The Standard format is a pretty crazy place at the moment. Players are taking extra turns left and right. Werewolves and trolls are coming together to kick their opponents teeth in. And worst of all, no one knows how to really best deal with the best decks without just playing the best deck available. The meta seems stale, but there are still some sneaky options out there that can steal games away from the top dogs.
In a new series from TGH, the Daily Deck Tech column takes a look at individual lists across multiple metas. This time around it’s the other control deck that is hanging around Standard, Mono Black Control. The Mono Black variant of control takes a different approach to the familiar strategy. It trades the strength of counter-magic for a massive suite of removal spells to keep the game even.
What are the Deck’s Power Points?
One of the weirder developments in Magic in recent months is black receiving some of the best ramp spells in Standard. The combination of Shambling Ghast and Deadly Dispute allows Mono Black to accelerate their mana to be able to cast big spells much sooner. For a control deck, mana is everything. The treasures that the early game plays provide allow Mono Black to adjust its play patterns based on the board state.
Then of course because it’s a control deck, the late game is where this deck shines. Planeswalkers like Lolth and Professor Oynx can lock away a game as Mono Black has the tools to remove any threat an opposing deck can present. Blood in the Snow is the key card in the deck, as it creates an incredible swing by bringing back the best card in the graveyard. One big Blood in the Snow easily turns the game around and can sometimes be enough to end the game.
What are Its Good Matchups?
As a player could expect, Mono Black excels against any creature-centric deck. The sheer volume of kill spells is what makes Mono Black an extremely viable option in the meta, and creatures decks find themselves very susceptible to those spells. Then when aggressive decks are able to create a lethal board, boardwipes and planeswalkers are able to curb the pressure and retake the game.
Likewise if Mono Black runs into any midrange shell that is creature-focused, it should be favored as longer games swing towards the control deck. The Meathook Massacre is another great tool in the hands of Mono Black as it serves as a pseudo win condition. Each kill spell damages the opponent, and slowly but surely the Mono Black deck can drain
What are Its Bad Matchups?
The one downside of playing a second-tier control deck is having to face off against the tier-one version. Izzet Control smashes Mono Black. The Mono Black deck has too many mainboard cards that simply don’t do enough against the Blue/Red counterpart. The removal spells are essentially all blanks, and the early game plays don’t present enough of a threat to the oppositions life total. Without an extra turn spell, Mono Black simply can’t close out the game quick enough.
What makes the matchup even worse is the fact that its one big game-winning spell doesn’t do a lot here. Blood in the Snow will really only hit a Goldspan Dragon, that is if it isn’t countered first. In fact if Mono Black can’t find the discard spells to interact with its opponent, it will continue to have a horrid time against any blue deck.
What are the Sideboard Options?
Discard, discard and maybe some more discard. Mono Black really needs to find a way to interact against decks that don’t have creature threats. Planeswalker removal spells are equally important, as waiting for six mana to finally handle the problem isn’t always the best solution. The best thing to do is really find a way to remove the Alrund’s Epiphany from the opponents hand before they can foretell it.
Otherwise that may just be it. The deck itself is a bit straightforward, and there really is a linear game plan to follow. Kill the things, and play big finishers. If the opponent has ways to stop that from happening, bring in those discard spells to prevent it.
Is This Deck Worth Playing?
The deck is definitely worth a go when creature decks are dominating the meta. It is a simple solution to the aggro-deck problem, and it does the job quite well. The neat part of this deck is that is overall, pretty inexpensive. The top end cards are the key rares and mythics players will need to pay up for. Any rare removal spell can be swapped out for its uncommon cousin if wildcards are an issue. Mono Black is a truly solid tier-two option for Standard at the moment,
Featured image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast
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