Archetypes » Rectors
Rectors (variously called Rector Fit, Nyx Fit, or 8 Rector) is a combo Green-Black-White Nic Fit deck that uses Academy Rector and/or Arena Rector to find game winning threats and lock pieces. The deck can vary from being all-in on the combo to just having Rectors as a backup plan. Either way, the idea is that a single Rector trigger should find something like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Overwhelming Splendor that can all but win the game on its own.
The two Rectors fit nicely with the usual Nic Fit game plan because any deck with Veteran Explorer will have multiple ways to put Rectors into the graveyard. The disruption and sac outlet from Cabal Therapy works perfectly to clear any grave hate cards like Surgical Extraction before going for the combo. The ramp provided by Vet gets to the combo faster and can allow many of the threats and lock pieces to be hard cast if the game goes long. This is a deck that typically looks like it’s behind until it wins out of nowhere.
A starting Rectors decklist and overview
Rectors by Threpio
MTGO Legacy League 5-0 - June, 2020
|1||Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker|
|2||Ugin, the Spirit Dragon|
|4||Once Upon a Time|
|4||Veil of Summer|
|1||Cavern of Souls|
|1||Emrakul, the Aeons Torn|
|1||Knight of Autumn|
|4||Leyline of the Void|
Congrats to Threpio on their 5-0 with a deck that hadn’t been on many people’s radars recently. The 4 main deck Veil of Summer seems like a very strong statement in the current meta game. A little light counter magic is not going to stop this deck. Trepio’s list is fairly all-in on the combo running the full 8 Rectors.
This deck list is packing an interesting Living Wishboard. It stashes both an Academy Rector and an Arena Rector that can be fetched on demand to assemble the combo but safely away from any Surgical Extraction effects. Phyrexian Tower is another piece of the combo and Cavern of Souls is there to make sure it goes off through counter magic. Ancient Tomb can accelerate the combo and Knight of Autumn answers one of the best ways to shut down the deck in Leyline of the Void. If Omniscience is in play, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn typically ends the game when wished for.
The deck is also interesting for what it doesn’t have. There’s no Green Sun’s Zenith in this deck which is a staple of Nic Fit. Instead, Threpio went with Once Upon a Time which can also find Rectors. Village Rites is also not present and it had just became legal at the time of this league. The other big noticeable omission is Evolutionary Leap which is in many Rector decks as a combination sac outlet and a way to find Rectors. Between Once and the full 4 wishes, Threpio believes they have enough ways to assemble the combo.
Rector decks frequently need a way to use the huge threats and lock pieces that get stuck in the pilot’s hand rather than those just being dead cards. The deck has no way to cast Omniscience for example. Threpio’s solution is Eureka which is one of the best ways to dump a hand full of overcosted planeswalkers and enchantments. Eureka does come with a hefty price tag in paper that might be a barrier to playing this in the real world, but they are cheap and plentiful on MTGO. Other past alternatives Rector pilots have used are Collective Brutality and Liliana of the Veil but Eureka is probably one of the better alternatives.
Threats and lock pieces
Academy Rector targets
Overwhelming Splendor is one of the main lock pieces in the deck. This card is game winning by itself against a bunch of decks like Depths where it turns Marit Lage into a 1/1 while also turning off Wasteland, Fetchlands, and Thespian’s Stage. Unless their board position is already formidable, most aggro decks will struggle to win by beating down with 1/1s. The answers to it pre-sideboard are relatively few across all of Legacy with cards like Assassin’s Trophy, Council’s Judgment, and Brazen Borrower (or Petty Theft more precisely) being the main ones. While this card won’t end the game by itself, it buys ages of time to find an actual wincon.
Cruel Reality doubles as a win condition and a lock piece and is almost impossible to beat for a deck that doesn’t go wide with creatures. It’s great against Delver, Depths, and even control and midrange decks like Snow and Miracles. Even though Oko, Thief of Crowns is better against it than most other planeswalkers, it will still finish the hat robber himself even if it might take a few turns depending on the board state. This card was bugged on MTGO as of the M21 release which is why some lists haven’t been running it. When working, this is a must in any Academy Rector list.
