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|Magic 2015 (M15)||Rare|
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Ob Nixilis, Unshackled
Legendary Creature — Demon
Whenever an opponent searches his or her library, that player sacrifices a creature and loses 10 life.
Whenever another creature dies, put a +1/+1 counter on Ob Nixilis, Unshackled.
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Ob Nixilis, Unshackled Discussion
1 week ago
I have to vote for since it is my favorite color. I would say if you go with rats use Rat Colony over Relentless Rats. The colony is easier to kill but its power grows for EVERY rat while relentless grows only for each other relentless. This makes a huge difference when you are running Marrow-Gnawer.
That said I would recommend Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker with the Shadowborn Apostles. This deck is a lot of fun and people really underestimate the versatility of demons. My Reaper Born is Athreos but you can see much of what you might want to include in the deck. And since you are mono- you have room for some of the things I don't like Coat of Arms which turns the clerics huge and the demons that are already big even bigger. Running Conspiracy is also interesting depending on the non-demons you play.
1 week ago
Definitely a great fit for this deck Abzkaban; I have it in the maybeboard under the landsmatter strategy. Not only would it be great late game with Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, but even if Ob Nixilis, Unshackled was my main strategy in a particular game, it's actually a fantastic early game mana fixer (especially with Crucible of Worlds or Ramunap Excavator in play), and mana ramper with World Shaper or Splendid Reclamation. It layers well as those last two cards also get Field of Ruin back in a pinch, and Scapeshift will get Field of Ruin from the library if I don't have it in play yet while Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is within reach. The two strategies combine well together.
It's been pure value in the playtests - you know something belongs in the deck when you're always happy to see it on the topdeck.
I was thinking I'd share the test-pilot deck with you and a few others when I have it a little further as I would appreciate some help tuning it a bit more before making it public.
1 week ago
I really appreciate you going over this and bringing your Ghave expertise to the table.
btw, I think Avatar of Growth is the only etb trigger like that, at least that I've seen
I'm definitely hearing you with Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and the ETB/recursion ability. He's a fantastic option for upping the effectiveness of the deck especially considering cmc's and tutors. For example, I could sack Protean Hulk to bring in Ob Nixilis, Unshackled, then after Protean Hulk is brought back, sack him again for Avatar of Growth. Ob Nixilis and Avatar they are both 6cmc, so fit in Protean's limitations! I could do the same with Fierce Empath though he just puts them into my hand. With Mikaeus on the battlefield and Eldritch Evolution or Birthing Pod in place, I could sac either Ob Nixilis or Avatar to bring the other in. Btw...Mikaus with Fertilid and enough mana for activate his search engine trigger? ohhhh man, match made in heaven!
Ultimately, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed becomes another node in the network the gives multiple new routes to the goal - that's what I need in this deck, so thanks for that!
I've seen the Karmic Guide + Reveillark mentioned often and see them ringing alarm bells for people when they are played. Someone's obviously getting up to something at that point! I'm going to play test them, but may keep them on the "maybe" for the sake of trying alternate routes out first. You are so very right though, the recursion package is going to be a big key to this deck hitting a rhythm. I know I'll end up trying them in here, but I'm going to dig for alternatives for now. ... even without those two in here though, Saffi Eriksdotter seems like a great add. I put together a rough version of the deck, set to private, just to play test it. I was missing having early drops that offer value and support to the machine while helping it move forward. Saffri could potentially be one of those.
As for other recursion options: what do you think of Meren of Clan Nel Toth + Skullwinder (who also deters attacks) and/or Eternal Witness? I'm thinking this could be a good alternative for bring back Pir's Whim or another way to get Field of Ruin back. Meren would also get that Avatar of Growth ETB again in a turn - getting up to 6 experience counters with Ghave would be no problem at all.
Also - one that has worked really well in play testing, because of the lands matters aspect, is Emeria Shepherd. She's amazing recursion actually. With all the great land spells I have that can drop larger amounts of land on the battlefield, I can bring in multiple plains at once to return creatures Avatar of Growth, enchantments (Pattern of Rebirth or Wound Reflection), or artifacts Ashnod's Altar back to the battlefield together for a final boom.
