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Artifact (1)

Change Log

More and more mid-range creature-based decks are popping up in my local meta, to the point where I need to board in some serious firepower.

Cuts Smoke
Time Spiral

Adds Blasphemous Act
Meekstone As Foretold

It's been forever since I updated this primer, but I've changed my paper list a few times since then.


Mishra's Workshop

Into the Roil


Expedition Map

Scroll Rack

Simian Spirit Guide

Snapcaster Mage


Strip Mine


Reality Shift

Rapid Hybridization

Lotus Petal

Magus of the Moon

Gorilla Shaman




Originally I started playing Overburden as a way to deal with creature-heavy green decks that were springing up using Protean Hulk. I arrived at the same conclusion as the online community - this card is extremely dangerous because it allows green decks to bounce and replay Gaea's Cradle. This helps them break parity on Back to Basics or even just use it as a ritual. I settled on Smoke as a way to prevent green decks from flooding the battlefield with mana rocks. It also has the pleasant side effect of preventing Blood Pod decks from drawing a ton of cards off of Tymna, the Weaver.

This is just a general maintenance thing, in the interests of aligning this primer with the "gold standard" or "aspirational" version that I want this list to be.



Mind Over Matter
Temple Bell
5x Island
Cascade Bluffs
Voltaic Key
Thran Dynamo

After the RC's decision to not ban Paradox Engine I decided it was time to start testing it. The card - in function - is very similar to Mind Over Matter, and I've been on the fence about cutting this redundant combo for awhile now. Paradox Engine is more versatile, is easier to cast and tutor for, and interacts with more pieces of the deck. You know that already, though. The card is bananas.

The islands and Cascade Bluffs are coming out for a tune-up of the landbase. Originally I'd avoided including all of the on-colour fetches because of the deck's reliance on B2B and Blood Moon, and red fetches are generally a terrible topdeck in the late game. I'm trying it out, though. I might end up cutting one or two of the nonblue fetches if the benefits don't outweigh the drawbacks.

I've been cutting the big mana rocks lately (Thran Dynamo, Gilded Lotus, and Khalni Gem) so Voltaic Key has gotten significantly worse.

Gilded Drake
Paradox Engine
Inventor's Fair
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Wooded Foothills
Misty Rainforest
Arid Mesa
Mishra's Workshop
Expedition Map
Mind Stone

Fetches are about as cheap as they're going to get right now so there's no time like the present to tune up the landbase. As I mentioned above, I'm testing Paradox Engine in place of Mind Over Matter / Temple Bell as my redundant combo, and I expect it'll stick. I'm not selling Mind Over Matter, though, because I'm still pretty convinced that PE is going to get banned.

I've wanted to up my land count from 29 to 30 for awhile and cutting Temple Bell allows me to do that. In goes Inventor's Fair!

Treachery comes out for Gilded Drake and is just a strict upgrade.

I don't actually own a Mishra's Workshop but I'm trying to make sure that this primer reflects the best possible version of this list, rather than what I actually own in paper. Expedition Map comes in with Workshop.

Phyrexian Metamorph

Phyrexian Metamorph and Daze have been on the chopping block for awhile. Metamorph was basically just acting as a mana rock, and I'm not super comfortable running it as a 3 mana rock. Daze has been getting a little worse in my meta lately due to the resurgence of a 5C Boonweaver deck that generally wins without casting a spell on the turn that it happens, either via Academy Rector or Sneak Attack or otherwise. I recently retooled my disruption package to include more spells that hit permanents, so Daze can come out.

Grafdigger's Cage

Got my hands on a cheap Grafdigger's Cage, so it goes straight in the deck. This will help out with the Yisan and 5C Boonweaver decks in my meta. Overburden goes in as well, and will be used sin similar applications.

Rings of Brighthearth
Basalt Monolith
Sculpting Steel
Khalni Gem
Warping Wail
Into the Roil
Padeem, Consul of Innovation
Prophet of Distortion

Isochron Sceptre
Dramatic Reversal
Whir of Invention
Chain of Vapor
Walking Ballista


This is my actual paper list I'm running (with the exception of Mishra's Workshop). My list is decidedly staxier than a few of the other cEDH Nin decks running around and acknowledges that you lose the race to combo against almost all of Tier 1.

