Niv-Mizzet control is a cEDH deck in the same vein as Baral and Rashmi that contains 3 single card combos in Curiosity , Ophidian Eye , and Tandem Lookout . Its also set apart by the fact that it can win off of the Isochron Scepter + Dramatic Reversal combo.
1. NMP is excellent at generating value, something needed for a control commander
2. His combos happen immediately and are very compact
3. Can't be countered is really great, and creates a threat that can't be ignored on the board.
4. Red adds some great support cards and can run strong hate cards like Blood Moon & Stranglehold
5. NMP can win straight off Iso-Rev
1. His mana cost is garbage It makes colorless mana rocks and sol lands much less useful, which I'll discuss in more detail
2. Control can sometimes just not go your way at competitive tables. Because you can't race fast combo, you'll somewhat be reliant on other decks having interaction as well
3. It doesn't have black, meaning that we're light on good tutors
4. His mana cost is garbage
NMP's mana cost is bad for cEDH. Common cards such as Sol Ring , Mana Crypt , Mana Vault , Grim Monolith , Ancient Tomb , City of Traitors all do nothing to help power out NMP, and can only be used for subsequent casts. We don't want to drop all of these as they're too strong and can help combo with Iso-Rev. So what's the best way to go about dealing with this?

The answer, I believe, is to move the curve of the deck slightly higher by running cards that can take advantage of the colorless mana ramp and to run just the best of the colorless mana rocks. Cheap cards like Grafdigger's Cage are eschewed in favor of Stranglehold , Vedalken Shackles is included instead of a lighter removal spell like Pongify or Reality Shift , Treasonous Ogre can effectively give all the red mana needed, and so on.
Curiosity , Tandem Lookout , and Ophidian Eye either enchanting or paired with NMP will cause a loop when you draw a card. At this point if an opponent tries to cast a removal spell, the draw will trigger first from NMP, you can deal 1 damage to that player (or any player), which will cause another draw trigger, and so on. This is nice because it means that once NMP is hooked up, most removal becomes moot.

Isochron Scepter imprinting Dramatic Reversal is a combo that works when you have mana rocks that add 3 or more mana total. It will untap the scepter and your mana rocks, which means you can repeat it for infinite mana. The cast will also trigger Niv-Mizzet, allowing you to draw out most of your deck.

The above combos will only allow 1 damage for each card drawn, which often will not be enough to kill 3 opponents who started at 40 life. There are a few ways to handle this.

Infinite Swans: This is done by assembling the Iso-Rev combo either before or after drawing the deck. Bounce NMP to ensure you don't draw yourself into a game loss, as his draw ability isn't optional. Cast Copy Artifact copying Isochron Scepter and imprinting Swan Song . Cast an instant, sorcery, or enchantment and hold priority, activing Swan-Scepter targeting that spell. Hold priority again, activing the Iso-Rev to untap everything. Now activate Swan-Scepter targeting the first copy of Swan Song . This will counter it, give you a bird, and you're back to where you started. Repeat for millions of pecking birds.

Another route is to distribute your damage with NMP so that each opponent's life total is less than yours, then generate mana with Iso-Rev and cast Rolling Earthquake to get rid of everyone.

Both of these lines are reliant on Isochron Scepter or certain other conditions. This leads us to the next section.
I'll preface this by saying Kozilek is not necessary for the list, however his inclusion helps resolve several situations which include:
1. Isochron Scepter has been destroyed or exiled
2. Swan Song/Copy Artifact has been exiled (very common since the deck runs FoW, Misdirection, Snapback)

Kozilek gives us a looping mechanism for NMP card draw/damage. There are 2 particularly useful ones:
Manaless Loop
This loop is not shortcuttable, but is very useful if you're low on mana, other players are low enough on life where you don't have to go infinite, or certain pieces have been exiled.
1. With Curiosity effect on Niv, draw cards until you get Snapback/Submerge/Git Probe/Mogg Salvage and Kozilek and at least 1 card left in library.
2. Move to cleanup step and discard down to maximize handsize dropping Kozilek and keeping the free spell. Kozilek's trigger will force new End Step
3. Cast the free spell causing the Niv to trigger, looping through the deck.
4. Repeat. If you don't have enough targets for Submerge/Snapback, counter it each time with a Pact or Force of Will

ISO-Rev Loop
This is a shortcuttable loop useful for when Swan Song/Copy Artifact is exiled. To get to the starting state the first time you'll probably have to cast Frantic Search once discarding Kozilek, and loop through the deck once. To start it, use Iso Rev and Niv Mizzet to get mana and set up the beginning state of 2 cards in library, empty grave, Frantic Search, NMP, and Mystical Tutor in hand. Cast a bounce spell on Niv when there are 3 cards to start it off, then proceed to the loop:
1. Use Iso Rev to get billions of Blue and Red Mana
2. Cast Mystical Tutor/Merchant Scroll, holding priority cast Frantic Search
3. Draw the last 2 cards and discard a card and Kozilek
4. Hold priority on Kozilek shuffle and cast Dig Through Time and 1 other arbitrary instants (Impulse for instance)
5. Resolve Kozilek shuffle
6. Resolve Mystical Tutor/Merchant Scroll putting Dig Through Time on top or into hand. (6-7 cards in deck, DTT on top or in hand) Graveyard now has Mystical Tutor/Merchant Scroll
7. Cast Niv Mizzet from hand
8. If Mystical Tutor was cast, use Isochron to cast Dramatic Reversal, Drawing the Dig Through Time (6 cards in deck)
9. Cast Dig Through Time, draw a card off Niv and deal a damage, find the Bounce spell and Mystical Tutor/Merchant Scroll
10. Order the remaining cards so that Frantic Search is on top. (3 cards in deck)
11. Cast the bounce spell on Niv Mizzet, drawing Frantic Search off Niv.

