Nethroi, Apex of Death
Creature — Nightmare Beast
Mutate (If you cast this spell for its mutate cost, put it ontop or underneath target non-Human creature you own. They mutate into the creature that is on top and that creature has all the abilities of every card that is underneath it.)
Whenever this creature mutates, return any number of target creature cards with total power 10 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.
Printings View all
|Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO)||Mythic Rare|
Combos Browse all
|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Nethroi, Apex of Death Discussion
1 month ago
Hello everyone. I’m DeinoStinkus, TappedOut’s resident crocodile and ultimate master of jank and underappreciated strategies. This is the article series Strange Tales, where we’ll be exploring everything custom, from the craziest custom cards and user-made formats to wild speculation and analysis of sets.
Today we will be viewing the wonderful (and sometimes controversial) world of custom cards. Custom cards are one of my favorite MTG activities. However, it is often difficult to design a custom card well, and this is why some people do not like custom cards. These people see custom cards as a waste of time and they think people make the most broken cards they can whenever they can just to show off. While this may be true of some custom card designers, it is certainly not true of all if not many creators. Many custom card designers are there to create fun cards, and try to keep them balanced. Of course, it may combo with this card or that, but this phenomenon happens all the time in real R&D (think Faeburrow Elder infinite combos or that god-awful Cauldron Familiar combo) so it is really not a viable reason to not like custom card design. However, there are a few people who devote much of their time to custom card design. TappedOut has an incredibly large thread known as the “Custom Card Challenge” which actually first introduced me to the idea of custom cards. Now I’ve been doing custom cards for over a year and I have to say it is a really sweet experience. However, there are some things you have to remember when designing a balanced custom card. These will be discussed below.
The first element of a balanced custom card is average mana investment. This is the average amount of mana one would pay for a certain ability, power, toughness, et cetera. For power/toughness, the general rule I go by is this:
The sum of the power and toughness divided by 2 is the mana cost. Toughness carries significantly less weight than power on this note, which is why Aegis Turtle exists but we have never seen a 1-mana 3/1. Additionally, as the mana cost gets higher, the mana cost will often be lower than the P/T. Vorstclaw is a good example of this phenomenon, but many green rares also fall under this rule. These include Gargos, Vicious Watcher, Aggressive Mammoth, Gigantosaurus, and Elder Gargaroth. While on the topic of the first three, another rule I hold by is this:
The more colored mana a creature has, the better its P/T can be for its mana cost. This is why cards like Niv-Mizzet Reborn are not analyzed as deeply, because the chances of having true rainbow by turn 5 or less is low enough so as not to break parity with the rest of the board.
Flying also contributes to mana cost. In fact, I have a pretty routine list of abilities and their average contribution to mana cost:
+1 mana: flying, menace, skulk, “: Add one mana of any color”, and double strike
+½ mana: the rest of the abilities, including but not limited to trample, first strike, reach, and vigilance
These are just examples of how much mana one might routinely put into these abilities, but what about other abilities? Well, that’s up to you. Activated abilities are more about balancing the mana cost of the ability itself rather than adding mana to the CMC, and triggered abilities are more subjective. In general, adding two mana for card draw is decent but not overpowered.
We’ve only been talking about creatures, but what about instants/sorceries? In general, here are the rules for balanced variables:
Lifegain: an average of 3 life per 1 cmc is fine, lower cmcs can have a lot (like Chaplain's Blessing). Card draw: one card per 1.5 cmc is general, adding other effects to a single card draw is acceptable (see Preordain). A general formula for drawing X cards is . Destroying creatures: 1 per 3 cmc, cmc decreases as more creatures get destroyed. Conditional effects based on P/T or cmc are usually 3 cmc while conditional effects based on color are usually 1 or 2 cmc, such as Deathmark or Doom Blade. Damage: Usually 1.5-2 damage per mana spent is pretty good. Artifact/enchantment removal: In general, removing one of the two specifically is one mana while removing either is 2 mana. I hope this clears things up about what mana costs typically apply to custom cards.
