Last time we saw Nicol Bolas, he was being generically villainous with a grandiose plan to take over the Multiverse and reclaim the godhood was so accustomed to. Ajani Vengeant played the 007 to his [Insert Bond Villain Here], foiled his plans in the midst of the Alaran Maelstrom, and sent him packing.

Well, now he's back, and this time he's more Thanos than Blofeld. He's got a grander plan to raise an army and do… something with it. He's hoodwinked the Planar Bridge via Tezzeret, and the The Immortal Sun via Vraska. Now he encounters the Gatewatch with his zombie army and Phase One is a big victory for the Big Bad.

In keeping with the flavor of this early phase, the Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh is all about his Lazotep soldiers coming in to wreak havoc.

Let's all prepare for the impending doom together:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh by Andy Hurst

'Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $41.64

Cards

Aven Initiate

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130189_200w.jpg

Flying
Embalm {6}{U} ({6}{U}, Exile this card from your graveyard: Create a token that's a copy of it, except it's a white Zombie Bird Warrior with no mana cost. Embalm only as a sorcery.)

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Fiery Fall

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236211_200w.jpg

Fiery Fall deals 5 damage to target creature.
Basic landcycling {1}{R} ({1}{R}, Discard this card: Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.)

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Careful Consideration

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233825_200w.jpg

Target player draws four cards, then discards three cards. If you cast this spell during your main phase, instead that player draws four cards, then discards two cards.

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Supreme Will

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226292_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.
• Look at the top four cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

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Abrade

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227309_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Abrade deals 3 damage to target creature.
• Destroy target artifact.

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Vizier of the Anointed

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136618_200w.jpg

When Vizier of the Anointed enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a creature card with eternalize or embalm, put that card into your graveyard, then shuffle.
Whenever you activate an eternalize or embalm ability, draw a card.

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Evolving Wilds

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227330_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Evolving Wilds: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

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Jorubai Murk Lurker

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/91070_200w.jpg

Jorubai Murk Lurker gets +1/+1 as long as you control a Swamp.
{1}{B}: Target creature gains lifelink until end of turn. (Damage dealt by the creature also causes its controller to gain that much life.)

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Torment of Scarabs

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135076_200w.jpg

Enchant player
At the beginning of enchanted player's upkeep, that player loses 3 life unless they sacrifice a nonland permanent or discard a card.

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Darksteel Ingot

Market Price: $0.73

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/166772_200w.jpg

Indestructible
{T}: Add one mana of any color.

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Crosis's Catacombs

Color Identity:B,R,U

Market Price: $1.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7774_200w.jpg

When Crosis's Catacombs enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you return a non-Lair land you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {U}, {B}, or {R}.

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Warped Landscape

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171457_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Warped Landscape: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

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Khenra Eternal

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/134876_200w.jpg

Afflict 1 (Whenever this creature becomes blocked, defending player loses 1 life.)

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Compulsive Research

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227290_200w.jpg

Target player draws three cards. Then that player discards two cards unless they discard a land card.

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In Bolas's Clutches

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162221_200w.jpg

Enchant permanent
You control enchanted permanent.
Enchanted permanent is legendary.

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Hour of Devastation

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136610_200w.jpg

All creatures lose indestructible until end of turn. Hour of Devastation deals 5 damage to each creature and each non-Bolas planeswalker.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145690_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Proven Combatant

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135081_200w.jpg

Eternalize {4}{U}{U} ({4}{U}{U}, Exile this card from your graveyard: Create a token that's a copy of it, except it's a 4/4 black Zombie Human Warrior with no mana cost. Eternalize only as a sorcery.)

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/35677_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Merciless Eternal

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136615_200w.jpg

Afflict 2 (Whenever this creature becomes blocked, defending player loses 2 life.)
{2}{B}, Discard a card: Merciless Eternal gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

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Terminate

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212332_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.

