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Ob Nixilis Reignited (Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis) MTG card art by Raymond Swanland

Art by Raymond Swanland

If you’re new to Magic, you may not be aware that there’s much more to our favorite trading card game than just, well, card games. There are worlds of stories behind the creatures and Planeswalkers that grace your MTG matches. Each set releases new cards that paint a picture following the adventures of the Planeswalkers we know and love⁠—or love to hate.

Some of the most notable characters from the current standard include Chandra Nalaar, Jace Beleren, and Liliana Vess, though these only scratch the surface of the many storied faces that grace MTG’s sprawling planes. Their stories are long and eventful, and it sometimes seems like there’s no end to their wild tales.

Hero of the Winds MTG card art by Greg Staples

Hero of the Winds

Some, like Nissa Revane and Gideon Jura, are mighty heroes who strive to protect their land and people. On the other hand, others (coughNicolBolascough) are clearly villains, out to wreak havoc and destruction where they can as they work to rule over those they see as beneath them. And then there are some that don’t claim to nor try to be either, like The Wanderer—whose true identity and thus alignment is so far shrouded in mystery—and Angrath.

We’ll talk a bit more about the basics of these stories soon, but for now we’re going to focus on one Planeswalker in specific. Someone who came from a destructive, chaotic, war-torn plane that shaped him into a selfish and cynical being: Ob Nixilis.

A (Very Brief) Introduction to Ob Nixilis

If you’ve just started playing Magic during this season of standard, you’ll likely know him from War of the Spark where he appeared as legendary Planeswalker Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted. He comes from a disastrously unstable plane that was almost constantly ravaged by waring empires and armies. Growing up among the savagery of battle twisted him into a tyrant who cared nothing for the lives of others, only for his own advancement.

Leechridden Swamp MTG card art by Lars Grant-West

Leechridden Swamp

Nixilis is wickedly deceitful and able to leech the power from those he slays using anti-life magic. Despite his branding as a clear-cut bad guy, he’s become somewhat of a fan favorite. He is ruthless and selfish, but cares little for ruling over others or bowing heroes to his will (though he is unwaveringly vengeful and will stop at nothing to destroy any who ruin his plans).

His focus is more around acquiring power and inflicting death and suffering for the sake of death and suffering; truly the perfect epitome of chaotic evil. He’s unwaveringly, unforgivingly bad because he can be, and he makes no apologies for any of it.

Planeswalkers, Multiverse, and Worlds, Oh My!

Before we get too much into Nixilis’ background and origins, let’s go over the basics of the MTG storyline and world for those of you who are new to it all.

Various different planes containing at least one world exist in MTG’s multiverse (collectively known as Dominia), separated by what’s known as the Blind Eternity. This space between planes is chock-full of chaotic energies, including mana and what’s known as Æther.

While the planes visited in the storyline are mostly similar to Earth, they can be any size and consist of any set of physical and natural laws (or none at all). Generally, the people of each world don’t know that their world is not the only one to exist in their plane, let alone that they live in a multiverse with entire other planes of existence.

Spark Elemental MTG card art by John Avon

Spark Elemental

Planeswalkers are beings who have found their “spark”, a mysterious power that some beings throughout the multiverse posses that must be activated to be used, and are able to intentionally travel between planes, along with other incredible powers and abilities.

There’s lots more detail and intricacies to the whole multiverse and the way planes work, but that’s the base of it. If you’re interested in knowing more, feel free to look into the story for yourself! For now, let’s jump back into Nixilis.

If you’re not looking to read a still fairly long-winded summary of Nixilis’ full story, though, fear not! If you’ve got about 12 minutes of time you can have his story told to you, at least up until War of the Spark. Check it out:

Ob Nixilis, from Black Oath to Hate-Twisted

This dastardly Planeswalker’s story is one to remember, which is exactly why we’re going to chronicle as much as we can here today. We’ll cover his story from start to present, ignoring the twisting back and forth that the telling of his story has seen over the years in Magic’s official publications. Buckle on up, cause this demon’s story is quite the wild ride!

Time for an Origin Story

This Planeswalker’s story starts long before he became as such, when he was but a human warlord in an unknown plane of malice and destruction. Though he was human, he wasn’t helpless or powerless. He was an accomplished wizard, a trained fighter, and a brilliant tactician, not to mention a tyrannical leader.

