Standard 2022 Mono Black Discard Guide: The Secret Tier 1 Deck
Hello everyone! Today I’m going to go over the deck that I’ve had the most success with in 2022 thus far, Monoblack Discard. I’ve had this need to make Tergrid, God of Fright work since she was spoiled, so I figured 2022 was a good place to do it. I wasn’t expecting much as all the other attempts never panned out, but I figured it was worth a shot. With some discard elements, a few removal spells, and some top end, I figured it could be ok against creature decks.
Like I predicted, It performed excellently against small creature decks, but eventually, I was paired against the nightmare: Izzet Dragons. A lot of my cards don’t match up well, how can I ever win? Well I won. Then I was paired up against Dimir Control where most of my removal was dead. However, I just won with small creature beats into a big threat. All my what ifs kept going away as I kept winning and winning, easily propelling me into Mythic.
This deck isn’t unbeatable by any means, but my only losses have been to mana screw or the single loss to Monowhite when I was on the draw and they had the perfect curve. I know this is anecdotal, but the deck worked extremely well for me, better than any other deck I’ve tried so far (and I’ve tried ALOT of decks). Enough stalling, time to see the beauty.
This deck excels against small creature decks as the 1 for 1 plan works extremely well against them. Decks like Monowhite and Rakdos really struggle to get anything going when you’re pressuring their hand then suddenly land a huge threat.
Control can also struggle against this strategy as their removal is overall really bad and they can’t ignore the small bodies pecking them forever. Furthermore, we have a lot of ways to punish them for tapping out and Soul Shatter is excellent against them.
In terms of bad matchups, unfortunately, I would say that Monogreen is probably the most challenging for this deck. They have the perfect combination of speed, large bodies to make our blockers less relevant, and grindy threats like Ranger Class, Old-Growth Troll, Esika's Chariot, and Gnarled Professor.
The matchup isn’t unwinnable by any means as Nighthawk Scavenger backed up by removal will be extremely hard for them to beat, but it’s not the deck you want to see. Thankfully, Monogreen’s popularity has waned both as a function of Angels becoming more popular and players just trying new stuff, making my climb easier than expected.
Let’s break down the card choices and notable exclusions.
The whole reason I made this deck. Tergrid is relatively clunky, but both halves of it are incredibly powerful. The front side is a huge body that dodges a lot of removal and makes your Discard creatures relevant in the late game. Furthermore, Tergrid turns Soul Shatter into Mind Control which is a huge blowout.
Her other side, Tergrid’s Lantern, is similarly potent in this deck. There’s going to be a lot of games where both players have somewhat stalled out, and the Lantern is the perfect card for those spots. It constantly pressures the opponent into losing resources or losing life.
Most opponents will take damage for as long as possible, but that opens them up to getting randomly killed by Nighthawk Scavenger, Ebondeath, Dracolich, or Faceless Haven. Furthermore, Tergrid’s Lantern unsurprisingly works well with Tergrid herself.
Although Eyetwitch is generally reserved for Sacrifice decks, it works just as well here. This deck is all about every creature getting a lot of value, and you can’t do much better than a blocker that draws a card of your choice! Sure, most of the lessons are pretty mediocre, but that’s still a lot of value for 1 mana.
Furthermore, having cheap blockers makes it harder for the opponent to chip away at your life total which is not to be underestimated. I can’t even count the amount of Goldspan Dragons this has jumped in front of.
Half of the discard duo. Expert is great against any deck as it can trade against small creature decks or slowly pressure Control decks life total. I know the body is really small, but similar to Eyetwitch, the value of a chump blocker is much higher in this strategy than it is in many others, especially since it already traded for a card earlier.
Furthermore, if you have a Elderfang Disciple out, you get to look at 2 cards which is actually much better than it sounds considering most opponents will hold a dead card and a good card in hand to try and counter your discard.
The other half of the discard duo. This is nearly strictly worse than Acquisition's Expert, but the trigger can’t be turned off by removal which can be relevant. Like the other 2 small creatures, small bodies are surprisingly good no matter the matchup.
It’s crazy to me how everyone forgot this card exists, but I guess Eldraine and Ikoria will do that. Nighthawk Scavenger is almost always a better Vampire Nighthawk which was a format defining card during it’s time. Not only is this an amazing blocker, it’s an excellent threat as most decks will struggle to race a Lightning Helix every turn.
Like Tergrid, I’m a little bit obsessed with this card, but I think it’s justified. Ebondeath allows you to represent removal, and if you don’t need to use the mana, you get a huge threat that can easily turn a race on its head. This works great on offense, defense, pressuring walkers, pressuring life totals, grinding, you name it. It’s a bit expensive, but the price is worth it, especially if you can cast it from your graveyard. Remember how I said small chump blockers are really relevant in this deck? This is mostly why.
