Get Your Rat On

The short version of the story is this: I read Chris Romeo’s article. I was intrigued. I thought of a few cards I might have tried out myself. I kept thinking of cards. I thought of more cards. I thought to myself, “Self, there are a lot of cards that could get played in a mono-Black deck.” So many, in fact, that one could probably build three separate, respectable mono-Black decks from the available Standard card pool without topping four of any given non-Swamp card. Now, I’m not feeling quite that ambitious, but you get the idea: there’s a lot out there. Today I’m going to focus on the evolution of one such deck that proved to be surprisingly good in testing.

There’s just something about Chris Romeo. You can’t help but like the guy. Whether it’s his commitment to out-of-the-mainstream decks, his commitment to mustaches, or his commitment to cheesecake, the man rates highly in my book. What brings me to the table (or monitor, I suppose) today, however, is the former, namely his recent look at a mono-Black control-ish concoction that featured Phyrexian Plaguelord as well as several other fine standbys that aren’t seeing a lot of love these days.

The short version of the story is this: I read Chris’ article. I was intrigued. I thought of a few cards I might have tried out myself. I kept thinking of cards. I thought of more cards. I thought to myself, “Self, there are a lot of cards that could get played in a mono-Black deck.” So many, in fact, that one could probably build three separate, respectable mono-Black decks from the available Standard card pool without topping four of any given non-Swamp card. Now, I’m not feeling quite that ambitious, but you get the idea: there’s a lot out there.

If one wants to go a classic Mono-Black Control route, the removal and card advantage possibilities are available. From the one-mana Lose Hope up to Nekretaal, Barter in Blood and Eradicate for 2BB, Black is as good as ever at sending opposing critters to the gravetard or RFG pile while Night’s Whisper or Phyrexian Arena keeps your hand full. Sprinkle some Consume Spirits for a finisher and you’ve got something very reminiscent of old Corruptor builds.

The small creatures that could make up an aggressive beatdown deck are also present and accounted for. There are about twenty different flavors of small creatures to experiment with, including Limited superstar Nezumi Cutthroat. Ravenous Rats and Nezumi Shortfang can help rip up opponents’ hands if Distress and Coercion aren’t your style. There are even a decent number of giant finishing monsters like Yukora the Prisoner, Greater Harvester or Kokusho, the Evening Star. Even your lands can get in the mix with a Genju of the Fens.

If I were to just slam a random deck together from whatever cards I could think of, the combinations would be nearly endless. Instead, however, I decided to work from an aggressive skeleton, which helped cut down on the number of cards I was looking at. As befits any deck attempting to be competitive, it went through various alterations as problems presented themselves, with new choices overwriting previous ones. The results of those choices are now submitted for your approval. I present to you the Starting Sixty:

4 Echoing Decay

4 Horobi’s Whisper

4 Sickening Shoal

3 Eradicate

4 Ravenous Rats

4 Chittering Rats

3 Okiba-Gang Shinobi

3 Nezumi Shortfang

3 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni

4 Night’s Whisper

3 Stalking Stones

1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse

20 Swamp

Go ahead, soak it in. Mmm, it’s nice, eh? As is the general wont with these sorts of things, I’ll give you a little breakdown of what everything’s in there for, but I’m not much for a complete card-by-card talk. Instead, I’ll just hit them in groups by their general purpose. Here we go!

4 Echoing Decay

4 Horobi’s Whisper

4 Sickening Shoal

3 Eradicate

A heavy dose of fifteen creature removal spells starts things off, coming equipped for most any eventuality. Blinkmoth Nexi and Arc-Sloggers alike are prone to dying in various nasty ways. The Shoals were originally penciled in as an Affinity hater due to the speed with which they can be deployed when necessary (and for the ability to knock off a target of Modular counters even when you’ve tapped down). While useful for that purpose, they also proved themselves generally fine against most decks and especially useful in a way that I’ll get into later. Eradicate, although it lands something like five percent of the time against artifact men, is a failsafe for any Darksteel Colossi that make their way into play as well as sometimes preventing Eternal Witnesses from rearing up and burying you under an avalanche of Regrowths.

