Coming up next week is the release of the latest duel decks. We will be able to recreate the events of the Shards of Alara block as Nicol Bolas fights against Ajani, filled with vengeance. It’s great to see that Magic has begun to focus on planeswalkers and their new card type has easily made them some of the the most in-demand cards in Magic. Today I’ll be looking at Nicol Bolas, one of Magic’s oldest and most powerful planeswalkers.
Nicol Bolas is the last of the Elder Dragons, from which we get the Elder Dragon Highlander format. He first appeared in the Legends set with the 4 other Elder Dragons. All of these guys were 7/7 dragons for 8 mana, with each corresponding to a wedge of mana, much like the Shards of Alara that would be the focus of Bolas later. Not coincidentally, Nicol Bolas was the elder dragon of the Grixis colors of blue, black, and red, and he by far had the coolest ability of the whole group. Palladia-Mors
Palladia-Mors had trample and Vaevictis Asmadi had firebreathing of 3 different colors, but Bolas forced your opponent to discard their entire hand if he dealt combat damage to them. With that kind of ability it’s easy to see why he is a planeswalker and we haven’t heard of the others.
With his return in the Shards of Alara block he seems to have put down his books and become the main antagonist of the Magic multiverse. He brought the five shards of Alara together, he engineered the Rise of the Eldrazi by sending the insane Sarkhan Vol
Sarkhan Vol to Zendikar, and also has plans for the New Phyrexians with his agent, Tezzeret
Tezzeret. Bolas is clearly extremely poweful and is able to manipulate even planeswalkers in his schemes. You can also become a willing pawn by summoning him to help you against other planeswalkers.
If you can get the 8 mana needed to summon him he can usually win the game for you. That can be difficult to do without green, although you can get some help from various rituals, whether they be Dark
Dark Ritual or Pyretic
Pyretic Ritual, to help you cast him sooner. From there you can destroy noncreature permanents every turn if you wanted. This is a great way to get rid of other planeswalkers that decided to help your opponent. If some creatures are giving you trouble, you can easily take control of them permanently. His ultimate ability, a more cruel Cruel Ultimatum
Cruel Ultimatum, has to be the end of the game for your opponent. It’s hard to come back after losing 14 cards while still having to deal with Bolas.
Nicol Bolas is a great finisher for casual decks, well as long as you are playing him. With the duel decks coming out September 2 you can easily pick up this powerful planeswalker and a cool deck that fits his theme well. One of the coolest modifications to this deck has to be the addition of the original Nicol Bolas creature. Know anyone that has been the victim of an attack by Nicol Bolas and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker at the same time?