Ghave initially made sense with the built in sac engine for Pattern of Rebirth, for fueling fertilid, utilizing the counters Ob Nixilis got, as well as his colours. I also knew that he had such great value engines because the second EDH deck I ever built was Ghave (with many of the combos) and I figured, once it was time to start filling the deck out, I know I have helpful options available. It's started to make more and more sense though as things have progressed.
For example: If I get into the landfall token creation I'm producing good fuel for the sac engines like Ashnod's Altar, food for Skullclamp and triggers for Bloodspore Thrinax or Ivy Lane Denizen type engines and Mentor of the Meek.
Great point on the infinite sacs for infinite flying demon, I didn't even make that obvious connection with Ghave's infinites and his trigger... And let's not forget, he's got trample! So, unless they are blocking with a flying, first strike deathtoucher, that's game for that opponent. I foresee the deck being able to combo off killing all but one opponent in some instances, so having the secondary "death-con" built into the primary is pretty nice.
What I love about going the land-matters route is bringing in Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and taking the "pain" theme further with his landfall trigger. I could bring in mass lands from the big "search engine" ramp, token triggers to fuel ghave/altar/clamp/thrinax/mentor, then deal direct damage and grow a monster (unfortunately non-flying/non-trample). I do see the value in keeping some control in mind as well and am open to ideas for priorities there. Finding the balance will be the journey, for sure.
Thanks so much for taking the time Abzkaban! I'm glad you can appreciate the jankier version of Ghave. He screams for the efficient infinite combos, it's written all over him, and I'll never tire of playing that style of him...
Yet! his abilities and colours are pretty fun enablers and I have a few other ideas for him (though this is the jankiest of them so far). I'm excited to see this keep evolving, and with something that feels so unique in some ways, it's been pretty fun having folks like you step up with new insights that seem to take it to such a greater level. Another example is Hi_diddly_ho_neighbor's idea of Biorhythm... Something I don't think I've seen in a Ghave deck, yet Ghave can use it so well, and it brings everyone within easy reach of a Field of Ruin + Ob Nixilis, Unshackled search to death!
So again, thanks for being part of it :)
1 week ago
I love the strategy of the deck. It's so far removed from what you would expect from a Ghave deck that it'll take most people by surprise.
I personally like the land matters strategy but I feel the black control fits the flavor and theme better. Honestly I think you can have a good balance of both. Once you've got Ob Nixilis, Unshackled out there, I think ETB effects can be your friend especially since you should be able to abuse them. The flicker strategy works really well, there, but I would also suggest Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. He would be good on two fronts. First he'd be great for using ETB effects multiple times, but he's also great recursion to keep Ob Nixilis in play. You just need Ghave to remove the counter and you can bring him back again. If you can manage it you could create an infinite recursion loop with him, Ghave, and Ashnod's Altar or Phyrexian Altar. Unfortunately this would be a 5 card combo since you'd need Mikaeus, Ghave, Ob Nixilis, an altar, AND Avatar of Growth or someone similar. I'm not sure if there is anyone else who forces a search like he does, though.
I think you could easily pull yourself into a win with just Pattern of Rebirth using Protean Hulk if you add in a recursion combo. By using Karmic Guide + Reveillark + Saffi Eriksdotter + a sac outlet, you can continuously bring back Hulk and search for any creature in your deck that you want. You could grab Ob Nixilis, Unshackled and Fertilid or better yet Avatar of Growth. As long as you have a free sac outlet, you can continuously bring back Avatar and trigger Ob Nixilis until you drain everyone. Not to mention that they're great single card recursion on their own except that Reveillark isn't able to bring Ob Nixilis back.
