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Ingenious Infiltrator Art by Jason Rainville

Historic Dimir Ninjas Deck Guide: The Most Stylish Way to Destroy Opponents

Want to play a deck that's as powerful as it is awesome? Skura has the list for you as he goes over why you should pick up Dimir Ninjas in Historic!

Usually, when players opt for some black-based tempo decks, they go for Rogues. They of course have their merits and most of it is pre-built as the best Rogues have been printed relatively recently. However, there is another tribe that I believe is worth visiting and that’s Ninjas.

In the games I’ve played, I was surprised by how many cards the deck draws and how good its interaction suite is. Let’s break the card choices down.

UB Ninjas
by Skura
Buy on TCGplayer $603.18
Historic
best of 3
0 mythic
32 rare
14 uncommon
14 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (6)
4
Fatal Push
$15.96
1
Spell Pierce
$0.25
1
Make Disappear
$0.25
Sorceries (4)
4
Thoughtseize
$87.96
Artifacts (4)
Lands (23)
3
Island
$0.75
4
Swamp
$1.00
4
Drowned Catacomb
$31.96
4
Watery Grave
$75.96
60 Cards
$370.54
Sideboard
2
Spell Pierce
$0.50
3
Dive Down
$0.75
2
Aether Gust
$1.58
2
Infernal Grasp
$2.58
15 Cards
$49.35

Deck Tech

Ingenious Infiltrator Art by Jason Rainville
Ingenious Infiltrator Art by Jason Rainville

Let’s start off with the creature base.

Similar to Rogues, there’s a lot of payoffs for being dedicated to the Ninjas game plan. Let’s start with easily the most impactful creature in Ingenious Infiltrator. Its basic mode is being ninjutsu-ed in for {U}{B} and, crucially, has three points of toughness. The true payoff is its on-hit trigger. While you might recognise the trigger from cards like Ninja of the Deep Hours, this one is much better. It works whenever ‘a’ Ninja deals combat damage, not just itself. There are two key takeaways. One – Infiltrator doesn’t need to even attack; as long as any ninja deals damage, you’ll draw. Two – it triggers multiple times for each ninja. If you’ve had three ninjas deal damage, you’ll draw three cards!

There is one lord effect in the deck in Silver-Fur Master. Buffing creatures is useful as eventually, we want to close games. Sometimes we will go full-on aggro with a one drop, into Master, into another Master for raw damage output. Its ninjutsu cost is, interestingly, exactly the same as the casting cost. It’s not obvious how you should cast it. If you ninjutsu it in, you get it as an attacker immediately, but you will have to re-spend mana on the creature you bounced. In addition, if you play it in the main phase, creatures get the buff which makes it tougher for the opponent to block, while if you wanted to ninjutsu it in, it’d have to be done post-blocks and only if there is any unblocked creature.

Moon-Circuit Hacker is our only one-mana ninjutsu creature. So far I’ve got two, but I can easily see going up to 4. It looks awfully familiar to Ninja of the Deep Hours which is in Historic as well, however, its 2 mana ninjutsu cost and 4 mana hardcast mode make it less playable than Hacker. The main thing you have to remember is that it draws a card upon the first ninjutsu-ed in hit, and loots with each subsequent hit.

Our top-end of sorts is Mist-Syndicate Naga which makes a copy of itself upon hitting. You do want to ninjutsu it in as having 1 toughness makes it very weak when blocked. Remember that when you have multiple, each triggers for itself so if you connect with two, each will make a token, resulting in 4 Nagas total. It’s relevant as they have 3 attack so they bash nicely and our lord Silver-Fur Master makes them even scarier.

The deck plays a few evasive non-ninjas as our enabling fodder to ninjutsu creatures in off of. Ornithopter is excellent in that it flies so it always breaks through, but can also be immediately recast after being bounced. The biggest game-theory issue with the mechanic is that you have to reinvest resources back into creatures, but this makes it a non-issue. On top of that, It has some additional utility but I will mention it in the next section.

There is one creature that is of all the types and that’s Changeling Outcast. In this deck, it of course matters that it’s an unblockable ninja right off the bat. However, it being a Servo and a Thopter also matters which I will highlight in the next section. It’s easily the best one drop as it guarantees ninjutsu as it’s always unblocked.

Hope of Ghirapur is fun-of, but it’s our ninth Thopter.

Spectral Sailor is not a ninja and but its main role is being a flash evasive creature to bounce. If your opponent does not yet know what you’re doing, you can end step flash it and proceed to ninjutsu a creature in. On top of that, it has the card draw ability that could come in handy in grindy games.

This is a completely different angle to the deck. It’s a creature-making machine which can just be used as ninjutsu fodder or chump blockers. If we’re patient, we can upgrade Servo to a 4/4 creatures. However, this is where the creature types become relevant. Ornithopter and Hope of Ghirapur are Thopters so they can immediately be sacrificed to make a 4/4. A curve of turn 1 Foundry and Ornithopter, make a 4/4 turn one is very strong. In this day and age, damage based removal is very popular and it’s tough to take out a 4/4 with it early.

Changeling Outcast is also a Ninja and a Thopter so it can come in handy depending on the draw and our plan. You don’t even need to proactively cash it in for the 4/4, but hold the Foundry up to respond to a removal spell.

The deck is also plenty interactive. The core is 4 Fatal Push and 4 Thoughtseize.

Thoughtseize is going to pick holes in the opponents game plan. I like playing a creature or two first, and then Thoughtseize the opponent to make sure they can’t interact with what I’ve already played. It’s also great against combo decks like Dragon Storm, Ultimatum etc.

Fatal Push is not only a great removal spell early, but it also synergises with the overall strategy. Ninjutsu turns on Revolt so we can be sure that Push can kill any creature of mana value 4 or less. It’s a great way to efficiently clear the battlefield to make sure our ninjas connect.

