All your dreams are about to come true.
But before we get to that a thought experiment.
Consider this very obviously biased and unrealistic B/R deck:
The plan of this deck may not be immediately obvious to you. It simply seeks to kill every creature. I tested it a couple of times—excruciatingly painful not just for my opponents but me mind you—and I must say that it is very good at killing all creatures.
I don't really want to spend infinite time on this because this isn't a real deck (nor "the" real deck of this article) but it actually has some interesting elements that you can add to your toolbox for some future brewing.
1. More-sies - More-sies is an advanced (and relatively seldom-invoked) deck design concept that was first advocated by 1998 Writer of the Year Eric Taylor. More-sies states that some decks just have "more" [something] than other decks and therefore other decks can never really beat them. A good example would be Battle of Wits (244-card combo-control deck) against any fair creature deck.
The B/R Thought Experiment invokes more-sies by both having more removal than most decks have threats and in addition has "natural card advantage" by playing nineteen lands. Natural card advantage is an advanced deck design concept last talked about at all in 1997 if memory serves. It states that decks with fewer lands necessarily draw action at a greater rate than decks with more lands (which should be obvious).
So for example this deck might not have any card drawing but at the point that you are playing a Divination or Amass the Components (itself a draw) to go two-for-one the efficacy of that might be blunted in that 1) one of the cards you just drew is a relatively blank island and / or 2) you aren't killing me with the other card anyway as I might have only just drawn one card but it kills whatever the action card you have left is.
2. Strategy - The only real way to win in this deck is with the one Elixir of Immortality. Basically you play it the turn the Delver player is tapped for his Delver or you play it with thirteen or so lands in play so you can pay for all of his Mana Leaks if need be. But anyway the other guy is playing all Ponders and Gitaxian Probes and—because you are so rogue—won't realize who he should be pointing his Thought Scours at.
An interesting game might be your ~six burn cards against all of a green deck's Green Sun's Zeniths. I think that would actually be very interesting (provided you don't accidentally lose to Garruk) where you draw action every ten cards and he eventually draws action never (and you are simultaneously Liliana-locking him). "Interesting" by the by ! = fun.
The deck is not only very biased (does only one thing: kills creatures) and not at all realistic (cannot in all likelihood beat a deck that is not trying to kill you with creatures and in fact has serious issues with planeswalkers even in "creature" decks) but in terms of killing creatures? Like I said it is very good. And it is not so much a "deck" as a thought experiment remember!
Here is an example of one of the admittedly few matches I played with the deck:
(More extensive vids of the actual deck I am advocating this Flores Friday—including against "Delver"— next week per usual.)
Now please keep in mind (for the nth time) that this is just an illustration of what a deck might do or be able to do. It is just here to prove a point before we make all of your dreams come true (and we will please trust). There are a large number of [actual] decks in the metagame; "most of them" simply try to beat you with creatures. Half the decks that were played at the most recent SCG Invitational were some sort of "Delver." I chose my removal cards very distinctly to beat "Delver."
Almost every legitimate guy in Delver is a small 1/1 2/1 2/2 or 3/2; so you not only can kill many of them with a meager Tragic Slip but you can get value on a Whipflare. Your Whipflares are in particular awesome against Geist of Saint Traft (where you can kind of "freebie" them) but between Whipflare Geth's Verdict Tribute to Hunger and Liliana of the Veil you have roughly a bajillion ways to kill Invisible Stalker and the aforementioned Geist of Saint Traft.
But wait—there's more!
You have ~ten main deck Terrors to kill the card Restoration Angel. Will the Delver opponent sometimes get two-for-one on you? Undoubtedly. He is blue. But unless you fall badly behind a Moorland Haunt without a Nihil Spellbomb to your name or you don't leave back enough Whipflare action you simply have more-sies.
Your deck has nineteen lands and 38 cards that kill creatures. That is way more removal than your typical opponent has "stuff" in his deck. Stuff that does stuff I mean. Even if you have to kill every guy twice (because of Moorland Haunt) you should be able to do it before they kill you to death. Lots of their cards don't do anything that matters to you. Gitaxian Probe? Congratulations; I have a hand full of removal spells. Ponder? That makes you a bit deeper on the decking. Thought Scour? Might be one less spell I have to deal with.
Unless you let it their Mana Leaks aren't ever going to do anything.
And this is the best deck in the field!
I would have played 100 matches against Delver to prove my point but you can probably tell from the Zombies match I posted how those would have gone in all likelihood provided I didn't drive myself to quitting Magic forever.
I tried to play a mix of Terrors that mitigated the downsides of the various Terrors + allowed for efficiency swaps (all of them kill Restoration Angel and Primeval Titan equally well) but you can see from the Zombies matchup that even with a massive number of "dead" Terrors (Doom Blade does literally nothing but jumps into the bin for Lilly and Victim of Night over the course of three games only ever targeted a Mortarpod Living Weapon) there is so much removal in this deck that even an essentially all-creatures deck with eight free rebuys can't keep pace. Decks with fewer creatures?
