Izzet Nykthos

izzet nykthos

ddt avatar final

While the Monogreen Nykthos deck posted a few weeks earlier is pretty neat, the majority of Nykthos-powered decks are still Standard. Usually they are monoblack, monoblue, monored and even monogreen (sorry, White). Izzet is not really a devotion-based combination as it’s usually more noncreature spell-heavy.  Sometimes those Blue/Red mages like to get their hands dirty by actually attacking …


Izzet Nykthos

Standard Format

Creatures: 27

Ash Zealot
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Fanatic of Mogis
4 Frostburn Weird
2 Keranos, God of Storms
2 Purphoros, God of the Forge
3 Stormbreath Dragon

Instants: 4

2 Cyclonic Rift
2 Turn/Burn

Artifacts: 2

2 Hammer of Purphoros

Planeswalkers: 2

2 Ral Zarek


Lands: 25

1 Mana Confluence
12 Mountain
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Steam Vents
4 Temple of Epiphany


2 Aetherize
2 Dictate of the Twin Gods
1 Electrickery
1 Hammer of Purphoros
1 Harness by Force
4 Mizzium Mortars
2 Negate
2 Turn/Burn

The majority of the damage comes from red’s resident Gray Merchant of Asphodel > Fanatic of Mogis

fan of mogisEach opponent ? Look out two-headed dragon format ! 

We all know the usual red suspects as far as devotion goes, but amazingly enough we get some nice options from the blue ‘splash’. First off, we get a nice little removal spell called Turn/Burn. It pretty much zaps everything that would be a problem, creature-wise. (Master of Waves, Fiendslayer Paladin, Desecration Demon,etc.) Things that are too big too burn or otherwise untargetable by anything red (of course in the later case we are only using the Turn part of the spell). When you aren’t doing that, you can also get some interesting two-for-ones against various other decks as well.

turnClearly did not see enough competitive play

Here’s another Blue bonus splash:

cyclonic riftShould clearly be banned in Commander

Cyclonic Rift‘s praises have been sung far and wide, so I’ll just abstain from reiterating. It’s usually one of the first cards we cut against a lot of matchups though. We can now focus on one of the main reasons, we are going Izzet. You’ve probably already figured it out by the article banner pic. It’s our super underplayed and super overhyped since Dragon’s Maze release planeswalker … Ral Zarek

ral zarekHe used to be 50$. Hard to believe, huh?

It’s fairly obvious what Ral here does for us: he untaps Nykthos ( a feat usually only matched by Voyaging Satyr in Standard monogreen devotion decks). I’ll let you imagine the insane early plays this entails (casting and monstrous-ing a Stormbreath Dragon). His other abilities come in very hand as well. Well, other applications of the first ability plus the -2 bolt one. You get to untap a mana and tap down their would-be blocker so you can get in there with your aggro dudes (Stormbreath Dragon, Boros Reckoner,etc). He becomes increasingly good versus the non-Hero’s Downfall control decks because of that as well (and of course the fact that he can bolt their planeswalkers).

On a side note, it really sucks that he needs to untap ‘another permanent’ otherwise he would have given the inspire mechanic some kind of life (which we can only hope the Convoke mechanic will do when M15 is released).

The deck is really all about explosiveness in the early game. Yes, Yes, Supreme Verdict can ruin our day but that’s not going to stop us from trying to get in there, is it? You need to keep your Burning-Tree Emissary for when it matters instead of just casting them and using the 2 mana for a random ‘Burn’ on some creature or something. Of course, if you have Hammer of Purphoros out, that’s a different story. We are an aggro deck after all, just that we have a mid-to-late game versus control decks. Purphoros and his Hammer go a long way (unfortunately some of them are playing Planar Cleansing nowadays). That’s where Keranos gets his time to shine as well.

