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Creature — Specter
FlyingWhenever Nightveil Specter deals combat damage to a player, that player exiles the top card of his or her library.You may play cards exiled with Nightveil Specter.
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Nightveil Specter Discussion
1 week ago
APPLE01DOJ - I don't know. Yesterday, I could have written you an essay; today, I'm facing down Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I know nothing until further testing. I have rushed to bring back two copies of Liliana of the Veil to the list since the unbans, a card I had eschewed very quickly in my original construction of the deck, since it hardly favours the player drawing an extra card a turn; however, with the advent of Bloodbraid Elf and Jace TMS, opponents are now likely to be able to keep up with the CA of Phyrexian Arena, and as such, Liliana of the Veil is likely to be good again (even if the format is being overrun by lots of Bloodghast, Hollow One, and Faithless Looting).
However, I can offer a breakdown of how the creatures function in non-blue matchups:
a. Pack Rat:
The deck started with the set of Pack Rat. But that all in-strategy was soon found to be suboptimal - drawing multiple Pack Rats was unnecessary and rarely served any purpose; not to mention the speed of Modern means turn 2 Pack Rat is often too slow. As sweepers, Detention Sphere, and Maelstrom Pulse became common, and as Hollow One and Death's Shadow and Tasigur, the Golden Fang started to surface, Pack Rat lost some of its luster.
The natural question, then, if Pack Rat is slow and vulnerable, why play him at all? The answer: Pack Rat is ten cards in one card. Backed up with any kind of disruption and removal, he takes over the board and ends the game, quickly and unstoppably. Two activations are more than enough to put away games, and trading spot removal for Rats is a losing proposition. So in this list, he's gone from being a windmill early slam, to a lategame engine that turns dead land drops and discard spells into an army of creatures. Barring Path to Exile before a single activation is possible, Liliana, the Last Hope can always buy him back - one copy of the Rat, therefore, is ample.
I've covered the virtues of this card in a post above - essentially, he's my Tarmogoyf, but he flies. Whether he functions as The Abyss or as a 6/6 unblockable, he ends games very quickly, and many a game against combo/Tron has been put away by disruption into disruption into Demon. Of the quick clocks available to black, he's one of the better ones. I believe the added utility to be well worth the extra two mana over Goyf (besides, far be it from me to argue against 6 6 fliers for four - speaking of which, Demon is almost always a strictly superior option to Abyssal Persecutor, since Persecutor requiring us to find an additional kill spell for our own demon while Phyrexian Arena ticks down/the burn opponent is topdecking is not a good feeling).
I cannot praise this card enough in any mono black midrange list. He exiles creatures, he gains life consistently, and he makes every removal spell in our deck a 2 for 1. Traditionally, efficient mono black removal has been weak to graveyard recursion such as Flamewake Phoenix, Bloodghast, Geralf's Messenger, Kitchen Finks, and so forth, since all these cards must be killed more than once, at no additional expense to the opponent. Thoughtseize and Phyrexian Arena is a painful combination, especially in a world of Lightning Bolt and Kolaghan's Command. Kalitas solves all of these issues beautifully, and with any removal spell stalls the board incredibly easily and well.
Okay, have you seen the art? If Drana were real, she'd totally be my Valentine.
Jokes aside, one of the issues I was frequently running into with the deck was the amount of time it took me to close out once I had stabilised. While all of my creature threats (Gray Merchant of Asphodel is basically a Corrupt, he doesn't count) end the game quite quickly, I just wasn't drawing them fast enough - my opponent would get the opportunity to find that Cryptic Command or Sphinx's Revelation, or get those last 2 Boros Charm. There is a delicate balance between disruption and pressure that must be maintained in all decks that are not pure control, and maintaining that balance required me to find another fast game-ending threat.
I considered running the fourth Desecration Demon, but the idea of another big dumb beater was not appealing. I wanted a powerful threat with intrinsic value attached to its kit, that could help deal with the board even when I was not drawing multiple cards a turn, and hopefully one that was either resilient, or dodged some of the common removal in the format (Lightning Bolt, Abrupt Decay, Fatal Push - although I was open to playing four drops, since consistently having revolt to deal with a whole myriad of four drop threats is difficult). While black has plenty of value three drops, none of them offered this game ending power, or were too easily killed - Nightveil Specter and Lifebane Zombie, for instance, offer great card advantage in specific situations, but don't really pack the same punch as something like a Desecration Demon or Pack Rat army.
