Friday, October 22, 2010

Still Working on Niv-Mizzet

It is with great sadness that I report my Niv-Mizzet deck is still unfinished.

I took the deck apart.

I made little piles everywhere.

Profit? Not yet.

Now I'm going to be out of town for the weekend and the deck is STILL NOT DONE.

Out of the 99 cards in my now-theoretical Niv-Mizzet deck, there is one card I am fairly confident is making it in. So I'll talk about it.

The card: Magus of the Unseen. Probably likes to hang out at the School of the Unseen.

When this card first debuted I don't think people carried a very high opinion of it. I certainly never played with one, even though I imagine it would have been a good tool considering all the Wands of Ith and Disrupting Scepters floating around.

I'm pretty sure the big problem the "dies to removal" argument. Perhaps even more prevalent than it is now, people tended to shun anything with the "creature" supertype because of its fragility against stuff like Swords to Plowshares.

And make no mistake…Magus of the Unseen is definitely a lightning rod for such spells, provided your opponent has a big artifact he intends to use.

I'm hoping in the world of EDH the Magus might be either a less-conspicuous target or a good decoy to sop up removal before Niv-Mizzet eventually comes down.

If the card manages to stay on the board for a time, it's hard to imagine not getting your mana's investment out of it.

The Magus steals any artifact, and also untaps it. You can use it during an opponent's turn to steal it from them, use it, then give it back to them TAPPED.  There are a world of artifacts in EDH…any of which would give you a big windfall.

1. Steal a Crucible of Worlds. Steal it at the beginning of their turn, so they can't play the fetchland in their graveyard. Play a land out of your graveyard. Give the Crucible back at the end of your turn.

2. Steal a Mana Vault. You get a net profit of 1 colorless mana, they get back a tapped Mana Vault.

3. "Pull off" equipment like Lightning Greaves, Sword of Light and Shadow, Sword of Fire and Ice, and other troublesome wargear. Leaving a soft target for my red-based removal. Preferably also getting an attack in with a Sword!

4. Denying the use of Extraplanar Lens, Gauntlet of Power and other big-mana enablers.

Just about any artifact, unless it's a one-use sacrifice ability, will have synergy.

The elephant in the room: Magus still dies to removal. And it's only got the 1 toughness. I know from playing Niv-Mizzet that 1 toughness creatures can break your heart. Because I blow them up all the time!

So we shall see.

While rooting through my collection, I came across a pristine 5th edition copy. Bright blues and very clear text. I think 5th edition was when Wizards finally got the printing process down. Before that, plenty of cards came hot off the presses with washed colors, blurred text or un-centered borders. I have many cards from Revised and Chronicles that look like they were printed in someone's basement.

So, long story short. Magus of the Unseen. Hidden Gem? Dies to Removal. Barfs on other people's artifacts. The End.

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