Standard 2022 Mono Black Discard Guide: The Secret Tier 1 Deck

Tergrid, God of Fright Art by Yongjae Choi
Tergrid, God of Fright Art by Yongjae Choi

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.

2022 Monoblack Discard 

Creatures (24)
4
Tergrid, God of Fright
4
Eyetwitch
4
Acquisitions Expert
4
Elderfang Disciple
4
Nighthawk Scavenger
4
Ebondeath, Dracolich
Spells (11)
1
Agadeem's Awakening
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
4
Flunk
4
Soul Shatter
Lands (25)
4
Faceless Haven
21
Snow-Covered Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (7)
1
Environmental Sciences
1
Expanded Anatomy
1
Inkling Summoning
1
Necrotic Fumes
1
Pest Summoning
2
Mascot Exhibition

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.

CARD CHOICES

Nighthawk Scavenger Art by Heonhwa Choe
Nighthawk Scavenger Art by Heonhwa Choe

Tergrid, God of Fright

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.

Eyetwitch

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.

Acquisitions Expert

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.

Elderfang Disciple

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.

Nighthawk Scavenger

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.

Ebondeath, Dracolich

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.

Agadeem's Awakening

It’s not too exciting, but I wanted a 26th land and this can sometimes be a Gruesome Menagerie which is pretty good utility.

Bloodchief's Thirst

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.

Flunk

Downside? What downside? This is functionally Terminate in this deck as this list does a great job at keeping their hand small.

Soul Shatter

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?

Faceless Haven

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.

LESSON BOARD

Pest Summoning Art by Zoltan Boros
Pest Summoning Art by Zoltan Boros

Environmental Sciences

Unsurprisingly, you get this if you need more lands.

Expanded Anatomy

When you need to push through damage quickly.

Inkling Summoning

When you need a threat and Mascot Exhibition is going to be too slow.

Necrotic Fumes

It’s rare that you would need this, but if you really need to kill something ASAP or the exile clause is relevant.

Pest Summoning

If you need blockers in a pinch.

Mascot Exhibition

Your most frequent find. This is the best threat out of all the options and can stabilize a board state pretty quickly.

NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS

Professor Onyx Art by Kieran Yanner
Professor Onyx Art by Kieran Yanner

Devour Intellect

We like Discard, but not this much.

Malakir Rebirth

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.

Village Rites/Deadly Dispute

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.

Check for Traps

This card is solid, but we want our discard to work double duty, not just be a 1 for 1 exchange.

Grim Wanderer

This is honestly better than most give it credit for. I considered it, but couldn’t justify cutting other cards for it.

Hunt for Specimens

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.

Power Word Kill

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.

Skyclave Shade

I like this in theory as it’s a really sticky threat, but not being able to block is a huge detriment.

Valki, God of Lies

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.

Go Blank

Bad top deck and nonbo with Nighthawk Scaveneger

Inscription of Ruin

I think this card is too weak, but it’s probably a fine one of.

Pelakka Predation

The opportunity cost is somewhat low for Predation, but I think the effect is too narrow.

Crippling Fear

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.

Lolth, Spider Queen

I think this is a worse threat than Tergrid or Ebondeath, so no need to include it.

Shadows' Verdict

Same explanation from Crippling Fear

Blood on the Snow

This is actually super tempting and wouldn’t be surprised if it’s supposed to be a 1 of.

Professor Onyx

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

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

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 mentioned this before, but Soul Shatter works really well with Tergrid, God of Fright

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!

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.

71 Responses

  1. IamOCD says:

    Thanks for this !!! Loving the content from you guys lately, going to jam this deck now…

  2. Albel says:

    Nice idea. Performed solidly in todays matches with approx 55% WR.

    Maybe its just semantics, but calling it a ‘discard’ dech with 8 discard cards seems a bit of a stretch 🙂

    Feels more like monoblack control.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      To be honest I was debating up until release between calling it Discard and Control. I was going to go for Control, but it plays more like midrange and it has Tergrid so I figured it made more sense. Appreciate the feedback!

      • Albel says:

        As I said great deck, regardless what we call it :).

        I woulf not agree with midrange though, as the only real value play to pressure other control decks seems to be ebondeath. But again: Semantics 🙂

        Facing several decks now that tend to go wider than expected (elves, goblins, monowhite) I also included 1-2 wraths for Bo1. Works just fine for me, but its a pure meta call.

        Also included 2 MDFCs, as I felt the (snow) manabase is still good / clean enough to support it. Never faced an issue with the activation of faceless haven (pun intended)

        • DoggertQBones says:

          Thats exactly why I make the notable exclusions section so you can change how you prefer! The meta adjusts so fast that tinkering constantly is the only way to stay ahead

      • David says:

        Have you noticed the mtgarena glitch on acquisitions expert? Doesn’t matter how big the party is they still only reveal one card.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Nice, almost make me spend all my wildcards.
    You make it sound like a really nice deck that i actually affordable without a crazy amount of wildcards!
    Been waiting to pull the trigger on a certain deck.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      It’s not too hard on the wildcards for what it’s worth! The Agadeem’s Awakening is pretty unnecessary and I would argue you don’t need Tergrid or a full set of Ebondeath either. If you find enough substitutions, I’m sure you can build something just as possible that fits your budget.

  4. FlyingVe says:

    The “exclusions” are my favorite part of these articles as its often more interesting to know what things were considered and didn’t make the cut, than those that did. There were a couple cards that I have been playing with in this kind of deck that I didn’t see mentioned.

    1) Shambling Gast. I have been using this instead of eyetwitch, the lesson (like necrotic fumes) are rough in a deck without fodder, but the potential treasure (or -1/-1) helps ramp tergid faster for an explosive turn.

    2) Gelatinous Cube. Its not perfect, but its a decent clock and a body. I go back and forth on this one, its amazing alot of the time, but a wiff other times. Still, if it stall time a sucks up a removal spell (thus protecting Tergid), that’s not terrible.

    Unrelated, but I do think a few of the MDFC lands work well here (you mentioned as much) as the deck isn’t hyper fast and can afford a tap land here or there. Though I think you have to cut the snow and go with Hive instead of Faceless if you do that.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Shambling Ghast is a very interesting card that I initially didn’t think it should be considered at all, but I’m more interested in as Monowhite picks up in popularity. I wouldn’t replace Eyetwitch for it as it’s been really good for me, but I can see putting some copies in.

      Gelatinous Cube I’m not a fan of for your precise reason, it generally gets hit by a removal spell. The only reason I’m happy with Ebondeath is that it generally catches a removal spell and then is threatening in the graveyard for the rest of the game, but to spend 4 mana on Cube to get it Frost Bitten would be such a blowout.

      Agreed that you could definitely play some MDFCs. I wouldn’t say you even have to compromise on Faceless Haven and could do both, just tinker with the land amounts and see whats right.

      Thank you for the questions! Love talking about these situations in the comments!

      • FlyingVe says:

        Well, since you like talking… The core problem I run into with anything Tergid (and this list by extension), is Tergid is so darned clunky (as you mentioned). Frequently, replacing her with another win-con improves the deck. While its not mono-black, something like Skeleton Swarm is often a much better “answer or die” card, for a grindy black deck. Too frequently to make Tergid work as Tergid (rather than a replacement for any other better 5 mana bomb) you need some “trick” to get that explosive turn where you play her and steal something all at once. But then you make the whole shell more gimmicky and usually worse.

        Tergid, has been a big puzzle for me since she was released, the effect is so strong, but so hard to take advantage of.

        • DoggertQBones says:

          That’s an excellent point. For awhile I was in your shoes, knowing Tergrid was good but couldn’t piece together what to do with her. I was actually with you on the sentiment that another expensive card could easily fill Tergrid’s role and be better for it for awhile too, but recently came back to her. So on one hand, you could easily play something like Professor Oynx and something else and I’m sure this deck would still thrum. However, I went back to liking Tergrid for a few reasons.
          1. It’s never really dead. If you’re facing a slow deck the lantern is excellent and if you’re facing a fast deck the body is excellent.
          2. It breaks up board stalls very effectively in the lantern form. Sure so do most bombs, but it’s extremely hard to interact with the Lantern compared to other bombs
          3. It synergizes so well with the deck naturally that it becomes a scenario where the sum is greater than the parts.

          Again, I could be biased and something else could be better in that spot, but the more I viewed her as a utility bomb rather than an outright bomb my opinion of her changed. There will be games she’s too clunky, but that’s just the nature of any 4+ drop. What makes her different is that she can start pressuring the opponent turn 4 and still act as a bomb while being functionally unkillable and faster than your other options.

        • Albel says:

          I tend to agree about the clunkiness of Tergid.

