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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Set Review Commander 2014 – Nahiri, the Lithomancer

August 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Serra Vanguard

The Holy Representative

As the review come to the White Planeswalker Commander for Commander 2014, I was for quite some time speculating who it might be. Although there were many White Planeswalkers throughout MtG storyline, the only possible candidates which came to mind then were only Serra and Commodore Guff. Serra came to mind first due to her being the all time most iconic White representative Planeswalker. Ever since her Angels appeared in MtG history; following her debut and death in the set Homelands; and prelude to her past in Urza Saga series; Serra had always been known to most MtG players as the White Planeswalker. Commodore Guff on the other hand was more fondly remembered due to his involvement as one of the Nine Titans of the Invasion block. When it was finally revealed who the White Planeswalker was going to be, I was not disappointed when it was neither of the above two because the chosen Planeswalker that Wizards had decided to print was a long awaited revelation to another Planeswalker. That Planeswalker was none other than the unnamed Lithomancer who was one of the three who sealed the Eldrazi Titans on Zendikar. We now finally have a name to that Lithomancer; Nahiri.

Wild Research

“Gotta save the future….. Gotta save the future…..”

 

Nahiri, the Lithomancer

 Nahiri, the Lithomancer

Card Name: Nahiri, the Lithomancer

CMC: 3WW

Types: Planeswalker – Nahiri

Card Text:

+2: Put a 1/1 white Kor Soldier creature token onto the battlefield. You may attach an Equipment you control to it.

-2: You may put an Equipment card from your hand or graveyard onto the battlefield.

-10: Put a colorless Equipment artifact token named Stoneforged Blade onto the battlefield. It has indestructible, “Equipped creature gets +5/+5 and has double strike,” and equip 0.

Nahiri, the Lithomancer can be your commander.

Loyalty: 3

Many of us were actually quite shocked to finally see how Nahiri looks like because her overall looks was actually depicted on Stoneforge Mystic, a very famous card from the set Worldwake. This led to many of us to believe that the Stoneforge Mystic had in fact all the while been Nahiri but that was not to be. The truth behind why the two look so alike was due to the fact that Nahiri was the one who started the lineage of the Stoneforge arts on Zendikar. She started the lineage to teach her people the art in hope for them to maintain the lock on the Eldrazi in her absence.

Stoneforge Mystic

“There is a weapon in all Stone….”

The backstory of Nahiri was that initially the three planeswalkers had a plan to defeat the Eldrazi Titans; to lure the Eldrazi Titans onto Zendikar and force them into physical forms so they could battle them with Ugin’s colorless magic and Sorin’s life draining magic; and finally trap them on a plane, sacrificing that plane for the well being of the Multiverse. The chosen plane was Zendikar, Nahiri’s homeplane, for its lush ecosystems and uniquely dynamic mana. Initially unwilling to go with the plan due to the fact that it was her home world which was at stakes, Nahiri gave in in the end and went with the plan as she finally understands that there were no other ways for the greater good. The plan went on with Sorin luring the Eldrazi Titans to Zendikar; Ugin using his invisible breathe to battle and colorless magic to bind them to the plane; and Nahiri constructed the massive network of stone hedrons whose power would form the bars of the planewide prison forever preventing the Eldrazi Titans from leaving. To ensure the imprisonment will stay forever, Ugin arranged the hedrons to direct leylines of energy which were not be disrupted. The three planeswalkers then concentrated their imprisonment spell in a secret location deep inside Zendikar’s mountains of Akoum: a subterranean chamber which later be called the Eye of Ugin. To make sure that the imprisonment would not be broken, the three planeswalker sealed the chamber with a mystical lock: the Eye of Ugin could only be activated by the presence of three planeswalker’s sparks and the colorless, invisible breathe of Ugin.

 

The plan worked; the Eldrazi Titans manifested in physical form on Zendikar and became confined by the magic of the network of hedrons, and thanks to the imprisonment spell sank into harmless dormancy. After the successful imprisonment of the Eldrazi Titans, the planeswalkers disbanded but promised they shall return should the Eldrazi stir again.

3 planeswalkers

“That will do, Lithomancer. That will do.”

 

Nahiri stayed behind in her homeplane and lived happily among her people. She also took it upon herself to be the protector of Zendikar as the wild mana of the plane also lured other beings who would cause harm to it. Ob Nixilis was among one of those who were lure to the plane although he was swiftly intervened and got his power bounded to a hedron by Nahiri before he could do much damage. As mentioned before, she would also go on to teach many her stoneforge arts in hope that they would know how to maintain the hedron network.

Ob Nixilis, the Fallen

Stopped before being a threat.

 

Things didn’t turn out well for Nahiri as centuries later she would became tired of living when those she loved and cared about died leaving her alone. She withdrew into a meditational slumber. As more centuries passed, her teachings of the Eldrazi became garbled and they became revered gods of the Kor and many of the other cultures of Zendikar. Matters turned for the worse when vampires, which were never before seen previously on Zendikar, built a shrine on the nexus of the hedron network causing the prison of the Eldrazi to become unstable and allowed the brood lineages to spill over the plane. Nahiri awoke and called for help to Sorin and Ugin but neither responded. Although she managed to restore the prison on her own, she was confused as to why Sorin had not show up when she called for him and decided to find him. She planeswalked away from Zendikar was never seen again even when Sorin came back 6000 years later trying to reassemble the three when the Eldrazi Titans stir yet again.

Sorin, Solemn Visitor

“Where everybody go?”

 

Long backstory asides; let’s look at Nahiri in game. Nahiri is a stoneforger, Artificers who can forge things from stone. Her card has a very top down design to her storyline staying true to her abilities as an Artifcier. Her first ability sort of showcase her teaching her people the stoneforge art; bringing in Kor Soldier tokens which can attach Equipment to themselves when they entered the battlefield. Equipments are very good Creature enhancement but the equip cost of some Equipments can be quite high to immediately equip a Creature as it enters the battlefield. The Zendikar Kors are a tribe of Creatures who were designed back then to work around the equip cost. Equipment with big enhancement usually also comes with a high equip cost. Normally in the early game, we would only have mana for casting the Creature but not enough to equip the Equipment; or cast the Equipment but not able to attach it to the Creature. Nahiri’s Kor Soldier tokens benefit from the Zendiakr Equipment trait by saving you the equip cost to equip Equipments to them as they provide you with an enter the battlefield trigger of attaching Equipment to them. This helps saves mana for you to cast other spells while getting an enhanced Creature in the process which could effectively gives you a big Creature depending on what kind of Equipment you are having on the board to begin with for her plus loyalty ability. Another way to look at the ability is it is very much like Living Weapon only that the Kor Soldier token has a at least a 1/1 body rather the 0/0 body of the Germ token.

Germ Token

A little bigger body

 

The minus ability on the other hand is looking at her stoneforge ability from the Equipment perspective. This ability sort of showcases her abilities to forge weapons out of stone by allowing you to get Equipment onto the battlefield from either your hand or graveyard. Besides being able to skip the costing cost for Equipment, the other impressive part of the ability is that she could bring back Equipment from the graveyard; a very valuable ability in EDH where long games is not uncommon. It is especially deadly when you skip the casting cost of powerful Equipment. Wizards has a very simple way to balance cards and that is to raise the casting cost of the problem cards they found during R&D playtesting. Powerful Equipment is also prone to being targets of removal. The minus ability also helps out in dealing with that by retrieving the destroyed Equipment not to the hand but onto the battlefield.

Magnetic Theft

“Here. Have an Axe.”

 

Last but least the ultimate which although takes a while to reach is actually very deadly as it is a powerful game ender when it is activated even in normal variant. This is largely due to the power boost it provides. The Stoneforged Blade token gives a whopping +5/+5 to the equipped Creature and grants Double Strike while at it; which is as well as saying +10 to the power. As it is Double Strike, 5 of that 10 damage is dealt first, and all that damage is not even counting the base power of the Creature the Stoneforged Blade is attached to. The Stoneforged Blade also makes it harder for your opponents to deal with by being Indestructible. And as if all that is not enough, like a last nail to your opponents’ coffin, Stoneforged Blade cost nothing to equip. Some may ask what is so deadly about all the above? The scenario is quite simple. An Ornithopter attacking a player is nothing impressive but that same Ornithopter with the Stoneforged Blade attached attacking a player is going make him or her face go white.

 

Tribal Theme – Kor

Nahiri is very powerful Equipment-based Planeswalker. It is quite obvious that she works best in decks that have lots of Equipment. Her first ability lets you skip equip cost and the second one skips the casting cost of Equipment. This enables you to create powerful Voltron Creature with all the Equipment and go in for a deadly strike. And as mentioned earlier, since the Kor Soldier token she produces picks up an Equipment when it enters the battlefield. Below are some examples of Equipment which are recommended to include.

 

Argentum Armor Nahiri can either skip the high cc or skip the high equip cost. Either way it is a 6/6, not even considering the base power and toughness of the Creature the Armor is attached to, which allows its controller to destroy a permanent as the equipped Creature attacks.
Blinding Powder / Heartseeker / Leonin Bola / Sunforger / Surestrike Trident Equipment which have an unattach ability sort of like throwing the Equipment out. Nahiri’s Kor Soldier tokens can skip the equip cost to re-attach the Equipment. Sunforger is special in this case as Nahiri cannot be the Commander if it is to be use in the deck (Sunforger color identity is Red and White).
Deathrender This Equipment has the powerful ability to skip the cc of Creature card in your hand when the Creature it is attached to dies. A common problem to the ability is that Deathrender needs to be attached for the ability to trigger. Nahiri solve that problem with the Kor Soldier token.
Echo Circlet Super blocker Kor Soldier token
Empyrial Plate Nahiri produce a Kor Soldier token which grows with your hand.
Grafted Exoskeleton Nahiri produce 3/3 Kor Soldier token with Infect.
Kaldra Equipment Kaldra Equipment (Helm of Kaldra; Shield of Kaldra; Sword of Kaldra) are all powerful Equipment which become even more powerful as you assemble all of them onto the battlefield. A weakness to that is that they are usually target of removal. Nahiri can help to assemble all of them by bringing in those that were destroyed or bringing in those that are not cast.
Loxodon Warhammer Nahiri produce 4/1 Kor Soldier token with Trample and Lifelink.
Ogre’s Cleaver / Vulshok Gauntlets / Warlord’s Axe Low cc but high equip cost Equipment which give Nahiri’s Kor Soldier tokens huge power and toughness boost.
Pariah’s Shield Creates a martyr every turn which would take all damage for you once.
Pennon Blade Nahiri produce a Kor Soldier token which grows with the size of your army.
Skull Clamp Effectively making Nahiri first ability says, “+1: Draw two cards.”
Sword of the Meek Sword which reanimates itself when Nahiri produces a Kor Soldier token.

 

 

Another interesting way to use Nahiri is to view her as a Kor Tribal Commander. The Kor tribe was first introduce during Tempest set and was later expanded further in Zendikar where they are given their skillfulness with Equipment. Since Nahiri is a native Zendikar Kor, she can play that role of a Kor Commander. Also her ability can help to bring in all the Equipment for the Kor to use too. Although the tribe is relatively small compare to other tribes of MtG, below are some Kors which can be consider for use.

Armament Master

Lead the Tribe

 

Armament Master The first Kor lord which pumps your other Kors by +2/+2 for each Equipment attached to him.
Cliff Threader / Marsh Threader Landwalkers which attacks White’s enemy colors or Red and Black respectively.
Dawnglare Invoker Shuts down target player’s blockers.
Devout Lightcaster Anti-Black Kor. Super help to Devotion to White too.
Kitesail Apprentice / Kor Duelist Kors which get stronger when equipped.
Kor Cartographer Land ramper.
Kor Firewalker Anti-Red Kor. Help to Devotion to White as well.
Kor Hookmaster / Kor Line-Slinger Kors which tap down Creatures.
Kor Outfitter Kor which plays around with Equipment. Saves on high equip cost to equip Equipment. A bigger Kor Soldier token.
Kor Santifiers Artifact or Enchantment removal when kicked.
Kor Kingfisher Bouncer to bounce permanents you control so they can be recast. Good reset on those permanents.
Lancers en-Kor / Nomad en-Kor / Outrider en-Kor / Shaman en-Kor / Spirit en-Kor / Warrior en-Kor Kors with the damage redirect to self ability; an unique ability of the first Gen of Kors.
Lawbringer / Lightbringer Anti Red and Black creatures, respectively.
Lone Missionary ETB life gain.
Silkenfist Fighter / Silkenfist Order Combat trick attackers which discourage blockers.
Stoneforge Mystic The most famous and widely used Kor.

 

Equipment plays a supportive role in many decks since they are mainly colorless Artifacts. Nahiri is also much fitted to be in a supportive role in any deck that uses a lot of Equipment. This is especially so in a Voltron deck since these decks are packed full of Auras and Equipment to pump up the Voltron.

 

To Lead or Be Lead

Nahiri, the Lithomancer Full art

The Stone is strong in this one.

In my opinion, Nahiri is better at being the support to the deck instead of being a Commander. Equipment requires Creatures to use them. If there are no Creatures around, the Equipment is useless. Granted that Nahiri does produce a token to wield the Equipment but in an EDH game with multiple players, that token usually will not survive too long before Nahiri becomes open to attack. Henceforth Nahiri is much recommended to be used in a Voltron style deck. Besides having more choices of enhancement depending on the color identity of the Commander for the Voltron, Nahiri can also help by bringing back Equipment which are destroyed. Otherwise, one could challenge his or her creativity and make a Kor Tirbal deck.

 

So what do you think of final revelation of the Lithomancer’s identity? Would you prefer her as the Commander leading the Kors to battle; or as a normal Planeswalker picking up your “toys” for you? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below. And with that, we have come to an end for the series of Commander Review articles for Commander 2014. We hope you have enjoy reading all the articles as much as we had writing them. Till we meet again in our next article.

 

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

:D~

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  1. […] and Kozilek. They were trapped millennia ago by three Planeswalkers; Sorin Markov, Ugin and an unnamed Lithomancer on Zendikar. Their plan was for Sorin to lure the Eldrazi to Zendikar and allow Ugin to bind them […]



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