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Competitive Mono Black Midrange on a Budget

Modern Budget Competitive Midrange Mono-Black Primer Tempo




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If you are like me and money for magic isn't exactly something you have a ton of, then this deck might be for you. There is also an upgraded list towards the bottom of this.


This deck is very effective at fighting a majority of popular decks in the format, as the massive amount of creature hate, hand disruption, and card advantage allow us to stop our opponent's hand and board from becoming an issue and keeping them on top-deck support while we beat them to death with our efficient creatures.

Since we are a mono black deck, we have access to the cheapest and most effective creature and hand hate magic has to offer us without the pain of dealing with things like mana fixing. Also, you will notice that we play a LOT of removal, very smilier to Jund in that sense, everything is based on value, and as a midrange deck thats exactly what we are shooting for.


Inquisition of Kozilek: With budget being a big concern here, we can't just throw in Thoughtseize, so in game 1, this is your main weapon against combo and control strategies since it hits most of the cards in the format anyway.

Wrench Mind: The closest we have to Hymn to Tourach in modern, Wrench mind is great as a one-of since it can widdle down our opponents hand even further. (unless they are playing affinity/eggs/tron)

Victim of Night: One of Mono black's cheapest and most effective removal spells, since there aren't way too many vampires, werewolves, or zombies running around in modern.

Gifted Aetherborn: One of the most efficent black two drops ever printed, Aetherborn is a Vampire Nighthawk that has had it's CMC reduced by 1 in exchange for clipping it's wings. It is great against aggressive strategies like burn and can take down any creature we can block.

Gatekeeper of Malakir: Although it is technically a 2-drop, Gatekeeper is almost always a 3 drop bear with a Cruel Edict unless you are playing something like a combo deck where the kicker trigger isn't very necessary. Also, any creature that brings it's own removal is welcome to our table.

Dismember: Super key in a format where decks like infect run around, dismember can be a removal spell as quickly as turn 1, which is fantastic should we need to remove something like a Glistener Elf or a Hollow One. Since we play a bunch of lifegain it's no big deal.

Brain Maggot: A Thoughtseize like effect on a 1/1 body, maggot helps us control all the combo decks out there by making them trade cards to kill our little maggot.

Kitesail Freebooter: A Duress on a body, kitesail is great in the air at attacking our opponent, especially if we suit it up with a Lashwrithe.

Lashwrithe: can make our lifelinkers like gifted ae4therborn into burn killing cards, and sometimes when equipped to Kitesail Freebooter you can just fly over for the kill. But since it isn't great for devotion and gets blown out by Kolaghan's Command, we are only running two.

Geralf's Messenger: The evil Kitchen Finks, Messenger contributes devotion and makes our opponent lose life.

Phyrexian Arena: Arena can be a key piece to winning grindy games, as the consistent card draw will allow you to draw more threats and interaction, and while yes it might kill you, your more likely to hit something like Gray Merchant of Asphodel and win the game.

Nyxathid: Many decks in modern like to toss their hands, and Nyxahid takes full advantage of this, often being a 4+ power threat as fast as turn 3.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel: The big daddy of mono-black, Gray Merchant rewards you for playing your deck by giving you the ability to win games through cards like Ghostly Prison and Ensnaring Bridge. Since almost every permanent in the deck contributes at least 2 devotion, it'll win you games.

Swamp: We need lands.


The sideboard should be tuned to your meta, if you want tips, you can go ahead and check out the Mono-black Primer at the end of this list.



When you play this deck, you want to start out with about 2-3 swamps in hand, anything less is virtually unplayable and will likely result in you losing the game. Make sure you have some removal and/or discard (shouldn't be too hard)


This deck plays out the early game mostly through removal and discard spells while keeping up on board control through cards like Gatekeeper of Malakir, this way when our threats hit the board we just need to push to the finish. You have to use your removal and discard spells well, just like if you were to play Jund, wasting spells can cost you the game. Against the grand majority of match ups, you might just be playing discard and removal spells until you get something like Erebos's Titan to give you some wiggle room.


This deck closes the game by beating our opponent to death (as was mentioned earlier) with value creatures while keeping the pressure on our opponent with cards like Nyxathid.


Some people have asked me how the deck does, and what are good/bad matchups for it, so I'll lay down as much as I can:


These are matchups that we have a good chance of winning against.

Any deck that relies on creatures, things like Zoo, Elves, Hatebears, Infect, Bant Eldrazi, Jund, Affinity, 8-Whack/Goblins, Stompy, Death's Shadow Zoo, Merfolk, etc.