One more week ’til Magic 2015

No idea where this deck is headed post M15. It doesn’t seem to have received any kind of support really, but if you like to try the decks that are a little off the beaten path, go ahead. Give it a try. Seriously, it’s actually much better than it looks. We promise.


ral banner


Theros Previews: Wave 3

previews wave 3

by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos

We last left off with :

Magma Jet

magma jet

There just had to be a good 2 drop burn spell with Searing Spear gone

If there was ever a Scry card I loved, it’s definitely Magma Jet. I often pick it high enough in Cubes if I am splashing or maining Red in my deck. It is Shock + Scry and works relatively well. Zap one of their early drop and scry for either you 3-4th land or late game burn your opponent to the dome and dig for more gas.

The only small drawback is that now you will probably need to run something like Flames of the Firebrand to hit creatures with 3 toughness. While not all too bad, it’s sorcery-speed removal (not a fan) and a turn late. You do basically pay for the versatility of potentially 2/3 for one’ing your opponent.

Red was never really a card-drawing color but with cards like this and M14’s Academy Raider I like that they do get to quickly rifle through a few cards in search of relevant cards instead of just having to draw clumps of land, unable to end the game.

Purphoros, God of the Forge


Nice mini one-sided Pandemonium

Nice static ability on him that just makes the whole idea of going all in with tokens interesting (eventhough the 5-color Gods + tokens concept was more of a joke in the previous article). You get an 6/5 body for 4 with haste if you managed to get the Hammer of Purphoros in play the turn before and stick a few non-token creatures in there (or just an Ash Zealot).

Speaking of which….

Hammer of Purphoros

hammer of purphoros

Fervor was never this good

Here we have our godly weapon and what a potent weapon it is! Granted no one really enjoys sacrificing lands anymore, but it can be well worth it in a monored deck. Of course with a Purphoros in play it also means that your opponent will be getting hit for a free 2 damage as well. As mentionned above, you can get a hasty turn 4 6/5 creature down on turn 4. This is undoubtedly why Purphoros only has 1 Red mana in his casting cost. You ‘need’ to play a couple of dudes beforehand and keep them in play to accomplish this, but Red is anything but short on low-curve aggressive creatures.

If you absolutely needed some Red Devotion, look no further than this overlooked card:

awaken the ancient

It really seems like ‘mountains matter’ in Theros too

Unfortunately though, it will not trigger Purphoros’s 2 damage ability since the actual creature (the Mountain) was already in play. Still, it can seem like an interesting route to take with the deck. It’s not like Awaken the Ancient is a heavy investment money-wise. Another really nice thing to not overlook is that it produces a colorless token which may not mean much right now, but it will when you have to potentially face off with creatures who have protection from red either built-in or obtain it from another source (equipment, etc).

Rageblood Shaman

rageblood shaman

The Minotaur tribe is back to help out Boros Reckoner

I recall joking about Didgeridoo and Changeling creatures as a Legacy deck a few years back with some friends. One of them played the flute so we thought the deck was a perfect fit. It was obviously really bad since even Boros Reckoner was not in existence yet. Once Reckoner was released, the jokes resurfaced but didn’t last long. When the Theros block was announced it was almost a certainty that Minotaurs would be one of the tribes. Didgeridoos suddenly started creeping up in value and wether or not they will actually see real Legacy play is yet to be seen.


Super Aether Vial – for manly Minotaurs Only

Much like Giants, I don’t really imagine there being small Minotaurs. It might just be more for flavour than them actually being a real tribe (as Vampires did in Zendikar block). I think they are probably going to become a real deal as the block progresses and we are just going to get some glimpses in Theros. Perhaps even a reprint? Hint: it’s NOT a creature

Stoneshock Giant

stoneshock giantSeismic Stomp now has a face

It’s going to help break some stalemates in Draft/Sealed affairs. Other than that, it’s no Inferno Titan ( a cycle that some speculate might get reprinted this block, but I personally doubt).

