This weekend marks the start of season two on the SCG Tour with a Team Modern Open in the Steel City, Pittsburgh, PA. I’ll be doing battle alongside tour mainstay Aaron Barich, and a blast from SCG past Andrew Shrout. While I have almost no idea which decks my wonderful teammates will be bringing to the event this weekend I’ll be playing Grixis Urza.

Grixis Urza

Creatures (10)
Goblin Engineer
Urza, Lord High Artificer
Scrap Trawler
Sai, Master Thopterist

Spells (30)
Whir of Invention
Mishra’s Bauble
Mox Opal
Arcum’s Astrolabe
Thopter Foundry
Sword of the Meek
Mind Stone
Ensnaring Bridge
Pyrite Spellbomb
Ichor Wellspring
Pithing Needle
Grafdigger’s Cage
Tormod’s Crypt
Nihil Spellbomb
Lands (20)
Scalding Tarn
Polluted Delta
Prismatic Vista
Spirebluff Canal
Steam Vents
Watery Grave
Blast Zone
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Swamp

Sideboard (15)
Leyline of the Void
Sai, Master Thopterist
Dead of Winter
Galvanic Blast
Lightning Bolt
Ghirapur Aether Grid
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Blood Moon

Grixis Urza is an archetype that has arisen thanks to its namesake Urza, Lord High Artificer. I have become nothing short of infatuated with this deck since picking it up a couple weeks ago. Let’s break down how it works.

Urza plus the Thopter Sword combo lets you make infinite thopters, infinite mana, gain infinite life, and cast every spell in your deck. If that’s not modern power level, I don’t know what is. Outside of having all three pieces however, thopter sword and Urza are independently powerful threats that can take over a game on their own if your opponent is interacting with you.

Modern is a powerful format, and sometimes infinite life and infinite creatures isn’t enough to win a game. Once in awhile when you combo you need to stop your opponent from untapping. That’s where Scrap Trawler and Pyrite Spellbomb come in. If you combo off you can flip cards off the top of your deck until you hit a Trawler and a Spellbomb; then each time you sacrifice Sword of the Meek you can alternate saccing a Mox Opal after making a red and using the red to shoot your opponent for two with Pyrite, bringing each back with the Trawler trigger.

Additional instant wins you can play in place of Trawler are Spine of Ish Sah, Ghirapur Aether Grid, and Grinding Station. I prefer Trawler because I have found it to be the most synergistic of these cards, but you really can play any of them. Worth noting that Trawler plus two Mox Opal and the Thopter Sword combo is infinite life and infinite thopter tokens as well.

Sai is a card that I have not been very impressed with in the maindeck. Most lists have two or three copies. I still have one main to effectively gain a sideboard slot, and it is still a very powerful card in the deck.

These artifacts are the core of the deck. Mox Opal is one of the best cards in modern. Urza and Thopter Foundry demand a large number of artifacts in your deck, so you’re already incentivized to turn on metalcraft. Arcum’s Astrolabe is a fairly innocuous card, but does a ton of heavy lifting in this deck and is part of the backbone of the archetype.

Goblin Engineer is another inclusion from Modern Horizons. It’s a natural fit with the Thopter Sword combo being able to tutor up either half, but is especially powerful searching for Sword of the Meek since we want it to be in our graveyard anyway.

Engineer opens up even more grinding potential when combined with cards like Ichor Wellspring, Arcum’s Astrolabe, and even Mishra’s Bauble. The goblin can also be used as a Grim Lavamancer of sorts when combined with Pyrite Spellbomb.

Whir of Invention is an additional tutor effect for our deck, making us even more consistent. And unlike Goblin Engineer, Whir puts the artifact into play. That enables the deck to playing some powerful silver bullets.

This package plus Pyrite Spellbomb makes up the interactive portion of the deck. With seven tutors, we can play several singleton artifacts to interact with our opponent and still keep our main gameplan intact. Having so much maindeck graveyard hate has been one of the biggest draws of this deck to me in the current metagame.

Thanks to the massive amount of artifacts and the color fixing provided by Mox Opal and Arcum’s Astrolabe, the deck can play up to one colorless utility land even with only twenty lands in the deck.

I’ve really enjoyed having Blast Zone as an easy answer to problematic permanents such as Rest in Peace or Stony Silence. It also functions as a pseudo-sweeper versus decks like Humans. You could also play an Inventors’ Fair in this slot if you are expecting more burn-heavy aggressive decks and less creature-based ones.


The sideboard changes constantly as you might imagine, but I try to keep some quantity of the following: removal, sweepers, interaction for big mana decks, graveyard hate, and additional threats.

Lightning Bolt, Galvanic Blast, Fatal Push, and Magmatic Insight are all removal spells you can play in different combinations to attack the different threats you’re worried about.

As for sweepers, I’ve found Dead of Winter to be the best fit for the deck. Plague Engineer and Engineered Explosives are both reasonable as well.

To fight against big mana decks, I currently have Blood Moon. Tron isn’t that popular at the moment, but Ceremonious Rejection and Damping Sphere are both more impactful if that’s what you’re trying to beat.

With the amount of maindeck graveyard hate, you really shouldn’t need any extra except in a graveyard saturated format like the one we are currently in. Leyline of the Void is the best card against the Hogaak decks since their removal for it is Wispmare, and they already have to bring in atrifact hate. You can also play more copies of the maindeck pieces or Ravenous Trap if you don’t like Leyline.

It’s important to have additional threats in your board since the postboard games slow down and your opponent will be better at interacting with you. Sai, Master Thopterist, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, and Ghirapur Aether Grid have all been great backup threats in the postboard games for me. Karn, Scion of Urza is another threat you can play, but has been worse than Tezzeret in most situations.

I may be a fool for not play Bridgevine this weekend, but I just can’t bring myself to play a different deck. Thankfully there’s a Legacy Classic on Sunday if my team and I get crushed in the main event!

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