Deck Tech: Blue Painter with Mark Paoli
Using a blue engine, Mark has access to all the card draw and control spells you could want, so the key becomes fusing them together in a shell. While the combo is arguably the most powerful kill available to mark, it’s hardly the only one. Delver+of+Secrets has proven himself a remarkably potent threat in Legacy, and an excellent way to bait out opposing Swords or Paths before setting up Painter’s Servant. Supplementary damage from Trinket+Mage can even lend itself to a beatdown-based kill.
Trinket+Mage can search for Grindstone and enable a combo finish, of course, but it’s just as good at digging up Pithing+Needle, Engineered+Explosives, and Tormod’s Crypt—narrow but very powerful answers he likely couldn’t justify running otherwise. The Crypts seem especially important with Dredge running around following the debut of Faithless+Looting. Then there’s Chalice+of+the+Void—setting Chalice to one turns off the most commonly played ways to kill Painter’s Servant, and it’s also a great card to help fight combo decks!
Of course, the deck has other tricks besides the Grindstone. He’s got Blue+Elemental+Blast in the main, which can be turned into a Vindicate or a hard counter by naming red with Painter’s Servant… while naming blue lets him turn Llawan%2C+Cephalid+Empress into a soft lock against green decks.
In the sideboard, Mark’s packing some narrow but high-impact answers to the format’s most popular decks. Leyline+of+Sanctity for Burn? Check. Leyline+of+the+Void for Dredge? Check. Engineered+Plague for tribal strategies? Check again! Mindbreak+Trap gives him an easy out to Storm despite lacking Force+of+Will, and Hurkyl’s Recall resets the game in his favor against Affinity. That doesn’t cover everything, but it does cover most things!