Even with utilizing lands and black control, I do think it's a missed opportunity not to utilize Ghave's abilities in some way. If you're using him just for his colors, than any Abzan commander would work. You mentioned on my deck that you wanted to adopt some combos here. Which ones did you have in mind? Adding in some combo pieces with Ashnod's Altar like Bloodspore Thrinax or Ivy Lane Denizen would allow you to use Skullclamp, Mentor of the Meek, or Fecundity to draw into your win cons. Combos like this could also bee good for Ob Nixilis as well. Infinite sacrifices means you'd have an infinite/infinite flying demon. I know that's not the focus of this deck, but it could be an alternate interaction.
Excellent idea! I look forward to seeing how this all comes together.
1 week ago
I have a few suggestions.
I think in general you could use some more token support. Since your deck is already $400 I'm not going to hold back on the expensive cards, but I think you should consider adding these.
- Dragonlair Spider you have 3 opponents generally so this card does tons of work, I'd definitely move it to the main board
- Grave Titan just a awesome creature
- Craterhoof Behemoth Awesome finisher in any board based deck
- Triumph of the Hordes another awesome finisher for creature based decks.
I also think that some of your cards aren't great or don't compliment your deck well:
- Runaway Steam-Kin in general I think you don't have enough red spells for this to help
- Mer-Ek Nightblade,Ob Nixilis, Unshackled,Pir, Imaginative Rascal,Corpsejack Menace,Forgotten Ancient. Your creatures that sac a creature to give themselves +1/+1 are fine, but I don't think there are enough of them to warrant all of this support.
- Banefire,Bonfire of the Damned,Flameblast Dragon. In edh you only need a few X spells and generally the ones that hit multiple opponents are far better. You would be better off with just Exsanguinate and Torment of Hailfire
And there are a few cards I'd advise running just because they are so good
- Eternal Witness
- Phyrexian Altar
- Kodama's Reach
- Sidisi, Undead Vizier
- Vampiric Tutor
- Phyrexian Arena
- Purphoros, God of the Forge
- Impact Tremors
- Goblin Bombardment
But other than that your deck is pretty good especially for your first EDH deck. I hope these suggestions help!
2 weeks ago
The first thing I'll say is that with 21 lands, you probably can't expect to get the mana to launch Army of the Damned or a really powerful Mind Grind or Torment of Hailfire. Well, at least without Organ Harvest, of which you're only sporting one copy. (If you don't play with teammates, or if you don't play with silver-bordered cards, you might replace it with Culling the Weak.) For reference, the math on Army of the Damned is that about 1/3 of your cards are lands = 8/24, meaning you need to survive to turn 17-18 (have seen a total of 24 cards between your opening hand and your draws each turn) to hit that 8th land. That’s a long time in a Magic game.
Second, Mind Grind, while fun, is questionable here, since none of your other cards will mill your opponent. Many people play with 4 copies of many of their cards, so milling them might not cut them off from their game plan unless you mill them so much they might die. And for that, you would need more support for the mill plan or a LOT more mana. (This is possible, but a big change. Look for cards like Glimpse the Unthinkable and Mind Funeral. Otherwise, I'd cut it for cards that affect board-state or life-totals.)
Third, your overall game plan appears to be to stall in the early game for more powerful plays late, since your low cost cards are generally defensive. This means you'll want more lands in your deck so that you don't stumble on your way to those big plays. I'd remove Coral Atoll and put in four Dimir Aqueducts. It's not the ideal play, but it's cheap and there's a lot of upside if your opponent doesn't Ghost Quarter it or something. Anyways, that will take you up to 24 lands AND increase your average mana output a little more, letting you rely on 4CMC, 5CMC, and 6CMC plays to dominate the game.
Finally, on to individual cards:
Kraken Hatchling, Mausoleum Wanderer, Pharika's Chosen, and Will-o'-the-Wisp are all fine defensive one-drops, but they all do something a little different. Thornbow Archer is a little more aggressive than the rest of your deck wants, so maybe drop it and pick your favorite of those first four and add a second.
