Deck Doctor: Mono Black

Thus begins one of many new monthly MTGO Academy fixtures!!! First and foremost, a most gracious thank you to those of you who took the time to contribute deck lists/ideas. For those of you new to the site, the purpose of this contribution is to assist players in fine-tuning 100 Card Singleton decks. So for future reference feel free to contact me at travisrchance@gmail.com. I just need a text doc. of your deck and a short explanation of what, exactly, you’re tying to accomplish.

BACK TO BLACK

Mono-black has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, Suicide Black (Rath Cycle Block) was the deck that gave me my first inklings of competitive awareness. So this was a most welcome suggestion for my first Deck Doctor contribution.

Let’s take a look at the initial design (thanks to Zimbardo for the submission).

Zimbardo Black
Creatures1 Hypnotic Specter

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Maga, Traitor to Mortals

1 Shambling Swarm

1 Hollow Specter

1 Keiga, the Tide Star

1 Nantuko Shade

1 Twisted Abomination

1 Stillmoon Cavalier

1 Tombstalker

1 Kokusho, the Evening Star

1 Dimir House Guard

1 Nezumi Shortfang

1 Nezumi Graverobber

1 Trinket Mage

1 Order of the Ebon Hand

1 Knight of Stromgald

1 Korlash, Heir to Blackblade

19 cards

 

Other Spells

1 Stupor

1 Fact or Fiction

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Wrench Mind

1 Executioner’s Capsule

1 Sudden Death

1 Brainspoil

1 Gauntlet of Power

1 Diabolic Tutor

1 Duress

1 Consume Spirit

1 Promise of Power

1 Ribbons of Night

1 Night’s Whisper

1 Hymn to Tourach

1 Mystical Teachings

1 Talisman of Dominance

1 Skeletal Scrying

1 Phyrexian Arena

1 Corrupt

1 Chrome Mox

1 Dimir Signet

1 Mind Shatter

1 Liliana Vess

1 Tendrils of Corruption

1 Chainer’s Edict

1 Doom Blade

1 Coldsteel Heart

1 Wayfarer’s Bauble

1 Demonic Consultation

1 Thoughtseize

1 Drain Life

1 Beseech the Queen

1 Soul Burn

1 Mutilate

1 Diabolic Edict

1 Profane Command

1 Damnation

1 Sign in Blood

1 Coalition Relic

1 Slaughter Pact

1 Unburden

1 Sensei’s Divining Top

1 Smother

1 Decree of Pain

1 Distress

1 Scepter of Fugue

47 cards

Lands1 Volrath’s Stronghold

1 Bloodstained Mire

1 Underground Sea

1 Flooded Strand

1 Sunken Ruins

1 Watery Grave

1 Tolaria West

20 Swamp

1 Bad River

1 Wasteland

1 Island

1 Polluted Delta

1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

1 Cabal Coffers

1 Terramorphic Expanse

34 cards

 

Sideboard1 Unmake

1 Tormod’s Crypt

1 Leyline of the Void

1 Persecute

1 Deathmark

1 Journeyer’s Kite

1 Strands of Night

1 Contagion

1 Perish

1 Nekrataal

1 Terror

1 Dunerider Outlaw

1 Helm of Obedience

1 Darkblast

1 Engineered Plague

15 cards

mutilate

Before we delve into this I want to say a couple things:

With ME3 just around the corner, I’ve decided to include a few cards that aren’t available here in the now in my edit. My reason? Each is a more than significant addition that will give the deck a huge leg up.

Secondly, I am of the opinion that there are two ways to approach building Mono-black. You have the aforementioned Suicide and/or creature-heavy build. And you have the Control version, wrought with drains, board sweep, and only the bombiest of bodies under your blackened thumb. I will be focusing on the latter.

