Yeah, he is not legendary, but Mark Rosewater has said that the Nephallim should be considered legendary. He probably would have received the designation had commander been as popular when Guildpact was released as it is now. Most playgroups I have encountered are fine with it ,but its best to make sure that yours is before building the deck. It is a shame I do not see any Nephallim commander decks since they all have cool build around abilities and create interesting interactions. He seemed like a fun card overall and building him was an interesting exercise. There are a few lists around the internet ,but not near the amount of results if you googled Meren or a similarly popular general. Thus, this build is based off of my own instinct and some EdhRec card suggestions due to the general lack of data on old Glint-Eye. This deck has a relatively simply game plan ,and is a blast to play. Lets take a look at what this under used Nephallim can do!
Overall game plan
The deck is mainly one part ramp, one part card draw payoffs, and two parts pump spells/evasion. The idea is to get Glint-Eye on the field as soon as possible, give him a form of evasion and swing. Once he is not blocked, cast an entire hand’s worth of pump spells and end someone with commander damage. When he connects he provides the gas needed to kill someone else, a friend of mine described it as a “rail gun”. Glint-eye essentially heads up an instant/sorcery voltron deck with a few auras and equipment sprinkled in. Once we have drawn all of those lovely cards we have more pump, and probably some answers in case any opponents attempts any funny business. This deck plays similar to modern infect in that it utilizes a series of pump effects to make one creature big enough to end an opponent in one shot. I typically do not see pump spells in EDH which is due to the presence of multiple opponents. If we spend our pump to kill player A we do not have any gas to kill players B and C. Glint-Eye solves that problem when his first ability triggers giving us the gas to kill any remaining opponents.
The deck at the moment has a cheap four color mana base with a bunch of basics thus, the ramp package includes the usual green suspects in Cultivate, Kodama’s Reach, Rampant Growth, Farseek, Sakura Tribe Elder, Harrow, and Explosive Vegetation. In addition, I run all of the signets that provide my most important colors, Commander’s Sphere, Coalition Relic ,and obviously Sol Ring. The most important purpose that the ramp serves is to fix our colors as quickly as possible since Glint-Eye costs one of each color and we need him on the field, ready to fight as quickly as possible. Due to the presence of all this ramp ,and the low curve this deck can get away with running a less than average amount of lands.
Card Draw Payoffs
The idea is that we will be drawing big chunks of cards when Glint-eye hits; having all of those cards is all well and good but we need on board ways of benefiting from all those cards. The first of these is Chasm Skulker, if Glint-eye just smacked someone into oblivion with Chasm Skulker on board it becomes another threat that makes board wipes awkward to cast. Glint-eye is not similar to most card draw focused decks however much like those decks he enjoys being alongside a Psychosis Crawler. This horrifying horror will drain our opponents of all the cards we are drawing ,and it is easy to cast. With the Crawler on the field it is not unlikely that we can drain the table by drawing twenty or thirty cards. Also, if we do not have a maximum hand size and ways to give creatures evasion, Psychosis Crawler can be a devastating attacker in its own right. It is not uncommon for a game to end by Psychosis Crawler or Chasm Skulker swinging in at the last opponent. Their abilities are why they are in the deck but they will become deadly attackers simply by the deck functioning.
A key part of the deck’s strategy is giving Glint-eye evasion so he can hit someone potentially for lethal and in doing so refill our tank with gas. I built the deck to care more about making sure that Glint-eye can sneak through unscathed rather than worrying about trampling over opposing blockers. I include a couple auras that make our Nephilim unblockable in Aqueous Form ,and Cloak of Mists. In addition to those Thassa, God of the Sea can make any of our creatures unblockable for an efficient cost. She is indestructible so there is not much concern of her being removed, and the scry is good bonus value. I also include Distortion Strike which is at sorcery speed ,but it rebounds and gives a little power bump all for one blue mana. The fact that it rebounds makes this card overperform since at times we need one turn to knock out a player, two turns of unblockable in most cases will mean the end of two opponents if the Nephilim sticks around. In addition, Glint-Eye’s bottom ability allows us to discard cards to give him a small pump which can act is pseudo card filtering. This activation can also be used to put Wonder in the graveyard which gives our team flying. This helps the Nephallim evade blockers ,but also allows us to close out a game by swinging with either Psychosis Crawler or Chasm Skulker. I personally do not run the other cards in that cycle since none of the other keywords help Glint-Eye evade blockers. However, Anger might be a decent include for this deck whether it is worth a slot or not is meta dependent. I focused on protecting Glint-Eye that first turn then attacking the next turn instead of giving him haste it is a card to consider though.
