Last week I played Dimir Inverter at Players Tour Brussels to a Top 32 finish. I should have finished better but made some horrible mistakes and managed to lose games that I had completely locked up. I’m disappointed, sad and embarrassed, but I can only move on and hope to do better next time. After talking to my friends and other players, I came to the conclusion that making mistakes is a part of Magic that you just have to accept. You just need to make less mistakes than your opponents and work on improving your play. Practice does indeed make perfect.
One advice I can give you is to take a deep breath and think through all the options even when it seems like you have a game completely locked up. Don’t worry about people accusing you of slow-rolling a win and such, all that matters is that you make the best play and leave your opponent with no outs.
Anyways, here is the deck I played at PT Brussels with a few changes that I would make moving forward. The original list comes from Kanister, who did an amazing job tuning this list from a “meme deck” into the best deck in the format. I only made a few changes but I believe they all improve the list and give you a great chance to win all the unavoidable mirrors next week.
Dimir Inverter (Pioneer)
I’d like to thank my Twitch Chat for voting “Inverter” when given the option to choose whatever deck I was trying next on one of my last streams before the PT. I copied Kanister’s list, had absolutely no idea what I was doing and still managed to go 20-1 in the 5 leagues I played before I had to leave. You can watch all the matches I played here and here, but do that at your own risk and please take it easy on me, those were my first games with the deck and I really had no clue what I was doing.
How does this deck work and why is it so good?
The combo is pretty simple – play Inverter of Truth, shuffle the few cards that are in your graveyard into your library and then play Thassa’s Oracle or Jace and win. Dig Through Time and Murderous Cut help you delve away unnecessary cards in your graveyard to make sure that Inverter is only putting back into your library what you need, which is usually Jace, Oracle or a discard spell to protect your combo.
One of the biggest reasons why this deck is so powerful is that it’s an amazing Dig Through Time deck. This card is banned in Modern and even in Legacy for a good reason. If you can fill your graveyard too quickly with cheap one mana spells and fetchlands, it simply becomes a two mana double Demonic Tutor and that’s just way too powerful. In this deck, Dig does exactly that.
Between Opt, Thoughtseize and Fatal Push, you are playing the best discard spell, the best removal spell and the most effective card draw spell in the format, all for one mana. Add Thought Erasure and four Fabled Passage to the mix and you are almost guaranteed to play Dig Through Time by turn four and get your missing combo pieces or Thoughtseize to make sure your opponent can’t interact.
It’s also really hard to interact with this combo. All you needed to do to stop Splinter Twin was to play an uncounterable Rending Volley or Fry on their Pestermite. There aren’t very many cards that interact with your library and you don’t really care if they kill your Inverter of Truth. Milling yourself isn’t a very usual strategy and there aren’t very many good ways to stop it.
What are you looking for in an opening hand?
The best part about this deck is that it’s much more than just a two card combo and it also works really nicely as a Dimir Control deck that has a ton of interaction and a powerful planeswalker that gives you card advantage. The most important card in your deck is Inverter of Truth because it gives you a quick win. Other than that, I am always looking for a Thoughtseize or Thought Erasure in my opening hand to see what is my opponent up to and help me set up my game plan and fill my graveyard for Dig Through Time.
In my opinon, the only flex slots in the maindeck are 1 Drown in the Loch, 1 Hero’s Downfall, 1 Murderous Cut, 1 Thassa’s Oracle, 2 Censor, 1 Thought Erasure and 1 Urborg. Everything else is untouchable.
1 Hero’s Downfall – Gideon of the Trials is getting very popular and you need to have some answers for it. I don’t want to have Noxious Grasp in my 75 because the card is just too situational, so my solution is playing a Hero’s Downfall in the maindeck. Being able to kill a Jace or Inverter in the mirror sometimes comes in handy as well. I don’t have more direct answers to Gideon because I am going to beat U/W easily with Pack Rats and I don’t think the white devotion decks are very good, so I wouldn’t expect to play against them too much next week. Besides, you still have 7-8 discard spells in your deck and a few counters AND your opponent still needs to play Gideon before you play Inverter.