Lose Hope was strongly considered for the deck on a few occasions. It offs Disciple of the Vault, Birds of Paradise, Eternal Witness and any Blinkmoth Nexus foolish enough to fly solo. However, I opted for Echoing Decay as it adds Frogmites, Kiki-Jiki and stray Viridian Shamen to its kill-list, as well as providing the potential for card advantage or completely wiping out a Beacon of Creation. The additional minus-point comes into play a high percentage of the time and although it doesn’t naturally echo all that often, it is a better main-deck choice than Lose Hope. The scryer did, however, manage to hang on to sideboard slots, which I’ll talk about a little later.

The other choice here was whether to run Horobi’s Whisper (which I like over Dark Banishing) or Rend Flesh. I really can’t tell you how much I agonized over this. It was more than I should have, certainly, considering that for practically all intents and purposes they’re the same damn card. I started with a set of Rends, and ran into very, very few scenarios when either one would have been superior to the other. The “debate,” such as it was, came down to Disciple of the Vault and many of the very same rats I’m packing in this deck against Keiga, the Tidal Star and various lands that might be instilled by spirits. The thing is, some of those spirits are pretty good. Genju of the Cedars in particular made it sometimes felt like the Whisper was the only rational choice. I slowly migrated from Rend to Whisper, and I’m mostly happy with it, but I do sometimes worry about running into another Mono-Black deck and running out of gas while watching my creatures have their flesh Rent asunder.

Of course, I should note that the Whisper also has the opportunity to be used multiple times via splicing (which is why I like it better than Dark Banishing). There are a few other Arcane spells to splice it onto if necessary, but the fact is that this deck doesn’t accumulate cards in the graveyard especially quickly, so scenarios where splicing is actually a viable option – enough cards in the graveyard, Whisper and another Arcane spell in hand, enough targets (if the other Arcane is a removal card as well) – just don’t come up that much. In all my playing with the deck, I can count the number of times I’ve done it on one hand. Still, it’s a better perk than preventing regeneration, which only comes up if you run into someone still playing with Welding Jars. Oh wait, there’s Isao, Enlightened Bushi now. Oh wait, he dies to every other removal card you play and Troll Ascetic is still better anyway. (P.S.: Troll Ascetic is a meany, but Stabwhisker the Odious means you can usually outrace him.)

4 Ravenous Rats

4 Chittering Rats

3 Okiba-Gang Shinobi

3 Nezumi Shortfang

The disruption portion of the deck features several small bodies with hand-affecting abilities stapled to them, which means I get to screw with my opponent while still developing a board presence. If extra bodies aren’t immediately needed, the Shortfang can go to work, and other times he acts as a kill-card (in super-deluxe Stabwhisker the Odious form) later on. The Chittering Rats were not actually my first choice here, but they have a positive interaction with the ninja, including a sometimes overwhelming turn-three-and-four punch with the Shinobi. The Okiba-Gangs are pseudo-discard spells, but play out better than a generic sorcery because they do damage and can keep a depleted opponent locked out of cards. Of course, you have to make contact for them to work, but what did you think all that removal was for?

There were also originally a couple of Mind Sludges, which are capable of completely knocking out a player’s hand, leaving only what’s already been deployed to be dealt with by the removal cards. With the various types of discard-rat already in place, however, opponents can’t often keep enough cards in hand to make the Sludge worth it, so I then tried a couple Cranial Extractions. The various merits of that card have been regaled far and wide already, so I won’t go into them here, but suffice it to say that in most cases, turn four was better spent on deploying a Rat to mess with the few cards they still have while also producing a body on the board. After one game, you will have a much better idea of what to Extract anyway, so they are still hanging out in the sideboard.

3 Ink Eyes, Servant of Oni

Now this is the fun stuff. Although she has neither Dragon nor Spirit in her type line, this little lady is actually pretty good. As mentioned before, both of the trigger-Rats make good creatures to bounce for Ninjutsu as it allows them to be reused. Ink-Eyes also plays quite well with the single Shizo, Death’s Storehouse, and stealing Eternal Witness is especially spicy. Ink-Eyes (and also the Shinobi) is also the other way in which Sickening Shoal really pulls its weight. Sometimes you untap and really want to blast your opponent with Ninja goodness, but there’s a stupid blocker in the way. Getting to off that guy for zero mana means a chance to sneak the Legendary Ninja into play and really put your opponent on the back foot. (This is in addition to the fact that it’s a fine removal spell on its own, of course.)