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Tah-Crop Skirmisher

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130287_200w.jpg

Embalm {3}{U} ({3}{U}, Exile this card from your graveyard: Create a token that's a copy of it, except it's a white Zombie Naga Warrior with no mana cost. Embalm only as a sorcery.)

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Manticore Eternal

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136614_200w.jpg

Afflict 3 (Whenever this creature becomes blocked, defending player loses 3 life.)
Manticore Eternal attacks each combat if able.

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Gate to the Afterlife

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130224_200w.jpg

Whenever a nontoken creature you control dies, you gain 1 life. Then you may draw a card. If you do, discard a card.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Gate to the Afterlife: Search your graveyard, hand, and/or library for a card named God-Pharaoh's Gift and put it onto the battlefield. If you search your library this way, shuffle. Activate only if there are six or more creature cards in your graveyard.

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Spellweaver Eternal

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136718_200w.jpg

Prowess (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
Afflict 2 (Whenever this creature becomes blocked, defending player loses 2 life.)

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Crumbling Necropolis

Color Identity:B,R,U

Market Price: $0.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/140081_200w.jpg

Crumbling Necropolis enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}, {B}, or {R}.

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Ribbons of Night

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.12

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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Labyrinth Guardian

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130243_200w.jpg

When Labyrinth Guardian becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice it.
Embalm {3}{U} ({3}{U}, Exile this card from your graveyard: Create a token that's a copy of it, except it's a white Zombie Illusion Warrior with no mana cost. Embalm only as a sorcery.)

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Nightscape Familiar

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132251_200w.jpg

Blue spells and red spells you cast cost {1} less to cast.
{1}{B}: Regenerate Nightscape Familiar.

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God-Pharaoh's Gift

Market Price: $0.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135085_200w.jpg

At the beginning of combat on your turn, you may exile a creature card from your graveyard. If you do, create a token that's a copy of that card, except it's a 4/4 black Zombie. It gains haste until end of turn.

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Dark Intimations

Color Identity:B,R,U

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126470_200w.jpg

Each opponent sacrifices a creature or planeswalker, then discards a card. You return a creature or planeswalker card from your graveyard to your hand, then draw a card.
When you cast a Bolas planeswalker spell, exile Dark Intimations from your graveyard. That planeswalker enters the battlefield with an additional loyalty counter on it.

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Frontline Devastator

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136607_200w.jpg

Afflict 2 (Whenever this creature becomes blocked, defending player loses 2 life.)
{1}{R}: Frontline Devastator gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

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Rise // Fall

Color Identity:B,R,U

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/52141_200w.jpg

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Crypt of the Eternals

Color Identity:B,R,U

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136744_200w.jpg

When Crypt of the Eternals enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life.
{T}: Add {C}.
{1}, {T}: Add {U}, {B}, or {R}.

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Sinuous Striker

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135083_200w.jpg

{U}: Sinuous Striker gets +1/-1 until end of turn.
Eternalize—{3}{U}{U}, Discard a card. ({3}{U}{U}, Discard a card, Exile this card from your graveyard: Create a token that's a copy of it, except it's a 4/4 black Zombie Naga Warrior with no mana cost. Eternalize only as a sorcery.)

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Torment of Hailfire

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $17.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135074_200w.jpg

Repeat the following process X times. Each opponent loses 3 life unless that player sacrifices a nonland permanent or discards a card.

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Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

Color Identity:B,R,U

Market Price: $11.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132233_200w.jpg

+2: Target opponent exiles cards from the top of their library until they exile a nonland card. Until end of turn, you may cast that card without paying its mana cost.
+1: Each opponent exiles two cards from their hand.
−4: Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh deals 7 damage to target opponent, creature an opponent controls, or planeswalker an opponent controls.
−12: Exile each nonland permanent your opponents control.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196475_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Eternal of Harsh Truths

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136606_200w.jpg

Afflict 2 (Whenever this creature becomes blocked, defending player loses 2 life.)
Whenever Eternal of Harsh Truths attacks and isn't blocked, draw a card.