1 Drown in the Loch – this card can be completely dead in some matchups, but the deck needs a lot of cheap interaction and sometimes it can be pretty good. If there was anything better, I’d be happy to replace it. Don’t play two.
3 Thought Erasure – I’m always happy to see this card in my opening hand. It’s also a good card to shuffle back in with Inverter. I was very happy with 3, but 4 would be too many, as you can’t afford to fill your graveyard that much.
1 Murderous Cut – I like to have a 5th delve card to help me manage my graveyard count and it’s a nice answer for cards like Rankle or Torbran. You could replace it if the format becomes less aggro, but right now Monored and Monoblack are a big part of the field.
1 Urborg – you want to have as many basics as possible because of Choked Estuary, but there are also situations where you shuffle a Fabled Passage back into your deck with Inverter and then you have nothing to find. I think those situations happen more often than you getting screwed with Urborg and Estuary in hand, so I like the 1 Urborg.
0 Coax from the Blind Eternities – I have to say I was pretty impressed when I found out that some players ran a few copies of Coax and 1 Inverter in the sideboard at the PT as a way to increase the odds at playing Inverter on turn 4, especially because the deck has no good 3 mana cards. But the more I think about it, the more I think it just makes your deck more clunky and slower. It’s a pretty sweet idea though.
4 Pack Rat – this is the mirror breaker and also the best card against U/W Control. You only need to play a few games with 4 Rats in your deck and you’ll understand how insane they are in those matchups. The reason why I am not running cards like Thief of Sanity, Ashiok and Scarab God is they all get countered by Mystical Dispute. Bringing in more blue cards when everyone has 3-4 copies of Dispute in their sideboard just makes no sense to me. Pack Rat plays really well with discard spells and your own Disputes. They also happen to completely invalidate any kind of planeswalker plan from your opponent, whether it is Jace, Teferi, Liliana or Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy.
Another reason why I loved Pack Rat at the first PT was that the decklists that you exchange with your opponent cover your entire maindeck, but only list one of each of your sideboard cards. There are currently 9 Unique cards in the sideboard and Kanister set the trend with a bunch of 1-ofs in his, so I figured my opponents wouldn’t think too much of it and assume I also only had 1 Rat.
2 Cry of Carnarium – Good against the Black and Red aggresive decks, but you can also bring it in against Spirits.
1 Ultimate Price, 1 Cast Down – they both have their advantages and disadvantages, mainly Price not being able to kill a creature with Ensoul Artifact on it and Cast Down not being able to kill Rankle and Torbran, so use them wisely.
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang – this was Michael Jacob’s idea to replace Kalitas with and I absolutely agree with it. The main advantage of Tasigur is that it can cost less mana, set up a better Inverter and most importantly, doesn’t die to Chandra or Glorybringer. Kalitas is slow and very rarely actually gets you any extra value.
1 Duress – I like the 8th discard spell in the sideboard for the mirror and against U/W Control. There just isn’t anything better you can be doing after sideboard than opening on discard into Pack Rat.
Are cards like Slaughter Games and Unmoored Ego a problem?
Yes and no. Exiling Inverter from your deck will definitely make it much more difficult for you to win, but you can still relatively easily deck them with Jace or boarding in a few Pack Rats or Tasigur for extra win conditions. Chaining Dig Through Times helps you get through your deck really quickly. Between all my matches on Magic Online and the PT, I’ve lost exactly one game to getting my Inverters exiled.
When do you play Thassa’s Oracle just to scry?
There are usually three scenarios when I’m happy to play Oracle on turn 2.
1. I am digging for more lands.
2. I am looking for something specific, like a discard spell that I’d like to play on turn 3 because I already have Inverter and another Oracle or Jace in my hand.
3. I am playing against aggro and the 1/3 body is actually a very effective blocker against Monoblack and Monored. You also don’t care if your Oracle dies – you actually prefer that it happens, because you will shuffle it back into your deck with Inverter of Truth.
Tips and Tricks
– Try to play basic lands out of your hand as the last possible land drop in case you draw Choked Estuary later and need something to reveal for it to enter the battlefield untapped.
