Mirrodin block that I just can't bury the hatchet about

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Al0ysiusHWWW, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    I've started and stopped playing magic a few times in the past. But one of my most successful sessions was while my play group was prepping for the Mirrodin block.

    I entered around Fifth Dawn... or just before I think. Regardless, in my team we had someone playing affinity, one guy trying to run a green black deck, the standard red deck (I don't remember what it was called) and then a tooth and nail.

    I wanted mono black so bad. I love Plunge into darkness, and I wanted to build something functional. The black card with a lot of potential that I wanted to break was Death Cloud. But I couldn't contend with affinity (what could), though I beat Tooth and Nail 4 out of 5 times (Not saying that it could have beat any build, but in my play group with different builds I did), and I stood up pretty strong to the red decks.

    They eventually talked me into playing Ironworks, which I did ok, I placed like 40th or so in a 700 person tournament. But I knew I could have done better if i played mono black.

    What I suggest is a group therapy session. Who wants to help me build mono black in the Mirrodin block to prove that I COULD have done something if I didn't give up? We can even run some games or whatever.

    The basic premise I had going was find large sums of mana and death cloud away all threats while making a come back with whatever artifacts I still had. Obviously, cloud post was my big pick (which gave me the huge advantage against Tooth and Nail).

    From what I remember, the biggest problems I had was early game disruption, a suitable kill condition, and working against death cloud when I had the lower life total of the two.

    Now, I don't need to use deathcloud, although it would be awesome if I did, but if we could manipulate the deck to resolve the issue with working against death cloud, then we could definitely use it as the win.

    The obvious choice was Plunge into Darkness (my favorite card in the whole block), to gain life WHILE searching for the kill. This pushes the idea that I need several creatures out when I plunge. This will also make my deck cater to affording to lose the creatures which makes deathcloud less of a drawback.

    We could look into splashing other colors (Green had the most synergy I felt), but I was under the impression that it was better to use green for Tooth and Nail, since it used the same mana base with the same idea, one big spell for a win.

    So without posting a deck list to be completely mocked. How do you feel about this block as far as a casual deck goes? Could mono black work?
  2. BigBlue Magic Jones

    If you want an opinion on a Mirrodin Block deck, I can't offer it... but I have plenty of mono-black casual decks... but I'd given up by the time mirrodin rolled around, so I couldn't begin to think if a mono-anything casual block deck...
  3. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    Yeah, it's more a nostalgia factor for me, since it was some of the most fun I had while playing magic.

    While Affinity was a big hurdle to topple, Big Red, and Tooth and Nail were very good answers to it. Krak clan was a fun combo deck that too just barely too long. Most match ups were epic.

    The guy doing Tooth and Nail in our group was one of my best friends so we'd get into these huge games where he'd Tooth and Nail and I'd answer on my turn with Barter in Blood, so he'd lose his Platinum Angel and Darksteel Colossus.

    The guy running Big Red was always tuning his deck against affinity, so we'd stop and see what he was doing against our resident Affinity player. They'd go toe to toe game after game after game and each one was equally unpredictable.

    Our Affinity player managed to place first, Tooth and Nail was top 20 I think. Our Big Red guy skipped the big one we played.

    Most of all it taught me that I really enjoy building decks. Learning mana curve, tightening overall play, dropping dead cards, learning overall play of the game rather than specific tricks.
  4. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    Maybe I should get things started by reverse engineering the deck. As far as I remember, there were 3 main decks in the metagame. There were others that were less common like March of the Machines, Krark-Clan Ironworks, B/G Deathcloud, U/G control, but the ones that tended to dominate were Big Red, Tooth and Nail, and Affinity.

    Big Red didn't do as well after fifth dawn (don't really know why), but it was still a threat. It first appeared as an answer to Affinity, using cards like Furnace Dragon (sideboard), Shrapnel Blast, Pulse of the Forge, and Arc Slogger. It provided reliable big damage spells, or spells that could consistently hit back. They ran things like Damping Matrix to stop ravager dead, and plenty of artifact removal to remove it for slogger as well as hurting the opponent. Grab the Reigns also became a sideboard staple.

