For literally years, the idea of Mono-Black Control has been one of the most popular archetypes, both in casual and competitive circles. Some trace the archetype back to Cabal Coffers and Mutilate, but in reality, ever since the dawn of Magic and the printing of Drain Life, the idea of playing nothing but Swamps has been beloved. Generally, the archetype falls short in the tournament-success department, but there is hope!
Last weekend, Phillip Johnson took Mono-Black Control all the way to a Top 8 finish at the StarCityGames Open in Seattle. The deck is packed to the brim with many of the same things that have always been associated with Mono-Black: mana acceleration, removal to the brim, and beefy finishers—ranging all the way up to good old Griselbrand—cast the hard way. Phillip put many underplayed cards to use, such as Increasing Ambition, which was often thought of to be too expensive. Then again, with three copies of Karn Liberated in his deck, a Griselbrand, and four additional six-drops, Phillip clearly thinks five is more than acceptable!
The fact that this list was able to put up a performance in the current metagame is especially inspiring due to the information we have from Magic 2013. Mutilate is being reprinted and the four-casting-cost sweeper has always been crucial to the archetype, whether that be Damnation or the original Mutilate. And since you are playing with all of those Swamps anyway, why not try out the newest of Lilianas: Liliana of the Dark Realms! This will sure to be a smash at Friday Night Magic around the world!
Phillip Johnson's Mono Black Control
Standard – Top 8, StarCityGames Open, Seattle, 6/30