Niambi, Esteemed Speaker - Legendary Reanimation and Mini Blink/Bounce

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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

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Niambi, Esteemed Speaker has all the elements of being a solid card advantage general.

There are 40 Legends, nearing half of the deck. In this manner you should have a Legend to discard to get the draw from Niambi, Esteemed Speaker 1wu ability.

Reanimation and Card Filtering
As you discard a Legend to get the draw, this deck takes advantage of the fact that it allows you to play some "big fatty" creatures, as often early on they are not relevant due to cost, but here we can discard them to filter through for more relevant cards for that stage of the game.

On top of this there are also ways of putting creatures from your graveyard on to the battlefield, so you make use of the discard to in fact help this plan.
Loyal Retainers, Karmic Guide, Emeria Shepherd, Elspeth Conquers Death, God-Pharaoh's Gift, Reya Dawnbringer can bring back any Legendary creature.

Sun Titan and Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle will hit 3 converted mana cost or less, so not aimed at the bigger creatures, but none the less makes use of the reanimation theme.

Other cards that help you put cards into your graveyard are Emry, Lurker of the Loch, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Search for Azcanta, Geier Reach Sanitarium, Intuition, Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur.

Bounce and Blink
Niambi, Esteemed Speaker can be cast at instant speed and she can return a creature to your hand.
There are a number of creatures that have "enter the battlefield" triggers for advantages, so you should be able to get additional value from this.

Thassa, Deep-Dwelling also helps with getting additional ETB triggers from your creatures.

You can of course just use Niambi, Esteemed Speaker to save a creature from removal by bouncing them back to your hand. So if you wanted to be patient you can just leave her in the command zone, holding off removal from opponents not wanting to waste their spells.

Card Draw
Drawing another 2 cards per turn as you get into the middle and later portion of the game is pretty great.
You do need to discard a card, but as already pointed out you can use this to your advantage, and there are 11 Legendary Lands in the deck as well, so "flooding" really isn't an issue as you can filter lands often.

On top of Niambi, Esteemed Speaker there are additional ways to draw cards.
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Mangara, the Diplomat, Nezahal, Primal Tide, Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur all draw you extra cards.


Control
Urza's Ruinous Blast can be used to clear much of the board, while retaining yours.

The deck is quite proactive, but there are a number of counterspells and removal as you are happy for the game to go long as you have such an amazing quality of cards.
Once you are casting spells and using Niambi, Esteemed Speaker 1wu activated ability, then you have a firm grasp on being able to handle the game.



Niambi, Esteemed Speaker - Legendary Reanimation and Mini Blink/Bounce

Non-legendary Reanimation


Non-legendary Utility


Legendary Enchantment


Non-legendary Enchantment


Legendary Sorcery


Non-legendary Sorcery


Legendary Artifacts


Approximate Total Cost:

Last edited by darrenhabib 1 year ago, edited 15 times in total.

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pokken
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I think this might be a Crucible of Worlds deck. Pretty high value chucking those legendary lands then replaying them. I tend to overvalue land drops perhaps, and you will likely see a lot of cards.

I definitely think this is a Spellseeker + Ephemerate deck. Ephemerating Niambi, Esteemed Healer is very nice and it's also grotesque with a lot of your dudes.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
I think this might be a Crucible of Worlds deck. Pretty high value chucking those legendary lands then replaying them. I tend to overvalue land drops perhaps, and you will likely see a lot of cards.

I definitely think this is a Spellseeker + Ephemerate deck. Ephemerating Niambi, Esteemed Healer is very nice and it's also grotesque with a lot of your dudes.
Spellseeker and Ephemerate added.
I guess most of the time Ephemerate would just get used on the ETB creatures themselves, but in cases where there is a particular creature you want to return to hand, say in the face of a board wipe that is going to send stuff to graveyard, you'd then actually target Niambi.

You should always have land drops in hand with Niambi so I feel Crucible of Worlds will get limited use, if any.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Might be. She is super efficient costing 2. I would always struggle with losing access to a legendary land forever since so many of them are really good.

Seems like you might have room for ghostly flicker with shepherd and all the other stuff it's good with. The sequence of spellseeker ephemerate get mystical tutor and Mana drain then tutor for ghostly flicker before your draw has always been pretty good for me.

What's the wincon? Seems like just fatties might get it done a lot.

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Post by SirGregarious » 1 year ago

I'm excited about this commander. I haven't settled on a permanent Azorius commander for my deck chest, so I'm hoping this will finally scratch the specific itch. I've tried Ojutai, Ephara, and GAAIV, but none have been particularly great for my play group or satisfying to pilot. This draft of the list seems a little rough. You might be a little heavy on the legendary synergy and a little light on the bounce/etb synergies. Is your main win condition just punching them to death?

There's some cool stuff you can do with Archaeomancer and Ghostly Flicker while you have Emeria Shepherd on board, along with all the other goodness those two cards bring to the party.

If you're all about the reanimation aspect, it might be worth it to run the 4 CMC reanimates like Breath of Life, and then Emeria, the Sky Ruin if you adjusted the landbase a bit. Dreams of the Dead could be interesting.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
Might be. She is super efficient costing 2. I would always struggle with losing access to a legendary land forever since so many of them are really good.

