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By: jinx_talaris, Nicholas Anson
May 03 2007 2:55pm
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by Nick Anson

Hi there and welcome to the newest installment of Black Magic.  Last time I came at you with a mono-black standard deck featuring Roiling Horror.  Since then, I have been doing some extensive testing with different splashes of color to see if theywould help the deck withstand more of the online metagame competition.  Here's the new list:

B/W/R Roil Pain by Nick Anson

Lands (21)

4 Flagstones of Trokair
2 Godless Shrine
2 Sacred Foundry
1 Blood Crypt
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Boros Garrison
1 Rakdos Carnarium
Orzhov Basilica
3 Swamp
3 Plains

Other Spells (25)

4 Wrath of God
3 Damnation
3 Mortify
3 Faith's Fetters
3 Hide/Seek
1 Consume Spirit
1 Debtors' Knell
4 Lightning Helix
3 Phyrexian Arena

Artifacts (4)

1 Boros Signet
1 Rakdos Signet
2 Orzhov Signet

Creatures (10)

3 Martyr of Sands
4 Firemane Angel
3 Roiling Horror


Sideboard (15)

2 Detritivore
3 Honorable Passage
3 Sacred Ground
3 Sulfur Elemental
3 Tormod's Crypt


As you can see, I added red and white to the mix.  When I decided to stray from the mono-black build, I had to remove some key players form the deck.  Those included: Temporal Extortion because of its quadruple black mana commitment, Soul Spike because of the unreliability of its alternate casting cost with the absence of a pure black hand of cards, and Tendrils of Corruption because it only becomes consistent in the presence of Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth when the land count has to compensate for two more colors.

The Strategy

The idea is simple: keep the board clean while elevating your life total above your opponents'.  Seven wraths and ten things of spot removal keep the board nice and tidy while swinging your life upward to support a nice fat Roiling HorrorHide/Seek is awesome tech in this deck.  Seek is definitely the more favorable play because not only does it get rid of one card that would help your opponent ruin your day, but it also gains life at the same time giving "Syphonzilla" the power he so desperately craves.  Hide is not at all a bad choice however.  It provides extra maindeck enchantment removal along with Mortify and maindeck artifact removal, something most decks don't have. 

In the second round of each match, expect your opponent to save something up for Roiling Horror if he had a turn in the spotlight as your win condition the first round.  That's where Firemane Angels step up along with consume spirit as some back up.  Also, you can use Roiling Horror to lure a lot of attention in order to make a nice opening for your angels.

The Match-ups

Dragonstorm-  This is usually a favorable matchup.  There is plenty of lifegain to keep you out of the one turn dstorm search and burn range and board sweepers to cut it off.  The second round in this match-up gets a little trickier especially if your playing an experienced player.  Most likely, they will not go for the full storm and instead bring out one dragon at a time and back them up with counter magic.  If this is the case, stay on top of the tug-o-war of life and don't walk blindly into counter magic.  Honorable Passage is a nice answer to a Bogardan Hellkite anyday and if you think you have a chance at racing the "one dragon at a time" player, put in Sulfur Elemental to put the heat on early.


Go ahead...

Wrath of God

make my day!

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

HA!  No suspend cards for you!

Roiling Horror

(I hate that guy sooo much.)

Dralnu du Louvre-  Ick.  Control v. Control matches are never fun and this is almost always going to be an unfavorable matchup.  Your spells will have a lot of trouble sticking to the board and unlike its mono-black brother, this deck does not have sudden death to deal with Teferi.  The only time you want to suspend a Roiling Horror in this match-up is when you need some uncounterable damage and life gain.  Unfortunately, it just isn't enough for the most part.  After sideboard, you get an uncounterable threat with Sulfur Elemental which is nice to put Dralnu on tilt.  Detritivore eats away at Dralnu's manabase but usually comes a bit too late in the game.

Gruul Beats-  Aggro is almost always a favorable for a control deck, especially one so heavily packed with mass removal.  A slow hand is almost a sure loss though.  Two land, a signet, and a wrath is definitely a keeper.  Siding in Honorable Passage would probably be the only change I would make for the second round to ensure some protection early on if Gruul gets an ultra fast draw.

Mono-red Boourn-  This match-up is cake for Roil Pain.dec .  You can usually get your opponent to overextend into a Wrath of God or Damnation in the first round and prevent him from refueling with lifegain for his Browbeats.  The second match, if they are even the slightest bit experienced, they will not overextend and toss threats out one at a time.  Phyrexian Arena comes very handy for this, establishing major card advantage to keep you ahead in life and let Roiling Horror swoop in for the kill.


Price at the pump is 5 damage.

Martyr of Sands

All I got is 30 life...is that enough, sir?

Mono-black Rack-  This can get tricky.  Disruption is not kind but luckily three colors has a lot of resiliency to Persecute.  On the other hand, it doesn't matter how many colors you're running for Stupor and Ravenous Rats to hurt.  In order to stay ahead in life, card advantage is key.  Hope for an early Phyrexian Arena and DO NOT let Bob stay on the board for more than one turn.  During sideboard, swap out the three Faith's Fetters for the Sulfur Elementals to ensure something gets on the board instead of going straight from your hand to the grave.

Izzetron-  Tron is another pain in the rump like Dralnu.  Roil Pain.dec loathes counter magic.  After sideboard, Detritivore can come in and get a nice meal but if tron comes online beforehand, don't expect him to do too much. 


Ah ha!  There you are!

Mystic Snake

U/G Tron-  This match-up is not nearly as troubling as its U/R twin.  Seek will be your MVP, able to weed out the powerful one-ofs and cripple their plans.  Experience "Cell" players will still be a challenge, however.  Repeal becomes their MVP, usually saving their Thelonite Hermit from being damned.  If you do get the early Seeks, make sure you get that lone Mystic Snake.  It will only cause you frustration late game from Chord of Calling.

Next time, I'll be coming at you with some more deck ideas and maybe some beef jerkey (if you're lucky).  I'll try to participate in some more tourneys (player run and sanctioned) and give you all some insight on the new Future Sight when it hits MTGO.  Until then, have fun slinging those digital cards!


by thescale99 at Fri, 05/04/2007 - 12:44
thescale99's picture

This deck is a beast – and I mean that in a good way. My clan mates know what I fan I am of B/W/R control, and this deck has it all - removal (no explanation needed), flexibility ( Hide/Seek, Martyr, Knell), card advantage (WoG, Damnation, Sulfur Elemental), pace (short game Helix, Martyr, Mortify, Hide/Seek…long game Firebrand Angel, Rolling Horror, Knell) and sideboard tuning. Now, I love my MTGO just as much as the next guy, but I have to say that this deck is a bit out of my league price-wise. Other than that, however, it’s awesome!

by Lord Erman at Thu, 05/03/2007 - 17:24
Lord Erman's picture

I will not say much because you already know that I was expecting this article for a long time and that I'm a huge fan of this deck and that I'm already playing it :)))). Also from my own experience I can tell you that Dralnu is not invincible as long as you can Seek their Extirpate. Firemane Angel's ability to return to game is the key to victory. And just like you, I have Sacred Ground in the sideboard but even so, LD is the worst match up for the deck, even worse than Dralnu. Good article(and I said that I will not say much, eh?!).

by runeliger at Fri, 05/04/2007 - 01:55
runeliger's picture

I would definitely argue against adding Sacred Ground's to the sideboard just because there's definitely a school of thought out here which really believes this one true statement.... a 2 mana enchantment won't really stop an aggro deck from taking over. Add signets if you're in trouble.

Good article.

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