Magic: the Gathering

Deck Guide

Commander Deck Tech - Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact

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In today's deck tech, we'll welcome, straight from Ravnica, Niv-Mizzet, the beloved dragon, in a deck full of permanents with exactly two colors!

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Introduction

We got many new commanders in Murders at Karlov Manorlink outside website. Many of them were well-accepted by the community, while others were mainly considered not that great, and even took a bit longer to work.

One of these commanders who seemed weird and definitely was quite intriguing to me was Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact. Compared to his previous versions, this one doesn't seem that great, but it's precisely because of that, that I decided to accept this challenge and try to build a functional deck for him.

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So, he is the main character in today's deck tech in a deck that focuses on cards with two colors!

Commander and Mechanic

Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact relies entirely on dealing combat damage to work, and also needs permanents on the board with exactly two colors if you want to get the most out of his effect.

We can build lots of strategies with him, but, for this list, I decided to add utility creatures and some useful enchantments to help our dear Guildpact in combat in some way.

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To make this challenge even harder, I decided to add Jegantha, the Wellspring as his companion. Why? There was no card in my first draft that prevented me from adding her, this deck has a gate sub-theme, and it's difficult to hit your curve just right to play Niv-Mizzet at the right time. So, I thought that, if I had Jegantha on the board, it would be a bit easier to cast Niv himself. With this strategy in mind, let's see how this deck plays out.

Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact List and Deck Strategy

The plan is simple: play as many cards with two colors (different pairs) on the board as you can to get the most out of Niv-Mizzet's effect.

Maze's End is one of your alternative win conditions, but it calls too much attention because it's relatively fast. This deck also leans more towards fun, considering you'll try to win through combat damage - more specifically, 21 commander damage.

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Accelerators and Ramp

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As we're using a gate mana base, I'll stress that our most important lands are Gond Gate and Baldur's Gate. Gond Gate is the one we'll need to have in play as early as possible to progress our game plan.

We also have some tutors that will get us Gond Gate, like Tolaria West, Expedition Map, Open the Gates, and Sylvan Scrying.

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We can also get it through the nonbasic land ramp we use, namely Navigation Orb, Tempt with Discovery, Circuitous Route, Explore the Underdark, and Hour of Promise. If Gond Gate is already in play, we'll just have to look for the other lands we need to fix our mana curve at the moment.

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We use only a few mana rocks: Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, and Tome of the Guildpact, which, despite slow, is a great source of card draw in longer games.

Case of the Shattered Pact is a pseudo ramp that will get us a basic land. When we solve Niv-Mizzet's case, Case of the Shattered Pact will give him Vigilance and Double Strike. This means we'll get to trigger his abilities twice, considering they trigger when he deals combat damage.

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The very few mana dorks we use are Sanctum Weaver, because of how many enchantments we have, Bloom Tender, and Faeburrow Elder, to create up to 5 mana when we have all 5 colors among our permanents.

A few of our other cards don't give us mana directly, but they help us do that indirectly, like Kiora's Follower and Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner, which untap the mana dorks above. Then we have Jegantha, the Wellspring and Baldur's Gate, which create a lot of mana on their own. I'll highlight Kiora, as she may eventually draw us cards.

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Creatures with Exactly Two Colors

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We don't really use all the color pairs available. Instead, we chose creatures with great effects that also happen to have two colors.

General Ferrous Rokiric, for instance, creates 4/4 Golem tokens, which are useful both as attackers and blockers, and triggers very often in this list.

Jenson Carthalion, Druid Exile creates Angels occasionally, but we'll get to use its Scry frequently, and it is a great mana filter. Sythis, Harvest's Hand also works well in this deck, considering 20% of it are enchantments.

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We also have Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff to create treasures, Thrasios, Triton Hero to either draw cards or ramp, and Beledros Witherbloom to untap all of our lands and create blockers at the beginning of each upkeep.

We can get a lot out of Beledros' mana with Kruphix, God of Horizons, as it will lift our hand limit. Kruphix and Thrasios are a great combination to get ahead with the mana we'll create.

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As this is, primarily, an aggressive deck, we have some creatures that give us even more aggression - Xenagos, God of Revels to double Niv-Mizzet's power, and Atarka, World Render to trigger his ability twice.

Knight of New Alara is a great buffer in this list, considering it makes our commander 11/11. With this Knight and either Xenagos or Atarka, we can deal lethal damage to an opponent thanks to our 21 commander damage.