As we mentioned, his plane was a war-torn hellscape that saw mere decades (if that) of peace between eras of waring tyrants that decimated what civilization could be built between each battle. He concluded that Cataclysm and ruin was inevitable and grew to be a selfish, bloodthirsty sadist whose only goal was to gain as much power as he could before his time was up.

After several decades of this, Nixilis was betrayed by an ally and found himself “negotiating” with a fellow lord. It was but a trick, though, as Nixilis had enchanted the lord’s guards years before and incapacitated them with a snap of his fingers before killing the lord in a duel. His remaining soldiers did not believe Nixilis story of an honorable duel, however, and he was forced to fight his way to safety before escaping.

Greatsword MTG card art by Nic Klein

Greatsword

As Nixilis and his soldiers fled, some were killed while some inevitably surrendered, until just two loyal soldiers were left. The three escaped into a cave and sealed the entrance to bide their time. But this was no ordinary cave: they had stumbled upon an ancient abandoned summoning ritual.

Out of desperation and a never-ending lust for continued life and power, Nixilis murdered his two remaining soldiers as sacrificial blood for the ritual. He easily summoned the beings that lurked beyond, and they searched his mind for a purpose, a goal to fulfill. While Nixilis tried to guide them to rid him of the soldiers that came for his blood, they saw his true desire and did not hesitate to carry it out: the end of the world.

Covenant of Blood MTG card art by Seb McKinnon

Covenant of Blood

This was to be the eighth and final Cataclysm of Nixilis’ world. All at once, every being in his world save him dropped dead and he was left completely and utterly alone.

After days spent wandering the now empty, desolate wasteland to be sure that he was truly alone, he realized the absurdity of it all. That everything he had ever been, had ever done, had ever hoped to do, was for nothing. Here he found his spark and ascended to the mantle of a Planeswalker, finding the power to wreak his destructive fury on any other plane he wished. This is where he became the legendary Planeswalker Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath.

Also of note, this was many, many years before the current stories take place. Most importantly, Nixilis became a Planeswalker before the Great Mending when Planeswalkers were immortal and had god-like powers.

The Chain Veil’s Curse

Having escaped an inevitable and solitary existence on his empty plane that would lead to only doom, Nixilis craved more. In an effort to lay claim to unimaginable power, he got his hands on a legendary artifact: The Chain Veil, a fine golden mask that would transform its wearer into a vessel for the resurrection of an ancient Ogre civilization.

But it was not something to be trifled with.

You see, the Chain Veil kills those who wear it that lack the strength to wield its power. And while Nixilis proved to be strong enough, he was cursed for his efforts. His humanity was stripped from him and he transformed into the charred demon that we know him as today.

This was not the kind of thing that he was OK with, so he began his search of the multiverse for a cure to his curse.

Zendikar’s Course, Part 1

His search eventually brought him to Zendikar, a plane where both mana and gravity seem to work differently than the rest of the multiverse. This unique plane is home to powerful monoliths known as hedrons. Long story short, an ancient Planeswalker created these floating stones that litter Zendikar’s airscape to form a sort of makeshift prison network connected by leylines to trap Eldrazi titans. They hold incredible power and thus require an incredible mind to access said power.

Hedron Fields of Agadeem MTG card art by Vincent Proce

Hedron Fields of Agadeem

Nixilis had hoped to use Zendikar’s rich mana to free himself of The Chain Veil’s curse, but instead he just dub himself into a deeper hole. The chaotic nature of the plane’s powerful mana actually caused him to lose access to his spark, stranding him on Zendikar.

Not long after this, he was confronted by the ancient Planeswalker who had created the hedrons: Nahiri, the Lithomancer. She watched over the plane to ensure no other Planeswalkers would accidentally (or intentionally) loose the trapped titans.

To ensure Nixilis would not disrupt her plane-wide prison, Nahiri implanted a hedron into his forehead, binding him with the same magic that trapped the titans and suppressing his remaining power. The bones in his shoulders crumbled and he lost his wings, now useless. This is how he became the legendary creature Ob Nixilis, the Fallen.