Seems like you might have room for ghostly flicker with shepherd and all the other stuff it's good with. The sequence of spellseeker ephemerate get mystical tutor and Mana drain then tutor for ghostly flicker before your draw has always been pretty good for me.

What's the wincon? Seems like just fatties might get it done a lot.
Scaretiller is a card that I've been wanting to try and I'd prefer to go for actual land ramp.

There isn't an amazing amount of ETB creatures, 10 total actually. So I am a bit wary about investing too much into a blink theme.
If I do include Ghostly Flicker I fell like I need to make room for a couple of additional ETB targets.

Yeah creatures turning sideways is the way to win.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

SirGregarious wrote:
1 year ago
I'm excited about this commander. I haven't settled on a permanent Azorius commander for my deck chest, so I'm hoping this will finally scratch the specific itch. I've tried Ojutai, Ephara, and GAAIV, but none have been particularly great for my play group or satisfying to pilot. This draft of the list seems a little rough. You might be a little heavy on the legendary synergy and a little light on the bounce/etb synergies. Is your main win condition just punching them to death?

There's some cool stuff you can do with Archaeomancer and Ghostly Flicker while you have Emeria Shepherd on board, along with all the other goodness those two cards bring to the party.

If you're all about the reanimation aspect, it might be worth it to run the 4 CMC reanimates like Breath of Life, and then Emeria, the Sky Ruin if you adjusted the landbase a bit. Dreams of the Dead could be interesting.
Grimoire of the Dead is a card that I've wanted to try, and maybe this is the perfect time while not having access to Blacks powerful cards that do this. Its Legendary as well.

Also God-Pharaoh's Gift is a card that I've always wanted to get going in Commander. I used it in a Brawl deck I had and it was really powerful once you got it going. Sure it cost 7 to cast initially, but from there on out the reanimation costs you nothing each turn.

I've tried Emeria, the Sky Ruin in a few 2 color decks, and its never kicked into gear. Unfortunately with the Legendary lands its just not possible to support it.

Interesting that you have not been satisfied by Ojutai, Ephara, and GAAIV, I feel like they represent about as good as it gets with Azorius.
What is it that you feel is missing for you to be satisfied?

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Post by SirGregarious » 1 year ago

darrenhabib wrote:
1 year ago
Grimoire of the Dead is a card that I've wanted to try, and maybe this is the perfect time while not having access to Blacks powerful cards that do this. Its Legendary as well.

Also God-Pharaoh's Gift is a card that I've always wanted to get going in Commander. I used it in a Brawl deck I had and it was really powerful once you got it going. Sure it cost 7 to cast initially, but from there on out the reanimation costs you nothing each turn.

I've tried Emeria, the Sky Ruin in a few 2 color decks, and its never kicked into gear. Unfortunately with the Legendary lands its just not possible to support it.

Interesting that you have not been satisfied by Ojutai, Ephara, and GAAIV, I feel like they represent about as good as it gets with Azorius.
What is it that you feel is missing for you to be satisfied?
This deck seems like a great home for God-Pharaoh's Gift. I've only ever seen Emeria, the Sky Ruin turn on once, but it was pretty much unstoppable that one time. I've never seen Grimoire of the Dead go off, but in theory it could be pretty sweet.

The Dragonlord Ojutai build I went with was a voltron style deck with a lot of control pieces. Main goal was to get Vigilance on Ojutai somehow and then beat face and get card advantage to keep control. I've never been a fan of voltron style builds, it was a "get out of your comfort zone" challenge. Even though it performed quite well, my play group had many complaints about the deck not being interactive. The complaints didn't really make a lot of sense to me because the enchantments and artifacts buffing Ojutai were perfectly removable and about thirty cards in the deck were purely interaction pieces. Regardless, my playgroup wasn't happy playing against it and I wasn't having a blast playing it so there was no reason to continue playing it.

The Ephara, God of the Polis build I went with was a heavy blink/ETB build with a lot of control pieces, not unlike Pokken's wonderful primer on this website. My build was a little heavier on the control at the cost of some of the bombs. The value Ephara generates is awesome, and the ETB shenanigans were also awesome. This one might be because Ephara is my friend's main deck and I don't want to steal his thunder. It was missing something from the Azorius experience I like.

The Grand Arbiter Augustin IV build I went with was a pure stax build with the goal of locking the board and comboing out for the win with Rest in Peace and Helm of Obedience or Painter's Servant and Grindstone. Stax and combo are two of my favorites, but the combos were too simple for my tastes. I'm used to Izzet nonsense combos and Krark-Clan Ironworks lines, it's hard for me to be personally satisfied with two card wins. It also fell into the same problem I had with the other two decks in that my playgroup was not liking playing against it. That isn't that surprising though, GAAIV is a very mean card.

