Standard 2022 Mono Black Aggro Deck Guide: The Most Underrated Aggro Deck in 2022

Forsworn Paladin Art by Lorenzo Mastroianni
Forsworn Paladin Art by Lorenzo Mastroianni

Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about the last of the monocolored aggro decks and the one that gets the least amount of attention: Monoblack Aggro.

I’ve always been a fan of Monoblack Aggro strategies since Zombies from Amonkhet Standard. I loved the blending between aggression, interaction, and more unique cards to form an aggro deck compared to the prototypical aggressive decks like White or Red.

With that, when AFR dropped I saw an opportunity where Monoblack may have finally gotten enough cards to be viable. I created a list at the very beginning of the format with high expectations, but it never went anywhere unlike a lot of the others. Here’s the list for reference.

Mono Black Aggro - Standard 2022 

Creatures (27)
4
Dungeon Crawler
4
Eyetwitch
3
Bloodsky Berserker
4
Skyclave Shade
4
Wight
4
Nighthawk Scavenger
4
Ebondeath, Dracolich
Spells (10)
2
Agadeem's Awakening
4
Bloodchief's Thirst
4
Power Word Kill
Lands (23)
4
Faceless Haven
19
Snow-Covered Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (7)
1
Environmental Sciences
1
Expanded Anatomy
1
Inkling Summoning
1
Introduction to Prophecy
1
Necrotic Fumes
1
Pest Summoning
1
Mascot Exhibition

I thought the deck had a lot going for it. It had a solid curve, good interaction, a great mana base, and solid top end. I tried it a bit in the beginning of 2022 to decent success, but I was quickly pulled away by the myriad of new and more interesting options I wanted to try. However, I never gave up on the concept, we just took a little break.

With the success of a lot of the other aggressive decks I tried, I wanted to revisit this deck to see if it had the strength to tussle with a developed 2022 metagame or I was being blinded by my love of the archetype. Well, with some time and tinkering, the archetype has proven itself to be very effective against a large swath of decks and helps scratch the itch of wanting to play a more unconventional type of aggro.

Let’s take a look at where I ended up.

2022 Monoblack Aggro 

Planeswalkers (3)
3
Lolth, Spider Queen
Creatures (24)
4
Eyetwitch
4
Forsworn Paladin
4
Skyclave Shade
4
Wight
4
Nighthawk Scavenger
4
Ebondeath, Dracolich
Spells (10)
2
Agadeem's Awakening
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
4
Flunk
2
Soul Shatter
Lands (23)
4
Faceless Haven
1
Hive of the Eye Tyrant
18
Snow-Covered Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (7)
1
Environmental Sciences
1
Expanded Anatomy
1
Inkling Summoning
1
Introduction to Prophecy
1
Necrotic Fumes
1
Pest Summoning
1
Mascot Exhibition

The deck is the same at it’s core, but has changed to help match what’s going on in the metagame and tuned to play the best card for each spot on the curve. Let’s talk card choices.

CARD CHOICES

Ebondeath, Dracolich Art by Lars Grant-West
Ebondeath, Dracolich Art by Lars Grant-West

Lolth, Spider Queen

Lolth is at her best in a creature deck and she slots in beautifully here. She immediately creates a board presence that defends her well then threatens to draw a bunch of cards or create more bodies later in the game.

Eyetwitch

As I say in most of my guides, having access to the Learn board in 2022 is a huge advantage for any deck that can afford to do so. Eyetwitch isn’t even embarrassing by itself as a 1/1 Flier then can draw you a reasonably solid card.

Forsworn Paladin

A Limited all star. Forsworn Paladin is hard to block which lets it chip in early and has two relevant activated abilities that allows the deck to grind with excess mana or mana used to represent removal spells.

Skyclave Shade

Shade is one of the main reasons to play this deck. It’s a high powered 2 drop, it is near impossible to keep down forever, and allows you to use excess mana with it’s kicker ability and it’s self revive. It’s everything we could possibly ask for in a 2 drop for an aggro deck.

Wight

Wight has completely flown under the radar, but it’s been performing quite well considering the amount of creature decks in the metagame. If the opponent is looking to trade, you get a 2/2 out of the deal which makes blocking this a nightmare, but it’s simultaneously hard to ignore as it has 3 power.

Nighthawk Scavenger

I can’t sing the praises of this card highly enough. I feel like I’m the only one playing it even though I firmly believe it’s one of the best threats in 2022. I’ll admit, it does die to a lot of removal, but if it doesn’t die, it is so obscenely hard to race effectively. Considering we have so much removal, we can very easily make this at minimum a Vampire Nighthawk and the longer the game goes on, the better it’ll be.

