First, Norin The Wary is simultaneously an interesting and horrible card, when you attempt to use it on its own. However, in the right decks, it can become extremely powerful, especially when you move into the realm of multiplayer.
The first is simple, you attempt to have creature buffs in play that are either constant or trigger upon a creature entering play. Then, you use viashinus, saltskitters, whitemane lions, or other bounce creatures in combination with pandemonium to do a lot of damage and chump block to buy time.
I started with a deck similar to the one I just described that was green & red. I used the 2/2 creature that triggered +3/+3 on creatures who enter play (the name escapes me), to land a lot of damage. 2 mana for a 2/1 haste creature turned into 4, 5, or 10 damage every turn. Norin on top of it was an extra bonus that just kept the clock spinning down.
One of the most interesting times this deck ran my opponent played a confusion in the ranks deck. I won, but it wasn't the most enjoyable experience I'd ever had. Confusion in the ranks makes people angry, possibly more so than beating people with norin the wary, though not by much.
Right before I retired my first norin the wary deck I through in a genesis chamber for fun and I was running both pandemonium and genesis chamber.
But then I noticed something. Essence Warden had recently been printed, and Soul Warden was also still available in the block. So, I started hunting for a means of making this a very powerful deck. This led me to a new type of deck that magic has never truly embraced.
When we talk about what makes the best cards better, it is usually something to do with their recurrence of effects that would normally be singular. For instance, if you want to talk about shock vs grizzly bears. Shock is usually considered the better card, but grizzly bears has the capacity to do more damage to your opponent over the long run. So, agro often trumps burn unless the burn spell reaches up to the 3 damage for 1 mana barrier. Cards either need to be costed low, recur naturally over the period of a game, or have multiple effects (say splitting damage and drawing a card/or destroying many cards in a wrath type effect/or in the case of blood braid elf allowing you to play two cards for the price of one).
When people see Norin The Wary, they see a 2/1 creature that can never attack or use its power of 2 for anything good. What they generally don't realize is that Norin is a round based combo piece. If a turn is your singular turn, a round is all of the turns it takes to get back to you, and in a multiplayer game, cards that work over the course of a round are often worth more than cards that take place during a singular turn. Norin is such a piece.
The more players in a game, the better Norin gets.
Consider the architecture of the following deck which is close to the one I finally settled on:
I should note here that this is not the deck I actually played, I often changed it a bit each week, adding wrath effects/card draw/card search as I changed how I wanted the deck to flow, but the basics are all there. And I'd like to talk a bit about how it worked, even if I'm just reminiscing.
First, lets talk about synergy. This deck is all about producing 1/1 myr tokens and using them to swarm your opponent, finally killing him with direct damage as the result of a sacrifice.
Generally, you are trying to stay above water while you get the combo in place, gain crazy amounts of life, and etc.
The best play of the deck is as follows:
Turn 1: Norin The Wary
Turn 2: Genesis Chamber
Turn 3: Aura Shards -or- Wardens & Bombardment -or- hissing iguanar
Turn 4: Wardens & Bombardment -Or- Saltskitter.
Turns 5+: Finish laying down combo pieces, or use fecundity to draw low cost creatures and sac for the win.
Some obvious things you probably noticed.
- Aurashards lets you keep your opponents' myr in check as well as any other pesky control items that might hit the floor in a multiplayer game.
- Myr can be used to chump block, and still be saced for direct damage. This was a more powerful option before M10 nurfed combat tricks.
- Saltskitter will never remain in play if you have a genesis chamber. He becomes a non-legendary token generater
- Layered wardens can cause massive gains in life and allow you to take some damage while you are setting things up. In two player games I've gone all the way down to 3 life and then won the game, finishing with life near triple digits.
- 2 copies of norin the wary let you activate fecundity or hissing iguanar if you don't have access to goblin bombardment.
- Whitemane lion allows you to save creatures you want to keep/spring myr in the way of attackers unexpectantly/gain life at a crucial moment/and can be sacrificed before he returns to hand for crucial end of game damage.
- Veteran explorer is not necessary, and I often drop him from the deck, but he's a good and interesting mana fixer. I don't highly recommend using him, but he can get you out of some tight jams while thinning your deck to help you get your combo. Also, for a final fecundity direct damage swarm he keeps the mana flowing.
Once upon a time I put in some blue for ancestral knowledge & brainstorm. Don't do this unless you have 20 duel lands, which were available to me when I was testing online (MagicWorstation).
I've also considered the creature that taps to do 1 damage and untaps when a creature is put in the graveyard. But, I never really used the card.
Why is this deck so strong when it doesn't look like it should be?
Because this is a round based deck, every player in the game increases the power of your deck. Norin the wary & genesis chamber gives you X creatures a round, where X is the number of players. On turn 2 in a six player game, that's 6 creatures. Say, on your next turn you play goblin bombardment and a warden. That's an additional 3 creatures, and you've gained 3 life by the end of your turn. If every player plays a spell or attacks (likely), you've gained another six creatures and at least 12 life. If three of your opponents played creatures, that's an additional 6 life (add in the myrs).
When turn 4 starts, you'll have gained 21 life & 12 creatures. You have over 20 damage at your disposal and can probably take the biggest threat off the board while continuing to lay down combo pieces.
Hissing iguanar & goblin bombardment allows you to snipe your opponents creatures with myr, while dealing opponents damage for both your creatures and theirs.
Aurashards also lets you destroy 2 artifacts & enchantments every turn, which includes myr. Add in Hissing Iguanar, and now you're talking more clock damage.
The key part of this deck is that very few cards are redundantly useless, and those that are (goblin bombardment) actually are worth the price of the occasional dead card.
If you choose to play this deck, make sure you have dice to represent your myr & life. And of course don't play it too often.
TLDR: The purpose of this topic. I would like to talk about decks that work similarly, or which use Norin in an interesting and new way. The card base has grown since Norin was introduced, and even though rules changes have nurfed some of the things we were able to do in norin decks, I'm sure much remains.
I would also like to discuss the idea of "round" themed multiplayer decks which grow in power for the number of turns that exist in a round.
So, do you have similar decks. How would you modify this deck? Do your decks take full advantage of the round?
Do you now understand why Norin The Wary is not a bad card, especially at one mana, when used correctly?