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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Dec 13 2013 12:51pm
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Here is the story of my Nin, the Pain Artist deck.


So sometimes there's a card out there that you never really had a chance to play, but you're interested in playing with it.  Just because it seems goofy, or cool, or it's just the kind of card you don't play.  Maybe even though you play a ton of Commander you've never actually seen anyone play with it.  And you just keep thinking to yourself, "Self, you really need to play with this card!"  That card was Ral Zarek for me.

ral zarek

Ral is decent, but no one would really say that he is a powerhouse Commander card.  He doesn't spit out tokens or generate huge amounts of card advantage.  It's possible that his ultimate could even give you a big fat load of nothing if you pull it off.  Even though he taps down stuff, that stuff doesn't stay tapped down like if you used Tamiyo.  Still, he seems super sure of himself in his picture and I knew that I wanted to play with him.  The main problem is that I don't usually play with Red and Blue together in the same deck.  However, I recently saw someone play with another card that really got this deck into motion:

mercurial chemister

The Chemister isn't a bad guy at all and definitely sparked my interest.  Repeatable card draw, and can sometimes blow up a creature.  Ral can help out by untapping the Chemister.  He even shared the same colors as Ral!  And you know what else seemed goofy but I hadn't ever seen played?  Mizzium Transreliquat!! That's when I knew that I had to make an Izzet deck.  Nin seemed like she would be a good home for misfit toys and here we are.  The deck for your viewing pleasure:

Nin, the Pain Artist
A Commander Deck
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Dragonmaster Outcast
1 Gilded Drake
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Goblin Welder
1 Inferno Titan
1 Lighthouse Chronologist
1 Mercurial Chemister
1 Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Psychosis Crawler
1 Rootwater Thief
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Stuffy Doll
1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor
1 Trinket Mage
1 Urabrask the Hidden
1 Viashino Heretic
1 Void Stalker
1 Wurmcoil Engine
21 cards

Other Spells
1 Darksteel ingot
1 Expedition Map
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Grim Monolith
1 Izzet Signet
1 Journeyer's Kite
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Mimic Vat
1 Mizzium Transreliquat
1 Sol Ring
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Illusionist's Bracers
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Magebane Armor
1 Charisma
1 Mind Unbound
1 Rhystic Study
1 Thassa, God of the Sea
1 Vicious Shadows
1 Chaos Warp
1 Counterspell
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Mana Drain
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Steam Augury
1 Jace Beleren
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Karn Liberated
1 Ral Zarek
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Chain Reaction
1 Fabricate
1 Gamble
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Vandalblast
37 cards
1 Academy Ruins
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Buried Ruin
1 Cascade Bluffs
1 Command Tower
1 Deserted Temple
1 Great Furnace
8 Island
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Kher Keep
1 Maze of Ith
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
1 Mishra's Workshop
6 Mountain
1 Mystifying Maze
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Shivan Reef
1 Spinerock Knoll
1 Steam Vents
1 Strip Mine
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Thawing Glaciers
1 Tolaria West
1 Vesuva
1 Volcanic Island
39 cards

1 Nin, the Pain Artist
1 cards
nin, the pain artist


Not gonna lie here, this deck doesn't really have much of a "theme" or a "plan" or any of those other words that are associated with Magic decks.  But I had fun with it!

Deck Tech

With Nin, you can use her ability on your own creatures, or use them on your opponents.  While it's nice to make tokens with Kher Keep and Dragonmaster Outcast and blow them up, sometimes you don't have token makers.  That's when stuff like Magebane Armor and Darksteel Plate comes in handy.

magebane Armor
Never thought I would use this card.

Still there are a decent number of guys that are big enough to get hit with Nin and live.  The real trick is figuring out how to effectively use Nin's ability on opponents.  If you don't want to give them that many cards, just put Basilisk Collar on her.  If you want to steal the dude, use Charisma.  If you want to straight up kill the people, Vicious Shadows does a decent job.

There aren't a ton of ways to really abuse Nin's ability.  Even still, when you're dinging your own dudes, you'll find that Nin eats up a metric ton of mana.  Really, her ability is the equivalent of casting a Mind Spring every turn, and that's not necessarily known as a low mana card.  So you have to find lots of ways to make (artifact) mana, and keep the costs in the remainder of your deck down.  That's why I quickly abandoned and initial deck list that had stuff like Spikeshot Elder and Kumano, Master Yamabushi.  I just didn't want to be spending mana on that stuff.

The remainder of the deck is made up of stuff that I hadn't had a chance to play with but seemed like it would be fun.

 mind unbound rootwater thief void stalker

Of course, it's nice to win, and in order to do that you need to survive.  Blasphemous Act and Chain Reaction are good at clearing the board, plus they work well with Stuffy Doll.  There are also tutors to find various answers.  Keep in mind, though, that the deck doesn't have an overall board wipe.  The version you see above doesn't contain Oblivion Stone but I think it should really be added.  I leave it up to you guys to figure out what to remove for it (Thassa, maybe?).