Revised Black Control
Creatures1 Dimir House Guard

1 Korlash, Heir to Blackblade

1 Bane of the Living

1 Ashling, the Extinguisher

1 Divinity of Pride

1 Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed

1 Shriekmaw

1 Hypnotic Specter

1 Tombstalker

1 Nekrataal

1 Twisted Abomination

11 cards

 

Other Spells

1 Smother

1 Unmake

1 Animate Dead

1 Damnation

1 Barter in Blood

1 Necropotence

1 Promise of Power

1 Night’s Whisper

1 Tendrils of Corruption

1 Grim Tutor

1 Phyrexian Arena

1 Contagion

1 Skeletal Scrying

1 Drain Life

1 Slaughter Pact

1 Fact or Fiction

1 Debtors’ Knell

1 Soul Spike

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Mystical Teachings

1 Sensei’s Divining Top

1 Terror

1 Mind Twist

1 Diabolic Edict

1 Thoughtseize

1 Corrupt

1 Journeyer’s Kite

1 The Abyss

1 Sickening Shoal

1 Sudden Death

1 Profane Command

1 Night of Souls’ Betrayal

1 Hymn to Tourach

1 Oblivion Stone

1 Consume Spirit

1 Necromancy

1 Mind Sludge

1 Mutilate

1 Chainer’s Edict

1 Nevinyrral’s Disk

1 Duress

1 Beseech the Queen

1 Innocent Blood

1 Liliana Vess

1 Diabolic Tutor

1 Spinning Darkness

1 Recoil

1 Brainspoil

1 Sign in Blood

49 cards

Lands1 Underground Sea

1 Bad River

23 Swamp

1 Tolaria West

1 Drowned Catacomb

1 Volrath’s Stronghold

1 Cabal Coffers

1 Rocky Tar Pit

1 Watery Grave

1 Urza’s Factory

1 Bloodstained Mire

1 Polluted Delta

1 Flooded Strand

1 Thawing Glaciers

1 Sunken Ruins

1 Vesuva

1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

1 Wasteland

40 cards

 

Sideboard1 Extract

1 Funeral Charm

1 Tormod’s Crypt

1 Dread

1 Nightmare Incursion

1 Scepter of Fugue

1 Deathmark

1 Shred Memory

1 Shambling Swarm

1 Perish

1 Engineered Plague

1 Distress

1 Nightmare Void

1 Yawgmoth’s Agenda

1 Dystopia

15 cards

Liliana Vess

SPLISH SPLASH

Upon first glance you may notice two things:

1.) The submitted build sort of straddles the line between the two above archetypes. This is something I want to clarify in my edit, omitting a good deal of these creatures for some more optimal spells.

2.) The included small touch of blue spells that may strike you as odd.

Let me start by saying I entirely agree with a very minor blue splash. In fact, I think it’s necessary in the control build, given that Imperial Seal and both Demonic and Vampiric Tutor are currently banned. Deck manipulation and draw power are crucial to MBC (Mono-black Control), as it is typically a very draw dependent, veritable toolbox of situational answers. The second color also allows for more sideboarding options.

However, I would be very stringent when including cards of this second color. It’s easy to go overboard and wind up playing a totally different style of deck.

Here are the blue cards I would include and why:

Mystical Tutor and Teachings: MBC is often a deck that can start off on the backfoot, but can make up for lost ground with a single spell: Damnation, Barter in Blood, Drain Life-style cards, etc. The Mysticals, if you will, grant you access to these cards.

Fact or Fiction: An old standby that requires no explanation at all.

Recoil: So you might be thinking, “Why, in God’s Glorious 216-digit name, is this in your list?!?” Simple. Beyond Oblivion Stone and Disk, MBC has no way to deal with artifacts and enchantments once they hit the table. It fits nicely in the curve, is accessible with the Mysticals, and the discard is in-style for the build.

THE MANA

One of this deck’s greatest strengths and weaknesses is its mana. And whereas a straight black build would be less susceptible to non-basic land hate, the amount of “blue” lands you need to accommodate the blue splash is marginal. Drowned Catacomb, Sunken Ruins, Tolaria West, Underground Sea, and Watery Grave are more than enough. Backed by a compliment of fetch lands (most of which you would play anyway) and won’t be for want of a blue mana practically ever.

With that said, I would not encourage playing any number of basic Islands – Thawing Glaciers or not. There are simply too many cards with two or more black mana symbols. Better to play with the variance rather than against it with this one.

That means that the Terramorphic Expanse would be better as a plain old boring basic Swamp. You don’t want to thin out the lands in MBC. Remember: land is your very best of friends. And what’s the point when you’re already playing vastly superior fetch lands.

Next, I would most definitely keep the number of non-color producing lands to an absolute minimum. As far as I’m concerned, Urza’s Factory, Volrath’s Stronghold, and Wasteland are the only ones worth consideration, all of which require no explanation.

The last land I want to spotlight is Tolaria West. It’s particularly useful considering some of the more pivotal cards in the deck are actually lands: Cabal Coffers, Thawing Glaciers, Urborg, and Vesuva (to copy your Coffers). Although it can be admittedly difficult to Transmute, the access it grants to the above cards (and let’s not forget Slaughter Pact) makes it a more-than-valuable asset for the deck.

While we’re on the topic of mana, allow me to dissuade you from including artifact because…

1.) Nevinyrral’s Disk and Oblivion Stone are necessary evils in MBC. They’re Wraths, and two thirds of your way to deal with onboard artifacts and enchantments. You will want and/or need to rely on them often and always, so you’re simply losing card advantage here by playing mana that gets blown up by your own sweepers.

2.) While artifacts can make your blue splash a little easier on your mana base, the deck thrives rather heavily on the number of Swamps in play: Beseech the Queen, Corrupt, Korlash, Tendrils of Corruption. Lands are just better.

3.) MBC is pretty much a one-spell-per-turn type of deck. At least in the developing stage of the game. This means that non-Coffers mana acceleration is actually not as impacting as you would think (making Cabal and Dark Ritual even worse!)

THE DUDES

My aim is to play as few men as possible. This makes your opponent’s non-burn removal a dead draw, and minimizes the loss of card advantage off your sweepers and things like Barter in Blood. So here’s what I am taking out, in no particular order:

Maga, Traitor to Mortals: I’m assuming this guy was included as a drain spell, but he’s missing the “you gain X life” part, making him a little on the inefficient side.

Solemn Simulacrum: Again, this card’s a little lacking. I want my bodies to be more substantial than a speed bump, extra Swamp or not.

Shambling Swarm: This is a tough one, for sure. And while he’s down, he ain’t out. To the sideboard you go for the time being. (Love this card!)

Keiga, the Tide star: A bit slow, even for this deck. And with Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares, and Oblivion Ring in high circulation at the moment, he’s worse yet.

Nantuko Shade: Okay, here comes a paragraph. Sorry, people, this guy just isn’t up to snuff. Not in control, at least. Scoff all you like. He’s a mana-intensive bear that dies like the rest of ‘em. I have preached this myriad times before, and almost always to no avail, but: big dorks like Woolly Thoctar aren’t good. In the Suicide build he’s an all-star, but not so much in a deck playing very few guys that wants to aggressively play out cards like The Abyss, Barter in Blood, Damnation, Innocent Blood, and Night of Soul’s Betrayal.

Hollow Specter: A decent card on the whole, but bit too mana-intensive for my liking.

Stillmoon Cavalier: Even with a lot of decks packing white cards, this guys seems a little too specific to run main deck, and a little too anemic for the board.

Kokusho, the Evening Star: Reference Keiga. Frankly, I’m less and less impressed with the Kamigawa dragons every day. (In fact, I even cut them from my Reanimator deck after this last PE.)

