My first thought when building around Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver was definitely blue-black mill, but the problem is that none of the Ashioks really do mill—they exile stuff. So the exciting rares that I'd pair them with, like Nemesis of Reason or Guiltfeeder, don't work as well because there's just not as much stuff in the enemy graveyard. It's exiled!

But that's okay. That lack of thematic direction allowed me to get a little weird with this one, and play a really fun and interesting deck. I'll provide a hint: our opponent will never see them coming…

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver by Andy Hurst

'Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank: 0-0

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $38.09

Cards

Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/239580_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Cloud of Faeries

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6293_200w.jpg

Flying
When Cloud of Faeries enters the battlefield, untap up to two lands.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Seer's Vision

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7648_200w.jpg

Your opponents play with their hands revealed.
Sacrifice Seer's Vision: Look at target player's hand and choose a card from it. That player discards that card. Activate only as a sorcery.

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Umezawa's Charm

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190945_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
• Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.
• You gain 2 life.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235542_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Changeling Outcast

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222536_200w.jpg

Changeling (This card is every creature type.)
Changeling Outcast can't block and can't be blocked.

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Watcher for Tomorrow

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191583_200w.jpg

Hideaway (This creature enters the battlefield tapped. When it does, look at the top four cards of your library, exile one face down, then put the rest on the bottom of your library.)
When Watcher for Tomorrow leaves the battlefield, put the exiled card into its owner's hand.

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Salt Marsh

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11285_200w.jpg

Salt Marsh enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

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Bad River

Market Price: $2.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4974_200w.jpg

Bad River enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}, Sacrifice Bad River: Search your library for an Island or Swamp card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Doomsday Specter

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7786_200w.jpg

Flying
When Doomsday Specter enters the battlefield, return a blue or black creature you control to its owner's hand.
Whenever Doomsday Specter deals combat damage to a player, look at that player's hand and choose a card from it. The player discards that card.

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Thought Erasure

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175178_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card.
Surveil 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put it into your graveyard.)

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Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $3.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/71088_200w.jpg

+2: Exile the top three cards of target opponent's library.
−X: Put a creature card with mana value X exiled with Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver onto the battlefield under your control. That creature is a Nightmare in addition to its other types.
−10: Exile all cards from all opponents' hands and graveyards.

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Parasitic Strix

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219574_200w.jpg

Flying
When Parasitic Strix enters the battlefield, if you control a black permanent, target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

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Barrin's Spite

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7430_200w.jpg

Choose two target creatures controlled by the same player. Their controller chooses and sacrifices one of them. Return the other to its owner's hand.

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Ninja of the Deep Hours

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171480_200w.jpg

Ninjutsu {1}{U} ({1}{U}, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.)
Whenever Ninja of the Deep Hours deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.

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Azra Smokeshaper

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191730_200w.jpg

Ninjutsu {1}{B} ({1}{B}, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.)
When Azra Smokeshaper enters the battlefield, target creature you control gains indestructible until end of turn.

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Fallen Shinobi

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $4.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190993_200w.jpg

Ninjutsu {2}{U}{B} ({2}{U}{B}, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.)
Whenever Fallen Shinobi deals combat damage to a player, that player exiles the top two cards of their library. Until end of turn, you may play those cards without paying their mana costs.

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Spite // Malice

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/52143_200w.jpg

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Forbidden Alchemy

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180879_200w.jpg

Look at the top four cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.
Flashback {6}{B} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162239_200w.jpg

Creatures you control with power or toughness 1 or less can't be blocked.

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Throatseeker

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191628_200w.jpg

Unblocked attacking Ninjas you control have lifelink.

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Phantom Ninja

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191629_200w.jpg

Phantom Ninja can't be blocked.

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Dismal Backwater

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222604_200w.jpg

Dismal Backwater enters the battlefield tapped.
When Dismal Backwater enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life.
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

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Clutch of the Undercity

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/13231_200w.jpg

Return target permanent to its owner's hand. Its controller loses 3 life.
Transmute {1}{U}{B} ({1}{U}{B}, Discard this card: Search your library for a card with the same mana value as this card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle. Transmute only as a sorcery.)

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Contradict

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/96636_200w.jpg

Counter target spell.
Draw a card.

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Think Tank

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9379_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may put that card into your graveyard.

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Ninja of the New Moon

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191627_200w.jpg

Ninjutsu {3}{B} ({3}{B}, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.)

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Recover

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/155779_200w.jpg

Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
Draw a card.

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Artful Takedown

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176402_200w.jpg

Choose one or both —
• Tap target creature.
• Target creature gets -2/-4 until end of turn.

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Shadowmage Infiltrator

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161815_200w.jpg

Fear (This creature can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or black creatures.)
Whenever Shadowmage Infiltrator deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.

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Sigil of Sleep

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/58110_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Whenever enchanted creature deals damage to a player, return target creature that player controls to its owner's hand.

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Ribbons of Night

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/13392_200w.jpg

Ribbons of Night deals 4 damage to target creature and you gain 4 life. If {U} was spent to cast this spell, draw a card.

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Orc Sureshot

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/95388_200w.jpg

Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, target creature an opponent controls gets -1/-1 until end of turn.

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Moonblade Shinobi

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191626_200w.jpg

Ninjutsu {2}{U} ({2}{U}, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.)
Whenever Moonblade Shinobi deals combat damage to a player, create a 1/1 blue Illusion creature token with flying.

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Smoke Shroud

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191732_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has flying.
When a Ninja enters the battlefield under your control, you may return Smoke Shroud from your graveyard to the battlefield attached to that creature.