Ebondeath, Dracolich

I don’t know why nobody likes this beautiful Dragon, but it really puts in the work. It’s huge, it’s recursive, and it has Flash! It does die to early removal like Shock, Frost Bite, and Dragon’s Fire which sucks, but those cards seem to be at an all time low. If this isn’t answered quickly, it kills so fast.

Agadeem’s Awakening

For any aggro deck you want your lands to work double duty for you, and Agadeem’s Awakening fits the bill. It is pricey, but for even 5 mana you can get back 2 creatures and the more you can invest, the better it can potentially be. We don’t want to play too many copies as it doesn’t work with Faceless Haven, it’s expensive, and it hurts, but the card is solid.

Bloodchief’s Thirst

I have gotten lower and lower on Thirst with time, but I think the card is still pretty reasonable. It kills early drops at a premium and can kill anything for 4 mana. Not great, but far from terrible.

Flunk

Flunk is far from amazing, but it is considered to be the best 2 mana removal spell in 2022. It won’t always kill everything, but it will generally kill early drops at any stage of the game and bigger creatures later which is really all you can ask for.

Soul Shatter

Monoblack likes to play a lot of removal, and Soul Shatter is one of the most versatile pieces. Goldspan Dragon is one of the most popular spells in 2022 and Shatter seamlessly answers it alongside a host of other problem cards.

Hive of the Eye Tyrant

I’ll keep reiterating, make your mana base work for you. We have a lot of different lands that work double duty, but I like having one copy of Hive to have 5 creature lands.

Faceless Haven

The best creature land in 2022. I’ve found that fewer and fewer decks can justify running this, but this deck can at least still make great use of it.

LESSON BOARD

Environmental Sciences

If you need a land, life, or both.

Necrotic Fumes

You’ll only grab Fumes if you’re really in a bind, but you’ll be thankful that you have it in those scenarios.

Inkling Summoning

This lesson isn’t super high impact, but sometimes a 2/1 Flier is exactly what you need.

Pest Summoning

A great pick up if you just need to stall for whatever reason.

Expanded Anatomy

A great way to win combat or increase your clock.

Introduction to Prophecy

It’s extremely rare that I grab this, but it can be helpful in situations where you need a very specific card to drag you out of a tough spot.

Mascot Exhibition

The Bomb of the lessons board. If you have an excess of mana, this is a great pick up.

NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS

Bloodsky Berserker Art by Gabor Szikszai
Bloodsky Berserker Art by Gabor Szikszai

Dungeon Crawler

My initial list played Dungeon Crawler as it was a 1 mana 2/1, but that’s not a very good stat line in 2022. It’s reasonable against decks that don’t also play early creatures, but pretty abysmal matched up against Shambling Ghast or Eyetwitch which can block it and accrue value.

Malakir Rebirth

Although I’m a big Rebirth fan, it doesn’t really fit in a Faceless Haven deck. If you want to try a version that nixes the Snow package to play 4 Hive of the Eye Tyrant instead, then I could see this potentially being a 1 of, but coming in tapped is still pretty killer.

Reaper’s Talisman

Although this card sees 0 play, I learned that if a card is a bomb in Limited, it could have Constructed applications as well. For a relatively low cost, you can make any of your creatures an extremely annoying threat by constantly draining the opponent and forcing bad blocks on their end. It doesn’t play well into removal of course, but it could be a solid 1 of or so.

Shambling Ghast

I was really torn between this and Forsworn Paladin, but I think Paladin earns it’s spot. Ghast is quite good though as it trades really well and can either trade up or help ramp, but this deck is looking to be aggressive and Ghast doesn’t really contribute to that game plan. However, it is a good budget alternative.

Warlock Class

Although we’re not a sacrifice deck, Warlock Class can still be solid in any black creature deck. It gives you something to do with excess mana, drains over a longer game, and can win with the third level. It’s probably too weak, but far from unreasonable.

Bloodsky Berserker

I really like this card in theory, but I think it’s a little too hard to activate consistently. Our curve is low since we’re an aggro deck, but not all 1 and 2 drops low and if you don’t trigger the ability at least once, this is blank cardboard. However, even triggering the ability once is a pretty big score. Maybe there’s a different version of this deck that lowers the curve more to justify playing these.

Check for Traps

Solid card, but for the sideboard.

Feed the Swarm

This isn’t an unreasonable option as there are relevant enchantments like Paladin Class and Ranger Class, but attaching that to a removal spell that hurts you is not great.