Both Ethereal Absolution and its curse cousin Curse of Death’s Hold destroy go-wide strategies and they combine with other lock pieces like Dovescape or Overwhelming Splendor to produce near unbeatable board states. Ethereal Absolution costs one more but doesn’t target when hard cast, and its activated ability can be very relevant especially when combined with Evolutionary Leap. It is usually preferred unless going for the Curse variant (see below).
While not completely game ending by itself, Dovescape can completely change the opponent’s game plan. It shuts down decks like Burn, Storm, and most control and midrange decks. Just be careful because the opponent can still cast cards like Force of Will to put 5 power onto the board. When combined with Ethereal Absolution, it presents a near unbeatable lock for many control and combo decks.
Unlike most of the cards above, Sandwurm Convergence is not always included in every Rector deck list. It is fairly game ending against most aggro decks and decks featuring Dark Depths. and can be compared in many ways to Cruel Reality. Sandwurm Convergence is a little better against wider board states and completely stops flying creatures like Marit Lage in their tracks.
Arena Rector targets
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is the preferred planeswalker to fetch with Arena Rector as it obliterates most board states and will win the game on its own. Without a few very explicit cards, most decks have no way to deal with it at all and it will win a lot of matchups including most creature decks and many control decks on its own. Many Rector lists run two Ugins so there’s almost always one in the library to find.
Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker & Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
The Bolases are not always included in every list and they suffer from being not castable without Omniscience, Eureka (which technically isn’t casting), or the odd list with Oath of Nissa. While both of them will quickly bury the opponent in card advantage, they are frequently worse than Ugin except in some specific circumstances. Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is good against pretty empty board states where it can go after the opponent’s lands or where the opponent has one big threat which can be destroyed or controlled. Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh is excellent at destroying an opponents hand and burying them in card advantage while also protecting itself from a single threat that gets through.
There are a few other planeswalkers that might be included in the deck but are very rarely found with Arena Rector since there are typically better options:
- Vraska, Golgari Queen is very hard castable and provides a sac outlet to get the combo started
- Gideon of the Trials is an out to many storm decks and might be in a sideboard
- Liliana of the Veil can deal with uncastable threats in the pilots hand while also being a sac outlet in a pinch
- Liliana, Dreadhorde General is another sac outlet that can also end the game on its own
The curse variant has an alternative method of attack which is to get Curse of Misfortunes attached to the opponent which can then get one of many good curses including both Cruel Reality and Overwhelming Splendor. Sometimes this variant does not run Arena Rector and focuses only on enchantments.
The term Nyx Fit is sometimes applied to any Academy Rector Nic Fit deck, but it originated from the card Starfield of Nyx which was in earlier builds of the deck. Starfield provides another way to end the game and when combined with Collective Brutality or Liliana of the Veil, big enchantments stranded in hand can be put into the graveyard where they can be retrieved to play. However, actually running Starfield is out of fashion as of mid-2020.
Since the printing of Yorion, Sky Nomad, a few brewers have thought to try to make Yorion work in Rectors either in Abzan colors or by going to four colors and adding blue for Baleful Strix, Ice-Fang Coatl, Oko, Thief of Crowns, and Arcum’s Astrolabe. Going to 80 (or more) cards has the advantage of not drawing uncastable cards as often while still having them in the deck when they’re searched for. However, it dilutes the main Rector plan and slows down the combo.
One other variation is to appear like a relatively normal Junk Fit deck in terms of having a fair plan while having one of the Rectors – most commonly Arena Rector – as a backup plan. Adding just a few Rectors and a few big threats to find with them has the advantage of not having too many uncastable cards.
Rectors is a great Nic Fit combo deck that has had a reasonable amount of success lately. The deck features bigger threats than even most Nic Fit variants, and it’s a blast to play while still being among the more competitive Nic Fit variants.
Allen Yee on 8 Rectors facing Ryan Fisher playing Elves on 90s MTG in June, 2020.
Andrea Mengucci playing a league with 8 Rectors shortly after the printing of Arena Rector in Fall of 2018.