Mythical Magic – Ad Nauseam Primer

Hello everyone! Today’s topic will be Modern Ad Nauseam Primer! I will try to make up for my last week’s article, which I missed because of traveling again. Sorry! So Ad Nauseam is not played a lot nowadays and the deck has not seen new pieces being printed for it. Well, some lists run Opt from Ixalan and Theros block gave the deck the Scry lands. It is not probably a Top 5 Combo deck at the moment, but when Dominaria block comes around, we might see cards that will take this deck close to Tier 1 again?



Ad Nauseam is a combo deck that wins the game by playing a two-card combo with Ad Nauseam and either Angel’s Grace or Phyrexian Unlife. The latter cards do help us not to lose the game for being at negative life total. We will draw our whole deck with Ad Nauseam, and we will pay every cards casting cost with life so we are a lot on the negative side of the life total. We have two ways to win with the deck in our hand: exiling three Simian Spirit Guide and casting Lightning Storm and discarding lands to have a lethal damage. Back up plan for opponents with higher life total is playing Laboratory Maniac and following it by Serum Visions or Opt. We don’t have any cards in our library so we will win the game by not being able to draw a card.


So this combo might sound clunky with a lot of twists and turns and not many powerful cards. The Metagame is filled with creature based aggro decks (Death’s Shadow variants, Eldrazi, Burn and Affinity). These decks try win with swinging in with best creatures. So basicly players gear up to remove creatures with removal spells. So basicly the options for our opponent to interact with us is limited at this stage of meta game.



I will go through the staple cards:

4 Ad Nauseam: This is our main combo piece but it can also act as a tutor for other pieces. Sometimes you need to cast this without Angel’s Grace or Phyrexian Unlife to find cards you need. Also with having two copies in hand and a high life total, don’t hesitate to draw few extra cards.

4 Angel’s Grace / 4 Phyrexian Unlife: Other halves of the combo. They also act as protection. These cards give us a turn or two extra to assemble our combo against aggro decks. We can use Angel’s Grace to negate the trigger from Pact of Negation.

3-4 Sleight of Hand / 3-4 Serum Visions / 0-1 Opt: Selection cards for our deck. The best cantrips in Modern. We want to use Sleight of Hand early as it allows us to find a turn one Lotus Bloom easier than Visions. But Serum Visions is better in late game by giving us more control over future draws. Opt I include in my list for the instant speed.

1-4 Spoils of the Vault. I personally play one copy of Spoils of the Vault but I have seen some lists with 3 or even 4. I think 3 is a good number to go with a template build. We use this card to find missing combo pieces cheaply. Now Spoils can act as a backup win condition. This condition requires either Angel’s Grace or Phyrexian Unlife and either three Spoils or two Spoils and one Serum Visions/Opt. We start off by casting Angel’s Grace so we cannot lose the game. We cast Spoils naming Laboratory Maniac. Then we name a card that is not in our deck, this will exile our library. We will follow this up with Laboratory Maniac and Serum Visions and we win the game.

1-4 Mystical Teachings. For card selection. I run 3-4 in my lists but I think template should have 1. We can flash it back in long games which is awesome. Helps when running 1-2 copies.

4 Lotus Bloom / 4 Simian Spirit Guide / 4 Pentad Prism. These cards act as mana accelerators. I think casting Spirit Guides should be only done in mirror or in desperate need of blockers.

3 Pact of Negation. Our one real piece of interactions in the mainboard. Use with precautions, but surely in mid-combo protection, this is the best counter ever, free one. As Ad Nauseam and Lightning Storm are instant speed, we can win with Pact of Negation trigger on the stack during our upkeep. Also, good trick to use, is if we have an extra Angel’s Grace to skip past the trigger.



Sideboard options are highly customizable and meta dependant as always. Usually sideboard is only to protect our combo pieces, one way or another. These are some cards that I would include:

1 Echoing Truth. I would always include at least a copy of Echoing Truth because it is awesome against artifacts or enhantments like Blood Moon, Stony Silence, Chalice of the Void, Worship and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Works well with slowing down big threats such as Primeval Titan, Monastery Mentor tokens and Tasigur, the Golden Fang.

4 Leyline of Sanctity. A must have. We want to basicly mulligan to these. Hand disruption destroys our gameplan so Leyline protects us for early game and it is also hard to remove.

