As I've stated here before, I actually enjoyed most of the planeswalkers from the War of the Spark—at least as they pertain to this project. Although annoying and sometimes easy to forget, the passive abilities that came with those walkers all served to help ensure this (enormous) batch lent themselves to themes far more easily than those in a normal set.

Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted theme was as straightforward as they come: punish our opponent for drawing cards. A popular fan favorite from the oldest school, Underworld Dreams and its ilk has been an effect that WotC returns to every once in a while. And it's fun because it makes something our opponent would normally be psyched to do—drawing cards—into a liability, and hopefully their source of defeat.

In fact, this deck was sketched out shortly after War of the Spark released, since the theme was so obvious. I got the gift from WotC of Underworld Dreams being downshifted to uncommon in Theros Beyond Death. It had previously been slated as one of the rares, so now I can play an additional rare and an additional copy of Underworld Dreams! Ideal outcome.

Let's take a look at what our Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted been up to:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted by Andy Hurst

'Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted' - 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: $29.43

Cards

Gifted Aetherborn

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216434_200w.jpg

Deathtouch, lifelink

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Blighted Fen

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/105572_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{4}{B}, {T}, Sacrifice Blighted Fen: Target opponent sacrifices a creature.

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Tendrils of Corruption

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233862_200w.jpg

Tendrils of Corruption deals X damage to target creature and you gain X life, where X is the number of Swamps you control.

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Plague Mare

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/169085_200w.jpg

Plague Mare can't be blocked by white creatures.
When Plague Mare enters the battlefield, creatures your opponents control get -1/-1 until end of turn.

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Bojuka Bog

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248799_200w.jpg

Bojuka Bog enters the battlefield tapped.
When Bojuka Bog enters the battlefield, exile target player's graveyard.
{T}: Add {B}.

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Barter in Blood

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216560_200w.jpg

Each player sacrifices two creatures.

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Sign in Blood

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.96

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/166945_200w.jpg

Target player draws two cards and loses 2 life.

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Howling Mine

Market Price: $6.02

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At the beginning of each player's draw step, if Howling Mine is untapped, that player draws an additional card.

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Damnable Pact

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/254240_200w.jpg

Target player draws X cards and loses X life.

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Viseling

Market Price: $0.21

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At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, Viseling deals X damage to that player, where X is the number of cards in their hand minus 4.

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Wall of Souls

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5446_200w.jpg

Defender (This creature can't attack.)
Whenever Wall of Souls is dealt combat damage, it deals that much damage to target opponent or planeswalker.

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Uncle Istvan

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/14659_200w.jpg

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to Uncle Istvan by creatures.

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Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206460_200w.jpg

When Gray Merchant of Asphodel enters the battlefield, each opponent loses X life, where X is your devotion to black. You gain life equal to the life lost this way. (Each {B} in the mana costs of permanents you control counts toward your devotion to black.)

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Staff of the Death Magus

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/90951_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a black spell or a Swamp enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 1 life.

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Choking Sands

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5007_200w.jpg

Destroy target non-Swamp land. If that land was nonbasic, Choking Sands deals 2 damage to the land's controller.

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Prowling Pangolin

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118755_200w.jpg

When Prowling Pangolin enters the battlefield, any player may sacrifice two creatures. If a player does, sacrifice Prowling Pangolin.

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Drain Life

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/2115_200w.jpg

Spend only black mana on X.
Drain Life deals X damage to any target. You gain life equal to the damage dealt, but not more life than the player's life total before the damage was dealt, the planeswalker's loyalty before the damage was dealt, or the creature's toughness.

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Cast Down

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226354_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonlegendary creature.

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Planar Void

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $5.60

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6983_200w.jpg

Whenever another card is put into a graveyard from anywhere, exile that card.

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Rain of Tears

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15267_200w.jpg

Destroy target land.

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Everglades

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/94457_200w.jpg

Everglades enters the battlefield tapped.
When Everglades enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you return an untapped Swamp you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {C}{B}.

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Fog of Gnats

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6311_200w.jpg

Flying
{B}: Regenerate Fog of Gnats.

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Vampire Sovereign

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/168468_200w.jpg

Flying
When Vampire Sovereign enters the battlefield, target opponent loses 3 life and you gain 3 life.

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Mortuary Mire

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248797_200w.jpg

Mortuary Mire enters the battlefield tapped.
When Mortuary Mire enters the battlefield, you may put target creature card from your graveyard on top of your library.
{T}: Add {B}.

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Spread the Sickness

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98802_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature, then proliferate. (Choose any number of permanents and/or players, then give each another counter of each kind already there.)

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Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187139_200w.jpg

Whenever an opponent draws a card, Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted deals 1 damage to that player.
−2: Destroy target creature. Its controller draws two cards.

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Nekrataal

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118763_200w.jpg

First strike
When Nekrataal enters the battlefield, destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature. That creature can't be regenerated.

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Fate Unraveler

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.72

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/107956_200w.jpg

Whenever an opponent draws a card, Fate Unraveler deals 1 damage to that player.

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Underworld Dreams

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207162_200w.jpg

Whenever an opponent draws a card, Underworld Dreams deals 1 damage to that player.

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The Fallen

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.96

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/3581_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, The Fallen deals 1 damage to each opponent and planeswalker it has dealt damage to this game.