Nezumi Graverobber (flipped image) and Shortfang (flipped version): Let’s tackle these guys at once. Both are fragile, relatively weak attackers (even if and when they flip), they provide a marginal at a mana-intensive cost, and are most definitely better suited for the Suicide build. OUT!

Trinket Mage: Other than Sensei’s Divining Top, there’s nothing else in the build I want for this poor guy to fetch. To be completely honest, I think this is a highly overrated card that can cause you to fill your deck with a slew of unnecessary maindeck chaff to constitute its inclusion. There’s a home for this guy, but not here.

Order of the Ebon Hand and Stromgald Knight: File under “Suicide build”.

This is what is comes in/stays:

Hypnotic Specter: After much mental deliberation, this guy is too good to cut. Early or late, its evasion and ability have a consistent and significant impact on the game.

Shriekmaw: He’s an early answer to a threat. A few turns later he’s removal attached to a clock. Oh, and it’s abusive with Volrath’s Stronghold. Take a bow, fella.

Nekrataal: Comes with most of the above features.

Twisted Abomination: He’s going to get you a land 9 times out of 10, but that 1 time he doesn’t.

Tombstalker: I’d like to file this guy under ‘giant flying dork,’ but alas, he’s a little more than that. Dragon for two black is kinda sick.

Dimir House Guard: Some Transmute reach for the ton of four drops in the deck.

Korlash, Heir to Blackblade: Alas, no Grandeur here. This another deficit this archetype suffers in the format: many of its best cards thrive on multiples. Anyway, this dude’s a solid ever-growing body good at holding down the fort and bashing in heads.

Xiahou Dun, the One-eyed: One of the ME3 cards that most certainly makes the cut. A three power guy that’s going to be unblockable the majority of the time that acts as a black Regrowth. Get ‘em in there!

Bane of the Living: A substantial threat that functions as a board sweeper. Morphed, he fits nicely in the curve.

Ashling the Extinguisher: Removal with shoes. This guy is such a beast, especially if you can kill their sole blocker and send in to munch another.

Divinity of Pride: Initially I was a savage hater of this card, preferring Oona as my fat flier, but, thanks to the rules update on lifelink (and some coercing on behalf of the deck’s designer), I’m a proud believer here in the now!

THE SPELLS

MBC’s spell selection can be easily broken down into: Removal, Support, Deck Manipulation and Card Draw. So let’s do this blow-by-blow.

REMOVAL

This stuff comes out:

Executioner’s Capsule: This card is slow, has zero surprise factor, gets moshed by artifact removal, and, without something like Trinket Mage, is less accessible than any of the plethora of Dark Banishing effects that can be fetched with Mystical Teachings or Tutor.

Ribbons of Night: There’s a minor blue splash, so why not, right? Well let me tell you why. First of all, it’s slow as all-get-out. Potential cantrip aside, five mana is a lot for such a limited effect (which is the second reason.) Were this able to target players. But it doesn’t.

Doom Blade: This is another “good in limited” card, like Ribbons, but it just doesn’t do enough outside that arena.

Soul Burn: That one additional colorless mana makes it just unattractive enough for me. It’s subpar, as far as drain spells go.

Decree of Pain: There aren’t too many scenarios I can think of that involve me drawing a ton of cards off this and not being either beyond dead or somewhere pretty dang close. Like a lot of its Decree brethren, it’s slow and questionable.

Here’s what comes in/stays:

Sudden Death: Nice uncounterable cheap spot removal that stops sac effects.

Brainspoil: Transmutes for some of the bigger and better spells in the deck. At the worst, it kills a guy.

Consume Spirit, Corrupt, and Drain Life: Our consummate drain spell trifecta.

Tendrils of Corruption: Creature kill, but a drain spell of sorts nonetheless.

Chainer’s and Diabolic Edict: Cheap, untargeted removal. House against Reanimator, by the by.

Mutilate and Damnation: Our two Wrath spells, one of which is obviously conditional.

Smother: Not my favorite, but decent.

