My brother plays a Mono-Black standard-format deck against me often. He has some big threats in there like Phyrexian Obliterator, Sheoldred, Whispering One and Lashwrithe as well as many cards with phyrexian mana to fuel his rage extractors. Smaller creatures I see all the time are Porcelain Legionnaire and Vault Skirge. In addition to that he has some discard spells for control. I don't have his exact deck list but that's what I am facing all the time.

The main idea is to stall me as long as he needs to get his threats out and overwhelm me in the end. This works really well against most of my decks and compete almost on even ground against my strong decks like "elves", "tempered steel" and "solar flare". His weakest match up at the moment is against my GW-Token deck, similar to this one, except that I have 4 Oblivion Rings in the main deck and no Timely Reinforcements.

What should he put into his sideboard to be able to compete against this deck? I would suggest some Ghost Quarters to deal with Gavony Township but this still leaves him with the problem of Shrine of Loyal Legions, Intangible Virtue and Elspeth Tirel which he usually has no real answer to. Especially when I use my Oblivion Rings on his threats it is game over.

Which Mono-Black or Phyrexian-Mana spells can address this problem in Standard (Scars - Innistrad - M12)?

  • 1
    Oblivion Ring, the bane of any deck playing against it
    – DForck42
    Feb 14, 2012 at 17:21

4 Answers 4


Black Sun's Zenith and Ratchet Bomb can help gain some time and clear the way for his creatures to hit.

If the planeswalkers and the Shrine are still a problem, Hex Parasite should really help fix that!

You can also look at Pro Tour Honolulu deck lists for inspiration. I'd recommend you to watch Jasper Johnson-Epstein's mono-black deck tech — deck list can be found here (search for his name).

  • 1
    Ratchet Bomb really does work wonderfully against tokens. Feb 14, 2012 at 13:56
  • After seeing Honolulu T8 I am srsly considering maindecking ratchet bombs for the forseeable future :)
    – Affe
    Feb 14, 2012 at 23:51

Proven answers:

  • Ratchet Bomb: against Tokens, this is a one-sided sweeper; you can also ratchet it up to destroy cards like anthems or O-Rings.
  • Black Sun's Zenith: a regular ol' sweeper.
  • Curse of Death's Hold: great weenie hate, although somewhat ineffective in this anthem-happy format unless you can actually deal with the anthems.
  • Ghost Quarter: kills Inkmoths and utility lands; I'd maindeck these if you plan to run them, unless you're already got Inkmoth Nexus watering down the colors in the maindeck; almost every Standard deck has lands you want to kill, though.

Niche cards:

  • Sever the Bloodline: like a more limited Ratchet Bomb against decks that tend to just have one type of token, but it does double as spot removal in a pinch.
  • Hex Parasite: kills planeswalkers (also Illusions), keeps Shrines (of Burning Rage, but also Loyal Legions) in check; could probably be maindecked.
  • Surgical Extraction: a niche solution, but it fixes "I can answer this once but it's gonna suck if my opponent finds another one"; much better if you're playing Snapcasters or hand-peeking cards, though.

Some popular options (besides those mentioned by @rahzark) are as follows:

  • Sever the Bloodline - exiling all of the tokens of one type (with flashback!) is pretty nice, especially if they're your only fliers and he manages to get a Vault Skirge with Lashwrithe.
  • Curse of Death's Hold - getting this if you don't have an Intangible Virtue pretty much ruins your day, but otherwise it's a pretty expensive cancellation of said Intangible Virtue. Nonetheless, it's probably worth sideboarding anyway because of its effectiveness in the current meta.

Another option is Corrosive Gale - however, it's pretty specific, and doesn't really work well enough given that Lingering Souls has flashback and your threats can be of the flying or non-flying variety.

If he's willing to splash red, he does have a few more options, but that is a big commitment (especially if he's running things like Obliterator):

Given all of this, I'd say Sever the Bloodline is actually the best option outside of Black Sun's Zenith and Ratchet Bomb.

  • "Especially if he's running things like Obliterator" -- I'll say! "Slagstorm deals 3 damage to each creature; also, you sacrifice three permanents" is not a good plan.
    – Alex P
    Feb 14, 2012 at 14:28
  • @AlexP hopefully that would get sideboarded out if Slagstorm was necessary. Obliterator is great and all, but he's not really useful against tokens. Feb 14, 2012 at 14:33
  • Actually I think Obliterator is a million times better. It can kill a Planeswalker really fast and make the opponent sacrifice several tokens. You shouldn't be playing a BBBB creature in a red/black deck, though :p
    – rahzark
    Feb 14, 2012 at 14:43
  • Ah, and it's not Midnight Haunting that has flasback! That would be Lingering Souls.
    – rahzark
    Feb 14, 2012 at 14:47
  • @rahzark the whole idea of tokens is a massive number of pumpable creatures that are easy to get out, though - with the flashback on Lingering Souls and Elspeth's -2, they'll be able to recover from that fairly easily. Feb 14, 2012 at 14:49

Despise is a great early card that can potentially remove some big threats

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .