"Nahiri Zoo" QB Decklist & Videos (~150 points per hour)

yunnnn
yunnnn Posts: 168 Tile Toppler
edited February 2017 in MtGPQ General Discussion
Here's the Nahiri Zoo deck that I've used in Quick Battles. It's tuned for speed with the goal of winning as fast as possible. The main draw of this deck is that it can win without a bunch of high powered mythics, and many budget versions exist. Nahiri provides all the real firepower that you need; the creatures are interchangeable, and really just conduits for all the buffs that she can throw around.

Most players are immediately skeptical (as the deck is basically Olivia + jank), but I've used it to win a minimum of 8-10 QBs in the past 3 months that I've played this game. The deck strategy and demo videos linked below have plenty of advice for how to play the deck, and I recently put up a tier-list to show the power level of ~40 relevant creatures.

Feel free to ask any questions, I'll be happy to answer them if they aren't already on the FAQ or videos.

Have fun!

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Sample Decklist:
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Videos:
MTG:PQ Nahiri Zoo Deck Strategy for QB:
vimeo.com/188933258

Demo with commentary: (Watch me play badly because I'm talking while playing)
vimeo.com/188938949

Demo 2 (fast) (5 wins in 7 minutes):
vimeo.com/188942236


FAQ:
See the first video for more details, only basic questions will be answered here:
Why Nahiri?
She's more consistent in mana than Koth (2 strong colors instead of 1), and her PW abilities are built for winning the game quickly in multiple ways.

I tried Nahiri Zoo and it sucks. You're lying.
Make sure you understand the whole strategy (see the video to understand the 2 win conditions) before you shoot it down. It's harder to play than Deploy decks for sure.

8 creatures?
I dropped Shrine after some point to improve creature consistency. 7-8 Creatures is a good thing for a deck that wants to guarantee a constant flood of creatures. Think of it this way: Who needs draw spells when the game ends incredibly fast, and every card is good for your hand?

Do you use the bathroom when you play?
I have a bucket.

Does phone matter?
Actually, yes. I've timed it and a faster phone (or emulator) definitely increases speed. I play on a S6 Galaxy edge+.

I don't have all the cards, can I run Nahiri Zoo?
As long as you have some cheap weenies, as well as some big creatures, you can run the deck in spirit. It may be slower, but Nahiri Zoo wins games due to her PW abilities and Uncaged Fury, rather than strictly creature strength.

Are you bragging?
Of course I am.

Creature Tier List
By popular demand, I've reviewed a wide range of creatures so you can understand the methodology.

Key:
5 points: The best possible cards get 5s. Play it if you have it. I will only give a card a 5 if I'd play it in my Nahiri Zoo deck.
4 points: These creatures are amazing in this deck, but are outclassed by the top tier cards. These cards are 4's because only a few cards can be 5s.
3 points: Great cards with good synergy, but I definitely would not play them if I had a 4 or 5 point card.
2 points: Really meh. These don't fit the strategy, but they are decent cards on their own.
0-1 points: Never play them. Or it might work in some combo that I'm not aware of, so let me know!

Common Metrics:

I'm explaining some metrics here so I don't have to repeat it over and over.
1. Cheap beater (less than or equal to 7 mana). Nahiri can easily make 7 mana a turn, so =<7 mana means you can poop them out in 1 turn, and Zoo them to death. Note that being able to cast a creature in 1 turn often gives it an implicit +4/4 from nahiri's #1 ability.
2. Great finisher (8 power or more). This is for the Nahiri #3 + Uncaged Fury combo.
3. Lifelink. Keeps you alive and save potions. Also lets you win damage races against the more popular agro decks.
4. Superfriends. These are creatures that have good synergy with other creatures, and support them in some way. AKA Allies, but not necessarily.
5. Midrange. This is the opposite of a cheap beater or great finisher. This deck does not want midrange cards (generally between 8-14 mana), because they either don't have 8 power or they cost too many turns to cast.

Creature Reviews:
Olivia: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/446
Olivia is an easy 5 points. Lifelink, great finisher, and her buffing ability makes her the best superfriend.

Gisela, the Broken Blade: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/784
Gisela is a great lifelinker and finisher. VERY undercosted.

Lantern Scout: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/364
Lantern Scout is the original ally superfriend, as well as a cheap beater. I'd play him even with no other allies (but you must have bushwacker and steward, they aren't rare).