    So I only really saw Tooth and Nail come into power after Fifth Dawn. I'm sure this isn't actually the case, but I remember everyone running it at the tournaments I was at afterwards and not before. Most likely it's because of Eternal Witness. Toolbox up a Darksteel Colossus and a platinum Angel. It took a lot of mana, but it was all fueled by Cloudpost, which made hard casting Mindslaver and Oblivion Stone infinitely easier. It also had some of the best disruption with cards like Oxidize.

    So the deck to beat, Affinity, dominated from the get go. The biggest problem when building a deck is how to deal with it, and all of it's many forms. Ravager had a built in method to protect itself. Some used combo elements like Aether Vial and Skullclamp. Others used more control elements fueld by thoughtcast and free spells. Some pushed aggro to the next level with Shrapnel blast and cranial plating. There were sure fire ways to deal with the big cards, but there were so many ways for the big cards to become little cards. They could sideboard in Furnace Dragon, or March of the Machines. It was insane.

    So to reverse engineer it what cards does the block offer mono-black to deal with these decks?

    Big Red sometimes gave me the biggest problem, and the smallest problem. Deathcloud hurts it end of story. Other decks could survive with BS artifact mana here and there, but so much of Big Red's mana base dealt with own lands. Hit it early for a death cloud of 2, you hurt their hand, their few creatures, and their mana base. Also, Plunge into Darkness could be used for lifegain as a last resort, although not much usually. To their advantage, if they could recover from a deathcloud they generally had the life advantage and just needed to do what the deck was designed to do, aggro it up. Black had some hand removal, but it generally lacked early disruption strong enough to slow down red for it to be controlled. 5th turn or so was pivotal.

    Tooth and Nail was my best match up mostly because I had an immediate answer for Tooth and Nail, Barter in Blood. I didn't run many big threats for duplicant to remove. It was slow enough that I didn't have to out pace it just keep up. The biggest thing was that Death Cloud didn't need colored mana for the X, so I just rode the coat tails with cloudpost. It helped them at first so they could do cool stuff, but then I took it all away. The biggest treat is oblivion stone. I wasn't running too many vital permanents since most of my answers were instants or sorceries. All I needed were lands, but it sure made things harder to loose all my fodder for plunge. They also had Reap and Sow, which greatly improved their ability to get more cloudpost. In turn though, they sure didn't have the hand advantage spells I did so it almost balances out.

    The best I thought I could do with affinity is throw down a Disciple of the Vault and just try to answer until I drew a good cloud. Honestly, looking back now I'd probably sideboard cloud out and just try to stop him head on with another kill with huge amounts of mana like Promise of Power. 5/5 flyer with a fresh hand is pretty difficult to deal with.

    I'll do some more research about what successful decks were of the time and see if I can't dig up some more threats to answer. It was definitely a strong block and there were so many threats.

    -Jens (Solemn Simulacrum): Solemn benefits this deck as a blocker, attacker, mana acceleration, and hand acceleration.
    -Damping Matrix: Really hurts affinity. It stops ravager and a lot of the mana and hand acceleration. It is at least a strong sideboard option.
    -Oblivion Stone: I can't remember if I ever tried to use this back in '04, but if I'm copying Tooth and Nail's mana base, there is no reason not to consider using it's tricks.
    -Mindslaver: Like Oblivion Stone, this is a trick out of Tooth and Nails book. Want a way to screw up affinity? Kill itself with it's own ravager then sac it to shrapnel blast themselves. OH BOO HOO YOUR LIFE IS OVER.
    -Chrome Mox: Although I do strongly consider it the worst mox of them all, black in this block has enough hand advantage to overcome it's drawback. It avoids Death Cloud perfectly, and is a free drop to draw into. Now only if they reprinted Tendrils in Mirrodin.
    -Blinkmoth Nexus: At the very least it's a chump blocker for flying. At the very best, it's a kill condition.
    -Conjurer's Bauble: 1 to draw a card, with some BS side effect. Also great for adding artifact in play count up.
    -Chromatic Sphere: Again, 1 to draw a card... as long as you're going to play another spell that turn. Might be a little slower than Bauble in a mono colored deck, but it's still good.
  5. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    Also while I'm awake I'll list some staple black cards that we should consider. These cards need to fall in line with the decks goals as well as making it viable for competition.

    I think I outlined what I need to be viable for the competition in the post above by listing the competition (meaning the card can't be useless against the majority of decks in the metagame, and can't try to do something one of the other decks does but poorly), but as far as deck goals we need to consider what this format requires. We need a fast deck that deals consistent damage that can EXPLODE on a single turn (Hopefully the last turn of the game).

    Affinity's mana curve is pretty low about 1 or 2, while Big Red I clock at about 3, and Tooth and Nail (Twelve post in case you're familiar with that name for some reason) is 4. I'd like to make the mana curve 2 or 3, meaning if we include higher than 3 casting cost cards we really should inspect a heavy trade off for some of the other spells. Black doesn't have a lot of mana acceleration in this format (For some reason they missed reprinting dark ritual), but it does make up for it with hand acceleration. So, with the exception of the kill, the cards in this deck better have a REALLY good excuse for costing more than 2 mana. That being said, let's get to some suggestions.

    1. Disciple of the Vault

    Here is the first deck to go in the deck. This card goes in even before Death Cloud. Every game I played with mono black, disciple was invaluable. He's cost effective, an attacker, and expendable. Get an advantage of several of him, and affinity has to careful choose its moves.

    There is a ton of creature hate in this format though, and being only a 1/1 he's not going to survival an electrostatic bolt. He's lucky he cost 1, because otherwise it'd be a hard call.

    2. Death Cloud

    Hand, Life, Creatures, and Lands. This card is a game changer. Gain a significant advantage on one of these fronts, and this card is gold. The X can be paid with colorless mana so cloudpost or even Ironworks are solid options to combine with.

    It hits you though, and while life and hand advantage aren't the biggest deal, creatures are. There is no guarantee you'll be able to Cloud for enough to hit all their threats, and more often then not, Cloud can be a dead card while you're desperately trying to outpace your opponent. On top of everything, it's extremely mana intensive.

    3. Plunge into Darkness

    Our first 3 casting cost spell, kind of. Plunge is an amazingly versatile card. It can give you some extra time to draw into your needed card or just survive, it can pick up a much needed card or extra land or whatever at the expense of some life at instant speed, or it can do both at the same time.

    The only problem I tended to have was it would stick me against a wall. Do I Plunge now or wait until I get another creature to look 3 more deep? Obviously, I'm not a master player, so these questions really have me scratching my head sometimes.

    4. Night's Whisper

    Two cards, two life, two mana. It's a great deal. A staple for any deck even splashing black in this format, Night's Whisper is kind of a duh card. Even giving you a bigger hand for fodder for Death Cloud, this card is never dead in your hand.

    Life is a small issue though, in a format where you're competing with a overzealous burn deck, and a build of arguably the best aggro deck ever. Smart plays are not necessary, but dumb ones will kill you.

    That's all for tonight I think, I'll post more tomorrow morning on what else I would consider.
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    My memory was a bit fuzzy earlier, but your last post jogged it. You were playing this deck before the bannings. Mirrodin Block Constructed got the most severe bannings of any block constructed format ever. They wanted to stop the dominance of Affinity, but apparently felt like doing some other stuff too. Skulllclamp, all six artifact lands, Arcbound Ravager, Disciple of the Vault, and AEther Vial were all banned. It completely changed the face of the format, but I don't know if it would have made monoblack more or less viable, as I wasn't really paying attention. What do you think?