If I had to describe this deck, I'd say it's half-way between Daretti stax and Azami Labman combo. It's primarily a monoblue deck with a red splash that gives me access to some pretty interesting red and Izzet technology.

How do we win?

The goal here is pretty simple - we're looking to generate absurd amounts of mana and funnel it into a sink.

Isochron Sceptre + Dramatic Reversal + any combination of mana rocks that produce 3 or more mana
This combo has emerged as the best infinite mana combo in the deck. It’s a tight 2-card package that replaces Basalt Monolith / Rings of Brighthearth. The constituent pieces of the combo are better on their own than Basalt Monolith or Rings of Brighthearth – Dramatic Reversal is actually an incredible ritual in the right circumstances, and it helps to break parity under stax effects like Static Orb. The cost is lower (4 colourless for Dramatic/Sceptre vs. 8 colourless for Basalt/Rings). The pieces of the combo are slightly more difficult to tutor for, as only one piece can be grabbed by the artifact tutor suite in this deck, but that’s offset by the fact that either piece can be grabbed by Muddle the Mixture.
The last, and perhaps most important reason why we run this combo is that it has the potential (depending on which mana rocks are in play) to make infinite coloured mana, which is something new. This further reduces the mana requirement, and allows us to cast Comet Storm or crack Nin for cards with less mana on board. This also allows us to use Nin as a way to kill people who have creatures in play, as Isochron Sceptre untaps Nin, allowing us to respond to disruption by activating Nin again. Putting Isochron Sceptre into play using Tezzeret's -2, Whir of Invention, or Transmute Artifact is great because it allows you to hide your game-winning line to the point where it is very difficult to respond to.

Grim Monolith + Power Artifact
This is a mainstay combo for decks like Nin. Both pieces can be tutored using Muddle the Mixture, and Grim Monolith comes directly into play easily using Tezzeret’s -2, Transmute Artifact, or Whir of Invention. Grim Monolith is also a pretty great mana rock in its own right, and sometimes we can get some untapping shenanigans going with Tezzeret, Dramatic Reversal, or Voltaic Key. Power Artifact can also be used on Staff of Domination in a pinch, which reduces the number of artifacts you need in hand to go off with Metalworker.

Metalworker + Staff of Domination + 3 artifacts in hand
This one can be kind of tough to assemble, and often requires you to sandbag some mana rocks when you wouldn’t normally. Putting Sensei's Divining Top on top of your library before your draw step is a great way to get an extra artifact in hand in a pinch.

**Isochron Scepter + Paradox Engine + any combination of mana rocks that produce 3 or more mana This combo works with anything imprinted on Isochron Scepter. If you imprint a counterspell, you have to cast something that the counterspell could counter to get the engine going.

Nin, the Pain Artist Draw a big chunk of your deck. Be careful drawing too many cards with Nin, because sometimes there’s an Altar of Dementia or someone will force you to draw a card or two. Nin isn't the greatest mana sink in the deck due to the fact that she targets and taps to activate, but it's always there and it'll do in a pinch. Nin is mostly there for non-infinite activations to grind CA in long games and as an asymmetric source of card draw to replenish fast mana opening hands.

Comet Storm
Instant speed. Sometimes we have to lean on this to clear out hatebears, but most of the time it’s slaughtering the table.

Staff of Domination
Draw deck. Gain life. Tap down mana dorks. Easily tutorable. Cast it through Gaddock Teeg. Does everything you want it to do.

Walking Ballista
This is my new preferred infinite mana sink for a few reasons:
- Gets around Gaddock Teeg
- Doesn’t require coloured mana at all
- Can be tutored with Trinket Mage or Tolaria West
- Reveals to Metalworker
I’ve been testing this as a wincon for the past 2 weeks and couldn’t be happier. As far as I am concerned, this is as close to a staple in competitive Nin as I have ever seen.

How do we get there?

Net Positive
Chrome Mox
Grim Monolith
Lotus Petal
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Mox Diamond
Mox Opal
Sol Ring

Net Neutral and Net Negative
Gilded Lotus
Izzet Signet
Mind Stone
Fellwar Stone

Nin, for the most part, is not capable of racing Ad Nauseam or FCP combos. As a result, I often have to stall for time and kneecap the other pilots in the game while I assemble my machine. A package of control and stax elements gets us there:

A little piece of tech i picked up while researching an article I wrote on Teferi, Temporal Archmage. We run real lean on creatures so there's basically no downside, but this can interfere really well with decks like Edric, Yisan, and Karador.

