Hello and welcome to A Seat at the Table, the column where I pick a commander and talk about what I’d include in the 99. This week, March of the Machine: The Aftermath has given us a lot to chew on, but of course, for anybody who knows me, I have to talk about Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin.
A Rakdos Demon in a pinstripe suit, our newest Ob is a 4/3 Flying and Trampling legendary Rakdos Demon for 2BR with a textbox that’ll have some Prosper, Tome-Bound players including it in the 99, or straight up pivoting.
Time for a textbox:
Whenever one or more opponents each lose exactly 1 life, put a +1/+1 counter on Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin. Exile the top card of your library. Until your next end step, you may play that card.”
EXCUSE ME! What a tank! The Ping King!
A few things to note:
- There’s a very good chance your opponents will want to target your commander with all the advantage you’ll be generating. Be sure to protect the reluctant crime lord.
- Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin’s triggered ability only triggers when opponents lose exactly one life. That means if you have a trigger that makes them lose one life all at once, that’s still one trigger. So you’ll need effects that stack this up.
- You’ll be exiling a ton of cards and beefing up Ob Nixilis in the process. Your curve needs to be able to support this. Ways to play your exiled cards and get payoffs is going to be useful and important.
- Ob Nixilis is going to be huge, so make sure you slap the opponent giving you the hardest time with commander damage so you can keep pummelling everybody.
Let’s get into the 99. There’s a lot to talk about!
Triggering ONCK’s ability
There are so, so many ways to trigger Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin. The moment there’s a Laboratory Maniac or Thassa’s Oracle for red or black, this deck won’t have anything to fear. How about using lands to deal damage?
Hecatomb turns all your swamps into pingers. Manabarbs turns all lands into pain lands while Burning Earth only does it for nonbasic, so be sure to pack your basic lands and watch your opponents’ greedy mana bases run them into the ground. Leechridden Swamp has an activation ability where the condition is easy to meet and reads “ping a player and impulse draw a card” that’s not bad for the investment. Noxious Field and Barbed Field can turn a land of yours into a pinger as well.
Do you want your creatures to hurt your opponents? Impact Tremors gives all your creatures, even tokens, an ETB ping for each opponent. Kessig Flamebreather and Firebrand Archer hit each opponent for one when you cast noncreature spells. Electrostatic Field does the same if you play instants and sorceries. Just like the new Urabrask // The Great Work, but only pinging one opponent. Soot Imp punishes your opponents for playing nonblack cards and gives you card advantage. Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat reward you for creatures dying and ping opponents. Gibbering Fiend hits on ETB and per upkeep, potentially drawing you an extra four cards a turn cycle. Kyren Negotiations turns all your creatures into pingers. Goblin Bombardment lets you dispose of creatures and trade them for damage and cards.
Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor turn your opponents’ combat step into an extra draw for you and them, not unlike Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant. With Fate Unraveler and Kederekt Parasite, Nekusar all-stars found a new commander to team up with, punishing your opponents for drawing.
Wanna gamble? Rakdos Charm! Say hello to potentially your entire library!
The combo card we just saw last set is back with another infinite combo. That’s right All Will Be One goes infinite with Ob Nixilis. Just ping something, put a +1/+1 counter on Ob, rinse and repeat. Boring! But effective.
I prefer to lean into Mindcrank. Mill everybody else out! Why not! It’s your party.
I’m going to be honest, I blew my word count with that first section, so I’m going to be pretty economical with the rest of this article.
You need hella mana and lots of cheap stuff to cast from exile to get most of your value. Rituals like Dark Ritual, Seething Song, Cabal Ritual, Pyretic Ritual, Desperate Ritual, Battle Hymn, Brightstone Ritual if for some reason you’ve got a ton of Goblins (hint hint), Burnt Offering, Culling the Weak, Infernal Plunge, Sacrifice, and of course, the best rituals, Jeska’s Will and Mana Geyser. I also really quite like Rousing Refrain, but if you’re playing competitively, leave it out of your list. Don’t forget to pack a Dualcaster Mage!
What about mana rocks? Mana Crypt, Mox Amber, Chrome Mox, Jeweled Lotus, Lotus Petal, Mana Vault, Sol Ring (duh), Arcane Signet, Grim Monolith, Fellwar Stone, and if you’re packing, Mox Diamond and Lion’s Eye Diamond.
What about creatures? Dockside Extortionist, Storm-Kiln Artist, Birgi, God of Storytelling, and another mention for Urabrask! Hmmm, feels like we’re missing a big one: Neheb, the Eternal! Making your post combat a real slam, Treasonous Ogre allows you to trade life for mana which can make a huge difference here. Hoarding Broodlord can tutor a card for you and then put your creatures to work to cast more stuff from exile!
Caged Sun is a big boost. Ghirapur Orrery will allow you to drop multiple lands, making sure you don’t miss any from exile. Empowered Autogenerator gets stronger every time it taps. Glittering Stockpile does a similar thing for one shot cash in, but does it nonetheless.
Birgi got a nod but there’s a creature missing that deserves his own section…
Prosper, Tome-Bound and His Tech
Pingers such as Mayhem Devil, Reckless Fireweaver, Disciple of the Vault, Nadier’s Nightblade, Ingenious Artillerist, and Hedron Detonator all think you should lean into treasures and tokens, and they’re right. Ghirapur Aether Grid lets you use your Treasures and turns them into cards without needing Professional Face-Breaker if you’ve got ONCK in play.
Passionate Archaeologist, Keeper of Secrets, Nalfeshnee, Wild-Magic Sorcerer, Delayed Blast Fireball, and Kami of Celebration pay you off for playing from exile. Pain Distributor turns your opponents’ Treasures into cards for you and gives you a little boost when you’re playing your first spell each turn.
Protect your boy and End the game!
No matter what, you’ll need your commander. Darksteel Plate, Swiftfoot Boots, Lightning Greaves, and Whispersilk Cloak are all ways to protect ONCK with Equipment. You might be losing a lot of life. Keep yourself out of reach with Shadowspear. That lifelink is more relevant than ever. Malakir Rebirth and Deflecting Swat keep your opponents from having it their way when they target the bossman.
You can play a lot of cards in a turn. Cards like Grapeshot, Tendrils of Agony, and to an extent Empty the Warrens will end a game if you boost your storm count high enough. Aetherflux Reservoir can keep you in the game and tear it down on the same card.
My favourite way to end a game with this big beefy mafia don is to toss him at your opponents faces. Chandra’s Ignition, Fling, and Rite of Consumption will turn ONCK’s power into a game over. But my favourite of the cards to end the game with in this way is Fiendlash, an overlooked piece of Equipment from Forgotten Realms Commander. Slap this on Ob Nixilis and start paying for Pestilence. I’d say give it five activations, and you’ll deal five damage to each opponent for a total of 15 damage. There with triggers for five, six, seven, eight, and nine damage to toss around for a total of 35, taking you to 50 damage total.
What an insane commander. I can’t believe this in the 50-card lil’ baby set! Be sure to pick up packs of March of the Machine: The Aftermath.
That’ll do it for this edition of A Seat at the Table! Let me know which commander you’d like covered next time @mikecarrozza!