I think there are 2-3 slots for other pieces of interaction in the deck, preferably efficient ones. Spell Pierce, Make Disappear, Drown in the Loch are my front runners. You can adjust those based on a given metagame. You could play more removal in Bloodchief's Thirst and a Doom Blade effect like Heartless Act if the meta is more creature-centric.


Matchups and Sideboard Guide

Mist-Syndicate Naga Art by Randy Vargas

Izzet Wizards

INOUT
+2 Infernal Grasp-2 Mist-Syndicate Naga
+2 Aether Gust-4 Thoughtseize
+2 Dive Down

We want to get a bit more controlly post-board with more removal and a bit of protection. I do not side in Spell Pierce as they will very rarely trade up on mana. Dive Down, on the other hand, can at least help in combat which I think tips the scale for me. Fatal Push is going to be stellar at stopping Dreadhorde Arcanist and any fast draw they might have. If you can trade creatures, do so, but that will rarely be a possibility.

Mist-Syndicate Naga‘s one toughness and high cost make it a no-go for me. It dies to a breeze and we’re going to be super tempo-negative then. Thoughtseize makes us lose life and they top deck pretty well so that’s also bad.

On the play you are the aggressor and on the draw you’re likely to have to play defense.

Selesnya Lifegain

INOUT
+2 Infernal Grasp-1 Spell Pierce
+2 Aether Gust-2 Retrofitter Foundry
-1 Hope of Ghirapur

It’s going to be difficult to win through honest combat as they will have a ton of life gain. The best strategy is to leverage your attacks in such a way that you generate advantage along the way. Eventually you will be able to drop them down to 0 thanks to the flurry of creatures and you won’t die because you will have hopefully drawn enough interaction.

Keep removal for the payoffs rather than life gainers. Remember that if you connect with Mist-Syndicate Naga you will trigger Soul Warden, so calculate if it’s worth it.

You will win games where their draw is clunky and you started out of the gate fast. If possible, hold up a counter for their Collected Company.

Mono Red Aggro

INOUT
+2 Aether Gust-4 Thoughtseize
+2 Infernal Grasp-2 Mist-Syndicate Naga
+2 Dive Down

We are playing a control game. The best plan is to have one creature hitting them and then controlling everything else. It’s going to be tough so you need to trade as much as possible. If you see a lot of aggro, play a different Doom Blade variant rather than life-losing Infernal Grasp.

Dive Down is mainly here to win combat or just soak up damage. We need to stay alive and it does the job. A 4/4 from Retrofitter Foundry is going to block exceptionally well. I side out Mist-Syndicate Naga because it dies too easily in combat, removal, and Goblin Chainwhirler.

Humans

INOUT
+2 Infernal Grasp-1 Make Disappear
+2 Aether Gust-1 Spell Pierce

The deck list as is does not match up well against Humans. I have not played against Selensya Humans almost at all hence no specific tools for the matchup. You could play more point removal in the board or stuff like Crippling Fear.

I side in the only two pieces of removal I play. There could be consideration for Dive Down mainly as a combat trick. Turn one 4/4 with Retrofitter Foundry is going to decide games. Remember that Skyclave Apparition cannot kill the token.

Azorius Control

INOUT
+2 Malevolent Hermit-4 Fatal Push
+2 Spell Pierce -2 Silver-Fur Master
+3 Dive Down -1 Retrofitter Foundry

I believe we have the advantage in this match-up, especially post-board. Once a ninja is in play, it generates card advantage. That’s why I cut Silver-Fur Master as I don’t need raw damage output since I mainly want the other ninjas. Getting Mist-Syndicate Naga going is great. However, now that the deck has Supreme Verdict, it’s much more difficult to overextend and just hold up Spell Pierce for a mass removal spell.

Still, Spell Pierce-ing their planeswalkers and otherwise overpriced spells is going to be great. Dive Down is mainly a way to protect your creature from their already expensive removal like a planeswalker minus ability or March of Otherworldly Light.

Retrofitter Foundry can enable a go-wide strategy but don’t rely on it too heavily. Don’t play in such a way that you have to concede to Divine Purge.


Tips and Tricks

Retrofitter Foundry
Retrofitter Foundry Art by Dmitry Burmak
  • You can keep flipping ninjutsu-ed creatures around. If you ninjutsu in Silver-Fur Master picking up Moon-Circuit Hacker, you can proceed to then again ninjutsu Hacker in. This way it triggers the draw. This trick can also be used in the face of removal.
  • Silver Fur Master‘s discount on ninjutsu applies only to generic mana, not coloured mana.
  • Multiple Silver-Fur Master discounts ninjutsu by {1} each so Mist-Syndicate Naga‘s ninjutsu can go as far down as a single blue.
  • To calculate how Mist-Syndicate Naga scales with its copie,s you can use the powers of two, e.g. after the third attack with all of them you’d get 2 to the power of 3 Nagas.
  • If two Ingenious Infiltrator deal combat damage, you will draw 4 cards, because each of them see themselves and the other ninja.
  • You can’t Casualty Make Disappear with Ornithopter.
  • If you have multiple Retrofitter Foundry, pay close attention to the mana available as you might be able to use their abilities iteratively. One can make a Servo for {2} mana and the other can change it into a Thopter for {1}. This way you didn’t have to pay {3} for the untap ability.

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Skura
Skura

Also known as Skura or IslandsInFront on Twitter and YouTube, Filip started his career upon the release of Gatecrash and has been passing the turn in all formats ever since. He coaches and creates written and video content, mainly centered around the control archetype. He is passionate about Magic game theory and countering spells. Outside of Magic, he is a fan of snooker/pool, chess and Project Management.

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