- Maybe it's just my sensibilities, but I don't really get Baral as a commander choice. It's a fine card, but I don't really see what he does for your game plan that you couldn't do without him, just a less efficiently.
My perception is that most people tend to build decks less around a plan, and more around theme - their card choices are dictated by their relationship to that theme, rather than their role within a plan. Baral says "hey, I'm the counterspell guy, so just put in a bunch of counterspells", so people latch onto that, whereas Nezahal has a good plan, but doesn't really spell it out for you.
For my money, I'd rather play Nezahal tbh, since he dramatically simplifies your deck. He provides the CA and a highly durable wincon, freeing you up to focus on control. Witch's Clinic
I think was a really solid add for the deck too, since it gives you way to gain significant chunks of life for a minimal opportunity cost. If Baral wants draw, he's gotta run draw, and he's gotta...well, draw it. I he wants a wincon, he's gotta use slots and draw that too. Nezahal has a lot fewer open variables imo, and I dig that. Not to say Baral isn't strong, but I think the Nezahal deck is a lot cleaner and appeals to me more aesthetically.
Anyway, tangential rant aside, it is definitely similar to Phelddagrif, replacing politics with raw power (even down to the unkillable commander). I did definitely become the archenemy, usually after wiping whoever was the previous archenemy. I did have the o-stone loop up at one point (stone got milled I think), but nobody noticed and I didn't actually need it. Instead I recurred the Perilous Vault
that got k-gripped, to deny recursion. O-stone lock is one of those things where it could be game-winning, or it could paint a target on my back earlier than I'm prepared for, but it seemed worth trying. Though discarding 3 can be a real cost. Maybe it was just my particular opponents...game 1 an opponent played a Nikya of the Old Ways
if that gives you some idea
and that was a 3-player game where the other player got mana screwed...
Not sure I see the importance of recursion? Pretty much everything is replaceable (the things I'd be most interested to recur are probably the wipes, many of which aren't instants/sorceries). Also unsure why time spiral would be equivalent to recursion - though I do have Commit // Memory
which can provide reshuffle if necessary (but it probably shouldn't be, since I've got nexus in there).
- Sapphire Medallion almost made the cut - strong card, but we're really anti-nonland-permanents and I didn't feel it was impactful enough at ramping out Nezzy (worn powerstone fell on the good side of the fence for me, just barely). High tide I initially planned to include, but what can I say - I love my utility lands. The odds of having 4+ islands to get dark ritual mana out of it seemed too slim, and even 3 is probably a coin flip.
Mostly I've not wanted to attack while boards were built up anyway. Attacking was mostly something for once the game was pretty locked up - before that, nezzy is a blocker and CA engine. I did intend to include Dragon Wings
but I think it got migrated to one of my niche piles as part of my collection organization and I couldn't be arsed lol. But yes it seems like a good inclusion. Wonder felt at least decent and dragon wings is arguably better.
I wanted to stay on the plan and avoid cards that would be collateral damage for wipes or targets for enemy removal. Generally I'd prefer not to keep a hand that doesn't have a strong chance of playing Nezzy T5 or earlier. Watering down the deck with cards that don't contribute to the plan is going to weaken it overall, I think. Replace rhystic study with a mana vault and I'm happier with that hand 100% of the time.
Teferi's insight is pure winmore here. Don't think it contributes positively at all. It also probably increases the risk our opponents choose not to cast spells lest they trigger Nezzy, so I doubt it'd double the draw even in the best case.
Haste isn't really relevant since we're probably not attacking the turn we play nezzy even if we could. Why in such a hurry? This is MUC lol. We'll win when we're good and ready. I generally avoid extra turns - nexus is in there to provide inevitability and in case we deck out. Partly that's an aesthetic choice - I don't think extra turns create positive experiences - but also I think they can pretty easily be a dead card for a long time. If the board is built up and we're on 6 mana or whatever after casting nezzy off a jeweled lotus, what are we going to do with an extra turn besides a glorified explore? To say nothing of the cost of having a card that can clog up the hand providing no value before casting Nezzy if we're stuck on mana. But more importantly, I just don't think they're really necessary. We can win just fine. In the games I played, once I started attacking, the game was basically over. Dedicating cards to speed that up wouldn't improve the winrate and would likely reduce it because of the times they aren't helpful.
Similarly I don't think stax is actually helpful here. Primarily because they complicate our wiping plan, but also because we're not actually set up to take advantage of them. We kinda need our lands. If we play winter orb, then we essentially trade the precise weapon of direct interaction via counters and removal for a much blunter, and imo much less effective weapon that might stop what we want, but may not. Not to mention, we kinda want our opponents to cast all those innocuous spells so we can draw cards, so making them count their mana carefully would be counterproductive. And finally, while this is no Phelddagrif deck, we're not actually hoping to draw the ire of the entire table immediately since our defenses aren't particularly strong until the late-game. So at best, these would be cards that are uncastable until the very end of the game, at which point they probably aren't necessary because we're sitting on 2 wipes, 4 counterspells, and 3 targeted removals.
Incidentally, I put tabernacle in there because I just like having excuses to show it off, and as usual it was basically mediocre. Draws more hate than it's worth tbh. Definitely not playing the version that costs 4 mana and dies to o-stone lol. Crawlspace is definitely better at what we want and I did consider it, but I think I'd still just rather have another wipe. Incidentally tabernacle and crawlspace (much moreso tabernacle) are kinda counterproductive to board wipes since they deter our opponents from overextending into them. So there's another good reason not to bother.
As far as b2b - besides the other stuff, we've got almost half nonbasics. Honestly I often play against 2-3 colors with a higher basic percentage than my mono-color decks. So I rarely bother with nonbasic hate. I'd rather have a bunch of good utility land value than one maybe-effective hate piece that draws the ire of the table. And it's especially bad with all the neat flip lands we're running.
I did consider spark double, but it doesn't really speed us up since we're on the commander damage plan. Like Teferi's, the draw seems like win-more (though at least it dodges wipes, though discarding 6 is a decent chunk lol - they can be killed by well-timed instant removal though).