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 Post subject: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Jul-11 6:36 am 
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Joined: 2013-Nov-04 2:12 am
Age: Dragon
Location: Northamptonshire, UK
His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy – A Nicol Bolas, the Ravager Theme Deck

Deck name: “His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy”

Commander: Nicol Bolas, the Ravager/Nicol Bolas, the Arisen

Colours: Blue/Black/Red

Theme/s: Nicol Bolas, mass discard

Primary Win Condition/s: Forcing opponents to discard cards in their hands and reanimating their best creatures to kill them

Secondary Win Condition/s: Commander damage, Omniscience shenanigans

Budget: None set. This is an evolution of a deck that I’ve had for around 5 years now, so I’ve spent a fair amount of money on it over that time, especially in upgrading some of the Bolas-themed cards to some of their more expensive versions. If I can justify buying the card, I’ll probably buy it.

Playgroup: I now play at an FLGS, so my opponents are many and varied. A large number of the people I have the opportunity to play with have fairly tuned decks, with a much higher power level than this one, so I don’t really expect to compete with them. I do seem to play more games than not against the following decks at a level that I feel this deck can deal with:

- Rashmi, Eternities Crafter Simic goodstuff/value,

- Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons Golgari -1/-1 counter tribal,

- The Ur-Dragon WUBRG Dragon Tribal,

- Sliver Queen/Sliver Hivelord/Sliver Overlord WUBRG Sliver
Tribal,

- Edgar Markov Mardu Vampire Tribal,

- A couple of Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice decks, that have a little changed from the pre-
con, but not by too much, and,

- Nekusar, the Mindrazer Grixis Wheels deck, that I’ve done my very best to not have this deck be a copy of.


In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness: a churning ocean of uncertainty.

Then the great God-Pharaoh awoke and rose, a shining golden sun, and shed light upon the unformed world. With the unfurling of his wings, he split sky from earth; with his first breath, he formed water and air; with a sweep of his tail, he carved mountains and crumbled stone into sand. And thus, the God-Pharaoh sifted order from chaos, and the world took shape, raw and young and new.

The God-Pharaoh then gazed upon the barren, quiet world and planted the seeds of life. And so the denizens of Amonkhet were born, birthed from the dreams of the dragon-creator. But unlike their creator, they were soft, vulnerable, frail—and mortal. And the shadows of the world, the remnants of that black ocean, seized those that died, twisting them into undeath, a threat and plague to the living.

And so the great God-Pharaoh forged the gods.


- Hour of Glory, official Magic Story.


Once upon a time, I built a Nicol Bolas themed deck. It was my second ever Commander deck (the first being a Braids, Conjurer Adept deck) and the first one I ever posted here on MTGCommander.net. Over time it evolved to incorporate every single card within the Grixis colour identity that referenced Nicol Bolas, whether that was through name, art, flavour text, or through their role in the Magic story. It was a fun deck to play with, not necessarily a great one, but fun nonetheless.

And then came Amonkhet. Suddenly, far too many cards to reference Nicol Bolas were available to go into a single deck, and not all of them were good enough to use in Commander (mind you, not all of the cards that were in the deck before were), and I never got around to updating the deck to reflect the new tools I had available.

Now, with the release of Magic Core Set 2019, we now have a new Nicol Bolas, so I’ve spent the last week or so brainstorming a brand new deck to replace the older one I’d been using for almost half a decade. It’s quite a different beast from the previous one, though is still packed full of Bolas flavour.

I’m going to go through my deck list here, going through it by category rather than by card type, as that’s probably the best way to discuss the deck. It tries to do a number of different things, possibly too many, but from all of the goldfishing I’ve done with the deck it still seems like it’ll be fun to actually play. If you’re interested, you can see the deck on TappedOut.net here and maybe even playtest it yourself.


The Commander – 1 card

To begin with, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is quite different from the original Nicol Bolas.

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager/Nicol Bolas, the Arisen

Possibly most importantly he’s significantly cheaper to cast, meaning that I don’t have to wait until turn 8 to cast him with very specific requirements, and he doesn’t have a painful Upkeep cost to pay each turn. It also makes it much easier to cast him a second or third time if he gets removed from play. He also comes with the ability to transform into a Planeswalker version of himself, Nicol Bolas, the Arisen, with four great abilities. With a +2 ability to give me two card draws and access to creature removal and reanimation through his minus abilities, he’s a powerful Commander to have in the Command Zone.

Flicker Package – 7 cards

The biggest difference between the old and the new Bolas is that his ability to damage his opponents’ minds (aka force players to discard cards) is now an enter-the-battlefield (or ETB) effect rather than a sabotage (on damage) effect. This means that the cards needed to support Nicol Bolas, the Ravager are quite different to those needed to support the original. In particular, I’ve built the deck with a number of Flicker effects, to allow me to reuse Bolas’s ETB effect over and over.

Cauldron of Souls
Conjurer's Closet
Deadeye Navigator
Displace
Essence Flux
Ghostly Flicker
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

All of these cards allow me to reuse Bolas’s ETB effect, usually through exiling him and returning him to the battlefield immediately, though Mikaeus gives him Undying and Cauldron of Souls gives him Persist, allowing him to return to play if an opponent tries to kill him. Conjurer’s Closet and Deadeye Navigator give me a permanent present on the battlefield, as I don’t feel that I’m always going to be able to save Displace, Essence Flux, and Ghostly Flicker to use on him. Displace and Ghostly Flicker are quite important for a few strategies in the deck, as having two targets allows me some shenanigans, but I’ll go into those later.

ETB Discard Creatures – 7 cards

Now, if I’m using a Bolas with an ETB effect to make my opponents discard cards from their hands then it stands to reason that I ought to include other creatures with similar abilities in my deck so that the suite of Flicker cards don’t have to just be used with Bolas alone.

Cackling Fiend
Dire Undercurrents
Liliana's Specter
Marsh Crocodile
Miasmic Mummy
Rotting Rats
Thoughtrender Lamia

It’s surprising how few creatures there are in the whole of Magic with the text, “When ~ enters the battlefield, each opponent discards a card.” As such, I’ve had to use some that affect each player, so I may well have to discard some cards too. That’s okay, as I’ve built in some redundancy and Regrow effects into the deck.

Cackling Fiend, Liliana's Specter, Miasmic Mummy, and Rotting Rats are all fairly basic creatures with that ETB ability. Rotting Rats having Unearth means that I can push through an additional discard if I need to, once they’re in my Graveyard.

Dire Undercurrents is an interesting card, as it turns any of my Black creatures into a source of discard, even if they don’t have the ability naturally. Admittedly, it’s not “each opponent”, only “target opponent”, but I think it’s still worth using.

Thoughtrender Lamia is another interesting card. I’ve incidentally included ten Enchantments in the deck, so there’s a reasonable chance that I’ll cast one or two of them with the Lamia on the battlefield for some more discard.

Even though it’s a symmetrical effect, I love Marsh Crocodile. My first return to Magic after a break was in 2001 with Planeshift so I’m quite familiar with the “Gating” mechanic. And with all of the Blue and Black creatures in this deck with ETB abilities, I’m almost always going to be able to reuse one of them.

Non-ETB Discard Effects – 7 cards

So, if I’m attacking my opponents’ hands with ETB creatures then I probably ought to keep attacking those hands so that they lose their ability to respond to me doing so.

Crosis, the Purger
Liliana of the Veil
Mindslicer
Pain Magnification
Recoil
Sadistic Hypnotist
The Eldest Reborn

These are other cards in the deck that let me force my opponents to discard cards, though some are symmetrical.

Whilst he’s not an Elder Dragon and thus one of Bolas’s brothers or sisters, it wouldn’t be too hard to call Crosis Bolas’s cousin. Halfway between the size and casting cost of the old and new Bolas cards, he’s a big beater who can force discard whenever he hits an opponent.

Liliana of the Veil is infamous for her exploits in Modern, but with the stinger in the final story of the Dominaria storyline, Liliana is currently a minion of Bolas, so putting her in this deck is quite appropriate. She’s one of those symmetrical discard outlets I mentioned above, so I have to be careful in using her, but she also provides me with a source of removal thanks to her minus ability.

Mindslicer is a double-edged sword. Whilst he’s quite powerful in that if he dies then all my opponents discard all of the hands, he also affects me. Admittedly, I’d probably be the best prepared to handle that, seeing as it’s my deck, but I do have to be careful in casting him. He’s also a prime target for my opponents’ removal that exiles or tucks him, which can also be nice in some ways.

Pain Magnification is a bit weird. I thinks it’s quite fun, as it encourages my opponents to deal damage to each other to force them to discard cards. It also means that Bolas attacking makes that opponent discard a card, which gives me double value from him.

Recoil is one of the few ways I have to deal with Enchantments in the deck, as if I bounce an Enchantment to an empty hand, that player then discards it.

Despite its poor cost-to-size ratio, Sadistic Hypnotist is actually quite an important card in the deck. It’s a sacrifice outlet and, in particular, one that doesn’t require mana to be spent on it. It forces an opponent to discard two cards and works well with the handful of token producers I have in the deck. It also allows me some shenanigans, but I’ll go into those later.

The Eldest Reborn is the perfect card for this deck, as it combines removal, discard, and reanimation. And the flavour is perfectly on point for Bolas, too.

Punishing Discard – 7 cards

So, with my opponents discarding all of these cards, and me too in some situations, my opponents will hopefully have very few, if any, cards in their hands. I probably ought to take advantage of that by punishing them for discarding cards.

Angrath, the Flame-Chained
Asylum Visitor
Dark Withering
Shrieking Affliction
Telekinetic Bonds
Waste Not
Wheel of Torture

The cards in this category fall into two types: those that punish my opponents for discarding cards and those that ameliorate the symmetrical discard effects that hit me too.

I’m actually cheating a little by Angrath here, but I tried to keep equal numbers of all the different cards types and be strict about it. He’s a great source of discard, hitting all of my opponents whilst also pinging them a little, as well as his ultimate punishing them for having large numbers of cards in their graveyards.

Asylum Visitor and Dark Withering have Madness, allowing me to take advantage of any symmetrical discard effects. The Asylum Visitor also punishes my opponents for having no cards in hand by giving me card draws, as well as rewarding me if I get to zero cards in hand myself.

Shrieking Affliction and Wheel of Torture punish my opponents for having next to no cards in hand. This then places them in the tough position of casting those cards and taking more damage each turn, of keeping them in hand to try and prevent it but risk me forcing them to discard them anyway.

Telekinetic Bonds and Waste Not are great effects that key off of my opponents discard, but with the downside that they have to be on the table when the discard happens, making them slightly weaker than the above two cards.

Reanimator – 7 cards

With my opponents discarding their hands, there are sure to be some great cards from their decks that are now in their Graveyards. With a Reanimator package I can probably take advantage of that. And by Reanimator, I’m also including the ability to cast certain non-creature spells from those Graveyards, too.

Animate Dead
Diluvian Primordial
Necromancy
Phyrexian Reclamation
Puppeteer Clique
Sepulchral Primordial
The Scarab God

Animate Dead and Necromancy are old favourites for Ranimator decks, and they work great here, allowing me to take things from my opponents’ Graveyards as well as my own if necessary.

Diluvian Primordial and Sepulchral Primordial are really nice since they affect all of my opponents at once. They’re also ETB effects, so I get value from my Flicker package with them.

Phyrexian Reclamation is one of the ways I have to repeated retrieve Creatures from my Graveyard, meaning that I can feel somewhat comfortable in discarding Creatures to symmetrical effects, knowing that I can get them back later in the game.

Puppeteer Clique is another ETB Reanimate effect, so works well with the Flicker package. Since the Reanimation is temporary, his best friend is the Sadistic Hypnotist as I can sacrifice the stolen creature to the Hypnotist and get even more value from it.

The Scarab God is the first of the three Hour of Devastation Gods in the deck. It provides a powerful ability to create tokens of Creatures in Graveyards, and then lets me make my opponents lose life and lets me Scry, too. It’s a powerful card and it works really well here.

Ramp – 7 cards

This deck has a high average CMC – 4.26 according to TappedOut.net, so I need some ramp to help me cast my powerful spells. And in Grixis, this means mana rocks.