    Also, I now regret not playing Block Constructed with you guys back then. I was all, "Block Constructed is lame" or something. I would totally have enjoyed playing Ironworks.
  7. Ransac CPA Trash Man

    I wish I could give some insight on this. However, Mirrodin-Standard is what drove me out of the game the last time I quit. I hated the fact that Affinity ruled the format and I never had any desire to play with the deck myself. I didn't get back into it until Coldsnap came out.

    Ransac, cpa trash man
  8. Modus Pwnens Eligible for User Title

    As far as my memory goes back, Monoblack has no way of consistently beating Affinity, while still being able to take on Tooth and Nail..
  9. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    Yeah, I'm not looking for something that can topple affinity, just something that can make the game at least interesting.

    More like a casual deck in a block tournament.
  10. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    The only thing I remember being banned was Skullclamp at the time. I had no idea that they made that radical of changes.

    What got me thinking about this was fifth dawn's inclusion in the ByoS and our websites catalog of artifacts. Not only did I see plunge, but I saw tons of cards worth putting in the deck. I think we built our decks in a week or two before the tournament, so I always regretted being talked out of it so close to the big event. I think with some gentle modification, mono black could at least be as viable as Iron works (Placing me top 40 in that tournament).

    I like this format so much I might try to do something where I detail a bunch of decks and try to remake the format. It'll be good as a deck building exercise, and might extend into some games with other people? Although, it seems like most people hated mirrodin beyond all return.

    I don't know. You want to work on Ironworks after this?
  11. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    5. Shattered Dreams

    The only discard that lets you choose out of the entire hand. Obviously, it has potential in this format, since you can hit artifacts. artifact creatures, or artifacts lands. It's an obvious first turn play.

    Artifacts do dominate the format, but not all decks require the artifact to win. You can disrupt them, but not always stop them. On top of that, it's a hard call between dropping a first turn disciple or dreams, since affinity could survive losing a card, but might have a problem getting around the lose of life so early.

    6. Barter in Blood

    Answers to Tooth and Nails namesake, it is highly applicable in this creature heavy format. It can hurt basically any deck well timed, and it deals with Colossus. Affinity can't as easy respond to it by sacing ravager before it dies, because then you'll just have to choose new creatures.

    Four mana is four mana. It's way out of the mana curve, and thus can be a dead card after death cloud. It's not going to answer to all decks either.

    7. Blind Creeper

    I remember having such a problem with my creature base. One of the only few I included was Blind Creeper because he was cheap fat. 3/3 for 2 isn't amazing, but it sure hurt Tooth and Nail who needed more turns to set up.

    Unfortunately, this format is pretty fast, and most decks are able to play three spells in a row, especially early game. Furthermore, I'm likely to play multiple spells myself, which would eat away my attack power.

    8. Dross Harvester

    White wasn't played too much when it came to my opponents, but it was definitely a presence to be aware of. Protection from white wouldn't be why I choose this creature, but it would definitely be a bonus if it came up. Being a 4/4 for 3 doesn't hurt either. And his ability, when plunging, gives you a significant advantage.

    His drawback is insane. And because of it, it's likely you'd only want to play him mid game or late game, where he wouldn't be the biggest kid out there.

    9. Greater Harvester

    Get the two Harvesters together and you have a party man. Both of their drawbacks become a little less of a penalty. A 5/6 is a pretty big threat to deal with, especially rounded off with some disruption. His bonus effect is pretty crippling to a lot of decks as well.

    I remember looking at him a few times, and thinking his drawback was too much for this format. True, you could use him to kill himself at any point, but without fear, trample, or flying, he's really not going to make it through by himself. You're going to need as many permanents as possible after Death Cloud, so I would not include both in the same deck. His casting cost is too far out of range as well, so it'd be hard to take advantage of a post Cloud game.

    10. Promise of Power

    Liked Night's Whisper? He's the big brother. 5 for 5 and 5, isn't a terrible deal. It's basically a new hand. The other ability could be considered a win condition, especially if you entwined.