Akoum MTG card art by Rob Alexander

Akoum

Now trapped on Zendikar, Nixilis went about finding a way to regain his lost power. He studied the hedrons for centuries, becoming almost as familiar as their creator in their magic. He spent his time speaking with the other Planeswalkers who came to Zendikar, letting news of his predicament spread. And then, after centuries of waiting, his solution found him.

Jace Beleren, searching for a way to halt the Chain Veil’s curse on Garruk Wildspeaker, heard of Nahiri’s suppression of Ob Nixilis’ power using the hedron. He eventually arrived and extracted the Planeswalker’s binding stone, leaving the demon to regain his strength and regrow his wings.

At this point, the demon became the legendary creature Ob Nixilis, Unshackled and started his quest to regain his spark by destroying Zendikar.

Zendikar’s Course, Part 2

Nixilis found his way into the middle of a continent completely decimated by the Eldrazi and discovered Khalni Heart, an outgrowth of Zendikar’s soul in the form of a magical flower. He attempted to use a small hedron network to leech its power for himself, but he wasn’t the only one who was looking for the flower.

Khalni Heart Expedition MTG card art by Jason Chan

Khalni Heart Expedition

Nissa Revane, a Zendikari Planeswalker, sought it out to rekindle her connection to the plane. The two fought in the cave where Nixilis had brought the flower, almost evenly matched, but Nissa was able to distract him by shattering one of the hedrons. She bought herself enough time to reach for the Heart and though Nixilis tried to drain her lifeforce, Nissa was able to lend it to the Heart so that it could grow roots and be reclaimed by Zendikar.

Her plane having regained its soul and its power, Nissa was able to call on the elemental power of Zendikar. With it, she overpowered Nixilis and left him in the now crumbling cave that denied him his victory.

Ashaya, the Awoken World MTG card art by Raymond Swanland

Ashaya, the Awoken World

Now twice defeated on this magical plane, Nixilis recovered from his defeat with thoughts of revenge swirling in his mind. But there were no other sources of power that he was willing to chase after, none that he had time to capture, and so he was left with only one option: to buy himself time, he would have to save Zendikar.

Battle for Zendikar

In a previous set, Rise of the Eldrazi, the evil Planeswalker Nicol Bolas had tricked Jace and Chandra Nalaar along with his minion Sarkhan Vol into releasing the ancient Eldrazi titans. Nahiri brought Nissa to reseal them, but she instead loosed them from the last of their bindings in the hope that they would move on to different planes. They did not and began to wreak havoc on the lands of Zendikar. Gideon Jura had followed Chandra to the plane and came to face one of the titans—Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger—before leaving to gain aid with the intention to return to rid Zendikar of its invaders.

Nixilis enters stage left on this mayhem. After digging himself out of the collapsed cave, he made use of the keystone from his hedron network along with two other intact stones to find Nissa and his next heading: Tazeem, the Sea Gate of Zendikar.

Aligned Hedron Network MTG card art by Richard Wright

Aligned Hedron Network

Gideon’s troops along with Jace and Nissa were trying to imprison Ulamog in a hedron network, much to Nixilis’ joy. Abandoning his original plan to save Zendikar, he siphoned power from the network and reignited his spark, emerging as Ob Nixilis Reignited. He then destroyed the hedron network and awoke a second titan—Kozilek, the Great Distortion—to ravage Zendikar as vengeance for all of his defeats.

Nissa, ignoring Jace’s calls to retreat, was first knocked off her feat by Ulamog as it breached the fallen hedron network before setting her sights on Nixilis. She fought through Kozilek’s distortions and dissection of reality to make her way to the demon. He bested her this time, retaliating only out of spite, and admonished her for interfering with him saying that he would have left if only she had let him use Khalni Heart to regain his spark.

Nissa vs Ob Nixilis MTG art by Ryan Barger

Art by Ryan Barger

Jace tried to manipulate Nixilis’ mind into leaving the plane, but the demon saw his telepathic tricks and broke Jace’s concentration with a pain-inducing spell. The telepath was able to unleash one last assault on Nixilis, saving himself as the demon broke his cheekbone instead of beheading him.

