Saturday, 24 December 2016


It`s always humbling to start writing about something you think you know about, only to do some research and learn about a) how it actually works and/or b) how to improve on your original design. Today’s deck happens to be a great example of this, as it had to undergo several changes before finally looking the way it does. I think a common misconception among MtG players is that we can group decks under broad strategic categories: aggro, control and combo. There is certainly a logic to doing so, but it doesn’t really describe how a deck works. For example, there are numerous ways to control an opponent – land destruction, hand disruption, counter magic, et cetera. Anyway, it’s because of this that I decided against naming today’s deck by its generic title of Mono Black Aggro, instead going by its other name(s) Suicide Black or Sui.

After such a lengthy introduction, I think it is only fair to delve a bit into what I was referring to. Here is an original draft paragraph I had written for the deck: “I had originally put 1x Hatred in the deck as a sort of homage to the old Suicide Black decks, but the card itself can also win you games. While the cost of 5 mana might seem high, with the rituals and the role the card plays in the deck, as a 1-of I think it`s a fine addition – perhaps even in the mainboard.” Now obviously, the card itself happens to be very important to Sui. Why? It allows you to win on a very fast clock. As you can see in the finished version, the card became a 3-of in the mainboard and one of the key win conditions of the deck. Learning things is neat.

Originally the deck had 8 pump knights in its creature base. I found that the knights, combined with Nantuko Shade, just made the board way too mana hungry and so removed them. In their place, I added another cheap threat that didn’t require mana investment once cast – Rotting Giant. I also added 4 Vendetta to help clear the path for the creatures who land, instead of just adding other efficient beaters that you don’t really want to draw later on. This is supposed to be an efficient threats’ deck, not an Elf-style one.

Speaking of efficient beaters, the [fellow] MtG history nerds among us may have noticed an omission from the deck. The truth is, I was never a fan of Phyrexian Negator despite it being a staple in Mono Black aggro decks. Even with Sarcomancy being a `free’ sac outlet for Negator, Lightning Bolt and other creatures are just so prevalent in the format that I don’t think Negators are worth playing. That doesn’t even factor in drawing them later on..

Speaking of which: the long game. Sui generally tries to avoid the long game, but the inclusion of Grinning Demon, Nantuko Shade and Bad Moon can help you win if the game goes a bit longer than hoped. Try to avoid this though as other decks certainly have an advantage if they are able to withstand your initial assault and stabilize the board.

I think one of the important things to remember when designing Sui is to stay focused on being aggro. You should not be trying to jam in a bunch of answers for your opponents - they should be the ones trying to find answers to you. With that in mind, there are a plethora of playable cards for the deck, so choose the ones that suit you best. Happy Brewing!



7 Swamp
1 Lake of the Dead
7 Fetch lands
4 Wasteland

Total: 19


4 Carnophage
4 Rotting Giant
3 Nantuko Shade
4 Hypnotic Specter
2 Grinning Demon

Total: 17


4 Dark Ritual
4 Sarcomancy
4 Duress
4 Hymn to Tourach
3 Hatred
4 Vendetta
1 Bad Moon

Total: 24


4 Tormod’s Crypt
4 Smother
2 Gate to Phyrexia
1 Innocent Blood
1 Hatred
2 Engineered Plague
1 Cabal Ritual

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