Now I joke that a deck like this is quite biased (obviously is) and unrealistic but maybe for some metagames it isn't. Jamie Wakefield and Aaron Breider in older days of Magic both won PTQs playing decks that could not beat certain (even popular!) types and stripes of decks. They just played in enough events that they eventually could get to (and through) a Top 8 without hitting a respective nemesis archetype. If Shaheen Soorani doesn't play at your FNM and your opponents are all MGA G/R Jackie Lee Mono-Blue Delver (I actually <3 the new Mono-Blue Delver with Inkmoth Nexus quite a bit) and other fast and focused offensive creature decks... You can probably X-0 to easily take the nightly cup.
Again in that vid I was playing against—at least in terms of creature decks—about the worst nightmare possible in terms of creature decks and managed to last through. The deck even has buffer capabilities via Sorin's Thirst and Victim of Night.
If I had it to do over I would play four copies of Liliana of the Veil; I have never played a nineteen-land "fair" deck before and didn't really know how I could stretch the game out so I could play and use my Lilly to such good effect; as you saw one of the main ways a creature deck can put pressure on you is with Liliana of their own.
Again two things:
- I am not claiming that this is the best deck of all time or anything (but against a super focused metagame with relatively few rounds—like you might face tonight—it very well might masquerade as Innovator Dragonstorm) and
- It's unrealistic because there are other decks in the metagame than "just" fast creature decks.
Okay now it's time to make all your dreams (and nightmares for some of you) come true.
I think that most of you probably buy into the idea that you can make a deck of all removal and a deck of all removal is very effective against a deck that [just] tries to kill you with small creatures; and if you play the right removal (Whipflare and the Edicts general in our example) you can even get around hexproof stuff like Geist of Saint Traft and Invisible Stalker.
The question is: can we make a slightly different kind of deck that plays the same kinds of principles but doesn't lay down for a non-creature permanent?
The answer unequivocally is yes.
Most of you have never had the experience of playing a deck that is 70% or 75% or 90% against the field. Believe me there are decks that easily run the tables and put everyone playing them for one day only often into Top 8 like clockwork. They are often short windowed but amazing while they are good. (Incidentally the thing that made Caw-Blade the best of all-time was its ability to sustain percentage against the field long after it was no longer a surprise).
Others among you are forum trolls who answer every article with "I have this Mono-Black Control deck that..."
[You can finish that however you like; I assume most of you have read forums.]
It turns out that you can play a super awesome super powerful deck that maintains a lot of the value of the nineteen-land / all-removal deck while being able to not only crush creatures but compete with and even dominate powerhouse decks; a con-fusion of actual expectation and the MBC-loving slavering of forum trolls!
Here is the one I am recommending (possibly short window remember!):
"You really just have all the colorless lands don't you?"
Now while this deck doesn't have 38 removal spells it can kill lots of creatures; it would (almost obviously) also annihilate the B/R deck heads-up offering an offensive plan that is exactly what the B/R deck can't beat (planeswalker overload).
In fact the combination of a consistent removal suite and a powerful end game around battlecruiser-class planeswalkers makes it superb against many control decks. There are a good number of Solar Flare / Esper Control type decks (e.g. Pascal Maynard's eight Sun Titan + Phantasmal Image deck with no counterspells) that can never win. These decks aren't fast so they can't exploit a slow mana draw. No matter how bad your draw is you should be able to Terror a Sun Titan come turn 6. They have no counterspells so you can kill all their guys and set them up with Nihil Spellbomb to blunt their Sun Titan rebuys and auto-resolve your Lilianas and Sorins and Karns; you have more-sies on 'walkers relative to Oblivion Rings.
… And that is the opposite end of the metagame!
You are simply deadly against creatures. Your stuff isn't as fast as the B/R deck; your "creatures" matchup will be weaker...but still strong. Best of all you can't be as easily annihilated by a competent repositioning sideboard. Many decks that roll over to the B/R Thought Experiment can just out-sideboard it or find a different plan (you can make a case for sit there + Mental Misstep). Not gonna happen against this Mono-Black (which has in fact a more powerful high-end plan than the vast majority of Standard decks).
Plus (and this is where certain trolls can rejoice)... Mono-Black Control is not only good... It is probably one of the best decks in the format.
You have a strategic advantage over the vast majority of decks. That is your interactive plan against their Plan A (as-is) is simply advantaged. Your Plan A is (with rare exception) much better than theirs when fists come a-flyin'. And dollars to donuts you have more-sies.
