The Jank Corner – Mono Black Tomb

Hello everyone, and welcome to the second installment of The Jank Corner.  Today we’re going to be looking at a deck built with Desecrated Tomb, a card I’ve been super excited to brew with since it was first released.  Originally, I had this built as a Red Black list, with cards like Cathartic Reunion and Tormenting voice to get recursive threats into the graveyard that can trigger Desecrated Tomb.  However, after looking over the options, I came to the conclusion that it would be better by just using those small recursive threats to power out larger threats, or just to protect the larger threats.

The namesake card of the deck, Desecrated Tomb, has the potential to be a very strong card.  The only real downside to its ability is if multiple creatures are removed from the graveyard simultaneously it only triggers once. Therefore, a card like Scavenger Grounds would only result in one bat.  Luckily it is easy to build the deck around this shortcoming,  playing cards that return one at a time, cheaply.  Multiple threats can provide ridiculous results, as we’re able to create lots of bats simultaneously.

Mono Black Tomb
Designer: Isaac Mallette-Lloyd
Lands (24)
20 Swamp
Ifnir Deadlands
Creatures (22)
Dread Wanderer
Scrapheap Scrounger
Reassembling Skeleton
Demon of Catastrophes
Torgaar, Famine Incarnate
Yahenni, Undying Partisan
Bontu the Glorified

Instants and Sorceries (6)
Fatal Push
Vraska’s Contempt

Other Spells (8)
Desecrated Tomb
Rite of Belzenlok

Sideboard (15)
Yahenni's Expertise
Fatal Push
Vraska's Contempt
Cast Down
Doomfall
Liliana, Death's Majesty
Liliana, the Necromancer

Looking at our recursive threats, it makes sense to start by highlighting our one drop, Dread Wanderer. Having a one drop, that can come back from the graveyard is very important in our deck because, often, the most explosive start we can have involves getting threats like wanderer out fast and sacrificing them to power out an even bigger threat.  The main disadvantage of Dread Wanderer is that it can only return to the battlefield at sorcery speed.  The one or fewer cards in hand clause doesn’t come into play often since we’re usually playing out our hand quickly.

Moving through the mana curve, our next recursive threat is Scrapheap Scrounger. Scrapheap Scrounger is unique in this deck due to its ability to trigger Desecrated Tomb twice, once from the activation cost of exiling another creature from your graveyard, and once from its retun to play.  With multiple tombs in play, this allows us to make 4 or more bats for only 2 mana which is a great return for such a low investment.  Usually, Dread Wanderer should be the card we exile with the ability, since it is the weakest recursive threat.  However, if one of our larger threats has been destroyed, we can exile them instead.

The final recursive threat, Reassembling Skeleton, is the best in the deck. Sacrificing it early to power out a larger spell is a painless plays since we can return it for two mana.  If we need to make bats late game to close things out we can sacrifice it and return it multiple times.  The skeleton’s ability also makes it an ideal candidate for a chump block.

When it comes to late game threats, Demon of Catastrophes is easily our best, costing only four mana for a 6/6 with flying and trample. The “downside” of having to sacrifice a creature isn’t a downside at all in our deck since we want to get the recurring creatures into the graveyard for bats. Demon of Catastrophes is likely the best finish in our deck and even if it does get destroyed, it exiles to bring back the Scrapheap Scrounger that we sacrificed to cast the Demon initially.

The Rite of Belzenlok is another intriguing card in this deck.  I’m a big fan of Sagas, which I view as mini-planeswalkers that activate a different ability each turn for no additional mana investment beyond its casting cost. Rite of Belzenlok is no different, with all of its stages creating tokens.  Stages I and II both create two 0/1 cleric tokens, which can act as chump blockers or be sacrificed to Demon of Catastrophes, or the Demon created by stage III.  However, the Demon token can help generate bat tokens with Desecrated Tomb by getting our recursive creatures into the graveyard because the Demon token requires you to sacrifice a creature at the beginning of your upkeep or take six damage.

Our final late finisher, Torgaar, Famine Incarnate, comes in the form of a legendary creature that can do multiple things for the deck.  When Torgaar comes into play, he sets a players life total to ten.  Considering how easy it is to cast Torgaar on turn three by sacrificing other creatures to reduce his cost, the 7/6 body becomes a serious clock for your opponent, and a card they must answer. Torgaar’s life setting ability is also a great asset against life gaining decks. An often-overlooked part of this ability is the fact that it can reset your own life to ten as well which can turn the tide of a game where your opponent is on a fast agro deck.  Sacrificing a few creatures that can come back, to go back up to ten, while also being able to return the sacrificed creatures to play, can help to stabilize the board.

One of the dangers this deck faces, is having its recursive threats, but not having a way to get them into the graveyard to make bats. To make sure we have a way to get creature into the graveyard, its imperative to play some sacrifice outlets. Yahenni, Undying Partisan provides a ton of utility in this deck.  Having the ability to sacrifice a Reassembling Skeleton and get it back, triggering Desecrated Tomb on repeat is game changing.  This loop is a great late game mana sink and provides board advantage.  Yahenni becoming indestructible by sacrificing a creature allows the deck to survive sweepers and rebuild quickly.

The decks other sacrifice outlet is Bontu the Glorified.  The power of the Gods from Amonkhet has already been made apparent, especially when the conditions can be used as an advantage rather than a drawback.  Bontu’s block/attack condition is not only easily satisfied in this deck, but can help further the decks advantage.  While, as a sacrifice outlet, it falls slightly behind Yahenni because the ability costs two mana, it makes up for it by allowing you to scry 1.  The life gain and drain from his ability can also provide reach in games that would otherwise stall out.

For removal, the deck plays three Fatal Push for the early game, and three Vraska’s Contempt for the late game.  Saving the removal spells for flyers can especially important, with eight of our finishers being 6/6 flyers.  The life gain provided by Vraska’s Contempt can also help us survive against agro decks, and its ability to remove planeswalkers is very important, as they are one of the main weaknesses of this deck.

The mana base is incredible simple, consisting of 20 swamps and 4 Ifnir Deadlands, just to add a little bit of extra removal if necessary.

 

In the sideboard we get three copies of Yahenni’s Expertise to help with the agro matchups.  The fourth copies of both Fatal Push and Vraska’s Contempt and three copies of Cast Down allow us to play more of a control game in tougher matchups.  The sideboard also gives access to a playset of Doomfall, to be used against control. Liliana, Death’s Majesty helps us fill our graveyard while creating blockers when needed. Liliana, the Necromancer allows us to return one of our finishers from the graveyard against heavy removal decks.

 

That’s it for this edition of the Jank Corner.  I hope everyone enjoys Mono Black Tomb, and, as always, Good Luck and Good Game.