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By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Feb 10 2020 1:00pm
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In my ongoing quest to find the best deck for me to play in Pioneer, I felt like I couldn't ignore the deck that could very well be the consensus best deck in the format for a lot of people. So today, I decided to go through 2 leagues of Mono-Black Aggro. I've never been a best deck in the format kind of guy at all. I played Jund for a while when it was good in Modern but quickly started hating how prepared people were to the matchups compared to me. It just always felt like a disadvantage. But at that point, Modern had been around for 5 years. So, if at any point, I want to get into the most well-known deck of the format. It might as well be now because it's only a few months old.

So here is the list I played:

I don't know who's Mono-Black Aggro


Yeah, this list felt great. It sliced, it diced and just did everything nice. I fully understand why this is one of the top decks in the format now. The deck consistently plays well. I played 2 full leagues with it and went 6-4 between the two of them, losing twice to the mirror. This is always a good sign because it means that when you learn to play the deck better, you can notice a skill difference. So there's an excellent reason for learning it.

I had a bunch of draws where I just Thoughtseize my opponent, a bunch, and then put on some pressure. I had games where I just outgrinded them with Castle Locthwain, I had games where I had them virtually dead on turn 3 and definitely dead on turn 4. To my amazement, I even managed to grind out a UW control player with all the returning dorks. I had figured that matchup to be a total nightmare, but lo-and-behold it wasn't.

Which means this will actually be quite a hard article to write. I don't have many changes that I would make if I would make any at all. It would be due to my own personal metagame, and that doesn't have very much to do with your own personal metagame.

And that's a wrap for this week!

Oh, no, wait, that would be a very short article. I'll talk about some strategy instead.

What you want to do with this deck is just always curve 1drop into 2 drops.

But Rob!? What if I have 2 1 drops in my hand?

Okay, you usually play them in this order.

On turn 1, you play the Bloodsoaked Champion. It comes back anyway if it dies, so that's quite alright.

Just don't play the Knight of the Ebon Legion on turn 1, it's a huge target, and it's a shame if something would happen to it before you can pump it.

Whether you Thoughtseize or play a 1 drop first depends totally on the matchup. You need to decide that for yourself.

The deck isn't meant to grind but grinds better than you would think it does. There is a sneaky lot of recursion in here, and the mana base has a lot of sneaky advantages built into it. I once even had an opponent cast Bring to Light for 4 instead of 5 because he made double black with the Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. If that isn't skill gaming hard, then I don't know what is.

Moving along;

There are a few flex slots in the deck. I have seen the number of Dread Wanderer anywhere between 2 and 4, and I have seen the number of Aethersphere Harvester anywhere between 0 and 2. Decide what you want with information about your metagame. If there's a lot of Mono-Black aggro in your meta, play the harvesters. They are excellent against us.

About Rankle, Master of Pranks, don't go randomly clicking modes to do. I know drawing a lot of cards is excellent and life total is a resource, but maybe you should just slow down sometimes. If the game goes on with no one drawing a card, would you be more or less likely to win? It's an important question to ask yourself before you sell your life total to gods of drawing cards. Same thing for the discard. Don't let that Soulflayer player discard when he doesn't have to. And you can sacrifice your own dumb beaters when you want to and just bring them back. You really don't have to sac a Rankle, Master of Pranks or a Mutavault when you don't want to. I never had a problem finding anything to sacrifice for some additional value with this deck.

You need to keep track of what is in your graveyard every turn of the game. You don't want to lose a game because you forgot to bring back a Scrapheap Scrounger, Dread Wanderer or a Bloodsoaked Champion.

Aethersphere Harvester makes Bloodsoaked Champion and Scrapheap Scrounger able to block. Definitely, something that got my opponent the first time. Totally not me, not at all. No. Really, not me. Moving along.

Anyway, to round it out. If you want to play a consistently great deck and just crush the brews and the mana screw. And want to be capable of interacting with the green decks. This is the deck for you. While I still have a few decks that I want to go through before I start diving into the brews and the jank. This is definitely my current front-runner on what I would want to play and the first deck that I can honestly say. It's okay to buy into this, this deck is excellent. It can win any game on the back of just being aggressive, it keeps up with the green decks. It runs the best interaction in the format in Thoughtseize and Fatal Push. A ton of recurring threats, the mana base is consistent and draws you cards and runs 4 creaturelands without trouble.

Yeah, this deck has it all. Definitely, my current number 1 for right now. But as I said, I do have more decks to check out. So I'll see you next week in my search for a great Pioneer deck to play for me!