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The Wheel // Nekusar, the Mindrazer

Commander / EDH UBR (Grixis) Wheels Wizards Zombie



It’s been a good 4 or so years of playing Nekusar, the Mindrazer for me, and even during the building of the deck I knew he would be my favorite commander. What was once a deck founded on card draw and pings for it, the growing power around my playgroup and a desire to bling out what is my most dearly beloved Lich has given rise to quite the monster of a deck whose power, in my opinion, is not overwhelmingly broken, nor to be taken lightly in any regard.

The name of the game in my current iteration and in many similar decks is wheeling other players with cards whose designs are all reminiscent to the original king, the eponymous Wheel of Fortune. Some of the Allstars that come to mind are Windfall, Jace’s Architect, Magus of the Wheel, Whispering Madness and Winds of Change. There’s more in the deck to be sure, some on creatures, some in instants, but these are some of the most bread and butter when it comes to dishing out the pain, and Nekusar ensures there will be plenty of pain to go around.

Speaking of pain, there’s many more lethal pieces in the deck than the Commander himself. Nekusar is a great piece and a menacing face to slap on top of the 99 in a special sleeve, but his appearances on the board are becoming less common thanks to the ease of access to wheeling effects and a variety of triggered abilities that proc on draw or discard. We’re mostly looking for Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, whose release in Brothers War has been one of the most significant buffs to this deck just the same as her presence has been felt across the format and beyond--cheers to all you salty standard players hahaha. Others who really get the job done on the card draw front are Underworld Dreams, Fate Unraveler, and Kederekt Parasite, while on the other end of the wheel we have the highlights in Megrim, Liliana's Caress, Bloodchief Ascension, and Raiders' Wake. Peer into the Abyss sits as our one-cast K.O., and Chasm Skulker can become a force to be reckoned with that gives back a bit even after a board wipe occurs, assuming it’s not an exile or Boomerang effect.

Utility is a new focus I’ve made for the deck, bringing in cards like Bone Miser, Waste Not, Kess, Dissident Mage and Tegrid, God of Fright really give us a lot of incentive to keep the wheel combos going and disregarding our graveyard to ensure others are taking swaths of damage as they discard and draw. A bit of insurance/lifegain is built into the deck as well as giving Aristocrat players a pain in the neck with a few of the aforementioned hard hitters along with Sangromancer and Exquisite Blood, we want to make sure we are still around and gaining more while others are getting hurt. This is especially important if we have Phyrexian Tyranny in play, a delightful card in it’s own right to see what players hold more dearly to their hearts—mana or lifeblood? Another big utility card that might be overlooked is Harmonic Prodigy, whose triggered ability hits not only Nekusar, but also Bone Miser, Sangromancer, and Ophiomancer. Who doesn’t love double snakes? The harmonic trigger can get even more cumbersome when Solphim, Mayhem Dominus is on the field, with a few test-plays yielding up to 8 damage per card draw by turn 5. Other little pieces of utility come in the form of us not decking ourselves, or running out of gas in the wheel department if we happen to discard all of them in a single wheel run. Time Reversal can save us if we are getting dangerously low, and in the case we don’t have Kess out, we can cast Echo of Eons from the graveyard to refill our library - preferably after Bojuka Bogging the reanimator’s graveyard, of course.

The land base is as efficient as I can afford currently, and I’m proud to say the deck doesn’t contain any proxies; yep, real Badlands! There’s a few lands like Geier Reach Sanitarium we have that let us get a little extra card draw out if we want to keep some mana up for a Counterspell, though most of the counter magic we have will be focused on ensuring our big hitters—particularly Sheoldred, Nekusar, or Tegrid—stay alive, or our wheels hit the field intact.

There's a few things I’ve shuffled over from my old Legacy Trix deck, particularly Demonic Tutor and Force of Will for the try hard insurance policies. A few other pieces of utility that exist in the deck are Library of Leng--an oft overlooked card in wheeling strategies in my opinion--and it’s combo-rific cousin in fun, Gamble. With Leng on the field, Gamble turns into what I might consider the very best tutor in the game coming in for just . There’s many other nifty instances where Leng can be handy, weather it be we have a big player we want to play but don’t have the mana, or multiple wheels left in our hand that we’d still like to use. I don’t often run into the problem of going over my maximum hand size ever since I shifted the focus of the deck from draws to wheeling, but Leng, as well as Thought Vessel and Reliquary Tower are easy includes for good measure.

All in all, my Nekusar, the Mindrazer deck has been a labor of love over several years and my deepest dive into Commander in general. I don’t think there is any other color combo that matches my play style better than Grixis , and my obsession with drawing and drowning my friends in options that are swiftly wheeled away has been a fun journey that I’m sure to continue evolving. The deck has changed so much in the past few weeks that I felt it was important to re-write the entire summary here, and I’ll include the original summary in the dropdown below, as well as updates from here on out.

Thanks for visiting and please leave and upvote, and let me know if there’s any other fun changes or interesting effects you think should be included. Cheers!

Note: the following writeup was the first "final" iteration, not the current lineup as of 2.13.2023.

What began as a curious endeavor into a fun obsession with Howling Mine has become my most adored commander deck and playstyle. Nekusar, The Mind Razer thrives on a fast-paced and definitive game plan that gives players unlimited opportunity in place of freedom of choice, setup, and at the price of life. It's fun for everyone!

Really though, through about 2 years of playing Nekusar, I have found that setting up your own board state to succeed is only secondary to the chaos that you should be enticing with a constant flow of wheeling gameplay. Players will often plan their turns a few moves in advance based on the hand they have, even choosing suboptimal openings for a key card in their hand. Our job is to use cards like Winds of Change, Dark Deal, or Windfall to keep them on their toes or in turmoil over their lost "big play". Everyone knows they would have won if they were able to make the perfect play for the next 5 turns, and somehow in EDH that is more ubiquitous a sensation than any other format. I encourage you to wheel your enemies - and yourself! - even if you don't have Nekusar, The Mind Razer or any of his engine companions to punish players. The mental anguish is literally the name of the game here, and we want to ensure we are playing with our opponents' heads as much as the possibilities in their hands.

Speaking of engines, it's important to note that while Nekusar, The Mind Razer is a great key player here and very fun to get out, there are others that work just as well or even better in some instances. Fevered Visions, Underworld Dreams, Kederekt Parasite, and Fate Unraveller all do Nekusars damage for cheaper and proc off our wheeling spells and abilities. Spiteful Visions may come as a pain to us, but we may avoid harming ourselves in the end with a pivotal and often overlooked card, Library of Leng. Why is the Library so good? Because while your opponents all must discard and draw, you may discard to the top instead. Couple that with infinite hand size, and you are able to strategize to your heart's content while your opponents struggle to deal with the massive life loss and a new hand to piece together.

Our discard keys are just as - if not more - important than our drawing pieces, as they all do either more damage or provide more utility than most of the draw abilities. Liliana's Caress, Megrim, and Raiders' Wake all do twice the damage as the drawing pings, but double up with a quick Jace's Archivist or Whispering Madness and players are looking to redraw quite a hefty price. Simply having one discard engine and one draw engine is enough to deal some serious damage, coupling with some utility discards and draws from Waste Not and The Locust God can get out of hand fast, all puns intended.

I have always loved the lore and vorthos of Liches, necromancers, and the undead, as well as drawing more cards than I need and just having everyone do the same. I take a lot of fun from that playstyle, and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect commander to encapsulate the Lich fantasy. I hope your Nekusar deck is just as rewarding to build and play!

Recommendations and discussion are welcomed and encouraged. Leave a Like and thanks for checking it out!


Updates Add

Semi-major overhaul, made some sales/trades at the lgs and setting up some more consistency for the deck. The prevelance of tutors showing up in many playgroup decks means it's time to give Nekusar a little less madness and a little more effectiveness.

All in all, this deck will be far more consistent and won't be experiencing quite as bad of lockouts with games in the future. I am avoiding adding Poison Counters as a wincon for now, and will only consider it if Poison/Toxic shows up in my local playgroup. Updated Maybe Board to give myself ideas for future options and target upgrades.

Added 2x Island, Darkslick Shores from a pack pull, and Luxury Suite to really round out land drops to be more consistent in opening hands. 31 to 35 lands. Replaced Dimir Aqueduct with Morphic Pool. I'll be working to really round out the land value over the next few months as well, hoping to get the remaining Duals in here soon.

  • Sheoldred, the Apocalypse - Overwhelming power-creep specifically for Nekusar that simply can't not be added.

  • Solphim, Mayhem Dominus - Creature support in place of Fevered Visions, fewer options for opponents getting passive draws, and more punishment for triggered hits.

  • Tergrid, God of Fright  Flip - Delightful buff for discard wheels, works well against aristocrats or recursion decks as well.

  • Bone Miser - Bonus incentive for our discard during wheels.

  • Sakashima the Impostor - swapped out Clever Impersonator for a stronger effect; Copy any creature on the board, especially Sheoldred or Nekusar.

  • Force of Will - moving power from Legacy Trix as it's not used anymore.

  • Demonic Tutor - moving power from Legacy Trix as it's not used anymore.

  • Baleful Mastery - Easier to cast than Terminate, is better than Terminate, forces opponent to draw.

  • Bloodchief Ascension - Early drop that can proc from multiplayer interaction in general, punishes aristocrats and goes off on the first runaround with Nekusar on the board, making for a hell of a wheel on the next Main Phase.

  • Exquisite Blood - card I had around, figured it could be a fun add and introduce some more sticking power for the deck to stay on the board.

  • Phyrexian Tyranny - Easier to cast than Spiteful Visions and has more disincentives for opponents; pay the two or lose two life? Our health isn't in such a bad place with some of the other additions above.

  • Gamble - swapping with Dictate of Kruphix to give less draw incentive and more wheel pressure. Gamble hurts less with Bone Miser or Library of Leng of the field.

  • Blasphemous Act, Magus of the Wheel and Chaos Warp Art updates baby!


31% Casual

69% Competitive

Revision 17 See all

(2 weeks ago)

-1 Crumbling Necropolis main
+1 Memory Jar maybe
-1 Temple of Deceit main
Top Ranked
Date added 1 year
Last updated 2 weeks

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

9 - 0 Mythic Rares

58 - 0 Rares

17 - 0 Uncommons

7 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.30
Tokens Snake 1/1 B, Squid 1/1 U, Zombie 2/2 B
Folders Deck inspirations/Favorites, A fine addition to my collection, Deck Ideas
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