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Atarka benefits not only Niv, but also Beledros, Dragonlord Dromoka, which guarantees us safer turns, and Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient, which we added to get lots of mana so we can cast our spells. To be even more aggressive, we added Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, which will also make us more resilient because of its lifelink.

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Finally, we added some utility creatures. Dauntless Escort protects our other creatures, Gloomshrieker gets us some lost resources, and Pippin, Guard of the Citadel gives us some protection against a specific removal or ability.

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Enchantments with Exactly Two Colors

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We decided to use enchantments with two colors because of Rhythm of the Wild - after all, if they count for our commander's ability, why not add more permanents with two colors that have some sort of effect? Cards like Fires of Yavimaya and Mirari's Wake fit this concept like a glove, both because of their effects, which are really useful in this build, and because they have exactly two colors.

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A few relatively old enchantments were also useful for this concept, so we added them to make us happy and our opponents unhappy.

Dueling Grounds holds off enemy attacks well. Powerstone Minefield really disrupts decks that focus on small creatures, both when they attack and when they block.

Vile Consumption performs really well against swarm decks, and Spatial Binding prevents our opponents from saving their permanents with cards like Teferi's Protection and Clever Concealment, which have been quite popular in Commander lately.

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Teferi's Moat might save us from a common color in our opponent's decks, if they don't have flying, and thus defend us and give us more time to react. Grim Feast will give us some sustain, particularly against sacrifice decks. Finally, another old enchantment, Righteous War, will give us evasion and protect our Niv-Mizzet just a little bit more.

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As more recent enchantments, we have, straight from Doctor Who, Regenerations Restored, and Heaven Sent. Even though we don't have any other card that interacts with time counters, Regenerations Restored is useful even just laying there. It counts as another two-color card for Niv's ability, and, when we least expect it, it might give us an extra turn. Heaven Sent will rarely kill anyone, and, while it doesn't do that, it will give us some card draw with clue tokens.

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We added Detention Sphere to remove a problematic permanent, or even several tokens at once.

Legion's Initiative buffs our creatures and also protects us against occasional global removals.

Sterling Grove protects all the enchantments above, and even gets us some of them. Finally, Pain Magnification forces our opponents to discard their cards when they take damage from Niv or his ability, if you target an opponent with it.

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Answers and Other Resources

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Starting with one of the best cards from the selection above, we have Invasion of Ravnica. Even though it is a conditional removal, our goal is to turn this battle into Guildpact Paragon, so we can almost always keep the same number of cards in hand. Usually, when we cast a card with exactly two colors, we'll possibly find another among the top 6 cards in our deck to add to our hand.

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We have very few removals: just Blasphemous Act, as our global removal, Assassin's Trophy, as our target removal, Cyclonic Rift, to remove several problems at once, and the classic "player removal" - that is, removing someone from the game.

There are many ways we can do this in this deck, and we added a few cards to help us execute these strategies. Karlach, Fury of Avernus, for instance, gives us extra combats, and we can also deal damage with Niv's ability again if we choose "Dragon" with Roaming Throne.

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As for defensive resources, we use Boros Charm and Teferi's Protection to protect our permanents. We'll get our resources from the graveyard with Reap the Past and Tamiyo, Collector of Tales, which, by the way, protects us from being forced to sacrifice or discard our cards.

Now, to get a little bit more advantage, we added Widespread Thieving, which creates a treasure any time we cast a multicolored spell, and another version of our commander: Niv-Mizzet Reborn, so we can add many cards to our hand thanks to its ETB effect.

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To finish, we added more utility cards. Spelunking's effect is similar to Gond Gate's, Lightning Greaves gives a creature haste and protects it when you need to, and Elixir of Immortality gets us a few cards from our graveyard. It also lets us use them again throughout the match.

Budget Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact List

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This is an alternative list which is quite more budget-friendly, without Jegantha as your companion. However, we didn't change much else, and kept almost the rest of the list. We just took out the most expensive cards and replaced them with others that perform their role well.

Final Words

This is a deck I am considering building for tabletop, precisely because it will be a challenge to make it work. Even though it seems a bit too conditional and complex, it apparently performs well and is quite nice once it gets going.

I built it with a lot of love, as I truly enjoy building lists with 5 colors, even more so if I get to use gates. Jegantha was also an unusual addition - once I saw I could add her, I immediately made her this deck's companion.

Did you like this list? Do you prefer other Niv-Mizzets? Would you change anything in it? Maybe a God tribal? Tell us your thoughts in our comment section below!

See you next time!