Dimir Signet
Gem of Becoming
Gilded Lotus
Rakdos Signet
Sol Ring
Unstable Obelisk
Visage of Bolas

There’s nothing too out of the ordinary here. Sol Ring and two Signets are cheap acceleration, sometimes letting me cast Bolas on turn 3 (or even 2 if I’m lucky enough), whilst Gilded Lotus allows me to explode up to some lofty amounts of mana. Unstable Obelisk is another way I have to get rid of troublesome Enchantments and Visage of Bolas lets me tutor up another Bolas Planeswalker. Gem of Becoming is something of a pet card, seeing as I pulled a foil one from a pack of M13 back in 2012, but it’s perfectly on theme for the deck, and is usually pretty good too.

Flex (aka Everything Else) – 18 cards

For want of a better title, this is the “everything else” category. These are the cards that I really wanted to put in the deck, usually due to the Bolas flavour, but couldn’t justify having in the deck in any of the previously listed categories.

Archaeomancer
Cruel Ultimatum
Crux of Fate
Damnation
Dark Intimations
Hour of Devastation
Mana Drain
Mnemonic Wall
Nexus of Fate
Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
Nicol Bolas, the Deceiver
Omniscience
Sarkhan, Fireblood
Tezzeret, Artifice Master
The Locust God
The Scorpion God
Torment of Hailfire

Archaeomancer and Mnemonic Wall are fairly key to the deck, allowing shenanigans in conjunction with Displace and Ghostly Flicker, especially if I have Omniscience in play.
Cruel Ultimatum and Dark Intimations combine removal with opponents discarding and card draw for myself.

Crux of Fate, (Invocation) Damnation, and Hour of Devastation are on-theme board wipes.

Cruel Ultimatum and Dark Intimations are nice, splashy spells that are completely on theme with both Bolas and forcing my opponents to discard cards. There's also a bit of Reanimation there, as well as card draw.

The Judge Foil Mana Drain has a quote from Nicol Bolas on it so I felt it deserved a place in the deck, being the only piece of stack interaction I have in the deck.

I managed to come into a Nexus of Fate recently, and wanted to try it in this deck. It helps against symmetrical discard effects as it will just shuffle into the library where I can draw it again, and I’ve never had the chance to play with any extra turn cards before so I’m looking forward to trying it out.

The three Bolas Planeswalkers all provide different things, but special mention has to be made of Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker’s plus ability as it’s another of the few ways I can deal with Enchantments (I keep going on about this, but as someone who’s played a Grixis Commander deck for five years, you learn to appreciate ways to get rid of Enchantments).

The Invocation Omniscience has such lovely art that I’ve bought an official playmat with the Omniscience art on and signed by the artist to use with this deck. It’s not easy to get out, especially as I’ve not really included any ways to cheat it into play, but once it’s out it enables several shenanigans that I’ll go into a bit later.

The Sarkhan and Tezzeret I’m a little lukewarm on. I want to include a single Sarkhan and a single Tezzeret in the deck, as they’ve been two of Bolas’s longest-serving minions, and whilst these two seemed to fit this deck the best out of all of the different ones, they don’t contribute too much to it. Sarkhan does give ramp that lets me get Bolas (or Crosis) out and Tezzeret does give good repeatable draw, but I’m still unsure if I ought to keep them or swap them for one of their other versions.

Here are the other two Hour of Devastation Gods that I just couldn’t squeeze into any other categories. They’re powerful and hard for my opponents to deal with permanently.

Torment of Hailfire both gives me a spell that forces my opponents into tough positions as well as potentially being a win condition all by itself.

Lands – 39 cards

Academy Ruins
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Cascade Bluffs
Cephalid Coliseum
Choked Estuary
Command Tower
Darkslick Shores
Dragonskull Summit
Drowned Catacomb
Exotic Orchard
Foreboding Ruins
Geier Reach Sanitarium
Graven Cairns
High Market
Howltooth Hollow
5 Island
Luxury Suite
Morphic Pool
3 Mountain
Phyrexian Tower
Polluted Delta
Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace
Smoldering Marsh
Steam Vents
Strip Mine
Sunken Hollow
Sunken Ruins
3 Swamp
Watery Grave

The majority of these are fairly self-explanatory, as they consist of the best multicolour mana producing lands that I own.

Academy Ruins gives me the opportunity to retrieve discard artifacts. It’s not something that I plan to so too often, but it does mean that throwing away an Artifact isn’t always the end of it.

Cephalid Coliseum and Geier Reach Sanitarium are useful in cases where one of my opponents has no cards in hand but I have Waste Not and/or Telekinetic Bonds on the table and want to use them. Alternatively, they provide me with more targets to Reanimate.

High Market and Phyrexian Tower give me a couple of extra sacrifice outlets, albeit only once per turn each.

Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace is a nice way to use my mana if I have no cards in hand but my opponents do.

Strip Mine is in there in case of any awkwardly powerful lands in play, such as Cabal Coffers or Gaea’s Cradle.


Deck Combos and Value Engines

Whilst a number of the cards in the deck are pretty powerful on their own, in combination with others there are some pretty decent things that I can do. Here’s an overview of some of them that I either planned for whilst building the deck, or just plain discovered whilst goldfishing with the deck.

Mindslicer + High Market/Phyrexian Tower/Sadistic Hypnotist + Howltooth Hollow

Howltooth Hollow seems like the hardest of all of the Hideaway lands to activate in Commander, as being able to have all players have no cards in hand at once seems like a nearly impossible task to perform. However, Mindslicer has the pretty unique ability to strip all players of their hands when it dies. Combining that with a sacrifice outlet, especially one on a land that can’t be responded to when you play it, means that activating the Hideaway ability actually becomes somewhat feasible. Whilst goldfishing I especially liked the idea of placing one of the two Primordials underneath Howltooth Hollow as they feel like they’d give me the most opportunity to take advantage of the suddenly-full graveyards.

Archaeomancer/Mnemonic Wall + Ghostly Flicker/Displace + any ETB Discard Creature/Bolas

Having two Instants that I can use to Flicker two separate Creatures at the same time gives me the opportunity for shenanigans when I’ve got Archaeomancer/Mnemonic Wall in play. When the Archaeomancer/Mnemonic Wall re-enters the battlefield then it will bring the Instant straight back to my hand, with the added benefit of having the ETB effect of the other creature too. As long as I have the mana for it I can repeat this trick to empty my opponents’ hands. And if I already have Omniscience in play then I can straight empty their hands completely.

Alternatively, if I have Diluvian Primordial or Sepulchral Primordial in play too then I can repeatedly use their ETB abilities. Later in the game when my opponents’ Graveyards are hopefully chock full of decent creatures and/or sorcery/instant spells then being able to do this repeatedly will likely win me the game.

