Nomad Mythmaker

Posted in Feature on March 2, 2005

By Adrian Sullivan

The first time that I really noticed the Mythmaker was during Regionals. My friend Ben Dempsey and I were each playing mono-red packed full of burn and we'd finished our round early. Just then, a friend came up to me to pull me to the top table. And on the table, there it was, the Nomad Mythmaker. The Mythmaker might not have looked that impressive, but he did have a little help from his friends: a pair of Wild Mongrels adorned by an Elephant Guide and a Mythic Proportions. I was lucky I got there when I did, as the game really didn't last much longer than that…

Nomad Mythmaker

Introducing the Mythmaker

While the Mythmaker might be a white card, he certainly isn't white bread. A 2/2 for three mana is pretty straightforward, and without a little help, that's all the Nomad Mythmaker can be. The Mythmaker can't do anything at all unless you've managed to get a creature enchantment into a graveyard. The game starts out with a clear graveyard, so unless your opponent is helping you out, you will have to go through a little bit of work to make the Mythmaker all it can be. (One amusing aside, there are certain tournament decks that get hampered if a Mythmaker is at the ready - reanimation decks that use a single Dragon Breath have to wait a full turn when you steal it.)

Once you do have a creature enchantment for the Mythmaker to play with, it might not be as simple as you'd expect. The Mythmaker starts out by targeting only the enchantment you're reaching for. Once the ability resolves, only then does the enchantment get placed onto one of the creatures that you control. This means that your opponent only has a chance to respond to the ability of choosing the enchantment - once you've gotten to the point where you're deciding where to put that enchantment, they can't respond by killing the creature until the enchantment is on it.

This can be a serious problem for an opponent reliant on targeted creature-kill. Many creature enchantments are just a bear to deal with once they're actually on someone. For a red deck, for example, a large creature or a regenerator can be hard to kill. Cards like Elephant Guide or Gaea's Embrace are already really solid, but they can make a red deck really cringe. Black generally doesn't care about how big a creature is, but it does care about targeting. A Crown of Awe, for example, is bad for Black as well as Red.

 

Floating Shield
White enchantments tend to be the best at protecting a creature in this way. Tons of white cards give protection from something. Unquestioned Authority will give your creature protection from creatures (and give you a free card). Shield of Duty and Reason will give you the (perhaps dubious) ability of protection from Blue and Green. For a card like this, though, Floating Shield is one of the best. Not only will it give your enchanted creature protection from whatever color you might think is appropriate at the time - In a pinch, you can sacrifice your Floating Shield to protect some other creature from that same color, or if you have a ready Mythmaker around, you can simply sacrifice the Shield to get it into your grave and then use the Mythmaker to put it back into play onto something, protected from the new color that you want to stop.

And the award goes to…

If you're going to be running creature enchantments, you're going to probably want something to put them on other than your Mythmaker. Besides the risk of having an opponent take out two cards for the price of one, running creature enchantments carries the extra risk of not having a target around to be enchanted. Now, you can run any old creatures in a deck running Mythmaker, but there are certainly quite a few that might stand out. These are some of the best.

Rabid Wombat

I would probably get a punch to the face from my friend Jim Hustad if I didn't bring up the Rabid Wombat. Rabid Wombat is one of those classic cards from the Dark Ages of Magic that inspired tons of people to build their decks around it. Jim played a Rabid Wombat/Enchantress deck in a Two-Headed Giant tournament years ago, and even today I hear him complaining about how they lost to Island Sanctuary because his teammate didn't want to include one Flight in their deck. If there is any creature that really likes having lots of creature enchantments around, it has to be the Wombat. Give it any reasonable enchantment (like a Gaea's Embrace) and it becomes a big attacker/defender all at once. Less powerful in some ways is the Yavimaya Enchantress, but at least she doesn't need to be the one that is enchanted.

Tallowisp

Here, you'll need to be running the Spirit/Arcane triggers to make the Tallowisp do its work, but that shouldn't be too hard. In a blue/white deck, for example, Reach through Mists, Otherworldly Journey, and Floating-Dream Zubera all will trigger a Tallowisp and get you any of those creature enchantments you might want in the meantime.

Rayne, Academy Chancellor

 

Rayne, Academy Chancellor
Just having a Rayne out means that your opponent's attempts to mess with your creatures are going to at least give you a card, but if you get a Rayne enchanted, you get twice as many cards. In a deck running the Mythmaker, you can make it very hard for an opponent to decide who it is they should be trying to kill. Once an active Mythmaker is in play, it can be quite hard to actually kill that Rayne - any attempt can potentially be responded to by placing an enchantment on it to keep it safe.

Kitsune Mystic (and Autumn-Tail, Kitsune Sage)

This card and the Nomad Mythmaker seem like they were practically made for each other. Both cards are hungry for a lot of creature enchantments. If your opponent tries to fight the enchantments getting onto the Mystic, the Mythmaker will quickly beat back any strategy that involves counterspells and disenchants. Once you do get flipped to Autumn-Tail, Kitsune Sage, any enchantment that you might normally want to see placed on your opponent can be dragged out of a graveyard by your Mythmaker and with an assist by Autumn-Tail slap your opponent around. Autumn-Tail is so relevant you'll see his name a few more times in this article.

