Deck Doctor: Mono Black

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  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.