How Did the Theory Crafting Deck Perform? How is Standard Doing?

Analyze the impact of a newly theory crafted deck on MTG's Standard format. Explore performance reviews and how the Standard meta evolves in response.

Checking in on Mono Black, and Standard

We are two weeks into the digital release of Murders at Karlov Manor, and the meta has certainly seen some changes due to these new cards. This begs the question: Did it get better, or worse? Some might also wonder: How did that Mono Black Deck that Numbskull theory crafted end up doing? We will sort out both of those inquiries today.

Mono Black Win Rate and Standout Cards

So far this season, we have cruised to a sixty-four percent win rate with Mono Black in standard on Arena. The deck required a bit of tuning in the first few days, but I have now taken it into numbers as of the time of writing this article. The newest version has a sixty-nine percent win rate (nice). While Hunted Bonebrute was a fun card to mess around with at first, and even ended up being the finisher in a few matchups, the disguise mechanic proved to be a tad slow, and it was unfortunately not able to prove itself to be better as of yet compared to the other powerful three mana creature spells at our disposal. I opten to replace it with Preacher of the Schism. Vein Ripper is everything we thought it would be and more. It heavily influences any game with the hefty ward cost of requiring creature sacrifice to target it. Due to the triggered ability of Vein Ripper being so good, it also caused Deadly Cover-Up to exceed our expectations as well. The collect evidence options is great too, as it allows for a built-in Necromentia effect as long as one of the targets is in the opponent's graveyard already. It's important to note that the effect doesn't have to only hit creatures, as you can also exile any card from the graveyard, then remove all copies from the deck and hand as well. This even includes creature lands.

One card that has proven to be an auto-include in almost any deck that even splashes black is

Magic the Gathering Card - Deep-Cavern Bat - MTG Circle

This card is so transformative because it almost always forces a bad trade of resources to retrieve the card that was taken from the opponent. It also never hurts to have an evasive creature pinging for one in the air each turn, and gaining us life at the same time. If the opponent does decide to use removal on that card, it frees up a pathway for the higher mana cost creatures in the deck that turn into our win conditions. Even if they do get their card back, we have most likely messed up their curve and are likely ahead on board for the game.

State of Standard

Standard appears to mostly be in a good place as of now. We have a few archetypes that have emerged into the meta and proved themselves valuable. Boros convoke/aggro has improved.

Magic the Gathering Card - Warleader's Call - MTG Circle

is an absolute powerhouse in that deck, and can lead to some turn four victories if left unchecked. There is also a low-to-the-ground Golgari deck that is more viable as well.

Magic the Gathering Card - Insidious Roots - MTG Circle

allows for this archetype to thrive. It's always nice to see multiple archetypes that are good within the same two colors of a deck type. Five Color Domain is still a thing, but it seems to have been toned down a lot. The resurgence of aggro decks are making it a bit less viable. A lot of control decks are also running creatures either in the main deck or in the sideboard. Azorius and Esper control now often run Chrome host Seedshark. It's refreshing to see a control player cast a creature spell sometimes. Especially when we have all of the removal that we need in our deck.

Mono Black's Positioning in the Updated Standard Meta

Now that we know what's out there, and what is still relevant, how do we stack up against everything?

Total Cards:

The sideboard has experienced a few updates since the initial list, and we have it pretty well tuned. The deck doesn't have too many bad matchups. Control continues to be an issue and we do still drop the occasional aggro matchup due to the fact of how fast the decks can be. Although these matchups aren't always a breeze, they are almost always managebale, and we are able to stay in the fight. Rakdos Discover can also be a difficult matchup, as sometimes they are simply able to build up their board too quickly after we resolve a board wipe. The matchup usually feels fifty-fifty, but they are certainly capable of out-valuing us.

We have graveyard hate, mass removal, and countless ways to make opponents lose tons of life. Having access to four Deep-Cavern Bats in the main deck allows us to attack the hand of our opponent in any game. Having a good win rate on the play is also helpful, as we are often able to sideboard very smoothly in many matchups when we know that we will be on the draw the next game. When we have the draw, we take out two Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor and the two Fanatical Offering. This allows us to bring in Graveyard Trespasser, and other removal spells to hopefully gain some card advantage by making our opponent discard cards to remove the Trespasser, while casting cheap removal spells of our own to deal with their threats. It's a nice position to be in, and is a fine way to gain card advantage after boarding out draw spells. The sideboard also has Pithing Needle, which has been absolutely stellar in certain matchups where we know the opponent's biggest threat is The Wandering Emperor. Trust me, there is attacking with all creatures against blue white control while having a Pithing Needle in play that shuts down the Emperor is a different level of liberation.

We have a week or so left in the season, and so far this list has me into the numbers while playing in mythic. We will see where things end up. It is entirely possible that Mono Black could earn us some play-in points on Arena, or even a Qualifier Token!

I am a Magic The Gathering competitive player, and streamer. I specialize in homebrew decks. My favorite formats are: Standard, Pioneer (Explorer on Arena), and EDH. I first started playing MTG in 2001, and have played on and off since then.