Gideon returned in time to stop Nixilis from ending the telepathic Planeswalker, shredding one of his wings in the process. The two dueled, almost evenly matched as Gideon proved to be invulnerable to Nixilis’ onslaught. He eventually goaded Gideon into a moment of doubt that was enough for him to get the upper hand. He drowned the seemingly invulnerable Planeswalker in muddy water under his boot before he took the three—Nissa, Jace, and Gideon—prisoner and proceeded to torture them.

Gideon's Reproach (Battle for Zendikar) MTG card art by Dan Scott

Gideon’s Reproach

Chandra soon showed up and freed her friends, and their combined power was enough to chase Nixilis from their plane. Vengeance still burned heavily in his mind, and he vowed to return to take his revenge on the four other Planeswalkers.

War of the Spark

Some time later, Nixilis was lured to Ravnica by an Interplanar Beacon schemed by Nicol Bolas, who used an ancient, powerful artifact called The Immortal Sun to trap all the attracted Planeswalkers in Ravnica. The elder dragon planned to extract the Planeswalkers’ spark to fuel a powerful spell to allow him to ascend to godhood.

No Escape MTG card art by G-host Lee

No Escape

Despite having no allegiance to either side, Nixilis fought against the Eternals of Bolas’ Dreadhorde, absorbing their souls to bolster his power. Not one to abandon his destructive ways in the face of imminent doom, Nixilis also committed acts of torment against the plane’s denizens for his own amusement.

Eventually, Ravnica’s leaders together with the trapped Planeswalkers got together to try and find a strategic solution to Bolas’ onslaught. Despite being hated by most of those in attendance, Nixilis joined them out of desperation to break the bindings that held him to the plane.

Pledge of Unity MTG card art by Chris Rallis

Pledge of Unity

After some arguing, Jace recommended they separate into teams to attack Bolas on different fronts. The demon ended up with Karn, the Great Creator, Dack Fayden, and Samut, Tyrant Smasher with the goal of shutting down a portal that was pouring Eternals into Ravnica from the plane on the other side, Amonkhet.

They made their way to the Planar Bridge where the portal spewed out wave after wave of Eternals. Dack loosed a spell that turned the marching Eternals into a melee mess as they attacked each other, leaving an opening for the four Planeswalkers to breach the portal.

Emergence Zone MTG card art by Jonas De Ro

Emergence Zone

Once the four made it to Amonkhet, Nixilis and Samut fought off the Eternals while Dack and Karn worked to distract the source of the portal, Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge. Just as the distracted Planeswalker began to regain his bearings, Karn flew a small mechanical hummingbird into Tezzeret’s chest—where a small portal projected the larger Bridge to Ravnica—and it exploded. The portal collapsed behind them in a blinding flash, and the remaining Eternals froze as their order to “cross” became redundant.

Nixilis had absorbed enough of the Eternals’ souls by this point to amass a great deal more power and had doubled in size, becoming the fearsome legendary Planeswalker Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted. He obliterated the remaining, inactive Eternals with his newfound power.

At this point, the god Hazoret the Fervent visited the Planeswalkers with Sarkhan the Masterless, who sought revenge on Bolas for ruining his plane and his mind. They intended to aid Ravnica’s defenders in the fight against Nicol Bolas, but Nixilis did not remain to see how this would play out. He took the opportunity to planeswalk to safety while outside of Bolas’ trap on Ravnica.

After Nixilis left and the remaining Planeswalkers caught their breath, Karn suggested that The Immortal Sun could be useful in dealing with the threat that Nixilis posed to any who dared stand in his destructive path.

Ob Nixilis Decks

This corrupted Planeswalker has featured on a decent number of cards throughout the years (which we’ll get to in just a minute), some by name and some only by art or flavor text. So, it’s no surprise that there are lots of wickedly good decks featuring him in all his chaotic glory out there.

Barren Glory MTG card art by Dave Kendall

Barren Glory

As both a legendary creature and a legendary Planeswalker, he’s a dark and ruthless contender to lead either Commander or Brawl decks. There’s more than one trick up his sleeve, though, as he’s also a perfect fit for Modern with some of his older, rotated out cards. Standard also has some great decks thanks to his appearance in War of the Spark as a Hate-Twisted legendary Planeswalker.

Without further ado, let’s just jump right in and take a look at some of your options with this lovable ol’ demon tyrant.