Contagion, Sickening Shoal, Slaughter Pact, Soul Spike, and Spinning Darkness: This is one thing that was definitely lacking in the initial list. All of these spells are, in essence, “free,” which is helpful when you’re plodding through the beginning of the game playing one spell a turn or your hand is well-stocked from a Necro or Arena. While the submitted list did include Slaughter Pact, it was bereft of the rest, all of which I consider MBC staples.

Unmake: This was in the board of the submission, but should be in the main deck.

Terror: Another misplaced mainstay.

Barter in Blood and Innocent Blood: With the small number of men in the deck, these cards practically have no drawback at all.

The Abyss: Again, the drawback here is nominal, picking up the slack on all the one-for-one removal in the deck and keeping the board clean and clear of men, monsters, and the like.

Profane Command: A drain, spot removal, and a reanimator all packed in one. I didn’t bother mentioning the other ability due to the lack of bodies. Nonetheless, multifunctional goods.

Night of Soul’s Betrayal: Eliminates a multitude of small, pesky threats, and shrinks the rest.

Nevinyrral’s Disk and Oblivion Stone: With the low number of non-land permanents, these are our two reset buttons. Like I said earlier: a necessary evil.

SUPPORT

OUT:

Stupor and Unburden: As a discard connoisseur, these cards (though Stupor holds a sacred spot in my heart eternal) are a bit weak, all things considered. There are better options out there.

Distress and Scepter of Fugue: I like these cards in the sideboard, but not so much main deck. Scepter loses its luster with Disk and Stone. And Distress, if not drawn early, is like a lot of discard spells: a day late and a target short.

Wrench Mind: There’s a dual dilemma here. Against aggressive decks Wrench may hit a threat or even two, but a good player’s gonna chuck dead removal or lands, if they have anything to chuck at all. And against the current Control decks (the few that sojourn on in the form of Belcher or Grindstone Combo) they just pitch a single card. It’s just not Hymn. Sorry.

Gauntlet of Power: While seemingly in contention, I find this card underwhelming when you break it down a bit further. Once again, it’s slow. The stat bonus for your creatures is, on the whole, insignificant to almost entirely irrelevant with such a low body count.

Chrome Mox, Coalition Relic, Coldsteel Heart, Dimir Signet, and Talisman of Dominance: I touched upon this earlier. Bye-bye, artifact ramp.

Wayfarer’s Bauble: I’d rather play a regular old Swamp than pay three for one, despite the possible acceleration.

Mind Shatter: Inferior to Mind Twist.

IN:

Liliana Vess: A wrecking ball in this deck. Discard, tutoring, and a mass one-sided Death effect.

Animate Dead, Debtor’s Knell, and Necromancy: Something else that was missing from the initial deck. When you’re playing tons of removal, what’s better than reanimating one of your opponent’s own threats and killing them with it? Knell is an obscenely powerful card that breaks stalls and/or turns games completely on their head. And don’t forget, Necromancy is a Teachings target!

Duress, Hymn to Tourach, Mind Sludge, Mind Twist, and Thoughtseize: This is the core of your discard package, replete with obviousness.

Recoil: I touched upon this earlier, and concede that there is probably something more appropriate that could replace it.

Journeyer’s Kite: Great way to insure those vital lands drops hit play.

DECK MANIPULATION AND CARD DRAW

OUT:

Demonic Consultation: This is my only qualm in this subgroup of cards, but it’s a rather big one. I actually discussed this briefly with the deck’s designer, as it struck me as insanely high risk. His logic was that it could find you a kill condition. While this is possible, I suppose, I think it’s very unlikely on the whole. MBC is a highly reactive deck. More often than not, Consultation would be used to find a way to not die, rather than to kill someone. Potentially removing a large portion of your deck, or possibly the entire thing, in the process is simply not worth the price of admission.

