Tourney match W/L record with the deck: 8W 3L.

Does Karn have a dark side? One that IS NOT oily?

So, I figured I'd turn my attention to Monoblack after witnessing the travesty of UW at a PPTQ. It was honestly very, very, annoying to look at. I've gotten word from the Japanese and Russia that Mono black control has a shot. Recently MTG Goldfish BRIEFLY mentioned this in a video; so I took it as confirmation something was cooking. Heavy discard and heavy creature denial should make black a tough opponent for UW control; at least this is my hope.

Karn, Scion of Urza is the card draw machine for this deck. Dread Shade is a very large beast, and tough to kill b/c of his pump ability; but still succumbs to Seal Away but with four of them in the deck, you're not exactly hurting for these. Josu Vess, Lich Knight has been cut sadly; Mastermind's Acquisition takes his place pulling a win-con or something you need desperately. Playing him on curve is very, very, nice as well. Gifted Aetherborn really round out the package for some early game board clearing, and aggro reduction thanks to life link. Divest and Duress keep tabs on your opponent's hand, and punch through some tough moments. Those six spells can and should derail a UW control deck thoroughly; and if it does not, the sideboard includes four copies of Knight of Malice which will undoubtedly frustrate the living hell of UW control players. Cabal Stronghold is useful, despite the hate against this card, and getting mana out of it to pump up our dear friend Dread Shade. The sideboard is there for a variety of reasons. You have additional copies of Divest for more artifact and creature based decks, and you can sidboard in copies of Duress for the same reason. Golden Demise hits their stuff, and leaves yours mostly in-tact. It gets rid of aggro decks very nicely. Torment of Hailfire is needed for those moments when you just need an entire board cleared, enchantments and all. I say this because some enchantments are just annoying as hell. Lost Legacy means you can just uninstall any threat to you off the cuff.

Against other aggro decks, there's enough removal in here to choke a damn horse. The removal spells will just wreck a lot of aggro decks.

Now, if I could only see Drain Life reprinted, and I'd throw Lich's Mastery in this deck so fast it'd make your head spin.

Update 1: I've picked Doomfall main deck over Gonti, Lord of Luxury because while I do like Gonti, I just feel like Doomfall has better and more proven results. Gonti is board presence, and also can remove a creature. But I do believe his shallow health pool, and cost kind of are worse off than Doomfall.

Update 2: I added some cards to the maybe-board that are more affordable options to play other than Karn, Scion of Urza. I won't say anything but, use what you will, and that Karn is the fastest, repeatable, draw engine out there with very little downside.

Update 3: I'm reading more and more on how people are wanting Liliana, Death's Majesty in this type of deck. I'll not add this to the maybeboard, and I'm uncertain how her synergies will flow with the deck I've engineered. She has some synergy with Demonlord Belzenlok, but at the same time works against him. He exiles cards, and she resurrects them. He provides card draw, and she diminishes your pulls. Also, with a lot of graveyard hate like Scavenger Grounds and Sentinel Totem I'm not as sure she works. As much as she curves into play after a Karn, Scion of Urza the most she will deliver you is one resurrected asset or a 2/2 creature. Neither proposition makes me feel great, and she acts like a lightning rod. Her continued existence will be a short one I believe. Nobody is going to let you build board with her, and in this deck spells are a form of control, not the creature bodies.

Update 4: Tinkered with land a bit; and removed one Cast Down. The card is good, I believe, but I've got a lot of creature removal in the deck and one less of this in order to facilitate some more mana is wise.

Update 5: OK THIS DECK HAS SOME SERIOUS LEGS. I went 3 wins, 1 loss in Standard Showdown. It was AMAZING. The only loss I had was to a mono-red deck. First game I got my opponent very low, second game, I only got two mana the entire game. First game versus RG Monsters: wrecked them with a Torment of Hailfire. Second game: the loss to mono red. Third game: CRUSHED mono red. They didn't pull gas to fuel their fire, I Vraska's and used removal to win, killed them with a Torment of Hailfire. Fourth game: BW Vehicles, it was a no brainer win. It was long, drug out, and with a lot of thought and careful play. My discard spells came to the rescue though, and got rid of all that control. From there I just Fatal Pushed and Vraska'd my way to victory. Gideon and Heart of Kiran took a dirt nap!

Update 6: Changes post-showdown...GOODBYE JOSU VESS. I love him, but alas, he's not useful due to Fumigate, Settle, blah, blah. He makes some good chump blockers but its not as strong as I thought it would be. Main deck Torment of Hailfire it is, and two more in the board for those aggressive counterspell decks. I might change that up later, but for now 2 and 2 feels good. Damn good. That card is busted as a win-condition outright. NO don't main deck four of them. That's silly. Upcoming potential changes, I might drop in Mastermind's Acquisition in place of the two main deck Torment of Hailfire but we'll see.

