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Pioneer Nexus of Fate

POSTED BY Andy Hakenewerth December 4, 2019

Pioneer Nexus of Fate

Since my top 8 performance with Nexus of Fate at the Indianapolis Standard Classic at the beginning of 2019, I have been attempting to find the best shell for the deck. During the dominance of mono blue standard, the deck had middling success at the Grand Prix level, but was ultimately kept in check with cheap disruption backed by aggression. With the creation of Pioneer, we once again get to dive into creating a Nexus of Fate list. In this article, I will discuss the list I have been working on and how the deck looks moving forward.


When going over online and paper tournament results, it seems that the Simic and Bant shells have been the main consensus for deck construction.


Simic seems more streamlined, while the Bant version plays more similarly to a midrange/control deck with a combo finish. While the Simic version appears to be the more popular, it is in my opinion that the Bant version of the deck has a higher power level. The game 1 plan for nexus usually goes without being disrupted but tends to struggle in post board games due to incidental hate for multiple matchups. With the Bant version, the deck struggles less with the post board games, while being a bit slower in the first game. In my personal play style, I prefer playing the individually powerful cards as opposed to being more streamlined.

Individual Card Selection for current lists.


Blast Zone: This card helps answer any problem permanents that are preventing us from executing our game plan. Additionally, having the ability to sweep one drops is a play that occurs often in this format.


Fog/Haze of Pollen: These are lumped together, mainly because they provide the same effect. While fog is more efficient than haze, having the ability to cycle Haze of Pollen has been the reason for “splits” between the two cards in lists. I am currently on 4 haze/0 fog, as I value the cycle more than the one mana interaction. This can change if the go large aggressive decks rise in popularity.


Censor: I have a love/hate relationship with Censor. Having access to early interaction is important for protecting life totals early, but it becomes a dead card so much more quickly than other forms. The cycle becomes redundant because the deck plays 4 Growth Spiral. It is for this reason that I am currently playing 0 copies of Censor.


Growth Spiral: Instant Speed Explore and is easily sideboarded out. I’m sold.


Supreme Will: Modal Mana Leak/Impulse for one additional mana has proven to be very strong in this deck. Having interaction for problem spells and being able to dig for a missing resource or piece of the combo makes this a perfect addition to the deck. Because the deck can be glutted on 3 drops, I am currently playing 2 copies.


Brazen Borrower: This is a recent addition that is seeing play as opposed to blink of an eye. There are a few things to consider when making the comparison between the two. First, Brazen Borrower is not able to target our own permanents, so it loses a bit of utility where blink of an eye can reset Tamiyo and company. Second, the pressure that it provides game one is usually mitigated by the removal that is already in the deck, making the kicker on blink much more valuable for the deck. Brazen Borrow seems to be a requirement for the Simic version, but not as necessary for the Bant.


Oko, Thief of Crowns: Multi format all-star, play this card until they tell us to stop.


Teferi, Time Ravaler: This has been the main reason for my interest in Bant over Simic. Having our own Teferi not only protects us from other various combos, but it also makes it to where the opponent cannot interact with us once we start going. Being able to reset threats and replace itself, virtually buying a turn for the deck to sculpt its’ game plan has proven to be excellent.


Dig through Time: This card is legal oh my gosh, we should be playing it until we cannot anymore. If for some reason Dig Through Time gets banned, the deck could possibly cease to exist (outside of the namesake Nexus of Fate). This card interacts unfavorably with Search for Azcanta, but it is so powerful it needs to be played.


Search for Azcanta: Think tank that becomes an engine for finding combo pieces is a powerful effect for this deck. This card was mostly omitted due to the power level of mono black aggro. While thoughtseize serves as the gatekeeper of the format, Search for Azcanta fixing draws and providing a late game advantage engine makes it a 2-3 of in any list. I’m currently playing three, but I can see a world where it gets cut down to 2.


Wilderness Reclamation: Untap your lands, combo off and win.


Sphinx’s Revelation: This is Dig through Time number 4, and another reason I wanted to play Bant. Like Expansion // Explosion in standard, Wilderness Reclamation and Sphinx’s Revelation go hand in hand usually burying the opponent in card advantage.


Sideboard Choices


With the banning of Veil of Summer, the deck becomes weaker to discard. This is the unfortunate reality of playing a combo deck. I believe the Bant version is set up in a way that it can combat discard and counter magic a little better than Simic.


Cerulean Drake: This was a 2 of until the banning of Smuggler’s Copter. I am under the impression that red based aggro decks will become more popular, and having this as a means of protecting our life total in the early game is a plus. Wild Slash with ferocious gets around protection, so be wary of that


Deputy of Detention: This card originally picked up zombie tokens, but being able to pick up problem permanents helps it remain in the sideboard.


Oko, Thief of Crowns: When combo disruption comes in, this guy comes in too. Having Oko in the deck makes the opponent try and interact on multiple axes, and if Oko doesn’t win Nexus will.


Unravel the Aether: People play scary artifact cards; this helps with that.


Thing in the Ice: This card has over performed, as often removal spells that don’t answer planeswalkers get side boarded out. This card helps stymie early aggression and closes the game every quickly if left unanswered.


Display of Dominance: This card can either be awful or amazing. While being unable to protect from discard, it does a good job of removing teferi or Oko from play and protecting your own planeswalkers.


Mystical Dispute: There are many counter spells we can play in this spot. I personally like Mystical Dispute because even when it doesn’t get the 1 mana bonus, it is functionally an expensive Mana Leak. There is reason to play Dovin’s Veto in place of Dispute, but sometimes the mana does not cooperate.


With the meta game shakeup occurring every week until 2020, it is possible that this deck could be banned out of existence. Now that midrange and control decks become more open with the loss of Field of the Dead, Nexus has a chance to occupy the combo portion of the metagame to test these slower decks. I believe that the inevitability of Nexus in conjunction with Dig through Time makes it potentially broken, but until then take all the turns and have fun!

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