[Vorthos] Chanting the Black Oath

ob nixilis bannerLately, I’ve been doing lots of changes to my EDH stable. Like I’ve written before on this blog, I have a sort-of deck-ADD and I always want to try new things. It’s a good thing I’m not financially independent, lest I’d just stay in all day and brew decks. And probably pay some of my friends to play them with me. Ob Nixilis Reignited

In the stable at this time of writing, I have five decks, one of which used to be a Mono-Black Gisa deck that I built this spring, and she’s been doing a lot of work. However, with the advent of the new Ob Nixilis’ art from Battle for Zendikar spoiled, I felt inspired. The new Ob Nixilis is known as Ob Nixilis Reignited, and his art can be seen on the right.

It’s clear that Ob Nixilis has regained his spark, but before he lost it and before he was cursed by The Chain Veil, he was a human planeswalker, and he looked like this:

obnixilisoftheblackoath.fullI like EDH because it allows me to explore my Vorthos-ian side of Magic. It doesn’t always matter that your deck is the most powerful it can be, in fact it can even be a disadvantage if the table percieves you as too strong and start ganging up on you. I like Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath for several reasons, the main thing being camp.

At the time of the Commander 2014 release, Uncharted Realms ran a story about Ob Nixilis’ ignition and ascension to Planeswalkerhood. It is known as “The First World is the Hardest“, and it’s bad even by nerd game fiction standards. It reads like war porn, and it’s far removed from the Uncharted Realms that I actually liked, primarly those concerning the Tarkir block and some of the more likeable characters (Anafenza, Daghatar, Yasova, Alesha). In contrast, Ob Nixilis is a bastard because being a bastard has some sort of intrinsic value. Apparently.

In any case, Ob Nixilis’ origin story is basically he takes over an entire world with the help of demons, kills every other living soul on that plane and ascends in a blaze of glory, planeswalks away and starts conquering the next world. The thing about having villains who are evil for the sake of being evil is that it leaves no motivation and plot holes the size of entire continents, and this is true for “The First World is the Hardest”. Why in the name of anything would Ob Nixilis want to kill every other living person in (his) known universe?

zendikar lol

Ob Nixilis is currently in Zendikar, where people point swords at obvious things. As if the others didn’t see the gigantic space mutant they are fighting.

This, along with my suspicion that the title is a Cat Stevens reference, leaves my mouth dry. But I can’t help but laugh and want to build a deck around him. From his story, and the other fluff surrounding his time on Zendikar, we can establish a few facts about dear old Ob Nixilis:

  • He has an affinity for Demons. As demonstrated by his later appearence in Ob Nixilis the Fallen, his -2 ability as a Planeswalker and the story in question, Ob Nixilis really likes demons.
  • He is evil beyond Saturday-morning-cartoon-villain evil. Evident by the story and his various pieces of art.
  • He likes killing for the sake of killing.

All of these play nicely into a mono-black strategy focused on sweepers, big mana and demons. And I built a deck just like that. I will focus on it some more in the future, but for now, here’s my current list:

Chanting the Black Oath on TappedOut.net

Stay classy, Ob Nixilis.


Leave a comment


  1. psykopatmullvad

     /  September 6, 2015

    I can get behind this. I have the same love for evil personas. Sadly you cant have Nicol Bolas PLaneswalker as your commande šŸ˜€


  2. Grim Lavamancer

     /  September 7, 2015

    This is actually something that bothers me quite a lot. For all their talk about how black isn’t necessarily evil Wizards sure seems fond of printing black-aligned characters who are evil for shits and giggles. That being said, I would certainly like to see a villian acting in Saturday Morning Cartoon fashion. “Oh no! Mean ol’ Ob Nixilis is trying to poison the water supply to the local animal shelter!”. If only his -2 would create flying monkey demons instead…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, they’ve been pretty bad at making relatable black characters overall, in my opinion. Liliana is more relatable than Ob Nixilis in this case, since she actually has motivations outside being evil, and Sorin is downright likable in some cases (but oh, look! Now he’s white-black!).

      In the case of Ob Nixilis, I’ve seen motivations on par with his from Captain Planet villains. “Let’s crash this oil tanker into the beach, that’ll teach those pesky seagulls!”



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