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It's like murder except legal(Toshiro Umezawa EDH)

Commander / EDH Control Mono-Black

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Help and suggestions on how to improve this deck are welcome!

My main concern right now is noncreature removal and optimization to compete in an increasingly competitive meta. I'm not looking for answers to everything but I want to be able to do my battle plan with the greatest consistency (without always tutoring the same cards) and getting enough answers to have some fun. If you have any comment on the actual decklist or how to improve it, do not hesitate to comment! :)

Are you secretly a psycopath who enjoys murder and treason? Do you like to play politics in EDH, betraying your friends at the last moment to take the win? Do you enjoy being THAT GUY and losing all your friends while watching their hopes turn to dust? Then this deck is made for you!

This is my take at a mono control EDH using my favorite man, Toshiro Umezawa. It is probably my favorite deck of the entire game, combining my favorite color and one of my favorite legendary creatures at the helm.

It is the first serious EDH deck I ever built around 2015 and to this day it is still my favorite deck. It can be very political and adapt to opponent's level in order for everyone to have fun while playing. (but let's face it, sometimes your opponents fun isn't compatible with yours. And you want to have fun.)

I saw decklists online using Toshiro with 30+ instants and almost nothing else, mainly a spellslinger's approach. I tried that strategy shortly but wasn't satisfied with it. I use a few less instants than other lists, allowing me to put in more creatures and other cards and going in a more classic control route. Toshiro allowing 2-for-1 with each instants in a pinch is still relevant enough, and adding more non-instants cards allows me to use other strategies and gets the gameplan a bit more reliable and adaptative.

Guidelines

Toshiro allows us to make 2 for 1 with each instant (even 4-for-1 with Primal Amulet), allowing you to control the board. The instant speed is nice because this deck will be full of answers, even if your board state isn't great. The deck doesn't always need Toshiro in order to win, but he still makes a huge difference.

It can be quite fast and brutal, mostly in 1v1, by rapidly removing every threat on the board and harassing your opponent. Some creatures in this deck can be quite aggressive, even. But most of the times it is quite a 'laid back' kind of deck.

Assessing who is the most threatening, waiting for the last moment to strike with instant-speed, playing politics and waiting for the right moment to backstab everyone and take the lead is my favorite way to pilot this deck. Of course, it is far from having an answer to everything. Noncreature removal is always a struggle, and Rest in Peace has become one of the most annoying card ever to me. But I don't need to have an answer to everything if I can play my cards right.

Playing this deck for some time now, I learnt the power that can have one well-placed instant. Killing the right creature at the right time is often the different between a loss and a win. Removing ramp, beaters - and the most delectable of them all, killing their commanders four or five times in a row - is the sweetest feeling in all this game.

The BIG mana

This is one of monoblack's greatest strenght: its mana base. You can pull of at least 30-40 mana from a few swamps and cards at some point, and they are all super useful!

  • Burnished Hart and Solemn Simulacrum are almost the only ramp I use. Being creatures, they are easily brought back one the field a reused a few times if needed.

  • Jet Medallion is amazing, reducing the cost of every instant you play from your hand AND from your graveyard (plus every other black card of course).

  • Liliana of the Dark Realms is the queen of this deck. Bring more Swamps? YES. Kill a creature or boost another one? YEEEES. Quadruple your manabase??? YEEEEEEEES!!

  • Then it's all about doubling everything with Caged Sun, Crypt Ghast and Nirkana Revenant .

  • Finally, with the right lands, you don't even need to double things. Cabal Coffers/Cabal Stronghold are amazing, even more with Urborg, and can produce degenerate amounts of mana. With most of my permanents bringing a nice amount of devotion, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx really pulls its own weight too. To get the land you want, Expedition Map is relevant enough while also being cheap.

The creatures

Creatures in this deck serve differents goals: killing creatures, destroying stuff, reanimation, exile, getting you value from death (card draw, life, tokens...) or acting as beaters and rattlesnakes. I enjoy having at least a decent amount of them in the deck, to make sure I have enough weight on the board in order to never be an easy target for my opponents.

Cards interactions

As I said it is mainly a slow-paced game, so the interactions are pretty obvious most of the times. I'll juste list a few interactions that I find important and/or enjoyable. I'm not calling them 'combos' because most of the times it's not really combos, just cool things to do. I'll just add more as I think of them/the deck changes.