Standard

This format is arguably the most popular among the various MTG formats, at least the most widely known and played. We’ve talked about it a few times over the last couple of months, and we even have a whole article dedicated to standard rotation. Whether you’re a fan of BO1 or traditional BO3, these decks are perfect for you!

This rotation only has one card featuring Ob Nixilis, but it’s quite the card: Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted. It was introduced in War of the Spark, where (as you now know), this corrupted warlord briefly helped Ravnica free itself from Nicol Bolas’ trap before getting the heck out of dodge.

There’s an interesting Vilis, Broker of Blood/Ob Nixilis combo in this deck, which has a penchant for card draw and creature control.

If you’re looking for a more tactical approach, check out Oathbreaker for some insight into average deck list and type distribution for the Hate-Twisted Planeswalker’s decks.

If you’re looking for some jank fun, though, check out this Painful Draws deck that combines Nixilis with Underworld Dreams. You can even see it in action:

Brawl

One of the most popular non-competitive formats on MTG Arena is Brawl, available for all players every Wednesday or any time for an event fee. Check out our All About Brawl article if you’re not familiar with the format.

While Brawl is similar to the Commander format, it’s got some Standard mixed in as well. So, it deserves its own shout out here. Brawl decks must be Standard legal, though, which means that we only get one Ob Nixilis card to lead us to victory, unfortunately, but lead us he will! Well… kind of.

Stormfist Crusader MTG card art by Chris Rallis

Stormfist Crusader

While there aren’t many Brawl decks out there featuring dear old Ob as the Commander, there are plenty that feature him among the main deck. And if you’re inclined to do so, it’s just a matter of switching the current Commander out for Nixilis (you know it’s what he would want). Here are a couple of options that we think could use a bit of mutiny:

Commander

As we mentioned, Brawl is a bit of a happy middle between Commander and Standard. But that doesn’t mean that Commander isn’t a fun or popular format. Quite the contrary! This format is pretty different from Standard, but that just means it’s a whole new brand of exciting gameplay.

Commander also doesn’t have to be Standard legal, so we’ve got two new Ob Nixilis Planeswalkers to choose from! Whether you’re partial to his pre-curse human form as the Black Oath or you really just want more demon-y options through his Reignited form, you’re in luck.

First up we’ll lead with a super simple sample deck from MTGgoldfish. It may just be an example, but it’s got quite the kick with plenty of card draw options.

Master of the Feast MTG card art by Chris Rahn

Master of the Feast

If you lean more towards pre-demon Nixilis, though, we’ve got you covered: we’re heading back to Oathbreaker for a second for a breakdown of cards with high synergy as well as the top cards in general and broken down by type.

Last but certainly not least, check out this deck packed full of twisted demon creatures and abilities with a mono-black devotion kick.

Modern

This format is unique to paper Magic but is comparable to MTG Arena’s newer Historic format (or the new Pioneer format also for paper Magic). It follows the same deck building rules as Standard (minimum 60-card deck, 15-card sideboard, only 4 copies of individual cards except basic lands) but can contain cards from any sets since the Eighth edition. It also has its own unique ban list.

Modern is an incredibly popular format, likely because it follows the same rules as Standard while allowing you to use older cards from your collection in your deck. This means we can use all of Ob Nixilis’ wickedly destructive cards in this format.

Evolving Wilds MTG card art by Steven Belledin

Evolving Wilds

First up is the Fallen with this Landfall focused deck with plenty of fetch options. Featuring Nixilis both as the Fallen and Unshackled, this deck flies in a bit all over the place. Moving on to his Planeswalker cards, we’ve got Reignited coming in with a wild tri-color mess and I love it.

Complete Collection of MTG Cards Featuring Ob Nixilis

We mentioned that our dear old demon has been on his fair share of cards over the years, and we weren’t lying! From Planeswalkers to legendary creatures to instants and sorceries with just a hint of enchantment, this dastardly demon has seen them all.

We’ll take a look at not only his namesake cards, but also the cards that feature Nixilis in its art or flavor text. We’ll also talk about alternative art, famous quotes, and more! That’s about enough chit-chat, though; let’s get right to it.