          Although I found the whole point of her to come into play once the opponent is almost out of options and preferably in topdeck mode as you discarded, killed or traded of any major threats before. Therefore giving her good chances to survive.

          This does however not work quite as well with most control decks, which is where you will mainly play the artifact half of the card, which is annoying and a great manasink to use at the end of your opponents turn if he/she didnt do something significant.

          • FlyingVe says:

            I want to clarify that I think Tergid is definitely a strong card any time it resolves, so I don’t want to come off overly negative.

            The problem is, in that situation. The opponent is out options (Cards/Board) slamming Tergid is kind of a weak play as it doesn’t do anything in that situation, and it doesn’t really lock the game out that badly. Likewise, if they have a strong board, you still often have to wait a whole other turn cycle to steal anything which is often a big ask. But if you do manage steal anything (Binding of the old gods is the most common grab), its almost always game over.

            I may put in some games with a Tergid build tonight and see if I’m underestimating something since I last tried her on AFR release. May help me build up my mythic percentage again after spending a weekend on a Dice deck.

  5. FlyingVe says:

    I played about 30 games with something close to this list (I don’t have 4x of a few of the cards) to test some stuff out and wanted to report back. I wound up with ~60% win rate in the end so clearly something is working. The short version is, the shell seems to work pretty well, however… Tergid is almost certainly the worst card in the deck. She almost always has to come down as the lantern, and while the lantern is annoying, it can’t close out games as well as you want. The problem is, I went and looked for other Monoblack bombs to replace her, and Standard 2022 really only has Liliana as another potential option. Still, I wound up replacing Tergid with her for better overall results.

    Other notes:

    Ebondeath does alot of work in this deck (and was the main win condition). The discard package limits options from the opponent so recursive threats are very strong. As a result, I also included Skyclave shade. I don’t have the wildcards for the full 4x of either at the moment so I’m not sure the right balance.

    The removal package seems pretty spot on. I experimented with sweepers (shadows verdict seems strictly better than creeping fear in this deck/meta) but It was just as often that they were performing, as they were dead, so I’m leaning against them main deck.

    Eyetwitch is definitely the right call for the extra value, likewise I think the MDFC’s are pretty good. Specifically, Malakir rebirth early on giving you an extra discard is pretty crippling for the opponent.

    I also played with Gelatinous Cube a bit. I’m still unsure, but it tends to come down after the opponents hand has been crippled, so it sticks more often than I was expecting. It also eats tokens and Goldspan which came up a lot. Though without Tergid’s lantern, the Cube may also be weaker.

    Not really related to the decklist, but the matchup against Dimir Control sucks. You can answer their win conditions fine, but they can do the same to you. It seems like this matchup just drags on forever (usually until both decks are in their final 20 cards). They usually win as Blue just has better win conditions than mono-black does.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Very nice research! I still like Tergrid but I was actually trying a version with Lolth and Onyx to see if they felt better and they weren’t necessarily better, just different.

      Skyclave Shade is very reasonable if you’re looking to improve the control matchup. Agreed with the sweepers unless Monowhite is just everywhere (which is kind of is). Still don’t love Cube but it’s definitely not a bad card or anything.

      I actually found UB to be pretty 50/50 as some of their draws with a lot of Beholds and such can be hard to beat but some of their draws just don’t line up against what we’re doing. Thanks for giving the deck such an extensive try!

      • FlyingVe says:

        Like I said the shell definitely seems to work, and I don’t feel any matchup was truly terrible. The ones I had the most trouble we’re goblins and mono white (goblins more so). It basically amounted to “draw a sweeper or die”. But even the. The normal variance of magic (especially in standard 2022 without the eldraine fallout), means that they don’t always have their dead-draw so it’s not always a wash.

        I have been running onyx for a while. I do think it’s better than tergid, but I agree with you, it’s more just… different. I feel like this shell is one good black bomb away from being legit scary.

        Also, I was running cube in place of a few of the cards I didn’t have 4x yet (like ebondeath), so if I crafted it’s very likely the cubes get cut.

        Also, testing decks it kinda weird right now. Standard 2022 is so open, and so many decks are at least competitive that it’s tough to say how any list cleanly stacks up against the Meta. This is a good problem though, and much better than the previous standard for my money.

