Game #9: Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Location: Family Game Store, Savage, MD
vs: Savra, Queen of the Golgari (Guild); Prime Speaker Zeganna;
Result: Fun Loss
I started with 3 land and a Sol Ring, and an early Windfall to get some great cards. I nearly activated an Archmage’s Ascension, but it got blown up. Savra tried to throw down a Vraska, the Unseen, but Zeganna countered it (luckily for me, as I have a tough time blocking in this deck, and instant-death assassins could have meant trouble). Thoughtpicker Witch left me with an Iceberg (!) that I played with 8 counters, and then left me with Brainstorm (because he wanted to see what would happen with it). I Brainstormed for 14 with Niv on the table, which was not enough to kill off a very huge Golgari Grave Troll, but did take care of some of Zeganna’s board. However I did a really bad job of discarding (as in, not noticing that I had a Spellbook in hand until after I decided what cards to keep during the end step). I ended up keeping basically what I had started with, which included an Insurrection, AND a Reins of Power. A potentially game-winning Insurrection was countered, and neither Zeganna nor I could survive Jarad flinging Golgari Grave Troll at us twice in the turn. This was a game that any of the three players had a good chance to win, and was a lot of fun.
About the Deck (http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/niv-only/)
This is a rebuild of the second deck I ever built. The original had other creatures in it and tried to ramp into Emrakul, and was otherwise a Counter-burn deck. I thought I was really clever, “discovering” that Curiosity was great with the general (I had been out of the game for 5 years before that). Eventually I started scavenging it for parts, finding it to be a boring deck, and wanting to build other ones instead.
Later I decided to take the skeleton of the deck, strip all the other creatures and try to get away with just Niv-Mizzet. I liked that restriction a lot (and reused it on other decks). I also decided to cut Curiosity from the deck so that I wasn’t stuck looking for the obvious combo every time. I enjoy the thrill of not being able to rely on dudes to block (it’s fun and political), unless I make some Kobolds. I don’t play this deck very often, but it’s one of the few that I have that I think have won more times than lost.
Plagiarize is my favorite card in the deck, led to my favorite victory in recent memory: vs. Balthor the Defiled (whom you will meet shortly) who was at 32 life, with 16 zombies in play including a Graveborn Muse. I Plagiarized in response to the Muse trigger, drawing 16 cards and dropping Balthor to 0 at the beginning of a turn where Balthor would have one the game.