2 Disenchant. Artifact hate is awesome in this meta, when Affinity and Lantern are played a lot.

2 Thoughtseize. Serves as info in the control match ups so we are able to know if we can safely combo off. Secondly we can take away unacceptable spells like Karn Liberated, Scapeshift or mirror Ad Nauseam.

1 Spell Pierce. Basicly to prevent Liliana of the Veil, Blood Moon or Stony Silence. Very good to prevent opponents from playing Planeswalkers, pump spells or countermagic.

1 Slaughter Pact. Great against Infect! Deals with annoying creatures in Modern such as Eidolon of Rhetoric, Eidolon of the Great Revel, Ethersworn Canonist, Thought-Knot Seer, Spellskite and Glistener Elf.

3 Ethereal Haze – Comes in against the decks that, combined with their disruption, are often just one turn faster than us. Burn, Zoo, Eldrazi, Death’s Shadow, Meforlk, and Affinity all fall into this category.


A Template list for the deck:

Lands (20)
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
2 City of Brass
4 Gemstone Mine
1 Island
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
2 Plains
3 Temple of Deceit
4 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Tolaria West
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Creatures (5)
1 Laboratory Maniac
4 Simian Spirit Guide

Spells (35)
4 Ad Nauseam
4 Angel’s Grace
1 Lightning Storm
1 Mystical Teachings
2 Pact of Negation
4 Serum Visions
1 Slaughter Pact
3 Sleight of Hand
3 Spoils of the Vault
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Pentad Prism
4 Phyrexian Unlife

Sideboard (15)
1 Echoing Truth
3 Ethereal Haze
4 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Disenchant
1 Spell Pierce
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
2 Thoughtseize



Let’s go through some match ups for Ad Nauseam.

Death’s Shadow – Very Unfavourable. We need to side in Leylines and Ethereal Hazes if we have them. Good thing to remove is shaving a bit from everywhere: Mystical Teachings, 1 Lotus Bloom and Sleight of Hand. A copy of Phyrexian Unlife can go because it is too slow in many cases. DS is very fast deck and uses hand disruption. If we include Liliana of the Veil, the deck packs in at least 10 discard spells.

Burn – Favourable. Side in Leylines and Ethereal Hazes and take away Pacts, 1 Unlife and maybe Mystical Teachings. Fairly easy for us. Their out is Eidolon of the Great Revel or if they can play 3 Goblin Guides during their first two turns. Keep in mind, that Destructive Revelry is played in most Burn Decks!

Eldrazi Tron – Favourable. Side in Disenchants, Spell Pierce, Echoing Truth, Thoughtseize. Away Lotus Bloom, Phyrexian Unlife, Sleight of Hand and maybe all but one Pacts. If they can’t Thought-Knot Seer our combo away or play Chalice of the Voids, this is kinda cakewalk for us to be honest.

Abzan/Jund – Even. Side in all Leylines and maybe a Spell Pierce. Out Pacts, and one Phyrexian Unlife. Think about do you need full set of Simians also…
GB/x decks are a bit of a coin flip. They are slow but very consistent and resilient. If they see their hand disruption, you will be hard pressed to combo before you are taken out. Conversely, if they exclusively see their fair creatures and removal suite, they will likely lose on turn four without ever having made a meaningful play. Post-Sideboard games exacerbate this, as we gain access to Leyline of Sanctity, and they gain even more hand disruption.

Grixis Delver – Favoured. Not too much to do here, I would maybe side out a Phyrexian Unlife. We don’t care about their removal and Pact of Negation acts as powerful countermagic.

Scapeshift – Favoured. Side in 2 Disenchants and Echoing Truth. Out 2 Phyrexian Unlife and Mystical Teachings. Scapeshift is a lot like Ad Nauseam. It’s a non-interactive combo deck that relies on big mana and a bunch of sub-par cards working together. That said, it’s slower than Ad Nauseam, and less effective at finding its pieces. Try not to drop to 18, don’t get hit by a Primeval Titan, and try to play around Chalice of the Void, and there should be minimal trouble.

Bant Eldrazi – Unfavourable. at least 2 Leylines in and Echoing Truth and Slaughter Pact. Out Pact, Lotus Bloom, Sleight of Hand and 2 Phyrexian Unlife. Bant Eldrazi has hand disruption which is impossible for our deck to overcome. They have tools to combat us other than Eldrazi Tron. Bad match up.


That is is for this (last) week’s article. I am back tomorrow for this week’s article. Wait, did that make sense? Well, hopefully this article did. I see you next time!

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Mythical Regards

Roope Keskitalo


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