Mono-Black Rises Again

Posted in Feature on July 15, 2013

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

Mono-Black control is one of Magic's enduring archetypes, and with the release of every single set, masses of people try to build it (and some succeed; take a look at Conley Woods's deck from PT Gatecrash earlier this year).

Geralf's Messenger

In a recent Magic Online PTQ, F0ZEFY finished in 10th place with this take on Mono-Black, although it does touch green for a few powerful additions. This deck has a lot of what you'd expect from an eighteen-Swamp deck: Mutilate, a mass of creature removal, and black-intensive threats like Geralf's Messenger, but it also has a nice engine in Disciple of Bolas plus Thragtusk and Messenger.

This engine helps shore up one of Mono-Black's classic weaknesses, which is how to pull ahead instead of just trading one for one until you run out of cards. Quantity of removal is almost never the problem, but figuring out ways to draw extra cards often is. Luckily, Disciple solves this problem neatly, with a little help from 4 Sign in Blood. Plus, the extra value from sacrificing Thragtusk and Geralf's Messenger is a nice bonus.

The plan here is to control the board, drop a resilient threat, and draw a bunch of cards. That's a plan I can certainly endorse, and I like that it does a good job of proactively solving many of the problems lists like this have faced. The threats are good, the removal is varied, and there are many sources of card advantage.

The sideboard is mostly geared toward beating Junk Reanimator and control, which isn't a surprise (Unburial Rites is exactly the kind of card this deck does not want to face). Siding in Appetite for Brains, Deathrite Shaman, and Ground Seal is serious business, along with Underworld Connections for control and Vampire Nighthawks for aggro.

F0ZEFY's (nearly) Mono-Black

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