IN:

Fact or Fiction, Mystical Teachings and Mystical Tutor: Feel free to scroll up and consult my prior explanation.

Sensei’s Divining Top: A format staple, especially in a deck like this.

Night’s Whisper and Sign in Blood: your early card draw, at a cost of course. Do note that Sign in Blood can be used as damage spell!

Beseech the Queen, Diabolic Tutor and Grim Tutor: The only optimal black tutors for the deck. (If you are as unhappy with the current Banned/Restricted List as I am, I whole-heartedly encourage you to make your voice heard. It makes a difference. Trust.)

Necropotence: I was a little surprised to not find this in the submission, as it is one of the prime reasons that would motivate me to play MBC, or any straight black deck for that matter. Ridiculousness, especially with all the life gain in the deck and “free” spells.

Phyrexian Arena: A nice reliable draw outlet to keep your hand gassed.

Promise of Power: A functional win condition and card draw spell in one. A must-have in MBC.

Skeletal Scrying: Another classic MBC card. Reliably strong with the volume of spells in the deck to fuel it.

THE SIDEBOARD

I will refrain from dissecting the suggested board, as the designer expressed he had merely thrown together a quick list for the purposes of testing the main deck.

The way I see it, Permission is your nightmare match up. So the working board I have included is geared toward lessening that gap. Given some time to properly and thoroughly test, I’m sure a fair amount of these cards would fall by the wayside, but, for the interim, I will explain my reasoning for their inclusion.

Tormod’s Crypt: Some graveyard hate. Any card that can be tutored (with Tolaria West) and played immediately for free is beyond good in my book.

Deathmark: Great against a myriad of aggressive decks in the current and perpetual meta.

Extract: An attempt at Combo hosing (and, perhaps, a sad one, at that.)

Funeral Charm: I wanted this main deck, as it’s a great game one card that, at the very least, provides you with some more information and limited game options. It’s expressly good against aggressive decks that run early drops: removal for a small man, or draw step denial (if their hand is spent.) At the worst, it can pump one of your guys.

Distress, Nightmare Void, and Scepter of Fugue: against Control/Combo.

Shred Memory: Graveyard hate that provides some deck access.

Dystopia and Perish: Green/white hate.

Engineered Plague: It appears the elf trend has reached its terminus. But just in case.

Shambling Swarm: This may be better main, depending on the meta, but for now it finds a warm spot on the bench, hopeful to see some action against aggressive/midrange decks.

Yawgmoth’s Agenda: I wanted a bullet in the board that Brainspoil could fetch. I’d love for this to be main, but the deck can only contain so many silver bullets before it reaches yield. And it’s not something you want to draw early.

Nightmare Incursion: A slow and hopeful answer to Combo.

Dread: Last, but no least, that wicked sonuva-you-know-what straight from some of your worst Lorwyn Block draft experiences of yore.

IN CLOSING

I actually played spent an afternoon behind the wheel of this beast (ME3 cards substituted, of course.) My experience was extremely fun and rewarding most of the time, and frustrating and seemingly hopeless the rest.

It’s a hard to deck build, and an even harder deck to play, but I appreciate the challenge nonetheless. I’m not entirely sure I would advocate taking this to a PE. A friend suggested I try to make a 5c or a BG version.

It’s incredible what a difference being denied Imperial Seal and Vampiric Tutor makes, but believe me, it’s enough to handicap a potentially viable archetype such as MBC.

Thanks so much for reading.

Until next time,

Travis: so many trolls

P.S. Keep playing, people! Let’s keep weekend event attendance up before they snatch away our events!!!

 
  1. First off, let me point out that I copied most of this list from keef0r’s decklist, which he piloted to a top 8 finish a while back. I just switched out some cards and added the blue splash.

    I’ll be sure to try out this build. I agree with this sentiment: “My experience was extremely fun and rewarding most of the time, and frustrating and seemingly hopeless the rest.” I would agree that this is not the deck to plan on winning tournaments with, but it is kind of a fun archtype to mess with since it can do some big effects. It’s an “it probably won’t work but I’ll try it anyway” sort of deck, so thanks for analyzing it.