  6. Jesse Massaro says:

    Hahaha, Tergrid just netted me two of their Firja’s Retribution on the same round. One I made them discard on my turn, the other finished it’s cycle on their draw step, sacked, and boop it’s mine now. I net two 4/4 angels and untapped ready to assassinate two of their line up, and they just scooped.

  7. Cogumerlim says:

    What are your thoughts about Westgate Regent? Sure, it’s the same 5cmc as creature Tergrid, but it has flying and is very hard to remove since the opponent has to discard a card in an environment where he/she is already discarding a lot. The Regent puts an urgent clock against the opponent, and can probably win matches more quickly. Or not haha

    • DoggertQBones says:

      I didn’t consider it highly when I made the article but it’s honestly not bad. It will more often than not get a 2 for 1 and it does kill in like 2-3 turns which is pretty good. I’m assuming it’s not your best option but I doubt its your worst option either.

  8. Ed says:

    Tried this pile out. Every game vs mono white. Tanked from mythic 300 to 1500. Tergid useless under constant pressure. No sweepers. Maybe I was unlucky but can’t imagine this as tier 1.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      I found Monowhite to be a pretty good matchup but sweepers there could be more helpful. I got a larger matchup spread so it’s hard to say but you can adjust as you need. If Tergrid ain’t cutting it in a heavy white meta something like Lolth could serve you better or playing Crippling Fear or something

  9. Run SoLow says:

    I JUST DESTROYED THIS DECK IN STANDARD 2022. Mono Black Pests FTW

  10. Zafarion says:

    I played a similar version of this deck with heraldic banner because it pumps the weak creatures and ramps for bigger bombs like a turn 4 tergrid, but I never had much success with it. Yesterday I tried with Lolth (can enter turn 4 and his spiders are 3/1 because of banner) and I get better results. Without a card like heraldic I can’t imagine this advancing to much.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Heraldic Banner is definitely an interesting option, especially with Lolth. I like the innovation!

      • Zafarion says:

        The biggest downfall of banner is losing turn 3 just to cast it, but it works great if you can cast a drop 1 with his generated mana in the same turn 3 like the new 2/1 zombie and connect with a turn 4 threat like Lolth.

  11. Semyon Balashov says:

    I think white color is also good in this kind of deck. We can add Humiliate and new artifact that exiles creature with mana cost 2 or less for 1.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      You certainly could add more colors to this. Beyond Faceless Haven, there’s no real reason to stay Monoblack but I was happy with the configuration so I chose not to. I’m sure this could pair well with any of the other colors.

  12. tasp says:

    Been playing this list card for card and it’s the most fun I’ve had in Standard 2022 outside of esper, thanks much. I was trying to play with Dream Devourer and higher CMC stuff (anything to make Tergrid work right?) and this pressures both hand and life much better. I saw some comments about adding Lilly and dropping Tergrid but I don’t think that’s correct as both sides are extremely relevant in various matchups. The only change I can think of is maybe dropping a snow swamp for another Agadeem as it adds to the grind without hurting Haven too much.

  13. Ast says:

    Demogorgon’s Clutches – Mind Drain – Skull Raid – Umbral Juke , Demons Disciple – Tergrid’s Shadow – Baleful Beholder – Withercrown – More Notable Mentions and staples in any decent Tergrid deck , and Inscription of Ruin is fantastic , opponent Discards two cards? perfectly synergized to Tergrid , Return creature mana 2 or less oh another Elderfang ? This card screams put me into a Tergrid deck xD am surprised it isn’t named Inscription of Tergrid.

  14. DC says:

    This gets destroyed by b/w life gain, mono red goblins, mono white, and anything that can go wide fast. I love this deck, I’d been running something similar prior with Archfiend’s Vessel as the mechanic. But it seems the popularity of this article may have gotten around as I’ve already played (and won) 2 mirror matches. The only issue is board wipes. Thinking of a blood on the snow in place of agadeem’s.

  15. H🦍 says:

    I started with a carbon copy of the deck you described; this is that deck after 100+ matches and 12 version changes – its running really really well for me. Thank you.

