cards will certainly break this paradigm with the release of Modern Horizons 3 - the elementals known as Evokers, which came out in MH2 and permanently changed the way competitive Magic is played.

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Their arrival in Timeless will certainly cause significant changes, and one of the biggest concerns and doubts regarding the format is the potential for Grief to dominate the competitive scene in the same way as it does in Legacy and Modern.

In this article, we evaluate Grief's potential and which decks it can excel in!

Grief on Modern and Legacy

Approximately two years after the release of Grief, Modern players, motivated by their interactions with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, began exploring ways to cheat the Elementals' Evoke ability along with cards that could return them to the battlefield once they went to the graveyard with spells like Undying Evil and Feign Death - this strategy, once popularized, became known as Scam.

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The idea behind it was simple: starting the game with a Grief after removing two cards from the opponent's hand would put itscontroller much ahead in the game, just like playing a Fury as 4/4 double striker on the first turn.

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Rakdos Scam became the best deck in Modern after the release of Orcish Bowmasters, which mitigated Izzet Murktide's ability to play around very aggressive discards by having a more efficient means of filtering the top, and thus, a ban on Fury was necessary to keep the archetype in check.

Today, it remains the deck with the best results in Modern, and the debate surrounding Grief's permanence in the format is one of the most recurring lately, especially since the card also appears in other strategies, such as Esper Reanimator.

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In Legacy, the story isn't very different, but it revolved around the change of a combo archetype into Midrange: the Reanimator stopped betting everything on a game plan just to adopt a new stance with counterspells and Grief along with Reanimate and Animate Dead, allowing it the same consistency as Modern's Evoke archetypes, but with the possibility of explosive plays with its main strategy.

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For practical purposes, the current Reanimator variants are partially reminiscent of Delver decks, where Grief - which masterfully disrupts the opponent's plans - becomes the main wincondition while Daze and Force of Will delay the opponent, making it much more interactive than its predecessors.

Decklists with Grief in Timeless

Timeless is a peculiar format, as it is, today, in the middle ground between the Modern and Legacy power levels, added to a dozen cards that are restricted or banned even in Vintage, such as Necropotence, in addition of being one of only two competitive formats where Lurrus of the Dream-Den is legal.


It's more than natural that MH2's Elementals have some impact on the format, especially Grief, which features both the Feign Death and Not Dead After All package, Reanimate and even Ephemerate to reuse their ETBs multiple times, and while the possibility of a restriction seems unlikely (after all, there are trade-offs in running it like, for example, giving up Lurrus or Jegantha), we cannot deny its potential to take over the competitive Metagame and create one or more of the top decks to beat.

Rakdos Evoke

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The most obvious insertion would be in a Timeless version of Rakdos Evoke, also using Fury alongside Not Dead After All to complement its strategy, while Deathrite Shaman makes it easier to cast them by their mana values.

Jund Evoke

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A Jund variant, with Perilous Iteration to search for one of the Elementals along with a card that can enable them, in addition to finding Fable of the Mirror-Breaker that can copy them to duplicate their ETBs.

This version can also adopt other cards such as Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes to generate more value.

Orzhov Ephemerate

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With Ephemerate legal and the arrival of Recruiter of the Guard in Modern Horizons 3link outside website, we can also enjoy another variant with Solitude and other white creatures to extract the most from ETB effects.

Dimir Shadow

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Finally, Death's Shadow can benefit from inserting Grief as another target for Reanimate in addition to Troll of Khazad-dûm, and thus extract maximum value of life loss to cast it early on a two-color shell, which can combine discards like Thoughtseize with counterspells like Mana Drain and card selection with Brainstorm and Sauron's Ransom.


That's all for today!

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!