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My Nethroi, Apex of Death EDH deck. Many years looking for an abzan deck, but none of the existent legends really interested me in a lore and aesthetics perspective. Nethroi apparition solved my search!

Art by Slawomir Maniak


BASIC DATA
Construction date: 30/04/2020
Power level: 7,5
1 Format: Multiplayer EDH, non competitive
Budget: Mid
Build restrictions: No combo heavy, no expensive tutors, lack some expensive staples.

Ikoria, Lair of Behemots became one of my favourite planes of all MTG multiverse. As me being a biologist, a wild plane wich it's main feature was nature, echosystems, beasts and monsters? Count me in! I also loved the mutate mechanic. Probably one of the most complex mechanics of all time, creature based, very flavorful and, in my humble opinion, very balanced at the end (at least until now, early 2021). Nethroi being the Apex nightmare monster of the eerie triome of Indatha, a dark marsh flats where the cyrcle of life and death seemed twisted, became my personal most interesting legend from the set.

I have to say I prefer to support the original and official aspects of Nethroi: Nethroi, Apex of Death and Nethroi, Apex of Death, wich I find trule awesome and unique, rather than the Biollante version, clearly not for me (Although I think Wizzards of the Coasts had an awesome and fun idea of creating "skins" of official cards with flavors resulting from the crossover with other franchises).

WHY NETHROI?

Nethroi, Apex of Death it's a very fun and fair way to play graveyard sinergies in non cEDH multiplayer games. Similar to Karador, Ghost Chieftain and Kethis, the Hidden Hand, Nethroi has some differences among them. Karador can be paid very fast thanks to his first cost reduction ability, but he only let you play one creature card from your graveyard per turn, and you will have to cast it normally, paying it's mana cost. Kethis is also much more mana cheap than Nethroi, but will force you to play mostly aroung legendary cards, and every legend casted from the graveyard will cost you to exile two more of them. Nethroi, unlike them, it's a more late game card, more a payoff than an engine: He means to have a "Pseudo-Living dead" in our command zone, and that's awesome!

Nethroi being a late game play is not a problem if we build our deck correctly to ramp and work to reach that explosive play. Nethroi restriction is much more wide, as he only ask us to try to play creatures with small base power, but without a real limit, as Nethroi could be used to reanimate even a single 10/10 creature (being this a very silly situation existing lots of small creatures with very powerful effects). We also can fool this base power limit by playing creatures that can change their power (0/0s that come with +1/+1 counters) or creatures that generate tons of tokens despite being smaller than others. But Nethroi fun doesn't end there: his mutate ability is also a feature that let you experiment merging your commander with any powerful or useful creature (like an indestructible God, a hexproof creature or a +1/+1 growth one), transforming Nethroi in a threat by himself besides his mass reanimation spell.

Other important decks to compare Nethroi with while you are searching for a graveyard recursion commander are Meren of Clan Nel Toth or Muldrotha, the Gravetide. Both of them are very powerful and efficient (I also play Meren of Clan Nel Toth and I can secure she is an awesome graveyard deck that any reanimator enthusiast should try). In this particular case, I recommend you to just decide wich flavor, art and colors you like more: if you love abzan more than just Golgari or Sultai, Nethroi is your choice. Abzan has lots of awesome creatures, synergies and even combos coming from Selensya, Orzhov and Mono-White, that we usually don't see that much play as they can't enter the classic Golgari or Mono-Black reanimator decks, so Nethroi can be your choice if you want to experiment with those. And finally you also can include a Meren of Clan Nel Toth in your own Nethroi deck too! ;).

STRATEGY

The goal of Nethroi is to execute an explosive mass reanimation effect that grants you a sudden giant board. This effect can be done with Nethroi mutate ability (Nethroi, Apex of Death) but we also have the cards Living Death and Eerie Ultimatum to reach this goal, specially if our commander got offline due to control players.

Before that mass reanimation, is very important to highlight that we must prepare a well filled graveyard, thanks to automill (Stitcher's Supplier, Satyr Wayfinder, Nyx Weaver, Death's Oasis, Altar of Dementia, Buried Alive or Jarad's Orders), dredge (Dakmor Salvage, Life from the Loam, Golgari Grave-Troll, Stinkweed Imp) or just leting die our early turns creatures to recycle them later. Some of them can die by themshelves to give us profit (Dawntreader Elk, Qasali Pridemage or Sakura-Tribe Elder) or can be used as sacrifice fodder to other cards (Viscera Seer, Altar of Dementia, Fiend Artisan, Yahenni, Undying Partisan or Izoni, Thousand-Eyed.

Nethroi mutation or other mass reaniamtion spells can arrive slowly due to their high mana cost or just not being so convenient with a small graveyard, so we have "Midrange" reanimation - recycling pack to start re-using some of our dead creatures again and again before Nethroi shows. For example: Animate Dead, Eternal Witness, Skullwinder, Lurrus of the Dream-Den, Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Necropanther, Vesperlark, Reveillark or Sun Titan, among others.

