Looking For a Way to Break Through the Standard Meta? The Secret Ingredient is CRIME!

Discover how to dominate in Magic: The Gathering Standard format by incorporating these strategies. Learn why 'CRIME' decks might be your key to success.

Standard is becoming a place where it feels as if we are either going up against control, or we are going to play against aggro. With a recent Regional Championship winner playing a Gruul Prowess deck, it is evident that we will be in for a healthy dose of that for the time being. A lot of Azorius Control decks did really well in the event also, so we can reasonably assume that this deck will also be surging. You may have seen me playing a sort of "meta breaker" deck in Pioneer and Explorer with Mono Black Waste Not. I thought about how I could bring a similar effect to it, but with a deck that has more threats to commit to the board, as standard requires us to play a few more creatures since we are not getting them for free with a card such as Waste Not. I decided to make it a little bit more focused on crime, but still keep a central package of discard and general hand disruption. This deck is performing very well on the ladder in Standard, and I also used it to get a 7-0 clean run in the Standard Metagame Challenge. It seems to have legs, so I figured I would share it with you today.

Total Cards:

Deck Analysis and Key Cards

I had a friend tell me that I just threw all of the good black cards together into a deck and put it into the world. They're not wrong. All of the cards in this deck are awesome, and I like all of the choices. There isn't a ton that I would change about the deck, and I like the way that it has adapted from Explorer into this slightly more aggressive deck, but also one that still has plenty of discard spells. We have a relatively low curve of a 2.5 average CMC so that we can play a low resource game as needed.

Magic the Gathering Card - Liliana of the Veil - MTG Circle

It's nice to finally feel as if I understand how and when this card needs to put in work. The best way I've learned to think of it is knowing when we need the game to be low resource, and knowing when we need our higher mana stuff. The edict effect from Liliana never hurts, and opponents alway seem to go after her as soon as she hits the board. She is a great decoy for us to protect our life total, and sneakily build our board while we deprive our opponent of resources.

Magic the Gathering Card - Tinybones Joins Up - MTG Circle

I think this card is severely underrated. There are so many good black creatures in Standard that are legendary, and it makes it easy for us to gain extra value from this card being on the board, even outside of the ETB trigger that forces our opponent to discard a card. 

Magic the Gathering Card - Kaervek, the Punisher - MTG Circle

Kaervek continues to dominate in every deck that he is in. It is beyond easy to commit crimes with this deck, and we are able to almost use our graveyard as a second hand to cast spells Standard is becoming a place where it feels as if we are either going up against control, or we are going to play against aggro. With a recent Regional Championship winner playing a Gruul Prowess deck, it is evident that we will be in for a healthy dose of that for the time being. A lot of Azorius Control decks did really well in the event also, so we can reasonably assume that this deck will also be surging. You may have seen me playing a sort of "meta breaker" deck in Pioneer and Explorer with Mono Black Waste Not. I thought about how I could bring a similar effect to it, but with a deck that has more threats to commit to the board, as standard requires us to play a few more creatures since we are not getting them for free with a card such as Waste Not. I decided to make it a little bit more focused on crime, but still keep a central package of discard and general hand disruption. This deck is performing very well on the ladder in Standard, and I also used it to get a 7-0 clean run in the Standard Metagame Challenge. It seems to have legs, so I figured I would share it with you today.

Deck Analysis and Key Cards

I had a friend tell me that I just threw all of the good black cards together into a deck and put it into the world. They're not wrong. All of the cards in this deck are awesome, and I like all of the choices. There isn't a ton that I would change about the deck, and I like the way that it has adapted from Explorer into this slightly more aggressive deck, but also one that still has plenty of discard spells. We have a relatively low curve of a 2.5 average CMC so that we can play a low resource game as needed.

Magic the Gathering Card - Liliana of the Veil - MTG Circle

It's nice to finally feel as if I understand how and when this card needs to put in work. The best way I've learned to think of it is knowing when we need the game to be low resource, and knowing when we need our higher mana stuff. The edict effect from Liliana never hurts, and opponents alway seem to go after her as soon as she hits the board. She is a great decoy for us to protect our life total, and sneakily build our board while we deprive our opponent of resources.

