Decklist – Notion Grief
Mike Eaton, Play Unplugged
Every so often, Magic: the Gathering gets less chummy and more . . . let’s call it involved. You find a card that can do something special, and your inner Johnny kicks in and says, “I can actually do this? Well, now I have to!”
What are we dealing with, here? Well, let’s start with what the blasphemous little rogue can do in Standard. He can flash in as an instant, so his ability to steal card-drawing makes him a nasty trick against a full Sphinx’s Revelation or Disciple of Bolas. That, alone, makes him worth the card stock he’s printed on. At 3/1 and four mana, he’s fragile enough that you’ll want to watch out, but stealing several cards in advantage is something we haven’t seen in quite a while.
The multiplayer and EDH (Commander) lovers among us will note that Notion Thief applies to all opponents. That means as long as he’s around, you can use any of your favorite Mass Card Draw spells in ways Mother Nature never intended. Small-scale, you can grab two or more cards from Jace Beleren by adding a counter. You can Howling Mine without fear. Copy and paste your favorite way to make opponents draw, and get ready to steal it away from them in a flash.
It’s actually pretty sick, when you think about it. But who am I to . . .
. . . Oh, I just thought of something. A decklist. And I don’t think you’re ready for this decklist. It can surely be improved upon, but it just came to me like a vision, and I’m going to let the cards flow through me and onto the page. God help us all if anyone builds it.
4 Underground River
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Jwar Isle Refuge
4 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
4 Notion Thief
3 Body Double
4 Teferi’s Puzzle Box
4 Turn Aside
1 Oblivion Crown
3 Psychic Spiral
4 Dimir Keyrune
2 Whispering Madness
. . . So, there’s a reason I linked specifically to Puzzle Box. Here’s what Puzzle Box does when Notion Thief is out:
1. Opponent draws his or her card for the turn.
2. Opponent puts that card on the bottom of his or her library.
3. You draw the total number of cards put on the bottom in this way.
I’ve added Whispering Madness and Fabricate to make sure we get to our combo, Dimir Keyrune to help us win before we die, and Psychic Spiral to reshuffle our deck (and mill the opponent’s) to make sure we don’t die before we win. You’re liable to run out of cards quickly with this — though you should only be getting one extra card per opponent, once it gets rolling. Oblivion Crown is in there as a one-off in case you draw into it along with 40 other cards, hopefully to combo into a win.
The only thing that can disrupt you at this point would be to stop the combo in response to Puzzle Box’s trigger. If the opponent can blow up Notion Thief or Puzzle Box, it’s all over until you replace it. Body Double is there to help if the worst happens, and the twelve counterspells in the deck are all there to stop one of your permanents from blowing up in the middle, by countering anything that comes down on your permanents at Instant speed!
But really, that’s why Teferi is there, watching over his Puzzle Box; while he’s out, your opponents can’t play anything at Instant speed . . . which means they can’t play anything.
You’re only going to be able to play this deck once per playgroup, I assure you.
NOTE: I haven’t added up the total costs, but no individual card in this deck costs more than $5, so I feel comfortable calling it “budget.” It might cost a bit to put together from scratch, and Thief himself is pre-selling for $10 each on eBay, but this is day one. There’s no telling how that price could change when he hits Standard. Right now, people are expecting him to stop Sphinx’s Revelation and Think Twice, but if he can’t hack it, he’ll probably drop dramatically like Disciple of Bolas (a wonderful card!) did. And that will be exactly where we want him.
Hope you enjoyed this little foray into what can only be described as Dimir incarnate, with the help of a brand-new rogue and of the hero of Time Spiral, Teferi — and his toys. Until next time, remember that Playing Unplugged doesn’t always mean you have to play nice!