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Doomfall

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135070_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Target opponent exiles a creature they control.
• Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. Exile that card.

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The Game Plan

Unlike the last Nicol Bolas deck, here we're looking to be aggressive with our army of Eternals. Afflict is a devastating ability that keeps the pressure up no matter what's happening. And we don't mind trading too much either, thanks to some of our rares and the fact that many of our creatures have some kind of embalm or eternalize ability to rebuy the fallen.

We've got some potent creatures at each point on the curve. Proven Combatant might not look like much, but he's great for getting in a couple points of damage before being a fantastic chump blocker, unlocking his eternal state. Labyrinth Guardian has awesome stats for a blue two-drop. Sure it only takes literally any spell to kill him, but why waste a spell on something that's just going to flash back? A valuable early play. The three-drop slot isn't terribly crowded, but the Eternal of Harsh Truths can poke in for a few or let the cards flow, and the Jorubai Murk Lurker gives us a source of lifegain.

The later drops are nice. Frontline Devastator trade with darn near anything while also getting in some damage, the Manticore Eternal hit hard, and the Vizier of the Anointed can keep the later plays flowing. Keep in mind you'll almost certainly want to choose the Proven Combatant first—it's the one we want to play/draw least if it's not in our opening hand, so getting it into the graveyard pronto is a priority.

Our spell base is great. I really wanted to make sure to include all three Grixis-based modal spells from Hour of Devastation (Abrade/Supreme Will/Doomfall) since they seemed pretty Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh flavored. It doesn't get much better than Terminate. Torment of Scarabs is definitely a griefer effect Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh would love, and we've got Compulsive Research and Careful Consideration to keep the cards flowing, and maybe dump an Eternalizer or two in the bin.

Our mana isn't ideal since we can't use any fancy rare duals, and non basics are at a premium in this project. But there are some tri-land effects we get along with Terramorphic Expanse, Warped Landscape (the poor man's Terramorphic Expanse), and the trusty ol' Darksteel Ingot.

The Rares

Only makes sense to play the card that foreshadowed Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh return to the Lore. A mini Cruel Ultimatum that powers up Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh is a welcome effect. And although it won't thoroughly dominate a game the way the Cruel Ultimatum would, it's still an effective spell that couples nicely with our more pressuring creatures.

The rares here were chosen for maximum flavor impact, and the Hour of Devastation is no different. We're a more aggressive deck with creatures, so it's not always likely we'll use this to its maximum effect. But we'll frequently be in a great position to trade off some creatures and protect our life total, get them to overextend, then Hour of Devastation away their board before starting to eternalize/embalm our army back for the finish. Max points if we get to wipe out other planeswalkers while our own is out since Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh dodges the Hour of Devastation effects.

We've even got the setup with Gate to the Afterlife and enough creatures to trigger it. If we land the God-Pharaoh's Gift, we only need a couple turns before it threatens to run away with the game. A 4/4 every turn that may or may not come with other impressive abilities is a game winner, and obviously our Vizier of the Anointed become premium draws if we're able to get the God-Pharaoh's Gift online.

This is one of those rares I'm glad I set aside when the set came out. I had no idea it was so popular or valuable! However, it's not that surprising once we've resolved it a few times. We're already applying pressure with our various Eternal shenanigans, so the choice of either three life or getting rid of cards will be backbreaking. And an X of 4+ will hopefully cripple our opponent's ability to fight back.

Unsung Hero

Control Magic effects are insane. I feel like these days players either weren't playing when Control Magic the OG was causing trouble, or they're just used to EDH scenarios where they're able to take control of wide swaths of things. But the effect in a relatively underpowered format like this is just absurd. Six mana is perhaps a tad steep for the effect, but considering we can get any permanent—our opponent's biggest scariest creature, some kind of weird enchantment we can't otherwise answer, their planeswalker,or even a land in the right circumstances—we get so much power and flexibility it's worth the price tag. Plus, it's a huge flavor win since it represents the Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh last act before the endgame.