Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers,
Mathew here from GenericBadMagic to bring you a decklist created by a good friend that’s sure to come away with a few wins at your local FNM or Standard Showdown. Featuring some of the best creatures that black mana has to offer, hand disruption and removal this deck will hit hard in the early game and transition nicely into an attritional strategy to grind out the match if needed.
Let’s take a look at the creatures that help us beat down early in the game and stay ahead:
4x Dread Wanderer
4x Scrapheap Scrounger
4x Gifted Aetherborn
3x Dusk Legion Zealot
2x Oathsworn Vampire
3x Yahenni, Undying Partisan
3x Bone Picker
3x Ravenous Chupacabra
2x Bontu, The Glorified
If you want to show your opponent you’re ready to grind it out from turn one, look no further than Dread Wanderer. An aggressive creature for one mana that can return from the graveyard is just what you want in this kind of deck, the downside of entering the battlefield tapped is one that doesn’t hurt too much on the play and if anything makes your side boarding decisions easier before a game where your opponent will likely choose to go first.
Scrapheap Scrounger has been an absolute all-star since it’s introduction in Kaladesh, making his way into just about any deck that uses black mana, particularly the menace that is Mardu Vehicles. This guy generally provides great advantage and forces the opponent to play a more expensive exile spell for the sake of permanent removal, even after eating a number of Fatal Push or other destroy spells.
Gifted Aetherborn is simply one of the best creatures in black on the market right now, two mana for a 2/3 is already alright but having Deathtouch and Lifelink stapled on is a real backbreaker for opposing aggro decks, this guy attacks and blocks like a champ and is excellent at trading up and taking them down with him.
Dusk Legion Zealot has really surprised me, making the jump from good Limited option in Vampire tribal to filling in as a quick way to draw a card in a colour with fairly restricted options in that regard.
Oathsworn Vampire is simply more recursion, with other creatures like Gifted Aetherborn and Bontu in the deck to gain life, this guy will pretty regularly be cast from the graveyard and prove to be a waste of opposing removal.
Yahenni helps to really tie this together, being fast and aggressive is in line with the modus operandi of the deck and the ability to get bigger and stronger when opposing creatures die just makes your removal spells that much better. The real strength that this card has though is the survivability. As a reverse Selfless Spirit (kinda want to call him Selfish Spirit now) able to survive boardwipes (except Settle the Wreckage) by sacrificing a comrade at instant speed this cool guy never looks at explosions, he just turns around and walks away.
Like the vulture he is, bone picker is extremely eager to get involved in the carnage caused by your aggressive creatures and removal, so eager he’ll come down for a seriously discounted mana cost a lot of the time. At his best as a one mana 3/2 with Flying and Deathtouch he’s an aggressive eye in the sky, or excellent defence when you’re behind.
Ravenous Chupacabra, hereafter known as bad dog, is a great little tempo swing for four mana, taking out any non-indestructible creature and providing you with a 2/2 body in the process, not to mention the synergy with Bone Picker and Yahenni.
Bontu the Glorified, my favourite of the Amonkhet god cycle, he’s touch to block and easy for this deck to enable, even offering you information from your deck when using his ability, this also entitles you to 75% off any Bonepickers that turn because you have to sacrifice a creature and allows you to re-cast your Oathsworn Vampires from the graveyard. Win, win, win and win!
4x Fatal Push
2x Arterial Flow
2x Vraska’s Contempt
All of our other spells are disruption for the opponent, Fatal Push takes care of most early drops in the format and enables our Bonepicker discounts and makes Yahenni bigger.
Arterial Flow forces the opponent to part with two cards and as long as you control a vampire (you have eight in the deck) you get to drain them of two life points in the process.
Vraska’s Contempt is fast becoming one of the premium removal spells in the format as it deals efficiently with indestructible or recursive threats like Hazoret and Rekindling Phoenix in todays metagame.
4x Ifnir Deadlands
2x Field of Ruin
In addition to our eighteen Swamps we also utilize Ifnir Deadlands as a land that turns into additional removal (or shrinkage) in the late game alongside two copies of Field of Ruin to help keep the opponent from burying us in Vampire tokens from Adanto, the First Fort or card advantage from Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin.
2x Lost Legacy
1x Vraska’s Contempt
2x Moment of Craving
1x Arterial Flow
2x Gonti, Lord of Luxury
3x Bontu’s Last Reckoning
Our sideboard is where we slow down and take stock after game one and we will often find ourselves looking to add more grind to the deck, more ways to survive and more ways to frustrate, with effective disruption in the form of Duress, tearing key combo pieces like God-Pharaoh’s gift out of the opponent’s hand and Lost Legacy taking care of Refurbish, Approach of the Second Sun and Drake Haven we can insulate ourselves reasonably well against the dominant Blue/White strategies in the format.
Bontu’s Last Reckoning is excellent for those match ups where the opponent will straight up out-aggro us and beat down until we die. This should buy us a turn or two after clearing a cluttered field, becoming even better late in the game when we can just bring back our recursive creatures.
Moment of Craving isn’t as strong as Grasp of Darkness was but can still take out some pesky threats, gaining life in the process, perfect for taking on Red Deck Wins.
Gonti, Lord of Luxury will steal your heart… along with a card from the top of your opponents Library. Because what’s better than beating your opponent? Doing it with one of their best cards. Of course, Gonti could hit nothing but your opponent doesn’t have to know that and this is what makes Gonti so great for mind games against control when the opponent has to wonder if you took one of their own counterspells. Even if you din’t take anything good Gonti is still a 2/2 with Deathtouch that is excellent at trading up with bigger creatures.
This deck can be an absolute nightmare to play against due to all of its recursive threats, ways to gain incremental advantage and straight aggression. You can even sideboard quite effectively into a mono-black control deck utilizing some of the nastiest tricks that the colour has to offer in Standard.
That’s about all I have for the deck today, huge credit goes out to my friend Ross Gauld for the design of the deck and the near instant results it put up at FNM and Standard Showdown and I can’t thank him enough for letting me write his deck up today.
Please let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter @GenericBadMtg
You can also catch me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, draw well, have fun and respect each other!