Bringing Magic to Life - Attaining Niv-ana

(Food Chain | Art by Craig Spearing)

Another Player Enters the Fold

Editor's Note: Article has been updated 6/6/2019 to include attribution to u/ShaperSavant's Food Chain primer

Hey everyone! Kya here once again! Welcome back to Bringing Magic to Life, the series where I appease my corporate overlords and justify my existence here on EDHREC. Here we're going to turn our gaming table into more than just a place to throw down cardboard; here we're going to bring our decks to life!

Today's article will continue my recent trend of stepping out of my comfort zone. In addition to trying out a slightly more serious deck, we're going look at some amazing crafts that another member of the community has made! Every once in a while someone's work will blow my mind, and fortunately this time I have the opportunity to share it with the EDH world! First, however, we've got to create a deck worthy of this amazing invention I've yet to disclose to you!

I've gushed about Nicky B plenty of times before, but today we're looking at one of my other favorite Dragons: Niv-Mizzet Reborn! That's right, the Dragon so egotistical that his own form couldn't contain himself, and he became reborn into an Avatar of Ego! (That's definitely the lore, take my word for it. No need to look it up.) Today we're going to learn how to embody his personality with a new, superior deck!

Let's look at what our reborn Dragon can do! First of all, even at his most basic, he's a flying 6/6 for 5 mana. That's pretty nice, and comes with an even nicer ability: his ETB trigger can add multiple cards to your hand based on their color pairs! Needless to say, his mere existence adds a lot of flair to the stage. Best of all, he's in every color, so you'll never run out of ways to abuse this neat little feature. There are a dozen ways to play this commander and I'm sure you've already read one or two articles featuring him. So what do we have planned for today?

That's right! Food Chain! ShaperSavant and others of the cEDH community have pioneered the Food Chain archetype, and you can check out their primers here.

If you stop reading at this point, I completely understand. Competitive decks can be dizzying for some players. If you're game for something spicy, though, let's continue.

If you're too innocent to understand this tainted card, I'm going to break it down: this enchantment allows you to exile a creature you control to obtain mana equal to that creature's cost, plus one. That new mana can be used to cast creatures only.

Cool little card, right? But what makes that such a big deal? The creature goes into exile, so who cares about a little mana? Well, here is where it gets... evil.

Somewhere along the line, Wizards of the Coast printed a couple cards that can be cast from exile. You can cast one of these creatures as you normally would, and feed it to Food Chain. Then you can cast it again, and feed it to the enchantment once more. And once more. And over and over and over. Recast the creature, exile, rinse, and repeat. This nets you an extra mana every time you feed the machine, and you now have infinite colored mana for creatures! Isn't that insane? Who decided casting creatures from exile was a good idea? Whoever it is, I love you.

What do we do next, you ask? Well, you cast your lucky commander. Niv-Mizzet will trigger, putting cards into your hand. Then, you exile him with Food Chain too. With all that infinite mana, you can cast him from the command zone as many times as you want, drawing as many two-color cards in your deck as you could ever want!

Now, I know what you're thinking. How on earth do you manage to get lucky enough to reliably get one of those cast-me-from-exile creatures into your hand? Well, don't worry: you're in five-color heaven! You won't have any lack of tutors to worry about. Even better, this strategy makes normally terrible tutors into something truly amazing. You have very special cards like Manipulate Fate, Demonic Consultation, and Foresight to put those very special creatures into exile, ready to cast whenever you'd like!

So how exactly do you win with infinite mana? The mana obtained from Food Chain can only be used on creatures, which means you can't use cards like Debt to the Deathless to win. This makes your win conditions limited. Luckily, we still have a few nifty ways, all tutorable with our commander as we infinitely cast him! You can either ping people to death with Sparkcaster, mill with Circu, Dimir Lobotomist, or simply suck the souls out of the group with Vela the Night-Clad, all of which trigger repeatedly as you cast Niv or your other castable-from-exile creatures over and over! For folks already familiar with Food Chain, this may not be totally new, but it is totally nasty.