Titan of Eternal Fire

titan of eternal fire

Basically mythology’s Prometheus

A nice way to represent the story of Prometheus in card form. Prometheus being the titan that shared the gift of fire that had long been kept from the humans. He was punished by the Gods by having to be consumed by a giant bird each day and having his body regenerate each night. That’s vaguely how I remember it, but hey! you can Google that stuff in these modern times.

I suppose if there are enough mana dorks that are human (like Avacyn’s Pilgrim was), you can feasibly accelerate into this guy and then start pinging away with your little dudes. It seems more cute than effective. Still, the image of a bunch of little humans pitching their torches at a bigger creature and killing seems somehow appropriate. He sure as heck didn’t teach them the art of the Hadouken.


While it is a statue, it’s not a Greek statue

Perhaps when we return to Kamigawa block, eh?

Two-Headed Cerberus

two headed cerebrus

About damn time!

I’m rather surprised that it took so long for red to get a small double striker printed. It also makes sense in this case since it’s a two-headed creature. I guess the left side bites first then the right? You can’t really expect them to coordinate their attack right?

Bow of Nylea

bow of nyleaThis thing essentially has 5 abilities. It’s like a mini-planeswalker

Once you get past the initial WOW! aspect of this card, you get to realize that it’s quite ordinary. These are very control-ish abilities except for your attackers having deathtouch. They couldn’t really give you unconditional deathtouch and have even your lowliest hang back and just take down big attackers. It would be somewhat wrong, wouldn’t it?

You get a nice mix of ‘useful’ abilities. Snipe a flyer, pad your life total, pump a creature or recover from some milling. If there was a good shuffle effect in Standard it could pass more for a reload your deck with good stuff you’ve already used or had countered over the course of the game.

If you’re thinking that this belongs in the Commander bin then I’d wager you are correct. Unless some totally over-the-top mono-green control surfaces with this and Primeval Bounty at its core, i’ll just maybe consider siding it in versus whatever mill deck may surface in Type 2. The graveyard recovery ability may have been nice if it targeted any graveyard so that it would also simmer down some potential reanimator decks, but I guess they figured Scavenging Ooze is hate enough.

scavenging ooze

Will it still see play or just get lost in the shuffle?

Nylea, God of the Hunt

nylea god

Yes, this is a real card.

You get a potential 6/6 trampler (indestructible too, might I add) for 4 and potentially as early as turn 3. Ready to attack on turn 4. Of course it involves a mana dork or two and probably a certain 3/3 for 2 mana. Still, having a Primal Rage in play means your beefy creatures matter more and your attacks are not stymied by your opponent chump blocking each turn.

primal rage

Rancor‘ for all my creatures? Don’t mind if I do

Yes, I am fully aware it’s not quite Rancor. That’s why Rancor is in quotes. It’s close enough. Historically in Magic: the Gathering, having the biggest creature to attack with didn’t mean squat if it had no built-in form of evasion. Now green mages can dig up their mana efficient fatties because they can matter. That little number in the bottom right before the ‘/’. Yep, that one. Just tap some mana, play some dudes and Nylea then turn them sideways! Make Garruk proud (even though he’s probably not in this block).

Commune with the Gods

commune with the gods

Aka. ‘Private Messaging the Divine’

It’s an ‘upgraded’ version of Commune with Nature. I imagine this will get some play seeing as how the gods are enchantments and well, so is almost everything else. You get to ‘dig’ five deep and hit a relevant creature, enchantment, legendary artifact enchantment or God. Not too shabby. Also going through what might have been a small clump of lands is a bonus (pseudo-Scry).

A nice way to give green more card draw without actually being straight-up card drawing (aka. Harmonize).

Hunt the Hunter

hunt the hunter

Green hate versus Green?

Very interesting take on sideboard cards. If anything it might help create more diversity amongst the Tier 1 decks since you can avoid the mirror-match hate. Or, it may just do the opposite and give you tools to break the mirrors. I’m very curious to see what the outcome will be or even if this is part of a cycle.

