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The Harbinger of Doom

Written by Scott Campbell on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

The Harbinger of Doom

Scott Campbell

Scott Campbell, also known as MTGPackFoils, has played Magic: the Gathering since Revised. He mostly plays Azorius based Control, or Golgari based Midrange decks. He also enjoys MLB, D&D, and is a former DJ.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to LegitMTG. I hope you all are doing well, and spending the time away from stores brewing, or looking at cards that you haven’t played in a long time. Perhaps you’re even reading on Magic: the Gathering’s story, and being inspired to build a deck that way? Maybe it’s a bit of both? That’s where this article comes into play, and it’s one I have always put on the back burner, but today I thought I would turn the heat up and revisit this deck idea I have had. If any of these cards interest you please click on the link for the LegitMTG store to get the cards you need.

A few years ago we finally received a Nahiri planeswalker card for Standard. Yes we had Nahiri, the Lithomancer in Commander 2014, but this new card from Shadows over Innistrad was different. There was an edge to her, and she felt like…a villain?

Just look at this card. You have someone wielding a blade, things blowing up behind her, and she ain’t smiling. She’s here to do some damage, and does not care who is in her way. Nothing on this card screams heroic to me (and don’t come at me with anti-hero, as that’s a cop-out term overused, and abused). Finally, FINALLY, could we have a villain that’s not a monster? It appears so. Every good story needs a villain, and oftentimes multiple villains to add more depth. Nahiri fills this role nicely as she could be a primary villain, or a sub-boss as the heroes venture towards the end boss of a story. This is my second favorite four mana planeswalker depicting a true villain, and it’s really close to being my favorite. Her abilities are great too! Let’s take a look at those:

  • +2: You may discard a card. If you do, draw a card.

Sometimes you don’t want to discard a card from your hand, and there may not be much to do on the board. However you may have a duplicate card in hand (or a dead card) making this ability perfect to look for a better card. Don’t forget to crack your fetchland first.

  • -2: Exile target enchantment, tapped artifact, or tapped creature.

Unless you can tap an artifact (Icy Manipulator anyone?) it will be hard to remove artifacts, but you are already in the right colors for that. Removing an anti-graveyard enchantment might be where this will see more play, but you could play this on curve, and remove a creature that just attacked.

  • -8: Search your library for an artifact or creature card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library. It gains haste. Return it to your hand at the beginning of the next end step.

I’m not sure what artifact you want to look for to put on the battlefield. Blightsteel Colossus maybe? However what you are aiming for here is Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Not only will the 15 damage probably be enough, but the Annihilator 6 ability could possibly reset their entire board (or enough of it anyway), and cause a concession. This is your bread-and-butter with this deck, and your primary win condition.
With all of that in mind I started working on a deck around this card, but I felt something was missing. While white and red were definitely great colors for this card to be based on its abilities perhaps I could add something to the deck to really support the full on villain mode that this card is meant to be. So let’s add black to the list of colors, and take a look at the deck.

How the deck works

This deck, similarly to Jund, wants to attack the hand with cards such as Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, and Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger, while removing early threats as it establishes its own board state. Once you land Nahiri, the Harbinger you can exchange unwanted cards for fresh cards from your deck as you build up to her ultimate and unleash Emrakul, the Promised End.

Along the way you may be able to find alternate routes to victory as Nahiri’s first ability fuels both Bedlam Reveler, and Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger. Do not discount Lingering Souls here. Not only does it protect your planeswalker, but it can chip away at opposing life totals as well as pressure opposing planeswalkers.
From the sideboard you have options to destroy problem permanents, your opponent’s lands, and even have help from another story villain in Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. It’s a rough draft so play around with it to better suit the decks you are facing, and make sure to get every ounce of value out of those cards.

Why this may be for you

  • You enjoy midrange decks.
  • The quantity and quality of non-creature spells appeals to you.
  • You enjoy having a finisher like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

Why this may not be for you

  • The deck feels too one-dimensional for you.
  • There are no cards like Bloodbraid Elf.
  • The threats feel too light or conditional.

In the story presented during Shadows over Innistrad Nahiri brings the Eldrazi to Innistrad to enact revenge against her one time friend Sorin. The amount of destruction done to the world is not only the stuff of fantasy fiction, but is the stuff of pure villainy. 

In Conclusion   

Building a deck around a story can be a lot of fun, and a bit of a challenge. Restricting yourself to cards that not only fit the theme, but also make sense from a story perspective can bring out more of the character than what was initially provided. Done well enough, entire decks like these can be your companion as you travel the planes looking for others to battle against in the many worlds of Magic: the Gathering.

What are your thoughts on the deck above? What cards would you add, or subtract? Who is your favorite Magic: the Gathering villain? Leave a comment below, and follow me on Twitter as well as Facebook.

Next week

There’s been a lot of talk about the new cards in Ikoria, and their impact on formats such as Modern. What if I told you there is a deck that completely ignored those cards, and can still compete? There is, and we’ll talk about it next time.

Until then…



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