Serene Steward: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/560
Without lifegain effects: 3 points. He is still a very solid cheap beater without lifegain.
But with lifegain, he can become huge and fast. Makes grim flayer look like a joke.

Abbot of Keral Keep: 3 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/1
He is the epitome of midrange. 13 mana requires 2 turns to cast, and his power is only 1 greater than Volcanic Rambler (Rambler costs 5 mana less for only 1 less power). Abbot can cause some nice cascade combos, but taking an extra turn to do it is less efficient than playing cheaper creatures.

Volcanic Rambler: 4 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/717
5 power for 8 mana is great efficiency, but he loses a point because he can't be played in 1 turn. His ability to cascade is very nice, and works well with Bushwacker's cheapening effect (8 mana Rambler + (7-1) mana Bushwhacker, which then hastes the Rambler).

Angel of Deliverance: 2.5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/25
Killing creatures is a minor benefit. She is a good finisher, but her 16 mana price tag has been outclassed. Loses half a point because of her mana cost.

Akoum Firebird: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/9
Comparing it to Angel of Deliverance (to explain why this is a 5 and Angel is a 2)
1. It costs less.
2. It has haste.
3. It comes back.

Selfless Spirit: 2 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/815
Flying Abbot with no cascade ability. This is just another midrange creature that doesn't do anything exciting.

Lone Rider: 4 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/801
A high quality cheap beater and superfriend. He is a little bit slow without help, but this is definitely a card you have to play for a while to understand:
1. If you have no other lifelinkers, he can be a valued source of life gain. Works well with Serene Steward.
2. Nahiri #1 makes him instantly flip (among other ways).

Akoum Stonewalker: 2 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/11
The 8 mana cost screws him over. Making temporary 3/1 tokens is not a bonus, as your board will be full quite often. Compare to Grovetender Druids.

Archangel of Tithes: 1.5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/35
Costs way too much mana, and 7 power is much less than 8 power for our purposes here.

Catacomb Slug: 0 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/98
This creature isn't playable in Nahiri. Because it's black. And also bad.

Sanctifier of Souls: 5.5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/814
The definition of power creep. He even powercreeped my scoring scale. All of his abilities are relevant, and the spirit often becomes a 5/5 creature shortly. This guy is superfriends with Oath of Gideon or Devils.

Odric, Lunarch Marshal: 0 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/445
Too much mana. His ability often causes all your creatures to die.

Sigarda, Heron's Grace: 1 point
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/573
You do not want blockers/defenders/vigilance in this deck! Your deck wins by playing creatures faster than the opponent does, and giving the opponent more ways to kill your creatures is a bad thing. (She would be a 3-4 if she didn't have vigilance.)

Archangel Avacyn: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/34
Woops. What I meant to say in the Sigarda review is, "You don't want defenders who aren't totally unkillable". Avacyn is great on an empty board and has a huge, game-changing effect.

Jori En, Ruin Diver: 3 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/337
Drawing cards will keep the threats coming. You might not want to play him immediately (as 10 mana is slow), but having him is invaluable if the opponent is spewing kill spells. Make sure you bait out a couple of kill spells before casting him to slowly refill your hand.

Dust Stalker: 0 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/181
11 mana, and he goes back to your hand.

Avaricious Dragon: 4.5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/42
A well-costed finisher with lots of utility. His orb destruction ability will make short work of Hixus/Support decks, and can provide cascades.

Decimator of the Provinces: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/767
This piece of bacon gets the job done, and is superfriends with anyone on the board. Emerge 3 is also quite relevant for Nahiri Zoo.

Reckless Bushwhacker: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/502
Cheap beater, superfriend. See the videos for tips on casting order. You want to play him last so he can provide his buff to everyone you played beforehand.

Oath of Gideon: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/440
4 Ally tokens offer synergy with pretty much every superfriend. Sometimes you get 8 tokens as well.

Devils's Playground: 4 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/160
Solid creature, but lacks the superfriends hashtag.

Spectral Shepherd: 3 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/604
Doesn't combo with anything, but the card is efficiently costed.

Goldnight Castigator: 5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/269
Without any lifelink cards: 3 points
You need lifegain to play her successfully, or you will run out of potions. If you don't have lifelinkers, the correct strategy is to sandbag her in your hand until you have the combo ready, or the board looks very safe.