Now, the question should be addressed of why this isn’t just “four times Kokusho” – after all, the guy is excellent and can flat-out kill people rather than just help overwhelm them. He is more capable of bringing a game that has gotten away form you back under your control and can end the game in two swings if you have a matched companion ready to be deployed. Yes, Ink-Eyes can deploy directly into the Red Zone on turn 5. Yes, she can bury your opponent in a pile of his own creatures’ dead bodies. However, she doesn’t have as immediate of an effect on the board when cast normally and can’t create the unwinnable situations that Kokusho can.

I suppose that in the end, the answer is that I’m ornery. I don’t like the Evening Star because everybody else does. It’s probably one of my bigger faults as a player that I sometimes simply refuse to go along with the mainstream because it’s the mainstream, but it is my cross to bear and not yours. By all means, if that’s your thing then treat this portion of the decklist as a sign reading, “Insert Dragon Here.” All I ask is that you at least try the Ninja first. You’ll be impressed. I promise.

4 Night’s Whisper

These were actually one of the last additions to the deck. I was originally playing both Ink-Eyes and a few Patrons of the Nezumi due to the high volume of rats, and he was a fine man. He rarely got caught in my hand and sometimes came down as often as turn 4 with help from a Chittering Rats. The problem was that when I threw the deck at Affinity, it just couldn’t win. The games would start fast and drop off quickly, with both decks usually being pushed into topdeck mode after the first surge of creatures fell to the first wave of removal. The problem was, being backed by Thoughtcasts, Affinity seemed to always draw out sooner and just crash through with a big Ravager or a Cranial Plating-ed Blinkmoth Nexus.

Now, sometimes a deck just has a bad matchup and can hope to avoid that opponent, but when it’s the preeminent deck of the format, it’s not realistic to pin your hopes on the pairings. Looking for solutions, I cut some of the more expensive cards, including the Patrons and added the Whispers. The games against Affinity saw immediate improvement, jumping from seemingly unwinnable to between one-third and one-half of the games falling towards the black deck. In addition, the deck felt a lot more consistent in all my games, running more smoothly than before and being reduced to living off the top card far less often.

3 Stalking Stones

1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse

20 Swamp

Not much to see here, folks. The Stones are my manland of choice, but Blinkmoth Nexi have their own merits, sometimes allowing you to sneak a Ninja over the top of your opponent’s forces or chump block an incoming flyer. They do, however, keel over to Night of Souls’ Betrayal and suck up more mana over the long run. Take your pick.

Surely by now you have an idea of how this deck runs; it is, after all, a fairly simple beast. It’s more like a goblin deck than a conventional discard-themed deck, as you will spend most of your time deploying men and attacking past the corpses of your opponent’s forces. As a bonus, your opponent will often find themselves without cards in hand and even towering giants are easily felled by your spells. Unlike red decks, however, your removal can’t go to the dome when it’s not needed on the board. You win some, you lose some. Still, throw the deck together and take it for a spin and you may find yourself very impressed with its performance.

Still, despite talking it up, don’t expect this to totally crush everything out there; I mean, I like my deck and all, but I’m not blind to its faults. In fact, I can tell you about some holes right now, before I even get to the sideboard. For one, there are no real one-drops. Besides the fact that I can’t do anything on turn, that means any single mana left over after playing spells will be wasted. There’s not a lot to offer for one Black mana aside from Lose Hope (which I addressed above) or maybe Genju of the Fens (which I did try and I didn’t like that much), so this is sort of something I just have to live with. Also, any deck that doesn’t rely on creatures will leave me with a certain quantity of dead cards. The mono-Blue decks fathered by Mike Flores qualify (although I figure to be able to bash man-lands if necessary) as well as any splice-based decks. Thankfully, discard performs admirably against at least the latter.

Speaking of Flores Blue, though, I can tell you now that Vedalken Shackles are an absolute nightmare, being just about the one thing this deck will often simply have to scoop to. Any other enchantments that might crop up could also be a problem; Ghostly Prison slows down ninja-related shenanigans and Shrines of all varieties could be out there waiting. As Mr. Romeo noted, if one is caught without something like Oblivion Stone, things could get, um, rocky.


