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Begin by just keeping the board fairly clear, i usually start with no creatures in my hand at all, just a bunch of kill spells and things like Despise / Distress . This is because most of the important creatures cost 4+ mana so you need to keep the board under control for as long as you can, this is also handy as it gives you many opportunities to Surgical Extraction some annoying cards because your opponent should be trying to make the most of you without any creatures and will start pumping threats.
Once you start drawing your big guys it just becomes an aggro game, any combination of creatures/weapons is a sure way to win. i.e.
Sideboard explained (Still working on this):
3x Black Sun's Zenith : I'sve noticed a lot of decks recently taking advantage of exhalted, and a lot of human weenies as well. Side this in to keep clearing the field of 1 toughness creatures.
1x surgical extration: Having 2 mainboard has shown to be just as effective as 3x in general matchups, versus things like delver and wolfrun you can side this in to help deal with the counterspells and creatures, which tend to come in full playsets in those decks
3x Nihil Spellbomb : Card draw, but more importantly is good against delver / zombie decks, just make sure you surgical anything you want beforehand.
1x Praetor's Grasp : Just needed another card for the sideboard and wanted to test this out, and it works well when cast. You can remove a bomb and if that bomb was a wurmcoil or something black then even better.
Even though ive played lots of matches, had my first sanctioned match on monday (closest thing to FNM in my city)
Game 1: 2-0 vs a very slapdash kind of deck, wasnt very difficult to pull out a victory vs this person as most of the cards in the deck didnt work well together.
Game 2: 2-1 vs human token spam with Parallel Lives , Cathars' Crusade and Champion of Lambholt . This is a friends deck and ive been beaten by it on numerous occasions, but i was lucky to have kill spells and Mutilate 's when it counted.
Game 3: 1-2 vs artifact ramp. This deck was all about Lingering Souls , Wurmcoil Engine and Sword of War and Peace . Wurmcoil engine proved to be too much of a problem to deal with, even when i blocked with Phyrexian Obliterator . Definately something ill need to consider for later games.Surgically extracting lingering souls was fun just to see the look on the guys face.
Game 4: 2-0 vs Griselbrand frites. To be fair he was having draw issues for one of the rounds. One of the best plays i had was playing Lashwrithe , then attaching it to a creature, then using Tragic Slip on my opponents Inferno Titan due to the morbid trigger from the germ token dieing.
Ended up in the top 4 which im fairly proud of.
Made some changes to the deck with the addition of M13.
Going to need to playtest this a fair amount but i feel it should work for the time being....some sort of artifact / enchantment removal would be nice though
Yeh Grave Titan is awesome and I am tempted to put him in, but realistically I don't know if its worth buying him when he rotates out in about a month, any ideas for a temporary replacement while we wait for m13?
I also need to test this deck vs delver as that's the main purpose of this deck atm, to kill delver decks :P
Demonic Taskmaster seems like it would be pretty sweet in this deck with its minimal creatures. If you really just want to crush delver, ide say you need some combination of Gut Shot and/or Mental Misstep between the main or sideboard.
You wouldnt be able to surgical them afterwards, but Appetite for Brains is really good against wolf run if you can learn when to play it and when to hold it (as in, not turn one)
I agree with Mathias17, you should up the lands. Since you dont really need a ton of black to do stuff, ide say add like 3 Ghost Quarter s to help blow up Moorland Haunt , Inkmoth Nexus , and Kessig Wolf Run so you can surgical them
As a final note, sideboard card:Geralf's Messenger would be pretty sick against control or slow aggro decks.
Also, I agree with nautilussix about Reaper from the Abyss . I recently traded for one for my mono-black control deck, and it's a beast for removal. Not to mention that he is way cheaper than a titan ($1.49), still has a 6/6 body, and flies (people can often forget that mythic creatures are still creatures, not just fancy ability-sticks). Oh, and if you mix and match when you use removal, Reaper can trigger on every turn, which is makes life even more fun. Just a reminder to never blow two removals on the same turn if you can help it.
I also tried to run a mono black control deck for awhile. There are two big problems. First of all (most importantly), you need a good source for card draw (Bloodgift Demon doesn't count. He's awesome, once he is out, but he's too slow). If you're going to control you're opponents, you need to be able to actually have the cards in your hand. Trust me you will run out of the removal and discard pretty quickly, but they will still swing at you with a Mirran Crusader enchanted with Angelic Destiny . I know that's what the Surgical Extraction is for, but there are just too many decks loaded with amazing cards for the discard/extraction combo to help you do anything more than just stall. That brings me to my second point which was already addressed a bit, more land friendo. Even with card draw, 19 land would be pretty sparse.
Also, I know this is the last thing you want to hear, but splashing another color would help you significantly and it would not hurt you that much because the most black mana you need to play any card is three for Reaper from the Abyss , which is late game
Grave Titan isnt going to rotate out when m13 comes out, they are acctually going to rotate m12 and mirridon at the same time when return to ravnica comes out. So you have a good amount of time to put him in here without it being a waste, but this is a nice deck and i agree Lilianna of the Veil would be awesome in here
I really don't like card:Runechanter's Pike in here very much. The reason it works in Delver is not merely because of a high Instants and Sorceries count. Delver also runs cheap evasive guys like Invisible Stalker or Moorland Haunt tokens that can abuse equipment. All of your evasive guys are expensive with giant "kill me' signs pasted on them as a result of not having very many targets for opposing removal spells. Also, you aren't really trying to beat down here. Delver is aggro-control and has the ability to just play quick threats and kill early. This deck looks very slow and grindy. You want to go over the top in the late game with something gigantic, not make cheap beat sticks.
Your land count is waaaay too low even though the majority of your spells are cheap. 19 lands is too few for most aggro decks. 25+ is typical of a control deck. I second the ghost quarter idea.
There unfortunately is no Sign in Blood right now, but card:Altar's Reap could actually work here. Using it on Reassembling Skeleton seems like very good value, and it can also trigger morbid when you need it.
Also Tragic Slip . Getting to T1 kill unflipped Delver of Secrets Flip before they have access to Mana Leak is pretty sweet, and killing a Birds of Paradise or Phantasmal Image is very good too. Plus, turning on morbid for this card is much easier than most people seem to think. It isn't exactly Swords to Plowshares , but it ain't all that far off alot of the time.
The problem with card:Altar's Reap is the number of creatures in this deck. However more cards that are food for thought: Blind Zealot ...a fine 3 drop with intimidate and the possibility to double nuke with Reaper. Phyrexian Obliterator ...not a card I like by any means, but does an amazing job of locking down the opponent. Nephalia Drownyard ...mid game can mess up their delver/miracle setups, as well as give you targets for Surgical Extraction .
The pike is nice, but without evasion based creatures its literally useless, and theres no need to beef up reaper.
Vault Skirge Would be a good addition to your deck, in testing its been a good one drop on the play and 2 drop on the draw. 1/1 flying lifelink for 1 is pretty awesome.
A copy of Lashwrithe or 2 could help the deck get there while giving you an extra creature in the 4 drop spot where you have nothing.
Take a look at my MBC, Once you go Black... (Comment!) build maybe you'll find something you'll like.
You could also try Batterskull along with Lashwrithe . To start with, Batterskull gives you significant support with lifelink and vigilance. You also have the option to cycle it back to your hand for 3 mana if the germ is ever killed. You can also save it if it gets targeted by artifact removal. I know everyone is talking about the mana base, but it's true, you need the extra mana. I would recommend dropping 2 swamps and adding 4 Ghost Quarter to deal with Kessig Wolf Run and Cavern of Souls , bringing your final land total to 24.
Looks great to me. I think that card:Runechanter's Pike could be better in here than some of the other commenters are giving it credit for. Lashwrithe would also be very powerful in your deck and is likely a bargain and easy to find. (Also, I partially commented to point out that the site thinks that Bone Splinters is illegal in your deck. haha) Once again, nice work!
gut shot over mental mistep, u can take out things like blade splicer with gut shot, but u cant mistep a blade splicer mid cast.
ghost quarter on a kessig or even gavony township plus the surgicals is a great combo.
snap caster could double up the surgicals in the deck, which would be XD !!!!
toxonic I'm curious what you think of this deck:cheap-blackness. I have been trying to duplicate your deck because it looks like a ton of fun.
I just started playing magic like 3-4 weeks ago so my card base is pretty slim. I've pretty much traded anything nice from any other color to get where I'm at thus far.
ur deck is quite similar to my Mono Assassin deck. I placed first many times at my local FNM with this deck. with the few amount of creatures u run u should think about Demonic Rising its such an under rated card but it worked so good with my deck and i think it would with urs too
Im also paying life for Sign in Blood and occasionally Vault Skirge , all this life sacrificing is offset by the 7 lifelink cards, therefore putting in blue dual lands would at best save me 2 life when I cast it, but it would probably lose me much more than that in the life I could of gained with an extra swamp on the field
I am running a deck close to this one. In mine, I run more discard effects along with the new lili to help grab up swamps. I also run 1 copy of Geth, Lord of the Vault and a copy of Griselbrand to abuse with the new 4b/per swamp emblem. It is rather nasty.
Also, you might consider running a couple copies of Diciple of Bolas. When you can drop him in and sac a lashwrithe germ token or anything else equiped to the lashwrithe, you can damn-near refill your hand, if not over fill. Just last week, I sac'ed a 11/11 Vault Skirge while just getting the uber-mana emblem. I was able to cast 8 of the cards I drew, completely dominating the board with dudes and lashwrithes. Good times.
How does your ability to kill creatures feel? as in do you have enough kill spells / discard?
I also do love Disciple of Bolas 's interaction with Lashwrithe , but im a little unsure if its worth it...because after the ETB effect, all he becomes is a 2/1 with no evasion, feels sort of like a waste of a body (i know you can give him lashwrithe, but thats true of any creature)
I think that Dismember would be good in this deck. It looks like a fun deck and I think that Geth would be good to include. I think you should get a little bit more evasion, Invisible Stalker + Lashwrithe = Win. Of course, splashing for Invisible Stalker would limit swamps, but he still seems pretty sick. Also, Maybe card:Geralf's Messenger would work. Nice looking deck though.