Omniscience + Archaeomancer/Mnemonic Wall + Cruel Ultimatum/Dark Intimations + Sadistic Hypnotist

If I can somehow assemble this combo, it will win me the game on the spot except against the most dedicated of lifegain players. Essentially, I can cast Cruel Ultimatum to, amongst other things, force an opponent to lose 5 life. It also allows me to bring back Archaeomancer/Mnemonic Wall from my Graveyard to my hand. Casting that (for free through Omniscience) lets me bring back the Cruel Ultimatum to my hand. I can sacrifice the Archaeomancer/Mnemonic Wall to the Sadistic Hypnotist, and then start the whole process over again. The only limiting factor to this is the amount of cards remaining in my library (I’ll draw 3 cards with each iteration, so with a high enough life total an opponent could theoretically prevent me from killing them outright).

If I have Dark Intimations in hand then I can do the exact trick as the above, except it doesn’t deal damage. In this case I’ll just draw through my deck until I draw the Cruel Ultimatum and then start casting that instead.

The Locust God + Dire Undercurrents

This is a completely unintentional combo that I only came across whilst goldfishing the deck. With both of these cards in play then I can essentially draw as many cards as I like. All I need to do to start it is to draw a card (or even just cast The Locust God with Dire Undercurrents already in play). Once I draw a card, from any source (even The Locust God’s own ability) then I’ll create a Blue/Red Insect. That blue Insect triggers Dire Undercurrents’ ability and I can target myself to draw a card. This cycle will continue until I choose to target a different player with the ability to draw a card. Those Insects can then attack immediately (as they have Haste) or I can use them with Sadistic Hypnotist to completely obliterate my opponents’ hands.

Marsh Crocodile + Asylum Visitor

Again, this was an unintentional combo that I found whilst goldfishing. If I have Asylum Visitor in play when Marsh Crocodile enters the battlefield then I’ll stack the triggers appropriately to do the following: I can bounce Asylum Visitor back to my hand for Marsh Crocodile’s Gating ability, then discard it to Marsh Crocodile’s ETB discard trigger. Madness on Asylum Visitor then lets me cast it back to the battlefield. Net effect: all of my opponents discarded a card and I negated Marsh Crocodile’s two negative effects.

This combo won’t ever win me the game, but I thought it was a cute way to get around the self discard trigger.

Telekinetic Bonds + Gilded Lotus + any mass discard spell

If, after casting any spell that forces my opponents to each discard cards, if I have both Telekinetic Bonds and Gilded Lotus in play then I can tap the Lotus for UUU, use two of that to untap the Lotus through Telekinetic Bonds’ ability, and come out of it one U better off.

Like the above “combo”, it’s never going to win me the game, but a little extra ramp never hurt anyone.


Alternative Card Choices and Possible Future Additions

As you can imagine, this deck has been through multiple iterations before I’ve gotten it to the list you see here today. Amongst other things, I’ve had to trim down the list of cards that I’ve been able to actually fit into the deck. Here are some thoughts on cards that I’ve already considered and cut, but may revisit and add back in if cards in the deck don’t work out too well and/or I receive decent advice suggesting I add them.

Flicker Package

There are only a handful of cards that didn’t make the cut here, as the majority of Flicker cards have a bit of White in their Colour identity.

Illusionist’s Stratagem was disregarded due to the extra mana cost over Ghostly Flicker and Displace, even though it does cantrip. I may well swap out Essence Flux (chosen for its cheap casting cost) for it depending on how actual games go.

Voyager Staff, Nephalia Smuggler, and Voidwalk were also considered as I figured that having them on the battlefield as permanents (Ciphered onto a creature in the case of Voidwalk) meant I didn’t have to worry so much about the symmetrical discard effects. The Staff only gives me a single use out of it, the Smuggler is very vulnerable to removal and costs a lot of mana to use each time, and Voidwalk requires me to connect and deal combat damage to use it, something I can’t always guarantee to be able to do.

Siren’s Ruse was actually in the deck for a while until I realised how much value I got off of having Flicker spells with two targets.

Undying Evil would give me another cheap (1 CMC) Flicker effect, but is wholly reliant on my opponents trying to destroy one of my ETB creatures, whereas any of the other Flicker effects can just be done at any time.

A weird little choice that I also considered was Identity Thief, which triggers when the Thief attacks and brings the target back in the end step. Ultimately, I felt this was too weak as most of the creatures with ETB effects have small stats, making it unlikely for the Thief (copying them) to survive combat to be able to do it again and again.

Finally, Sentinel of the Pearl Trident combines a Flicker effect with a decent sized body on a Flash creature, but ultimately only being able to Flicker Historic targets made it too narrow for me to want to include.

ETB Discard Creatures

There aren’t too many creature cards with the ETB ability to force all opponents to discard a card. There are a few more that force all players to discard a card and several more that force a target player/opponent to discard a card, but the former is a bit tricky to build around and the latter doesn’t do enough in my opinion.

Caligo Skin-Witch is probably the most powerful card that I was disappointed in having to cut from this category, as forcing all of my opponents to discard 2 cards on ETB is unparalleled. Unfortunately, as the discard ability only comes when the Kicker cost is paid, it doesn’t work with the Flicker Package at all.

Mind Raker and Screeching Buzzard were also ones I wanted to include, but the former requires me to Process a card, which I can’t always guarantee, and the latter only works on death so also won’t work with the majority of the Flicker Package.

Fell Specter is also one that I feel the deck could use, especially as it also includes a Megrim effect. It may well be something that I do change in the deck after a few actual games with it, depending on how much I feel that I can spare to downgrade the global discard to targeted discard.

Non-ETB Discard effects

Oh, there are so many cards here that trimming them down to these seven was an extremely difficult job.

To begin with, I was never going to touch any Wheel effects. Unlike Nekusar, the Mindrazer, which does Grixis Wheels FAR better than any Bolas deck could hope to do, the point is to get my opponents to zero cards in hand and hopefully keep them there.

I would have liked to have include more permanent-based discard spells, such as Bottomless Pit, Creeping Dread, Cunning Lethemancer, Gibbering Descent (especially as it also gives me an out to avoid the symmetrical effect as well as having a Madness cost), Herald of Anguish, Necrogen Mists, Siren of the Silent Song, and especially Words of Waste – due to cutting Geth’s Grimoire from the Punishing Discard cards meant I didn’t feel that this was worth keeping in the deck any more.

