Lately there’s been some 5c Niv Mizzet decks showing up, and I jumped on the bandwagon as quickly as I could. Some lists were extremely expensive, but I knew I could get it into the $100 range for MTGO! The deck is super sweet, and plays a different kind of magic. It’s like a control deck with a small toolbox and a mega finisher! What’s not to like 🙂
Check out the video below
How I designed the deck
So when I recorded this video, the Niv Mizzet deck was still pretty young. However, people had started to include cards like Wrenn & Six and Teferi, Time Ravaler. As a result, the deck sky-rockets into one of the most expensive decks you can buy.
But!… I played early interations without those cards, and had decent results (shoutout for Cavedan that 5-0d without them). I had also registered it for the Modern Streamers League, so had lots of experience to lean on and tested plenty of cards. A deck like this has a tonne of options in the build phase, and it’s easy to pick a card, think it’s good for 5 matches then realise it’s not 5 matches later. Bring to Light really rewards/punishes you for each individual card you include in your 75.
In this particular list, I simply had to cut the expensive planeswalkers and sideboard Leyline of the Void (we were in a Hogaak world), and try something else. My experience from other iteractions told me that Rest in Peace wasn’t good enough vs Hogaak, and that the match-up was probably unwinnable without leyline of the void, so I tried not to worry about that too much. The MD walkers changed around a bit, safewright quest came in as a land-drop that you can find off Niv (replacing W6 in a way), and off we went!
Warning – this section contains info on the matches. If you don’t want to know the results, don’t read on!
Match 1 vs Jund – ask any Niv Mizzet player what their favourite match-up is, and the answer will always be Jund. The decks have so many similarities (bolt vs helix, k-commands, pulse, trophy, planeswalkers) but Niv is like Goyf, Tracker and Bob rolled into 1 amazing card. Game 1 there’s a load of faffing around with discard, walkers and a bird of paradise, and then a turn 5 Niv Mizzet that closes the door by Turn 7. Game 2 we mull to 5, lose our BOP to inquisition and get beat up by double goyf in no time at all. Game 3 there’s a little bit of back n forth whilst I make my land drops. We get to 5 mana but are hellbent and the board is empty on both sides (they have cards in hand). We draw poorly for a few turns, but eventually draw Bring to Light and find Niv Mizzet, draw 5 cards. The first Niv dies so we pick it up with K-command and draw 5 more. The opp scoops!
Match 2 vs G-tron – we lose the die roll but manage to go T2 G-wish into T3 Unmoored Ego for the tron land (luckily they had to take a turn off to cast sylvan scrying off forest). That gives us a chance. There’s some more back n forth, with Wurmcoil and Karn coming down, facing our Niv and random 3/3 beast token! There’s a few questionable lines from myself, but 2 Nivs draw a tonne of cards, but the opp draw well and we couldn’t beat double Ulamog (as well as Ugin, Wurmcoil, Karn). They did all that without tron!
Game 2 we go T1 Bop, T2 Ashiok, T3 Damping Sphere, then turn 6-ish is a Niv Mizzet Scoop. Game 3 they have a really good hand, and have Wurmcoil, Thragtusk and O-stone in play. We use the stack to get rid of thragtusk with helix, and before the beast joins, use kaya’s guile to make them sac wurmcoil. Opp has something like 10 mana at this point, 9 power and we’re at 11! We untap and play Niv. There’s a bit more flirting with death (down 2 to life) but crumble deals with tron lands. They use stirrings to rip walking ballista with us very close to stabilising, but unfortunately lose 1-2.
Match 3 vs Hogaak – G1 we have T2 Kaya on the draw, but it’s not enough to stop a ridiculous amount of power coming to the board, we die pretty quick! I already know our sideboard isn’t great vs them and start to panic! Game 2 we play an ashiok on T3 which is too slow, then verdict on T4 (ashiok is dead). Opp just gets a bloodghast and puts us to 6. T5 we play Tolsimir and kill the bloodghast, but the opponents GY is stacked! They reanimate everything and we die 😦
Match 4 vs Neoform – T1 on the play the opp goes for it (so we’ve played nothing). They get there! G2 we hold up assassins trophy T2 but opp doesnt do anything, so we land an Ashiok T3 which turns off their tutors. They make a rider to start attacking and we helix it and opp scoops. G3 we keep a Turn 2 Lavinia hand, and luckily we get a turn 2. After a few turns, the opp gives up!
Match 5 vs Whirza / Thopter – Game 1 there’s a bit of fighting over goblin engineer(s) and thopter foundry, whilst making land drops. We use Thought Erasure just for the scry, and find a glittering wish, which will get us Fracturing Gust. At that point, opp rips Urza, and gets to draw a couple of extra cards (well, cast for free). Gust cleans up though, and nothing happens for a couple more turns. We then draw our Bring to Light, draw a bunch off Niv and kill a 3rd Goblin Engineer. The extra cards we’ve drawn let us clear the board entirely and beat them up with a 6/6 and a Knight of Autumn. Game 2 we kill an early Urza then turn 5 BTL for Fracturing Gust. Turn 6 we make Domri plus Izzet Staticaster to clean up some Sai tokens. Niv on 7 draws us 5 cards again, then fights with Sai. There’s a thopter foundry that we care about that we can’t deal with, but they need exactly sword + urza as their last 2 cards for us to lose. They don’t have it and scoop.
Overall, 3-2 is a decent showing for the budget version. Tron could have gone another way, and Hogaak we chose not to try and beat – and has since been banned. These 5 matches could easily have finished 5-0 had we focused our SB on Hogaak and got a little more lucky vs tron (or less unlucky)!! Unfortunately, it’s much more expensive in paper. The good news is that a lot of the expensive cards (mostly the manabase) are playable in other decks, so it’s a good investment. Hope you enjoyed 1 of my favourite decks! See you soon 🙂