    I like the card by card discussion found in this article and in previous ones. Thanks for all of the ideas. I simply didn’t think of some of the cards, such as Thawing Glaciers, Vesuva, Yawmoth’s Agenda, and most of the free spells. I considered Necropotence but dismissed it, thinking that the deck doesn’t have enough life gain to support it.

    As long as we’re talking about ME3, how about swapping swamps for Scrubland + Godless Shrine + Windswept Heath and finding a spot for Death Grasp? That would give you 9 white sources if you include fetch lands and Twisted Abomination. It’s a black card that can be pitched if the white mana isn’t coming around, and it’s not the type of card that you plan to cast right away in the game anyway. Naturally, a white splash opens up various other questions (especially Faith’s Fetters and Vindicate). I’d want to minimize the damage to the swamp count. Maybe I’d run all three cards and add Fetid Heath.

    Speaking of having more drain lifes, I like the Shred Memory.

    Massacre seems like an option for the board. I did see a white weenie deck in last week’s PE replays, and then there’s GW Elves. I like a spell you can cast for free the turn you tutor for it.

    Anyway, I agree with essentially all of your reasoning. Thanks for the article!

  2. One thing I noticed: Terror and Doom Blade are very similar, so I disagree that one is a mainstay while the other is only good in limited.

  3. By “mainstay” I mean, in fact, it’s overall historical relevance in the game. Terror has long been a Mono-Black fixture, simply because it was the best at what it did for that cost at instant-speed. Lacking the “no regen” clause just makes Doom Blade less efficient, even if it can target artifacts. Truth be told, I’d cut both, as well as Smother, but alas… for what?

  4. And regardless of where you got the fundamental list, having the instincts to add the blue splash (card for card even) impressed me. Perhaps the deck will show a little better with these edits and the power of ME3!!! Regarding the Banned staples, I can’t stress enough that ppl should voice their opinions, here or to Mr Mike Gills himself!

  5. For this deck, I’d rather have doom blade, because it is instant speed removal that can target Mishra’s Factory and Blinkmoth Nexus. Also, much of mono black’s removal doesn’t care about regeneration, so the missing clause is mostly a non-issue. In UB control or the sideboard of a GB deck (and similar decks), I would run Terror. Killing Boas is usually more important than killing Factories.

    Also, I think mono black is underpowered.

  6. One of the questions I would have liked to seen asked is this: Is the whole swamp count thing even worth it? (I am not presupposing an answer, just asking the question)

    A high swamp count basically does these 4 things:
    - Allows you to play Mind Sludge
    - Allows you to play Corrupt
    - Allows you to play Tendrils of Corruption
    - Allows you to play Cabal Coffers

    By dropping the swamps matter cards you basically gain access to easier splashes and larger splashes or multiple splashes, such as splashing white and blue. Dropping Coffers does make Drain effects a bit weaker, but there really aren’t a whole lot of drains in the deck because of the singleton nature of the format. I see Mind Sludge as only a minor-irrelevant loss since it can easily be replaced by a plethora of other options like Mind Shatter once Mind Twist takes Mind Shatter’s spot or just removed entirely for a splash card. Corrupt/Tendrils are probably the biggest loss, but it seems that losing these plus coffers for the potential gain in power of a 3rd color has some merit worth exploring.

    While it seems at first obvious to include the swamps matter cards in a deck like MBC, I think it is worth some thought as to whether what you are gaining is worth the potential power you may be giving up. It could of course turn out to be completely wrong, but I find it very valuable to ask myself questions like this and explore them a little to find out.