It’s not too exciting, but I wanted a 26th land and this can sometimes be a Gruesome Menagerie which is pretty good utility.
I’m not the biggest fan of Thirst, but it does kill small creatures, kills Walkers, and is a cheap play, so it’s still very reasonable.
Downside? What downside? This is functionally Terminate in this deck as this list does a great job at keeping their hand small.
My favorite removal spell in 2022. Shatter will almost always kill what you need it to, it circumvents annoying abilities like Hexproof and Ward, is a clean answer to Goldspan Dragon as well as Iymrith, Desert Doom, and synergizes with Tergrid, God of Fright. What more can you ask for?
This deck wants a lot of lands, but can afford some utility lands. I was torn between Haven and Hive of the Eye Tyrant, but I wanted the speed of Haven as you’ll need to kill the opponent before they draw out of a bad spot a reasonable amount of games.
Unsurprisingly, you get this if you need more lands.
When you need to push through damage quickly.
When you need a threat and Mascot Exhibition is going to be too slow.
It’s rare that you would need this, but if you really need to kill something ASAP or the exile clause is relevant.
If you need blockers in a pinch.
Your most frequent find. This is the best threat out of all the options and can stabilize a board state pretty quickly.
We like Discard, but not this much.
This can be extremely solid in the right situations whether you’re bring back one of your ETB creatures or something like a Nighthawk Scavenger, plus the opportunity cost is really low. I’m still not positive you want it as it’s hard to say how relevant it will be versus how often you want your lands untapped, but I’m sure a copy or two is fine.
Although these effects are really good with our small creatures, I don’t think we run enough of them to warrant the inclusion of sacrifice effects.
This card is solid, but we want our discard to work double duty, not just be a 1 for 1 exchange.
This is honestly better than most give it credit for. I considered it, but couldn’t justify cutting other cards for it.
Hunt is super interesting because it follows a similar logic to the discard creatures: a small body that accrues value on entry and is a good chump blocker. The issue I have with it (beyond not synergizing with Tergrid which is minor) is that the card we net off Hunt is likely weaker than the card we’d hit off of a discard creature, thus making the exchange worse for us. Considering I don’t want anymore 2 drops, this doesn’t make the cut.
That being said, if you wanted to replace the Bloodchief's Thirst with these if you want more proactive early plays, that would be reasonable.
I used to play Power Word Kill, but it does miss a lot of relevant creatures. You could certainly play it again, but I would only recommend a few copies at most.
I like this in theory as it’s a really sticky threat, but not being able to block is a huge detriment.
I don’t think the deck has room for Valki realistically plus you’d have to play some Blightstep Pathway which would make your Faceless Haven worse. You could go back to Hive of the Eye Tyrant instead of Faceless Haven if you really want to squeeze Valki in.
Bad top deck and nonbo with Nighthawk Scaveneger
I think this card is too weak, but it’s probably a fine one of.
The opportunity cost is somewhat low for Predation, but I think the effect is too narrow.
We are a Control deck so having some Wraths wouldn’t be unreasonable. I haven’t felt I needed them since small creature decks are your best matchup, but I can see a version with some wraths regardless.
I think this is a worse threat than Tergrid or Ebondeath, so no need to include it.
Same explanation from Crippling Fear
This is actually super tempting and wouldn’t be surprised if it’s supposed to be a 1 of.
Onyx is a great threat and can serve many functions in this deck. On that note, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m supposed to cut an Ebondeath to play a copy or two. My main issue is that I haven’t had problems winning and 6 mana is a lot for this deck surprisingly, so I’m not positive how to feel about her.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Against creature decks, prioritize Tergrid, God of Frights creature half. Against decks with a lot of removal, prioritize the Lantern.
I iterated this already, but don’t be afraid to chump block with your small creatures. Getting a reverse Revitalize can be really good if your hand is set up for the late game.
This is also a repeat, but Acquisition's Expert can see multiple cards if you have an Elderfang Disciple out, so I generally play out Elderfang first.
I try to avoid blocking with Nighthawk Scavenger as it’s such a potent threat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m always attacking with it either! Since it has so many keywords, most opponents will be deterred from attacking for quite awhile which can give you a lot of time to set up if you refuse to attack with it. That being said, don’t just not block a sizable threat if it’s going to cause an issue.
Similar to Nighthawk Scavenger, don’t discount Ebondeath, Dracolich‘s ability to be a really annoying blocker. Whittling down the opponent’s resources is the decks game plan so if the opponent lets you trade and something and recast this, that’s generally excellent for you.
I tend to be extremely defensive with my Faceless Haven. I defensively trade with Haven about as often as I’m attacking with it as this deck has great inevitability.
If you have to get Necrotic Fumes, remember that you aren’t sacrificing a creature, you’re exiling it.
All in all, Monoblack Discard vastly out performed my expectations and it’s a very fun and extremely competitive way to grind ladder.
Thank you for reading!