Fill 'er up

You don't need a graveyard full of enchantments for the Mythmaker to be useful, you just need some. You can't plan on your opponent to supply them for you (but you can always make use of these enchantments if they do), so you'd generally better have some way to get them into your 'yard.

Discarding them yourself is one way to go. Wild Mongrel, Aquamoeba, and Anurid Brushhopper can all be used to get an effect out of your discard. While you might still have to draw the enchantment you're looking for, that isn't necessarily such a bad thing. The Regionals deck I saw that made me so impressed pulled off some very quick kills simply by playing hugely empowering enchantments like Mythic Proportions and just discarding them to a creature when they were drawn.

Blue gives the best options, as would probably be expected. Fact or Fiction, Intuition, Gifts Ungiven, Read the Runes, Thirst for Knowledge and others are the big front runners simply because they have a use besides simply putting a card in your graveyard. Dedicated cards like Entomb and Traumatize might get you some kind of selection of cards in your graveyard, but they don't have much use on their own.

Other improvements

Creature enchantments can be more than simple improvements to creatures. For every card that is merely a Giant Strength, there is a card that can be more intense like a Rancor. Besides simply being used to keep your creatures alive, here are some potent creature enchantments to use with the Nomad Mythmaker.

Shade's Form

 

Shade's Form
Black doesn't have many cards that really mesh in impressive ways with Nomad Mythmaker, but this is one of them. Plopping this onto one of your creatures will give it insurance if it dies, bringing it right back into play. Squee's Embrace can pull a similar trick but it returns the creature to your hand, though it does have the benefit of having less of an off-color commitment than a Shade's Form.

Pemmin's Aura

Putting this on anything makes it into Superman. Generally, if a creature isn't killed before the Aura hits it, it can overwhelm them. If they do kill it, an active Mythmaker can use it to save any other creature by turning it into Superman. Put it on a Mythmaker and with enough mana you can empty your graveyard of creature enchantments and still attack with the Mythmaker. Get an Autumn-Tail out and you can use a Pemmin's Aura aggressively to take out nearly any creatures that your opponent might control.

Cage of Hands/Shackles

Certainly there are other cards that you can return to your hand, but these two are a great example of enchantments you can use with a Mythmaker to disrupt your opponent. Once the White enchantment is on your creature, you won't need an Autumn-Tail to move it somewhere else, just return it to your hand and place it where you would like.

Yavimaya's Embrace/Persuasion/Treachery

Here are a couple of cards that you might simply like to cast on your opponent's creatures. With a card like Autumn-Tail or Enchantment Alteration, however, you can reuse the card later on from your graveyard. What makes cards like this so great is that they can be so game-swinging early on that it can become far easier to survive to a later game stage where the combo of the two white creatures can be simply overwhelming with these enchantments to make use of.

Pariah

Pariah is similar in a lot of ways to the blue enchantments I just mentioned in that you can place them on your opponent to disrupt their plan. Used on an aggressive creature, you can effectively turn one of their attack phases into both a Fog and a creature-kill, as all of their damage is sent back at their creature. Even without any tricky combinations, however, you can use the Mythmaker with Pariah to trade one of your creatures for all of the damage of even the largest attack or burn spell that an opponent might send your way.

Wrapping Up

This week, the deck I've used to bring it all together is a three-color Online Extended deck to try to exploit the Mythmaker.

Nomad Mythmaker

Download Arena Decklist
  Gifts UngivenParticularly nasty in this deck

So, yeah, it's 61 cards. Sue me. The deck runs a smattering of color-fixing and mana acceleration to get things going. Sakura-Tribe Elder and Pariah work wonders in staying alive in the early game. As the game progresses, Persuasion can steal any of the more potent creatures coming at you as well. Gifts Ungiven will generally be used to get an Immobilizing Ink and three scary enchantments. Without a card to discard to like Immobilizing Ink, some of the more expensive enchantments will simply be uncastable. Get the Ink on a Nomad Mythmaker for extra potency: discard that expensive enchantment right away to untap the Mythmaker and get it into play right away. The Kitsune Mystic is especially easy to flip into Autumn-Tail in a deck like this. At that point, all of the enchantments you've been collecting on your side of the table (even the grave) become especially scary.

The thing that I like about this deck is all of the ways that the early game enchantments can help hold the table. Elephant Guide, Pariah, and Floating Shield can all be used to keep yourself alive in the early game. The Floating Shield is very good at taking care of targeted removal in whatever color your opponent might have, and the Elephant Guides are a good way to stay aggressive against any deck that might prefer to run sweep spells like Wrath of God. The single Squee's Embrace can serve as an insurance policy on a Mythmaker. Get it into your yard and if a Wrath does happen, pop the Squee's Embrace onto either that Mythmaker or any other card that is more worthwhile.

Overall, the deck should be a lot of fun, and able to put up a fight against a lot of different kinds of decks. I don't expect this to be the next deck to beat at the most competitive Online Extended tournaments, but it is a real pleasure to be able to play a ton of the cards in the deck.

Hope you enjoyed the deck. Have a great rest of your week!

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