What would the others be called?

Shock the Shocker?

Rebuke the Rebuker? 

Bounce the Bouncer?

Assassinate the Assasin?

I know, I know. Pretty unoriginal card names there, I’m sure the real card names are much better.

Karametra’s Acolyte

karametras acolyte

Guess they got fed up of being called ‘mana dorks’, so they buffed up

I heard some people comparing this to Elvish Archdruid and it seems about right. Elves are really not part of Greek Mythology so they had to get the other ‘mana dork’ tribe: humans (druids too, but that’s more like their ‘job’). Still, this guys can potentially gives us a more stable mana supply if we plop down early enchantments and cast primeval bounty or some other expensive card much earlier. It allows us to not have to try and play around something like Supreme Verdict. Then again, with creatures like Nylea we may not need to.

Also, contrary to Elvish Archdruid, he makes a mean blocker. I know this isn’t the most exciting feature that comes to mind when evaluating a new Magic: the Gathering card, but it’s surely something to consider in a Standard format that becomes increasingly more about creatures.

Nessian Asp

nessian asp

Vanilla Monsters

Does this mean we will get to see a certain card from Future Sight?

nessian courser

Just kidding!

Reverent Hunter


It’s not easy being green

Mana dorks and creature spam is heavily encouraged in this block. While I’m not a big fan of that unless Elves are involved, it may be worth trying out. Remember that there are still about 150+ cards to be spoiled/previewed, so hang in there. Still, the later you hold off casting this, the less damage you are potentially dealing. The earlier you drop this, the smaller it ends up being. Nothing exciting about casting it on turn 2, or is there? It can basically be your Kalonian Tusker # 5-8. Of course it just becomes awesome when you cast it after a Kalonian Tusker has entered the battlefield. It also interacts favourably with another Kalonian: Kalonian Hydra!

Sylvan Caryatid

sylvan caryatid

Got ramp?

I can’t believe I almost completely dismissed this cards as a bad Birds of Paradise rip-off. I literally blazed through the rules text and totally forgot it had hexproof. Normally I am not a fan of the ability as it takes away a lot of the game’s interaction as we saw with the bant Hexproof not too long ago. In this case though, hexproof is pretty well implemented. It somewhat makes this into another Darksteel Ingot in the sense that it tends to remain on the battlefield longer.

I went from being disappointed that this was the Buy-a-Box promo card to being pretty excited about it. Sure, they could have reprinted Rampant Growth or something, but this is far more nice. It’s a permanent that accelerates us and counts towards our ‘Devotion to Green’. Will it be played alongside Mana Bloom so that you can have 8 cards in your deck that accelerate you on Turn 2? I think there is a good chance of that with enchantments mattering and Mana Bloom being an enchantment.

Daxos of Meletis

daxos of meletis

Are we about to see the second coming of Geist of Saint Traft?

If the name sounds familiar to you, it’s because it is. He was a character in 300 (the movie). I’m unsure if there is a relation there, but I just recall hearing that name before.

I’ve read and heard many comparisons to other cards. Geist of Saint Traft, Nightveil Specter and Augury Adept. I believe that they are all very appropriate and am personally very glad that this card is not a Mythic. You have the pseudo evasion of Nightveil Specter, the stats and mana cost of Geist of Saint Traft and then the combined ‘when combat damage is dealt’ ability of Augury Adept and Nightveil Specter (sort of). You even get the added bonus of casting the card with mana of the colors you do not even have in play.

I doubt the power level of the card is anywhere near Geist of Saint Traft’s, since he dies to almost all the removal availalble in Standard. You get some ‘random’ but interesting benefits which are more suited to something like Commander. He also circumvents the ruling about only being able to produce mana of your general’s ‘color identity’ (at least it seems that way, I’ll have to get some kind of confirmation on that). Anybody have a clear answer?

More to come …

We’ll continue with more Previews tomorrow. The set is shaping up really nicely thus far!