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Saturday, July 14, 2018

M15 Core Set Review – Ob Nixilis, Unshackled and Designed by Others

July 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

For many years, Wizards had been holding “You Make the Card”, a design contest of sorts, allowing the Magic Community to design cards for upcoming sets. The rule for that design contest was that they put up polls on their web site and allow us to choose among choices and taking the winning poll results to proceed with the design of the card. Design choices include, card types; colors; artists; artworks; etc. Below are the cards made thus far through “You Make the Card” before M15.

Design Period



January 16 2002 – December 6 2002

Forgotten Ancient


January 31 2003 – November 18 2003

Crucible of Worlds

Fifth Dawn

January 25 2005 – January 25 2006

Vanish into Memory


Crucible of Worlds

An old World to New


Then there were also the Invitational cards which were designed by the winners of the Invitational Tournaments, a tournament which invites the top players from all over the world. Winner to the tournament get to design a card with their face depicted on the card. Below are all the Invitational cards printed till date.






Olle Rade

Sylvan Safekeeper


Darwin Kastle

Avalanche Riders


Mike Long

Rootwater Thief


Chris Pikula

Meddling Mage


Jon Finkel

Shadowmage Infiltrator


Kai Budde

Voidmage Prodigy


Jens Thoren

Solemn Simulacrum


Bob Maher

Dark Confidant


Terry Soh

Rakdos Augermage


Antoine Ruel

Ranger of Eos


Tiago Chan

Snapcaster Mage

The reason I am mentioning all these is because M15 have brought back the “You Make the Card”. And on top of that they had also invited various games designers VIPs to contribute their creative minds to create MtG cards. Definitely a first and various cards are actually very interesting card designs.

Snapcaster Mage

Cream of the Crop


Designed by Others

Below are the cards which were designed by the game world VIPs.


Known for


George Fan

Designer for Plants vs Zombies

Genesis Hydra

Penny Arcade

Penny Arcade webcomic, creators of PAX

Avarice Amulet

Markus Persson

Creator of Minecraft, founder of Mojang

Aggressive Mining

Richard Garriot

Creator of Ultima series

Shield of the Avatar

David Sirlin

Designer on Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Yomi

Master of Predicaments

Rob Pardo

Chief Creative Officier at Blizzard, lead designer of World of Warcraft

Xathrid Slyblade

Isaiah Cartwright

Lead game designer for Guild Wars 2

Warden of the Beyond

Justin Gary

Designer of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer and Solforge

Winner of Pro Tour Houston 2002, National Team Championship in Worlds 2003

Spirit Bonds

Stone Librande

Lead designer of Diablo 3, creative director of Simcity

Goblin Kaboomist

Brian Fargo

Founder of Interplay Entertainment and InXile Entertainment

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

Mike Neumann

Gearbox Software, creative director on Borderlands

Chasm Skulker

James Ernest

Owner and lead designer for Cheapass Games

Hot Soup

Edmund McMillen

Indie designer of Super Meat Boy, featured in Indie Game: The Movie

Cruel Sadist

Brad Muir

Game designer at Double Fine Productions, project lead on Iron Brigade

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled

The Magic Community

Playing Magic

Waste Not


Mechanically and visually, a lot of the cards really reflect the games the designers are involved in. For eg., Genesis Hydra commissioned artwork looks a lot like the Plant in Plants vs Zombies; unknown though if it was pun intended Wizards even made it as a Plant Hydra, not to mention that the Hydra’s powerful casting trigger had warrant it a slot in many normal variant Standard decks. Personally my favorite is the latest of the “You Make the Card”, Waste Not, which begins design on March 11 2013. As can be clearly seen by the triggers; this Enchantment designed by us, The Magic Community, is very deadly in a discard deck. The benefits become even greater when using mass discard card abilities and spells against multiple opponents. For instance, Syphon Mind not only just draw you cards but also give you Zombie tokens, extra card draws and Black mana, depending on what your opponents discard. Bottomless Pit and Necrogen Mists net you something more while they devastate your opponents’ hand at their upkeep. I am actually quite happy with the end result for this “You Make the Card”. Another personal favorite which had also gained some popularity among the normal variants, especially Modern & Legacy, is the Chasm Skulker. This Squid Horror is capable of growing to huge sizes due to the amount of card draws present in the two mentioned formats and any removals short of the infamous Path to Exile & Swords to Plowshares just might make matters worse since it splits the Squid Horror into more Squid tokens as it dies. Our friend Justin Lee made a fun Standard deck utilizing Ordeal of Nylea & Ordeal of Thassa to reap the benefits from the ordeals ASAP, numerous times had us facing a 13/13 or 14/14 Squid Horror ready to smash us. He even went to the extent of including Scourge of Skola Vale later to ensure an exiled Chasm Skulker does not go to waste. Talk about being killed by an army of Calamari.

Waste Not

Brought to you by all playing the game


Ob Nixilis, Unshackled

As can be seen among the list of designed cards there are two Commanders, namely Ob Nixilis, Unshackled & Yisan, the Wanderer Bard. For today article, we will talk about Ob Nixilis first. Yisan will be discuss in another article. Below are the stats of this v2.0 of Ob Nixilis.