Now, custom abilities. Designers can often fall into the trap of designing custom abilities that are either way too complicated or way too pointless. I’d say that for a custom ability you should always at least try to envision how it would play out in a deck. If the ability dominates or just has no effect, cut it. An example of an effect that just feels meh is first strike. First strike was intended to be a decent ability for creatures to have. It can come in handy for some games (for example, Grim Initiate is a powerful common creature partly because of its first strike) but the higher P/T you have the less impressive first strike seems. However, first strike has its applications. Combined with deathtouch your creature becomes nigh untouchable. Glissa, the Traitor and Pestilent Kathari have these two abilities together. Combining a custom keyword/ability with another is often a unique way to bring life to a custom card. Custom abilities such as thoughtlink (whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, draw a card) are interesting and replace text that already exists (in this example, on cards like Curious Obsession and Sixth Sense). Meanwhile, there are many abilities with quite a bit of text that while incredibly difficult to understand at first glance make for really interesting gameplay. One such example from the main game is Mutate, featured on cards like Nethroi, Apex of Death and Migratory Greathorn.
Overall, custom cards can be built very well or they can be the ultimately powerful entities many people believe them to be. Personally, I see nothing wrong with designing a 13/13 with flying, trample, infect, menace, rampage 10, and afflict 10. If you’re designing it for play, obviously this will not make the cut, but there is no issue with people letting loose and designing an insanely broken card every once in a while. My version of this is redesigning powerful cards. Everyone has something different that
Thanks for reading my article! Feel free to leave some feedback below or contact me about any ideas you have for future articles, I plan them one in advance. My email is [email protected] if you want to reach me that way. If not, have a good day, be cool and kind to everyone, and GIVE ALL YOUR WORLDLY POSSESSIONS TO seshiro_of_the_orochi, a fabulous custom card designer from whom I have learned much about balancing custom cards. See you next time where we will talk about an issue in cEDH that plagues the whole format! See you then!
1 month ago
The biggest concern I have with this deck is that I won't have enough tokens or sac outlets to generate the card draw that I need: how many sacrifice / draw cards and token generating cards would you recommend?
1 month ago
Very good looking deck. I love Nethroi, Apex of Death and wish I could use it in my Arcades version of the deck. I always recommend Smothering Tithe and Heliod's Intervention in any decks that have white. Eerie Ultimatum can win games with flash enablers like Emergence Zone
3 months ago
I might pull Polukranos, Unchained because he kind of goes against what you're trying to do and instead go with something like Clackbridge Troll or Baneslayer Angel. Both would be nice targets for Nethroi, Apex of Death
3 months ago
Oh, one last thing. You can choose to have Nethroi, Apex of Death mutate off an indestructible creature too which is how you'll guarantee your mutate triggers. I'd recommend running creatures such as: Bontu the Glorified, Darksteel Myr, Predator Ooze, Rhonas the Indomitable and Yahenni, Undying Partisan. Indestructible commanders are pretty baller.
3 months ago
I would personally run Nethroi, Apex of Death. Nethroi has lifelink which can be fun to pump up with auras, but Nethroi's reanimate ability can be seriously powerful at enchantment reanimation if you build your deck right.
Auramancer, Griffin Dreamfinder, Monk Idealist, Restoration Specialist, Trusty Retriever, Acolyte of Affliction, Golgari Findbroker, Lurrus of the Dream-Den, Eternal Witness, Felidar Guardian. These make excellent targets to recur enchantments and auras with as you could recur 4 to 5 enchantments every time Nethroi mutates.
Do keep in mind a few card draw enchantment creatures also have 0 power making them free to reanimate too. Creatures like: Argothian Enchantress, Mesa Enchantress, Verduran Enchantress, Kor Spiritdancer.
Also if you run out of enchantments to recur I'd recommend running these enchantments as they're easy to both put into the graveyard and obtain value off of them which is what will make this strategy even stronger: Sinister Concoction, Seal of Primordium, Seal of Cleansing, Soul Snare, Weight of Conscience, Aura of Silence, Font of Fertility, Sterling Grove and Unbridled Growth. Sigil of the Nayan Gods and Cast Out also work if you only intend to cycle them.
4 months ago
@ClockworkSwordfish ooo I really like Eminence as a 4th category for color cropping! Unfortunate that there are only 4 options for commanders, but even still there's a lot of color cropped options within those! Not casting your commander doesn't sound appealing to me-I like revolving my decks around my commanders. But might be awesome for others wanting a weird challenge!
I wish I could view your deck or tag you - but apparently you blocked me at some point in the past! Maybe we can be friends now :)
4 months ago
This is a really unique list compared to the other Nethroi, Apex of Death lists I've seen on tappedout. I am working on a Kethis, the Hidden Hand list so the commanders can be interchangeable, but I might cut that theme out altogether and try something similar like this. +1 from me!