“Why would anyone want to pay BBBB for a Phyrexian Negator? Oh wait!”
The Phyrexian oil has leaked, and New Phyrexia has been revealed. A recent spoiling of epic proportions has left us with all 175 cards of New Phyrexia.
What does this mean for the great readers of StarCityGames.com? Well, this means that some of the greatest minds that StarCityGames.com has to offer
will go to work, providing you with the scoop on how New Phyrexia will impact every format of Magic: The Gathering. Oh, and I will be doing that too.
I may not be one of the best, or even close, but I do know a thing or two about the game we all love. I’m here today to answer the question that many
people have been asking, “Is mono-black a viable strategy with the addition of New Phyrexia?” My answer to this is yes, but with Jace, The
Mind Sculptor around, can black really dominate a format filled with swords and birds?
Let’s take a look at four cards from New Phyrexia that will change everything:
This card is a house, period. Remember when Phyrexian Negator was the bomb? Well, Phyrexian Obliterator is the better Negator. Unfortunately, Dark
Ritual is gone, and turn 1–2 is out of our reach, but I’m okay with making them sacrifice permanents two turns behind schedule.
Hmm, what do you get when you take Extirpate, drop split second, but add the ability to be played in any color and even when you’re tapped out?
Well, you get a card that will impact almost every format. Legacy has a split second version but for only black. This card will most likely be used in
a lot of Legacy decks that don’t have access to black.
In Standard, this card beats some of the best decks in the format. Hey, Valakut player, I just removed your Primeval Titan, and now you never get
another one. Oh, nice Jace, the Mind Sculptor I made you discard; let’s get rid of all of them. This card is great and can have many applications
in many formats.
Third on the list:
Standard is a tricky format, and just like any other, there is aggro, and there is control. Imagine a discard spell that was good against both. Now,
sure we have Inquisition of Kozilek, which takes swords and small creatures, but it doesn’t take Jace, the Mind Sculptor. With Despise, we can grab
Jace, Gideon, Stoneforge Mystic, Koth of the Hammer, Squadron Hawk… well you get the idea. Despise is an all-around decent card, and I strongly
recommend giving it a try if you disagree.
I have saved the best for last:
Remember Nightmare Lash? This is that, except it comes equipped for you at the cost of one more life per extra equip. I don’t know about you, but
that seems like a pretty good trade off to me. Okay, so turn 4, I play a 4/4 creature. Pass. Play Jace, the Mind Sculptor, I dare you! Another bonus is
that you can equip this card the turn you play it for a measly four life. I can go on and on about this card, but let’s move on to the decklist.
Mono Black Control
Here are some explanations on card choices:
Grave Titan – In my opinion, Grave Titan and Sun Titan are the two best Titans in the value department. They may not be the actual
“best,” but they leave a lasting effect on the game if they die or get bounced by Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
Wurmcoil Engine – This card beats aggro head on. Game one, a resolved Wurmcoil Engine easily means game over for the unprepared opponent. We only
really need one to end a game, but we may find the necessity for more if the aggro matchup is that bad, which I doubt it will be.
Inquisition of Kozilek – An obvious inclusion, this card reigns as the current best discard spell in Standard.
3 to 1 split on Go for the Throat and Doom Blade – In this meta, and predicting this deck’s problems, I prefer Go for the Throat over Doom Blade,
but this is where our sideboard comes in. An extra Doom Blade or two in the sideboard can easily help us in games 2 and 3 against heavy artifact
Gatekeeper of Malakir – Against a lot of decks, making them sacrifice a creature while simultaneously putting out a blocker can be devastating
Vampire Nighthawk – This card helps us get ahead against a lot of decks, which also means letting us painlessly wait for a Grave Titan or
Black Sun’s Zenith – Everywhere but Commander, I love Wrath of God effects. This card may not play that exact role, but at worst it can be
a three-mana sorcery that kills Squadron Hawk and Lotus Cobra. Even early game, this card can wipe out many creatures, stopping Red Deck Wins, Boros,
or Caw Blade.
Disfigure – In an environment that consists of two major things, ramping with Lotus Cobra and suiting up Squadron Hawk with a sword, Disfigure
can completely shut down any hopes an opposing deck may have for an early game.
Sign in Blood – This deck plays a lot of incomplete playsets of cards, so having access to a draw spell can be very helpful in both the early and
Tumble Magnet – Simply put, it shuts down Squadron Hawks with weapons, manlands, Gideon Jura, Titans, and many other things that lose value from
being tapped down. One of my favorite plays with Tumble Magnet is to end-of-turn tap down your opponent’s Tumble Magnet. This allows you to
connect with your own Grave Titan, Wurmcoil Engine, or Lashwrithe.
This deck just wants to sit with removal, then play one of its threats, then just sit there again. It consists of three types of cards—removal,
discard, and bomb creatures. Not too difficult to comprehend, but this deck has true power. It’s still constantly changing and might need some
improvements, but for now, I really like the deck. The disruption and raw power that New Phyrexia adds to black is unbelievable. The sideboard is still
in the lab but will include more cards from New Phyrexia and maybe even a Liliana Vess or two.
At my local game store, I have a couple of friends that will be proxying up decks with NPH, so I will soon begin testing. The one flaw I can see this
deck having is the potential inconsistency. This deck does play a lot of cards as two-ofs, and Sign in Blood sits as our only draw spell. Hopefully
this problem will either not exist or be slowly fixed with a few improvements. Maybe moving one Liliana Vess into the maindeck will help.
Some notable exclusions are:
Mimic Vat – This card is good and might even find its way into the board, but against Caw-Blade, it can ineffectual, especially given their lack
of removal and large creatures.
Abyssal Persecutor – This card is great, but we aren’t trying to be aggressive, and even though we play a lot of removal, I hate the fact
that we need some kind of way to kill it once it has done its job.
Nantuko Shade – We have a pretty good curve, and we don’t really have any extra mana each turn to leave hanging.
Duress – We already have six discard spells, so Duress was excluded and might be thrown into the sideboard. I feel that both Despise and
Inquisition of Kozilek are just plain better in this current Standard environment.
Thank you for reading, and I strongly recommend giving this deck a try. Lashwrithe is a true monster, so get them before they skyrocket in price. I
would love to hear what you wonderful readers have to say in the forums, both about the deck and the article in general. I always have room for
improvement and criticism, so let me know. Make the most out of this tremendous leak, and have a good time at your local Prerelease… I know I