Fogwalker is okay on defense, though it's not the best two-drop out there. I'm not a fan of Olivia's Dragon, especially outside of madness/reanimator decks. Rancid Rats just doesn't offer enough oomph for the mana (skulk is not typically a very useful ability). Graf Rats is bad unless you have Midnight Scavengers, so it's really about how much you personally want to meld them. Ultimately, I'd rather replace them with better blockers like Wall of Tears, Wall of Souls, Contraband Kingpin, Dragon's Eye Savants, Gifted Aetherborn, or the absolute top-tier Baleful Strix. Other value options include Omenspeaker, Sigiled Starfish, and Augur of Bolas. Other fun options here are Surge Mare, Riptide Mangler, Lazav, the Multifarious, Fathom Feeder, and Ludevic's Test Subject Flip. Choose your favorites. Alternately, spot-removal like Doom Blade, Victim of Night, Cast Down, Go for the Throat, and sometimes Dimir Charm are pretty effective.
Wharf Infiltrator can be good sometimes. You can leave it in for fun or replace it.
Eternal Scourge has its uses, but I don't think this deck is optimized for it. Ideally you'd want a few things that can exile it from graveyard or hand, such as Gurmag Angler, Soulflayer, Tombstalker, Scavenging Ooze, Grim Lavamancer), Azor's Gateway Flip (from hand), or the most hilarious option, Serum Powder. As it stands, it's just difficult to kill outside of combat, like a bad shroud or hexproof. Honestly, I don't think you need a 3/3 to be immune to removal. Replace with a finisher, which I'll discuss in a bit. Alternately, one of my favorite defensive 3CMC creatures is Graveblade Marauder, since its offensive capabilities can rapidly increase.
Markov Crusader isn't actually very good even in the rare case when you do have another vampire, and you only have one other one. Compare to 4CMC utility wunderkind Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 5CMC finishers (like Archfiend of Depravity, Glyph Keeper, Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, Vengeful Pharaoh, and maybe even Serra Sphinx), and 6CMC game-winners (like Noxious Gearhulk, Dread, Kokusho, the Evening Star, Wurmcoil Engine, Grave Titan, or even Vengeant Vampire, though that last one is much worse than the others). Sure, none do exactly what Markov Crusader does, but some are close and they all have incredible upsides. Even something like Shriekmaw might ultimately gain you more life by just killing something outright, plus it's super-flexible. Heck, Soul Ransom and Mind Control are strong cards too, at least against creature decks. Anyways, Markov Crusader is a card to replace.
Midnight Scavengers is okay, especially if you have a lot of disposable deathtouchers to bring back, but it still doesn't compare favorably to the above finishers unless you really want to meld it with Graf Rats. Remember, doing things you want to do is an important part of MTG. But if you don't care to meld, I'd look to replace it.
Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is fine. In most cases it doesn't compare favorably to the 6CMC critters above, but it has its uses. If you've got a lot of little deathtouchers (Pharika's Chosen, Typhoid Rats, Dire Fleet Poisoner, it can grow really out of hand. Also, Field of Ruin forces a library search.
Elder Deep Fiend is fine. Usually you play it in a deck that has plenty of creatures you don't mind (or are better off) sacrificing (for example, Priest of the Blood Rite, Relentless Dead, Doomed Dissenter, Stormbound Geist/Geralf's Messenger), then you emerge it early and tap down lands. That's not really your plan here, so it's probably not the best choice. Some good choices for replacements are above, but within the category of emerge creatures, I think Distended Mindbender fits your deck better.
Organ Harvest is a powerful card, but has some drawbacks. Most importantly, a lot of people don't play with or against silver-bordered cards. They're not legal in any official tournaments. Tournament legal variations are Dark Ritual, Culling the Weak, and Ashnod's Altar. Other than that, it's a card that is useless in many situations and completely changes what you're able to do when you actually can make use of it, and that can be awkward from a strategy perspective. If you don't have creatures, you can't cast it. If you don't have a big spell in your hand, you don't need to cast it and you'd rather have almost any other card. So it wants your deck to be full of disposable creatures and big spells, like an emerge deck or a zombie deck really making use of Army of the Damned and From Under the Floorboards. But for the most part that is not this deck, so unless you want to build around the card, I'd remove it, either replacing it with Dark Ritual which is always useful when drawn early, or something else that's cheap and effective: Dead Weight, Apathy, Doom Blade, Pharika's Chosen, or whatever.
