Commander Deck Tech: Nicol Bolas, Suspend Control

Magic: the Gathering

Commander

Commander Deck Tech: Nicol Bolas, Suspend Control

12/11/21 Comment regular icon1 comments

This Nicol Bolas deck is a Control list based around taking advantage of Suspend spells and abilities.

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Introduction

Nicol Bolas, the Elder Dragon and tyrant of worlds, is one of the oldest-known beings in Dominaria, much like his plans, which transcended the ages, Our deck is a control list dedicated to exploring the passage of time to perform explosive plays.

The Commander

From the beginning of

Magic: The Gathering

, the figure of Nicol Bolas is present as one of the great antagonists and in his recent history he has had an epic confrontation with the Gatewatch, a clash accompanied by many fans, which motivated the construction of a deck that recalled the golden moments of the elder dragon. We prioritize building a deck with the lowest possible cost; however, it can be customized according to the choices of each player.

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Nicol Bolas is a massive

Battlecruiser

with 7/7 power and toughness and costs 8 mana, with a devastating ability to discard all cards from the opponent whose he deals damage to.
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The Strategy

We built a list at the request of a

Vorthos

who had difficulty building a Nicol Bolas deck based on the passing of the ages. For this, we opted for mechanics that were based on turns.

Suspend

was the one that best met this need, as it had good support and huge spells. In the first few turns, speeding up the game and correcting the mana curve are priority, as well as suspending our first spells. Prismari cards - Rousing Refrain and Inspiring Refrain are great openings, as are Wheel of Fate. Necroplasm and Chronozoa are important defenses to generate time. Chronozoa is especially strong in conjunction with Elemental Rift, as the time counters multiply each time Chronozoa is copied.
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In the final turns we find our main advantage, where large creatures are our main threat along with Stolen Identity, which when creating copies triggers Warstorm Surge, reducing our opponents' life totals quickly or even controlling the game by make copies of Nicol Bolas. Other times, it's interesting to play the interaction between Grave Betrayal and Electropotence using our opponents' creatures to control the board.
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Mana Source

The use of artifacts for acceleration in this deck is an essential part, cards like Lotus Bloom, Sol Ring and the Signets give us the necessary speed on the first turns.
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Land and mana rock tutors also make up our mana base: Moonsilver Key, Armillary Sphere, and Gem of Becoming are great for color correcting between our mana sources.
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Our large mana rocks: Prismatic Geoscope, Empowered Autogenerator and Firemind Vessel generate colored mana, which is relevant given our commander's high devotion to different colors. Our only cost reducer is Thryx, the Sudden Storm, which makes our spells costing 5 or higher cost one mana less and doesn't allow them to be countered.

Card Advantage

Our card advantege is highlighted by Inspiring Refrain, which draws cards on a recurring basis. Other similar draws that depend on passing turns are Ancestral Vision and Aeon Chronicler. Dragonlord's Prerogative is a four-card draw that cannot be countered if we control a dragon.
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Some wheel effects make up our draws as well, such as Wheel of Fate which can be suspended, Dragon Mage which performs its effect whenever it deals combat damage to a player, and Midnight Clock which is a mana rock that works similar to a Timetwister in a few turns. For card selection, we have Sphinx of Uthuun and Fact or Fiction that allow you to choose between piles of cards.

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Another way to generate an advantage is by playing cards directly from our library. Galvanoth allows, at your upkeep, to look at the top card of our deck and play it if it's an instant or a sorcery. Etali, Primal Storm is even better as it casts the top card of each player's library when attacking. Aminatou's Augury allows you to exile eight cards from your library and play one of each type. Wild-Magic Sorcerer gives

cascade

to the first spell cast by us from exile each turn.
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Recovering spells is a way to generate double value, so Efreet Flamepainter allows us to cast instants and sorceries from our graveyard without paying their mana costs whenever it deals combat damage. Scholar of the Lost Trove upon entering the battlefield allows you to play an instant, sorcery, or artifact from your graveyard without paying its mana cost. Wildfire Devils casts a randomly chosen spell from our graveyard on every upkeep. Cauldron Dance is a combat trick that puts creatures from our hand and graveyard onto the battlefield.
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One more alternative is to play our opponents' spells: Perplexing Chimera is a creature that allows you to steal a spell from an opposing player. Diluvian Primordial takes a spell from each opponent's graveyard and allows us to play them without paying its cost. Grave Betrayal puts each creature we don't control that is put into a graveyard into play under our control. Inevitable Betrayal allows you to play a creature of your choice from an opponent's deck.
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Interactions

