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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Nim Deathmantle
Image from Wizards.com

Nim Deathmantle
- Scars of Mirrodin

Reviewed June 26, 2014

Constructed: 3.60
Casual: 4.12
Limited: 4.12
Multiplayer: 3.60

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

Click here to see all of our 
Card of the Day Reviews 

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Nim Deathmantle
This is a pretty cool card, and was, if you recognized it at the time, a neat callback to the original Mirrodin block - this is the exact head plating that appeared on several Nim creatures. It's easy to notice only one part of its game text, and use it as either an evasion trick or a reanimation engine (infinite mana with Composite Golem!). But if either of those can break entire decks by itself, what do both of them together do? If nothing else, it's very difficult to lose an attrition battle with one of these in play, so long as you remember to save four mana.
Constructed: 4/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 4/5
Multiplayer: 4/5
Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Nim Deathmantle which is a two mana equipment with an equip cost of four that gives +2/+2, Intimidate, makes it a Black zombie, and whenever a non-token creature is put into your graveyard from play you may pay four to return it and attach Nim Deathmantle to it. The mana cost is a little high, but including the recovery aspect makes this a very effective and dangerous card when combined with sacrifice and enter play effects. A Black deck with zombie support can get added benefits with tribal abilities and helps add value to an already combo friendly card.

In a Limited format with this it is a game-changer as with four mana untapped it deters removal, adds evasion, and wins games with almost any creature in any color deck. An easy first pick in Booster and card that belongs in every Sealed deck.

Constructed: 4.0
Casual: 4.0
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 4.0


Deck Garage
Nim Deathmantle
Nim Deathmantle was printed in Scars of Mirrodin - a revisit to the plane that gave us yesterday's broken equipment. The Deathmantle seems to give a little homage to Skullclamp without being quite as easily abused.
It's similar because it has an ability that can be repeatedly used for card advantage. If you have an effect that will allow you to sacrifice creatures for some benefit, you can do so, then bring it back bigger and badder. The 4 mana cost makes it difficult (but no, not impossible, Mr. Composite Golem) to abuse, but even doing this once a turn can yield you some nice results.
It's different because it's more expensive, and it makes the equipped creature a bigger offensive threat. Intimidate is often overlooked as an ability. There's a pretty good chance it makes your creature unblockable. Add with that the +2/+2 it grants, it can put your opponent on a short clock. Then, if they kill the creature that's equipped, you can bring it right back and start the clock again.
Where does that leave us? Nim Deathmantle is a good example of a powerful, yet balanced card. Used to it's strengths, it can be a real headache for your opponent, but the cost keeps it from being unfair.
Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 3.5

Michael Sokolowski

Finally, a non-broken card! I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever see one again, after all those Jittes and Greaves and Clamps.

That's not to say Nim Deathmantle isn't good, it's just not good on a metagame-defining level that some of the others were. There are only two ways to use this card: the combo way, and the non-combo way. The non-combo way is not that great, while the combo way can win the game for you on the turn you pull it off, but it takes a lot of cards and mana to pull off so it would only happen late game anyway, which makes it not all that shocking or broken.

The non-combo way is to just play it normally, as a boost and possible resurrection for stuff you don't want to die. Except 6 mana (2 casting cost, 4 equip cost) for +2/+2 and intimidate is pretty terrible. There are ways for you to find uses for it, but there are almost certainly a hundred better ways for you to spend that 6 mana. Bringing something back, potentially more than once, for 4 mana is pretty good. However it's not jaw-droppingly powerful. It requires you to leave that 4 mana up for that purpose, slowing your tempo down a lot. And your creature might not even die that turn, so the mana could potentially be wasted. A big part of Skullclamp's power was it only took 1 mana to use. It's nice, and you could pretty easily combo it with a 'when this creature died' or 'enters the battlefield' ability for extra value. But you'd be sticking with that creature for a while, because it will cost an ADDITIONAL 4 mana to move it onto something else, so it might get less good as the game progresses.

So let's look at what kind of crazy combos the Deathmantle can pull off.

The essence of the combo is pretty simple. First, you find some way to sacrifice your own creatures. Ideally something that gives you a benefit, like creature tokens or mana or damage or something. Then, you find a creature that gives you good stuff when it either dies or enters the battlefield, again either mana or whatnot. The trick is, using these two things, you must be able to give yourself at least 4 mana every time the creature is sacrificed and brought back to life, thus you can do this combo infinite times and whatever benefit you're getting from doing so will then win you the game.

Some easy combos are putting Nim Deathmantle on a Composite Golem, sacrificing it repeatedly to gain infinite mana, and then use that to cast a game-ending Fireball. You could also use something like Village Bell-Ringer along with some creatures that tap for a total of 4+ mana, and then sacrifice it with something like Devouring Swarm to get a flying creature with infinite power and toughness. You could use either of these methods with something like Falkenrath Noble on the field to straight-up win the game with the repeated sacrificing. Gutter Grime would also be fun. Rage Thrower, Warstorm Surge, there are a lot of fun options you could use with this, but they all depend on getting a creature to sacrifice and come back where the act of doing so will somehow grant you 4 or more mana. And there are a fair amount of good options for that part too, Emrakul's Hatcher plus Pawn of Ulamog for instance.

As you can see, it can win you games, but it's kind of gimmicky and it's not really something that you could pull off before turn 6 or 7. Your opponent will have options to disrupt it or take out some of your combo pieces before you can get it all set up or just kill you before you get to turn 7. It's not the easiest infinite combo to pull off, but it IS an infinite combo, and some players really like those. Outside of a combo deck, +2/+2 and intimidate is good but not great. 4-8 mana to bring stuff back from the dead is really good but not really great.

All in all, Nim Deathmantle is something that I could see casual players having a bunch of fun with, and that stats boost + intimidate can actually be pretty good in limited. But I wouldn't say it's all that amazing for constructed or multiplayer.

Constructed: 3
Casual: 4
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 3

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