Grafdigger's Cage
I've been meaning to pick one of these up for quite awhile, but I was holding off until the MMA2017 reprint. This is a pretty integral part of my Tezzeret package, and being able to put it into play with Whir of Invention is incredible.

Winter Orb
This deck relies on mana rocks heavily. Winter Orb punishes decks that don’t.

Pithing Needle
I love Pithing Needle. There’s really no point in the game when I’m sad to see it.

Back to Basics
his deck is monoblue and has a real modest red splash. With 17 basic lands out of a total 30 lands, Back to Basics does next to nothing to us. With the 5C decks like Boonweaver and Tazri, 4C decks like Yidris Storm and Breya Bomberman floating around now, this is even better. This will even crush the spirits of 3C decks we’re all used to playing against like Derevi, Zur, and Karador.

Blood Moon
Blood Moon does even less to us than Back to Basics does. One of the biggest benefits to this is that it shuts down Gaea’s Cradle entirely, which means it’s not even a dead draw against monocolour decks like Yisan.

Kozilek’s Return
In the past, I have tested Electrickery and Pyroclasm in this slot. Both of them are quite good, and I can transmute Muddle the Mixture for Pyroclasm, but Kozilek's Return is insanely powerful at instant speed. It gives me more ways to interact with FCP and Karador, and it's a great way to clear the way for my combo turn.

This is especially powerful against Doomsday, Edric, and High Tide decks, and is about average against everything else.

Trickbind Not technically resource denial, but it is super versatile. It is an absolute backbreaker against High Tide decks if it’s timed correctly. This absolutely dominates Candelabra of Tawnos. Trickbind also teaches people really quickly that they need to hold priority if they want to activate Necropotence more than once.

Vedalken Shackles / Gilded Drake
Zur, Kaalia, Leovold, Yisan, Teferi creature are some of my favourite targets here. Stealing Zur is probably my favourite thing to do, because I can use him to bring out Back to Basics, Blood Moon, and Power Artifact.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
This is a great multi-purpose board wipe, and most times it’s primarily one-sided.


Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this deck (aside from “Draw X” in the command zone) is its robust Tezzeret package. With a good rollout (essentially any opening 7 that includes Mana Vault) it’s not uncommon for me to land Tezzeret on Turn 2-4. Tezzeret’s second ability grants me the following useable options on the turn it comes down:


I run the obvious suite of combo protection countermagic:

In addition to these, I run a small package of midrangey counterspells that I use sparingly. These are essentially to prevent other decks from going off.

Access to red gives us a little bit of a leg up in this department. We've got a nice tight package of fairly broad spot removal.

Testing and Notable Omissions

Past Testing

Current Testing

Future Testing

Notable Weaknesses

As I mentioned in the tutors section, I am able to run fewer tutors because of the card advantage and velocity in this list, and anything that prevents or steals draws (I’m looking at you, Notion Thief and Spirit of the Labyrinth) tend to make me sad.

The single biggest problem for this deck is Trinisphere. In addition to the fact that Trinisphere turns 85% of my mana rocks into net neutral or net negative, it also screws up my ability to deal with multiple threats per turn (2-mana countermagic/removal becomes 3 mana) or dig/tutor for ways to handle it. Eidolon of Rhetoric creates similar headaches, but I can deal with it with Nin. Right after Trinisphere, we’ve got the obvious hosers like Kataki (which I’m surprised more people don’t run in my local meta), Aura Shards, and Bane of Progress.

The Chopping Block


Updates Add

I've been waiting to pick one of these up for awhile.

(Cut) Phyrexian Metamorph

(Add) Grafdigger's Cage


Top Ranked
  • Achieved #50 position overall 3 years ago
Date added 5 years
Last updated 1 year
Key combos

This deck is not Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

12 - 0 Mythic Rares

45 - 0 Rares

16 - 0 Uncommons

16 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.01
Tokens 2/2 Bird, 3/3 Frog Lizard, 2/2 Manifest, Dack
Folders Cool dudes with cool decks, Nice, inspirational decks, Saved, Noice, cEDH, cEDH, Izzet, Uncategorized, Nin Stax, See all 21
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