A Deck Tech For Nethroi Apex Of Death In Magic: The Gathering

Today, we present you with a Magic: The Gathering Commander deck tech featuring one of the all-new legendary creatures from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. With Wizards of the Coast delaying Magic: The Gathering's next set, it is a given that a majority of the cards in this deck will not be released for a little while. However, that merely means this decklist will sate a need that many players will have in the meantime.

Nethroi Apex of Death art mtg Tomasz Jedruszek
The Showcase variant art for Nethroi, Apex of Death from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, by Tomasz Jedruszek.

Today's deck tech covers Nethroi, Apex of Death. This deck will be made with a Mutate shell, and while we probably have not seen all of the cards with Mutate, the ones we've seen so far feel like they suffice for now. On top of this, we will challenge ourselves by adding a card with Companion into the list. Playing Umori, the Collector means that we are limited to a single card type beyond lands, so I've decided to run a creature-only deck here. Thankfully, creatures are a plentiful card type when it comes to abilities that mirror many cards of other card types, so it isn't as bad as one might believe at first.

Umori the Collector mtg card
Umori, the Collector, a new card from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.

The Magic: The Gathering deck tech to be discussed below can be found here. Note that for the sake of this deck tech, while Mutate is the main strategy we are using, I more wish to call your collective attention to the possibilities that we have when only being able to cast creature spells. As such, this deck's Notable Inclusions section will be limited to cards that do not deal specifically with Mutate as a mechanic.

Notable Inclusions To This Commander Deck

Mana-producing creatures: All of the best creatures to cast on early turns of the game in this deck are those that can generate mana. Without things like Llanowar Elves or Birds of Paradise, oftentimes the best plays can't be conducted. These are also serving as your mana rocks, in a sense. Just bear in mind that Avacyn's Pilgrim is a Human, and so cannot be mutated.

Llanowar Elves art mtg Chris Rahn
The art for Llanowar Elves from the Dominaria set, by Chris Rahn.

Human creatures: Speaking of creatures that cannot mutate, for some reason Humans are not allowed to mutate into other creatures on Ikoria and so they are quite scarce in this deck. However, that just means that their utility needs to be top-notch in order for them to be playable in here. Seven creatures in this deck are Humans, and they're all quite good as support. Between Bastion Protector, Knight of the Reliquary, and Meren of Clan Nel Toth, one would be hard-pressed not to play any Humans in a deck like this. Why limit ourselves more?

Recap: Commander Tournament for Charity - "Magic: The Gathering"
Meren of Clan Nel Toth, a card from the Commander 2015 set.

Reveillark and Karmic Guide: Nethroi appears similar to Protean Hulk on a superficial level, but ultimately, our commander is more closely-related to Reveillark and Karmic Guide in that Nethroi has amazingly-strong recursion potential. Granted, Nethroi can recur Protean Hulk or either of these creatures, which of course allows the cards to synergize with each other in an ideal way.

Fauna Shaman: In decks like this, it can feel as though a copy of Survival of the Fittest would be ideal in order to get the best creatures from your toolbox of a deck. Sadly, Survival of the Fittest isn't a creature. Thankfully, though, Fauna Shaman is a near-exact copy of Survival in creature form. While you do need to tap Fauna Shaman to activate her, she does the same albeit once per round.

Fauna Shaman art mtg Steve Prescott
The art of Fauna Shaman from the Magic 2011 set, by Steve Prescott

Vizier of the Menagerie and Oracle of Mul Daya or Verge Rangers: These cards let you see the next card on top of your library, and will allow you to play them. These are necessary especially if you're playing with a Primordial Sage or Beast Whisperer, because this gives the Sage more use as a card advantage engine.

Nesting Grounds: A totally new card coming out of the Magic: The Gathering Commander 2020 set, Nesting Grounds serves as a card that ought to be able to break games. If you can put an indestructible counter on each of a Pestilence Demon and K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth, as well as a deathtouch counter on Pestilence Demon, you've basically just won the game through endless and very lethal damage, for example. This deck also runs a Kathril, Aspect Warper package to ensure that all sorts of counters are passed around on the battlefield.

Nesting Grounds mtg card
Nesting Grounds, a new card from the Commander 2020 set.

Magic: The Gathering Deck Tech Wrap-Up

This Magic: The Gathering Commander deck, while in its absolute-freshest state, will no doubt be revamped over and over again until it's reached an apex. But while that is the honest truth with pun unintended, I've played a few games with it already over a digital interface and it is beyond formidable. What do you think of the new mechanics of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths? Is this set worth getting some cards from? Let us know what you think!

Nethroi Apex of Death mtg card
Nethroi, Apex of Death, a card from the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set.

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About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.
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