    Deck
    4 Eyetwitch (STX) 70
    4 Elderfang Disciple (KHM) 93
    21 Snow-Covered Swamp (KHM) 280
    4 Nighthawk Scavenger (ZNR) 115
    4 Acquisitions Expert (ZNR) 89
    3 Faceless Haven (KHM) 255
    2 Blood on the Snow (KHM) 79
    4 Flunk (STX) 71
    4 Soul Shatter (ZNR) 127
    4 Westgate Regent (AFR) 126
    2 Professor Onyx (STX) 83
    2 Village Rites (STA) 35
    2 Bloodchief’s Thirst (ZNR) 94

    Sideboard
    1 Mascot Exhibition (STX) 5
    2 Necrotic Fumes (STX) 78
    2 Environmental Sciences (STX) 1
    2 Introduction to Annihilation (STX) 3

    • Jonathan says:

      As someone that have just done 15 games with the original version (only in gold/diamond), i would love to hear the process and reason behind the changes.
      If you have the time 🙂

      • H🦍 says:

        Main deck:
        4x Tergrid, God of Fright (Out); 2x Professor Onyx, 2x Blood on the Snow (In)

        As much as I tried I couldn’t create synergy between the deck and Tergrid. I was able to see the potential, I was never able to actualize it. Professor Onyx’s ability to create card advantage and assist with removal allowed her to fit in nicely (Focusing on card advantage and removal or “control” more so than being a discard/card denial deck). Additionally, vs red, white, or green mono-aggro decks I was frequently wanting a sweep – Blood meets that need, but also returns our biggest threats.

        4x Ebondeath, Dracolich (Out); 4x Westgate Regent (In)

        I’ll acknowledge that it could be a complete user error, but I just was not able to get Ebondeath working for me, plus it was quite easy for an opponent to remove it.

        I started thinking about old school discard decks (Hymn to Tourach, Hypnotic Specter, Dark Ritual, Sengir Vampire), so I played around with several variations that used Demogorgon’s Clutches, Poison the Cup, Grim Wanderer, Feign Death, Shambling Ghast, Deadly Dispute, Hive of the Eye Tyrant, etc.

        Ultimately, I found that Westgate worked more for my comfort level, and its synergy with the deck due to the Ward cost really makes it the deck’s top threat. It’s usually either Westgate Regent or Nighthawk Scavenger that are delivering the winning hit.

        1x Faceless Haven, 1x Agadeem’s Awakening (Out); 2x Village Rites (In)

        This just became a way to bump the card advantage. Also, people aren’t always willing to kill your Eyetwitch or Shambling Ghast (didn’t make the final deck), and while the Treasure Token from Deadly Dispute can be very nice, ultimately the casting cost of Village Rites won out for me. Additionally, 2x Blood on the Snow bringing back Westgate’s or Nighthawk’s filled the Agadeem’s Awakening.

        Sideboard:
        1x Mascot Exhibition, 1x Pest Summoning, 1x Inkling Summoning, 1x Expanded Anatomy (Out); 2x Introduction to Annihilation, 1x Necrotic Fumes, 1x Environmental Sciences (In)

        If I was Learning I was usually wanting a removal spell for some big nasty that found the board when I didn’t have one of the ten spot removal cards available, and the Westgate’s not being restricted to one on the board when compared to the Ebondeath made the second Mascot Exhibition less important.

        Two cards that I tested and then afterward realized that they were mistakes were Malakir Rebirth – genuinely curious why anyone would run that when we have Feign Death available – and Hive of the Eye Tyrant – seems harmless until you reduce your own Nighthawk’s power due to “exile target card from defending player’s graveyard.”

        • Jonathan says:

          Thank you very much for the very detailed explanation !
          Will make sure to try some of it out once/if i stall with the “standard” version.
          So far i sort of agree with the Tergrid issues, mainly been using the lamp version. With great effect i must say.
          But only just dipped into diamond, so i assume it will get “harder” as i progress.

        • FlyingVe says:

          Great write-up! It sounds like you had the same basic experience that I did, where Tergid is the worst card in the deck and can’t quite close out games often.

          I decided to try Westgate Regent (which I had not considered earlier), and I think I just had the opposite experience of yours with Ebondeath. To frequently the regent came down and just… didn’t do much. The threat was real, to be sure, but often he just couldn’t actually close out the game (ala Tergid’s lantern). It all come back to the core problem that Black just doesn’t seem to have a great late game bomb in standard 2022. The shell is solid though, and if one shows up in the next set we may be cooking with gas.

          In my continued tinkering, I splashed green and added Skeleton swarm, which seems to be working better so far (only have about 15 games with that build so that may not be certain).

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Very reasonable changes! Glad it’s working well for you.

  16. Dell says:

    I really want to make this deck work, but I can’t. I”m 17-21 with it at platinum. It just doesn’t seem very good.