Finally, I settled on Drana. There are a lot of powerful five drops in black with value built in (Bloodgift Demon, for instance), but Drana does something none of the others do - she kills things, turn after turn, while being able to attack in the air for huge chunks. In a meta with Lingering Souls, Dark Confidant and Young Pyromancer, Drana seemed like an elegant solution, and so far, she has far exceeded my expectations. I do not think I should consider running multiples of her, since she is quite expensive and can be killed for no value the turn she comes into play, but untapping with her can feel a bit like untapping after a Supreme Verdict to an empty board.
No Geralf's Messenger, no Phyrexian Obliterator; only 2 Gray Merchant. I do not believe the all in devotion plan is likely to ever become Modern competitive, for sheer want of interactive capability and card advantage - if you are playing a midrange list in Modern, you need lots of early interaction in the form of hand disruption and removal, a proactive plan to end the game with efficient threats, and ways to pull ahead on cards after both players have been stripped down to limited resources. Gray Merchant is an extremely powerful card, as good as or better than Siege Rhino if it drains for upwards of five; it swings races, it ends games, it doesn't care about board stalls, and for all intents and purposes is basically a Modern legal Tendrils of Corruption (not my quote - blame LSV. Then again, that man also calls Disciple of Phenax Mind Twist, so take these statements with several grains of salt).
But despite his inherent power level, Gray Merchant of Asphodel is a very high variance card, and can sometimes be Highway Robber. Removal in Modern is aplenty, and curving out into enough devotion for Gray Merchant to be good is not a reliable plan. Even when the traditional mono black lists do manage to implement their plan - Geralf's Messenger into Gray Merchant, for instance, after having gotten two or more of their creatures removed, despite being an overall drain for seven to nine, just lacks the power/speed to push through opposing Tarmogoyf, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Grim Flayer, Death's Shadow - not to mention blue decks with their Cryptic Command and board sweepers and Sphinx's Revelation.
Gray Merchant of Asphodel in my list is therefore a card I'll often be discarding to the various discard outlets in the early game; using either the second copy or Liliana, the Last Hope's minus two to drain the opponent out if necessary later on. His being a zombie means he can be sacrificed to Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet either to simply grow the great vampire, or to be recursed with Liliana, as the situation calls.
I do not think running more than two of the card is likely to be feasible for Modern given the uncertainty of whether Merchant will be Corrupt or Highway Robber, and also given Merchant's relatively high mana cost; while it is possible that one is the correct number (and indeed, often in post board games, I do go down to one or no Merchant) at least in game 1, the proactive plan of discard, kill, kill, flier, smack, Merchant win is a very strong one. Having access to the second copy in case the first gets exiled and therefore cannot be returned with a future Liliana is also quite relevant against decks with Path to Exile and Pyxis of Pandemonium.
Despite Merchant's variance, I believe his power level and his ability to end the game on the spot through cards like Ensnaring Bridge and Witchbane Orb is not to be undervalued. In a deck with Phyrexian Arena and Ob Nixilis Reignited, every life point represents an extra card; while Highway Robber may be terrible, a five mana 2 4 that draws 4 cards on etb and drains the opponent for four is an absolutely phenomenal Magic card.
I would also like to point out the maindeck inclusion of incidental lifegain like Collective Brutality and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet in conjunction with Gary makes most burn and aggro matchups extremely favourable.
While the creature suite has been carefully picked, and is constantly being chosen and rechosen and tweaked, the engine that enables this deck is Phyrexian Arena. Any interactive deck with reactive spells always runs the risk of its reactive measures not lining up well against the threats being deployed on the other side; Arena churning through the deck presents the critical mass of answers and threats to overwhelm the opponent, ensures land drops are made, and essentially in every regard dots the deck's i's and crosses its t's. With discard outlets like Collective Brutality and Liliana of the Veil to trade potentially dead cards for relevant spells early on, irksome draws with too many high cmc cards can still function smoothly and well.