Update 7: Posted to Reddit; upvote as you see fit.

Update 8: Yep, Mastermind's Acquisition mainboard is a go, along with one Bontu's Last Reckoning getting one reduction, and Lich's Mastery getting a one of in the sideboard. I've decided on Lich's Mastery being handy in delicate fringe situations. I might change that up later, but late game I had a few situations where it would have paid off big time.

Update 9: Yeah reaching for a life saving Battle at the Bridge in my sideboard is more handy; so I've changed that up in the sideboard. Synergizes with variable board states and low life pools better than LM.

Update 10: Went 3 wins, 1 loss last night at FNM. Decks played: UR Wizard Aggro, Mono Red, Mardu Vehicles, BG Negative Counters (-1/-1 stuff). Mini-report: Aggro decks with tons of spell hate - you can remove Gifted Aetherborn and include tons of discard cards to set them up for no gas in the tank failures. Against vehicle decks; unless they include a bevy of spell hate, leave the Aetherborn in. If they are playing white control spells or white period, swap them out for Knight of Malice. The one loss was to Mardu Vehicles b/c I boarded out the the Gifted Aetherborn for discard, and that was not a wise choice. I should have reached for the knights. Their spell control pile was very limited. Lost Legacy proved effective at removing Hazorets and Glorybringers.

Update 11: I've made some calls, and some tough ones at that. The biggest is that our big, flying friend Demonlord Belzenlok is getting benched. I've changed him in favor of adding some more control to the deck in the form of Gonti, Lord of Luxury because he's handed me some very nice cards. I've traded places on Doomfall for Torment of Hailfire and cut out the Mastermind's Acquisition because I needed that card nine times out of ten when I cast Mastermind's. Doomfall is handy, just not as universally handy as I'd like it to be. I've adjusted the land heavily. I've added two Field of Ruin because fuck Hadana's Climb   and Search for Azcanta  . You can also trigger the revolt portion of Fatal Push with Field of Ruin; sick removal is the result. I've also upped the ante on Cabal Stronghold b/c I can never get enough of that card. Bontu's Last Reckoning was just not working out for me, as I found it difficult to handle up on a few choice situations where I had to potentially kill my board to stay alive, when I had a series of low health monsters out. I was annoyed so I swapped it up with Golden Demise but may change that up later. Yahenni's Expertise springs to mind, but that devolves into the same problem as Bontu's...sooo.

Update 12: Added 1 Demonlord Belzenlok back to the maindeck, reduced Field of Ruin by 1 to see how this flows. Recently Seth Waterman at MTG Goldfish, aka SaffronOlive, ran a variant of this deck in a segment called Much Abrew About Nothing.

He classifies his deck as Tier 2; but I think this wins enough to classify as tier one as long as you're actually running control spells. He's utilizing Karn, Scion of Urza as an artifact creature creator, and I think that's kind of a mistake. He's card draw, plain and simple to me. I don't like several aspects of his deck line up because I don't think there's enough control; and in an aggro heavy environment its needed. He went 4 wins, and 1 loss, which is very good, but they came as tough wins. I much rather prefer control spells, with control oriented creatures that offer difficult choices for your opponent. The other viable variant to this deck should be just to run purely spells with zero creatures, and firing off Torment of Hailfire for the kill. I don't find that as interesting, but that's not a bad way to do it either. His assessment of Dread Shade is spot on: it dies to removal. But that's not an underperforming asset. It is supposed to be a lightning rod for many threats, not a closer 100% of the time. The main aim is to have multiple win-cons. Dread Shade is one win condition, Torment of Hailfire is another, and Walking Ballista for 12 million points of damage is another. Not to mention you're ability to ping your opponent to death with small board threats like Gifted Aetherborn or Knight of Malice. Him using Karn, Scion of Urza for artifact generation, as a win conditon, is like me using a spoon to build a mall. You've been given your three win conditions, so use them. Also don't overdo it on card draw, and don't avoid control spells. Causing your opponent to discard cards and denying him assets is critical. In short: abort the fuck out of any threat before it hits the board.


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This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.34
Tokens 1/1 Construct
Folders Uncategorized, Standard, Standard, Favorite Standard Decks, gid shit, Best Standard deck if seen in a minute, Interesting Standard Decks, Interesting Decks
Top rank #2 on 2018-05-22
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35 minutes ago)

-1 Demonlord Belzenlok maybe