Card Game

Mono-Black Control Deck Guide - Crimson Vow Standard 2022

Mono-Black Control stands firm as a strong option in a meta ruled by aggro if you prefer playing slower. It’s a bit bland as it lacks any exciting mechanics. However, its “back to basics” nature and board control gameplan make it an ideal choice for those who enjoy frustrating their opponents.

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By Yannis

January 20th 2022

Mono-Black Control stands firm as a strong option in a meta ruled by aggro if you prefer playing slower. It’s a bit bland as it lacks any exciting mechanics. However, its “back to basics” nature and board control gameplan make it an ideal choice for those who enjoy frustrating their opponents.


In our deck guide, we’re going to take through Mono-Black Control’s card choices and strategy to help you get a leg-up over the competition.





The decklist in this guide is an updated version of the one in our previous article. It includes Sorin the Mirthless, whose card draw has proven to be a great addition to Mono-Black Control’s strategy. The addition of a Soul Shatter gives it an extra edge against giant creatures and Planeswalkers. Some lists include Duress, but we’re sticking to the Sorcery’s we already have.


Main Deck

  • Planeswalkers (8)
    • 3 x Sorin the Mirthless
    • 2 x Professor Onyx
    • 3 x Lolth, Spider Queen
  • Creatures (9)
    • 4 x Eyetwitch
    • 3 x Shambling Ghast
    • 2 x Skullport Merchant
  • Sorcery (8)
    • 2 x Hunt for Specimens
    • 2 x Inscription of Ruin
    • 4 x Blood on the Snow
  • Instants (7)
    • 1 x Soul Shatter
    • 2 x Infernal Grasp
    • 4 x Deadly Dispute
  • Enchantments (4)
    • 4 x The Meathook Massacre
  • Lands (24)
    • 14 x Snow-Covered Swamp
    • 4 x Field of Ruin
    • 2 x Hive of the Eye Tyrant
    • 4 x Faceless Haven



  • 2 x Environmental Sciences
  • 1 x Containment Breach
  • 2 x Mascot Exhibition
  • 1 x Confront the Past
  • 1 x Necrotic Fumes
  • 1 x Duress
  • 4 x Go Blank
  • 2 x Power Word Kill
  • 1 x Pest Summoning



Mono-Black Control Gameplan


Advantage generation is the name of the game with Mono-Black Control. Almost every card in this deck can produce enough value that allows you to snowball your advantage, whether it’s from a single turn or cyclically through your Planeswalkers.


At worse, you can rely on cards that can jump in as creatures, such as Faceless Haven and Hive of the Eye Tyrant to whittle your opponent’s life down. They can be especially good when you have enough mana to clear the board with The Meathook Massacre, then follow up with your creaturelands to apply pressure or even outright finish the game.


Key Card Analysis


At the initial stages of the game, you have two objectives: develop the board and your mana. Early cards like Eyetwitch and Shambling Ghast work great at delivering on both of these objectives. The former can bring in Environmental Sciences for some extra lands while the latter can give you a Treasure Token. Combining these with Deadly Dispute means you’ve got cards and Treasures for days.


Your ultimate goal is to bring your Planeswalkers into the fray to generate card advantage, which is your primary win condition. All three of them are capable of providing you with a solid hand, thus forcing the opponent to answer or suffer the consequences. Even still, Blood on the Snow can bring your Planeswalkers back from the graveyard and directly into play.


The Meathook Massacre is included chiefly as a board sweeper, but its life steal and gain passive abilities aren’t something to sneeze at, especially when combined with Skullport Merchant.


Starting Hand & Mulligan


Mono-Black Control needs to start its games with low-cost cards. Turn 1 Shambling Ghast into turn 2 Deadly Dispute is particularly strong because you end up with two Treasures. Following up with a turn 3 Lolth, Spider Queen is the best-case scenario to hope for as it’s hard to answer her though not impossible. Cheap removal like Infernal Grasp and Soul Shatter is also decent in your opening hand. You can also keep any Planeswalker except for Professor Onyx due to her mana cost.


When choosing to mulligan, your rule of thumb is having mana and cards to play in the first few turns. Since this deck is monochromatic, you don’t have the worry of being mana screwed due to color issues. However, you do run into the danger of your cheaper cards becoming stacked towards the late game, which will place you on the weaker side of things. Overall, the mulligan is pretty straightforward.



Matchups & Sideboarding


Your sideboard is primarily designed to feed the main deck with Lessons. There are, though, cards that you can use against particular decks if you’re playing Best of 3.


vs. Mono-White


Sweepers are your primary defense against this game, save for blocking with your creatures. Taking out Inscription of Ruin for two Power Word Kills should help keep things in check until you can start using Meathook Massacre.


vs. Mono-Green


Same problem as Mono-White. You don’t have good spot removal to control this deck’s growing army. Even though it’s a bit slower than White, you’ll still want to rely on sweepers. Subbing two Power Word Kills and an Infernal Grasp for Sorin and a copy of Hunt for Specimens and Inscription of Ruin should help even things out more.


vs. Izzet Dragons


The dragons are the most problematic cards in this deck. As such, they’re tough to make sideboard decisions while also ensuring you can still deal with big mana spells. This is why you’ll need to remove three Meathook Massacres and three Blood on the Snows for four Go Blanks and a single copy of Duress and Infernal Grasp.


Final Thoughts


Mono-Black Control isn’t the flashiest of decks. However, it gets the job done while making you feel pretty dominant when the gameplan works out. It’s not a prohibitively expensive deck to build, either.

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cover game

Magic the Gathering: Arena

Genres: Strategy, Free to play, All Games

Platforms:AndroidiOSMac OSMicrosoft Windows

Developers: Wizards of the Coast

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast

Release Date: 2018-09-27

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Mild Language
Mild Violence
Mild Fantasy

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