Hidetsugu and Kairi in Standard Grixis

Hidetsugu and Kairi

Hidetsugu and Kairi from March of the Machine

  • Card Name: Hidetsugu and Kairi
  • Mana Cost: 2UUB
  • Card Type: Legendary Creature – Ogre Demon Dragon
  • Rules Text: Flying. When Hidetsugu and Kairi enters the battlefield, draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order. When Hidetsugu and Kairi dies, exile the top card of your library. Target opponent loses life equal to its mana value. If it’s an instant or sorcery card, you may cast it without paying its mana cost.
  • 5/4
  • Illustrated by: Chris Rahn

Say Goodbye to Invoke Despair

Invoke Despair was long the top-end ace of Grixis. More than that, it was a common four-of in Rakdos, Grixis, and Mono-Black Control decks in Standard! There were even Orzhov variants. I myself have played the bejeezus out of Golgari ones.

The dual lands are so good in Standard that you could often get away with something like twenty-five lands that all tapped for black. Invoke Despair’s BBBB in the upper-right being so very prohibitive! Mono-Black didn’t mind; but at some point, decks like Grixis were cutting Staples like Sokenzan or Otawara to make sure they could cast Invoke Despair on demand.

By the Regional Championship last month, players had started to shave Invoke Despair. Though powerful, it was often relegated to three-of or even two-of numbers. Wasn’t Invoke Despair THE thing? What would posses people to downgrade its onetime bulletproof four-of status?

Simple: It wasn’t that good any more.

Think about the Mono-Red matchup. Often you would get to five, cast your big spell… And the opponent would lose a Phoenix Chick, adjust their life total by four, and kill you the next turn. It was often even worse against the popular white control decks. What could be worse than forcing the opponent to sacrifice an Ossification that had previously been pointed at your Fable of the Mirror-Breaker token? A Spirited Companion or Ambitious Farmhand whose main goal in life was being bought back from the graveyard by Serra Paragon?

Don’t get me wrong: Invoke Despair could still be great! Up against Rakdos? An opposing Mono-Black Control? You’d probably want all four. But in a lot of other matchups? Its time — at least its time as the apex predator — has ended.

Not to mention, cards like Surge of Salvation were just printed in March of the Machine:

Surge of Salvation

Surge of Salvation from March of the Machine

You probably can’t stop Surge of Salvation acting as a one mana Negate against your removal spells… Or as a Fog. But eating up your whole fifth turn and your deck’s signature ace? Unacceptable!

Enter Hidetsugu and Kairi

So if you’re down on Invoke Despair… What do you plan to do at the five?

There’s always Gix’s Command. That card doesn’t target the big creature it kills; or damage the little ones. Gix’s Command is immune to Surge of Salvation. But how about something proactive?

Might I interest you in Hidetsugu and Kairi?

When March of the Machine first debuted, people were all going crazy about a two-card combo. Kill Hidetsugu and Kairi? Take twenty!

How about you just play Hidetsugu and Kairi? How about that is your combo?

You see, just playing Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is pretty great. But following your 4/5 deathtouch up with a 5/4 flyer that immediately gains six life? Good luck beating that super combo, am I right?

Here is a take on Grixis that I am currently loving:

Per today’s discussion, it is minus all the Invoke Despairs and brawls with a Brainstorm instead.

Interested in seeing how this Grixis performs? Check out some game play!


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