Same old Niv with some metagame adaptations.
The meta is pretty stable at the moment, with the pillars being BR arcanist, WG humans, BG food, UR phoenix, and WUR control/opus. We naturally have a good humans and phoenix MUs, and a relatively even WUR matchup. Our deck has received some subtle buffs in the last couple standard sets, as the new 2+ other land duals are perfect for us, and the cards Olivia, Crimson Bride, Edgar Charmed Groom, and Lier Disciple of the Drowned are immensely powerful mid-lategame haymakers for us that instantly stabilize or win many board states for us. I have had sucess lately with the posted list, going 15-2 with the deck in this ranked season and landing comfortably at mythic #630.
addendum: I am writing this guide day one of Arcane, WotC\’s new flagship money pit. My initial impression is that the cards are fringe to weak build-arounds and some powerful new humans which will of course push the already strong archetype to tier 1.
Maindeck execution of this deck relies on 4 major principles: hitting land drops every turn, tapping out every turn game 1 (with some clear-cut exceptions), casting Niv-Mizzet on turn 4 or 5 (duh), and using the territorial kavu triggers to enable the previous 3 points.
as far as sideboarding goes, here is a spread for the common matchups:
VS UR PHOENIX:
in: 1 Klothys, 1 scarab god, 1 Kunoros, 1 Teferi, 1 justice strike, and 1 cleansing nova (if we see demilich game 1)
out: 1 Tamiyo, 1 Oliva, 1 Lier, 2 thought erasure
notes: this matchup is a wash if they are on the \”slow\” version without strike it rich. Try to stick a kavu ASAP and rely on your removal spells to clear thru DRC and possible sprite dragons. Resolving first Niv is usually lights out as they cannot reasonably attack through it.
VS BG FOOD
in: 2 culling ritual, 1 Kunoros, 1 cleansing nova, 1 maelstrom pulse, 1 Klothys
out: 1 Olivia, 1 Edgar, 2 deafening clarion, 1 hydroid krasis
notes: this is our most difficult matchup game 1, as our kavus line up poorly against cat oven and our sparse fatal push #\’s create problems with ravenous squirrel. game 2 is an entirely different story however, as we have access to culling ritual, possibly the most lights-out card possible for the food deck. play the postboard matchup to survive until we hit our culling rituals or cleansing nova, and try to stick a Klothys or Kunoros in the meantime. Tamiyo plus always names culling ritual at a disadvantaged board state and Niv if we\’ve already resolved a sweeper.
VS WG LIFEGAIN
in: 2 culling ritual, 1 Scarab God, 1 cleansing nova
out: 1 Olivia, 1 Klothys, 1 Tamiyo
notes: this is an extremely easy matchup in my opinion, as we have plenty of removal to handle their combo pieces, and barring voice of the blessed and Trelassara our helixes should cleanly answer anything. the deck is strangly in the \”tier 4\” bracket of historic Bo3 on the site, but it is one of the most common matchups for me currently. Post board we are just upgrading slow or dead cards into additional hate.
VS BR ARCANIST
in: 1 Klothys, 1 Kunoros, 1 Scarab God
out: 1 Edgar, 2 thought erasure
notes: this is a swingy matchup. we are cold to some of their more busted draws when we fail to remove arcanist on turn 2, but we can easily stay ahead on cards between expressive iteration and Niv himself. since they\’re generally more top-heavy since the Ried Duke team piloted the deck in the most recent Mythic Champs, we can tango a little better than we could vs the Lurrus version. Kavu\’s worth goes down a bit vs their fatal pushes, but between Olivia and Tamiyo we are a little insulated against their removal. save vanishing verses for planeswalkers unless absolutely necessary.
VS WG HUMANS
in: 1 cleansing nova, 2 culling ritual, 1 Scarab God, 1 justice strike, 1 Koma
out: 1 Tamiyo, 1 Lier, 1 Klothys, 2 thought erasure, 1 Olivia
notes: this matchup is trivial if they are the more aggro version without skyclave apparition main, but becomes harder when they have that card. try to stick your kavu asap and back it up with a clarion, as this is usually lights out for the stinky humans. try to control the board until turn 4 or 5 when you cast Niv. Edgar is a house in this matchup.
VS WUR CONTROL / OPUS HULK
in: 2 mystical dispute, 2 Dovin\’s veto, 1 Klothys (if its opus), 1 Teferi, 1 Koma
out: 2 fatal push, 2 deafening clarion, 3 lightning helix (2 if its vanilla control)
notes: we are the natural predator of these control decks. don\’t think too much, just use your kavu triggers to either loot away dead cards game 1 or to attack their graveyard. Niv is an insane haymaker vs any 1 for 1 deck, try to jam it when they\’re tapped out and try to tap them out by making your kavus >3 power. post board we trim dead cards and bring in countermagic for their Teferis and mixxix masteries / gearhulks. we unfortunately need to retain our vanishing verses postboard now, as hullbreaker horror is a terrifying magic card. if they play their own Niv Mizzit our best answer is unfortunately Teferi tuck, but we often can discard it or just overpower them on board before they have an opportunity to resolve him.