General Pain

Posted in Feature on February 26, 2013

By Sam Black

Sam Black is a Platinum Pro Player and longtime writer for He is a respected deck builder and took over Daily Decks for the first half of 2013.

I'm featuring this deck as an apology.

Last time I wrote about Commander, I was dismissive of the plan of acceleration and card draw, essentially as its own end, as being unoriginal in Commander.

Nin, the Pain Artist

The fact of the matter is that doing things in Magic is fun, and the resources that let you do things are mana and cards. As you build your deck to have more of those things, you get to do more. Decks that are designed this way tend to lead to an enjoyable play experience for their pilots.

Every now and then, you find a deck that gets to keep doing things while being less obviously just a pile of ramp and card-draw spells. But those decks are rare, which is why I celebrate finding them. If everyone tried to play only those, it would probably lead to a more homogeneous format. The fact that people can build a deck around solid fundamentals of mana acceleration and card draw allows them the freedom to do what they want with a few other cards to give the deck some flourish.

This deck is an example of a deck with extremely strong fundamentals: Lots of mana and card draw, leaning toward more mana because, like Prime Speaker Zegana, Nin, the Pain Artist means that you always have a mana sink and card-draw engine. In this case, I use the strong fundamentals to let me play cute, on-theme win conditions like Stuffy Doll or Repercussion with cards that damage creatures.

It's just too bad that the color identity rules prevent me from playing Boros Reckoner and Spitemare, which would be perfect for this deck.

Nin, the Pain Artist

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