"Don't just have your turn... Have all of them!"


What do you mean, "that's not exactly what he said". You must have misheard...

Just sit down and relax

Hello there and welcome to my Dracogenius build.

This is not a highly competitive deck, but rather a more restrained list aiming to make a version of Niv-Mizzet that can be played in more casual settings, while still having strong control options and some combo potential and embracing the draw-go playstyle.

It's always my turn

For this deck I focussed on flash as the main theme, choosing instants over often stronger sorcery-equivalents, and adding cards that either have flash (e.g. Venser, Shaper Savant) or that give flash to other cards (e.g. Leyline of Anticipation), resulting into a deck that you can play almost entirely during your opponent's turns.

The ideal turn is untap-upkeep-draw-land-pass, leaving open all mana as long as possible. This enables a reactive playstyle and should also lead to a pillowfort-like effect: "don't mess with me, and I won't mess with you".

Playing reactively only works well with a lot of cards in hand, preferably cards that can serve multiple purposes (e.g. Muddle the Mixture, Crystal Shard, Mystic Confluence, Trinket Mage). In one word: options; so either many cards or cards that do many things. Preferably both.

The Passive Dragon Lurks

So the deck waits to spend mana unless it's absolutely necessary, aims to control the game, and needs to draw a lot of cards. Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius works perfectly with this playstyle, as he gives you a great mana-dump ability to either control the board or to increase your options.

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Ideally, you have an untapped mana base and a bunch of cards in hand, with Niv just sitting there, staring opponents in the face with his ability. If needed, you counter or destroy things that are an immediate threat to you. If not, you empty your mana at the eot of the previous player to fill up your hand.

The deck runs ways to enhance Niv's ability, such as Basilisk Collar. However, it's better to only use those combo's defensively and in moderation during the early and mid game. With this deck I try to be seen as someone not to mess with, not as the main threat of the game. They should learn to neglect the dragon but remember not to cross paths with him. So I don't play aggressively or provoke confrontations. The plan is to buy time instead; remaining passive and letting my opponents focus on each other.

The Ping-Wins

The primary game plan is to last to the late game, when only a few players are remaining and a control strategy becomes a viable wincon, gathering the required tools along the way. The deck can generate control and value by abusing deathtouch with Niv-Mizzet or by using other board-control combo's (like Deathtouch/Polymorphist's Jest + Goblin Sharpshooter/Inferno Titan), by getting back instants from the grave (with cards like Archaeomancer or Snapcaster Mage), or by reusing ETB-creatures (via Crystal Shard or Deadeye Navigator). Once you have control, swing for the win with Niv (perhaps with some equipment on him) or with other heavy beaters.

Another way to win is to gather the pieces of one of the infinite mana combo's to ping off all opponents, but these are intentionally slow and are meant as a secondary wincon. I like it that all these pieces fit the deck well on their own, while resulting into the occasional ping-win.

Other Topics

I like Dracogenius because it is asking less so for a broken combo build than Niv's other versions. I also like that he has a mana-sink ping ability that works well with a draw-go playstyle. Although most people will probably disagree with me ;), I just like Dracogenius the best out of all Niv's incarnations.

I play commander with a set playgroup in a kitchentable setting. We have added one house rule: no infinite card combo's of 2 or less cards (like Tooth and Nail based combo's). We also try to keep a check on excessive stax or denial strategies. This usually enables that everyone has a chance to try out their creations and have some fun.

This deck was quite hard to get right: getting all the different themes in and still have a balanced deck that is not too powerful took quite some attempts and patience, but I'm very happy where this deck is at right now. It’s a nice diversion from what I usually play.

Category (Jank - Casual - Focused - Optimized - Competitive)


Power Level:


When making decks, I usually start with certain themes in mind that I want to build around. Afterwards, other smaller themes tend to emerge. These themes help me a great deal in making card choices: "how well does this card fit in one or more of the themes?". This deck ended up having themes that synergize well, but can also work independently from each other.

Combining these two themes started this project:

  • Flash/Reactive play: I really wanted to build an izzet deck that plays a lot of cards at instant speed, using a reactive playstyle and keep opponents guessing, discouraging opponents to mess with you. A deck that would be the pillowfort instead of having many pillowfort cards. I like to think that this matches well with Niv-Mizzet himself: you probably just shouldn't mess with him.

  • Ping-win: I just love the goblin machine gun (Goblin Sharpshooter + Deathtouch) and wanted to have a deck built around pings and improving their effectiveness. enter image description here

  • ETB: Most flash creatures are good because they have a sweet ETB ability attached to it, making it function like an instant on a stick. So incorporating cards that allow bouncing or blinking of these creatures seemed obvious (I already had a Roon blink deck, so I didn't want to push this theme too much though). It also ensured the place of some non-flash etb creatures in the deck, like Trinket Mage.

  • Instant recursion: Having so many instants begged for some recursion cards. Snapcaster Mage was an obvious include, but also other ETB-instant-recursion-creatures like Archaeomancer found their way into the deck.

  • Artifacts: in this deck, you basically alsways want a deathtouch equipment. So I added some artifact tutors that find cheap artifacts like Trinket Mage and Tezzeret the Seeker. Other low-mana artifact followed, like Sensei's Divining Top and the artifact lands. Artifacts were also the most obvious choice for ramp. So the deck runs enough artifacts for having some artifact-synergistic cards, without being a real artifact deck.

  • Wizards: In addition to the Dracogenius himself, the deck ended up containing a lot of wizards, mainly because many of the good flashers and other suitable ETB creatures for this deck turn out to be wizards. This theme is there, but it's not really used apart from Riptide Laboratory (I used to run Vedalken AEthermage, but I ended up cutting it after the tuck-rule change). However, new cards might enter the deck due to this theme.

  • Options over power and efficiency: this theme follows directly from the reactive playstyle. When possible the cards in this deck should provide a lot of options. Simple examples are cards like Cryptic Command or Tezzeret the Seeker. But cards can also increase options in other ways. Dualcaster Mage compared to Reverberate is a good example. The mage can block, can be bounced or blinked, can be a combo piece and is a wizard. So it will be what you need to adequately react to the game in more situations than Reverberate.

What I like about this deck is that it has many different angles. It doesn't cling to one theme or mechanic but instead the cards synergize with multiple themes, so there are always a lot of options at your disposal.

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I really like the reactive play-style of the deck and being able to play anything whenever it suits you best. If you have tips or ideas how I could improve this deck while sticking to its themes, it is greatly appreciated. Please upvote if you like the deck, and let me know if you have any suggestions!

GL & HF,


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Updates Add

Dockside Extortionist, what a wonderful card. I'm almost tempted to build a deck around treasures ;). For now, it will sit nicely here in Niv-Mizzet, where it can serve as a ramp card that can be blinked or bounced. It can also generate us infinite colored mana when combined with Deadeye Navigator and can be found using Muddle the Mixture.

I'm also adding Arcane Signet here once it's out. Another nice 2 cmc rock that generates colored mana. Castle Vantress provides this deck with another thing to do EOT without much of a cost in terms of deckbuilding.

Comments View Archive

Date added 4 years
Last updated 1 week

This deck is not Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

6 - 0 Mythic Rares

55 - 0 Rares

17 - 0 Uncommons

13 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.10
Tokens Treasure, 2/2 Bird, Copy Clone, 3/3 Ape, 2/2 Manifest
Folders EDH, sigarda, EDH, Fun with Dragons
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Revision 77 See all

1 week ago)

+1 Confounding Conundrum main