Main issues

The drawback of monoblack is noncreature removal, and its greatest weakness is Rest in Peace and such. I have added some answers for that over time, but right now my solutions are:

  • Scour from Existence even though it is expensive as hell. At least it is an instant.

  • Torment of Hailfire and Phyrexian Obliterator. Yeah, it's not really great because you don't get to pick, but still, it can clear the way.

  • Steel Hellkite is the best in that regards in my opinion. A beater, and a really scary activated ability that needs answering.

  • Oblivion Stone is more like a safeguard. Basically it will sit there until the last minute, threatening everyone.

I'm looking for more effective answers, but it'll do for the time being. When non-creature removal becomes too much of an issue during a game, I just turn to politics and the complex strategy of killing the problematic player with all my ressources.

  • The most usual wincon is by building big mana while controlling the board until you are able to win through different game enders. Nothing is sweeter than being able to dump more than 40 on a Torment of Hailfire, or exiling an entire board with Dark Impostor.

  • Hatred can lead to a quick kill against an unexpected opponnent. Plus it can be used with some politics so that you take out an opponent that bothers other players and gain some sympathy to betray later. Bonus points if you use it on an opponent's creature to kill another player.

  • Suffer the Past is a great card in this deck for late game. It can destroy recursion decks, act as a finisher while giving you some life for the next opponent to deal with... I love it.

  • You can also win through repeatible kills/wipes and Thrilling Encore everything, or just reanimating creatures one by one through all the reanimation engines.

  • Revel in riches : I don't expect it to grant me many wins, because it paints a big target on your face, but the extra mana is nice and can set you up for the final blow. And sometimes it can lead to a quick victory: cast it, wipe the board, then give your opponnents one last turn to struggle with your hand full of answers.

  • Finally, with the size of most creatures in this deck (plus the token generators) you can hope for a 'normal' win through the combat phase. Who wants to block a Phyrexian Obliterator?

This deck has been through a number of modifications and tests. Some cards I tried and took out because they weren't effective enough, some others I took out just to make some room, and lastly there are a few I took out because they spoiled the fun and I didn't want that. Here I will be listing a few of those as recommandations, or at least cards to consider if you want to build a similar deck.

  • Rise of the Dark Realms has been replaced by its instant-speed cousin from Battlebond. Thrilling Encore is less effective, but the instant speed meaning usable twice can be nice. I still need a bit of playtesting to see if RoTDR isn't still better, so we'll see.

  • Contamination was one of the deck's way to win. Basically denying your opponents any ressources and stalling the game until you can get your wincons out. The price of a creature a turn is so easy to pay that it's no big deal: with the amount of reanimation or token generators you can get, you could keep Contamination on the battlefield for a long, long time. And while it shuts down your Liliana's Emblems or your Cabal Coffers, all your mana doublers still produce their added value. I took it out after a while because it felt like a no-fun-allowed strategy, but it was damn effective!

  • Vampire Hexmage deserves a mention here, being able to consistently and regularly take out planeswalkers or any counter strategy through sacrifice and reanimation is amazing. Hell, she might come back into the deck some day. Plus, the 2 devotion added for 2 goes nicely with Gary and Nykthos!

  • Primal Amulet seems like a card designed for this deck. I ran it for a while, and the cost reducing ability was pretty cool. The land side giving me double value for each spell was great too, suddenly killing 4 creatures per kill spell became a blast. I took it out for now to try other things, but again, might come back later. It deserved more playtesting, I think.

  • The known combo for Toshiro decks is Forbidden Orchard + Night of Souls' Betrayal. Basically shutting down token decks, or at least making their lives difficult, plus being able to spawn a token in an opponent's field at instant speed, which dies immediatly, triggering Toshiro's ability sounded pretty nice. But at the same time, I wasn't entirely convinced by it once playing it. Basically, trigerring Toshiro is easy enough IMO, and I don't need constant triggers to win. Plus, they felt like dead cards when not together. I played it for a little bit and immediatly took it out. I guess it would be more effective in a more voltron/spellslinger approach than here.

Improving the strategy

More diversity!

If you have the budget

I encourage you to look at the comment section if you are looking for more :)

Suggestions

Comments

31% Casual

69% Competitive