The other issue is that the deck doesn't really have any huge, game ending plays.  It creates value and draws cards, but it can't just end the game out of nowhere.  Rite of Replication is usually an easy answer to this problem, but I'm guessing you guys can think of other stuff that would be better.  Sound off in the comments!

Really, the deck is made to be fun and use different cards.  I do have a bunch of my "go to" cards in here (Mana Drain, Sol Ring, etc.) but I do like that it felt different from how my decks usually play.  Let's see how it did!

Game 1

So I thought I had time for a quick game and made this vid.  Angus MacKenzie gets out an early Luminarch Ascension which is problematic while I hit all my land drops.  Sheoldred spends the early game tutoring for Coffers, while I manage to get out Psychosis Crawler and use Mizzium Transreliquat to copy it.  Things are going to get nutty when I cast Consecrated Sphinx, but that only lasts a short while as my opponents deal with each of my pieces through Decree of Pain.  At that point all my opponents were below 25 life.

I manage to get out Tezzeret, Inferno Titan and Glen Elendra Archmage.  Angus' Ascension is still out and active which continues to cause problems.  I decide to get Nin out there to help me draw some cards as Angus creates a large angel army, along with Sun Titan and a copy of Sheoldred's Butcher of Malakir.  Riku uses Diluvian Primordial to cast Sheoldred's Decree again and we start over.  Unfortunately I'm out of time then, and have to concede with Jace, the Mind Sculptor in my hand.

Game 2

In this game I was able to use Charisma on Nin to steal Jenara's Prophet of Kruphix, but that didn't last long as Nin was easily dealt with.  I then tried to steal the Prophet with Gilded Drake, but Jenara immediately conceded.  Merieke's entire mana base was based on artifacts, and when I cast a Vandalblast with overload it completely wiped him out.  When I got Psychosis Crawler out, Merieke killed himself by using Jace's Archivist.

It was just me and Zedruu left, who was entirely based around enchantments such as Citadel of Pain and Price of Glory.  Even though he got out Ghostly Prison and Frozen Aether, which shut down my Mimic Vat, I was able to use the Crawler and Wurmcoil Engine to beat down for the win.

Game 3

Here I'm playing a 2 Headed Giant game, teaming up with a snake tribal deck using Prime Speaker Zegana.  Going up against Sigarda is probelmatic, but I manage through wit and wiles to hold her off.  Unfortunately The Mimeoplasm player has an Oblivion Stone hanging around and it takes forever for us to get him to pop it.  Finally after my partner gets a decent snake army he does.

I have a Phyrexian Metamorph in my graveyard now, and play Goblin Welder.  When The Mimeoplasm tries to Damnation, my partner brings out Mystic Snake.  This makes it so that I can use Welder to bring back Metamorph and copy Mystic, countering something each turn, as I can also kill  it with Nin.  I also manage to fully level a Lighthouse Chronologist.  Meanwhile my partner is drawing a huge amount of cards.  Even though we are at the same amount of life, the other team concedes when the snake army gets huge.

Game 4

Another live game, unfortunately Olivia Voldaren is mana screwed the whole game and not much of a factor.  This game it becomes apparent that having an Oblivion Stone would be very helpful.  Teneb ramps up into a Rune-Scarred Demon, which Talrand copies twice with Stolen Identity.  I wipe the board with Chain Reaction, but Teneb quickly bounces back, getting his Demon back with his Commander, as well as Butcher of Malakir from Olivia, while also have Asceticism.  Things get even worse when I Chaos Warp his Behemoth Sledge and he gets Sheoldred.

I can't really do anything, so Talrand takes the laboring oar, doing 40 points of damage to Teneb with Sphinx-Bone Wand.  I pitch in as well with some pinging for Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, and we manage to take out Teneb.  Unfortunately while I'm at 15, Talrand is at 7, and a Vicious Shadows is able to make short work of him.  Then it's just a matter of taking out Olivia, who hadn't drawn much of anything the whole game.

So there we go.  The deck isn't perfect, but if you like a slightly controlling deck that has some fun cards, you should check it out!  Hope you enjoyed the games.  Until next time!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com




Just in case you guys are by Leviathan at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:55
Leviathan's picture

Just in case you guys are interested, I've been using the (much reviled) Google+

It's a great list to read. by 3drinks at Fri, 12/13/2013 - 14:44
3drinks's picture

It's a great list to read. I've actually been meaning to get a copy of Nin for my account. This gives me a bit more food for thought. I love the tech with Magebane Armour!

Have you considered Manor Gargoyle? Protects your Planeswalkers while providing a sizable body to shoot with Nin.

If you want a win-con, Darksteel Colossus seems plausible. Pretty hard to deal with for a number of decks, though I guess I could say the same thing about Ulamog or Kozilek here as well. Just food for thought then, I guess.

Hmmm, hadn't thought of the by Leviathan at Mon, 12/16/2013 - 18:56
Leviathan's picture

Hmmm, hadn't thought of the Gargoyle. It's a possibility, but I really don't like having to put mana into him to attack, when I could use that mana to draw cards. Ulamog and Kozilek are both possible game enders for the deck. Out of those 2 I would probably go with Ulamog just to have another way to kill stuff. But is Ulamog better than Rite of Replication? I really don't know.