Invoke Despair Art by Olivier Bernard

Best of One Standard Mono Black Midrange Deck Guide – Master Bo1’s Best Deck

Want to play the best deck in Bo1 Standard? Find out the changes DoggertQBones has made to Mono Black to better fight the metagame and the best tips to keep in mind when playing the deck!

Hello everyone!

While we have been focusing a lot on our Best of Three content recently, you better believe I’ve been playing a bunch of Best of One! I love Best of Three as sideboarding is a really important part of Magic to me, but Best of One really has it’s own charm. It lets me get in so many more games compared to a protracted Best of Three match as I can play throughout the day piecemeal which is the absolute best!

To that end, I’ve been enjoying Bo1 Standard, per usual, and wanted to do some deck guides for it again! So if we’re going to talk about Bo1, we may as well start with what’s considered to be the best deck in Best of One currently, Mono Black Midrange.

Bo1 Mono Black Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $170.45
best of 1
9 mythic
19 rare
10 uncommon
22 common
Planeswalkers (6)
Creatures (14)
Cult Conscript
Instants (6)
Cut Down
Infernal Grasp
Sorceries (4)
Invoke Despair
Artifacts (2)
Enchantments (3)
Lands (25)
60 Cards

Mono Black Midrange is so powerful as it has all the elements I’m looking for in a Best of One deck. You have a great curve, great interaction, and a great top end. While this deck is all over ladder, this version of it may look a bit different from most. While that’s partly from my tinkering to improve the deck in the meta, it’s also because the base was from Lukas Honnay’s Bo3 version that he covered not too long ago.

If you want to learn more about why Mono Black may not just be the best deck in Bo1, but also in Bo3, be sure to check it out. I digress, let’s break down the card choices!

Unlike most other midrange decks, we actually have multiple one drops!

Kicking us off, we’re playing three copies of Cult Conscripts. While generally relegated to an aggressive creature, Conscript is good at defending early and pressuring planeswalkers. Furthermore, whenever any other creature you control dies (barring additional Conscript), you can return this to play for two mana! This makes it excellent to use early or even pitch to Liliana’s +1 ability.

The second one drop we’re using is Concealing Curtain. This provides early defense which is obviously nice for a midrange deck, but then for three mana, you can transform this into a strong Menace creature that can rip the best card from the opponent’s hand as well as pressure planeswalkers or the opponent very effectively.

Moving up the curve we have our two drops!

One of the best creatures in Standard, Tenacious Underdog has been a powerhouse since it was printed. Being a two mana 3/2 is an acceptable stat line, but being able to Blitz it from the graveyard to force through damage as well as drawing cards makes this an extremely potent threat in the late game.

Not really a two drop, but it costs two mana, I’m playing two main deck Reckoner Bankbuster. While this is typically not a card you would be looking to play in your main deck, especially in Best of One, the metagame is grindy enough to warrant it. Beating aggro decks has been easy enough, but the midrange mirrors are the matchups that I found to be the toughest. To that end, having cheap card advantage is really important to get ahead of your opponents.

Moving up to the crux of our curve we have ours three and four drops, or more colloquially, the mid game threats.

When spoiled, Liliana of the Veil made huge waves as it’s one of the best planeswalkers ever printed, and she is definitely living up to that title. Pressuring an opponent’s resources whether it be their hand or board is powerful for a three mana walker, but combine that with an ultimate that can be achieved quickly and will generally win the game, you have a monster on your hands.

Way less grindy, but not any less impressive, Graveyard Trespasser has been a Standard staple since it’s release. A hard to kill threat due to the Ward ability, Trespasser is great at pressuring life totals, resources, and the graveyard simultaneously as each attack can rob the opponent of good recursive creatures.

Finally, for the lone four drop we have Sorin the Mirthless. Almost the polar opposite of Liliana of the Veil, Sorin is our source of card advantage whether it’s through drawing cards or making Vampires to defend ourselves with. Similar to LIliana though, if you manage to work your way up to the ultimate, it’s going to be game winning the vast majority of the time.

For the final threat of the deck and the whole reason we’re playing Mono Black, we have Invoke Despair. This card is bananas as you’re going to get a three for one almost every time you cast it. Whether you’re absolutely decimating the opponents board or getting extremely far ahead by dealing a lot of damage and drawing cards, Invoke Despair is great at pulling you out of really bad spots or cementing a victory when ahead.

For the final part of the deck, you of course need your interactive suite!

Cut Down has been a solid removal spell so far as it can kill pretty much any early creature put in front of it. While the metagame is adapting to circumvent it a bit, having this cheap removal is important for making Liliana of the Veil and Invoke Despair that much more effective.

Just being a good removal spell all around, Infernal Grasp is going to kill anything you want for two mana and two life.

Being the discussion of a possible banning, The Meathook Massacre is clearly a very powerful card. Most effective against aggro decks, being able to clear the board (or even a few creatures as needed) while draining the opponent is extremely powerful. Despite being effective in aggressive matchups, this card is even powerful in midrange mirrors as the life gain and loss can really add up.

As I said before, this deck is so powerful as it just does so much for one deck. You can be aggressive, controlling, or anything in between depending on the matchup and that flexibility, backed up by the power of your cards, is what makes this deck so potent.


Tenacious Underdog Art by Zara Alfonso
Tenacious Underdog Art by Zara Alfonso
  • While tempting, you don’t always have to activate an ability on Liliana of the Veil. If keeping your hand intact is important, feel free to just wait until you can discard cards again.
  • Generally speaking, you should be using the +1 with Sorin the Mirthless whenever possible. Making the Vampire is really only useful when you absolutely need the body.
  • Remember that Cult Conscript can only return if a non-Skeleton creature you control has died that turn, but also keep in mind that this can be done on either turn, not just your own.
  • Don’t always feel pressured to take a card off of Concealing Curtain‘s activated ability. If their hand isn’t good, don’t risk them drawing into a better card for the sake of using it.
  • While it’s rare that you’ll do so, keep in mind that you can Blitz Tenacious Underdog from your hand.
  • Killing mediocre creatures to clear the way for a potential Invoke Despair is a line you should consider doing often in this deck.
  • Reckoner Bankbuster is mostly for drawing cards, but don’t discount the power of beating someone down with a 4/4.
  • Playing out The Meathook Massacre on turn two to get the life drain in early is a very legitimate line in midrange matchps.

Upgrade this Guide

Thank you for reading! Once again, if you’re interested in learning about the Bo3 version of this deck, check out Lukas’s guide below!

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Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
Twitch and Discord.

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