MTG Phyrexia: All Will Be One available now!


MTG Phyrexia All Will Be One available now!
MTG Phyrexia: All Will Be One available now!
   Sign In
Create Account

Stealing Creatures with Nihiloor


Hello everyone! I hope that you are having the best day ever in your life! If not, I'd take one of your Top Fifteen! I'm sure you would as well!

Today, let's turn to my third build around a potential Commander released just now. Today we'll be looking at the Commander product from DnD: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.

Who have I already built around?

  1. Volo, Guide to Monsters - Firstly, I grabbed and built a Simic deck around this unique Human and Wizard. Every creature in the deck has a unique creature type and I built it around my token Shapeshifter: Riptide Shapshifter who you can sacrifice for the perfect creature in this creature-based build. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Minsc, Beloved Ranger - I loved the idea of a Giant Boo so much that I tossed together a fun ramp deck that wants a big X effect for your Minsc. I also tossed in a bunch of buddies in the vein of Minsc and Boo like Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves and his legendary token Voja, Friend to Elves or Jiang Yanggu and his buddy Mowu, Loyal Companion. Enjoy the flavor of making a buddy big to swing and win the game with!

Now, what inspired me for today's build?


Nihiloor! This is a Mind Flayer called Nihiloor that is in Esper, the colors of stealing effects. It's five mana for just a 3/5, a bit small. When it arrives to the party, you tap one creature from each of your foes and then steal another that's smaller than the tapped one's power. When you swing with a creature that a foe owns, you gain two life and the player who owns it loses two life. You want to win by stealing opposing foes and swinging on a naked board.

What do I want to do with this build?

  1. Steal - Unfortunately, we are not in the color of temporary stealing like Red's Insurrection, which would be amazing with Nihiloor. But we can make do! I was inspired a bit by my Real-life Commander deck built for the Commander '95 format that only runs cards printed until the end of 1995. (Alpha - Homelands, Promo). I built a Steal N' Sac deck around Chromium that uses four creatures that tap to steal a dork and then sacrifice it and tap for another. Those four creatures are Preacher, Seasinger, Old Man of the Sea, and Merieke Ri Berit. All four of those are in my colors! You can check it out here.
  2. Sacrifice - While sacrificing is not my key endeavor, I do want some ways to ways to keep my creatures from returning. I'll want to keep the creatures for enough time to net multiple triggers over time to kill foes. We won't care if they die in combat or are blocked, because they will still trigger that life loss. If something is blocked and is about to die, you can sacrifice it for a beneficial effect. I'll lean on my Black and colorless cards here.
  3. Haste - We need attack triggers. Without haste, a creature we steal cannot attack until our next turn. We are not in Red, so mass haste gaining effects are not available, but we can lean into equipment that gives it. You can steal in your first main phase, equip with a hasted piece of equipment, and then swing for the trigger.
  4. Evasion - I know that we don't care about those creatures we stole dying but giving the stolen dorks evasion so they can slip through here and there and then do so over and over again is pretty good for the trigger. And combat damage to boot!
  5. Support - And that's it! Now let's add in ramp, counters, card draw and removal and call it a build!

Ready for the deep dive into my build?

Mind Flayer

Since Nihiloor is a Mind Flayer, I figured I would toss in another that steals a creature when it arrives to the battlefield and plays into our winning plan of stealing and swinging. I also tossed in Sower of Temptation that does the same thing on a cheaper flyer. You might check out Mind Flayer on my Another Top Ten article which you can find here.

Have you considered the power of Hostage Taker in this build? When it enters the battlefield, it exiles an artifact or dork until the Taker heads out. However, while said card is exiled you can cast it! And you can use any mana. Exile a Serra Angel? You don't have Plains, but you can pay for it anyway. Color washing is enabled. If you recast a dork then you can swing over and over with it!

All right let's leave behind my admittedly small creature count for a bit.

Ray of Command

Ray of Command is the first Threaten ever printed. It was an instant and a powerful combat trick that was printed way back in Ice Age. It's legal in Commander '95 and does get run there. You can steal a creature in the pre-combat phase, attack, trigger, combat damage, sacrifice for an ability, and then have a great old time! You can also steal a blocker if you are swung at hard and chump block or better yet trade for card advantage killing two dorks for one card.

Let's look at some counters!


I don't just want to steal stuff in the conventional way like, Sower of Temptation and Control Magic. I also want to steal pretty much everywhere! Check out the first of these cards. You can hard counter anything. Was it a critter or an artifact? Awesome! You get it for free! Now swing with the creature and trigger your Commander! The second of these cards can counter any spell, and then you can cast it for free with X's = 0. This will cast sorcery and instants and planeswalkers and enchantments. Note that if you cast this outside of your main phase you have to wait until your next turn. Love this duo!

You Find the Villains' Lair

Check out this counter from DnD: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Isn't it slick looking? You can either counter their spell or loot for two cards (draw and then discard). Card flow is great. Countering is great. Getting to choose which one makes sense on that turn is greater. Good stuff!

Inevitable Betrayal

You can also steal some cards from your foes' libraries. The first two are copies of each other. Search and put a creature card from their library to your battlefield. Then you can attack and swing and trigger. I don't care about the time spent waiting on the Betrayal since it's still worth it here. The last card is here to steal an artifact creature which can also swing, but if you need a mana rock or a card drawing machine like Staff of Nin then grab it instead. Whatever makes sense for the current situation.

