It's time to face our Demons, so to speak,. But before we do, take a look at my intro to the Planeswalker Deck Project, as well as the cast of characters I've featured so far!
Ob Nixilis is not a nice person. ...Actually, I suppose I should rephrase, since he's not even a person. He's a demon, and not one of the nice ones.
Because the Planeswalker is a value engine instead of something more unique, the Demon flavor is a much more interesting angle for our deckbuilding.
Most demons end up being large Rare or Mythic creatures, but I think as long as we play a few Demon creatures in those slots, we just need to incorporate some of the unsavory underworld creatures that a scumbag like Ob Nixilis would likely associate with.
Kill all your opponent's things, then kill them. We don't have too many opportunities for 2-for-1s, but when they come up (Chupacabra, Uprising) we will have a really good time. Several of our own troops are a little bit treacherous, with Grinning Demon / Promise of Power / Foul Imp / Necrogen Scudder causing us some pain while doing their thing. Making use of Butcher's Glee and Cutthroat Maneuver can really save our bacon.
Breeding Pit doesn't have a ton of uses while generating random blockers, but it does combo very well with Feaster of Fools, which can get incredibly large, given sufficient snacks. Indulgent Tormentor (Downshift Alert! May Tourach bless you Iconic Masters!) is powerful enough to be considered as one of our Rares, and we get it at Uncommon! It forces a difficult choice for our opponents each turn, and presents a very large Flying threat for a reasonable cost.
The removal...good grief. You'd have to sign a pact with a Demon to get removal this good in most decks! Although most of the removal comes with various restrictions, Ghastly Demise, Tragic Slip, Diabolic Edict, Doom Blade, Hideous End, Essence Extraction, Ravenous Chupacabra, and Faceless Butcher can very easily leave us with the last (disgusting) creatures standing.
I got this guy in a draft one time, and I was really excited about it. I went 0-3 in the draft and was extremely disappointed. BUT! I attribute this horrible performance to one main factor: Embodiment was a delinquent employee who called in sick almost every game instead of showing up to work. (Also, I drafted a real catastrophe.) Its effect is incredibly powerful, the casting costs in our deck tend to be fairly varied, and even if it ends up on the small side, its Flying and Deathtouch allow it to be a potent blocker or an attacker that presents unappealing blocks.
Lord of the Pit was almost too successful as an early iconic Rare. Cautious parents around the world—to say nothing of religious organizations and school boards all over—weren't psyched about demonic representation in a game sweeping through the youths. WotC felt that discretion was the better part of valor, and put a moratorium on printing demons for several years. [Link to this article that explains it] However, with Onslaught they decided to bring the tribe back, starting with Grinning Demon. Its flavor is reminiscent of the iconic Juzam Djinn, with a nasty sneer on its face that foreshadowed the beatings it would soon administer. 4 mana for a 6/6 is still very strong, even by today's rate, and as long as it doesn't get hit with a Pacifism effect, it's bound to trade with multiple creatures on the other side of the board, a good removal spell, or a large chunk of the opposing life total. We really want to resolve Butcher's Glee on this guy.
Ob Nixilis Unshackled
Flavor concession, but even despite that, we're still very happy to have Ob Nixilis The Creature around. The shuffling punishment is unlikely to be relevant, but if it hits it will put us extremely far ahead and with all the kill spells at play Mr. Nixilis will be real beefy.
When Mirrodin first came out, folks in Standard were still trying to make Mono Black Control happen, using Extraplanar Lens as a poor man's Cabal Coffers and Promise of Power as the kill condition. The format quickly moved beyond it, but I've always liked the idea of Promise since then, and it's a very neat card. Obviously the goal is to entwine it here, but even if we can't do that, drawing 5 cards is just so many and should be able to put us comfortably ahead in most games.
Is Agonizing Memories good? It's certainly decent, as a much worse version of something like Plow Under, but sometimes the hand disruption really comes in handy. However, what really earns the Memories some extra attention is the fantastic art. And even though it's been printed a couple of times, both versions are fantastic! I'm especially partial to the OG with its Mike Dringenberg art. (It's no secret that I consider the Mirage - Exodus era my favorite for Magic illustration, and Mike Dringenberg drew Sandman for God's sake! The man is a legend.)
Even if you prefer the other, Adam Rex has produced so many elite Magic illustrations, and this work is a good representation of his eerie, ethereal style that he brings to the table so well. Make your opponent's life miserable whilst sporting a phenomenal aesthetic in the process? Please and thank you!