14, Jun, 24

Ridiculous Combo Deck Has Players Calling for Bans

Article at a Glance

A lot of players have been keeping a pulse on the new Nadu, Winged Wisdom deck. This three mana bird threatens to play your entire deck as early as turn two, lining you up for a Thassa’s Oracle win. Admittedly, decks trying to win as fast as turn two have some consistency issues. To counteract this, the majority of the player base is taking a slower approach aiming to consistently win on turn three.

We’ve covered Nadu, Winged Wisdom decks coming out of the woodworks in the past, but the archetype is being innovated upon quickly. Recently, MTG streamer and pro player Kanister took down a Modern Challenge with Nadu, and the deck looked problematically impressive. Hogaak might be back but with with wings and a beak.

Nadu Summer Incoming

Nadu, Winged Wisdom

To put it bluntly, this card is way too pushed. Nadu, Winged Wisdom has a stupid amount of things going for it that makes this deck hard to stop. Three mana for a 3/4 flier is already above rate and allows Nadu to survive a Lightning Bolt. The amount of playability this enables the bird cannot be understated as this card is much more difficult to remove than it appears.

Even if you do manage to remove it, Nadu replaces itself. The same triggered ability that allows Nadu, Winged Wisdom to win the game via combos also punishes your opponents for targeting your creatures with spells or abilities. Not only do you need above-average cards to deal with Nadu, but you’re also behind on card advantage for doing so.

Finally, Nadu not only gives this triggered ability to all of your creatures, but each creature gets to trigger it two times. That’s certainly a lot of free draws. The combo potential for this card is obviously there.

Players who bought in on Shuko before people realized just how broken Nadu really is can give themselves some credit. This card is worth more than $30 at the moment! Shuko is the main card being used to execute the combo. This card, essentially, triggers all of your Nadu abilities without paying any resources. This allows you to flip your deck, put all of your lands in play, and win the game with Thassa’s Oracle.

There is a concern that you may run out of creatures to trigger. Springheart Nantuko fixes this need by creating a green insect every time you drop a land. Since Nadu’s triggers put lands directly into play, Springheart Nantuko will create more insects than you’ll ever need. Search effects like Summoner’s Pact and Chord of Calling allow you to find Nadu and Springheart Nantuko easily. Additionally, effects like Stoneforge Mystic and Urza’s Saga can help find Shuko while generating some decision trees themselves. This gives the deck both a combo and a midrange angle.

No Weaknesses?

Honestly, this deck comes prepared to cover a ton of different angles. Delighted Halfling speeds up your mana but also prevents your Nadu from being countered. Teferi, Time Raveler plays a similar role, and can even trigger your own Nadu effects in a pinch. The One Ring, which occasionally sees play in both the main deck and the sideboard, gives Nadu decks another payoff that they can build towards.

The heavy presence of green in this deck allows Nadu to play some powerful sideboard cards to foil some common threats. Endurance screws with any graveyard strategies players can come up with, and Force of Vigor may be better in the mirror than players think thanks to the presence of Shuko and Urza’s Saga.

This combo deck is fast, consistent, and can get around a lot of hate. This is, honestly, a recipe for disaster. Players haven’t had time to adapt to the Nadu menace yet, but the deck certainly looks absolutely terrifying.

For players who don’t want to join the flock and instead fight against it, there are some ways to deal with Nadu.

How to Slow Nadu Down

The best way to slow down Nadu is to attack the deck’s enablers. Disrupter Flute is a rather popular way of doing this. Using this card you can name Shuko and essentially shut the equipment off entirely. In lists where Shuko is the only enabler, this makes it much more difficult for Nadu to combo off.

Sadly, there is another enabler that is gaining some popularity, Outrider En-Kor, which can do the work of Shuko but is tutorable with Chord of Calling. Disrupter Flute is still powerful against the Nadu deck, but it may not be enough to stop the combo on its own.

Another powerful tool against this deck comes in the form of Dress Down. Dress Down not only turns off Nadu completely for a turn but can stop a Thassa’s Oracle win. This is sometimes enough to make the Nadu deck self-destruct. That said, all Nadu needs to do is side in a copy of Force of Vigor and Dress Down is reduced to a card that delays Nadu for a single turn.

The best way to deal with this deck is with effects like Extirpate that remove all copies of a card from the deck. Extirpating Nadu or Thassa’s Oracle generally ends the game on the spot. This gives Mill a surprisingly good matchup against the deck. Nadu decks, however, were quick to adapt, adding Endurance and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into the sideboard.

Finally, packing removal that can actually deal with Nadu, Winged Wisdom properly can really help your matchup against the Bird Wizard. Unholy Heat is a great option if you can actually get Delirium quickly enough. Otherwise, Solitude is a popular MTG card that gets the job done. A lot of the traditional removal options in Modern don’t quite hit Nadu, so some adjustment is likely needed to find cards that properly deal with the Bird.

Calls for Bans

The desire to ban Nadu, Winged Wisdom is not an uncommon one in the community. The deck is undeniably powerful and could border into the realm of being powerful enough that the banhammer is the only way to deal with it.

The play experience that Nadu offers is another point of contention against it. Not only are the games it offers incredibly uninteractive, but the combo can be rather difficult to pull off in a timely manner. Because each creature can only trigger twice, you need to keep track of what triggers have already been used. On a digital platform like Magic Online which already has some visibility issues with massive boards, this becomes incredibly confusing.

“The Nadu deck is soooo miserable to play. Especially on mtgo. Please just ban it to make my life easier”


That said, I have been playing Nadu myself on the platform, and if you practice the execution a little bit, it doesn’t take too long to pull the combo off. MTGO regrouping your tokens at random intervals is annoying, but as long as you can somewhat keep track of what tokens haven’t been used yet, you can generally get through the combo in just a few minutes. Make sure to yield to all of your triggers. It will speed up your sequence immensely.

Read More: The Most Expensive Modern Horizons 3 Cards

Nadu in Commander

Some players aren’t too worried about Nadu in constructed formats, but are instead worried about its effect in Commander. Nadu is definitely a cEDH playable Commander. Its strong results in tournaments this weekend are a testament to that.

As Saffron Olive points out above, if Nadu really is a problem in Modern or Legacy, it will eventually get banned and the format will be ok. Sure, some players will lose some money in the process, but that’s the life cycle of Magic, so it seems.

Commander hasn’t really banned anything, at least in quite some time. For reference, the last official Commander ban took place in 2021, when Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, bit the dust. This means that powerful cards like Nadu are likely going to stick around for the foreseeable future.

In theory, Rule Zero can solve this problem on tables where you know your opponents. On random tables, however, Nadu players may find themselves unnecessarily targeted. Even if the Nadu player isn’t running the combo at its worst, this card is too good to ignore. This essentially stops anyone from properly playing Commander until the Nadu player is dealt with.

Sure, Rule Zero should help a lot of pods out with figuring out equal power levels, but when a Nadu player who, reasonably, just wants to test out their new Commander deck, sits down at a pod of strangers, the table may be forced to shut down the Nadu player before actually playing a game of Commander, which is not fun for anyone.

Like Combo? Play Nadu While You Can

All in all, if you’re a combo degenerate like myself, Modern is the place to be right now. Nadu offers players an absurdly powerful combo deck to tinker around with. If you want to buy into this deck, just be careful. Nadu Summer is a term not lightly said, and its been floating around a lot of the community’s thoughts. If Nadu really is powerful enough to summon the shadow of Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, the card may just end up getting banned. Whether it does or doesn’t is anyone’s guess.

Read More: Modern Horizons 3 Card Completely Breaks Older Format

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