Posts Tagged ‘Monoblack Control’

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.

Advertisements

Black in Control Decks

October 10, 2009

Black is a frequent player in control decks, usually paired along with blue or occasionally white.  As standard turns further and further away from blue, and black keeps getting more and more appealing control cards, black is poised to usurp blue in the current standard as the control color of choice*.

To see black’s strengths and weakness, let’s explore its ability to play upon the principles of control.

1: Card advantage: This is typically black’s stumbling point.  While black has a long tradition of (usually good) card draw in exchange for loss of life, there are rarely more than 2 such cards in standard, and a similarly small number in extended.  Black also has access to discard, which is an excellent and often overlooked means of card advantage.  The downside of this is that, if an opponent is out of cards (such as aggro decks often hope to do), discards become dead cards in one’s hand, and thus card disadvantage.  However, discard is a vicious tactic against control decks and many combo decks, meaning it’s a good fit for the right meta, or as a sideboard option.  Recurring cards from your graveyard can often be a source of card advantage, and  Black has a tradition of sweepers of various quality.  Infest is currently black’s best sweeper, and is only good against certain decks, but can generate massive card advantage if played right.    Finally, black has big, efficient creatures in exchange for drawbacks.  Being able to block and destroy your opponents creatures, or simply make them irrelevant on the battlefield, is an often overlooked source of card advantage.

2. Answers.  If you want to answer your enemy’s creature, black is the color to do it.  Black is even decent at killing cards with protection from black, via edict-styled effects.  After this, however, black starts to have issues.   Black doesn’t have any answers to artifacts OR enchantments once they hit the board, and the same is true for instants or sorceries.  Cards like Duress can answer these cards, and nonspecific discard can occasionally force these cards into an opponents graveyard where they belong.  Control decks as a rule have trouble with planeswalkers, and while blue can counter a planeswalker, and white can oblivion ring them, black has only the very specific Vampre Hexmage to lean on.

3. Finishers.  Black has plenty of big creatures, often with evasion and some sort of protection.  Malakir bloodwitch, Ob Nixilis, or even Vein Drinker are all great monoblack finishers.  And one can’t overlooks a large consume spirit.

4.  Tempo obstruction.  Typically, the process of answering your opponents threats is enough to slow down their clock long enough for you to bash them with a finisher, but not always.  Luckily, black typically has the most relevant life gain: that which also kills your opponent’s stuff.  A good tendril’s of corruption or consume spirit can buy you lots of time against an aggressive deck.

So, black has the tools it needs to fill out control docket all on its own, but there are lots of “buts”.  One needs to find a good suite of removal spells that manage to cover all of your bases, as black kill spells tend to have conditions.  Inability to deal with artifacts/enchantments can often push monoblack out of a format, or force it to splash a different color.  Sometimes infest is simply not enough.  Also, when faeries where rampant in standard, black’s shortage of instant speed removal was damning.

Monoblack also is in the odd bind of having the creature removal to beat aggro decks but do poorly against many control and combo decks, and the hand disruption to really mess up many control decks, but can be dead against aggro.

Smart sideboarding can help you alleviate this, having an anti-control build and an anti-aggro build, post board, with your maindeck being a hybrid of the two.

Stay tuned for next time, when I meddle with the monoblack control tools of standard.  You know, unless I change my mind