Nin, the Pain Artist Strikes!

This past game night I had the chance to try out my new Nin, the Pain Artist deck! In building the deck I went through a couple of iterations, and in the end I had kind of a jumbled mess that wasn’t sure what it wanted to do. Was it a counter/burn deck? Not really, I only had two counters. Was it a combo deck? Kind of, as I do have an infinite mana combo in there, but it requires three specific pieces to pull off, and while there is a fair amount of card draw, there isn’t any form of tutor!

So what am I trying to do with it? Well, that’s an easy one to answer. I’m trying to ping someone to death using infinite mana to activate Nin, the Pain Artist who would then target my Stuffy Doll, allowing me to draw cards and the Stuffy Doll to pass on it’s damage to the assigned opponent. Then I either bounce and recast, or flicker/blink the Doll to change the assigned opponent.

That’s the idea anyway. The execution is a bit lacking however. I stuffed the deck with a TON of pingers and things that make pingers (i.e. Viridian Longbow), as well as a fair amount of instant and sorcery cards for drawing, bouncing, blinking, countering, etc… Of particular note, when I was pulling cards and making the first few rounds of cuts, I was doing it with an eye towards utilizing Epic Experiment, so I left out a bunch of “X” spells that would be useless should I get to cast the card. I also had an eye towards Firemind’s Foresight, so I had a lot of my instants under the converted mana cost of three. Finally I was attempting to keep Isochron Scepter, so I had most of those being in the two drop or less slot. However, in the end neither Epic Experiment or Firemind’s Foresight made the cut. One thing I can do therefore is add back in some of the “X” spells.

The last point I want to touch on is my combo and what I’m using it for. When you have an infinite mana combo you need something to spend that mana on, and in this case that would be the few “X” direct damage spells that I have in the deck, as well as the various “super-pingers” such as Nin, Shivan Hellkite, Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius, and Spikeshot Elder. However, I had the deck just stacked with five or six regular pingers, and they just weren’t good enough.

Here is the plan. I’m going to take out the regular pingers (and put them into a Rakdos deck where they can enable Rakdos, Lord of Riots and Bloodthirst creatures,) and I’m going to re-imagine the focus of the deck. I always want to be aiming at getting my infinite mana combo, so I’ll add in some more artifact love, maybe a Tezzeret the Seeker for some tutoring, and so on. By making these changes I’m going to focus down the deck so that it can do what it is supposed to do instead of getting bogged down in the spells that just don’t do enough.

With that in mind I am not going to post a deck list of this build just yet. I’ll wait until I get it focused and get to try it out at the next game night. For that matter, the next post just might have two lists, one for Nin and one for Rakdos!

Here are the reports of how the games went down at this week’s game night:

Game 1:

In this game I got an incredibly slow start. I had a creature out early who could only hit for one damage and I didn’t want to hold back so I swung into Akroma a few times. I really did incur her wrath, as she beat the crap out of me over the next several turns until I was dead. Please note that a largely red deck has an incredibly hard time dealing with something that has protection from red. I spent the next 40 minutes or so playing Carmageddon on my iPad.

Game 2:

  • Me playing Nin, the Pain Artist
  • Opp 1 playing Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
  • Opp 2 playing Akroma Angel of Wrath
  • Opp 3 playing Progenitus

I had an amazing start this game with a turn one Spikeshot Elder followed by a turn two Curiosity! I was able to get in a few attack steps, drawing cards, always attacking Akroma since she was my biggest threat (being prot-red and all.) But Karrthus didn’t like me drawing so many cards and took out my Spikeshot. I went after him from then on out.

The play of the game started with Akroma drawing and casting Banishing Stroke for the miracle cost. I responded by casting Radiate to take out every creature, artifact, and enchantment, tucking Akroma. At the time I had no targets for it on my board, but the other players all lost something.

After that I had some decent draws and was able to get my Myr Galvanizer on board followed by a  kicked Rite of Replication the next turn so I had a total of six 7/7 Galvanizers. I also had a Spellbound Dragon on the board and everything I could was heading towards Karrthus. I hit Palladium Myr soon after to assemble my infinite colorless mana combo so I dropped Nin onto the board and started pinging my Spellbound Dragon for 3 or so each turn. I would have taken out Progenitus by making him draw his deck, but he had Akroma’s Memorial on-board… the always accursed prot-red! I couldn’t touch his creatures.

As the game wound down, Akroma got taken out by Progenitus, followed by me taking out Karrthus with a much appreciated Shivan Hellkite and the help of a Mana Flare on Progenitus’ board. Unfortunately his flyers were too strong and too protected from red, so I was unable to overcome them and Progenitus won that game.

Game 3:

Ghave is my absolute favorite deck and this game I had the absolute nut draw! I had a turn two Bloom Tender, followed by a turn three Corpsejack Menace which would have been followed by a turn four Ghave with ten +1/+1 counters! Sadly the second Corpsejack hit the board, Sol’Kanar decided to exile it and Bloom Tender with Ashes to Ashes, killing my great start. An early Linvala, Keeper of Silence from Zur meant that I wouldn’t be casting Ghave anytime soon, so I laid in with a Juniper Order Ranger followed by Elspeth Tirel. Sadly Sol’Kanar bounced Elspeth to my hand followed by a Wheel of Fortune… but it was amazing because I drew Parallel Lives, Awakening Zone, and Garruk Relentless. Juniper Order Ranger was killed shortly after, so none of my wolf tokens from Garruk got any bigger. I was laying into Sol’Kanar pretty hard with attacks, but he finally got some board presence. Soon Akroma took out the Linvala with an Angel of Serenity… but then he cast his own Linvala right after! Still no Ghave! About this time the table was starting to realize that I was in a good spot, so they all turned on me and I was reduced to just my enchantments and a couple of 2/2 soldiers left over from Elspeth. I cast Grave Pact and I was back in it. Eventually everyone was getting tired and Akroma sacrificed his Linvala to my Grave Pact allowing me to start activating abilities. Sol’Kanar scooped in response. I sacrificed enough Eldrazi Spawn tokens to make the board sacrifice everything and then Akroma scooped. Zur re-cast his Linvala and was able to fly over my tokens for the win. Sadly I just didn’t hit any of my flyers or spirit generators and it played a part in costing me the game.


Stay tuned, next time I’ll be posting my revised Nin decklist and if I have the time I’ll be able to build and test my Rakdos deck. Maybe I’ll get a list up for that as well. Also, if you heard my podcast debut on Season 7, Episode 11 of CommanderCast, you’ll know that one of my next projects is going to be a Karona, False God tribal deck using Changelings and Elementals! Stay tuned for that!


  1. Eric Lowell said:

    I’m upset. Who won the first game?

    • I don’t recall. I was busy smashing cars and peds in Carmageddon! Muahahaha! You were there, don’t you remember?

  2. Eric Lowell said:

    That’s right. Progenitus locked the board and beat everyone else down.

  3. Eric Lowell said:

    I love Carmageddon by the way

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: