Nekusar, the Mindrazer is an extremely powerful and fun commander, who I’ve recently started putting together a shell for. Right away, Nekusar tells us two things: He wants everyone to draw cards, and he wants to make it hurt.

So, what are some of the best ways to make players draw cards? Black, red, and blue are definitely the right colors, let’s break down what this deck is going to do to win.

Windfall-effects are the bread and butter for a deck like this. Named after the card Windfall, this effect is whenever we can make everyone discard their hands and then draw a bunch of cards. Perfect examples of this include Whispering Madness, Wheel of Fortune, Time Spiral, Time Reversal, and Reforge the Soul, just to name a few. There’s even a creature that lets us do this over and over – Jace’s Archivist! Talk about some painful card draw.

So how do we make this happen until our opponents are dead?

Reverberate, Reverberate, Reverberate! Any effect that lets us copy spells instantly gains value for what we’re trying to do. Spend an extra two mana to double the amount of cards drawn – which means double the damage! Perfect cards to fulfill this purpose include Twincast, Fork, Increasing Vengeance, Reiterate, and Howl of the Horde.

Excellent, we’re on a roll. But is it enough? Not quite.

Draw all the cards! Sure Windfall effects are some of the most efficient ways to draw cards, but there are other ways to do it too! We want to make everyone draw cards all the time. Everybody has a hand of ten or more cards at all times. Anything less is heresy with Nekusar. Cards like Temple Bell, Otherworld Atlas, Howling Mine, Font of Mythos, and so on let us make sure that our opponents are doing the one thing they don’t want to do against this deck: drawing cards.

Let’s make it hurt. Sure, Nekusar is a great way to make out opponents very, very dead, but relying on your commander as your sole win condition usually doesn’t work. And again, this is where Nekusar’s colors are perfect for what we’re trying to do. We want to make every card hurt as much as possible, so cards like Bloodchief Ascension, Phyrexian Tyranny, Spiteful Visions, and Psychosis Crawler give us alternative win conditions to Nekusar.

To Infinity, and Beyond! One great thing about Nekusar is that he’s blue and red – two of the most combo intensive colors in all of Magic. So, how does a deck like this want to combo out? Well, namely with Mind Over Matter and Temple Bell or Otherworld Atlas. Not only does this let us make our opponents draw cards infinitely, it ensures that any sort of pain we have on the board is going to kill them as long as they don’t have an answer. Note that this combo also works with sufficient amounts of mana and Jace’s Archivist as well. Three or four activations should be enough to start putting your opponents into the red zone. Being in blue and red also lets us play the ever popular Deceiver Exarch and Splinter Twin combo.

Combo, Assemble! Drawing just two or three specific cards in Commander can be a chore. There’s good news, though! Being in the colors we’re in, we have access to the ever important black needed to tutor for just about anything we could want. Vampiric Tutor, Grim Tutor, Demonic Tutor, Mystical and Personal Tutor, and Lim-Dul’s Vault to name just a few. We also have access to such excellent draw spells as Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain, and Impulse even! This collection of cards gives us serious dig and almost guarantees that we will do just about everything we want to. If so inclined, we could even include Scroll Rack to make things even more interesting.

Keep it together, now. A deck like this has the potential to fall apart in the right circumstances, so we of course have to find a way to protect everything we do. Thankfully, we have an entire collection of cards that will help us prevent our opponents from destroying us outright. Pact of Negation, Force of Will, Misdirection, Mana Drain, Chain of Vapor, Cyclonic Rift, Stranglehold, and Torpor Orb will effectively lock our opponents out of the game and ensure that we get to raze some minds.

Warp speed, Mr. Sulu. Nekusar and friends need a bit of help to get where we’re going. Pretty much anything the deck wants to accomplish is fairly mana intensive, especially if we have to go the route of copying our Windfalls to achieve victory. There are two pieces to this puzzle, the first being taking extra turns. Taking extra turns can mean the difference between life and death for this deck so we play cards like Time Warp, Temporal Manipulation, Walk the Aeons, and Temporal Mastery. The second piece is mana acceleration, in the form of mana rocks. Mana rocks include cards such as Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Talisman of Indulgence, Fellwar Stone, Izzet Signet, Gilded Lotus, and so on. We can also use cards such as Dark Ritual and Cabal Ritual if we’re really short on mana. These to pieces fit together in such a way that they allow us to manipulate the game so that when we intend to win, we win without much of a problem.

The most important part. No Commander deck is complete without a solid mana base, and there are several notable lands worth noting for a deck like this. Ancient Tomb is excellent acceleration. Any of the fetchlands, especially now that they have been reprinted in Khans of Tarkir, are very good in a deck like this, allowing us to thin our deck and get Water Grave, Steam Vents, and so on. Or, if you prefer, Badlands, Volcanic Island, and Underground Sea. Regardless, none of the fetch lands are dead. Of course other fixers such as Command Tower, Exotic Orchard, and Reflecting Pool are essential to any multi-colored Commander deck.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-primer for the Nekusar, the Mindrazer Commander deck! While I don’t have an exact list here, the majority of the cards I’ve listed should be more than enough to get you started. Certainly there are holes in the deck, and I am interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on this deck and cards that may or may not be included in it.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan M.