Mono black control. That got Red on it.

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So yeah, what started out as a monoblack control deck became a good old RB control because Ravnica is not really the place for mono-coloured efforts. And I found that a mono-black control deck can certainly get work done, it just has serious holes in it's game plan(like bending over to Rites for example) that dipping into the colour pool can fix. This is what I've come up with and wanted to know what you guys thought -



I'm not happy with the sideboard, but I'm very happy with the deck. It plays just like I wanted it to, and can lay down advantage producing threat after advantage producing threat, which is exactly what the other guy DOESN'T want, after you've just played a Rakdos's Return and basically ruined their game.

Stendia Bloodhall is a card I underestimated. Staff of Nin is awesome, and Pack rat WAS in this deck, but there are simply better things. But if you want to give Pack Rat a whirl, I'd probably lose a Vampire Nighthawk and the Olivias. You actually need to see one of the sods after all!

About Lili of the dark Realms... She's actually a pretty cool tech. The +1 helps keep you from seeing land after land with all that draw, and makes sure you see plenty of Red sources for Olivia and her -3 can be used to do some proper naughty stuff with Vampire Nighthawk.

Dissect away. But please refrain from saying, just run Jund. I know precisely what to do to make this deck that, but the point of this is to be something as close to mono-black control as possible. Thanks =]

 -Demeisen.
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I run a similar R/B control build actually. I would suggest running less Desecration Demons though, in my experience they just aren't that great against anything except pure control. I have a lot of trouble against RDW so I usually board in Ultimate Price and some Searing Spears to stop Hellrider as soon as they play him. Rakdos Keyrune is probably one of my favorite cards and has saved me from many Thragtusks. The extra ramp is great and I play Mutilate in mine and I love drawing them. Mutilates don't hit the keyrunes if you haven't animated them and after you clear the board (provided that you have extra mana) you can animate the keyrune and beat in. With all the creatures in the metagame, running 2 Curse of Death's Hold in the mainboard is something I do. If you have a keyrune on turn 3, you can play it on turn 4. There's not much else to do on turn 5 besides Rakdos's Return or pumping Olivia. Devil's Play is great against early mana ramps, early aggro creatures, foiling planeswalker plans mid-game, and providing a ton of extra reach in the late game. In your sideboard you need Grafdigger's Cage for Reanimator (I'm not a fan of the charm and there's not much else you will be doing on turn 1 anyway). Like I said, Searing Spear is there, along with a full set of Knight of Infamy to stop White Weenies and any G/W builds. The knights are good for switching to be the aggressive deck against other control decks as well. Rolling Temblor has proved to be the best defense against extremely aggressive RDW decks.
I have no idea what's going on here.

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I dunno.  For an initial effort, this looks like a fairly playable list.  I would add a thundermaw hellkite or two, maybe a couple knight of infamy, but it looks ok.  Be interested to hear how it does in testing.

This may be me, but I just don't like appetite for brains.  It doesn't solve the main problem scenario in standard, which is losing to a miracle thragtusk.  I'd rather see slaughter games with a couple deathrite shaman.
This looks monumentally slow to me.. you might want to have some or a lot of mana-artifacts. Ditch the bloodhalls, I doubt you will ever live long enough to use them. Might want to have more dark  realm lilianas, firstly because of the mana-intensivity of  this deck, secondly because the -3 ability on a nighthawk is sweet. 

But.. a lot of slow  stuff, 1-for-1 cards and barely any card advantage engines besides 2 connections and 1 staff of nin... I don't really think this is gonna fly far. Olivia is good but even olivia needs mana.  I wouldn't call this "fairly playable". 
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Proud member of the Rakdos guild
Just so people know, this is gonna be a long post...

@Xtrmn8er - Cheers, I like curse of death's hold, and I was considering putting them in the main, they can seriously mess things, especially since there isn't much enchantment hate right now. I chose charms over Cages because they do things other then hose reanimator, but I'll consider them.

@Bigk - I did have Slaughter Games in the main, eventually took them out for more destruction. You know those concerns about the deck being slow? They aren't completely without point and Slaughter Games in the main definitely doesn't help that. I can see dropping a couple of the creatures for them, because they are awesome, but I don't know. And as for appetite for brains itself, it was initially copies of duress to deal with their removal to make my bombs sweat them more, but it was a choice between hitting their threats or hitting their answers, and since Rakdos's Return paves the way and clears answers like a dream, I chose to hit threats. The debate rages on though, hence the Duress in my side. If I was going straight Black I'd run both, they're good cards.