Also, the token-generating cards out there (Beacon of Creation and Meloku the Clouded Mirror) can pour a big stream of creatures out all at once, which can be hard for your removal to handle. Meloku isn’t a big problem as you can generally just kill him before he does too much damage (or, if they slow-roll him, take him him straight out of the grip), but the Beacon is a little more uncomfortable. They will generally have to cast it earlier rather than later or risk losing it to discard, and you do have bodies available for overpowering the tokens, but once you get the chance to ‘board, I recommend Extracting it before they get a chance to topdeck it in the midgame for seven or eight tokens. Echoing Decay is, of course, very clutch for sweeping up, but Blasting Station obviously makes things even harder. More on this in the relevant matchup section below.

Against actual creature cards, the removal suite performs well in most situations, but has one particular hole: it has a bit of trouble dealing with large black Spirits. Thankfully, there are no cards like that being played currently, so this isn’t as much of a problem as you’d think!


Oh, fine. So maybe there’s one card like that. But seriously, who plays that guy? I mean, I don’t; why would anyone else?

Alright, alright, fine. Let’s talk about it. Kokusho, the Evening Star (remember him?) is a tough customer if he gets out. While Ink-Eyes can take him down in a fight, there isn’t anything that really forces him to get entangled with her. The one card here that straight removes him is Sickening Shoal (with the requisite seven mana or five-mana card) and even that comes with the punch to the face that his death brings. But there’s good news: if early discard can catch him before he gets cast, stealing him with Ink-Eyes is ridiculous. (See? I knew there was a reason…)

Anyway, now that you’ve had a chance to shake your head at all the bad things that could happen to you while playing this deck, allow me to show you at least a few of the things you can do to offset them. (Keep in mind that the post-sideboard percentages that follow are somewhat rough; without knowing exactly what sort of ‘boards other decks will have, it’s hard to know what they’ll have to adjust to you, and certain builds of these decks may require slightly different sideboarding techniques. Until the metagame shakes out, nothing can be entirely certain. What do you think this is, Extended?)

Generic Sideboard

4 Lose Hope

4 Distress

4 Cranial Extraction

3 Oblivion Stone

This is, obviously, a very vanilla, very general, very bland sideboard. This is what I would recommend if you have absolutely no idea what you’ll be facing in your area as it gives you good options against the most popular archetypes. Whatever ails you in game one, at least one of these four fine cards should be of use to you for the follow-ups. If, however, you have a good idea of what you’ll be facing on a given day, the sideboard can be tuned just as much as any deck. Keep reading and we’ll get into it.



Sideboarding against Affinity: -3 Eradicate, -1 Okiba-Gang Shinobi; +4 Lose Hope

As I mentioned above in the section on Night’s Whisper, you’re a slight underdog for game one, but when you reach for the ‘board, your chances get noticeably better. You get to dump off some more expensive, less effective cards and pick up some better pinpoint removal. The Lose Hopes pick off Disciples, Arcbound Workers and Blinkmoth Nexi, leaving your more powerful removal cards to take care of scarier threats.

If you want to get a few Oblivion Stones in there as well to deal with Cranial Platings, the Shinobis can be set aside, but you are more than able to prevent anything that could be equipped (and that has a chance to make contact with your noggin) from living long enough to put the hat on. Even with just the Hopes on board, you’re now a slight-to-moderate favorite in post-board games. If, however, Affinity is still a major force in your area and you want even more insurance, consider moving a few Lose Hopes to the main deck and employing some Relic Barriers, Damping Matrices or even Horobi, Death’s Wail as extra muscle.

Tooth and Nail

Against Tooth and Nail: -4 Echoing Decay, -4 Sickening Shoal; +4 Distress, +4 Cranial Extraction

Although there are lots of ways to strip down your opponent’s hand in the main deck, Tooth and Nail can still sometimes manage to resolve its namesake card, especially in builds that use Sensei’s Diving Top to keep one at the ready until critical mana mass has been reached. Even then, however, there aren’t all that many dangerous cards they can fetch, as you have removal spells capable of cutting down most fatties. Darksteel Colossus is obviously an issue if you don’t have Eradicate ready, but the bigger problem is actually Mindslaver, which can sometimes force you to slaughter your entire army. Even so, you are way ahead on balance, and depending on their build you will win somewhere around three-quarters of first games.