Some other decent spells that I passed over include Arterial Flow, Burning Inquiry (which is also great against opponents with no cards in hand), Delirium Skeins, Fraying Omnipotence (especially due to theme), Skull Rend, Syphon Mind, Tasigur’s Cruelty, and Urza’s Guilt (that I actually have a foil of, that I pulled from a pack back in 2002 that I’ve never used in a deck).

One final specific card swap that I could do is swapping out Recoil for Dinrova Horror: they have identical effects but whereas Recoil is much cheaper and can be cast at Instant-speed, the Horror comes with a 4/4 body that I can Reanimate and/or Flicker. At this point in time, the added cost and lack of Instant-speed play made me choose Recoil, but I’ll keep an eye on it during play to see if I can swap it out.

Punishing Discard

Again, there are quite a few cards here that I wanted to include but had to cut.

The biggest obvious omissions from the deck are Megrim, Liliana’s Caress, and Raiders’ Wake, cards that all punish my opponents directly for discarding cards. I could have included one or two of them, but I realised that Wheel of Torture and Shrieking Affliction were probably better overall: the Megrim effects require them to be on the battlefield to do the damage, but if they show up after my opponents are all Hellbent then they do absolutely nothing. Wheel of Torture/Shrieking Affliction conversely are quite happy to stick it out on the battlefield early, but if they do show up later then they’ll still start doing damage to my Hellbent opponents.

Other cards that are similar to Wheel of Torture that I chose not to use are Storm World (a card I had firmly in the deck until I realised that its effect was symmetrical), and Rackling and Viseling (too vulnerable to creature removal).

As mentioned above, I cut Geth’s Grimoire, even though it had actually been in every iteration of my original Nicol Bolas deck. I felt that just drawing me cards wasn’t good enough, especially as I had added card draw in other areas, so cut it (which sadly led to me cutting Words of Waste).

I really wanted to try and find a home for Sangromancer as a little incidental life gain would be nice against the Nekusar player with all of the Wheels, but just couldn’t shoehorn it in.

I also considered Blood Scrivener and Dream Salvage to help me draw, but didn’t think their effects were worth keeping in the deck – Asylum Visitor is better than Blood Scrivener in most situations and Dream Salvage would require me to target a single player with a bunch of targeted effects, as opposed to the way the deck is built, which is around making every player discard cards instead.

There were a handful of Madness spells that I considered playing, including the already-mentioned Gibbering Descent, but the one I’m saddest about not being able to include is Welcome to the Fold, as that gives me the ability to deal with an already-resolved creature whilst simultaneously attacking my opponents’ hands.

Reanimator

Again, I had so many good choices here that I was spoilt for choice.

At one point in the deck’s development I had Dance of the Dead alongside Animate Dead and Necromancy, with Worldgorger Dragon in the deck as an infinite mana generator, but I realised that I had too few ways to stop the combo going off to use the mana so took them out.

Other decent Reanimator spells I considered include Beacon of Unrest, Body Double, Chainer, Dementia Master, Geth, Lord of the Vault, Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni, Jace’s Mindseeker, Memory Plunder, and Rise of the Dark Realms.

For the longest time I had Oversold Cemetery in the deck instead of Phyrexian Reclamation, but I realised that even though it would cost me more mana and more life, the Reclamation gave me more control over when I could get those creatures back. Having said that, I think I’d still like to find a slot for the Cemetery in the deck if I can.

Ramp

The obvious missing card here is Izzet Signet. I had to cut one mana rock from the deck and due to the way that my colour distribution turned out, Izzet Signet had to take the fall.

Other mana rocks I’d have liked to include are Talisman of Dominance, Talisman of Indulgence, and any number of other 2-cost Grixis mana rocks: I’d calculated that with 14 1-/2-cost mana rocks and 38 lands then I’d have a 25% chance each game of being able to cast Bolas on turn 3 and transform him into his Planeswalker side on turn 5. That seemed a little much for a casual deck so I toned it down quite a bit.

Two other mana rocks I considered were Grim Monolith and Basalt Monolith, both of which could combo with Rings of Brighthearth to give me infinite mana for Torment of Hailfire, but I ended up cutting that from the deck to make room for other cards.

Flex

Ugh… This is the absolute hardest category for me to have to cut cards from, since they’re mostly my pet cards or cards that I just want to have in the deck for Bolas’s sake.

I really wanted to include Cyclonic Rift into the deck, as I’ve owned multiple copies of it since Return to Ravnica was released but it has just never made its way into any of my Commander decks. I just couldn’t squeeze it in.

It’s admittedly a little silly, but I really wanted to have Booster Tutor in the deck. My philosophy on Silver-Bordered cards is that I’d like to build each of my Commander decks with a single Silver-Bordered card in them and at the start of the game I’d say to the other players, “Hey, I’ve got a Silver-Bordered card in the deck. It’s ~. Will you let me play with it? If not, I’ve got a similar Black-Bordered card I can swap in instead of it.” Booster Tutor would be the card for this deck, representing the sheer power that Nicol Bolas wields, being able to pull spells from thin air that he’d never before memorised. And if my opponents said that I couldn’t use a Silver-Bordered card then I would swap it out for Demonic Tutor instead.

The deck could really do with a few more non-creature destruction spells. Obviously Grixis has difficulties with dealing with Enchantments, but there are plenty of Red Artifact-destruction spells. I did try to include Steel Hellkite and Vandalblast, but I just couldn’t find the room to squeeze any in. Ingot Chewer might also be a decent choice, considering the ETB and Reanimator shenanigans I can get up to.

Sarkhan and Tezzeret are a bit weird, in that they don’t really contribute too much to the deck’s main battle plan but I really want to include one of each of them for flavour and theme. Previously I’d used Sarkhan the Mad as his -4 ability worked really well with the original Nicol Bolas and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas as I had a lot more Artifacts in the deck, though neither of those will likely work too well in the current deck list. Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker and Tezzeret the Schemer might be better choices overall, but I’ll have to playtest and see how the ones I’m currently using work out.

Another card that I would love to include is In Bolas's Clutches. It's perfectly on theme, being Bolas stealing another player's permanent, and isn't terribly underpowered compared to other Mind Control effects (especially as it affects ANY permanent). Again, I just couldn't find a slot for it in the deck.

