Playing Four Copies of Niv-Mizzet, Parun changes just about everything
Adrian Sullivan, one of the true godfathers of Magic strategy, took down Grand Prix Milwaukee last weekend. And in true Adrian style, he did so with a unique deck… This time, a “Jeskai Control” with four copies of Niv-Mizzet, Parun.
Playing four copies of that big threat (when most Jeskai play as few as zero main deck) changes the deck and its matchups at a fundamental level. Here are some of the meaningful ways how…
Dive Down becomes a plausible Magic: The Gathering card – Adrian played only seven creatures! Yet, two copies of Dive Down make sense… Relative to just a couple more Ionizes. Dive Down simply protects Niv-Mizzet when you’re on seven or more mana. You’re getting paid on multiple fronts, then hopefully untap with Niv-Mizzet in play.
Adrian’s deck plays a truly elegant mana base – Sullivan actually went down on lands relative to some other Jeskai decks… But it made more sense. There is not a single basic Plains. Why? Plains doesn’t cast Niv-Mizzet. Adrian still needed white for Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or the odd Settle the Wreckage, but had the discipline to bias his mana base in favor of his unique creature decision.
Other Jeskai Decks quake in fear of main-deck Niv-Mizzet – Most of Adrian’s cards actually line up worse, card-for-card against other Jeskai decks. He can plausibly lose a lot of one-for-one battles. Unfortunately for the opponent, Adrian could win only one fight (say, over Niv-Mizzet, who can’t be countered) and with it, the game.
Adrian chose Treasure Map over Azor’s Gateway
We recently saw Elis Kassis play Azor’s Gateway to go alongside Expansion // Explosion and Banefire.
Adrian did something similar… He just played Treasure Map in that four-of slot. Treasure Map is less powerful for casting x-spells than Azor’s Gateway, but much more reliable. For Azor’s Gateway, you need to go to the well five times; not only that, but you have to hit five times. Conversely, Treasure Map will flip with three activations, every time.
The potential card advantage of Treasure Map lets it take up the Chemister’s Insight slot, but going much faster.
Big congrats to Adrian and his Jeskai deck.
Michael and Patrick take a nice long look at that deck, but also hit on the other main archetypes in Standard, including innovations for Golgari, Grixis, and Selesnya Tokens!
Check it all out now: