When I first started writing Magic articles (one month ago), I was eager to put my brewing skills to good use and completely flood the market with my unique deck techs. Unfortunately, as I found out early on, no one wanted my deck techs due to my novice-ness as a Magic player. I heard some encouraging things about my writing, but when it came to my skills concerning the game of Magic, the insults couldn’t have stung worse. These are the sorts of things I heard (ver batem I might add). “ You are, without a doubt, the worst Magic player that I’ve ever seen” and “Do you even know how the stack works?” and, most offensively, “not only are you a terrible Magic player, but you’re also uglier then Danny Devito if he were dipped into lard and covered in chocolate wax candy”…. *sighs*
You’d think these sorts of comments might discourage me (I’m sure for some they would pack it up and quit the game all together) but all this hateful derision did was encourage me to double-down, play more Magic, and make absolutely certain that my first unique deck would completely annihilate the format.
I think by now, amongst Magic circles, we can all agree that Niv-Mizzet is the broken-est of cards that Standard has to offer. This card advantage, control-mirror breaking POWERHOUSE is simply put, not to be reckoned with. To me Niv-Mizzet, Parun reads as one way and one way only- when this card enters the battlefield, target opponent loses the game.
Hidden for long, there’s no denying the staying power of our dragon wizard overlord. Building the best deck was not a problem (play 4 Niv-Mizzets) but I did have a problem soon come up, a problem that I found, that not even the Dragon Wizard himself could solve…. *gasps*
You see, I was winning with ole’ Niv-y boy, and handsomely so, having ranked myself all the way up to an illustrious and not so humble Silver Tier 3 in Magic Arena with a brew that was oh how do I put it, UNMISTAKABLE in it’s design. But I was running into the same problem over and over, one that I found that not even playing 4 Niv-Mizzet could solve.
My opponents were also casting 4 Niv-Mizzets.
As I quickly discovered, once the secret was out, there was really no sure-fire way to stop someone else from sleeving up the Lizard King, and try as I might, there was nothing that my Jeskai Niv-Mizzet deck could do to say something about it.
But then in the night it occurred to me, that there was something that could be done, that my opponent wasn’t doing, that would give me the ‘nut of all nuts’.
Turn 3 Niv-Mizzet.
I set out not knowing if it was possible, I mean really, a turn-3 Niv-Mizzet, in this economy.
But I was adamant about it’s potential, and moreover, in the staying power of a deck that relied on one card and one card only.
Here’s the brew in it’s very first (to be incrementally iterated on) edition:
Go ahead. Ask a Magic player, any Magic player, Vintage on up, how they would go about building a ramp deck, and I promise you, without exception, that every one of them will tell you that they’d start with 4 Llanowar Elves and wouldn’t look back. Why fix what isn’t broke, amirite? 4 Llanowar Elves it is.
I really had no idea where to begin when picking the best locket for a turbo Niv-Mizzet deck and my research into the matter didn’t yield any significant results. LSV labeled the Boros locket the worst of the bunch in a limited context but made no mention of their undeniable impact on the Standard environment- an oversight I’m sure. All this left me with was more questions then answers and so I had to do a little bit of deductive reasoning to rationalize what was the best locket of the remaining lockets that LSV didn’t publicly lambaste.
Ideally, I think, in accordance with staying on theme, I’d go with the Simic locket, seeing as how that is THE color-pair that is most often associated with ramp spells but unfortunately, that locket won’t likely be released until RTRTRTRTR at which point this deck will really take off with it’s potential.
I had to go with a locket though- the universally acclaimed RAMP BOMBS- and
I decided it would be best to go with Selesnya- a color-pair that is sometimes associated with ramp. And let me tell you, in terms of theory-crafting, it has worked wonders.
Drover of the Mighty
You know when you’re watching a basketball game and the announcer goes, “ya Chuck, that guys next level, why is he even playing on this JV chump squad anymore?” This advice is the sort of advice that I consider to be ‘next level’ and is the kind of stuff that the Illuminati Pro Players club won’t tell you nothing about.
I’m talking about misdirection of course, in the form of strategy based sleight of hand.
When I peruse the various viable options that are available to us as turn-2 mana rampers in the current Standard environment, I see a few completely interchangeable choices, and then I see one lowly hero in the mud that sticks out like a sore thumb and will have your opponent not knowing which way is up and failing to find where their sideboard even is.
Let’s start with the clear nos.
Servant of the Conduit- Only comes packaged with two activations, dies to removal.
Shaman of Forgotten Ways- Costs 3 mana as opposed to the typical 2, also dies to removal.
Drover of the Mighty- Taps for any color of mana, gets buffed by opponents’ dinosaurs (they’re everywhere) and convinces the opponent that you’re on dinosaurs, when there is not a dinosaur to be found anywhere. Sold.
Do you ever feel like you’re just on to something in a way such that, HOW HAVEN’T PEOPLE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE comes careening into your head-space. That’s how I’m feeling right now and it’s because of the serious lack of Avacyn in the current Standard meta. I double-and tripled checked my numbers to be certain, it can’t be, but amazingly, it was. The angel queen has fallen so far that she has shown zero representation in the current 8 week metagame.
Or a forgotten hero, waiting to make her ultimate purifying, death defying return.
I vote on the latter.
This one was an easy inclusion. I know what you’re thinking- this could find me ramp, or a removal spell, or any large number of things that would win me the game. But in reality the sole purpose and the only mode I’ve chosen is the one that says find target Niv-Mizzet. A turn 3 Niv-Mizzet might be great and all, but a Niz-Mizzet with built-in vigilance is without question- even better.
Helm of The Host
One problem that I kept running into with the deck was the fact that Niv-Mizzet was a legendary and so I could only have one on the battlefield at a time, leading to awkward situations where I had multiples in hand when I really wanted multiples on the battlefield.
Cue Helm of the Host as sacrificial fodder.
The only thing better than one Niv-Mizzet is six of them, and once that baby was suited up you might as well say ‘game over’. Picture not one, but eighteen of the dinosaur king dominating the battlefield and you’ll easily understand why Helm of the Host is so perfectly suited for a COMPLETELY BROKEN turbo Niv-Mizzet deck.
If a 2/2 bear that can be sacrificed for 1 mana (Simian Spirit Guide) is a Modern playable card, then a 2/2 bear that you can sac for 2 mana is not only obviously Standard playable, but, if I hold the decimal, just one sec, and yep, if my math is correct, it’s TWICE as good as a card that’s currently seeing heavy play in Modern. I’m sure we’ll all look back and laugh at the days where fools were still playing the lackluster Simian Spirit Guide in their decks, because have no fear, Catalyst Elemental is the future of modern Storm and the present of Five-color Turbo Niv-Mizzet (the ONLY Tier 0 Standard deck around).
Here’s the list in it’s final, glorious incarnation:
Turbo Niv Mizzet
Seriously though, if I’m being quite unmistakably honest, this deck, as I’m sure you’ll quickly discover, has won (I lost count) 723 straight matches of Magic.
You don’t need to understand the Roshenberger Principle to know that 723 straight matches without a loss is about as good as it gets in any big-time sport.
You’re welcome, earth.
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