Niv-Mizzet, Supreme | March of the Machine :The Aftermath
8, May, 24

Lesser-Seen Slickshot Card Boosts Top Meta Deck!

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It’s been nearly three weeks since Outlaws of Thunder Junction graced our shelves, and it’s proven to be quite the impactful set so far. No format has been safe from its cowboy-hatted clutches, with new cards seeing play everywhere from Standard, to Modern, to Vintage. Pioneer has been in on the action too, with a few Thunder Junction cards making the cut in Niv to Light lists.

All of these cards were relative sleepers during spoiler season. Now though, with proper playtime behind them, players are starting to appreciate their power. Niv to Light is one of the best decks in Pioneer at the moment, commanding a solid 9% meta share according to MTG Goldfish. And these new cards elevate its game plan to another level. Let’s take a look.

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Lilah, Undefeated Slickshot

You’re likely sick of hearing the word ‘Slickshot’ if you’ve played Magic at all recently. Slickshot Show-Off has made waves in multiple formats, bringing a terrifying Aggro threat that can end games out of nowhere very early on. While Show-Off has (appropriately enough) been hogging the spotlight so far, there are other Slickshots in the set.

Lilah, Undefeated Slickshot is one of these, and she’s sick of waiting in the wings. In recent Pioneer Preliminary events, the card has seen play in multiple Niv to Light lists. Given the deck’s reliance on multicolored spells, particularly Instants and Sorceries, this makes a tonne of sense. Each time you cast one with Lilah out, you can Plot it for free, then use it again later on.

Niv to Light decks thrive on their diversity and variety, so there’s no shortage of great cards to double up with Lilah’s ability. You can use an extra Unmoored Ego to snipe key combo pieces, a bonus Lightning Helix to stabilize against Aggro, or even get an extra Kolaghan’s Command to do pretty much anything you want.

Sadly copying Bring to Light with Lilah doesn’t work, since the card scales off of the number of colors used to cast it. Thankfully the rest of the deck’s spell suite works perfectly, though.

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Pillage The Bog

Here’s a classic rags-to-riches story. Pillage the Bog, as we’ve discussed previously, is one of the best hidden gems from Thunder Junction. Nobody paid it much mind when it was revealed, but now that it’s out it’s tearing things up in multiple formats, Pioneer included. The card starts off as an Impulse-esque draw effect but quickly scales up as you play more lands, essentially becoming a Tutor later in the game.

In a deck like Niv to Light, an effect like this is incredibly valuable. The deck plays a tonne of one-ofs to answer specific situations, and Pillage can grab them consistently later on. If it can’t hit the card you need, it can probably hit Bring to Light, which in turn can hit the card you need. It’s a great consistency booster for the deck and one that, as mentioned above, plays great with Lilah.

It also plays very well with some of the other key cards in the deck. Both of the titular Nivs, Niv-Mizzet Reborn and Niv-Mizzet, Supreme, synergize with it, letting you draw it from your deck or cast it from your graveyard, respectively. Niv to Light is a deck all about reacting to your opponent’s game plan, and Pillage the Bog helps it do that better than before.

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Ancient Cornucopia

Niv-To-Light-Thunder-Junction-Ancient-Cornucopia

In a similar vein to Pillage the Bog, Ancient Cornucopia was majorly underestimated during spoiler season. It’s turned things around now, however, spiking massively in price thanks to it seeing play in multiple formats. Pioneer, of course, is one of these. This Thunder Junction Big Score card slots so nicely into Niv to Light, that it almost feels made for the deck.

First of all, the card is a three-mana rock that provides mana of any color. Niv to Light is a five-color deck, so fixing like this helps a tonne in the early game. It also ramps you by one, opening up lines involving Lilah and/or multiple spells in one turn. The card has been seeing play at two copies for now, but I could see that going up to three or four as players come to rely on the color consistency it provides.

Second of all, the card gains you life based on the number of colors in the first spell you cast each turn. In most decks, this is a fairly underwhelming effect. In Niv to Light, however, it can give you a whole second life pool. The majority of the deck is two colors, so you can gain at least two life a turn with Cornucopia. If you open your turn with a Niv-Mizzet or an Omnath, Locus of Creation, though, you’ll get a major bump that can be a real nail in the coffin for aggressive decks.

Results On The Rise

Each of these Thunder Junction cards has made a notable impact on Niv to Light. Recently, the deck has already been overperforming following the release of Murders at Karlov Manor. Here, the addition of Lightning Helix to Pioneer helped push the deck to new heights.

Following this resurgence, Outlaws of Thunder Junction has kicked Niv to Light up yet another notch. In recent major tournaments, this deck has shown itself to be a real threat that’s capable of hanging in the top eight. In fact, the deck claimed first place in a Pioneer Preliminary just yesterday, as well as the 14th, 16th, and 22nd spots. This proves that the deck is not just showing up in good numbers, but that it’s capable of taking down major events in the right hands.

As time goes on and the archetype is refined further, we may well see Niv to Light topping more major tournaments thanks to these new additions from Outlaws of Thunder Junction!

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