These are matchups we can win, but are not favorable, especially post board we stand a chance at winning games. (check the maybeboard for hate against these decks if they are in your meta and hate for them isn't already in the sideboard)

Most Combo decks (Ad Nauseum, Pilla-Pala, Sword Combo, Restore Balance)

Boggles, Junk, Token decks, Naya Burn, Skred Red, Delver, etc.

Soul Sisters (If you draw Crusader or Erebos)


These are the worst matchups this deck can face, the list is pretty short, you'll have to work hard to beat these ones.

UW(X) Control Builds (discard is key here)

Graveyard decks like Dredge and Living End (Should you not interact with them post board)

Tron: Tron is probably the worst matchup i've had with this deck besides boggles, as a turn 3 karn pretty much ends us and we can't stop them from ramping, you'd need to play something like Rain of Tears or Ghost Quarter to win this matchup.


Please feel free to leave me a comment or an upvote, I'd really appreciate any suggestions that people have for me on how to make the deck stronger/ more competitive while staying on a budget.


  1. Get 4 Thoughtseize, it's necessary for balancing matchups, and you'll thank yourself later if you go into basically any other deck that plays black.

  2. Replace the 3 copies of Nyxathid, anbd 1 Lashwrithe with Phyrexian Obliterator, obliterator is an absolute monster, and is huge on the devotion side of things.

  3. Tune the sideboard with better pieces to fit your meta, cards like Damping Sphere, Surgical Extraction, etc.

  4. Decide if your meta wants Fatal Push or not.

  5. Try to find room for Liliana of the Veil she will help you win a large variety of matchups. (she is the most expensive upgrade by far.

  6. This is one of my favorite decks I play (YES I DO ACTUALLY PLAY THIS DECK) and the greatest budget build I've made so far, if you want to see what I personally do with it you can find it here, How The Devil Plays MTG: The Mono-Black Primer (This deck eventually just became fused with the primer)


Yes, I did actually make a full mono-black primer, you can check it out at this link! If you are looking for more options or anything else, look here!

How The Devil Plays MTG: The Mono-Black Primer

Modern Sargeras



If you enjoyed this deck, feel free to check out my other budget decks on my profile @ Sargeras


Updates Add

change I switched out the 4 Distress for 4 Thoughtseize which I highly recommend as it makes the deck play sooooo much better, and it's totally worth it to buy them, I bought a playset for $40, they weren't mint, but they play, and to me that's what counts.

Same venue tonight, but more people

2-0 Naya Humans

This guy only has a standard deck and played it in modern, which typically isnt the best idea, but, his call.

Game 1: I won through removal, discard, threats, gatekeeper is really nice against aggro.

Game 2: (no sideboard changes) I won through removal, discard, and threats, played similarly to the last game.

2-0 UWB Ad Nauseem

Game 1: Won through a turn 1 thoughtseize hitting an Ad Nauseem and him never drawing another the entire game, won with threats.

Game 2: opponent mulled to 6 (he almost mulled to 5) (brought in all discard over all removal spells) Won through Thoughtseize and Duress, he never drew the combo, and payed the price for keeping a hand with no combo pieces.

0-2 GW Boggles

Game 1: Drew spot removal, no gatekeeper, lost to a baddy I couldn't kill

Game 2: (sided out removal, brought in my ratchet bombs) 2 Gatekeepers, but he kept getting creatures, and killed me with a good board. T_T

2-1 Death's Shadow Zoo (same guy as last week btw)

Game 1: I won through spot removal, discard, and threats, simple as that.

Game 2: I lost, as I couldn't kill both of his creatures, no matter which one i killed i would have died, made it turn 6 though.

Game 3: Played through with discard and removal, Won through the fact that my opponent made himself drop to 2 life with only a Swiftspear on the board and with me at 17 life, and I had a Gatekeeper, and a Titan out.

So I went 3-1 Tonight, and got 2nd place.

If you do buy this deck, I HIGHLY recommend getting yourself Thoughtseize, it is so worth it. Making the change to Geth's Verdict makes the Boggles matchup so much better.

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Revision 7 See all

3 weeks ago)

-1 Gifted Aetherborn main
-1 Erebos, God of the Dead main
+1 Geralf's Messenger main
-1 Victim of Night main
-2 Erebos's Titan main
-1 Nyxathid main
+1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet main
+2 Brain Maggot main
+2 Lashwrithe main
+1 Memoricide side
+3 Nihil Spellbomb side
-1 Duress side
-3 Geth's Verdict side