Sorcerous Sight is worse than Peek and Gitaxian Probe, but I don't think any of those are particularly good in your deck. If you want to know what's in your opponent's hand, play Telepathy. Otherwise, there's better card draw: Preordain and Ponder are the best cheap spells, but it might be worth spending more mana for more effect with Sign in Blood or Chart a Course.
Cemetery Recruitment isn't particularly good with so few zombies. You can add more zombies, or switch to Ghoulcaller's Chant/Find / Finality/Recover/Disturbed Burial/Death Denied to simulate the effect, or just do card advantage the old-fashioned way, with stuff like Sign in Blood/Consult the Necrosages/Read the Bones/Notion Rain/Secrets of the Golden City. Alternately, shred your opponent's hand (and lose friends) with Hymn to Tourach or punch your opponent for cards with Shadowmage Infiltrator. If you're committed to bringing creatures back from the dead, look to Zombify, Extract from Darkness, or Isareth the Awakener, which can randomly run away with the game if your opponent doesn't have an answer. The most efficient reanimation spell is Unburial Rites, but you'd need to splash white for it to be better than the above options.
Contingency Plan doesn't actually net you any cards in hand; you just control what you are going to draw later. Since you're not very graveyard-focused, there's little benefit. The more flexible version is Dimir Charm, and the more powerful version is Lim-Dul's Vault. If you want to stack the top of your deck for 2CMC without wasting a card to do it, there's Diabolic Vision, but the 1CMC Preordain and Ponder are worthy as well. Alternately, raw card advantage is an option. Any of the options I've already listed are fine, but here are some more: Chemister's Insight, Foresee, Deep Analysis.
Mind Grind attacks on an irrelevant axis. Recommend replacing it with a finisher unless you add more mill. If you want a non-creature finisher, Ob Nixilis Reignited is pretty cool. If you just want something that can't get Murdered, there's Sphinx of Jwar Isle.
Torment of Hailfire is possibly workable if you go to 24 lands with Dimir Aqueducts. X=3 is pretty much the bare minimum, and if they have cards in hand even that might not be enough. This is a possible swap for a finisher, as above.
Army of the Damned is hard to cast at 8CMC. Recommend replacing it with a cheaper finisher unless you're all about Organ Harvest.
Apathy is pretty decent at 1CMC. Probably not as good as just casting Doom Blade/Go for the Throat to kill the thing, but definitely more interesting and fun. It can stay in, though swapping it for something more reliable is technically the correct decision.
Strange Augmentation is bad in your deck. While +3/+3 for 1CMC is fine in a very aggressive deck, that doesn't seem like your game plan. Ideally, your finishers are big enough to win without the extra P/T. If they're not, these could be replaced with kill spells to make sure they are.
Tormod's Crypt is useless unless you frequently play against graveyard-based decks. Even then, with only one in the deck, you're in bad shape. I'd swap it for Relic of Progenitus or Sentinel Totem if you really need graveyard hate. If a creature is reliable against those graveyard decks, Deadeye Tracker, Nezumi Graverobber, or Withered Wretch can do some work. Agent of Erebos is another option. If the only things you need to exile are creatures, then Cemetery Reaper, Dimir Doppelganger, and the powerful Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet are options. Otherwise, cheap kill spells, counterspells, or even more expensive exiling removal (e.g. Sever the Bloodline, Silence the Believers) are options. Phyrexian Scriptures is another card I'll mention, just 'cause it does lots of stuff.
Nevinyrral's Disk is pretty good. Go ahead and keep that in there.
Gridlock is okay, but it's basically a Darkness you can use aggressively. I think Sleep is generally better at that. Alternately, if you want a mass-defense spell, Yahenni's Expertise, Languish, and Damnation are the go-to sweepers.
Outwit is way too narrow; most decks don't target players. (The primary exceptions are burn and mill, so if you play against them a lot, it might be fine.) If you want a dollar-cost-effective counterspell in that slot, play Counterspell or MAYBE Dimir Charm for flexibility.
Murder is fine. (Card-wise, not morally!) Technically Hero's Downfall is better if you can get one.
Liliana Vess is fine, but she's a little slow. I'm not sure whether she's better or worse in this deck than Jace, Unraveler of Secrets, Ob Nixilis Reignited, Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath, or even Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. My inclination is that those are stronger as you increase the median quality of the cards in your deck (making Vess's -2 less important).
Here's one inexpensive, somewhat-boring take:
2x Glyph Keeper
1x Liliana Vess
2x Dimir Charm
2x Doom Blade
2x Agony Warp
3x Notion Rain
That's just one take on the general strategy. Ultimately, (I think) you're playing Dimir Midrange, and so you're looking for about 40% (24) lands, 30% (18) things that keep you alive until you have 4-6 mana, 20% (12) things that kill your opponent and are themselves hard to kill, and 10% (6) things that put you ahead on cards just in case you're not drawing the right part of your deck.
2 weeks ago
hkhssweiss, I think you're right. Working with the mass land advantage the deck is able to abuse leveraging Ob Nixilis, Unshackled built in punishment, I think it's not just a flavour win, but a great strategy to work with the landfall ability Ob Nixilis, the Fallen. It turns into an Ob Nixilis pain deck that seems pretty effective if I can get either one out.
Gold star for the Glacial Chasm recommendation. While a little out of my budget for now, it seems like a must have card to pillowfort so I can setup, especially because of the direct pain the Ob Nixilis strategy can cause. Then, if I get situated with a giant Ob Nixilis or an army of tokens from the landfall token generation, I could sack Glacial Chasm to The Gitrog Monster for a big swing... then play it again with Crucible of Worlds or Ramunap Excavator for another safe go-round!
Riftstone Portal is fantastic - a nice little extra tuning card. And you're right, both those lands extra good with the amount of "search for any land" cards in the deck.
When I build it and as I play it, I'll be keeping Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Oracle of Mul Daya and Exploration in mind for future investments to tune it up. Making sure I can play and replay Field of Ruin as many times as possible in a turn is a decent strategy :).
Good call on Birthing Pod. I'm actually looking for one for my Kresh deck right now, but it'd be perfect in here. Especialy (as you said) for chaining Ghave into Ob Nixilis! How perfect. Hmmmm, I guess if I sacrificed Veteran Explorer to chain into Ob Nixilis, Unshackled, I'd have to reveal it before they chose to search for the land or not, hey? I couldn't surprise them? I wonder how that all works on the stack and how I could abuse it - I guess I could still chain into Ob Nixilis with another creature out. Still good mana-ramp value if either Ob Nixilis is out and using Ghave to sac him. I'll think about that as the final deck list comes together.
thanks for reminding me about Heroic Intervention. It's come into my mind a couple times for this deck, just never when I was online to add it - I do have the card though, so it's a natural include!
Thanks for more great insight, hkhssweiss!
2 weeks ago
Including Biorhythm and Shaman of Forgotten Ways is brilliant! Not only if I work the landfall token creature control, but as you say - to get everyone else within reach of an Search-kill. So good! Thanks muchly for this - it's the type of simple and small card additions that can bring it all together.
I had Tempt with Discovery on the "Temptations" list—it half inspired the category's title even— but after some thought and seeing the other cards that were similar I decided to remove it. I think people are going to catch on so quickly and so it wont hold the value that the cards New Frontiers or Collective Voyage do. By the time everyone knows what's going on, the two mentioned will be huge value for me either way, while Tempt with Discovery will digress into a 4 cost tutor for 1 land. The only time I'd see it working is if I can cheat out Ob Nixilis, Unshackled on people who haven't played against the deck before.
While City of Solitude would hold back a bunch of the trickery that other cards in this deck want to do, Dragonlord Dromoka and Grand Abolisher could be great potential additions. Grand Abolisher especially. What value!
Thanks so much for the compliment and encouragement of the +1! I appreciate it :)