– Just because Opt is an instant, you don’t have to play it at the end of your opponent’s turn. You actually want to cast Opt on your own turn in a lot of matchups to have more information about which land to play or possibly draw into something like Thoughtseize or help you decide which land to play. The same is true for Dig Through Time, there is nothing wrong with playing it on your own turn.
– I very frequently keep a card I don’t need on top with the surveil ability on Thought Erasure when I see that the coast is clear and my opponent has no way to stop me from comboing off. The reason for that is that I don’t want to put more cards into my graveyard and then take more than one turn to mill myself, I want to be able to only shuffle 2-3 cards back in and then untap and win right away.
– Thassa’s Oracle trigger is a may. If you don’t like the cards you are looking at, you can put all of them on the bottom in any order.
– Fabled Passage gives you revolt for Fatal Push, so you will want to keep your Passage uncracked in play sometimes to be able to Fatal Push a Rankle or Torbran.
– You can Fatal Push your own Thassa’s Oracle to shuffle an extra win condition into your deck with Inverter of Truth
– You generally want more Islands in play than Swamps. Jace costs UUU and sometimes you want to be able to cast Dig Through Time into a Thassa’s Oracle.
– Sometimes you just win by casting Inverter of Truth and beating down. There will be matchups where your opponent just doesn’t have a great way of dealing with a 6/6 flyer and if your graveyard is large enough, there is nothing wrong with winning this way.
How do you beat this deck?
Gideon of the Trials – this is the best card against this deck by a pretty significant margin. You need to play it before they have an Inverter in play, get the Emblem that says that if you control a Gideon planeswalker, you can’t lose and they can’t win and they need to have a direct removal spell to still be able to beat you. The only problem is that the white decks aren’t very good. Compare the cards Opt, Thoughtseize and Dig Through time with Heliod, Knight of the White Orchid and Stasis Snare.
Tormod’s Crypt or Kari Zev’s Expertise + being aggressive – Inverter of Truth being a huge 6/6 blocker is an important part of your plan against aggro decks. For that reason, putting your opponent under a quick clock and boarding in Tormod’s Crypt that you don’t have to pay any mana for can just be too fast for this deck. This is a little different than Rest in Peace that you essentially have to skip your turn two for. Both can be effective though, as Rest in Peace stops Dig Through Time as well.
With Crypt or RIP in play, you basically have to play Inverter and Oracle on the same turn to win with 0 cards in your library.
We briefly considered playing Ipnu Rivulet as a trump for the mirror that would mill them after they play Inverter, but it just makes your mana too awkward, especially because of Choked Estuary and taking damage in the aggro matchups.
Monored and Monoblack
Niv to Light
I’m not sure whether to board in Cry of Carnarium or not. There are games where it’s a game winner and then there are games where it does nothing. It also depends on the way your opponent sideboards. I board out 1 Dig because I expect Rest in Peace but maybe they don’t even bring it in.
What to do if this deck becomes too dominant in the format?
I think the best course of action Wizards can do right now is to just watch the format try to self-correct itself. People are still playing decks like Niv to Light or Green Ramp that are too slow and too underpowered for this format. Once people realize that Pioneer is closer to Modern than it is to Standard with its speed and power level, this deck will get a lot less easy wins. There are also still many unexplored powerful strategies like Delirium and graveyard combo decks. If Inverter still comes out on top, I believe the best course of action would be to ban Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise.
Dig Through Time is the card that makes this deck so consistent and so resilient. It doesn’t matter how much discard you throw at it and if you exile their Inverters, one Dig off the top will put them right back in the game. If you only ban Dig though, it will just get replaced by Treasure Cruise. It will make the deck less powerful and less consistent, but it will still act as an Ancestral Recall. The problem with these two cards is also that they will very likely have to get banned eventually anyway, because they are simply too powerful. Both are banned in Modern and Legacy, just let that sink in for a moment. It would make this deck much weaker, but still leave it as a viable strategy.
Good luck at PT and GP Phoenix!
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