The Semidaily Blister: An Intellectual Exercise

If correctly built, a black control deck will smash a Zevatog deck and unfairly molest a KaiAtog deck; Trenches stands little chance, and it will beat on a blue/green deck such as Deep Dog and the likes as if it were demanding lunch money. Say, isn’t that the metagame?

So; Judgment is not far away, and my”pet deck” is not looking like it’ll gain anything much from the rotation that can’t help but happen on that first day of that there July.

If you’re in the habit of reading my diatribes on a regular basis, you’ll know that the deck in question is black control with fewer critters than a sterilised lump of lumpy stuff.

Now before I go on, I feel I need to address something Zvi said just recently – apparently he believes that black control is reasonably terrible in the current environment, and because it gains nothing from Judgment other than better enemies, it can therefore be considered dead.

Well, ner ner na ner ner!

I guess I should give up, then, if the almighty Zvi says that. But maybe I should just consider my Constructed record with black control in the last two months first. By crikey! I’m 11-2, with the two losses being a mirror match, and some awful three-color Psychatog thing with both Probes and Plagiarizes. I’m beginning to think these”good players” are actually doing more theorizing that actual playing. For instance, Alan Comer, a known collaborator of the Zvi cabal, mentioned that he felt that black control could no longer compete in a field where it could be targeted with Deep Analysis to avoid an Ensnaring Bridge lock.

Pifphil! I say, pifphil and garsnookul.

Because I can.

Surely if being the recipient of some Deep Analysis would cause you to have too many cards in hand, and the ensuing attack would somewhat kill you, you should make sure you’re playing with some way of discarding cards at an instant-like speed? Gee, what could black play that could do that…

(Cough! Zombie Infestation Cough!)

And that’s just one idea. The deck is very versatile in that you should be playing four Diabolic Tutors to search up any useful cards like that Infestation thing, or maybe just a Haunting Echoes or a Corrupt or something.

If correctly built, a black control deck will smash a Zevatog deck, and unfairly molest a KaiAtog deck. Trenches stands little chance, as black control can force through an Engineered Plague too easily. It will beat on a blue/green deck such as Deep Dog and the likes as if it were demanding lunch money, and it will go toe-to-toe with an aggressive green/red deck quite nicely thank you. I have yet to beat black control in testing with CMU Opposition.

Well shoot if that ain’t the metagame in a paragraph-shaped bag?


Black control is dead.


As anyone would, I may as well list my current black control list, and feel free to laugh heartily at the sideboard because it’s so good, it can run a single Last Stand for laughs.

(And for a very cool”lose two life for each Swamp I control”-type effect.)

(Oh, look, that appears to be around seven swamps – take fourteen!)

4 Duress

4 Innocent Blood

4 Chainer’s Edict

4 Phyrexian Arena

1 Engineered Plague

4 Diabolic Tutor

3 Mutilate

1 Mind Sludge

1 Haunting Echoes

1 Mirari

4 Corrupt

1 Planar Portal

1 Aladdin’s Ring

2 Soul Burn

3 Cabal Coffers

22 Swamp (Unglued, of course.)


3 Ensnaring Bridge

2 Crystal Quarry

1 Legacy Weapon

1 Last Stand

1 Zombie Infestation

1 Haunting Echoes

1 Mind Sludge

1 Engineered Plague

1 Mutilate

1 Disrupting Scepter

1 Millstone

1 Skeletal Scrying

And sure enough, the above list has very little to gain from Judgment.

(Loads MODO to scan through the available cards…)

Other than Cabal Therapy, which seems wasted when you can’t flash it back, and Guiltfeeder, which just feels less than optimal, really, the only other thing that leaps out at me is either Mirari’s Wake or Phantom Nishoba off a Crystal Quarry – and they’re just a bit gimmicky, really.

(Cough! Last Stand Cough!)

Ah, shaddap!

(Although I am considering playing a Pernicious Deed off a Quarry one day, because of its ability to deal with black control’s nemesis – that of a Zombie Infested Compost.)

So the deck gains nothing; so what? That doesn’t mean it can’t be tweaked to take on all new contenders anyway. But what are they? It’s very difficult to determine without some kind of tournament results around to help you out. What you need to do, is engage in what I like to call an”intellectual exercise.”

(Well, maybe you won’t need to, because I’ll have a go at it for you.)

First of all, what is it that your deck does? (What does it want? It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again – Editor Lecter) Black control seeks to gain control of the early game by asking players to sacrifice creatures to the left, and to the right, and maybe by giving them all –X/-X a bit. Once this initial rigmarole is over, a black control deck should have quite a bit of black mana in play, and with any luck an Arena el-Phrexi-arn. At this point, the deck will either attempt to recoup its lost life in the form of Soul Burns and Corrupts, or if it suspects that some conniving blue deck will try to counter those life buffers/victory conditions…

(Isn’t it great? I’m just looking to gain some life, and my opponent goes and ends up on zero!)

(It’s a win/win situation.)


(Sorry, a very bad pun, I know.)

…It will go to many lengths to deprive said blue deck of said counters by either removing them from their hand in a Mind Sludgish kind of way, or removing them from the deck in a Hauntingish kind of way…

(Way, way, way…)


(That was the Echoes…)

(Oh enough of the bad puns!)

And then, it’s twelve to the nose, or multiple activations of Aladdin’s Sawn-off. So, that is how a game will go if everything goes to plan for a black control deck.

The next step is to determine what the other decks are gonna try to do, and then figure out if that cramps the style of black control.

So, in the vein of the quite entertainingly good and funny Geordie Tait and his Daily Shot…

(Link it up, oh Ferretty one!)

… I shall attempt to perform this Intellectual exercise on an almost daily basis until I’ve thunked up some newish decks that utilise Judgment, and tweaked some old ones so I have a better Idea on how I should change my beloved black control deck for the better.

So check back tomorrow-ish and see how I’m going, because at the very least it’ll be funny watching me try do this while marking 60+ different assignments at the learning institute I teach at!

(For some reason, I’m beginning to feel a bit like Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar-azar…)

(Well, a bit like Jay Moldenhauerower-Salazarazar-azaradoo if he were about to lose his job at a learning institute because he didn’t finish his marking in time…)