Table of Contents
- CARD CHOICES
- LESSON BOARD
- NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS
- TIPS AND TRICKS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
If you need a land, life, or both.
You’ll only grab Fumes if you’re really in a bind, but you’ll be thankful that you have it in those scenarios.
This lesson isn’t super high impact, but sometimes a 2/1 Flier is exactly what you need.
A great pick up if you just need to stall for whatever reason.
A great way to win combat or increase your clock.
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.
The Bomb of the lessons board. If you have an excess of mana, this is a great pick up.
NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Solid card, but for the sideboard.
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.
Although I like having access to Learn, a 2 mana 1/1 is not where we want to be.
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.
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.
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 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.
I think we have enough removal, but some people prefer this over Soul Shatter which isn’t unreasonable.
Although this wouldn’t be an all star, it could help make smaller bodies relevant later. Almost certainly too cute.
TIPS AND TRICKS
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!
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