Grovetender Druids: 3 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/278
A superfriend ally that can help you fill up the board for Nahiri's #1. Only play him if you are playing 3-4 other allies.

Paranoid Parish-Blade: 4 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/463
Efficiently costed beater.

Reflector Mage: 3.5 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/507
This dude is the key to budget Nahiri Zoo decks. Bouncing away their undergrowth champion and comboing off the turn after is dirty.

Kor Entanglers: 2 points
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/351
If you play a bunch of allies & have Lantern Scout: 3 points
A staple for Ally-based Nahiri decks. The disable effect is solid, and triggering Lantern Scout's lifelink isn't shabby either.

Angelic Captain: 1 point
http://beta.mtgpq.info/#/cards/27
With a bunch of allies: 2 points
This guy is really bad, but sometimes you have no 8 power creatures, and this guy will do in a pinch.

Fabled Hero: 6 points
http://oi64.tinypic.com/5zlifb.jpg
Every deck needs one of these; Nahiri Zoo is only playable because Nahiri is in the colors to be able to play this card.
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Comments

  • wink
    wink Posts: 136 Tile Toppler
    That's great! I love it! Now I just have to wait until Nahiri comes back around again. Sigh.

    Thanks for the tutorial--it solidified a lot of stuff that was floating around in my head. I was glad to realize that I had predicted 7 cards of the deck based on the name and its vaunted speed, so my individual card assessments must be on the right track in general. Hearing the reasons behind each choice was great to make sure I really understood what was going on.

    Wink icon_e_wink.gif
  • Rogan_Josh
    Rogan_Josh Posts: 140 Tile Toppler
    Wow, great write up Yunnnn! make more vids, someone needs to lol.
  • madwren
    madwren Posts: 2,186 Chairperson of the Boards
    Nice writeup. Though, minor quibble, there are 7 creatures, not 8 (Struggle, Shrine, Fury not being creatures).
  • madwren wrote:
    Nice writeup. Though, minor quibble, there are 7 creatures, not 8 (Struggle, Shrine, Fury not being creatures).

    They mentioned in the writeup that Shrine was dropped for another creature after that screenshot was taken.
  • madwren
    madwren Posts: 2,186 Chairperson of the Boards
    Splizwarf wrote:
    madwren wrote:
    Nice writeup. Though, minor quibble, there are 7 creatures, not 8 (Struggle, Shrine, Fury not being creatures).

    They mentioned in the writeup that Shrine was dropped for another creature after that screenshot was taken.

    Not at the time that I posted that.
  • wink
    wink Posts: 136 Tile Toppler
    I've been thinking about the whole "only kill things that threaten to kill you" rationale behind Inner Struggle. I agree with it, but think that Inner Struggle lets a few threats fall between the gaps. I'm wondering if Smite/Humble might fit the bill better, since their only restrictions are how high the power of the target is, and anything that is less than 4 or 6 power is not something that threatens to kill you.

    I know that they are more expensive than Inner Struggle, and that is a major count against them in a deck this fast. But maybe it makes up for it by being more comprehensive? Mostly I worry about how Inner Struggle fails against Prevent Damage. Like I can see an Avacyn totally shutting down this deck and having no answer to it while it kills all your creatures and momentum.
  • THEMAGICkMAN
    THEMAGICkMAN Posts: 697 Critical Contributor
    ahhh vimeo..... icon_e_biggrin.gif

    nice deck! how much is changed with DtG?
  • yunnnn
    yunnnn Posts: 168 Tile Toppler
    edited November 2016
    wink wrote:
    I know that they are more expensive than Inner Struggle, and that is a major count against them in a deck this fast. But maybe it makes up for it by being more comprehensive? Mostly I worry about how Inner Struggle fails against Prevent Damage. Like I can see an Avacyn totally shutting down this deck and having no answer to it while it kills all your creatures and momentum.

    I appreciate your breakdown! I ran Smite in this deck quite often in the early days, so I've had lots of time to think about it.

    When it's quite good:
    Smite the Monstrous is good tech against highly competitive decks. Cascaded Olivia is way more threatening when every opponent is threatening it.

    Because the QB will be stacked with stronger opponents at the beginning, I will side in Smite for an hour or two before it fills up with regular players (and more mediocre decks).