All the Weird Stuff This Deck Can Do:
As I have been trying to hammer into your heads since "The Problem of Equality" the capability of decks is essentially defined not by card advantage but by how much you can get out of your mana base. This MBC commands a surprising amount of utility for a single color deck.
You might have to mulligan a bit more than you like as this deck has sixes and sevens and only 22 lands. However it has a powerful cantrip base that allows it to play as a ~26-27 land deck. I am not sure exactly how to count the mana base as in addition to the Nihil Spellbombs that it shares with the B/R Thought Experiment it plays a Wellspring package. Mycosynth Wellspring isn't a two-mana cantrip per se... It is more of a Swamp cycling spell. But you can't really call the deck base-25 as you have two lands in your opener (a necessary catalyst for Mycosynth Wellspring) less often than a true 25-land deck. Grok?
Anyway you may or may not see the Wellspring engine.
One of the models I work against quite often and go back to every time I can find an excuse to do so is Caleb Durward's B/U deck from my first SCG Open Series in the SCGLive booth (all removal "making Snapcaster Mage into Bloodbraid Elf"). The disadvantage of Mono-Black versus B/U is that B/U has Think Twice and Forbidden Alchemy and Mono-Black doesn't have two-for-ones.
… Or does it?
A fairly common play is to run out Mycosynth Wellspring on turn 4 with three lands in play gather your Swamp and pass with Swamp and Phyrexia's Core open. You can Doom Blade / Go for the Throat if need be; or you can sacrifice the Wellspring and draw another card at the end of the opponent's turn if you don't have to.
Buried Ruin is in the deck primarily as a low-cost setup for sideboard card Elixir of Immortality; that is your deck is set up to play a 40-turn game with all your Swamps in play (or occasionally in the graveyard) winning with planeswalkers... You can certainly run the risk of being decked by Nephalia Drownyard. One Elixir of Immortality and two Buried Ruins give you three shots to playing out of that in a long long game but you get regular old Buried Ruin utility in game 1 if need be.
Probably my favorite use of Buried Ruin in my testing so far was to get back the one Mimic Vat (previously KO'd by Acidic Slime) when I had Phyrexia's Core in play and Solemn Simulacrum in hand. Obviously Solemn Simulacrum made up for the lost land drop fairly quickly but later I had the chance to actually sacrifice my Solemn Simulacrum copy tokens every turn. Not only did I get the Thaw (and block!) I could actually draw another card per turn.
My only regret is that my opponent conceded the game after only three turns of not getting in; I was really hoping for something like Thawing out all my Swamps followed by restarting the game with his Wolfir Silverheart in play or some such.
Plus the deck gets to play with Druidic Satchel!
The deck really does need to have some two-for-one action in order to keep pace with the card advantage of other decks (even given its robust level of creature removal); though I think you can make the case for only one Satchel and running an eight-pack of Wellsprings (would also balance the 22 lands a little more conservatively).
The deck plays a ton of creature removal and the intention is to play lots of stuff that can eke out some extra value. I wanted to play Life's Finale to get some extra more-sies out of the deck but honestly Barter in Blood has been much more impressive so far. I think I would swap the numbers on those two-and-one rather than one-and-two main. One Black Sun's Zenith so you can draw it over and over (of course).
I think if you try it you can have a good chance of crushing it given the shape of the metagame today.
No deck is invincible.
Even Rising Tinker wouldn't have been invincible if people wanted to play nothing but Disenchants in its era (luckily for Bob and Jon they didn't). This deck has both more-sies against creatures (if not the pure CMC advantage of the B/R Thought Experiment) and knockout power against even powerful decks (and again there are a fair number of viable control decks that can never beat it)...but it can be out-midranged.
You have literally no chance against a Tezzeret deck. They have the same plan as you but also a Jace-class draw engine. It's literally the mirror match except they have a Jace that either Impulses every turn or makes 5/5s. While you are not a particularly threatening threat deck you usually have enough dudes (and planeswalkers) to fight control decks' planeswalkers. But the Tezzeret matchup is again the mirror...except they can make 5/5s to defend while out-drawing you.
You have no huge advantage over Birthing Pod decks. I have won a little less than half my matches against Birthing Pod decks and most of the wins included the opponent being mana screwed or a lot of painful decisions that turned out well from my part. The problem with Birthing Pod decks is that they can step-The Rock you with incremental (and mana saving) two-for-ones every turn and all you can really do is Terror their guys to slow down their step-up (but that is no real plan long-term when all they are doing is drawing creatures). It is like fighting a deck of mostly Mulldrifters with a deck of mostly Pillar of Flames. Pillar of Flame technically kills Mulldrifter but...
One Last Question:
"Not one month ago you told us to never play The Rock. Isn't this deck just..."
When I said I was going to make all your dreams come true that included [presumably my] nightmares.
I am quite confident that this deck is capable of winning big tournaments.