Grimm’s Toolbox

Today I’d like to talk about the deck I used on the first of the weekly tournaments I’ve joined in.

It was nothing original to be honest. Rather, I’d describe it as an update to the Grimm Control decks that populated the first FoW World Grand Prix back in October.

If you’re unfamiliar with how a Grimm control deck works, it’s a deck that’s packed with the most useful and powerful of the Fairy Tale resonators available in the 3rd Set (Crimson Moon Fairy Tale). Grimm’s power allows you to cast Fairy Tale Resonators using any kind of Will, so you can even add the ones from the colors you aren’t playing (e.g. my Grimm deck is mainly Black/Green/White, but I have some Blue Resonators in my deck).

He can do it all… except fight. 😦

This strategy is further complemented by Grimm’s other ability, which is to discard a Fairy Tale card in your hand to search for another Fairy Tale card in your deck to replace it. This allows you to get by with only one copy of Resonators with very specific powers (such as The Emperor with New Clothes), knowing that you’ll be able to call upon them when needed as long as you have a spare Fairy Tale resonator in hand.

Grimm’s ability to search for “silver bullets” gives the deck space for other useful spells such as Absolute Cake Zone, and Law of Silence. All of these characteristics – being able to include the best resonators, search for specific answers, and pack numerous support cards, merge together to create a deck that is seemingly prepared no matter what deck it is up against.

The final, scary part of a Grimm deck is how it can cheat the huge Hamelin’s Pied Piper into play via the spell Tell a Fairy Tale by turn 3. For decks that are light on removal, this can be a nightmare to play against, especially when the Grimm player starts adding Aesop, the Prince’s Tutor, and protecting him with Absolute Cake Zone, or Dream of Juliet the next turn.

Games can end quickly if you let the Pied Piper play for too long.
So fair.

I can say that Set 4 (or TAT, because the full name of the set is as long as this phrase) has been very kind to Grimm control despite only having few new Fairy Tale resonators to play with. What the set lacked in new allies, it more than made up with a number of important spells which made the deck stronger by patching up some of its weaknesses and improving its strengths.

Here’s the deck that I used:

Ruler: Grimm, the Fairy Tale Prince

4 Tell a Fairy Tale
4 Stoning to Death
4 Xeex, the Ancient Magic
3 Law of Silence

4 Tinker Bell, the Spirit
4 Hunter in Black Forest
4 Aesop, the Prince’s Tutor
4 Glinda, the Fairy
2 Pumpkin Witch
2 Deadman Prince
3 Hamelin’s Pied Piper
1 Grimm, the Avenger of Fairy Tales
1 The Emperor With New Clothes

4 Magic Stone of Black Silence
4 Magic Stone of Gusting Skies
1 Magic Stone of Heaven’s Rift
1 Feethsing, the Holy Wind Stone

Sideboard:
1 Christie, the Wind Tracker/Helsing, the Vampire Hunter
4 Silver Bullet
2 Elvish Exorcist
3 Elvish Bowman
3 Return to Stories
2 Dream of Juliet

Without a clue on what to expect, my sideboard had been lackluster – having just copied it from existing lists without knowing how it worked. All I had in my mind was if I were to play against a deck loaded with Vampires and/or Additions, I’d transform into a Helsing deck with more specialized tools in game 2.

It sounded good on paper, but in hindsight 1 or 2 Grimm, the Avenger of Fairy Tales,  1 Dream of Juliet, 1 Return to Stories would have worked better. There’s also the alluring possibility of shifting from Grimm Control to Grimm beatdown by simply siding in 3 Realm of Evolution. The takeaway here is that I probably should have built a sideboard that capitalizes on the deck’s strengths even more, rather than going out of the box with entirely different cards. Whether or not this is the right course of action, only time and testing will tell.

I’d like to go into detail on the new additions to the deck from TAT, and how I think they’re useful:

Three sweet words.