This looks monumentally slow to me.. you might want to have some or a lot of mana-artifacts. Ditch the bloodhalls, I doubt you will ever live long enough to use them. Might want to have more dark  realm lilianas, firstly because of the mana-intensivity of this deck, secondly because the -3 ability on a nighthawk is sweet. 

But.. a lot of slow  stuff, 1-for-1 cards and barely any card advantage engines besides 2 connections and 1 staff of nin... I don't really think this is gonna fly far. Olivia is good but even olivia needs mana.  I wouldn't call this "fairly playable". 



No card advantage engines besides 2 connections, a staff of nin, 3 bloodgift demon, 4 Desecration Demon and(arguably) the Planeswalkers and Olivias you mean? Not to mention possible 3/4/5 to 1 insane action off Rakdos's Return?

And Desecration Demon IS a card advantage engine that occasionally gets to attack. I find people don't want to be put onto a 3 turn clock. And if they kill it, groovy. Doesn't matter. Their 1 fer also plays into my gameplan unless they happen to draw a huge amount of cards. But if they ARE, that's when you sit on Rakdos's return until the right time to hit them for hideous amounts of cards. I might up it to 3, the card wins games.

As for Bloodhalls, no reason to ditch them really is there? That's the beauty of effect lands. I'm not saying they're a win condition, I'm saying this deck actually uses colorless a fair old bit, and when I don't need them for that(or need them for a Connections) then I might be able to get a few damage out of them for free. Replacing them with swamps or mountains seems like it would be a loss to me, even if they only actually do anything in one game out of 10, that's still something for nothing.

And the deck ain't as ponderous as it might look. Turn 1 isn't doing anything apart from the odd appetite for brains, but from turn 2 I can keep stuff off the board without really being bothered by hexproof in thanks to the lili 2.0s and Tribute to hungers. Tributes also contribute to the lifegain, to help me get to where I want to be in the game. I can also lay down Nighthawks to make their offence stutter, Connections to keep the 1-1s flowing, and Desecration, Olivia and Bloodgift all count as must answer threats otherwise I'm just gonna rip them to pieces in the air with some of the biggest fliers in the format.

It works fine, seriously. I'm not winning any races, but i'm not concerned with racing I'm concerned with having more cards and bigger threats at all times. I'm not bothered by a string of 1-1s if I find myself drawing 2-5 cards a turn.

@Niche - I know you're the resident black fan. Black player to black player, what's bothering you? Have some of my above points cleared anything up? Is there something I'm not doing? I'm not laying this deck out as some work of art, if you've got any questions I'll try and answer them. But really, this deck is a blast to play and isn't bad. Goes against a convention or two maybe, but balls to that.
I want to be Cultured.
I dunno, just don't like the title I suppose.

And you're running into a few classic catch 22s here. Like starting your creature presence with nighthawk.... he just resolves and eats a removal usually... now that's great so you can stick a Desecration Demon... but wouldn't you rather just use Duress instead or Ravenous Rats/Black Cat.... rip the removal, chump a turn... and build into a good rakdos return.

I also value Lili 3.0 more here since you can emblem up and blow someone's face off with return.

I do like the Rakdos Keyrune also... that's a good card with the 3 power FS. Pretty relevant.

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I'd add Sign in Blood. At the very least on the side board for when u don't need all that removal.
I don't think you get what mono means...
I hate dogs.
I don't think you get what mono means...


Mono's that disease I got from....   wait a second.....   I thought you were turning over a new leaf?  :P
I don't think you get what mono means...


Mono's that disease I got from....   wait a second.....   I thought you were turning over a new leaf?  :P


No, who do you think I am, catotheyounger?
I hate dogs.
Really? I'm on the Wizards forum and NOBODY gets a Shaun of the Dead reference?

It plays like a Mono-black control deck is the point, or as close to it as possible without being worse for it. If I could make a complete swamp deck and have it not be strictly worse then the B/R, B/G, or B/R/G versions, I would, but I'm not really the type of guy that will deliberatly gimp himself just to neatly fill a gap.

I've clearly done a stellar job though since about half the points in this damn thread are people not getting a zombie film reference. (You people make me SICK.)
I want to be Cultured.
@Niche - I hear you, and Ravenous Rats were in the original build(alongside Duress actually. That build stopped laying things after Desecration Demon =p), but the reason Nighthawks have stayed is because when they aren't being a 1-fer drone, they can gain life like beast and make opponents attack poorly because they don't want me trading my 3 drop with their Angel. So they have the possibility to do far more then something to rip from the hand, but I do feel I don't have quite enough hand destruction here...
I want to be Cultured.
heavy creature based aggro decks like like a problem since most of your removal is 1-for-1.  not sure what you are planning to do against that.  maybe barter in blood?

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He could run mutilate effectively I guess. Its funny how Mizzium Mortars and Mutilate are almost exclusive of each other if you want both to work as early as possible. Now if you want Mizzium as a 2cc removal that SOMETIMES IN THE LATE GAME SWEEPS... then you can push all swamps.

Also, if I make BR I'm maindecking Slaughter Games with Duress+Appetite. Not having to play around Thragtusk is one of the only ways I'll play a game these days. Without Thrag AoS is who gives a crap. nice 5/6 flyer for 7 bro.

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Favorite Quotes

"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

He could run mutilate effectively I guess. Its funny how Mizzium Mortars and Mutilate are almost exclusive of each other if you want both to work as early as possible. Now if you want Mizzium as a 2cc removal that SOMETIMES IN THE LATE GAME SWEEPS... then you can push all swamps.

Also, if I make BR I'm maindecking Slaughter Games with Duress+Appetite. Not having to play around Thragtusk is one of the only ways I'll play a game these days. Without Thrag AoS is who gives a crap. nice 5/6 flyer for 7 bro.


Huh? Mortars isn't good because it can be a sweep. It's good because it can be a sweep, but most of the time it's Flame Slash and if you're pushing this deck and not considering Gilded Lotus or Chromatic Lantern anyways you might be doing it wrong.

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heavy creature based aggro decks like like a problem since most of your removal is 1-for-1.  not sure what you are planning to do against that.  maybe barter in blood?



Barter in Blood was originally key. I might post up my original decklist you know and see what people think about that, because a lot of the suggestions people are making would make the deck more in line with that, so maybe I was onto something originally... I don't think Barter in Blood would work too well here because I sort of want my creatures to supplement what my spells are doing, and against heavy aggro the mutilates come in, but I might experiment with a couple of mutilates in the place of the Olivias and see where that gets me.

On the topic of Mizzium, TBH it's a placeholder and I wanted to main at least SOMETHING that can reliably hit more then one thing(Sever the bloodline doesn't count really), but truthfully it doesn't clash with the rest of the deck as much as you might think because Lili 3.0 is good. I might have to pick up a couple more while she's still cheap, her potential to both fix mana very well and completely break certain cards is a thing.

I am going to have another look though, I think Mutilates should be here, alongside Rakdos Keyrune. I feel that 4 Mutilate, 4 Rakdos Keyrune and 3 Rakdos's Return are a good enough basis to re-tweak around...
I want to be Cultured.
Really? I'm on the Wizards forum and NOBODY gets a Shaun of the Dead reference?

It plays like a Mono-black control deck is the point, or as close to it as possible without being worse for it. If I could make a complete swamp deck and have it not be strictly worse then the B/R, B/G, or B/R/G versions, I would, but I'm not really the type of guy that will deliberatly gimp himself just to neatly fill a gap.

I've clearly done a stellar job though since about half the points in this damn thread are people not getting a zombie film reference. (You people make me SICK.)




... You've got red on you...
This may sound a little odd, but I added Chandra, the Firebrand to the main deck as a 1-of and she does work. I'm thinking about putting a couple extra in the sideboard and throwing them in against control matchups, which run rampant at my LGS. I have successfully pulled this sequence off multiple times:

turn 3: land, Rakdos Keyrune
turn 4: land (or maybe not a land, doesn't matter), Chandra, ping something
turn 5: land, -2 Chandra, play Rakdos's Return, deals 6-8 damage and makes them discard 6-8 cards.

It has made a few people pretty upset that I have even considered playing her, but she is also good for keeping other planeswalkers in check with her +1. Just something to consider if you're interested.
Does that work? I would have thought that given the X bit, you'd copy the spell and then have to meet X again... But then again I can see it makes sense if what you copy is just the value of X... Chandra. Interesting. Could be groovy Sideboard material. I can imagine the look on peoples faces when I Slaughter Games away all their Thragtusk and unburial rites or angel of serenity or... Good work.

@Minerva - THANK YOU. Glad to see someone around here is cultured.
I want to be Cultured.
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