    Inner vs Smite:
    1. There is a massive upside of 6 mana vs 8 mana. 6 mana can be played from a single match, which means you don't have to spend a turn pre-charging it up.
    2. Inner is really good against most of the threatening monsters (Except Avacyn and Undergrowth Champion). Against her, you are kinda boned. On the bright side, I often get my creatures into the 10+ toughness level by the time she comes down, and they will just bounce off on the first turn she is down.
    3. Smite is very good as a second kill spell, but having 2 kill spells will cut into the consistency of the deck. In my opener, I want creatures all the time; opening hands where I get 2 smite + 1 inner struggle will often cause me to lose more games than the times I win from it. While I agree that Smite is a great card, the current meta and cards (Inner kills a TON of stuff) doesn't justify it probabilistically for me.
    4. The zoo deck does have to forfeit sometimes; against a really fast start or a clutch Crush of Tentacles, sometimes zoo has no comeback (unlike Deploy decks). However, the deck will pull off very easy wins in other times. From recording the average score rates from my QBs, I do insist that this permutation is faster with 1 kill spell than 2. In other words, I'm hedging that being slightly faster is worth the games that I might lose from Avacyn (this is pretty rare in practice; it's usually a surge of GRB and Olivia that gets me)

    Conclusion:
    Smite is a great card, but I don't play it because it causes more deck inconsistency than it helps me win in QB. I still maintain a 96-97% winrate with this zoo configuration, so I don't think it's a bad hedge.
    For events (where you must win every game and a 96% winrate is awful), I take smite as well as Tamiyo's (to ensure that long games can still be won).
  • wink
    wink Posts: 136 Tile Toppler
    Oh, right. I wasn't suggesting that you add in Smite on top of Struggle. Just wondering if it might be worth it to replace Struggle with Smite. It does look like you've come to the conclusion that it is situationally the right swap to make (like the beginning hours of qb)?
  • yunnnn
    yunnnn Posts: 168 Tile Toppler
    wink wrote:
    Oh, right. I wasn't suggesting that you add in Smite on top of Struggle. Just wondering if it might be worth it to replace Struggle with Smite. It does look like you've come to the conclusion that it is situationally the right swap to make (like the beginning hours of qb)?

    For the direct replacement of Smite with Struggle, I think the extra 2 mana is a big deal. Inner Struggle absolutely can kill a hasty Porky or Olivia or GRB on the turn it comes down, whereas Smite must be precharged (often costing an additional turn).

    I think the choice comes down to personal preference and meta; for me, I don't think the extra turn is worth it for just UGC and Avacyn. However, this may change now that Avacyn is more readily obtainable.
  • wink
    wink Posts: 136 Tile Toppler
    Makes sense. Good to know. Also glad to know that you've thoroughly tested it out so that I don't have to. icon_e_smile.gif

    Thanks!
  • MaxMagic420
    MaxMagic420 Posts: 126 Tile Toppler
    Want to hear something interesting? Played against this deck so many times this event. When the a.i. plays your deck, I only ever see three cards: Olivia, dragon, inner struggle. I didnt even know the scout and steward were in there. Olivia is basically the new hixus. The a.i. never seems to only have one, and once it comes out, basically game over unless you run decks with lots of creature control. So I do, out of necessity. like in the hixus era where demolish was in every red deck for a reason. I still win against this deck. But it requires careful planning and a good control build. After seeing the decklist and the principle behind it, I'm kind of proud of myself for beating it actually. Thanks for the lift friend!
  • Ciotog
    Ciotog Posts: 77 Match Maker
    I swapped lone rider for lantern scout and have been enjoying it.
  • I am glad you posted this deck setup! I have been rampaging through QB and the recent Avacyn Madness event using an altered version of this. I was primarily a werewolf playing before hand. icon_e_smile.gif
  • Mainloop25
    Mainloop25 Posts: 1,724 Chairperson of the Boards
    Very cool! What program is it that you are using for recording?
  • jetnoctis
    jetnoctis Posts: 128 Tile Toppler
    Great write up, great video, and great commentary. Thanks! Hope you keep up such informative tutorial videos in future.
  • Reaganstorme
    Reaganstorme Posts: 334 Mover and Shaker
    Made the following swaps due to not having some of the cards:

    Lone Rider for Lantern Scout - fulfills the cheap life gain creature slot nicely. First strike and trample are valuable bonuses.

