Deck Tech: Blue Painter with Mark Paoli
The Painter’s Servant and Grindstone combination experience some on-again off-again attention over the last year, but has fallen out of favor with Snapcaster Mage’s dominance of the format making Swords and Path to Exile all too-present problems—not to mention the danger of playing for a draw against Show and Tell’s Progenitus duo. Mark Paoli has a new list that seeks to solve some of these issues!
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, 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!