    Being mana intensive, I would think it would encounter a pace problem with Death Cloud. I probably wouldn't run both in the same deck. It's Entwine cost is extremely high. Furthermore, it's 5 life is likely to be more than a quarter of your total and could seal the stake in your coffin.

    11. Pulse of the Dross

    All the Pulse cards are at least decent. Hand disruption has always been a keystone for black, and this guy really brings that. A lot of decks are pretty fast, so by the time you cast this, they'll most likely only be able to save 1 or 2 cards for even being revealed. And if that's the case where you don't get to pick out of their entire hand, it's likely you'll get Pulse back to do it again with.

    The cards secondary ability will rarely come into play though, since you'll be running so much hand acceleration anyway.

    12. Screams from Within

    There are a lot of creatures with toughness of 1 in this format. This is a great answer to a lot of them. Recurring back to your hand makes it easy to pick off tons of the opponents special little guys. It also can weaken some of the bigger ones until you can draw a more suitable answer.

    Most of the toughness one creatures that people are running aren't just chump blockers. Yeah it deals with Disciple, but any artifact creatures will just be saced to ravager, and witness' goal has already been accomplished by coming out.

    13. Echoing Decay

    A lot of decks really get going in this format by running multiple copies of the same card. Not too many creatures will be able to deal with -2, and it will even save you from the bigger threats dealing immediate damage.

    But a lot of decks are built around dealing with the rule of fire. Affinity is basically the rule of fire in action, that every mana you spend in a card should return two damage. Combined that with a format that runs things like electrostatic bolt, a lot of decks will be prepared to lose creatures via 2 damage. Although, -2/-2 is a lot more efficient than simply dealing 2 damage to a creature.

    I'll add more in awhile probably.
  12. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    I'll take a break to humor Oversoul. Also, I'll probably cross post this on my blog with pictures: LINK TO BE ADDED.

    Krark-Clan Ironworks was probably the only real combo deck in the Mirrodin block. It could use just uncommons and commons, so it was pretty cost effective. Everyone that I knew tried building it, and moved on. It is good in theory, but very very very fragile with the disruption heavy metagame.

    The idea of the deck can go one of two ways in my experience:

    1. Get out a repeatable or infinite combo with something like 2 Myr Retrievers, and combine it with:
    -Blasting Station: Cheap, and an artifact, so it's viable to sacrifice to ironworks. It untaps for all creatures so it can be used to ping creatures too.
    -Disciple of the Vault: Cheap, and incentive to use black. Hurts your opponent when they sacrifice things too. The only draw back is that it will never kill the opponent without the combo, and if it does, you might want to consider running affinity instead since it's a better set up for that situation.
    -Salvaging Station: When combined with Conjurer's Bauble, it results in an infinite draw situation
    -Leonin Elder: Better for stalling than Disciple, but wont win the game for you since you're likely to deck yourself before your opponent.
    -Lightning Coils: I really really like this card, and this is one of the few ways I see it being viable. It takes an extra turn to go off though so it's open for oxidize.

    2. Get 6 artifacts in play with KCI, then find a Myr Incubator and:
    -Goblin Charbelcher: You can only play artifact lands if you're going for this kill, but it works like a dream.
    -Fireball: You really only need one copy, and with Chromatic sphere or Pentad Prism, you really don't even need great furnance.
    -Goblin Cannon: My optimal choice for this kind of combo, although it's not as cost efficient as Fireball.
    -Myr Incubator: It takes an extra turn, but you could just pop incubator for the win.

    The rest of the deck should consist of mana and hand acceleration, tech, and disruption.

    Mana Acceleration:
    -Pentad Prism: At worst it's fodder for ironworks, but it's great way to produce mana of any color.
    -Chrome Mox: At worst it's a free drop fodder for ironworks. I don't like the hand disadvantage, and really colored mana isn't THAT hard to come by. It usually is only worth attaching a blue card to, and that's either disruption or draw. I only see it standing above other cards if you're trying to go off, but you need one more blue and no more draw.
    -Chromatic Sphere: Like Prism it's invaluable for mana transformation.
    -Ancient Den: White is definitely a color to use. It might not have search or draw capabilities, but it definitely has tech and combo components
    -Vault of Whispers: Black is draw, disruption, search, and win for this deck. No reason not to run it.
    -Tree of Tales: Green can run some tech and a lot of disruption. Depending on your build it can save the day.
    -Great Furnace: Red is the only color you really don't need to run lands for. The only real applicable spells are Seething song and Fireball which only require 1 red. It could help with sunburst, but unless you're only running artifact lands, this is a card to consider to cut.
    -Seat of the Synod: Most of your colored spells should be blue.
    -Glimmervoid: If you can afford to run non artifact lands, glimmervoid is the card to use. You're never EVER going to not have an artifact in play.
    -Island: It's important to watch out for March of the Machines when you play artifact lands, as well as any artifact hate. A few islands wont hurt you. It's like a vitamin.
    -Seething Song: You wont need a lot of red mana, and there aren't that many mana intensive spells to justify this card. BUT, it can make Ironworks come out a turn earlier, or help with Incubator's cost in short of KCI.
    -Talisman of Dominance/Progress: I don't believe you can afford to not run these guys. Artifact fodder, colorless mana and colored mana options. What combination of each is up for debate.
    -Darksteel Citadel: If you still need artifact lands for belcher, or if you need artifact fodder for KCI, this is a good choice.
    -Vedalken Engineer: Summoning sickness can make this guy kind of a dead card. He's not artifact fodder, and he's not even that great of a blocker. But he can generate mana of any color and two of them at that!
    -Krark-Clan Ironworks: Not only is this card the combo card, but it has excellent synergy with the deck in general. Start chucking tapped lands to pay for thirst or hardcast whatever you want.

    Hand Acceleration:
    -Thoughtcast: It's not hard to see how pivotal this card was to the format. 2 for 1. Easy pick.
    -Conjurer's Bauble: Pay 1 to draw 1 with some extra BS.
    -Chromatic Sphere: Like Bauble it's basically 1 to draw with some other BS, since you'll most likely be playing another spell after it.
    -Thirst for Knowledge: A great way to draw 3 and get a Myr Retriever in your graveyard. A bit mana intensive, but still great for tapped a seat of the synod and sacing it to KCI.
    -Serum Visions: Not quite a brainstorm, but pretty close.
    -Night's Whispers: If you are running black, this is a pretty good card choice to make. Life isn't going to make or break you for this combo, so spend away!
    -Fabricate: Tutor with this and you'll be able to grab any game winning hand. Go for your KCI first, then the other deck components.
    -Plunge into Darkness: For the same reason as stated with Whisper, but it let's you grab what you need.
    -Spoils of the Vault: With a thinned out deck this card is invaluable. Grab that KCI or incubator.

    -Eternal Witness: The ultimate recursion for this format, it's an obvious option to include. Save yourself after disruption, or bring back a thought cast.
    -Second Sunrise: After everyone is said and done this can get your Incubator off. Instead of 6 artifacts, you'll only need 3 plus whatever it costs additionally to play this spell.
    -Roar of Reclamation: Talk about a game winner. Pick artifacts for your win condition and post removal or just running through your deck, this guy means win.
    -Bringer of the Black Dawn: 9 mana is too much, but not impossible for KCI. Rather, his WGRBU cost is pretty easy to deal with in a 5 color deck, and his ability to control your draws is awesome.

    -Shattered Dreams: This can hurt a mirror match pretty badly, as well as smack down affinity.
    -Annul: All decks in this format will be running at least one artifact This can deal with pesky damping matrix before it stops your play.
    -Condescend: The scry ability isn't bad, and early game this card can save you. Late game it's a little bit useless, unless you have plenty to chuck to KCI.
    -Mana Leak: Early game disruption.
    -Deconstruct: A free oxidize. It also works as minor mana transformation.
    -Oxidize: Kill those Matrix and Chalice and trinisphere.
    -Engineered Explosives: A free drop fodder card at worst, sun burst in a 5 color deck is amazing.
    -Myr Enforcer/Frogmite/Orinthopter: Chump blockers and fodder.
    -Tel-Jilad Justice: Oxidize with Scry.

    I'll probably post a deck list or two after work or something.
  13. Shabbaman insert avatar here

    The thing is, to beat Affinity black is a color with a severe disadvantage: a lack of artifact hate. It's not as if it's totally hopeless, because Death Cloud and Barter in Blood are very strong cards against most decks. Including affinity :) The thing is that MBC is so sloooow in this particular format. It just lacks Innocent Blood.

    I remember playing a standard deck with Greater harvester and Grave pact, but I think that was after the bannings. Besides, it's no block deck. But searching for it I found an article on MBC in MBC (heh) by one of my favorite casual authors, Abe Sargent. One card he mentions triggered something: Culling Scales. A repeatable destruction effect, pretty solid against everything but Ravager.

    As a reference (because I know some of you are too lazy to click links) here are his two decks:

    Pox MBC
    4 Devour in Shadow
    4 Barter in Blood
    4 Night's Whisper
    4 Grid Monitor
    4 Consume Spirit
    2 Promise of Power
    4 Extraplanar Lens
    4 Oblivion Stone
    4 Culling Scales
    2 Death Cloud
    20 Swamps
    4 Blinkmoth Nexus

    Quick MBC
    4 Chrome Mox
    4 Guardian Idol
    4 Barter in Blood
    4 Devour in Shadow
    4 Oblivion Stone
    2 Grid Monitor
    2 Bottle Gnomes
    4 Night's Whisper
    4 Emissary of Despair
    4 Lose Hope
    4 Blinkmoth Nexus
    20 Swamp

    Don't forget Bottle gnomes are in this format.

    By the way, you didn't mention my favorite card of the block: Spoils of the Vault. I loved playing (proxied) Spoils Dragon, and I still cry when I didn't buy these Bazaars because they went for more than the 25 euros I thought they were worth :( If you go combo, spoils is worth trying. Plunge into Darkness is my second favorite, but I've never found a deck for it. It should be good in my Tombstone stairwell deck, but I've only got that one assembled in Magic Online, and I don't have Plunges digitally.
  14. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    My original build was a lot like the smaller faster deck he mentions there using a lot of becomes a */* permanents. It's definitely worth saying that Death cloud misses these guys and it helps you swing sooner than later.

    The biggest difference I can see in what he was doing versus what i was doing is extraplanar lens versus cloudpost. Lens obviously makes Consume spirit an option, and helps deal with double black or even triple or quadruple black casting cost cards. But it could be a worse choice for things like tooth and nail, not only because of the advantage of 8 of them out instead of 4, but it's open for oxidize.

    I didn't mention spoils yet, because I just didn't get to it. I like it a lot, but I didn't run it in my old build because I felt plunge was better. Spoils is great if you need that 1 card to win like you're playing combo, but in damage heavy environment I'd never leave it open ended to lose a ton of life with my own card. While Plunge can be used for a set life total, and it works more like an answer. I need to deal with this creature I'll invest 4 life because that's at least x amount of damage I'd take from him and look for an answer (On their turn). Rather than being like ok I need an answer (or to Deathcloud), I name devour in shadow. CRAP now I can't cast it, because it cost me 7 life to find it. On top of that, the entwine ability is useful.

    I have looked at Culling Scales a lot, and while it does seem like a right choice for a slower monoblack control, with the build I'm suggesting, most of my permanents will cost under 3 mana, making them just as viable to get hit. It also targets so if ravager was out they'd just sac the permanent early.

    I tried bottle Gnomes a few times, and I do like it, but I found I would tend to just have to sacrifice them early game, since they didn't work well with a deathcloud.

