How do you make a good spell great? Cast it once and resolve it twice, that’s how! Imagine being able to cast Opt and get to scry and draw twice for 1 blue mana. That’s exactly what Primal Amulet does and in a deck full of cantrips, removal and counter magic, it’s an equation for a serious control deck.
Primal Amulet costs 4 mana and will probably flip on turns 5 or 6. Its biggest problem is that Abrade still runs rampant in most red decks, but thank goodness for Lightning Strike because it has pushed some copies of Abrade to the sideboard.
Both sides of Primary Amulet work great for a control deck that packs 25+ spells. The 1 mana discount turns good spells to great spells. Imagine casting Doomfall for 2 mana, or Disallow for 2 blue mana. Casting Sweltering Suns for the cost of a Harnessed Lightning, or Glimmer of Genius for the cost of Divination.
Cantrips, spot removal and counter magic is 50% of the game plan but what would be a possible win condition? Well, we have quite a number of x-spells that are worth doubling and get maximum return of investment!
Torment of Hailfire is incredibly strong if you resolve it for 3 or 4 but Primal Amulet just turns it into a win condition all on its own. Resolving it with X equals 4 would require your opponent to sacrifice 8 permanents or lose 24 life. Ribbons is another good mana sink spell from the graveyard we can double with Amulet. Finally, Pull from Tomorrow may not be a win condition but refilling your hand will surely put you ahead in the game.
Building with Grixis colors give us all the good control cards and we start with the cantrips!
Opt gives us value in all stages of the game. The Scry early ensures we hit our land drops if we start with a land-light hand. Supreme Will helps us dig through answers or for Primal Amulet but in most cases it will be our go-to-counter spell. Glimmer of Genius is another great card to help us dig and refill our hands. These are the same cards we hope to double when we resolve Primal Amulet!
Search for Azcanta is a sweet card that was practically designed for control players. The ability to filter your draws and impulse at instant speed will make sure you have the cards you need all the time!
On Removal, we get access to discard and kill spells which are great against most decks on game 1.
Magma Spray helps us with Earthshaker Khenra or Scrapheap Scrounger, keeps Glint Sleeve Siphoner and Longtusk Cubs at bay. Harnessed Lightning can deal with any big creatures while helping us generate energy for our Aether Hubs. We won’t be packing so much spot removal because we will be using a good amount of mass removal as well.
Yahenni’s Expertise remains highly viable against today’s decks and will take out almost everything including a Carnage Tyrant when doubled, not to mention we also double the ‘free 3 mana spell’. Sweltering Suns for early removal and if nothing needs sweeping, you can cycle it for a new card.
Apart from Cut//Ribbons, we will also utilize a number of split cards to help ensure we get to flip Primal Amulet even if we’re light on cards. It doesn’t require us to cast the spell from our hand anyway so it’s good to get card advantage from the graveyard time to time.
Struggle is a strong removal spell mid through late game, we will always have a lot of lands and we should be able to cast Survive with Aether Hub or with Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin. Never for that additional hate for Planeswalkers and Return is useful against Scarab/Torrential decks.
Here’s my Grixis Amulet list, inspired by Zac Elsik. You can watch him play the deck here. Unfortunately there’s no decklist up so here’s how I would build the deck if I was him.
4 Primal Amulet
3 Search of Azcanta
3 Magma Spray
3 Harnessed Lightning
3 Cut // Ribbons
4 Supreme Will
2 Sweltering Suns
1 Struggle // Survive
1 Yahenni’s Expertise
3 Glimmer of Genius
3 Torment of Hailfire
1 Pull from Tomorrow
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Spirebluff Canal
2 Aether Hub
2 Fetid Pool
2 Canyon Slough
2 Lost Legacy
1 Hour of Devastation
2 The Scarab God
3 Torrential Gearhulk
Torrential Gearhulk comes out of the sideboard in case we need to win games through combat. Since Torment is sorcery speed and we usually throw all our mana in, its susceptible to counter magic like spell pierce of negate. Torrential works well with 2 copies of The Scarab God to recur our spells, or win games using the opponent’s creatures we recently killed.
Against control mirrors, we can Duress and Lost Legacy whatever our opponent has up his sleeve, especially against Approach of the Second Sun.
Lastly we have two spells that help us deal with hexproof and indestructible creatures.
The Grixis Amulat didn’t make the top 8 but it sure shows great promise and I think Primal Amulet has yet to be broken by rogue brewers and professional players, let’s stay tune!