Tag Archives: draw spells

Deck Building Exercise – The Marvellous Madam Nin

So finally we get to what I plan to actually use this blog for – discussion (well, it’s only a discussion if I get comments… hint hint!) on the building of future decks. As you can plainly see from the title, this time it’s Nin, the Pain Artist. Let’s have a look at her:

(image from, and presumably (c) Wizards of the Coast Gatherer search engine)

Well, we can tell straight away this isn’t a deck that’s reliant on the General getting through for the big damages. Despite stories around my playgroup of Kiku, Night’s Flower or Azusa, Lost but Seeking¬†getting there for 21, a point at a time, this won’t be the focus of this deck. Nin is pleasantly cheap though (not like that ūüėČ ), and so will hopefully be having an effect on the board from as early as turn 2. Neither is her type particularly relevant; as much as I love tribal decks, this isn’t going to be a Vedalken or Wizard deck (although there may be a card or two that interact with those types). No, I chose this general because of her activated ability. As someone somewhere on the internets said, it turns every creature on the board into a Stroke of Genius. But how to break this? Can it be broken? Of course it can… there are some bits and pieces around this ability which aren’t immediately apparent:

¬†– The creature doesn’t have to die, to draw the cards
 РYou can deal more damage to the creature than it has toughness, and get more cards out of it
¬†– Drawing cards can be a bad bad thing….

With those not-very-stunning revelations in mind, this is how I decided to build the deck:

1. Have a smattering of indestructible creatures of my own that I can ping to get cards
2. Make big amounts of mana to make a player (could be me, could be someone else) draw a ton of cards
3. Punish my opponents for drawing cards
4. Punish my opponents for me drawing cards
5. With a side order of “make sure my hand size is unlimited”

How to accomplish these things? Well, lets go through them in order

1. Indestructible Creatures to Target

When it comes to indesctructible creatures (in red and blue) the choice is actually pretty limited. We have:

 РBlightsteel and Darksteel Colossi: Too expensive
 РCreepy and Stuffy Doll: Definite potential, esp since Stuffy Doll helps me to kill somone deader than a doornail.
¬†– Darksteel Gargoyle, Juggernaut, Myr, and Sentinel: The only one I’d consider here is Darksteel Sentinel; the others don’t do enough (in my opinion) for their cost
¬†– Manor Gargoyle: This guy is interesting. He’s indestructible when you want it to be, and gets in there for 4 when you need him to.
¬†– Myojin of Infinite Rage: I don’t do mass land destruction. Pass.
 РMyojin of Infinite Drawing: This, on the other hand, is an absolute shoe-in.
 РUlamog, the Infinite Gyre: See Collosi.

So from that list, I think I’m going to end up with Creepy Doll, Stuffy Doll, Manor Gargoyle, Myojin of Seeing Winds, and maybe Darksteel Sentinel. The only problem with that plan is that of those, I only own a Darksteel Sentinel. To the trading post! In the meantime, I’m going to run Sentinel, Darksteel Myr, and Darksteel Brute (not even a creature, really)

2. Make mana, for making the damage, for drawing the cards.

There are some very interesting one-shot effects in red which can net you a TON of mana. The two that fit into this deck particularly well are Mana Geyser (which, really, goes in any red multiplayer deck. This card is sick) and Inner Fire, which is usually not very good but in this deck¬†could be fantastic. There’s also Koth of the Hammer, and Mana Seism, although that’s a pretty risky proposition. Blue gets, ah, shafted in the fast/lots of mana category. Other random thoughts on what should go in here:

 РIzzet Signet (Is It??!)
 РDreamstone Hedron
¬†– Journeyer’s Kite
 РDarksteel Ingot
 РGilded Lotus
¬†– Some variety of lands which tap for the manas (pity there’s no R/U storage land, but)
¬†– Braid of Fire. Yes, really. Now that the mana disappears in the upkeep, right after you’ve paid for it, I have to do it before I draw for the turn, but what else am I going to do with 1,342 mana in my upkeep? Besides, with no mana burn any more, this card is pure upside.

3. You drew cards! You’ve fallen into my trap!

Runeflare Trap, that is! Cards that perform a similar role:

 РSudden Impact
 РGaze of Adamaro (aka Sudden Impact mk II)
 РCerebral Vortex
 РMolten Psyche
¬†– Adamaro, First to Desire (I’ve been looking for a deck for this guy for AGES)

4. You let me draw cards? What were you thinking?!

Simply letting me draw cards in the first place is a bad idea, but when I have these bad boys in play, you’re in for a world of hurtin’….

¬†– Sokenzen Spellblade (read his non-Bushido ability. Then read it again. Now imagine I’ve activated it four times. How much damage do you think you’re taking?)
 РNiv-Mizzet, the Firemind
 РPsychosis Crawler

5. You know what they say about people with big hands…

Pretty standard set here, there aren’t many options and they all fit into this deck

 РLibrary of Leng
 РReliquary Tower
¬†– Venser’s Journal
¬†– Spellbook (I’ll probably leave this one out)
 РGraceful Adept

 Other Stuff

Ill need a bunch of other stuff as well; burn spells, counters, creatures, recursion, bounce (having a dead opponent makes Stuffy Doll a sad little toy), and so on. A few thoughts I’ve had in regards to other bits ‘n pieces:

¬†– Looks like I’ll have a few wizards scattered through here, and I happen to have a Riptide Laboratory. Might throw it in here to see how well it works.
¬†– Nin’s a bit fragile, so Greaves/Boots/Helm (or combination thereof) should go in too
¬†– More draw spells. I don’t own either Stroke of Genius or Blue Sun’s Zenith, but will try to trade for some. In the meantime things like Jace’s Ingenuity, Concentrate, maybe Whispers of the Muse? Maybe Think Twice? When you start really looking, there’s an awful lot of blue spells that don’t actually use the word “draw” on them! Suggestions on the back of an envelope please, or in the comments section below
 РThousand-Year Elixir, for the lols.
¬†– Random burn spells. Since I’m gonna be makin’ the mad mana, I think X spells will work ok in here. I’m particularly partial to Molten Disaster, Comet Storm, Demonfire, Banefire and Red Sun’s Zenith. Any other suggestions for decent burn spells?
¬†– Counters. I’ll probably start with my “standard” package of Hinder, Dream Fracture, Faerie Trickery and Draining Whelk. To add to that, Overwhelming Intellect obviously goes in this deck

Season to taste, and you’ve got yourself a Nin deck. What do you all (both of you ūüėČ ) think?


Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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