Nykthos, Shrine to Modern
Hello guys, it has been a while since I last wrote an article but now I think there is finally something to discuss!
If you watched the Pro Tour last weekend then it is no surprise to you that the breakout card from the event was a rather underrated land, which received near to zero attention in the lead up. This card is of course [card]Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx[/card].
I believe that the reason this card received no hype during spoiler season was because the pro players knew this card was insane, so kept it under wraps to give them the edge at the pro tour.
The problem was that nearly all the US, the Japanese and European teams came to the same conclusion, therefore we had a pro tour based around the devotion mechanic.
However, I am not here to talk about standard as that has all been done. Instead I want to talk about the implications of the devotion land in Modern and perhaps why this card may have a short life-span in the format.
So, who here likes the colour green? Or more importantly, who here likes elves?! Nykthos seems to find a perfect home in Modern elves and acts as a [card]Gaea’s Cradle[/card] in this deck.
The plan itself is quite straightforward, make a ton of elves and then create a ton of mana, now it is true that elves could create an insane amount of mana without any special mana-generating land, but this will just make the deck more consistent.
So what win-cons should the deck play?
Take a look:
[card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card]: Not the most exciting of card, however it is not unlikely that you could win the game on t4 quite consistently with this card, especially with tutors like Summoner’s Pact available to us.
[card]Genesis Wave[/card]: Now this is more like it! If you want something really fun to do in Modern then Genesis Wave for your entire deck! This can be used in conjunction with Craterhoof to ensure you win the game with every permanent you own in play!
[card]Joraga Warcaller[/card]: Perhaps not as good as Craterhoof but nonetheless still impressive, who doesn’t want to kill their opponent with a 10/10 [card]Lanowar elf[/card]!
[card]Ezuri, Renegade Leader[/card]: [card]Overrun[/card] was always a half-decent card when it was in standard, now imagine using Overrun 3-5 times in one turn…
[card]Regal Force[/card]: Well this doesn’t exactly win you the game on the spot but who doesn’t like drawing lots of cards!
So elves has a lot of options moving forward, however I am sure most people have already thought of this, as it is the first deck you think of that needs a [card]Gaea’s Cradle[/card] effect.
So how good is Nykthos?
The card is bonkers! The best thing about this card is that a good deck doesn’t need much tweaking to include such a card. Think of all the combo decks in Modern, Tron, Twin, Infect etc, they all require the deck to be built around the combo. This does not need to be the case with Nykthos, all you need are permanents that share a colour symbol and the card becomes extremely good.
A great example of a deck that can abuse Nykthos can be found below, this is the deck I will be testing in Modern:
4x [card]Dark confidant[/card]
3x [card]Nantuko Shade[/card]
3x [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card]
4x [card]Geralf’s Messenger[/card]
2x [card]Lifebane Zombie[/card]
3x [card]Phyrexian Obliterator[/card]
1x [card]Gray Merchant[/card] of [card]Asphodel[/card]
3x [card]Death Cloud[/card]
4x [card]Marsh Flats[/card]
4x [card]Verdant Catacombs[/card]
4x [card]Overgrown Tomb[/card]
4x [card]Shrine of Nyx[/card]
So what do we have here?!
It is an aggro deck with the ability to combo off with Nykthos. We run a recursion shell with [card]Bloodghast[/card], [card]Gravecrawler[/card] and [card]Geralf’s Messenger[/card], which can lead to explosive starts.
We also run disruption in [card]Thoughtseize[/card] and Liliana which allows us to disrupt their combo, or simply keep them from disrupting our potential combo kill.
The combo kill itself is having these permanents in play (Messenger,Lliliana, Bloodghast etc), a Nykthos to generate a lot of mana and then casting a huge [card]Death Cloud[/card].
The great thing about Death Cloud in this deck is that it doesn’t actually kill our creatures as they have recursion properties, in many situations it will leave our opponent with no cards in hand or in play, whereas we have a few creatures that will most likely kill them in the following turn. Another ‘combo’ kill is to just use all the mana created this way to pump [card]Nantuko Shade[/card] for lots!
Decks like this showcase the power of Nykthos and shows just how easy it is to abuse the card, do you guys have any other ideas on how to abuse this card? or do you have any suggestions on how to improve this mono-black list? Any ideas are appreciated :)
That is all for this article! I hope this has given you a few ideas on how to abuse this card in modern! Feel free to comment below!