    Akoum Hellkite for Avaricious Dragon - a replacement flier with an occasionally useful triggered ability. Cheaper cost than AD too.

    Village Messenger for Shrine of the Forsaken Gods - not sure what yunnnn used for this replacement but VM is a cheap Hasted Menace that works well.

    All in all this has been a fun deck to try out. Thanks yunnnn.
  • yunnnn
    yunnnn Posts: 168 Tile Toppler
    Made the following swaps due to not having some of the cards:

    Lone Rider for Lantern Scout - fulfills the cheap life gain creature slot nicely. First strike and trample are valuable bonuses.

    Akoum Hellkite for Avaricious Dragon - a replacement flier with an occasionally useful triggered ability. Cheaper cost than AD too.

    Village Messenger for Shrine of the Forsaken Gods - not sure what yunnnn used for this replacement but VM is a cheap Hasted Menace that works well.

    All in all this has been a fun deck to try out. Thanks yunnnn.

    Those are all solid substitutions! Akoum Hellkite is probably the weakest one out of the bunch, since 6 power for 12 mana makes it a midrange creature that the deck doesn't really want. This deck really needs either fast weenies (for nahiri #1), or solid 8 power beaters (for nahiri #3).

    On a side note, this deck's #1 creature is probably Gisela (pay2win power creep, yes I know):
    1. She has lifelink, which is great for QB nonstop runs.
    2. 8 Power is the sweet spot for Nahiri #3 + UF combo. (10 power creatures cost way more, and typically will overkill the opponent by miles).
    3. She's only... 12 mana... jesus come on.
  • Reaganstorme
    Reaganstorme Posts: 334 Mover and Shaker
    yunnnn wrote:
    Those are all solid substitutions! Akoum Hellkite is probably the weakest one out of the bunch, since 6 power for 12 mana makes it a midrange creature that the deck doesn't really want. This deck really needs either fast weenies (for nahiri #1), or solid 8 power beaters (for nahiri #3).

    On a side note, this deck's #1 creature is probably Gisela (pay2win power creep, yes I know):
    1. She has lifelink, which is great for QB nonstop runs.
    2. 8 Power is the sweet spot for Nahiri #3 + UF combo. (10 power creatures cost way more, and typically will overkill the opponent by miles).
    3. She's only... 12 mana... jesus come on.

    I totally agree with you about Akoum Hellkite. I'm probably going to substitute it for something else. Any other suggestions? My only other 7+ power creatures are Odric, Breaker of Armies, Barage Tyrant, Sigarda, and Dust Stalker.

    Smaller and cheaper threats i was considering instead were Selfless Spirit, Runnaway Carriage, Breakneck Rider, and Spectral Shepard. All 10 or less mana.

    And as soon as i saw your list i knew that it was missing Gisela. She's just mean!
  • Mainloop25
    Mainloop25 Posts: 1,724 Chairperson of the Boards
    yunnnn wrote:
    Those are all solid substitutions! Akoum Hellkite is probably the weakest one out of the bunch, since 6 power for 12 mana makes it a midrange creature that the deck doesn't really want. This deck really needs either fast weenies (for nahiri #1), or solid 8 power beaters (for nahiri #3).

    On a side note, this deck's #1 creature is probably Gisela (pay2win power creep, yes I know):
    1. She has lifelink, which is great for QB nonstop runs.
    2. 8 Power is the sweet spot for Nahiri #3 + UF combo. (10 power creatures cost way more, and typically will overkill the opponent by miles).
    3. She's only... 12 mana... jesus come on.

    I totally agree with you about Akoum Hellkite. I'm probably going to substitute it for something else. Any other suggestions? My only other 7+ power creatures are Odric, Breaker of Armies, Barage Tyrant, Sigarda, and Dust Stalker.

    Smaller and cheaper threats i was considering instead were Selfless Spirit, Runnaway Carriage, Breakneck Rider, and Spectral Shepard. All 10 or less mana.

    And as soon as i saw your list i knew that it was missing Gisela. She's just mean!

    Sigarda is not bad, I use her in my Nahiri deck with Deploy and Ulrich. Makes my other characters hexproof (at least until they transform) and she is a great wall when reinforced and pumped up with Ulrich.