There are three splashy Bolas-related spells in Core Set Magic 2019 that I’ve considered for this deck: Apex of Power, Fraying Omnipotence, and Patient Rebuilding. I don’t think that I want to try using Apex of Power – it’s quite expensive and I don’t think the effect is all that great overall. If I wanted that kind of effect, I’d probably want Enter the Infinite alongside the already-included Omniscience. Fraying Omnipotence could work very well in the deck as a mass discard spell (as well as trimming down board states and life totals), but I’m finding it hard to justify over something like Arterial Flow (as I expect that by the time I hit 5 mana that my opponents won’t have more than 4 cards in hand each). I’m of two minds whether to try Patient Rebuilding: on the one hand, it has absolutely nothing to do with discard, but on the other hand it does give me Reanimator targets, and the cards that aren’t Reanimator targets will usually give me card draws. I was lucky enough to get one as one of my Pre-release promos during the M19 Pre-release event, so if I do decide to use it then I’ve got a copy to put into the deck.

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 Post subject: Re: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Jul-11 6:37 am 
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Changelog

11/07/18: Posted “At a Glance” section, “Deck Background” section, “Deck list and Individual Card Description” section, “Deck Combos and Value Engines” section, and “Alternative Card Choices and Possible Future Additions” section.

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 Post subject: Re: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Jul-14 3:20 am 
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This is a pretty cool deck, and I've been hoping somebody here would put up a Nicol Bolas deck with the new guy. I think you've done a good job. If I got the chance I'd want to see it played. In any case, I keep trying to think of if there's anything I'd change but at the moment I like it. I've been wondering if people would accept a deck based around a discard strategy. Flickering some of your creatures seems solid. Another way could be to bounce your own creatures, with something like Blood Clock, but I feel like it probably fails for being generally too mana-intensive.

Thanks for sharing!

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 Post subject: Re: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Jul-14 11:51 am 
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A discard deck that doesn't feature Geth's Grimoire or Words of Waste? What treachery is this?

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 Post subject: Re: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Jul-17 7:41 am 
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Segrus wrote:
This is a pretty cool deck, and I've been hoping somebody here would put up a Nicol Bolas deck with the new guy. I think you've done a good job. If I got the chance I'd want to see it played. In any case, I keep trying to think of if there's anything I'd change but at the moment I like it. I've been wondering if people would accept a deck based around a discard strategy. Flickering some of your creatures seems solid. Another way could be to bounce your own creatures, with something like Blood Clock, but I feel like it probably fails for being generally too mana-intensive.

Thanks for sharing!


Thanks, Segrus. As a huge fan of Nicol Bolas, how could I not build a new deck around the new Bolas card?

I'm scraping the cards together, so hopefully I can play some actual games with it soon. Once I've done so I'll certainly report back here with how well it's done.

I hadn't considered card that straight returned my creatures to hand as, like you said, it seems a little mana-intensive. Having said that, Blood Clock seems like a really interesting punisher card - I get use out of it by returning my ETB creatures to hand to cast again (as most of them are fairly cheap) and I punish my opponents by either bouncing cards to their hand (where they can be discarded) or forcing them to pay life. I might have to consider finding room for it in the deck as it works so well in the deck in multiple ways.


Sid the Chicken wrote:
A discard deck that doesn't feature Geth's Grimoire or Words of Waste? What treachery is this?


I know, I know. But when I was trying to force myself to make cuts, something had to give. And whilst I do own a copy of Geth's Grimoire. I don't currently own a copy of Words of Waste, so it seemed like an easy cut.

The more I think about it, however, the more I think that I was wrong. Whilst individually each card is actually pretty decent in this deck, together they're a powerhouse. So much so that I think I've changed my mind and now need to find room to put them into the deck.


So, thanks to discussions here and on Reddit, I've decided that I'd like to maybe put the following cards into the deck:

  • Quest for the Nihil Stone (a great punisher that isn't very difficult to turn on)
  • Fraying Omnipotence (a mass discard spell that also trims down life totals and creatures on the board, giving me more fodder for the Reanimator package)
  • Patient Rebuilding (card draw in a permanent, that also fuels my Reanimator package)
  • Blood Clock (doubles as both punishing discard as well as letting me reuse my ETB creatures' abilities)
  • Words of Waste (as above - is great in this deck as I can always just turn my Draw Step card draw into "each opponent discards a card" for 1 mana of any colour)
  • Geth's Grimoire (as above, just helps to fuel my hand and combos well with Words of Waste).

Now I just need to find room in the deck for them.

Quest for the Nihil Stone was another card that I missed out on in my initial drafts of the deck as I don't own one, but having been shown it I'm certain that I want it in the deck. It's closest in effect to Shrieking Affliction, so I'm giving serious thought to just swapping the two cards one-for-one.

Fraying Omnipotence is a Bolas-theme card. Whilst it's only more effective, in terms of discard, than something like Arterial Flow if each opponent has 5 or more cards in hand, I feel that the rest of the spell makes up for that. It can act as a pseudo-board wipe and halve everyone's life total in case any life gain players are starting to run away with their life gain, not to mention help close out the game. I'm not sure what I can cut for it, though Nexus of Fate seems like the card that I can most afford to lose in the Flex slots.

Patient Rebuilding mills an opponent each turn. Whilst this doesn't combo with discard, it does combo with the Reanimator package I'm running. It's also a permanent-based way to draw cards each turn, which I feel is quite nice. I pulled a promo version of this during my M19 prerelease so I can put it straight into the deck if I choose to. Like Unravelling Omnipotence I'm not sure what I can cut to make room for it. Theoretically, I could afford to lose Archaomancer or Mnemonic Wall, but that makes the Flicker strategies in the deck a bit less reliable.

Blood Clock will let me reuse my ETB creatures' abilities, as well as punish my opponents for having permanents on the board (or drain their life totals, so it's a win-win for me). I think the easiest swap for this would be Essence Flux, as they're both "Flicker" cards and Essence Flux, whilst cheap, is also the least-impactful of all the cards in that category.

Words of Waste is a decent card, as Sid pointed out. I'm at a loss at what to swap out for it, though. I think the "Non-ETB Discard" card I can afford to lose the easiest is Pain Magnification: even though it does allow my opponents to incidentally force each other to discard, and also lets my bigger creatures (including Bolas) become Specters, it does absolutely nothing on its own and only acts to enhance other cards.