  17. Narf1336 says:

    First game I played with the deck, Opponent plays Culling Ritual + Harness Infinity.
    Deck is fun, but has a horrendous matchup vs cognitive bias

  18. Sivanicitel says:

    After ten games played, precisely zero wins. Utterly useless. Please delete this.

  19. Chris W says:

    I’ve played this a bunch as part of Midweek Magic this week with free access to standard decks, albeit for a limited time. I found myself wanting more out of Acquisitions Expert’s Party ability, the view never being wide enough early or late game to reliably get rid of the next threat out of their hand (and under my control if Tergrid is in play). I’ve also found myself wishing my bodies were just a little bit bigger when trying to trade with monogreen and red agro gobos that are (soon) out of control with counters or universal +1/+1 effects respectively. I’ve also had a few moments where I wished I had non-black mana to throw into something that Tergrid stole to really make it sing.

    At first glance, Stonework Packbeast is a card you would overlook for almost any deck. And yet… it addresses each of the three issues above. So I made a 4-for-4 swap with Eyetwich, the idea being that getting rid of (and maybe controlling) Goldpsan Dragons before the eyeball w/ wings needs to jump in front of it is worth the trade-off for the reach of the okay-but-not-great lessons. I’ve liked the trade-off.

    Other comments. Nighthawk Scavenger as your turn three play is almost always better than Acq. Expert, even if Elderfang came in on turn two. The exception being if they burned bright and fast and they have 1-2 cards in hand and no imminent threat on the board. I have also found Agadeem as completely dead weight in my hand. A single Blood on the Snow or Inscription of Ruin feels like a much better late game wildcard.

    It will be interesting to see if Acq. Expert’s Party ability can be built on further with the release of more sets for standard 2022. It feels like untapped potential given there is only one other black party member to work with in Elderfang. A black Wizard and/or Warrior with early game or bomb potential (sharing space with Tergrid and Ebondeath), would go a long way to making Acq. Expert get the right stuff gone.

    • Chris W says:

      I also think Acquisitions Incorporated (after the D&D book of the same name and which likely inspired Expert) is a great name for this deck

  20. Andy says:

    How about putting one or two copies of Rankle? Seems a good option with tergrid

  21. chrisoe says:

    Hey there!
    Just wanted to say: ultimate easy way to grind from silver to mythic with this deck.
    As soon as you get a knack of it against what kind of deck you play one just has to delay or play some cards earlier.
    I don’t even have all of the mentioned cards. Funniest thing is: as soon as you steal them their prettiest creature it’s an instant win because most of the guys throw away their grit and concede. Haha. This deck is a blast! (~60% wins per play)

  22. Jason says:

    I built this day one of the article and had blistering success with it HOWEVER now I might go 50% with it. I tried the second deck Jonathan posted above and found that it didn’t have enough creatures (for me) and while I have had success I felt like I was playing from behind the whole time so I “merged the two”. I removed 2 Tergrid’s and put in the 2 Onyx, removed the 4 Ebondeath and put in the 4 Westgate’s. I think I am 8-2 with it in 2022 right now.

    This is one of my favorites, trying to keep it relevant and fun. Looking forward to the next set, see how we can spice up some of these existing decks even further.

  23. Patrick says:

    I made a version of this that was much more straight discard/control, using Demogorgon’s Clutches, Inscription of Ruin, Check for Traps, and winning with Tergrid’s Bell and swinging with Faceless Haven.

    I disagree with you on Check for Traps. Looking at it as just a straight one-for-one discounts the benefits of looking at your opponent’s hand. Especially when it’s turn 2. If I know what kind of deck an opponent is using, I can be as disruptive as possible with whatever I choose as my discard. Can you imagine how much easier poker would be if you could see 4 out of your opponent’s 5 cards? Plus the benefit of getting them later on in the game is so helpful to see how your opponent is drawing, disrupting combos, etc.

    All love for Check for Traps.

