Mono-Black Beatdown at StarCityGames Invitational

Posted in Daily Deck on November 6, 2014

By Shuhei Nakamura

Shuhei Nakamura is a member of the Pro Tour Hall of Fame, former Player of the Year, and is one of just six players with more than 400 lifetime pro points.

Today, I'll be showcasing the Standard deck that won the StarCityGames Invitational Challenge held in Yokohama at the end of October, a mono-black beatdown deck piloted by Kenji Takawashi.

Why mono-black, and why now?

It's true black has lots of efficient, inexpensive creatures. There are three different types of creatures with 2 power at the one-mana level, and at two mana there's the magnificent Pain Seer. When thinking of beatdown, people usually trend toward red or white, but black is no slouch in this department. Plus, keeping things in a single color means you don't need to rely on enters-tapped lands, which means you needn't sacrifice speed.

Still, in this day and age, there are plenty of reasons to trade speed and reliability for access to powerful cards in other colors, as can been seen from the popularity of three-color decks like Abzan and Jeskai. Even branching out into just a second color through fetch lands for allied colors or pain lands like Caves of Koilos, or utilizing scry lands or even Mana Confluence, can offer strong potential gains while minimizing risk. So, with that in mind, what's the benefit in sticking to monocolor?

Looking over the list, one merit jumps out: Squelching Leeches. This card is a thorn in the side of Jeskai, and by turn five it can punch through the otherwise formidable defense of Siege Rhino. There's no need to dilute things if one color can give you everything you want.

There's another saucy card in the mix: Gray Merchant of Asphodel. A lot of people may have forgotten about "Dead Gary" with the introduction of all the new shiny toys in Khans of Tarkir, but with the relative lack of board sweepers, it's likely he'll be able to suck more than a few life points.

Kenji Takawashi's Mono-Black Beatdown

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