Geth's Grimoire lets me turn my discard spells into card draw. Considering that almost all of my discard is "each player" or "each opponent" then Geth's Grimoire turns those spells into "also, draw 3" in a four-payer game. In terms of swapping out a "Punishing Discard" card, the closest choice would be Waste Not, but that's such an awesome card that I don't want to lose it. Asylum Visitor also gives me card draws, so could be an easy swap, though it also has Madness allowing me to cast it if I discard it myself.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what I could possibly swap out instead for those six cards that I want to include?

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 Post subject: Re: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Jul-21 9:53 am 
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I haven't gotten much time to give your deck a proper second look, and I'm still not convinced I'll give you good advice. What I do want to say is be careful with Blood Clock. It has a good effect, but come up against anybody with a lot of ETB effects and it'll kill you. So if you think that'll be a problem then don't run it.

I do wonder about Angrath, the Flame-Chained and Dark Withering. For Angrath, I suppose I don't have a copy so don't know how good it is, but I feel like it's a 5-mana everybody discards one since it'd get attacked pretty quickly. Maybe it stays out a little longer than that. I say this by comparing it to Words of Waste, which by the time it costs five mana will have forced discards three times and requires somebody to waste good enchantment removal (rather than just dealing 5 damage total).

Dark Withering is definitely on-theme, but...every time I look at it, I can't help but think there's something better to do with that mana. It'll never be cast for 6 mana, but I feel like I'd still rather play an exile effect or something which can hit planeswalkers for a couple more mana (couple more than {B}) instead. Quest for the Nihil Stone might be more impactful in this case. That being said, maybe you really need that spot to be removal.

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 Post subject: Re: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Jul-22 10:37 am 
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Segrus wrote:
I haven't gotten much time to give your deck a proper second look, and I'm still not convinced I'll give you good advice.


That's fair. I've still yet to pool the cards together to build the deck, but I have been goldfishing it an awful lot and have come to a few conclusions. Of course, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, and goldfishing can only take you so far, but it has given me some useful insights into the deck.

For example, I've discovered that I almost always want to start with a Red mana source in my opening hand, because I have too few Red sources to be able to be confident that I'll draw one by turn 4 to cast Bolas on curve (some playtests have taken as long as turn 14 for a Red mana source to show up). It doesn't happen too often, but I sometimes have to mulligan aggressively to find a Red source, which can take my opening hand size down quite low. I've also found that I definitely want at least three mana sources in the opening hand of seven, or two and one or two cheap (1-3 CMC) castable spells so that I won't be discarding cards to hand size.


Segrus wrote:
What I do want to say is be careful with Blood Clock. It has a good effect, but come up against anybody with a lot of ETB effects and it'll kill you. So if you think that'll be a problem then don't run it.


Blood Clock is certainly a unique card. I hadn't considered it but you are correct that it could be used against me. However, I can ultimately just bounce the Blood Clock back to my own hand, using its own ability, if it turns out that my opponents are making better use of it than I am.


Segrus wrote:
I do wonder about Angrath, the Flame-Chained and Dark Withering. For Angrath, I suppose I don't have a copy so don't know how good it is, but I feel like it's a 5-mana everybody discards one since it'd get attacked pretty quickly. Maybe it stays out a little longer than that. I say this by comparing it to Words of Waste, which by the time it costs five mana will have forced discards three times and requires somebody to waste good enchantment removal (rather than just dealing 5 damage total).


Angrath is like a one-sided Liliana of the Veil, that combines with a repeatable Act of Treason (that removes the creature if it's cheap) and ultimately punishes my opponents for all the discarding I've been making them do. Importantly, it's a Red card, which I have precious few of in the deck so is worth keeping to justify my land colour ratios. You're not wrong that it could simply be a five-cost "my opponents discard 1, lose two life, and I gain 5 life" spell, but I'll only really be casting it in circumstances where I reckon can defend him (or I need to distract my opponents from killing me).


Segrus wrote:
Dark Withering is definitely on-theme, but...every time I look at it, I can't help but think there's something better to do with that mana. It'll never be cast for 6 mana, but I feel like I'd still rather play an exile effect or something which can hit planeswalkers for a couple more mana (couple more than {B}) instead. Quest for the Nihil Stone might be more impactful in this case. That being said, maybe you really need that spot to be removal.


You're not wrong that Dark Withering is a bad card, ignoring the Madness. I'm never casting it for 6 mana, ever, unless I'm in an absolutely terrible position. The thing is, though, that it occupies a slot in the deck that is reserved for "punishing discard", albeit in the case of making symmetrical discard effects (like Liliana) less painful for me: thus, even though it's also a removal spell, if I take it out then I can't really replace it with something like Hero's Downfall or Dreadbore (both of which were staple removal cards in my previous Bolas deck).

I am considering swapping it out for Big Game Hunter, Nightshade Assassin, Welcome to the Fold, or Avacyn's Judgment, as all of those fulfil similar functions (acting as removal when discarded) though are arguably better spells: the only downside for all of them is that their Madness costs are more expensive than Dark Withering's Madness cost, and during my goldfishing I had sometimes made use of that cheap Madness cost (e.g. playing Miasmic Mummy on turn 3, with 2 Swamps and an Island available, and imagined that I was discarding Dark Withering and casting it for B). I could also just swap it out for a different type of "punish discard" spell (bringing back either Shrieking Affliction (from the first draft of the deck) or Painful Quandary (from my previous Bolas deck) could well work out well), though I would be removing a removal spell from my deck in doing so.


At this point in time, I've made the five swaps I suggested above (Quest for the Nihil Stone, Fraying Omnipotence, Patient Rebuilding, Blood Clock, and Words of Waste in, with Shrieking Affliction, Nexus of Fate, Mnemonic Wall, Essence Flux, and Pain Magnification coming out to make room). I'm also considering the following cards, though I honestly have no clue what I'd take out for them:

Useful ETB Creatures that can be Flickered

Meteor Golem - generally Enchantment removal, but can be used on any non-land problems

Ingot Chewer - artifact removal

Disciple of Bolas - lifegain and card draw, particularly off of the Hour of Devastation Gods (who come back to my hand) or creatures I've stolen with Angrath

Shriekmaw - removal

Snapcaster Mage - reuse my Instant/Sorcery cards


Superfriends Cards (since I've noticed that I've got a rather large amount of Planeswalkers in the deck)

Deepglow Skate - another ETB creature but one that lets me double all of my Planeswalkers' Loyalty counters when it does so

The Chain Veil - always useful with lots of Planeswalkers.

