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Mana Said Knock You Out


What would you do with a million mana? So much mana that you never needed to take another untap step again. Some people would power a Helix Pinnacle, some people would summon every Eldrazi, others still would create the biggest Fireball the world has ever seen. I have a different view of what the best thing you can do with that much mana is, though. I don’t want to end the game painlessly nor do I want to use that mana on creatures that people can deal with. I think that much mana means you need to win the game in the most spectacular fashion possible. You don’t just win the game, you win the game by killing everyone else.

I’ve always wanted to do that and I figure if I had a million mana, I could hook that up. Where to get that much mana, though? I looked at all of the Green cards in Hour of Devastation and nothing was really jumping out at me. There are a lot of insane cards to be sure — Solemnity makes everything with Cumulative Upkeep better and makes cards like Decree of Silence and Delaying Shield pretty insane. The Locust God is going to be nutty with wheel effects and Skullclamp and I’m basically turning my boring Nekusar, the Mindrazer deck into a Niv Cricket build. Uncage the Menagerie, Swarm Intelligence, Majestic Myriarch — even Pride Sovereign promises to be pretty nutty with Commander 2017. But these cards aren’t going to help me live the dream of creating a ton of mana from thin air and using it to blast my opponents into Bolivian.

There’s only one card in Hour of Devastation who can get the job done. It’s this guy — he doesn’t care about other minotaurs but he does care about giving you mana as often as he gives your opponents damage and a hard time.

Neheb, the Eternal

Awww Yiss. So much damage, so much mana, so much mana we can spend on more damage. My goal is to dome opponents for a ton of damage efficiently so I can be a big doofy spendhard with the rest of my spells and play really good but really expensive cards. Red has a tendency to empty its hand easily, but it turns out Wheel of Fortune isn’t just for Locust God players anymore. With enough wheels I can keep my hand full. Add to that cards that are too expensive for most Red decks — cards like Sandstone Oracle and Knollspine Dragon, and all of a sudden big mana is solving all of our problems. Doming everyone with a Flame Rift can get you enough mana to cast an Eldrazi — not bad for 2 mana. And don’t get me started on Pyrohemia (a way more awesome-sounding disease than a generic “Pestilence”. “You hear about Bob? He’s got the Pyrohemia. Yes, it IS what it sounds like. Yeah, Nicol Bolas replaced his blood with fire. No, Pyromania was the name of the Def Leppard album”); a spell that can wipe the entire board and give you enough mana to recast your dead Neheb. And have you seen how well it pairs with Stuffy Doll? How about Stuffy Doll plus Neheb?

Our goal here is to serve our opponents as much damage as we can, use expensive spells to get the job done and in general, double things. Green may be the big mana, big doubling color but Neheb can help us give them a run for their money. We don’t have Mana Reflection, but we have Rage Reflection, and with Neheb out, Rage Reflection can give us a ton of mana, too. We don’t have Heartbeat of Spring but we do have Mana Flare. We’re not going to play Mana Flare, though. Are you insane? We’re not going for symmetry here, we’re being greedy. Let’s play Caged Sun, Gauntlet of Power and/or Might, Extraplanar Lens, and Doubling Cube. We are going to straight Fireball people in their faces. It’s not enough to me that we deal them 40 damage. I want their life total to be a negative number with multiple zeroes. We’re going to stomp on people.

A secondary goal of mine is to make this deck a good 75% build, and while it appears like we’ll be doing a lot of the same things as other Neheb player, I want to make sure we’re built 75%. One way I think we can handle that is by running Threaten effects but not giving the creatures back because we’re chewing them up for mana or flinging them if we can. Doing this deprives them of a blocker and adds to the amount of damage we can get through for when we attack. Are they going to be inclined to block their creature and kill it if they think there’s a chance they’ll get it back alive? This trick will only work once, probably, but it will be funny when they let something deal them damage hoping to get it back and you fling it, dealing them double damage, getting that sweet, Red mana and dealing with a creature forever. Threaten effects are the best way Red has to scale to their power level and we’re going to make better use of them here than it most decks. First off, we’re going to run spells to give us additional combat phases so they’re going to do double duty. Secondly, we’re going to run spells that double the amount of damage dealt, meaning they’ll do, by my estimation, quadruple duty. Their creatures doing four times as much work for us as they do for them seems ideal.

What is our deck liable to look like when we’re finished?

I worry that I’m trying to do too many things at once here, but the beauty of having so much mana and so many cards is that you get to do whatever you want (or can get to resolve) because having a full grip so often means you get options.

Red doesn’t have the Control Magic effects that Blue has, but I jammed some sac outlets that mean we never have to give the borrowed creatures back. If you can’t manage to win the game after resolving Mob Rule or Insurrection, you were never winning it in the first place and your sac outlets don’t matter, but worst case scenario you bin everything and hope you can recover better than 3 or 4 people who all want to kill you. I think stealing their stuff is a great way to match their power level and will never not advocate it, this deck being no exception.

I think we accomplish our goals, here. We’ll have lots of ways to deal them a bunch of damage and productive ways to use the mana that doing that gives us. Pyrohemia in particular is a card I expect to be a workhorse, multiplying our Red mana by the amount of opponents at the table if we can keep Neheb alive or recast him. Once we start doubling damage and mana, the game ends very quickly. A Furnace of Rath coupled with a Caged Sun will give us more than enough juice to turn our first Fireball into enough mana to make our second one lethal.

Does this look fun? Does this look too much like a stock Neheb list? Do you want to run the other Neheb? Do you wish I had made a Sphinx tribal deck this week or talked about Meowloro who just got spoiled weeks early? Leave it in the comments section. Thanks for reading, everyone. Until next week!

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