Grim Wanderer

If you lowered the curve or increased the amount of removal, this could be a cool addition as a 2 mana 5/3 is quite a strong stat line.

Hunt for Specimens

Although I like having access to Learn, a 2 mana 1/1 is not where we want to be.

Nullpriest of Oblivion

Nullpriest is decent as it’s an annoying beater that has a cool Kicker, but we don’t have many creatures that will be amazing to recur which definitely limits the ceiling of this card. Perhaps a fine 1 of, but it’s not better than that.

Poet’s Quill

This could be a pretty sick 1 of as it gives more access to the Lesson Board and gives any creature Lifelink. Imagine putting this on an Ebondeath, Dracolich. Sheesh. Could be a cool 1 of, but it’s probably too expensive to justify.

Power Word Kill

Flunk seems to be better right now, but you could play a few copies of this if you want more of that effect specifically.

Valki, God of Lies

Valki could be a great splash consideration if you opt for a Snowless version of the deck. It disrupts their curve and you can meaningfully beat with it as you have a good amount of removal. Would likely take Wight‘s spot.

Poison the Cup

I think we have enough removal, but some people prefer this over Soul Shatter which isn’t unreasonable.

Funeral Longboat

Although this wouldn’t be an all star, it could help make smaller bodies relevant later. Almost certainly too cute.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Soul Shatter Art by Wylie Beckert
Soul Shatter Art by Wylie Beckert

Although holding off on Learning is correct in most other archetypes, I tend to aggressively trade off my Eyetwitch in this deck.

If you have a choice between developing and activating Forsworn Paladin, I would nearly always choose developing. This changes if you need to hold up removal rather than developing, the second ability can increase your clock by a relevant amount, or you’re playing around removal, but those are all generally corner cases (beyond the wrath).

Wight will only make one Zombie even if it kills two creatures in one turn.

Although Soul Shatter does kill annoying threats like Goldspan Dragon or Iymrith, Desert Doom really effectively, I generally will just use it whenever I have a convenient opportunity unless I put them on specifically one of these threats (or something similar).

Curve is King, but I will try to sandbag Agadeem’s Awakening as the land for as long as possible when I have the chance to.

Ebondeath, Dracolich is there to be an aggressive card, but don’t discount how annoying of a blocker it can be as well! You can trade with a creature and bring it back instantly. This is a good line if you’re both out of gas, but you have a much lower life total.

I functionally always -3 with Lolth, Spider Queen when I play her unless I specifically need to top deck a card to win.

I tend to activate my creature lands really aggressively as this deck lacks reach. Chipping in when you can has much higher stock in this deck than other aggro decks.

Thanks for reading!

DoggertQBones

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.

17 Responses

  1. Zafarion says:

    Lol I just noticed that Soul Shatter’s art is a dragon being crushed. Ironically it’s used mostry to beat dragons in std 2022.

  2. Bob says:

    Very fun deck, performed very well surprisingly! Thanks for the list.

  3. Maa says:

    I just played this deck and it seems too weak to beat either mono white/green aggro or any control decks.

  4. Cadu00 says:

    The link for the Wight card pulls Wight of Precint 6 (in your text, not on the list though)

  5. Barba says:

    Unable to access deck list

  6. bgg says:

    Looks nice. What about adding some copies of Feign Death to cope with some of the opponent’s removal?

  7. Josh meints says:

    First of all, thank you for the work you do, I always enjoy your builds and learn a lot from how you craft a deck. I’ve been drawn to mono black aggro since before this set launched with your initial deck list i still have written on a paper towel lol. So anyways, my question is why don’t we see any soul hunter rakshasa? This is my favorite bomb, i play it with your shell with only a few changes. I cut your planeswalker and snow package for 25 hard basic swamp and four soul hunter with one less ebon death but he’s recurring so i still feel like his presence is huge and unhurt.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Soul Hunter Raksasha is definitely an interesting card (first time I’m ever seeing it), and it does provide Reach which something Black typically doesn’t have. I think the power level is a bit low as you have to give up your utility lands for a functional 5 mana 5/5 deal 5 on entry, but it seems like a reasonable option. That being said, it’s hard to imagine it being better than Lolth if you were looking to play 5 drops, but I could be wrong.

  8. noobnoob says:

    This looks solid and so black, I like it! Which one do you think is better between this and the Discard deck you posted last month?

    • DoggertQBones says:

      That’s a great question. I think they excel in different metagames so it would be hard to choose! It’s a bit of a cop out, but Discard likes lower to the ground decks while Aggro likes clunkier decks so it really depends on what you’re seeing.