This deck is essentially a voltron deck which depends on the card draw that Glint-Eye provides so it is paramount that he stays on the field. The deck runs a suite of protection sometimes in the form of counterspells; other times in the form of instants that give the Nephilim hexproof or indestructible for a turn. The counterspell suite includes Dispel,Negate, Swan Song, and Counterflux. The first three are all purely intended to protect Glint-Eye, odds are the spells that will kill him or bounce him will be instants or sorceries which all of those will counter. In addition they are not color intensive since we have four colors to worry about. Counterflux is included because it is a fantastic silver bullet which I believe is worth the color requirement and this deck fixes its colors well enough that casting Counterflux is not usually a concern. I also run Without Weakness which gives Glint-Eye indestructible and also cycles if we are in desperate need of a new card. Dive Down,and Blossoming Defense both cost one mana to give a creature hexproof. In addition, Vines of Vastwood when kicked gives our dude a nice buff ,and even if it is not kicked will save Glint-Eye from a kill spell. Once Glint-Eye thwacks someone for a decent amount it is likely that one or more of these answers will be available so he can plunge into the red zone next turn.
Pump it up!
This is ultimately how this deck wins swing with Glint-Eye use a chain of pump spells to get him to the magic number 21. There are no shortage of such spells in Magic and since this deck is four colors we get the cream of the crop. There are a few pump spells that shine in this strategy and when chained together spell doom for whoever Glint-Eye is attacking. My personal favorite is Might of the Nephilim. It’s a flavor win ,and gives our guy +8/+8 it essentially reads draw eight cards for two mana which is a pretty good rate.
Blood Rush is also a proven finisher after Glint-Eye hits eleven power. Since this deck ramps so much blood rushing Rubblehulk is pure gold; since this is not casting a spell it is less open to interaction ,and is often enough to put the nail in the coffin. Additionally, giving Glint-Eye double strike is fantastic since after first strike damage we draw cards off of his trigger and can cast more pump spells before normal damage occurs. I also run Tainted strike since 10 is smaller than 21 ,and ending a player with infect leaves more resources to deal with the remaining players.
This and the interaction with double strike are key parts of the surprise potential that this deck has that most voltron decks lack. While it is not an instant speed pump spell, Wild Defiance causes this deck to snowball alarmingly fast. It gives any pump spell an additional giant growth attached. With Wild Defiance on the field, any opponents in Glint-Eye’s crosshairs will not survive the combat.
Obviously someday I would like all of the fetches and shock lands however, this deck runs fine on this cheap mana base therefore, I am in no hurry. I am considering running Past in Flames, vomiting a series of pump onto Glint-Eye twice seems sweet. I will likely enlarge the answers package since it seems a tad slim right now. I am running a suite of kill spells at the moment however, I feel that there needs to be more of them as well as more counterspells. Other than those improvements I am pretty happy with where the deck is. In the series of games played with it I have only missed color once or twice. Any suggestions please let me know!
In my opinion this is a unique take on Voltron as a whole which takes unplayable cards and makes them powerhouses. I mean I have never seen Wild Defiance or Might of the Nephallim in commander before. Hell, I didn’t know these cards existed! I still receive the “what does this thing do?” reaction which is still hilarious. In addition, this deck is easy to build since nobody uses these cards ,and it runs like a dream. I wish I saw the Nephallim more because all of their effects are unique ,and make for dynamic games of Magic.
Thanks for reading!
Here is the list
-Paul of Clan Nel Toth
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