We cannot play Insurrection, but we can play the first mass control swapping spell in Reins of Power! This bad boy was heavily played in the kitchen table when it was printed, although on EDHREC.com we only have 4,569 registered, which feels underrated given how powerful and ubiquitous this was once. You swap creatures with a foe and then they untap and gain haste. You can then swing all out. Note that you swapped control of Nihiloor if you control it, so you won't get those triggers unless you cast your leader afterwards. You can swing suicidally at someone with a beefy board and get some trades in, or you can use it defensively like a super Ray of Command and grab an entire defense to block an attack that is coming your way. It can also be used to kill someone's stuff with an effect like Plague Wind - you take their stuff, and it dies while your lives. It's a deep card!

In Bolas's Clutches
Lay Claim
Take Possession

I tossed in a bunch of auras that steal like Control Magic as well as this trio. I really like these abilities to steal any permanent as they can answer things that are keeping you down like Volrath's Stronghold; Liliana Vess; Sylvan Library; Batterskull; Deadeye Navigator or their commander. You can steal the card and answer it instead of using cards like Vindicate. But they are really here to steal a dork and trigger Nihiloor. The second of these has cycling in case you need to dig for a card early, and the third of these has split second and cannot be answered against a control deck. It's worth the extra mana. I also tossed in Confiscate - the original steal-anything card.

Chariot of Victory
Haunted Cloak
Strider Harness

I have around six pieces of equipment with haste, including this triumvirate. The Chariot can give you haste, first strike and trample for just one mana to equip, which is pretty good after you drop or stole something. Trample is a form of evasion, and first strike will keep your equipped guy alive. The Cloak is pretty good with trample, vigilance and haste for one mana. Vigilance is really good in this deck as you don't have many dorks in this brew, so they are pretty nice for the cause. I love the Harness here as it gives +1/+1 and haste for one mana to equip, and I like it so much that I have run this common in Abe's Deck of Happiness and Joy. The size matters! I am also running Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots.

And I am running this Sword...

Sword of Vengeance

Want to have an Akroma, Angel of Wrath but don't want to spend the mana? No problems! For just three to drop and three to equip you give the creature +2/0 and 15 abilities. Okay just four - haste which is why it's here, trample which is another reason it's here, vigilance to keep back, and first strike to avoid trading to kill something. Good stuff, right?

Helm of Possession
Coffin Queen

Have you forgotten this Tempest two-some? The Helm is amazing here as you can sacrifice a creature you stole from something else like Ray of Command and then steal another creature as long as the Helm is tapped, and you can skip untapping so you can net a bunch of triggers from attacking with a certain Mind Flayer on the battlefield. It's great here!

And check out the Queen! You can tap her and three mana and then animate a dead creature back to your control as long as the Queen is tapped. If she untaps or you lose her, you exile said dork. You can keep her tapped and keep the creature you stole. The Coffin Queen is the only card that I added from EDHREC.com for Nihiloor as we went into very different directions. As of the writing of this article only 6 decks have been made there.

Empress Galina

Let's review Galina! She's a bit underwhelming at five mana for a 1/3, but she taps for two Blue mana and steals any legendary permanent. Unlike most tap and steal effects, she does not have to stay tapped to keep control of her target nor does it end at the end of the turn or even when she dies. Crazy right? She's really strong here!

Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools
Venser, the Sojourner

Why is Tevesh Szat here? Let's unpack! His +2 to make two chump blockers is nice, certainly, and those Thrulls provide sacrifice fodder for our sacrifice engines. He's really in here for that +1 to sacrifice another dork or 'walker and then draw two cards from said sacrifice. If you have the Commander Tax and want to Ancestral Recall three cards, then sacrifice Nihiloor! Good stuff!

You know why Tevesh Szat is here, but what about Venser, the Sojourner? He's a 5-mana, 3-loyalty 'walker, and bit underwhelming. In here his +2 is underwhelming. You can reload Tevesh Szat's loyalty. There is the occasional blink target creature like Cloudblazer or Wall of Omens but not many. If you lost the creature stolen by Mind Flayer or Sower of Temptation you can steal another. You can exile something of yours that was enchanted by something like Faith's Fetters or Imprisoned in the Moon. But that's not why he's here. He's here for that -1 to make your whole team unblockable! Sure, we have some cards like Rogue's Passage and Whispersilk Cloak to make one things unblockable, but the whole team is even better to collect those triggers from

How about one more card and we'll call it?

God-Eternal Bontu

Check out this Zombie God! It's a five-mana 5/6 menace which is fine and dandy, just like candy. When it arrives, you can sacrifice any number of permanents. Creatures you stole. Thrull tokens. Extra lands. An extra mana rock you aren't using anymore. Sacrifice them all! And then draw card equal to the sacrificed amount! Pretty cool right? Right!

All right, enough flirting. Here's my stealing build!

Stealing with Nihiloor | Commander | Abe Sargent

And there we are! I hope that you enjoyed this build of Nihiloor! Did you enjoy anything here? Did I miss anything obvious? Just let me know and have an awesome day!

Commander HQ: Decklists and Strategy for Forgotten Realms's Legendary Creatures!

Limited time 30% buy trade in bonus buylist