Perhaps the thing that was lacking from those three decks is that I didn't feel like I was playing on my opponent's turns enough, which is a key part of Azorius to me. They also felt very "auto-pilot" compared to my favorite decks, with most decision making points coming down to simple threat assessment and holding interaction for the right opportunity. As another "get out of your comfort zone" challenge, I made a Green deck that was a Yeva, Nature's Herald draw-go control deck. It felt more like an Azorius deck than any of the actual Azorius decks I've actually made even though it was also very straight foward. I've been considering Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage for quite a while, but he's been on the back burner. This new Niambi looks like it can scratch that Flash itch I've been reaching for while lending itself to some more combo/synergy than Raff does.

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Post by Toshi » 1 year ago

Very interested in how this thread turns out! I like how Niambi is both versatile and interesting, but far from broken.

A card i'd certainly include is Eldrazi Displacer! You got plenty of ETBs to abuse and 10/34 of your lands can generate already. Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, Sun Titan and Karmic Guide add up to be a pretty sturdy package.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Scaretiller has been dumb in my rug lands deck. Basically exploration dude number 4 and grave land dude 4 on the same body. I really like it.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Been playing the deck a bit and its been pretty sweet. Definitely about what I though in terms of consistency and power level. She fits into a nice category of competitive but not obnoxious card advantages.

I have upped the Legendary count by quite a bit however, as you want options. A few games I didn't have a legend to discard for the turn. Plus sometimes you have a legend but its good, so you want to cast it, or it might be your only land drop (legendary land) for the turn.

I've just removed some of the blink elements as there isn't a lot of ETB anyway, so it was just a bit lost having additional flicker effects.


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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

I've been having a lot of fun with this deck, its one of those that just worked out great. Not overpowered, but can compete nicely and reanimation in Azorius does feel really unique.
Mono white has a few reanimation lists floating about, but its natural lack of discard outlets from the command zone means that it takes certain cards within your 99 to get an engine running.
So Niambi has just been firing on fueling the graveyard for reanimation targets, while drawing you into protection, reanimation spells, lands, etc.

I removed Leonin Relic-Warder and Fiend Hunter as you don't really have windows where you'll be casting these and Niambi in the same turn for the permanent removal.
You are almost always casting Niambi Turn 2 most games, and so in the case of removal shes cost 4 mana next time and then casting Leonin or Fiend is then a 6 or 7 mana play.

Instead I found the best interaction I hadn't though about is with Mangara of Corondor. Because Mangara doesn't sacrifice, the effect goes onto the stack, and then you can cast Niambi to return her to hand but the exile effect still happens on opponents permanent.

I added Weathered Wayfarer as you can search for Legendary lands to then just discard to Niambi if necessary, as well of course to play utility lands.
Ranger-Captain of Eos inclusion is a nod to Wayfarer as well, but its also a reanimation target for cards like Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle and Sun Titan.
Hope of Ghirapur plays a similar role, shutting out an opponent that you know could cause problems.

I removed some 4 mana plays in Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage, Ephara, God of the Polis, Nyx Lotus as they were just too durdly for this particular deck.

Removing some great hate bears in Drannith Magistrate and Aven Mindcensor as I just find that I'm not really committing much in the way of creatures until I'm setup to reanimate.

Gate to the Afterlife is actually pretty consistent to turn on during the mid-late game, I've been able to sacrifice to search for the God-Pharaoh's Gift in the games that I've played it. God-Pharaoh's Gift has been an all-star.

I'm really honing in on a fine tuned deck and I can thoroughly recommend this deck for entertainment.


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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Niambi, Esteemed Speaker has ended up being one of my favorite commander decks of all time. It just is really fun and plays well. It's not a solitaire style which a lot of my deck builds can end up doing and it has a nice mix between potentially doing big plays reanimating fatties, as well as just a solid contender for competitive games with Niambi ability actually really on-the-low-down very consistent at filtering through the deck to find cards needed at various stages of the game.
Honestly if I only got to chose one deck to bring along to FNM to have the most fun I'd pick this deck at the moment.

Anyway Zendikar Rising has a few additions that I'm happy to include.
Unfortunately there is no Warrior in the deck to make a full party for Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate but it's the ability to sacrifice to give hexproof or indestructible to your creatures why it is an include in the deck.

Trove Warden is another reanimation card of sorts and the fact that it can exile lands is great for the hard to get land ramp in Azorius colors.
With Niambi discarding legendary lands you can exile those with landfall triggers potentially as well as lots of fetchlands.
But there are also tons of 3 cmc creatures both legendary and non-legendary to target as I've focused on Sun Titan and Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle having appropriate number of targets for value already.

Because the deck doesn't have any commitments to basic land type like having a Land Tax or many other ways to search for basics, then including some of the modal spell/lands from Zendikar Rising comes at little cost.
So even though Sea Gate Restoration // Sea Gate, Reborn isn't a spell I'd cast all that much in games with this deck, it still has such a low cost to including it over an Island that it is worth it.
Glasspool Mimic // Glasspool Shore copying a legendary creature is not exactly where you want to be at, but there is enough non-legendary creatures that replacing an Island with a tapped land seems fine for the upside. Of note Niambi, Esteemed Speaker could actually bounce Glasspool Mimic // Glasspool Shore back to hand and then you can replay it as a land if wanting a land drop later on.


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