Neheb, the Eternal is a serious upgrade over Neheb, the Worthy from Amonkhet. Neheb’s back with more explosiveness, higher toughness, and being a Zombie in addition to his other types.
New Neheb likes to have opponents take damage (causing loss of life) so that in the second main phase you can get a bunch of mana and cast very large spells. I bet you could build a mono-red eldrazi deck with Neheb, or play different variations on red midrange decks – I choose burn though.
In burn decks there are tons of cards that deal damage to all players. With Neheb out, we’ll move into our postcombat main phase and get a ton of mana (because this card cares about the total life lost by all opponents), which we can use to deal a bunch of damage, clear the board, or play other valuable spells.
Neheb’s Afflict also makes it incredibly difficult to deny the mana trigger post combat – simply chump blocking isn’t a good option.
We want to deal damage to all players so spells like Earthquake, Price of Progress, Flame Rift, and Chandra’s Ignition all setup a massive second main phase when we have Neheb on the board. With Neheb’s extra mana we can choose to finish off one or multiple opponents with spells like Fireball, Comet Storm, and Fall of the Titans.
This deck does run a few double damage effects like Furnace of Rath and Dictate of the Twin Gods. Not only do they double damage but they are doubling the possible output of Neheb’s mana trigger so damage doubling effects are better than they usually are in this Neheb burn deck.
I’m running a few cards like Balduvian Rage, Lightning Berserker, and Temur Battle Rage/Fatal Frenzy because they can let us punch with Neheb for super high commander damage and also give us mana in our second main. Giving Neheb trample at instant speed allows us to get an Afflict trigger with the rest of our trample damage if they decide to chump block.
If you want to read more about other burn cards/synergies/combos you can check out our “basics of burn” article here.
Aggro: This deck is good against aggro if its a tribal/small creature deck because of all the Earthquake effects that can wipe the board of small creatures. Note that Neheb has a toughness of 6, so its very possible to burn most of the creatures in play while leaving Neheb alive to give you a crap ton of mana in your second main. Cards like Volcanic Fallout and Inferno are also especially good here because they are instants. Against stompy aggro decks that run higher toughness creatures it will be a race to assemble lethal burn damage.
Control: This deck is OK against control decks because of spells like Fork, Price of Progress, and other instant speed spells that allow you to be passive and wait for opportunities to threaten lethal with a single turn of Neheb being on the battlefield. Spells like Price of Progress cost so little that its totally possible with 7 mana to cast Neheb, cast Price of Progress, and go into your second main with enough mana to nuke the entire table. Against control decks I would worry about Neheb being countered over and over because this deck doesn’t run too many mana rocks. I run Cavern of Souls but that’s only one card in the deck. Emrakul, the Promised End is a trump card versus control decks when games go prolonged.
Storm: This matchup is mostly a race but cards like Eidolon of the Great Revel, Spellshock, and Pyrostatic Pillar can sometimes put storm decks in a place where they can’t cast enough spells to win the game – provided their life total is low enough. Otherwise its a pure race and this burn deck has almost no other ways of interacting with storm cards.
Combo: If its a creature combo deck, this burn deck has many ways to interact with creatures and deny combos (at sorcery and instant speed) through Earthquake and Volcanic Fallout style effects. Otherwise its a race.
Enchantress: Lots of enchantress decks run effects similar to Runed Halo which can prevent damage from certain sources (or in the case of other cards like Story Circle, certain colors) and these can be somewhat annoying because this deck’s win condition is based solely on damage. You can bring in Leyline of Punishment or other burn spells like Skullcrack or Wild Slash if multiple players are playing damage preventing cards.
Artifact: Not too much interaction here, this Neheb burn deck isn’t running traditional artifact hate spells like Vandalblast because its focused on damage but you can bring in Vandalblast, Shatterstorm,Shattering Spree and more if you feel the need to. I’d personally just keep the focus of this deck on damage – bringing in removal cards makes the other damage cards in the deck less potent.
Lifegain: Lifegain decks can sometimes be annoying, but they have to gain a LOT of life in order to get out of range of this deck’s burn potential; effects like Furnace of Rath let us scale our damage to make their life gain less relevant.