    Other interesting splash options are:
    Green for: Deed, Sylvan Scrying/Reap and Sow (the intent here would be a green splash instead of blue where you still have a high swamp count and are still running coffers), Maelstrom Pulse, Putrefy, Spirit Monger or other fatty(instead of Korlash in a swamp light version)
    White for: Death Grasp and Faith’s Fetters (both already mentioned), Mortify, Vindicate, Oblivion Ring, StP/Path

  7. Sounds like you’re suggesting an entirely different deck, more of a Rock style approach than the Mono-black build with which I had to work.

    The purpose of these articles is to improve upon an existing idea while not entirely abandoning the aims of the deck’s designer. This is, after all, the task I volunteered to do. Do note, that at the end of the article, I suggested that the deck could have a different splash, or be a base black 5-c build. So I was more than aware of these options. I just wanted to stay on task.

  8. Additionally, a high Swamp count:

    - Decreases incidents of color screw

    - Makes you less susceptible to non-basic land hate

    - Makes Thawing Glaciers and Journeyer’s Kite incredibly consistent

    - Makes Korlash a cheap, ridiculous threat

    - Makes Nightmare Incursion a reliable anti-Combo weapon

    - Ensures your Drains hit at full efficiency

  9. I understood your intent and actually meant to add a sentance to my comment that this may be an entirely different deck type, but apparently forgot. I find dissections of those types of questions quite interesting and just thought that adding it would have improved upon an already good article. Having written some articles I more than understand how difficult it is to fit in everything without writing a novel. I Just wanted to point out the option for those that may not have even given the idea a second thought. Many people are on auto pilot when adding cards like Coffers to a black deck just because they think it should be good. Many times those assumptions are correct, but I find it useful to still think about why I am doing it and what I am giving up by doing so. That was the main point I was sort of trying to make, I wasn’t trying to imply that you went the wrong direction with the deck, as I know you think about every card as is obvious from your card by card analysis.

  10. As for the high swamp count, I was mainly trying to point out the major incentives that I saw in using that path:

    I probably should have mentioned the benefit of avoiding nonbasic hate as this is a fairly big reason and an oversight on my part

    I’m not sure I would consider Thaw and Kite to benefit from a High Swamp Count that much. They are just as consistent with or without a high swamp count. 10-15 basics are likely more than enough for Thaw/Kite for example.

    I agree that Korlash can be a cheap ridiculous threat, but I think there are other options to replace him if one decided to go a fewer swamp route.

    While Nightmare Incursion may be a good anti combo card and one that you are able to run because of the high swamp count, I don’t consider it to be an intensive to do so. It’s more like a tertiary benefit of running swamps especially given its sideboard status against a very specific set of decks.

    Same with drains at full efficiency. I was thinking that every land would likely still produce black mana, one would just be able to run more nonbasics to increase the consistency/amount of the splash that is why I didn’t list that as a benefit.

  11. And as always, I, as well as the MTGOAcademy contributors, staff, and participants, appreciate any and all feedback, insight(s), and comments that members and players have. :)

  12. Man… I never knew you guys before this truce, but it brings a tear to my eye to see such civil discussion.

    The question of whether the high swamp count is worth it is interesting. Corrupt and Coffers are so sweet when they work that it’s easy to assume they have to be there.

    I am certainly interested in trying out the white and/or green splashes in a build similar to the revised, more focused build listed here. After I’ve had a run with this particular list, I’ll try it out.

    One additional benefit of a high swamp count: it makes the deck cheaper to build.

  13. I for my part have fond memories of mono black decks since the old days. I know that they are not the best choice considering the bannings and metagame but I will still try this deck and suffer through the consequences. Have fun!

  14. Quick idea… would Helm/Void be a decent mono B win condition? The deck still has a lot of 3+ mana tutors at its disposal. Also, I think once you get away from the Swamp-matters theme that you are not playing mono B control.

    I look forward to playing you in a few weeks, Plej. :)

  15. I have one other submission to work with at the moment, but I am always ready and eager to tackle anything. So pls, feel free to let me take a crack.

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>