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Tainted Isle

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $5.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/125514_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}: Add {U} or {B}. Activate only if you control a Swamp.

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Mist-Syndicate Naga

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $2.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191265_200w.jpg

Ninjutsu {2}{U} ({2}{U}, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.)
Whenever Mist-Syndicate Naga deals combat damage to a player, create a token that's a copy of Mist-Syndicate Naga.

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Sai of the Shinobi

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161913_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +1/+1.
Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may attach Sai of the Shinobi to it.
Equip {2}

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Ingenious Infiltrator

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191068_200w.jpg

Ninjutsu {U}{B} ({U}{B}, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.)
Whenever a Ninja you control deals combat damage to a player, draw a card.

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Throat Slitter

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $7.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/125519_200w.jpg

Ninjutsu {2}{B} ({2}{B}, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.)
Whenever Throat Slitter deals combat damage to a player, destroy target nonblack creature that player controls.

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Okiba-Gang Shinobi

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/125476_200w.jpg

Ninjutsu {3}{B} ({3}{B}, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.)
Whenever Okiba-Gang Shinobi deals combat damage to a player, that player discards two cards.

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The Game Plan

We're looking to connect with some Ninjas! Our early drops are creatures that are either evasive (Changeling Outcast, Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive) or helpful with some value triggers (Cloud of Faeries, Parasitic Strix, Watcher for Tomorrow). They don't hit hard but they're good at getting through, thus enabling our various ninjitsu shenanigans. Or, they have triggers that provide some bonuses, and maybe we can get even more value after resetting them once the Ninjas have put them back in our hand.

We are an aggressive deck looking to use our spells to make sure our creatures get through. Several of our spells look like they might be defensive in nature, like Artful Takedown or Clutch of the Undercity. If we're using these tricks defensively, things are NOT going well. Remember, our Ninjas generally have pretty terrible rates. Ingenious Infiltrator is a four-mana 2/3. Ninja of the Deep Hours is only a 2/2 for the same cost. Okiba-Gang Shinobi is a 3/2 for five! These rates are terrible. But we get massive breaks on them with the ninjitsu costs along with their occasionally back-breaking combat triggers, so it's imperative we do whatever we can to make sure that our troops connect.

So, the creatures. Our best (nonrare) Ninjas to sneak into play are the Ingenious Infiltrator and the Moonblade Shinobi. Remember, the Infiltrator gives us cards for ALL of our Ninjas connecting; it's the ultimate Deep Hours! The Moonblade gives us some extra flying attackers to open the gates for more Ninjas. Consider when to deploy our other sneaky attackers; it is unlikely that we'll be able to get Throat Slitter or Okiba-Gang Shinobi through for more triggers if our opponents can do anything about, it so make sure that their initial deployments are used for maximum effect.

The spells here are geared toward clearing the way for attackers. Artful Takedown has top billing here, as it can get rid of two different blockers. Clutch of the Undercity and Spite // Malice are a bit more expensive but still potent, and Spite can protect our creatures from removal. Thought Erasure clears the way, while Think Tank and Forbidden Alchemy can keep the cards flowing.

Lastly, when playing this deck remember that our early game is very important, so try not to get too greedy playing hands with only a land or two. Mulligans are very friendly, and if just one or two Ninjas can connect we'll have already made up for the card disadvantage.

The Rares

Ooh boy is this thing fierce. None of our cheap/disposable creatures have 3 power, so the Mist-Syndicate Naga represents a heavy hit that leaves clones behind. This dramatically increases our board presence for a cost that isn't onerous, and it gives our opponents a devastating choice: block and trade off multiple cards for clone tokens, or don't block and probably get ninjitsu'd OR just give us more copies of Mist-Syndicate. This plus Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive equals lights out.

When I started playing competitively, this somehow had a large price tag on it despite the fact that it's expensive card disadvantage and dies to every removal spell under the sun. That's not great, so why do we want this thing?

Well, there are a couple reasons. First, the art is just so insane. Donato Giancola is one of my all-time favorite Magic artists, and he was bringing the A-game on this one. It was part of the cover of the Planeshift novel, and I've always remembered it. Second (and more importantly), we'll frequently reach a game state where we've deployed a Ninja to useful effect, but the opponent has more or less stabilized the board. Maybe we have Cloud of Faeries or something, but the Throat Slitter on the board is just a useless 2/2 unable to connect. When that happens, the Doomsday Specter gating trigger is very valuable because it allows us to re-buy a Ninja and even provides us an evasive body if need be. But remember, the Specter's ability is actually quite potent if we can connect with it, so let's try not to bounce it back unless the situation is grim.

Aside from some of the flavor home runs, Fallen Shinobi is my favorite card from Modern Horizons. I feel like they've gone a bit overboard over the past few years with letting us play the opponent's cards, but Fallen Shinobi is such a great ninjitsu reward that I can't help but love it. Sometimes our opponent will feel compelled to use their life total as a resource. Time to punish them for it.

A slower but more powerful version of Artful Takedown. And because it's a sorcery, we'll be even less convinced to use it defensively. We'll two-for-one our opponent gladly in any situation, but especially when it opens the door for the Ninjas to sneak in.

Unsung Hero

Ninjas are great because we're operating with an information advantage and our opponents are not. They must do everything they can to block our creatures during every combat even if we don't have a Ninja because the risk is just too great. Seer's Vision compounds this problem. Now we get perfect information of what our opponents are up to, and in a tight spot we can even snipe a key removal spell. Ninjas are well known for being sneaky, and Seer's Vision lets us be the sneakiest.