Black is stronger than ever in the 2021/22 standard. While there are a range of powerful multicoloured deck archetypes in the mix, you can also compete quite well with a mono option like this efficient mid-range control deck.
The Point Of The Deck
The point of this deck is to control your opponent with efficient creatures and spells that not only prevent, disrupt or payback their plays but also setup damage dealing sources that improve over time.
The Core Cards
I played a lot of variations of this deck without Warlock Class, and really made an error in not seeing it’s potential. Since trying it out in this deck it’s become one of my favourite cards in the current standard. While pinging your opponent for 1 life might not seem that significant, it really does add up.
Additionally, I’ve found that if you have Warlock Class in your opening hand, you can curve out really nicely with it by playing it on your first go with one mana, and then activating it’s 2nd level on your 2nd turn with two mana. This 2nd ability is perfect for an early turn as it gives you a nice little boost to card advantage, making it more likely that you’re going to have access to a 3 drop, to continue that smooth curve on your 3rd turn.
Being an enchantment, it tends to stick around a bit longer than your creatures, which makes it’s 3rd level ability a real threat. I try to unlock that 3rd ability as quickly as possible. From that point on in the game you’ve really backed your opponent into a corner, as even small amounts of damage like the 1 hit ping for losing a creature suddenly matter a lot more.
Poison the Cup
Poison the Cup is one of my favourite removals in the current format. The ability to foretell it for 2 and then destroy any creature in the next turn without reservation, in addition to a 2 scry is always helpful. I’ll often load this up with foretell as soon as I can and then have it ready for the rest of the game to pull out when needed for a 2 mana removal with scry. It just always feels like good value. I even like it so much I used it in my venturing deck which you can read about here:
Nighthawk Scavenger is insanely good. It’s almost OP to get this much value out of a 3 drop. The only downside in a multicolour deck might be the 2 swamp mana needed, but even then it’s crazy good. In a mono deck where the mana split doesn’t matter, this card is an absolute weapon.
The combination of flying, deathtouch and lifelink make this useable in both a defensive and aggro style. It’s role as both additional removal, plus the life boost – in the late game especially – has definitely won me some matches.
I really enjoy the flavour of Gelatinous Cube. Being able to dissolve your opponent’s trapped creature if you have spare mana is fun, frees you up to attack again without the risk of them getting their creature back, and fits in perfectly with the story of the card.
This card really encapsulates the core aim of this deck, which is to bring together as many cards that do two things well as possible. It’s a removal, but it’s also a decent creature. Just like Nighthawk Scavenger can keep you alive, and pose a solid offensive threat, and Poison The Cup isn’t just removal, it also gives you card selection.
Ebondeath, Dracolich is another efficient creature that does something significant on top of a decent body. In this case, that significant thing is coming back from the dead as many times as you like for the rest of the game (unless it’s exiled). Sure you need to have had a creature die in the turn you resurrect it, but playing a black deck with deathtouch and removal, this is going to happen a lot.
While the 2 toughness might seem a bit weak, with the resurrection ability you can just fling this thing at your opponent repeatedly and get it back again after it’s blocked and killed. With a power of 5 it’s likely to take out whatever blocks it, and if they don’t block, it’s gonna take a good chunk off the face.
Lolth, Spider Queen
More so than any other card in this list, Lolth, Spider Queen is a bomb. It’s turned around so many games for me that I’ve lost count. As soon as you play her, you can use the 2nd ability to create 2 spiders with menace. They’re then ready to protect her in your opponents turn, where you can trade them and other low level creatures you might have while defending, safe in the knowledge that you’re building up credit with Lolth to generate more spiders next turn.
It’s not uncommon, when running 4 Lolth’s in a deck, to have two in your hand. This opens up an awesome play where you play one, create two spiders and block with them in the next turn (taking out some of your opponent’s creatures in the process).
On your next turn you can spend the 3 counters you’ve built up to replace the 2 spiders you just lost, after which Lolth will be lost. But then you can just play your second Lolth and generate another 2 spiders, leaving you with 4 spiders with menace on the board.
Honourable Mentions and Variations
A big shoutout goes to Grim Wanderer, which has great synergy with all your removal spells and disposable creatures like Shambling Ghast. If you keep just 1 mana open and your opponent knocks out your Shambling Ghast in their turn, you can pick up a bonus treasure from Shambling Ghast’s death ability and then spend your 2 mana to flash in Grim Wanderer who will then be cured of summoning sickness on your turn and ready to attack with a meaty 5/3 body. You don’t get much more efficient than that.
My other honourable mention to highlight in this deck is the rare land card Hive of the Eye Tyrant. While it has the downside of coming in tapped after your second land drop, this is balanced out by it’s ability to turn into a 3/3 with menace. This is strong enough as is, and a good backup option if you find yourself in the midst of a mana flood. But on top of the decent body and the menace, Hive also let’s you exile a target card from your opponent’s graveyard. With so many flashback and disturb spells in the current standard, this is a significant bonus.
The main variation in this deck that I’ve experimented with is swapping out the Ebondeath, Dracolith for Westgate Regent. It’s a decent option and one that I’m still not 100% whether I should implement moving forward or not. Perhaps Westgate would be a stronger card in this deck.
My reasoning for picking Ebondeath comes down to a two main points: 1) Ebondeath is cheaper, at 4 rather than 5 mana. Getting a strong flyer out a turn earlier does make a difference. 2) With a lot of strong removal in the format at the moment, Ebondeath’s ressurection ability makes it more valuable over the course of the game.
- 4 Shambling Ghast
- 4 Warlock Class
- 3 Bladebrand
- 3 Deadly Dispute
- 4 Grim Wanderer
- 4 Poison the Cup
- 4 Nighthawk Scavenger
- 4 Gelatinous Cube
- 3 Ebondeath, Dracolich
- 3 Lolth, Spider Queen
- 4 Hive of the Eye Tyrant
- 20 Swamp