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled

Card Name: Ob Nixilis, Unshackled


Types: Legendary Creature – Demon

Card Text: Flying, trample

Whenever an opponent searches his or her library, that player sacrifices a creature and loses 10 life.

Whenever another creature dies, put a +1/+1 counter on Ob Nixilis, Unshackled.

P/T: 4/4


Backstory of the Fallen

Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath

Dark Soul with a Dark Past

Just who is this Ob Nixilis you may ask. What is the story behind this Demon who first appeared in Zendikar set as Ob Nixilie, the Fallen? The flavor text on its first card already explained a glimpse of its past, it was a Planeswalker. Ob Nixilis was Human Planeswalker who was turned into a Demon by the use of the Chain Veil. He had gone to Zendikar in hopes of using its rich mana to rid himself of the curse and restore his original form. Unfortunately for him, the plan backfired and Ob Nixilis lost his spark due to the powerful and chaotic mana of Zendikar.

Adding further injury to his humiliation, a Kor named Nahiri who was Zendikar’s self-appointed protector implanted a hedron on his forehead, further stripping whatever power he still possessed. This rendered him to be immobile for days and caused his wings to shrivel and fell off days later when he was able to move. Trapped on Zendikar, he had since then vowed revenge on Zendikar and its inhabitants.

Ob Nixilis, the fallen

Fallen into deep shit…..

Utilizing the fact that he is a Demon, Demons do not need rest as he puts it, Ob Nixilis had since then for centuries studied the hedrons, becoming the one other than their creator to know their magic better more than anyone. He made it a point to make introductions whenever a Planeswalker would come to his place, telling them all he knew about Zendikar. He did this in hope that one would help him to remove the hedron on his forehead; and sure enough after meeting dozens in countless years, one proud arrogant child finally took the lure and struck him down and extract the hedron. From then on Ob Nixilis had begun to regain his strength and regrow his wings. Though still missing his spark, he knew it was within his reach. And to regain it would mean complete obliteration of Zendikar.

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled

Time for Vengeance


Anti Demonic Tutor

Brad Muir, the designer of Ob Nixilis, Unshackled, had wanted to design a card of story importance. Having chosen Ob Nixilis, he really did a fine job with the design I would say. Ob Nixilis v2.0 is in my opinion every EDH players’ nightmare as tutor abilities and spells are the most common and relied on effect in EDH. Every EDH deck I had seen so far has some form of tutors regardless of the colors, whether it was just a simple Land ramp or searching for particular answer cards. Ob Nixilis v2.0 punishes your opponents for tutoring by making them lose 10 life and sacrifice a Creature. And as if that is not enough, it even adds more insult to the injury by growing bigger as it punishes your opponents, getting a +1/+1 counter for each other Creatures which die. All these adds up to its huge 4/4 body with Flying and Trample, allowing it to make short work of an opponent.


To Command or be Command

Ob Nixilis v2.0 makes a very good Commander for its set of abilities, which is a deadly combination in EDH. This makes him a clear “Must Get Rid of” target every time he hits the battlefield. Making it a Commander, although costly over time as you cast it back from the Command Zone, is one good way to keep getting him back onto the battlefield, the other way being through reanimation. Choosing Ob Nixilis v2.0 as Commander also saves it from graveyard hate as you can send it back to the Command Zone should it be exile from the graveyard. Ob Nixilis v2.0 gives the feel of being the ultimate choice for a Group Hate Commander. If you need a choice for a Group Hate Commander, Ob Nixilis v2.0 definitely is a good candidate, with all the Black hate cards like; Bottomless Pit; Dread; Call to the Grave; Dictate of Erebos; Grave Pact; Necrogen Mists; No Mercy; Pillar Tombs of Aku; to Group Hate your opponents with. Ob Nixilis v2.0 will act as that final nail to the coffin after you have establish some form of control over your opponents. Giving them the ultimatum; either you slowly draw or library manipulate into your answer to my Commander or lose 10 life to tutor for that answer.

Otherwise, Ob Nixilis v2.0 also makes a good addition to Demon Tribal deck. Having a high profile Commander is not always a good thing, especially one with a high casting cost. It would not be much of a problem if you could get Ob Nixilis v2.0 out early but the longer it takes, the more your opponents are prepare for it. Politics is a great aspect of EDH and with Ob Nixilis v2.0 abilities; you can’t blame everyone else to go against you since you are the one hating everyone with it.


Summing the Evil

Ob Nixilis v2.0 belongs to those Creatures whose board presence is very loud. It does not outright win you the game straightaway but untaken care of is very irritating. No doubt it has a high casting cost; it is very worth it to have on the battlefield. I would definitely recommend it for play if able to; regardless as Commander or normal Creature.

What do you think of Ob Nixilis, Unshackled? Will you choose it as your Commander or add it to your ranks of Demons in your Demon Tribal deck? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below. That is all I have for Ob Nixilis v2.0, I shall end off today article. Thus till the next article…


This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.


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