    As far as other issues he touched on, after looking at the sets this time, I was very aware that oblivion stone needs to be used. I don't like that he uses less disruption. And while he doesn't favor wrench mind, it's just as practical as Shattered Dreams in this format. He also heavily favors grid monitor which is a good suggestion I hadn't gotten to. I would take a look at icy, but it might be better to look at things like Relic Barrier instead, which i tried out a few times.

    Overall, the article emphasizes the importance of building up with artifacts in mono black that runs Death Cloud. Which is awesome. But he sacrifices all the wonderful black disruption for big old baddie artifacts.

    I will have to mess around with extraplanar lens. But let's head into disruption spells since this is a great gateway to talk about them:

    14. Devour in Shadow

    The creature removal. Much better than terror, it can pick off arc sloggers, ravager, disciple, Explorer, Trolls, whatever.

    It wont hit Darksteel Colossus, and it a really bad trade off with big creatures. They'll typically only need one or two swings to kill you anyways, since you're likely to take some damage before the explode.

    15. Wrench Mind

    2 for 2 isn't the best deal for discard, but it's as close as you'll get in this format. Well timed opponents will have to choose over hand advantage or chucking those precious artifacts that make their deck work.

    In artifact heavy decks like affinity or KCI, the choice isn't so hard. Hand advantage will always hurt affinity, but it's worth running shattered dreams instead. And some of the other less artifact heavy decks will always have the chance of having two copies of that Oblivion stone or jens you need to deal with immediately.

    16. Consume Spirit

    If you have the pool of mana to deal with, this is the ultimate removal or win card. Hit creatures to just gain life, or to smash them. Hit players to weaken them while buying time for yourself, or for the kill.

    It does require only black mana though, which can become a bit of an issue without Dark Ritual.

    17. Spoils of the Vault

    Time to cast a certain spell but can't find it? Spoils is as close to a tutor as you can come as far as instants go.

    It does hurt you to be unlucky, and if you're looking for something that trades life total for an ability you're running a big chance of being unlucky.

    18. Moriok Rigger

    With proper deck construction, this is a very good kill card. Aside from what you kill, any disadvantage you suffer from your opponent kill your artifacts is rewarded. Stick a Fate counter on him, and oblivion stone is your BFF.

    At worst he's a 2/2 for 3, but he's still a 2/2. He fails the trial by fire being able to be shocked away. Oxidize will miss him, but your own Death Cloud wont. He's good for a black deck, but probably not for a control.

    19. Chittering Rats

    Hand disruption AND draw disruption. This slows your opponent down a turn and deprives them of a card for a turn, in addition to being a 2/2.

    It would be nice though if he didn't cost 3, but that's being pretty picky for a great creature like him.

    20. Beacon of Unrest

    There wont be too many creatures you're trying to recur, and while there are some artifact choices to cycle, you're most likely going to want something an opponent has. Snag a witness for some disruption recursion. Pick up a chump blocker. Steal those Shackles. Whatever you want. Shuffling back into your graveyard will also semi protect you from decking yourself (like that would ever happen).

    5 mana isn't bad, but it's pretty far out there. If you do include this card, it's likely to only run a few copies, and even more likely to end up sideboarded out.
  15. Al0ysiusHWWW It's Good to Rock Out

    21. Aether Snap

    An pretty potent answer to Affinity or anything with modular. Kill their ravager, weaken their Trisk, mess up KCI's tokens, whatever. On top of that all it also hurts sunburst.

    Five mana is a pretty big draw back, and even with mana acceleration, this is at best a sideboarded card. Definitely something to look at.

    22. Desecration Elemental

    An 8/8 for 4 is amazing, add fear and you're looking at a winning card.

    It's pretty rare for you to even be able to attack once, but if you could insulate yourself, once is enough.

    23. Emissary of Despair

    Flying 2/1 for 3... but it also does 1 for each artifact your opponent controls. You're looking at maybe 4-8 each swing.

    It does have to deal the damage, and wouldn't make it through a bolt.

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