Planeswalkers

Often some of the most powerful and intimidating cards in the game, Planeswalkers are definitely a versatile bunch. Each of these characters from Magic’s story feature on several different Planeswalker cards set during different eras of their journey.

Our demon of the hour has three Planeswalker cards so far:

ob nixilis of the black oath
  • Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath is the first from Commander 2014. This card’s loyalty abilities highlight the tyrant’s life-leeching power and penchant for sacrificing his underlings for his own advancement. This is also the only card showing Ob Nixilis as he used to be when he was still human, pre-Chain Veil curse.
Ob Nixilis Reignited
  • Next up is Ob Nixilis Reignited which comes to us from Battle for Zendikar and was also reprinted for Commander 2019. Nixilis shows himself in all his demonic, flaming glory as he uses card draw to leech the life from both you and your opponent, while still finding the time to destroy those that date stand against him. This card got some epic alternate art for its release as part of the Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis duel decks:
Ob Nixilis Reignited (Nissa vx. Ob Nixilis) MTG card art by Raymond Swanland

Art by Raymond Swanland

  • Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted is his most recent appearance from War of the Spark. This card is much simpler than the previous two, with a constant ability that leeches life from your opponents when they draw cards plus one loyalty ability to destroy a creature and cause the destroyed creature’s controller to draw two cards. That’s quite the combination and also super fun to build a deck around. This Planeswalker also got flaming-good alternate art as part of Japanese misc. promos in 2019:
Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted (Misc. Promos) MTG card art by Sansyu

Art by Sansyu

Legendary Creatures

While Planeswalkers are certainly a step above creatures in some regards, a powerful creature can be quite the force to be reckoned with. Especially legendary creatures, which often come with incredibly powerful and sometimes game-ending abilities.

The twisted and cruel Ob Nixilis has featured on two creature cards, both legendary, as is fitting for one of his stature:

  • Ob Nixilis, the Fallen was originally released with Zendikar and then reprinted in Iconic Masters in 2017. Arguably the lowest we’ve ever seen this Planeswalker, this card proves that even when seemingly defeated, Nixilis is not one to be underestimated. While only entering as a modest 3/3, his landfall ability is not to be trifled with as it slowly deals damage to your opponent while bolstering both Nixilis’ power and toughness.
  • Ob Nixilis, Unshackled came to us from the Magic 2015 Core Set. One of his several returns to power, this card can be incredibly destructive. With the potential to deal a hefty amount of damage while also thinning out the opponent’s herd and boosting Nixilis’ power, this is sure to leave your opponents quaking in their boots.

Card Art and Flavor Text Cameos

Don’t worry, there’s still more cards to go! Nixilis has featured on some cards in art only plus a few flavor text appearances, with just one more card paying homage to his name. There are some instants, some sorceries, and just a sprinkling of enchantments for spice. Take a look:

We’ve got two cards coming to us from 2016’s Oath of the Gatewatch: Remorseless Punishment and Devour in Flames. These start off the demon’s art and flavor text features:

  • Remorseless Punishment is a wicked sorcery cards that encompasses Nixilis’ destructive tendencies coupled with his penchant for cards and sacrifices. Its flavor text quotes the demon as he tortures Nissa, Jace, and Gideon on Zendikar: I have suffered a thousand lifetimes of agony on this wretched world. I’ve far less time to share with you, but I assure you, no less pain.
  • Devour in Flames is aimed at the demon and provides a wicked little punch for a decent cost. Its flavor text hinges on the moment that Chandra shows up to free her friends from the previous card’s torment and reads: Ob Nixilis had prepared for every eventuality—except Chandra Nalaar.

Jumping to Battle for Zendikar for a second take on the same events, there’s a good mix with an instant, a sorcery, and a creature: Altar’s Reap, Demon’s Grasp, and Void Winnower. All three of these quote Nixilis directly, but only two feature him in art:

  • Altar’s Reap been reprinted several times, but most notably came to us as part of Battle for Zendikar when the art was changed to feature our favorite cut-throat Planeswalker (check out Nixilis’ version of the art below). Another card that plays on Nixilis’ theme of card draws and sacrificing creatures, this instant features both art and flavor text from the demon: I will secure my revenge on Zendikar one soul at a time.
Altar's Reap (Battle for Zendikar) MTG card art by Tyler Jacobson