At this point the starting point has been reached, 2 cards in Library, Niv, Frantic Search, Mystical Tutor in hand. 2 points of damage have been dealt from Niv-Mizzet triggering from the Iso-Rev and DTT.

There are other variations of this if either Mystical Tutor or Merchant Scroll is removed. Merchant Scroll and Muddle the Mixture can work as it will always get you the Merchant Scroll .

Impulse can also work with either, but I may not be technically be shortcuttable as it is a little bit logic tree-ish.

Pull from Tomorrow can substitute for Frantic Search as well.
The manabase used is to provide all colored mana while being able to play around Blood Moon and Back to Basics easily. This means that there are significantly more basic Islands than Mountains as Moon effects will make the non-basics mountains anyway. Great Furnace is included to increase the artifact count for Mox Opal .

The mana rocks used are ones that are either too good not to included, or provide colored mana for NMP. There also needed to be enough to increase viability of Iso-Rev combo and Mox Opal .

As stated earlier Treasonous Ogre is fantastic at "filtering" colorless mana. He makes casting and keeping NMP much easier as you can use 9 life for the red mana, and often still have lands held up for counterspells.
The Free Stuff - Snapback , Mogg Salvage , Submerge , Misdirection , Gitaxian Probe : These cards aren't particularly great in other lists, but perform extremely well for NMP. With him out each ones gets an extra rules tag on them of "Draw 1 card, deal 1 damage". Snapback and Misdirection are particularly useful, as after casting NMP mana tends to be a little low and he'll often draw removal. These cards make these interactions very swingy. A common example would be NMP resolves, turn ends, opponent casts Swords to Plowshares . That causes a draw and a damage, then you can cast Snapback targeting NMP to draw and damage again and not have to pay the commander tax again. Every time these interactions happen to try to remove NMP it gives you valuable draw (possibly into more free spells) and some level of board control. They can also help enable a manaless Kozilek loop.

Pyroclasm & Rolling Earthquake : These cards help slow down some of the very swarmy type decks that are fairly popular in cEDH like Najeela and Blood Pod, and can also hit all the main mana dorks the we can't run anyway. Rolling Earthquake can double as a wincon if everyone else has been pinged down to life totals lower than you.

Paradox Engine : The list originally ran Paradox Engine which can allow for multiple spells to be chained together, untapping your mana rocks on each cast. There were a few things I didn't like about it. Its mana cost is too high. Sometimes its just a dead card, where Isochron Scepter seldom is since it can imprint another useful card on it. To function fluidly it needed support like Fabricate , Whir of Invention , Grim Monolith , Gilded Lotus . In the end I decided it ate up too many slots that could be dig or control slots, and it always felt win-more (i.e. I could be casting Niv-Mizzet and a Curiosity effect instead). I do think running Paradox Engine is a viable strategy for NMP, but that is getting away from control and into fast combo, where I think other decks just do it better.

Mission Briefing : This card is super neat since it digs and cards can be cast with alternate costs, but when I had it in, I usually felt like I would have just preferred another 2 mana counterspell. I'd often be casting Mission Briefing for a 3 mana brainstorm, 4 mana counterspell, and so-on.

Magus of the Moon : Excluded because Blood Moon isn't central to our game plan. It can be a great card, but I don't want to see doubles of it in my hand.

Delay : I chose Mana Leak over delay as the deck can be somewhat slow, and there's an actual chance that something like an early game Carpet of Flowers or something I counter could come back if I used Delay .
General strategy is a little tricky for control. You need to do a delicate little dance where you prevent people from winning while still keeping interaction and keep making land drops. Digging a little early towards at least one removal card is often right (meta depending of course).

Casting Niv-Mizzet should happen only when you know you can get real value out of him or can safely attach a combo piece. Ideally you would have 2+ interaction spells to cast after Niv-Mizzet. That can get you oodles of card draws, damage, and get around some removal. Even if he doesn't survive the turn, you've probably refilled your hand, can recast him and are ready to go another round. If he does survive, then you're in a great position.


Updates Add

I've made a couple small small changes the last couple months.
Mox Opal -> Gilded Lotus : The artifact count was making this too inconsistent. While lotus is a bit clunky, its useable right away and can help set up for the next turn.
Seat of Synod & Great Furnace -> Island & Barbarian Ring : Ring was in another list I saw and it seemed like a great addition instead of a basic mountain. It's got great versatility, doesn't care about Blood Moon, and can ping important guys like Tymna, Najeela, Edric etc.

Current suspect cards are:
Vedalken Shackles : I really need to test this more, I just haven't drawn it often in games.
Sky Diamond & Coldsteel Heart : These have been pretty good. I wouldn't use them in other decks but they're fine here. In the back of my mind I'm reconsidering Coalition Relic and Paradox Engine . I'll test combinations of Heart, Relic, Engine and see if I like them.


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Date added 6 months
Last updated 2 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.32
Tokens 3/3 Frog Lizard, 1/1 Spirit, Dack, 1/1 Bird
Folders Izzet cEDH, Ideas, Reference Decks, EDH Wishlist, Deck Ideas
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