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 Post subject: Re: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-12 2:38 am 
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Honestly I'd cut all the non-bolas walkers, as none are particularly on-theme or useful. I agree with Segrus that Dark Withering is pretty bad. Asylum Visitor feels really weak to me as well - it's the kind of creature that will die incidentally to a boardwipe or some random "deal 1 damage" effect long before it's generated much value, and there is a slight (OK very slight, but still) chance it could actually kill you if it sticks around, since the trigger isn't a "may". I'm also honestly not a fan of Sadistic Hypnotist here - you have rather limited token generation, and not that many creatures in general, so getting good value out of him is going to come down to a few fairly specific setups. Also you mentioned him as a sac outlet and I feel compelled to remind you it's not an instant speed sac outlet, so it's the kind of sac outlet that offers zero protection from shenannigans during your opponents' turns, which in my experience is the most likely time to need a sac outlet... "Insurrection? Hold on, I have responses..."

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 Post subject: Re: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-25 6:41 am 
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Sid the Chicken wrote:
Honestly I'd cut all the non-bolas walkers, as none are particularly on-theme or useful.


Really? All of them seem either on-theme or useful to me, but then again I did build the deck so probably am looking at it through rose-tinted Glasses of Urza.

Tezzeret and Sarkhan have been Bolas's minions for years, so fit perfectly into the deck from a Vorthos point of view. Now, these particular versions of those two might not fit perfectly, and I would be more than willing to swap them out for other versions of themselves (that fit into Bolas's colour identity, at least), but I disagree that they don't fit the theme.

In the story, as of the end of the Dominaria story Liliana has fallen under Bolas's control, so she feels very on-theme from a Vorthos point of view, and this particular Liliana's abilities are all useful for me: the plus gives me repeatable discard that hits all of my opponents at once, a destruction effect that gets around Hexproof and Shroud, and an ultimate that I'll likely never get to use, but if I do then it'll likely cripple one of my opponents.

Each of Angrath's abilities feel like they are worth using in the deck. Like Liliana, his first ability gives me a reusable discard effect that affects each of my opponents, though unlike Liliana his ability doesn't affect me, and also deals a small amount of damage. His minus ability lets me remove cheaper creatures from the game as well as temporarily steal and use more expensive ones. And his ultimate gives me a way to make use of all the cards I've hopefully forced my opponents to discard.


Sid the Chicken wrote:
I agree with Segrus that Dark Withering is pretty bad.


I somewhat agree. I just like it because its Madness cost is so cheap, meaning that I can use it earlier in the game alongside one of my symmetrical discard effects and get use out of it (E.g. on turn four I cast Liliana of the Veil and use her +1 ability, discarding Dark Withering and casting it). As a result, I have been giving some serious thought to swapping it out for Welcome to the Fold, which covers the same areas that Dark Withering does and is more powerful but is more expensive to use.


Sid the Chicken wrote:
Asylum Visitor feels really weak to me as well - it's the kind of creature that will die incidentally to a boardwipe or some random "deal 1 damage" effect long before it's generated much value, and there is a slight (OK very slight, but still) chance it could actually kill you if it sticks around, since the trigger isn't a "may".


I came to the same conclusions that you did and I've already cut it to make room for other cards, so you don't need to worry about that.


Sid the Chicken wrote:
I'm also honestly not a fan of Sadistic Hypnotist here - you have rather limited token generation, and not that many creatures in general, so getting good value out of him is going to come down to a few fairly specific setups. Also you mentioned him as a sac outlet and I feel compelled to remind you it's not an instant speed sac outlet, so it's the kind of sac outlet that offers zero protection from shenannigans during your opponents' turns, which in my experience is the most likely time to need a sac outlet... "Insurrection? Hold on, I have responses..."


Your points of Sadistic Hypnotist as a sac outlet are quite valid. As it's not at instant-speed, it's of no use to gain value from when my creatures are targeted by removal spells.

However, I like it as it allows me to have a combo-esque side to the deck, such as if I have The Locust God and Geth's Grimoire on the table at once, as those three cards will let me wipe out my opponents' entire hands.

You're probably right that I ought to take him out, though, as having a cute combo that doesn't actually kill my opponents off is probably not worth running.

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 Post subject: Re: His Return Came Quickly And You Were Found Unworthy
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-25 11:55 am 
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Masked Thespian wrote:
Tezzeret and Sarkhan have been Bolas's minions for years, so fit perfectly into the deck from a Vorthos point of view. Now, these particular versions of those two might not fit perfectly, and I would be more than willing to swap them out for other versions of themselves (that fit into Bolas's colour identity, at least), but I disagree that they don't fit the theme.

If I recall correctly, the only version of Sarkhan that would be under Bolas's influence would be Sarkhan the Mad, as the original Sarkhan hadn't yet met Bolas, and the next time we saw him was the Khans block story arc, in which he undoes things that Bolas had done. And frankly I don't think this deck wants Sarkhan the Mad.

Tezz... sure, he's a Bolas slave. But he's not supporting the discard strategy. I'll buy his flavor fit, but I don't think the deck would miss him much if you cut him.

Masked Thespian wrote:
In the story, as of the end of the Dominaria story Liliana has fallen under Bolas's control, so she feels very on-theme from a Vorthos point of view, and this particular Liliana's abilities are all useful for me: the plus gives me repeatable discard that hits all of my opponents at once, a destruction effect that gets around Hexproof and Shroud, and an ultimate that I'll likely never get to use, but if I do then it'll likely cripple one of my opponents.


Again, that Lilly is an earlier time period. Making everyone discard is on-theme, but it hits you too, which is less ideal. The sac effect is nice if your opponent has one fat thing you can't kill, but underwhelming otherwise. Again, I get it, but doesn't feel integral to the deck.

Masked Thespian wrote:
Each of Angrath's abilities feel like they are worth using in the deck.

Of the walkers you've included, he seems like the best set of abilities for the deck. And AFAIK also has nothing to do with Nicol Bolas. Just sayin'.

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