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Thread: Mono Black "Survival"

  1. #1

    Mono Black "Survival"

    Back in the day when Survival of the Fittest was still legal and before Wizards printed Ioona and Vengevine people used that enchantment with Squee, Goblin Nabob, Genesis and Recurring Nightmare to recur and loop stuff like Boneshredder, Acidic Slime n other shit. I think a similiar approach could work with Phyrexian Reclamation which is probably a pretty underestimated cards outside of EDH. I know that people used do try out Tortured Existence with Krovikan Horror to emulate Survival in Black but that doesn't convince me because it was depend on two cards whereas Phy.Reclamation is good and undercosted on its own. Ever since Plaguecrafter was printed I thought about ways in black to make use of it with different engines such as Mimic Vat or Whip of Erebos but Reclamation seems better. Wizards has printed a lot of good black utility creatures in the past few years which Plaguecrafter is a good example for. Others are Dusk Legion Zealot, Eternal Taskmaster or say Minister of Pain / Night Incarnate. Due to Plaguecrafter the only real issue remaining for such a strategy are artifacts like Bridge but luckily due to stuff like Gray Merchant of Asphodel there are alternative ways of winning aside from plain combat. Another welcome trend for such a strategy that people seem to prefer stuff like surgical extraction as their primary GY-Hate nowadays and due to the instant-speed ability of Reclamation you can easily circumvent that. There is also a black Kolaghan's Command btw with Virtus's Maneuver.

    The list below is merely a theory-based first draft which makes the most sense to me on a theoretical level. Since I haven't settled my opinions and haven't considered everything I post the deck idea here to further develop it here hoping that someone else is interested too.

    17 Swamp
    3 High Market (helps to hide creatures from StoP, to get creatures in graveyard for looping and to gain back life from Reclamation)
    3 Wasteland
    3 Phyrexian Reclamation
    3 Eternal Taskmaster (alternative engine and good blocker early)
    3 Virtus's Maneuver (Kolaghan's Command)
    4 Dusk Legion Zealot (both Zealot and Rats are good early fodder for Therapy and good recursion targets or to curve nicely into Plaguecrafter)
    3 Ravenous Rats
    4 Plaguecrafter
    3 Minister of Pain
    3 Shriekmaw
    3 Gray Merchant of Asphodel (gain back life from Reclamation and alternative win con)
    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Inquistion of Kozilek

    4 Faerie Macabre
    X X
    X X
    X X

    Any suggestions are as always welcome!

  2. #2

    Join Date

    Sep 2011


    Re: Mono Black "Survival"

    Survival's greatest strength was "G, discard: Demonic Tutor. Repeat this ability as often as you want." The graveyard recursion loops were secondary, a way the deck could have lategame inevitability with few deck slots (because Survival can tutor for the tools). I wouldn't compare this to Survival.

    I love Phyrexian Reclamation, but I think the reason it doesn't see Legacy play is the 2-mana activation. Mana is precious in this format.

    You invest 3 mana and 2 life before you get a Raise Dead. At that point you still haven't impacted the board, just gone down a card (casting Reclamation) and then back up a card. You still have to cast the creature again before any of this has an impact on the game state. That could be a few turns and 5+ mana to get a body on the board, when Reclamation could have just been another creature instead. If you only get to activate it once, you're better off with Kolaghan's Command, Liliana, the Last Hope or another creature.

    To actually pull ahead in cards, you need at least 2 activations: an investment of 5 mana and 4 life, plus recasting 2 creatures. In other words, it's great lategame card advantage but bad tempo and bad short-term value.

    Tortured Existence seems more viable because of the cheaper activation. Not paying the extra mana and 2 life is a significant gain in tempo. Cards like Krovikan Horror and Squee, Goblin Nabob should fuel it.

    Otherwise, there are other recursion options: Recurring Nightmare in NicFit, Liliana, the Last Hope, Unearth, Volrath's Stronghold, Oath of Ghouls.

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