Journey into Mix

Posted in Top Decks on April 24, 2014

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

The possibilities of Journey into Nyx are mindboggling.


Battlefield Thaumaturge | Art by Mike Sass

Just like the last set, Journey into Nyx is packed with five multicolor God enchantment creatures that can serve as commanders, and a slew of new cards that can change or update entire decks. That's what I've been working on since everything was revealed.

And based on your feedback, you agree as well.

New sets are always a time for the trials (and errors) of trying new things, and it's often the most dramatic changes that define what we remember about the newest cards. Focusing on rares—like we will today for Commander—is just one part of how a set plays out, and it's why I'm excited to hit up a local game store for the Journey into Nyx Prerelease this weekend.

It turns out commons and uncommons are also a part of new sets. Who knew? (Okay, okay... I did.)

Today, we take a look at the things you've found exciting in the new set as well as a few decks to go along with them. I hope you're ready for a wild ride.

How Enchanting

It wasn't long ago that we first looked at Kruphix, God of Horizons, but I wasn't alone in the idea of building a deck with the inscrutable.

The card I am most looking forward to from Journey into Nyx is Kruphix, God of Horizons. He will fit perfectly in my Intet, the Dreamer deck that loves to ramp into big mana and cast big spells. His mana-storing effect is perfect for this deck's main plan for victory. Whether it is building a massive Blue Sun's Zenith or copying a huge Clan Defiance, this deck is all about big spells and Kruphix is just what this deck needed.

Blue Sun's Zenith
Clan Defiance

Here is my deck:

Ian's Intet

99 Cards

It's a plan ripped right out of the dreams laid out in the preview article, although exactly where the God of Horizons fits in isn't yet clear. That's the beauty of discovery: You're never quite sure what you'll get when you try it out. Where would you slot in Kruphix here?

Every time a new set is being previewed, I enjoy perusing its Card Image Gallery and making my "shopping list" of cards I want. I'll list each card I'm interested in, and next to it the number of them I'd like to acquire and which Commander decks they're destined for. I usually wait until after the full list of cards has been published, but to answer this question I decided to start my wish list early.

Even so, I found this one difficult to answer. It's not that I'm not excited about this set; even with the gallery not yet full, my list is quite long. The problem lies in the fact that most of the cards I want to insert into my existing decks aren't going to significantly change those decks.

I finally settled on my answer, though, and it's Bearer of the Heavens. I chose him because he has prompted me to resurrect a long-gone deck. I dismantled my Gisela, Blade of Goldnight deck over a year ago. It was a chaotic, "crazy effects" deck that was never intended to win games, and I retired it because it had begun to bore me and just annoyed my fellow players.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

In Bearer of the Heavens, I see the potential for a more competitive version of the deck. The Bearer's ability reminds me of False Prophet, which was in the original Gisela, Blade of Goldnight deck; sort of an "insurance policy." Combined with Avacyn, Angel of Hope or something tricksy like Sudden Disappearance, I'll look to make it a one-sided table wipe... if I can remove all permanents but my own from the battlefield, with Gisela, Blade of Goldnight doubling up my damage potential, it shouldn't take too long to wrap up games after the Bearer hits my graveyard.

Sorry, no decklist this time... still have to build the thing!

—John

I like shopping lists. In fact, I created my own:

Adam's Journey into Nyx Commander Shopping List
1 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
1 Athreos, God of Passage
1 Banishing Light
1 Chariot of Victory
1 Dictate of Erebos
1 Dictate of Heliod
1 Dictate of Karametra
1 Dictate of Kruphix
1 Dictate of the Twin Gods
1 Eidolon of Blossoms
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
1 Extinguish all Hope
1 Font of Fertility
1 Hall of Triumph
1 Harness by Force
1 Hour of Need
1 Iroas, God of Victory
1 Keranos, God of Storms
1 Kruphix, God of Horizons
1 Mana Confluence
1 Master of Feast
1 Pharika, God of Affliction
1 Polymorphous Rush
1 Pull from the Deep
1 Reviving Melody
1 Temple of Epiphany
1 Temple of Malady
1 Twinflame

Some of my list is obvious (new lands to use, like Mana Confluence) and some of my list is obligatory (Gods make strong commanders), but there's plenty I'm still working out exactly how I'll play.

  • Harness by Force is a scaling Act of Treason that begs for the revival of my Kresh the Bloodbraided or Shattergang Brothers deck.
  • Pull from the Deep and Reviving Melody look like utility all-stars to add to a typical Riku of Two Reflections deck, a commander I've never built a complete deck around.
  • Hour of Need can be both an answer to creatures more terrifying than a 4/4 with flying, but also serves as an end-of-turn upgrade to surprise an opponent with evasive upgrades of my own.
  • Banishing Light and Font of Fertility are staple utility spells I'd recommend for every Commander player to pick up in multiples: Each will serve you well in almost any deck that sports the appropriate color.
  • Dictate of Heliod and Dictate of Erebos are decidedly one-sided, but I think it's Dictate of the Twin Gods that will result in more players being defeated in the long run.
  • Eidolon of Blossoms looks like another "value creature" to throw in alongside Phelddagrif or Roon of the Hidden Realm, let alone a dedicated deck for recycling enchantments.

One card that isn't on my list is Launch the Fleet, but Spencer may have changed my mind:


I'm most looking forward to Launch the Fleet. I run an Aurelia, the Warleader Commander deck that looks to attack with as many creatures as possible as many times as possible. Striving Launch the Fleet onto six guys only costs , and once all the pieces are in play, I can get three or four combats per turn; that's twenty-four 1/1s for on a good day. May can't come soon enough.

If you're interested in a decklist:

Spencer's Aurelia


What else did you find exciting?











Iroas, God of Victory is a card I've been looking at hard, too. I've tried the menagerie of Boros choices for Commander, but none of them really stood out to me as "the one." Iroas has the potential to ensure that damage really happens and losing in combat isn't possible—all things that scream true Boros glory to me.

I tooled around on Gatherer (Now updated with Journey into Nyx!) for some juicy options of creatures with haste:

Adam's Iroas, God of Victory Creature Sample
1 Akki Lavarunner
1 Archwing Dragon
1 Falkenrath Marauders
1 Felhide Spiritbinder
1 Flame-Wreathed Phoenix
1 Flowstone Hellion
1 Goblin Fire Fiend
1 Kamahl, Pit Fighter
1 Oni of Wild Places
1 Oracle of Bones
1 Skizzik
1 Thunderblust
1 Thundermaw Hellkite
1 Urabrask the Hidden
1 Viashino Cutthroat
1 Viashino Sandstalker
1 Vulshok Battlemaster

What's going on here? I focused on creatures with haste that had abilities that seem to get better with Iroas hanging around.

  • Archwing Dragon and Oni of Wild Places typically have the drawback of returning to your hand every turn. Here, with Iroas, God of Victory, the ability to remain protected from Supreme Verdict effects means you'll always have a powerful attacker that can't die in combat and gets better after someone fires a board wipe.
  • Goblin Fire Fiend is deviously clever: Iroas makes blocking much tougher, and requiring a 1/1 to be blocked will clear the way through most battlefields that aren't overrun by tokens. Since it won't die in battle, this little Goblin can go a long way in making someone else put more than they want into play.
  • Kamahl, Pit Fighter and Felhide Spiritbinder are usually too frail to survive attacking in a game of Commander. With Iroas around to protect them, we can safely strike at enemies: Kamahl's backup Lighting Bolt-on-a-stick ability means he can still put in work without an attack, and Felhide Spiritbinder will gladly attack into a superior force, as you'll just copy the best opponents have to offer.
  • Urabrask the Hidden is already a strong card, but in combination with Iroas gets silly, as it makes it nigh impossible for opponents to get blockers going once they fall behind.
  • Falkenrath Marauders is a card I've wanted to use for a long time, and Iroas, God of Victory makes it possible. Every hit that goes unblocked makes it bigger, but blocking Marauders means leaving something like Skizzik to get through. It's a painful choice opponents have to make.

Of course, there's enchantments, artifacts, and creatures without haste to consider, too, which is why I'm still stumped to finish out an Iroas, God of Victory deck. I'm hopeful you'll be able to help: Which Journey into Nyx (or any another from Theros block)God will you be building a deck around, and why?

  • Feedback via email
  • 300-word limit to explain your thoughts around a Journey into Nyx God
  • Sample decklist is requested (does not count against word limit)
  • Decklists should be formatted with one card per line with just a leading number, such as "3 Mountain"—just a space (no "x" or "-") between the number and the card name, without subtotals by card type (Submissions that don't follow this rule will be ignored.)
  • Name and email required (non-personal information to be used in column)

I love seeing the decks you come up with, and I think you enjoying seeing them featured here.



I hope it's you who can claim victory in sharing a featured deck. Join me next week when we hit the end of the pantheon. See you then!

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