Magic the Gathering Card - Tinybones Joins Up - MTG Circle

I think this card is severely underrated. There are so many good black creatures in Standard that are legendary, and it makes it easy for us to gain extra value from this card being on the board, even outside of the ETB trigger that forces our opponent to discard a card. 

Magic the Gathering Card - Kaervek, the Punisher - MTG Circle

Kaervek continues to dominate in every deck that he is in. It is beyond easy to commit crimes with this deck, and we are able to almost use our graveyard as a second hand to cast spells from. The value is unmatched, and our deck loves to incrementally gain value and resources to make it easier to lock our opponent out of the game, and swiftly attack for lethal with our threats. 

Magic the Gathering Card - Hostile Investigator - MTG Circle

This is everyone's new favorite black four drop of choice in multiple formats. Right now, due to the type of Mono Black deck that seems to work the best in Pioneer, Explorer, and Standard, this card is arguably better than Sheoldred, The Apocalypse. In a deck that wants to constantly generate value, we are able to get an instant three for one with this card upon ETB, whereas with Sheoldred, we have to wait until the draw step to get proper value. Even if the opponent removes our Investigator right away, we still came out on top in that interaction. That is why the card is so broken. 

Magic the Gathering Card - Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Temple of the Dead - MTG Circle

You will see some gameplay referenced later in the article where Aclazotz absolutely dominates in game three against domain. We like to put that out when the opponent doesn't have many resources, and we can possibly make it so that they can't hold cards, or so that we can draw extra cards. It turns into an instant value generator, and the lifelink allows us to either stay in games, or make a roaring comeback. 

The Staples Are Still Good

We still have our general removal package in this deck that many would run in Mono Black. Go For the Throat and Bitter Triumph are still awesome, and we love having cards to discard with Triumph because Kaervek allows us to re-cast them later. Duress going into the main deck is also helpful. There are a lot of powerful noncreature spells nowadays in standard that can be problematic, and sometimes it gives us the advantage we need to not drop game one. That can be huge for this deck, as it's record would suggest that it has a pretty healthy and effective sideboard. Sheoldred continues to be one of the favorites, as it is really hard for the card to be bad in any way. Having investigator to cast in front of it to eat up the removal is great, then we can drop our Phyrexian on the board as we begin to close out the game with our later threats. Having one main deck Path of Peril is also a helpful choice, due to all of the aggro decks increasing in popularity that I mentioned earlier. 

Gameplay Review

In the video referenced here, we are able to attack the hand of our opponent early on in games. Deep-Cavern Bat continues to be an absolute baller. We basically ended up having two non-games, but it was largely due to the fact that we took away the combo pieces from our opponent, and then developed and grew our threats while doing so. I think their mana base was also a bit iffy, but sometimes it's par for the course when playing a five color deck. 

In the video referenced here, we are able to come back for the win against Domain Ramp (This is the one I was telling you about where Aclazotz took over). In game one, I make a pretty poor decision - or take a big gamble depending on how you view it - and kept a two land hand with not a lot of action after the bat. I didn't die immediately, but the issue was that I was not able to get enough resources on the board before it got to the point that my opponent simply had too much mana and was drawing too many cards. After game one, we are able to bring in some extra duress, and we fully commit to attacking their hand, and making them play a low resource game with us. Domain does not want to do this, and they will use their best removal to deal with Liliana so that they are able to play the game that they want to. In games two and three, we are able to commit just enough threats to the board to force out their board wipes, but also keep Liliana at a point where she is dealing with their subsequent threats. After they are stuck top decking, we top deck Aclazotz, and the game quickly changes. Our creature was simply bigger than theirs, and even though they were able to remove it once, we had amassed enough life gain with Sheoldred to the point where we could take a couple of hits from them before our big guy was back and ready to swing. The opponent realized there was no way out, even if they had a sunfall, because Liliana was eventually going to be able to do her ultimate, so they end up scooping.

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.
logo

By joining our community, you can immerse yourself in MTG Arena gameplay. Watch matches, engage with content, comment, share thoughts, and rate videos for an interactive experience.

Follow Us

LATEST VIDEOS