Another importat thing to consider in this deck building it's the power of or creatures, as Nethroi, Apex of Death mass reanimation will "only" hit a 10 total power among all the targeted creatures. That's why many of our creatures have small power (1/1s or even 0/0s that come with +1/+1 counters on them (like Polukranos, Unchained), or just creatures like Hornet Queen that can look small but grant us lot of power in tokens or ETB effects). Despite this, to reach that 10 power without wasting any bit of it, not all creatures in the deck have to be 0/0s!, so don't worry about including some bigger creatures in the deck (like in my case: Sun Titan, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Karametra, God of Harvests or Ashen Rider), just be careful not to abuse of them so much, and usually those big creatures will be easily reanimated and surrounded by a bunch of small ones without problem.

After Nethroi Mass Reanimation, we'll have different ways to win depending on the situation and the type of creatures we got in that game:

1 - Stomp our opponents thanks to our army of creatures. This deck isn't centered about going stompy but we can achieve this if our board isn't checked properly by our opponents. In fact, thanks to our value engine and mass reanimation effects, this probably will our first distraction technique against our opponent's control plays. Many of our creatures have small power to synergize with Nethroi, but some of them come with +1/+1 counters like Polukranos, Unchained, generate decent amounts of tokens like Izoni, Thousand-Eyed and Hornet Queen or just can be pumped by Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. And we also have some gods like Oketra the True, God-Eternal Oketra, Karametra, God of Harvests and Athreos, Shroud-Veiled, wich also can became a headache in combat due to their abilities.

2 - Aristocrats: This deck can deploy large amounts of small creatures in the battlefield thanks to the mass reanimation and some token generators like Elenda, the Dusk Rose, God-Eternal Oketra, Izoni, Thousand-Eyed or Hornet Queen. Those creatures may be used in combat, but if that strategy is not viable, aristocrats like Corpse Knight, Zulaport Cutthroat or Cruel Celebrant can use the dead of all these creture to damage our opponents.

3 - Combo through persist. This is a deck designed for a more casual enviroment, so I keeped down the combos. Even so, is always fair have some kind combo as a back-up plan, specially if your deck isn't foccused into tutor it or abuse it, and it's also true having a combo to end a locked game that became boring is always grateful. In this case, our first combo is: Kitchen Finks with Good-Fortune Unicorn or Luminous Broodmoth can make an infinite loop (by sacrifying the finks with something like Viscera Seer, Carrion Feeder or Yahenni, Undying Partisan) to kill our opponents through life loss (thanks to Corpse Knight, Zulaport Cutthroat or Cruel Celebrant) or to mill them (with Altar of Dementia). As you can see, this combo could be improved by adding more aristocrats, sac-outlets or persist creatures, but again, just for fun I wanted no to center this particular Nethori deck on it. Anyaways, the amount of creature infinite loop combos you can do in Abzan thanks to persist / undying is giant, if you are searching for a aristocrat combo engine, Abzan and Nethroi can be the answer.

4- Combo through Sun Titan. Sun Titan is a powerhouse in our deck, but he also can combo with Angelic Renewal or Fiend Hunter and a sacrifice outlet like Viscera Seer, Carrion Feeder or Yahenni, Undying Partisan giving us infinite ETB/Death triggers. Again using an aristocrat (Corpse Knight, Zulaport Cutthroat or Cruel Celebrant) to kill our opponents... or just use Altar of Dementia as sacrifice engine to mill all our opponents to defeat. Both Sun Titan, Angelic Renewal and Fiend Hunter are useful cards in our deck stand alone, so this combo doesn't means dead cards if you can't assemble it.

5 - Commander damage: Nethroi can mutate over an already big creature pumped with +1/+1 counters and with additional abilities (like vigilance, flying, double-strike, hexproof and indestructible), changing the deck menace into a sudden pseudo-voltron one. This will help us to deal with single undeffended players, keep us alive with Nethroi lifelink and gain time to keep building army or combo. Our best creatures to use as offensive mutation bases are: God-Eternal Oketra, Athreos, Shroud-Veiled, Karametra, God of Harvests, Oketra the True and Polukranos, Unchained, only be careful to check you have devotion for some of your gods before mutating! Remember, mutate onto a creature that stops to be a creature means that the mutation effect wont trigger and instead Nethroi will enter the battlefield as a normal creature. I consider in my particular deck this voltron way a very secondary wincon, as this deck is not foccused on a Voltron shell, but Nethroi is a very flexible commander, that could let you build him in that voltron way thanks to it's ability to mutate on any powerful creature you can imagine.


*Disclaimer, This page is in construction. The goal is to show my personal vision of Nethroi playstyle in a casual enviroment. Ideas are welcome, thanks!! :)

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82% Casual

Competitive

Date added 9 months
Last updated 2 months
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

10 - 0 Mythic Rares

42 - 0 Rares

20 - 0 Uncommons

14 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.30
Tokens Companion Zone, Experience Token, Insect 1/1 BG, Insect 1/1 G w/ Flying, Deathtouch, Plant 0/1 G, Vampire 1/1 W, Warrior 1/1 W w/ Vigilance, Zombie Warrior 4/4 B
Folders 1- RA_HORAKHTE EDH DECKS
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