First up is Stoning to Death. We’re already playing Pumpkin Witch and Deadman Prince, so we’re not really going out of the way to add a new color to the deck. However, 2 Darkness Wills is still a demanding cost, which is why I’ve included a 5th source of Black in the Magic Stone Deck. There’s not much to say about Stoning really. The ability to outright kill a resonator at instant speed (!) without any drawbacks is really good, and solves one of Grimm Control’s biggest problems – the lack of removal. Before, we had to rely on combat and Return to Stories. Now, we had a great catch-all spell that’s relevant in all stages of the game.

I have no idea which Fairy Tale story has Xeex on it.

While not being able to utilize multiple modes in one casting, Xeex the Ancient Magic still remains as one of the best new tools in the Grimm arsenal because of its flexibility. It stops removal, prevents Carmillia from biting Aesop, gets you out of tricky combat situations, and if you’re playing Squirmer of the Dark, can get your Magic Stones back… just not all at the same time, but still…

Tied with Moodjart for the “worst name given to a Holy Stone” award.

Speaking of Magic Stones, Feethsing, the Holy Wind Stone has been the unsung hero of some of my matches. I often paired it the Aesop to create a setup that’s hard to break for decks which are reliant on target-ted removal spells, and in long, drawn-out matches, having a setup like that is usually Grimm’s key to victory. Do note however, that it only protects against Normal Spells, so it won’t protect Aesop from Carmillia.

You’d think that he’s game-winning, given his awesome artwork.

And speaking of the Vampire Queen, Grimm, the Avenger of Fairy Tales is a perfect counter for her, or any Darkness Resonator that benefits from being resurrected from the graveyard. A searchable permanent removal that leaves a 500/500 body behind is a great addition to the deck, and I could see adding more on the sideboard (and even in the main deck) depending on the popularity of powerful Darkness Resonators like Mephistopheles, and (again) Carmillia.

Like her song in “Wicked”, you can expect her to be a popular addition in decks everywhere.

Finally, there’s Glinda, and in all honesty I’m not sure how many copies of her to include in the deck, so I started with four. Her ability to break stalemates by allowing one of your Resonators through can be game-winning at the right moments – so it’s never safe to be at 1000 or less life when playing against a deck that has her. Glinda’s Banish ability is quite annoying to play around early on, but loses its edge in the late game. Still it’s a great bonus given her cheap cost. After the tournament though, I realized that it’s possible to make do with three copies of her or less, depending on whether I’d like to bring more utility to the deck (like adding back Rapunzel).

Lastly, I’d like to share some weaknesses of this type of deck, which might help when you’re fighting against it:

1) The deck is prone to Flying Resonators, and more so against Flying JRulers.

Stoning to Death might take care of the Resonator Problem, but the deck really has to break a leg to take down the likes of Bahamut and Dracula. This is one of the reasons why I’m considering putting Rapunzel back in.

2) It’s easy to break up the deck’s setup early in the game.

Xeex, Feethsing, and Dream of Juliet all cost 2 Wills while most of the important Grimm Resonators cost 2 or more, meaning that until turn 4, we’re usually praying that you don’t kill a key Resonator (e.g. Aesop) that we’ve played. Tell a Fairy Tale on turn 3 looks good as long as Piper doesn’t get killed the next turn.

3) Getting run over early on is a big possibility, especially against decks with reach.

Cowardly Lion after one or two bites is very troublesome. We don’t have Resonators that can match with Seven Dwarfs (or Murderous Snowman) stat-wise on turn 2. Finally, we don’t any AoE to counter a swarming board. Maybe adding some Cinderellas might help, but if it gets destroyed by cheap removal like Rapid Decay, Thunder, and Duel of Truth, we’d still be at a disadvantage.

4) No healing.

So let’s say we’ve stabilized, but are low on health. What stops a couple of Thunders, Dragon King’s Flame, or even Pumpkin Witches from sealing away the game? A Resonator that heals damage would have been great, even in small amounts, just to pull away from the danger zone.

So that’s my deck report about Grimm control.  It’s a great deck to use if you’re unsure about what you’ll be facing against, given the large amount of tools at your disposal. It has proven itself at Worlds, and with TAT it only gets better.

Until then! 🙂

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