As an alternative, throw in cards like Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain to draw cards as you cast Niv, and snag an easy win with a Laboratory Maniac. I personally already own a Labman deck and refuse to make another - just one of each sickeningly evil deck type for this girl, thanks! My point is simply to show that there are a lot of options with infinite mana, even when you're restricted to casting a single card type with it.

The rest of the cards to fill out the deck are obvious choices, and simply support the combo mentioned above by either protecting the key cards or searching for them. Below is the full decklist! Keep in mind that I built the list below without much regard for the budget. As long as you get the core cards however, you can build within your budget to make sure those core cards are working properly.

cEDH Reborn

Commander (1)
Creatures (18)
Instants (24)
Sorceries (11)
Artifacts (8)
Enchantments (5)
Planeswalkers (2)
Lands (31)

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer

Fun, huh? Find Food Chain and a creature that can return from exile, then feed it to Food Chain for infinite mana. Use that mana to do the same thing with Niv, casting him over and over from the command zone and drawing into one of your two-color creature spells that will finish off the game. Simple!

A few notes to justify some of my odder choices: I added Gamble for fun. Grab Squee, the Immortal with it and it doesn't matter if he accidentally goes to the graveyard! Same goes for Lion's Eye Diamond. It's great having no fear with Squee! I think my biggest irk of the deck is that finding and protecting Food Chain can cause a bit of anxiety, but when you do pull it off, it's a grand ol' time.

The Powers of the Community

Now for the part we've all been waiting for. Okay, the part I've been waiting for! It's time to show off one of the coolest commander props out there!

A 3D Niv-Mizzet Commander card, made by the one and only Adam! He can be found on Instagram at @4ADuel and his Facebook can be found here as well. Is this not the most amazing Commander-related prop you've ever seen? Well, don't worry: Adam has provided some step-by-step instructions on how to create one of your very own!

It all starts with getting your very own Dragon! You can buy a Niv-Mizzet from the D&D Icon of Realms Guildmaster here. You can tell a lot of work and detail went into this; as a fellow art hobbyist, I have to admire the level of detail added to the model. It takes me hours to paint just a silly Ork, I can only imagine how long it took for this monster!

Next was grabbing the buildings from Game Workshop's Adeptus Titanicus! Looks like we have another Warhammer 40k fan who plays EDH! I wonder what the God Emperor would think of such blatant heresy on his buildings....

Oh well! It looks pretty!

Finally it's time for some good old fashioned 3D modeling! That's right, people! He paints, he plays 40,000, and he does 3D models! Sounds like a trifecta to me. For those taking notes, he created it in AutoCAD and printed it from Shapeways. After printing out the model, some professional painting makes it look like a real card!

Then finally Adam puts it all together. Perfectly painted and assembled, ready for our egotistical Dragon to perch himself on his new kingdom. Being a pro, Adam magnetized the perch and the model to make sure transport is nice and easy! Now that's how you show off your commander! If I didn't make it clear enough, I'm clearly a fan of his work!

Closing Thoughts

So what does everything think? Do you think such an amazing model is worthy of today's deck? Or is the deck just barely deserving of this glorious statue? Or is perhaps everything unworthy of the greatness of our Avatar of Ego? Let me know your thoughts!

One final shout out to Adam and his amazing work. Showing his content on EDHREC was a true gift I'm very thankful for. If you have any magnificent works of art related to EDH, feel free to email me at! If our team agrees, we can promote awareness of more stunning creations to the EDH world!

(Oh and I'll be at GP Vegas this year. Small update. Not a big deal. Secretly freaking out.)

Have a great week, gang!


Never fear! Kya's here! Kya has been a long time EDH player and hobbyist. With an extended history of blacksmithing and 3d printing various MTG related items for fun, she has turned her attention to sharing her mad scientist brews to the public. Although a competitive player by nature, her aim is to provide fun and silly deck ideas to those looking to spice up their play groups. Kya is here to scratch that demented individual's itch for pure chaos and show everyone that a Warp World can be a fun experience! Except when you have a Hive Mind and Eye of the Storm out...