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Life's Finale

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/39541_200w.jpg

Destroy all creatures, then search target opponent's library for up to three creature cards and put them into their graveyard. Then that player shuffles.

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Howling Golem

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227129_200w.jpg

Whenever Howling Golem attacks or blocks, each player draws a card.

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Dark Ritual

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.60

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161421_200w.jpg

Add {B}{B}{B}.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215721_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Master of the Feast

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/82235_200w.jpg

Flying
At the beginning of your upkeep, each opponent draws a card.

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Innocent Blood

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215935_200w.jpg

Each player sacrifices a creature.

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Ob Nixilis's Cruelty

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187140_200w.jpg

Target creature gets -5/-5 until end of turn. If that creature would die this turn, exile it instead.

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Spike Cannibal

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4411_200w.jpg

Spike Cannibal enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it.
When Spike Cannibal enters the battlefield, move all +1/+1 counters from all creatures onto it.

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The Game Plan

Offer/force our opponent to draw extra cards, and punish them for doing so. Also, avoid dying in the process since we're giving them a bunch of extra cards. End with our big pile of painful draw triggers, or a massive Drain Life/Gray Merchant of Asphodel.

One of the things I enjoy the most about a deck like this is we're playing cards that—how to put this nicely—don't otherwise have a demand for their services. Something like Nekrataal or Gifted Aetherborn? Sure, it's easy to slot those into decks. They're almost always great! But when was the last time you were excited to get a Howling Golem into combat? My guess is it's been a while. But when that Howling Golem trigger could deal anywhere from one-to-four additional damage, and we get it on offense or defense, and it doesn't even need to connect to get it? Now we're talking! Similarly, something like a Prowling Pangolin hasn't been heavily played ever. But we've got a decent amount of removal to keep the board relatively clear, so the price to deny the Prowling Pangolin ends up being a hefty one.

Our spells include some nice ones. It's odd—usually I enjoy putting some discard effects into the black decks, but this one wants to clog the opponent's hand, not strip it away. So our odd disruption shows up as land destruction instead, under the idea that taking out lands might help congest the hand and mitigate the impact of the extra cards. If they can't deploy or play those extra cards on time, who cares how many they have?

To that end, Rain of Tears and Choking Sands will put in some work. (The Portal art for product-hover id="758" is far and away my fav.) We're also interested in keeping the board clear, so Innocent Blood and Barter in Blood will get rid of some good ones. Ob Nixilis's Cruelty and Cast Down are similarly efficient removal, while Tendrils of Corruption and Spread the Sickness are slower, but can have a larger impact. The lifegain is crucial since we're playing for the long game, and Spread the Sickness offers a scarce opportunity to add counters to our planeswalker.

It's easy to malign Staff of the Death Magus since it was an unplayable draft card. But try playing it out when you can, and I don't think you'll be disappointed. We've got a lot of swamps and a lot of black cards, and this is in great shape to gain us quite a bit of life.

The Rares

(Remember, because this planeswalker is uncommon we'll have five rares instead of the usual four!)

Sure, the opponent might kill this and it'd be a big bummer for us. But it's a 5/5 flying creature for only three mana. And a 5/5 evasive body for that cost is a great bargain, especially when that "downside" plays into our main game plan. Don't mess around when this hits play. Turn it sideways early and often.

Underworld Dreams #3 that's a little more vulnerable, but it attacks and blocks. Plays exactly into what our deck's trying to do along with a reasonable body. Hard to ask for more than that. We'd love to see this Fate Unraveler every game.

If we have Underworld Dreams/Fate Unraveler/Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted going, then we want our opponent drawing as many cards as possible. Howling Mine provides the means to do that in an iconic and cost effective way. Pairs great with our main game plan of course, but also might help the Viseling get in for some damage.

We're giving our opponent a lot of extra cards, because the assumption is we're going to use their mountain of card advantage to kill them. However, sometimes they have a bunch of resources because of these extra cards, and they can build out their board well. Not great, Bob! Fortunately for us, we've got an ace-in-the-hole with our sweeper. This Life's Finale has the added bonus of stripping out the rares in our opponent's deck, and putting them into the trash where they won't threaten us.

I know we have Drain Life, and I'm sure the OG will win us some games. But I really want to kill the opponent with the Damnable Pact here, especially in a situation where we have a Underworld Dreams effect or two working overtime on the board. With even just one of those effects, the Damnable Pact is a potent Fireball.

Unsung Hero

Most families have a black sheep. Someone who kinda sticks out from the vibe the rest of the folks are putting out. My guess is that good ol' Uncle Istvan was the black sheep of his family. When my little playgroup started jamming games back in the 90s at the school picnic table, Uncle Istvan was an absolute All-Star.

Nobody played Wrath of God (it kills our guys too) or Swords to Plowshares (it gains our opponent life), couldn't get hit by banishing since it was black, and Lightning Bolt can't kill Serra Angel or Sengir Vampire, so why would you play those?

Uncle Istvan was essentially Darksteel Colossus, except it didn't hit as hard (Power Creep is real). In this deck, Uncle Istvan will hold the fort and take beatings otherwise meant for us while providing three extra pips for a devastating Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Like Tony Soprano says, you can only fully trust family. And although he might not look too trustworthy, Uncle Istvan got our back.