1 week ago
I think you should try to lower your curve and more mana-rocks like Dimir Signet, Talisman of Dominance and Coalition Relic wouldn't hurt either. It's true that the higher cost minions are pure value but I think it's better to play smaller "threats" to bait removal out while generating some card-advantage trough them. If you are going to stick with the B/U creature based strategy, then here are some suggestions;
- Glen Elendra Archmage
- Phyrexian Metamorph (I would run him over Sakashima)
- Dimir Cutpurse
- Dimir Infiltrator
- Baleful Strix
- Nightveil Specter (Might even be a better Ghastlord of Fugue)
- Gonti, Lord of Luxury
- Havengul Lich
- Deadeye Navigator
- Notion Thief
- Looter il-Kor
- Massacre Wurm
- Solemn Simulacrum
You could try to take advantage of your creatures who can swing in without any problem since a lot of them can't be blocked by running Coastal Piracy
I would also try to fit in the Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots, they are great at keeping your value creatures on the battlefield. (Random thought), Maybe even run Quietus Spike to just annihilate opponents with one swing? The Spike combined with Wound Reflection is an insta-kill. Wound Reflection has also perfect synergy with Sorin Markov btw.
If you are playing valuable creatures, you also really need a SacOutlet to protect them from exile or the dreaded copy/steal effects, so Ashnod's Altar or even Phyrexian Altar could also be great additions.
And even though you are running counter spells, you can't counter everything people throw at you so some reanimation could come in handy. This combined with the sacoutlet makes Kokusho and Keiga so much better. Imagine what you could do with the Dragons when Mikaeus, the Unhallowed is on board as well. Mikaeus has a strong combo withTriskelion to, infinite damage ftw.
Last of, running some blue staples could really help you out. Blue is the best color for card advantage so why not take advantage from that with Rhystic Study? Capsize is also really good for controlling the board-state.
2 weeks ago
a. The mana cost is prohibitive. It sounds silly, since I am playing a mono black list with Gray Merchant of Asphodel, but quadruple black requires almost all swamps or an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in play. This will almost always be difficult to achieve in the early turns (specifically, on turn four, when you want your four drops), because Field of Ruin, Ghost Quarter and Mutavault are just so important to the list. Without Field of Ruin, you straight up lose to Tron; the control and affinity and merfolk matchups become so much worse because you don't have the free answers to Celestial Colonnade, Inkmoth Nexus, and Mutavault. Field of Ruin is a land that also kills a creature; Mutavault is a land that synergises with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet (it's a zombie) and with Pack Rat (it's also a rat). Manlands are very powerful, and in this list, Mutavault is especially so. Given that this means anywhere between six to eight colourless sources in the deck, I cannot afford to consistently run Obliterator, or even Nightveil Specter.
b. Opponents can ignore Obliterator if I choose to attack with it; they can race me with Death's Shadow, Tarmogoyf, and Lingering Souls. In later stages of the game or in board stalls, it is possible to brute force one's way through an Obliterator on defense by sacrificing tokens and lands (Voice of Resurgence, Eternal Witness, etc.); alternatively, one can block to reduce trample damage, sacrifice lands, and win on the crackback. This does not mean Obliterator is a weak card, quite the contrary; it simply means that Obliterator is not as board dominant as most people imagine it to be. By contrast, by virtue of the fact that Demon flies, it can deal with Lingering Souls and ignore ground combat entirely. Bitterblossom, Inkmoth Nexus, Blinkmoth Nexus - it is surprising how often flying is the relevant keyword.
c. Demon has six power. This is a three turn clock because in Modern life totals often start between 18-16. Obliterator has five power. This also makes Demon better in races, especially when backed up by removal. Two Demons is also a two turn clock; two Obliterators is a three turn clock.
It is sometimes argued that Demon's capacity to be tapped down makes it weak. Towards that end, I would reply that Demon is The Abyss, but can also end the game. I am not unhappy playing multiple copies of a card that makes my opponents sacrifice a creature each turn, given that in almost every case, the late game favours me.
1 month ago
Phyrexian Obliterator, Mutavault, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth are out of money range now.
Nightveil Specter looks weak, because it has to stay for a turn and successfully attack to do some random thing. There is good chance, that exiled card is unplayable in mono black. One more devotion compared to Vampire Nighthawk seems like a small upside. Regarding devotion, in the beginning of deck there was playset of Gray Merchant of Asphodel, but the card is low impact. Too often i have devotion 4 or even 2 and then it's weak for 5 mana. I cut it to lower the curve.
Report from last FNM, went 1:2:
Match 1 against burn: First game opponent had some bad draw but good opening hand. I lost it, but it was close, at one point he had one card in hand, i played Gray Merchant of Asphodel total devotion 6 and he responded with Skullcrack. It was close, but he finally won. Second game i won, due to lifegain (Vampire Nighthawk + Lashwrithe). Third game was long and super close, but he won thanks to pair of Skullcracks, one topdecked. I was like: this matchup looks better than i expected (good thing), but i was off luck a little (bad thing).
Match 2 against Forest belcher: First game opponent mulliganed a lot (this deck plays very small amount of lands) and i won easily. Second game he was on -10 lifes (Abyssal Persecutor) and i was on 30 lifes unable to kill my Percy for 2 turns. Next turn he finally killed me by Goblin Charbelcher. Third game i was sitting on two swamps, drawing cards by Sign in Blood but still waiting for other lands, when i finally found 3rd swamp, he managed to kill me. Forest Belcher is interesting and fun deck better than my. That was first time Lost Legacy's nonartifact was really big deal for me. Forest Belcher is nice unique deck and i don't have anything good against it in sideboard.
Match 3 against Jund Dragons: Both games were attrition wars, I won both easily thanks to draw from Phyrexian Arena or Sign in Blood or Arguel's Blood Fast Flip.
Notes: i need more Rite of Consumption, this card proves very good in this deck and i need more ways to kill my Abyssal Persecutor... In match against Jund Dragons also had problem with killing my Percy, but solved it very fast. Currently 10 ways to kill Percy don't counting flipped Arguel's Blood Fast Flip. It isn't enough...
1 month ago
I would run Phyrexian Obliterator over Abyssal Persecutor. Nightveil Specter could be a great addition to. I also recommend to have a play set of Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Your mana-base would also benefit from Mutavaults, if you put them in, then Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth as a two off is also great!
2 months ago
3 months ago
3 months ago
Mind Grind has the potential to mill a lot, especially in the late game!
Sanity Grinding is pretty cool and can screw someone up if you get a lot of blue mana symbols.
Dire Undercurrents, while useless by itself, can quickly become a nuisance if it sticks on the board for multiple turns.
Ghastlord of Fugue gets in whether your opponents like it or not. In addition to hitting for at least 4 a turn, you get to unconditionally exile the best cards in your opponents' hands.
Lich Lord of Unx gets pretty good as a mana sink in the late game. In the early game, he can sit back and spawn chump blockers. This card might not be the best in your current deck though, as it requires a focus on Zombies to become good. But I mentioned it anyway so that you know that this card exists.
Nightveil Specter works in a similar manner to Mirko. However you can actually play the cards exiled with it. Note that you can't spend mana as it was of any color to cast the exiled cards!
Oona, Queen of the Fae is dumb and people are going to hate you forever if you play her. The hate is justified though, as she has a really strong milling ability and can clog up the board with tokens. Hated or not, she is very strong!
Perplex might not be the best counterspell out there, but it can trip an opponent up. It also has the strange but useful Transmute ability that lets you tutor for a card with the same CMC as Perplex. Note that while this card is an Instant in itself, you can only Transmute as a sorcery!
Memory Plunder lets you cast any instant or sorcery in your opponents' graveyards. It even is a spell that lets you cast sorceries at instant speed! Imagine having access to free, instant speed In Garruk's Wake or Time Stretch!
Isleback Spawn is a bomb, no doubt about that! If your milling plan is going as it should be, this Kraken becomes a gigantic 8/16 for 7 mana! It even has Shroud to protect itself. This card is one of Phenax's best friends, especially when its toughness is 16.
Sire of Stagnation is a very good creature for these kind of decks. It doesn't even really need to do anything, it just sits there and diminishes your opponents' decks two cards at a time. In the worst case, it eats a removal spell or a counterspell. Its nice toughness is appreciated by Phenax. Note that the draw ability is not a "may"! You may find yourself having to discard if it gets out of hand. Should this card seem interesting to you, then it might be a good idea to include cards that alter your hand size, such as Reliquary Tower.
There you go! ;)