  24. Maewan says:

    Just discovered this deck yesterday and, thanks to the event where we can play what we want, i tried a lot and, i felt in love. Sometimes I have game with zero discard but, it happens. Really enjoy this kind of gameplay, hope we’ll have new discard cards in the futures expansions. Thanks for the sharing 😀

  25. josh says:

    I had a lot of fun with this shell. I ended up finding a fun way to use swarming skeletons!

    removal:
    x2 bloodchief’s thirst
    x2 binding of the old gods to help with ramp and can remove pesky enchantments like ranger class
    x4 flunk

    creatures
    x4 jaspera sentinel (reach and ramp!)
    x4 elderfang disciple
    X4 acquisitions expert
    X4 skullport merchant
    x4 nighthawk scavenger

    win cons
    x4 lolth, spider queen
    x4 skeletal swarming

    lands
    x4 faceless haven
    x8 snow-covered forest
    x8 snow-covered swamp
    x4 woodland chasm

    skullport merchant has a really good synergy with the swarming skeletons. He gets a free sacrifice to draw from and we benefit by getting it rewarded with x2 skeletons. Also, our discard men are now really putting in value as mana from jespera sentinal and chump blockers when the time comes, hopefully with lolth out to benefit.

  26. kree says:

    What are your thoughts about adding Sphere of Annihilation as a board whipe?

    • Josh says:

      I’ll be honest with you, I have went hard golgari for the last few days and I just don’t think skeletal swarming is worth it. I love the card, I really wanted it to work but right now Everything I want from a good midrange deck other color combinations just outperform. I was really interested in the four drop death priest of myrkul, and when you get perfect draws this card has interesting interaction. It’s like a better esika’s chariot honestly. It buffs both your win cons as they are vampires or skeletons and she gives skeleton tokens which i was really hoping would give gas too the deck.

      This meta currently just needs so much removal and golgari doesn’t have access to outsized bombs mono black or green can’t just do better. Culling ritual isn’t worth it, deadly brew only really rocks when we have a night hawk in the dirt and they only have a bomb.

      Everything changes with a new set though! Can’t wait to see how this ages, maybe golgari will be king next set.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Sphere is pretty weak in my opinion. Would use a different board wipe depending on what you’re facing

  27. J00N says:

    I played with the exact copy listed for a very long time trying to get it to work. I don’t have the exact stats, but I was hardstuck plat 4 for a couple days straight. Currently 11-0 now, I think the deck needs ramp through shambling ghast and deadly dispute, too often was I topdecking and getting nothing of value. The opponent was usually doing the same, but the lack of ability to combo tergrid with another card was the main detriment while they were able to draw cards, go wide with combos of their own, beat down with man lands, etc. I dropped Ebondeath as flash is good, but less good when it comes in tapped. It was taking a lot of exile spells as well, ultimately too easy to remove. The deck needs a way to draw cards and ramp if you really want to take advantage of Tergrid. A lot of people here say she’s clunky, but you forget about that part when you’ve got enough treasures to either drop her creature side + a soul shatter or a Skull Raid in the same turn. Skull raid is nice purely because of foretell. It is sorcery speed, but I never really feel its a disadvantage. Even if you pressure your opponent into discarding cards (a lot of the time they choose to lose life anyway) chances are they’re just going to discard cards they don’t really need. I leaned hard into being more of a discard deck: you chip away at their less useful cards with your 2-drops, dissuading them from attacking with shambling ghast + eyetwitch, and by the time you drop a skull raid (let alone a raid + tergrid) they only have their “good cards” to get rid of.
    Aggro decks made me think I needed board wipes, but by leaning more into true-discard I realized that wasn’t necessary. Heres the list I’m currently using/am very confident in. I’m sure it will get more difficult as I go up in the ranks, but after a tough few days of constant losing I was really happy with the way it turned out:

    3 Eyetwitch
    3 Shambling Ghast
    4 Acquisitions Expert
    4 Elderfang Disciple
    4 Deadly Dispute
    4 Flunk
    4 Nighthawk Scavenger
    4 Soul Shatter
    4 Skull Raid
    4 Tergrid, God of Fright

    20 Snow-Covered Swamp
    4 Faceless Haven

    Sideboard
    1 Environmental Sciences
    1 Expanded Anatomy
    1 Inkling Summoning
    2 Mascot Exhibition
    1 Necrotic Fumes
    1 Pest Summoning

  28. fiction says:

    Love this deck so much i built it in paper – please do an update when Midnight Hunt comes out!

  29. igkewg says:

    Are there any good replacement for ebondeath?

    • chrisoe says:

      I removed 2 Ebondeath and added 2 Gisa, Glorius Resurrector. I like the mechanic of copying the card i destroyed (and we got some nasty destroys in this deck). It perfectly fits to the Tergrid card grabbing mechanic.