The Curse of the Cabal spell is a powerful, political tool that destroys half of a player's permanents when cast; any player during its upkeep can sacrifice a permanent to put two time counters on it. This card always generates interesting situations, after all we have several effects that speed up the removal of time counters, so the

Doomsday Clock

is always running. The other sweepers are Hex which destroys 6 creatures and Aether Gale which returns 6 permanents to their owner's hands. Tyrant of Discord causes random destruction of permanents that can be one or many. Necroplasm quickly kills a considerable number of creatures, destroying at the end of each turn all creatures with converted mana cost equal to the number of counters on it.
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Electropotence and Warstorm Surge use the power of our creatures, and the important thing is that the creature deals damage and not enchantment, triggering our commander's ability when it comes into play. Phthisis is a one-time removal that destroys a creature and deals damage to its controller. Reality Strobe is a recurring spell that returns a permanent to its owner's hands. Far // Away returns a permanent and/or makes an opponent sacrifice a creature.

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Reducing opponents' resources is one of the best ways to develop a game into the late game. Detritivore destroys non-basic lands each time a time counter is removed from it, greatly delaying the development of multicolored decks. Thieving Amalgam manifests the top card of each opponent's deck under our control in their respective upkeeps. Crosis, the Purger forces a player who takes combat damage to discard all cards of a certain color. Sudden Spoiling is an interesting way to solve creature-based combos.

Suspend

Interactions with time counters are relevant in our strategy, and that's why the use of spells like Clockspinning that allow adding or removing counters is crucial. Timecrafting allows you to add or remove X counters. Suspend is a versatile spell that exiles a target creature and gives the ability to suspend and two time counters. Fury Charm is a modal spell where we can choose between destroying an artifact, removing time counters, or granting trample and +1/+1 to the target creature.
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Some creatures have abilities that interact with counters, among these, Jhoira of the Ghitu suspends any card with 4 time counters, a powerful ability that easily unbalances the game. Jhoira's Timebug adds or removes time counters when tapped. Shivan Sand-Mage has a triggered ability that speeds up or slows down the entry of our suspended cards. Rift Elemental has an activated ability that removes counters with each use. Some large creatures like Deep-Sea Kraken, Greater Gargadon, and Nihilith have suspend costs and abilities that allow you to speed up their cast.
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Upgrades

Among the possible additions are the planeswalkers Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God for their great abilities, and stepping into the superfriends lineup there are Ashiok, Dream Render and Narset, Parter of Veils that are also strong options. Another possibility is adding pingers like Fire Whip to deal direct damage with Bolas. Moving towards a discard theme, Nicol Bolas, the Deceiver and Pain Magnification are excellent at that theme.

Conclusion

We got into the rhythm of the end of the year parties, and a deck geared towards the casual table is not a request we see frequently. Themed decks are challenging, especially when we're on a tight budget. Within the theme Nicol Bolas and the passing of the Ages, working on this deck was rewarding. Unlike other moments here, the priority was

fun

, although not leaving aside consistency. I suggest reading these articles in the Grixis colors: - Commander Deck Tech: Olivia, Crimson Bride - Reanimatorlink outside website

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- Commander Deck Tech: Runo Stromkirk - Self-milllink outside website Thanks for reading and good games! Any questions, I'm available in the comments!
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Eduardo Silveira

Visual Artist and Art Mediator, passionate about Magic since the launch of Mirage, alternative deck builder.

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