Archive for the ‘Standard’ Category

Black Control Archetypes

November 13, 2009

Ok, sorry for the delay on this one.  My brain’s been elsewhere, tweaking option 1 for champs, building a plan B and a plan C.  But I *have* been working on this, and I’ve come up with a few deck archetypes for people to consider.  I’m not going to be providing any decklists at the moment.  These are merely jumping off points.  Most of my prototype decklists end up pretty bad anyways, (I’ll tell you about cascade faeries soon)

First, what I’ve come to call Mind Goo.  The idea is pretty straightforward: Wreck your opponents hand.  Play creatures that benefit from this situation.  With Guul Draz Spectre *and* Nyxathid, there’re certainly the creatures to benefit from the situation.  I know most control decks find hand destruction absolutely punishing, and jund isn’t the fastest at dumping their hand.  The best way to deal with junds cards may be this, as most of their cards turn into two once they leave the hand.  This idea does conceptually have an issue against boros bushwacker, who can dump much of their hand with devastating speed, and can do serious damage with a topdecked Ranger of Eos.

Second is one with which I have plenty of experience, which I’ve taken to calling Wretched Control.  The idea is to populate your deck with large creatures, and then employ cards like infest to wipe out out weaker creatures, and wretched banquet as a one mana kill card.  Tendrils and similar removal can help take out serious threats, and edict styled effects are especially effective in such a deck.  This was a very successful deck for me, winning me my first 4 rounds of my first PTQ before I crashed into that awful UW Baneslayer deck.  This issue I have with this deck is it hasn’t found great replacements for Ashenmoor Gouger and Demigod of Revenge yet, and that it never had the best matchup against Jund.  That’s now a damning position to be in, so I’m not devoting too much of my time to it.

The third is tribal black.  Yes, I *know*, everyone’s running a vampire deck, none of them are that powerful.  Well I’m here to tell you most of them are doing it wrong.  Vampires make an amazing low-curve control deck, with the simple addition of two cards maindeck.  The first is fleshbag marauder.  This guy’s already a decent edict, something that always helps a black deck, but he has solid synergy with bloodghast, who comes back with some frequency.  The second, is grim discovery.  If you’re running at least 6 fetches in your deck, odds are you’ll have one in your graveyard.  This nets you not one, but two chances to bring back your bloodghasts, AND it lets you shuffle your library if your nocturnus is being grouchy.  Oh, and it brings back a creature too.  Like a gatekeeper of Malakir or a Vampire Nighthawk.  Seriously. I’d also consider running Planeswalkers in this build, both Sorin and Lilianna have wonderful utility.

I initially planned on writing more than this, but it’s not really my field of expertise.  I’m currently busy trying to figure out the optimal numbers of Crystalizations to put in my sideboard for my… I’ve said too much.

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Black Control in Standard 1: The Cards

October 24, 2009

Now that I’ve covered the principles of control in black, let’s go over the tools available to us in standard, and see what is available.  My lists will by no means be exhaustive, just the cards that have been on my mind, and with them I’ll give you some deck archetypes to fiddle with next post..

First: Cards that give card advantage: Sign in Blood, Mind Rot and Mind Sludge (so long as they have cards in hand), Infest (against certain decks), Soul Stair Expediti0n, and Gatekeeper of Malakir, and the 3 spectres in standard

Sign in blood is an excellent card, and belongs in any monoblack control deck.  While many will disagree with me, I think Mind Rot is highly playable, but perhaps not a four maindeck.  Mind Sludge is the nuts against other control decks, and could be main deck in anti-control preboard builds, and solid sideboard material.  I really don’t like how long SSE can take to go active if drawn late game, but I’ve got my eye on it.  I’ll discuss gatekeeper in answers later below, and I’m skeptical about the reliability of spectres for card advantage.

Second: Answers: To answer planeswalkers, you can’t do much better than Vampire Hexmage, which is fortunate, as planeswalkers aren’t control decks best friend.  (Yes, I know. Hexmage also answers the issue of an ancient evil buried in 30 mana worth of ice, but that’s a different topic.)

Black is the go-to colour to answer those pesky creatures.  Doom Blade is always solid, although perhaps not a good fit even sideboard until the meta has shifted some, and the same can be said of Hideous End.  Tendrils of Corruption does double duty in monoblack, hitting even black creatures, and giving life to boot.  Wretched banquet and Infest also answer creatures, but only do so (and do so well) in a deck built for them.  They also suffer from Putrid Leech being a strong contender in the format.  Gatekeeper of Malakir, and to a lesser extent Fleshbag Marauder, are great at dodging protection from black, and Gatekeeper of Malakir grants card advantage to boot.  Consume Spirit is good in that it serves dual purpose, but it’s usually mana inefficient.  Finally, Vampire Nighthawk is a great way to answer attacking creatures, especially in control.

As for non-creatures… um… there’s Duress… and….

Moving on!

Finishers: Here’s where I’m not so sure.  Losing Demigod of Revenge is something I’m still sore about.  No one really can fill his place in my heart.  But here are the other people I’m considering to fill his shoes.  Ob Nixolis has some serious potential.  He has issues with dying to lightning bolt, but I’d definitely give at least two of him a spin in a black control deck.  Malakir Bloodwitch is no demigod, but she keeps baneslayer off your back, and beats just fine.  I ran Vampire Nocturnus in my MBC Deck last standard, simply for the efficient size/cost ratio (6o percent of the time) and now he has some friends to play with.  Salvage Titan can do some neat things, but not with all that much that you’d play in a black based control deck, and is otherwise a craw wurm, alas.  Less obvious is that 5/5 Zombie Giant token you keep getting in packs can do some serious damage, and make your opponent think twice about wrathing your bloodwitch if you’ve got the quest in your log.

Finally, there’s Guul Draz Spectre and Nyxathid.  In a deck with dedicated hand disruption, these two make having dead discard in your hand not so bad a situation to be in.

As for tempo control.  black’s life gain is a nightmare for traditional aggro decks like boros bushwhacker, and is never unwelcome.  Vampire nighthawk and Tendrils of Corruption are the best for this, but Child of Night might find a good home in the two-drop slot.

Next time: Possible deck archetypes.