Art by Tyler Jacobson

  • Demon’s Grasp has a decently expensive mana cost but a wickedly destructive effect. This sorcery again features Nixilis in both art and flavor text, quoting him as he slaughtered the kor sentry, Ebi, before releasing a second Eldrazi titan on Zendikar: Take what solace you can in the knowledge that you will not be here to witness Zendikar’s demise.
  • The third from this set, Void Winnower, belongs to Nixilis in flavor text only, the rest of the card paying homage to the Eldrazi. Regardless, this creature is a force to reckoned with as it blocks your opponents from using any cards with even converted mana costs along with a very punchy creature. Our demonic Planeswalker is quoted: Have you ever seen a world fall to its knees? Watch, and learn.

Another chapter of a familiar story, the Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis duel decks give us two cards: Ambition’s Cost and Doom Blade. Both having been reprinted several times without paying homage to our dear demon, they feature Nixilis in words only:

  • Ambition’s Cost, once again, plays on this Planeswalker’s love for card draws and paying with your life. Having been reprinted in the duel decks specifically for Nissa and Nixilis’ showdown, the version from this release features its own unique art (reused when it was reprinted with Commander 2017), the alternate of which we’ve hunted down for you below. Its flavor text is a quote that perfectly sums up Nixilis’ penchant for destruction, but also his selfish and ruthless nature: Conquering your first world is the hardest, after all. My power grew as I moved from world to world, taking anything that would make the next taking easier.
Ambition's Cost (Portal Three Kingdoms) MTG card art by Junko Taguchi

Art by Junko Taguchi

  • Doom Blade is a nifty little instant intended, as showcased by its art, to be used against angels (though it can of course be used to destroy any non-black creature that dares oppose your might). Just like Ambition’s Cost, this card was granted its own unique art for its use with Nissa vs. Nixilis’ duel decks which you can feast your eyes on just below. Quoting Nixilis as he releases two Eldrazi titans upon Zendikar, this card’s flavor text reads: One little word was all it took. The world shook as I said it. The doom of Zendikar was here at last.
Doom Blade (Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis) MTG card art by Raymond Swanland

Art by Raymond Swanland

  • Demonic Appetite comes to us, surprisingly, from Rise of the Eldrazi. The only enchantment on this list, its quite the card with a measly one black mana cost. It does, of course, come with a minor downside: Nixilis’ penchant for sacrifice. Its flavor text, once again quoting the deadly Planeswalker, reads: Morality is just shorthand for the constraints of being powerless.
  • Another surprise set featuring Nixilis, Diabolic Edict joins the fray in Modern Horizons. Another frequent reprint, this card has seen several different works of art grace its cover (which, as I’m sure you guessed, you can find below) while just this one reprint features Nixilis in its flavor text: Always give your foes a choice when they have none.
  • Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty joins the Hate-Twisted Planeswalker in War of the Spark as the only other name-dropping card. A decently powerful instant with a modest mana cost but a costly effect, this card perfectly captures its namesake’s dastardly ways. This is basically a slightly altered (certainly improved) functional reprint of Demon’s Grasp. The art and flavor text show Nixilis as he takes joy in the torture and suffering he inflicts on Ravnica’s creatures as he is trapped there by Nicol Bolas’ evil plot: Trapped on Ravnica with no affection for either side, Ob Nixilis sought gratification in random acts of torment.

Ob Nixilis has Fallen… For Now

And that’s just about all there is to it, folks! We’ve covered everything Ob Nixilis from his rise to demonhood to his fall, reignition, and eventual vengeance-fueled crusade. We’re certain to see more of Nixilis, so keep an eye out for this demonic Planeswalker in new sets if you’re craving more of his chaotic evil revelry.

Undying Evil MTG card art by Kev Walker

Undying Evil

What’s your favorite part of this legendary Planeswalker’s story? Which card of his is your favorite, whether to play with or just to look at? Let us know in the comments down there!

Thanks for reading and if you’re looking to support us, keep an eye on our blog or head on over to our Patreon to help us keep making the content you know and love. For now, we’ll leave you with this little nugget:

Take what solace you can in the knowledge that you will not be here to witness Zendikar’s demise.

-Ob Nixilis, Demon’s Grasp

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