pie chart

No cards for you! -- budget hand disruption

Standard Budget Control Discard Mono-Black Stax



There's nothing like a good Mind Rot. Do you remember back when you first started playing Magic with your friends and you Mind Rot'ed away double Serra Angels? Do you remember how good that felt, and how unfair it felt to be on the other side? But then you got better at the game and moved on to stronger decks that didn't run Mind Rot, because it's actually pretty bad when you draw it late.

With the reprint of Unburden and Duress, there may just be a critical mass of cards in Standard that allow hardcore hand disruption to have its day in the sun. The only question is, are you prepared for everyone to hate you even more than they hate the Blue player?

That's a nice hand of cards you got there...

Let's start out with the focused discard package: Duress, Unburden, and Implement of Malice. Duress has always been great. One mana to get a peak at your opponent's hand and then toss something away is right where this deck wants to be. We have a lot of ways of killing creatures so the noncreature rider barely matters to us. Unburden is great on turn 3 to throw our opponent's plans out the window, amazing on turn 5 or 6 to get rid of the threats they were sandbagging, and even fine when our opponent is empty-handed since we can just Cycle it away. Finally, Implement of Malice, which is a bit worse at forced discard than Unburden or Duress but makes up for by replacing itself on activation, and also synergizing really well with a couple of our other cards lower down the list.

You generally want to be pretty aggressive with your hand disruption. These cards usually turn "off" later in the game once your opponent gets empty-handed but your other cards will still have full value, so prioritize hand disruption early.

... Be a shame if something happened to them

Some threats are likely to slip past our hand disruption, so we're running a hefty removal package to deal with those. Fatal Push is an absolute necessity; it blows the budget wide open but there just isn't a substitute in mono-Black right now. On the upside, it's really easy for us to activate Revolt (Implement of Malice being one way) so this will be able to kill most baddies. Walk the Plank is our catch-all for most other creatures; I hate the Sorcery speed but it's what we've got right now. Finally, Never//Return is a way we can deal with Planeswalkers; Vraska's Contempt is probably better, but Never/Return should work fine (and save you a couple of bucks).

Get ready for...

Ok, so you've stripped your opponent's hand of artifacts, killed their creatures, and destroyed their planeswalkers. Now what? Where's the heat?

We start the grinding small with Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs, which pulls triple duty: it blocks really well early, it helps whittle away our opponent's life total (we're running enough deserts to reliably turn this on by turn 3), and it helps ramp into our other creature, Herald of Anguish. Herald doesn't often come down before turn 5 or 6 (hence why we're only running 2 copies) but if you can stick one, it'll be devilishly difficult for your opponent to deal with, not least of which because it often makes them discard that removal spell they were sandbagging. Herald, incidentally, is why we've running so many artifacts.

However, our strongest piece of attrition technology is Torment of Scarabs. Punisher effects are traditionally pretty bad but when you're already chipping away at your opponent's hand, board, and life total, that Torment trigger each turn really adds up. If they can't remove a Torment cast on turn 4, it can easily deal 12 or more damage to them over the course of a game, in addition to strangling their resources.

... Maximum punishment

We're really good at grinding our opponent out over the long game but we can also win all at once with Torment of Hailfire. It's another Punisher effect, I know, but we do such a good job of attacking our opponent on all fronts that even when Hailfire can't quite kill our opponent outright, it will leave them in such a bad state that finishing them off will be a cakewalk. Between the incidental card draw from Implement of Malice, Unburden cycling, and Renegade Map (more on that in a moment), we'll often have a ton of mana to pour into our Hailfires later in the game.

It's not about the destination...

For lands, we have a pretty straightforward mono-Black desert package: some Ifnir Deadlands for picking off smaller creatures or neutering bigger ones, three copies of Desert of the Glorified as a hedge against flood, Scavenger Grounds for a main-deck answer to graveyard value, and some good 'ol fashioned basic Swamps to round us out. Renegade Map brings our land count up to an effect 24-26, depending on how you count it, but it also helps us ramp into Herald of Anguish and trigger Revolt at instant speed.

... It's about the friends you meet along the way

Finally, the sideboard.

Crook of Condemnation is pretty obvious, especially for this deck; we really don't want to go up against a deck that plays out of its graveyard. Lost Legacy is another great option against combo. The other two copies of Never / Return are here in case we run into a Superfriends deck (it's really important to not let our opponent get continuous value off planeswalkers). Yahenni's Expertise is for go-wide decks, since they really put a dampener on our Punisher effects; you could run Bontu's Last Reckoning here if you want but I really want to be able to go sweeper into Hailfire, and we don't usually have much trouble taking out bigger guys, plus Yahenni's Expertise doesn't kill Wall or Herald.

That's all pretty straightforward, but our special sideboard tech is Gifted Aetherborn . This little dude is amazing against aggro, brick-walling most of their creatures and getting in for Lifelinking chip damage here and there, but it can also take out Carnage Tyrants or other big creatures that our opponent might topdeck later in the game. There's a case to be made for running Gifted Aetherborn in the main deck for its sheer value, but I really want to void most of my opponent's 3-damage removal spells so this is less likely to die right away when I bring it in for Game 2.

Into the frying pan with you!

And that's it for now. Thanks for reading this far! I'd love to hear what you think, any suggestions you might have, etc. Should I be maindecking Gifted Aetherborn? Am I a fool for passing on Dreamstealer? Is Doomfall obviously better than Implement of Malice? Let me know!


Comments View Archive

Stripper says... #1

What a fun deck!

October 16, 2017 9:18 p.m.

Gim says... #2

I would recommend adding the Stax tag to your deck. It's one of my favorite styles to play and I would have found this deck far sooner if it was.

October 19, 2017 11:28 p.m.

BlaineTog says... #3

Thanks for the suggestion! I've added the tag.

October 20, 2017 7:42 a.m.

Please login to comment

Compare to inventory
Date added 4 months
Last updated 1 day

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.53
Folders Decks to try, noir défausse, Borrowed Decks, standard ideas, Decks I'd Build, Standard post AKH, Ashtins Deck, maybe, Interesting Decks, Potential Decks to Build, See all 13
Top rank #15 on 2017-06-16
Views 2591

Revision 4 (1 week ago)

-2 Desert of the Glorified main
+2 Swamp main
-3 Sorcerous Spyglass side
+3 Yahenni's Expertise side
-3 Bontu's Last Reckoning side
+3 Lost Legacy side

See all