After sideboarding, you have lots of ways to hamstring the Tooth player directly, instead of slowly stripping their hand down with rats. Distressing a mana accelerator before Extracting Tooth and Nail, all while sitting on an Eradicate in case anything untoward slips through the cracks is an excellent feeling of control. If desired, Oblivion Stones can even appear here as another defense against any gigantic monsters, but if Tooth is especially prevalent in your area, you’ll be better served by a fourth Eradicate and possibly a fourth Nezumi Shortfang or some Coercions in your sideboard. Your particular win percentage after sideboarding varies depending on what they bring in against you, but their best option is still to pop out Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and an Eternal Witness and try to make up some cards. However, your ability to severely hamper their development keeps you in place as a heavy, almost prohibitive favorite.

Mono-Blue Control

Against Mono-Blue Control: -4 Echoing Decay, -4 Sickening Shoal, -2 Horobi’s Whisper, -1 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni; +4 Distress, +4 Cranial Extraction, +3 Oblivion Stone

If you’ll recall earlier in this article, I mentioned that Vedalken Shackles is just about an auto-loss. If they don’t draw Shackles until they’re under, say, ten life, you can still win. If they do, you can’t. Sometimes they’ll just get mana-screwed or a Shackle won’t show up, but in anything resembling a “fair” game, you’re cooked. It’s just that simple. Obviously any deck playing less than the full complement of the artifact or the card-drawing spells used to find it will give you a better chance, but these are few and far between. Distress can possibly strip Shackles or just help you force through an Extraction, and Oblivion Stones can get rid of one that has already resolved, but even with their help, your odds aren’t that great. If you do manage to pull off the Extraction, though, look carefully at your opponent’s deck. Learn their finishers. Keiga, the Tidal Star is the most popular, but I’ve also seen Meloku the Clouded Mirror and Uyo, Silent Prophet around. Know what to name if you land another Extraction and you might leave them without much left in the way of win conditions.

If you expect Shackle decks to be really big in your area, I cannot in good conscience recommend that you play this deck. It simply doesn’t have the tools to satisfactorily deal with the card without adding another color, which brings its own set of problems. Damping Matrix can turn it off, but every Echoing Truth just walks you right into a two-for-one. The deck does pretty well against the field, but this is a major deficiency. Sorry, kids.

Beacon Green

Against Blasting Beacon: -4 Sickening Shoal, -4 Horobi’s Whisper, -1 Eradicate, -1 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni; +4 Distress, +4 Cranial Extraction, +2 Oblivion Stone

Nothing this deck runs is quite important enough to point a removal spell at on its own, especially with Fecundity in play, which is unfortunate since that’s all you have in game one. The fact that many of their creatures, like yours, have built-in card advantage (Wood Elves, Eternal Witness, Solemn Simulacrum) also means you can’t get as far ahead in the early game as usual; Eradicating those guys definitely helps. Echoing Decay can sweep up tokens, but if Fecundity and Blasting Station get on the table, they can possibly combo you out just using normal creatures. However, if they don’t have the enchantment to begin with, they can’t help themselves draw into it aside from deck thinning and Simulacra. Overall, it’s not a spectacular game one, but the black deck won a solid fifty percent of test games – it just felt like less because the losses were steeped in torrential swarms of tokens and card drawing.

For games two and three, things are a little different. Distress is useful if you can hit with it early, but Cranial Extraction is your main weapon. Your main Extraction targets should be Beacon of Creation first and Fecundity second; The Stations can be left if the other two main offenders are removed. All told, post-board games lean more noticeably toward the Black deck – mostly on the back of Extraction.

If this deck and its Blue-splashed cousin featuring Meloku the Clouded Mirror are extremely popular around you, you may want to look into a few copies of Night of Souls’ Betrayal for your ‘board. While it does hurt many of your cards and you may actually see other decks bring it in against you, in this case it’s far more damaging to your opponent. If they didn’t keep some enchantment removal in, they may be almost completely unable to win. Damping Matrix is also able to stop both Meloku and Blasting Stations, so it’s worth a look.

Death Cloud

Against Death Cloud: -some removal; +4 Distress, +4 Cranial Extraction, +1-3 Oblivion Stones

Death Cloud comes in two flavors: mono-Black and with Green. Both tend to run a little lighter on the creature scale (the mono-Black more so), so you’ll end up with more unused cards to discard if/when the Cloud actually rolls in. In the meantime, use what removal you can to clear the path for your best card … (wait for it) … Okiba-Gang Shinobi. The recurring discard is even better in this matchup than others since you may need to keep pace with Phyrexian Arena while your opponent tries to develop a good Cloud scenario. Even if it gets Bartered in Blood right away, you might be getting as much as a four-for-one off of it (2 discarded cards, the Barter and another trigger from the Rat you returned). Even so, the raw power of a Death Cloud or Kokusho off the top means you only pull down around a third of pre-board games.

