Brew Time For Beginners: Modern Big Naya, by Joe Butcher

Nahiri, the Harbinger wallpaper

Brew Time For Beginners: Modern Big Naya

Greetings folks.

I understand I am not a particularly regular writer, even though I promised you lot that I would be. I have decided that actually “A Beginner’s Guide” for Magic: The Gathering, whilst good, is not where my forte lies. Therefore, I shall move “A Beginner’s Guide” to being a non-regular update, and I will focus on providing decklists for Standard, Modern and Legacy. These decks will be of my own creation and aim to possibly either expand on an idea that already exists, or to totally create a new concept. I hope you stay with me though this and that you enjoy the article.


Where did this deck come from?

So, I was interested in the new Jeskai decks that run Nahiri, the Harbinger as a win condition through her -8 to find and drop an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. However Jeskai isn’t really my idea of fun. The reactivity factor isn’t my style and there are too many dead draws if the opponent is running creature-lite.dec, with Path to Exile and Supreme Verdict.

I’ve been trying to break Naya into Modern for a while in some form other than just Zoo. When Nahiri came out I had a feeling she’d be a good curve-topper for some kind of list. So here’s my attempt at a deck I like to call Nayahiri.

Birds of Paradise
Noble Hierarch
Wild Nacatl
Scavenging Ooze
Voice of Resurgence
Knight of the Reliquary
Loxodon Smiter
Ranger of Eos
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Lightning Bolt
Path to Exile
Lightning Helix
Nahiri, the Harbinger
Arid Mesa
Ghost Quarter
Kessig Wolf Run
Sacred Foundry
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills


Looking into it

So, the first relationship is the one between Nahiri, the Harbinger and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Obviously this is a game-ender. Dropping a free Emrakul when they’re at less than 15 life is an almost guaranteed winner.

Nahiri, the Harbinger is really strong on her own. Entering at 4 Loyalty and immediately moving up to 6 via her +2 requires two Lightning Bolts to kill. That’s pretty awesome. Her -2 is awesome as well. Exiling tapped things is really good as it stops repeat attackers and the like, therefore defending herself. Finally, Nahiri’s +2 is nice in the respect that it can discard un-needed cards. Plus, there’s nothing to stop you discarding an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to stick your entire graveyard into your library in attrition games.

Outside of this, its what I refer to as a Big Zoo deck. Being able to play value creatures like Loxodon Smiter and Knight of the Reliquary ahead of the curve is pretty strong and therefore I have included 4 mana dorks. These aim to speed the whole thing up by a turn per dork and make a proactive move onto the Battlefield while holding up necessary interaction.

Wild Nacatl is the largest creature for 1 mana you can have in Modern Naya colours, and is therefore a 4-of. Being able to hit for 3 damage on T2 can put the opponents on a very fast clock.

Scavenging Ooze and Voice of Resurgence are both very strong 2-drop creatures, with the ability to either grow larger or replace itself, respectively.


The 4-drop slot

Now, obviously, in a Nahiri based deck, she’s going to be a 4-of. However, the keen sighted of you will notice that I’ve included 2 Ranger of Eos. This is an awesome card to have. On Turn 4, this card can produce up to 9/8 worth of stats, for 4 mana. Even greater is that on Turn 6, you can totally rebuild a destroyed boardstate by fetching up and playing 2 Wild Nacatl. I may consider swapping some one-drops around for slightly stronger or more toolbox style creatures. The other reason for this card is that it can be your win-con if your Emrakul gets Pithing Needle-d. Tutoring up an effective 6 mana worth of value for free is nothing to be scoffed at, especially when you’re on the back foot, or just playing a ‘defend the queen’ style round gone lategame.


What about a Sideboard?

Honestly, I have no idea. the deck is pretty in on the idea. but I guess stuff like Stony Silence and Rest In Peace are always a smart idea.

Celestial Purge can see play, being able to take care of opposing Nahiri as well as Blood Moon and the like.

For further card advantage, Domri Rade may have a home, what with 23 of the cards being creatures. This means that at worst you get to know the top card of the deck, and at best you draw that card.

Due to not running a full 4 in the mainboard, I suppose 2 Path to Exile is a given.
Finally, something like Ghostly Prison can help vs swarm and other aggro decks by forcing a cost onto each attacking creature.


Continuing on from the point about various 1-drops

Here’s a list of potential 1-drops (after consideration) that may work alongside Ranger of Eos:

Signal Pest
Legion Loyalist
Dryad Militant
Boros Elite

Signal Pest can basically turn all of our little mana dorks into attackers and go wide with several of them. 2 Pests buff each other and provide +2/+0 during combat. Legion Loyalist allows us to swing with creatures to take out tokens or weenies efficiently. Dryad Militant is nice versus graveyard based decks with the ability to stop a Snapcaster Mage dead in its tracks. However it also hits your Emrakul recursion. Finally, Boros Elite is probably the weakest out of these suggestions, but can still be a 3/3 while attacking.



So there we are. A hopefully new deck that takes the Naya Zoo concept and basically scales it up a notch to be bigger than the next thing. Please leave any comments or questions below and I look forward to your reactions.

‘Till next time,

Joe Butcher

Brew Time For Beginners: Modern Big Naya, by Joe Butcher
I understand I am not a particularly regular writer, even though I promised you lot that I would be. I have decided that actually "A Beginner's Guide", whilst good, is not where my forte lies due to the reception that my RB Vampires article got.

Please let us know what you think below...

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