I’m being unspecific about the cards here because these decks seem to vary a lot; the cards you take out should depend on the creature suite your opponent is running and how many are worth cutting determines how many Stones come in to combat Arenas, Night of Souls’ Betrayal and, for green builds, Genju of the Cedars. If your opponent’s deck seems very dense with removal (and NoSB), consider dumping a Shortfang or two as well. Bumping up to four Distresses and four Extractions means really putting the screws on your opponent, but unlike Tooth and Nail, you still really feel it if they topdeck and resolve the key card in the late game. You can’t Eradicate “sacrifice your team.” However, you’re at least better equipped to see that such a situation doesn’t arise in the first place and unless your opponent brings in Persecute on you, you will improve to win about half of the post-board games.

For environments heavy on Death Cloud decks, I’d add the last Okiba-Gangs and Shortfang to complement the discard-aggression style you take on once you’ve sideboarded and possibly even Honden of Night’s Reach for even more recurring discard. Persecutes of your own or Mind Sludge can also be useful in knocking off large swathes of cards, which this deck in particular is likely to have. This might sound a little odd, but because these decks lean so heavily on certain permanents, Avarice Totem isn’t bad either; you can take their Arena in response to a Death Cloud and if they play a Dragon, they have to spend the rest of the game taking it back from you or die to it themselves. However, since you would really want to run at least three and they aren’t that useful for other matchups (and even tend to lose some of their effectiveness against the green versions), this will probably remain a pipe dream. Frowns.


Against Ponza: -3 Okiba-Gang Shinobi, -3 Nezumi Shortfang, -2 Eradicate; +4 Lose Hope, +4 Distress

Whether Ponza will be highly-played isn’t really certain, but with the infusion of cards like Genju of the Spires and Sowing Salt, there are those who won’t be able to resist. Game one is a pretty simple affair since your removal spells are mostly pretty cheap and Night’s Whisper can help find extra lands. You can die as quickly as anyone to a turn 1 Slith Firewalker backed up by land destruction, but you at least have an out in Sickening Shoal. If they don’t have another threat, you may even survive long enough to get control of things. Your worst enemy is the Genju, since it just keeps coming back, but you are able to remove it many, many times if necessary (you might even splice something!), keeping you in the favored position.

After the board, you gain some good, cheap spells. Distress can pick off a Stone or Molten Rain before it gets a chance to be cast or finally put down a Genju of the Spires that’s been sent home and also can let you know if your opponent is packing Shrapnel Blasts you need to play around. More important are the Lose Hopes, which can cut down Firewalkers, animated Mountains and in some builds Blinkmoth Nexi. Some builds even run little Red men like Hearth Kami, who also falls to -1/-1. Be aware, Ponza may board out some of the smaller men against you for something like Pyroclasm, but they’ll still have the Genjus. Your cards put you very much in charge for games two and three, but if you think there will be a lot of this stuff out there, you could cut a few higher mana cost cards.

By this point you hopefully get the general idea, so I’m cutting off the detailed matchup section. The deck is fairly robust and can put up a good fight against any deck that doesn’t continuously take control of its creatures, and a simple sideboard like this can give you something to work with in every instance. For sideboarding choices against other, unlisted decks, use your best judgment, and modify the contents of the ‘board as befits your natural habitat. There may be other cards that I haven’t even brought up that you like – try ’em out.

I’m not sure if I expect some form of mono-Black deck to become a major contender, but as you can see, it does have game against most of the big dogs. Whether it can overcome the noted holes isn’t really certain, but I would liken it to playing Red Deck Wins in Extended – sometimes you hit Life in rounds one and two and you’re at the side drafts. Other times, the matchups fall your way and you coast all the way with your opponents cursing the bad luck that made them lose to “@#$*%ing rats.” As soon as any other deck dedicates a sideboard slot to it, I’ll consider it a success.

So there you have it. Rats are back. Now go forth and plague the world with your little vermin; it’s what they were born to do.

Signing off,

Andy Clautice

clauticea at kenyon dot edu