• Magic: The Gathering
  • Magic: The Gathering Online

Which game do you want to buy from?

How to Buy at a Glance

  • 1. Search for items
  • 2. Purchase via PayPal or CC
  • 3. Receive items in the mail
    (usually in less than a week!)
Want Magic prices from CardShark.com on your Mobile device? - Try the Decked Builder app

CardShark Content - Vincent Lovaglio (12/5/2003)

Before Mirrodin was released everyone said that Mono Black Control would leave Type II with Odyssey Block. Then we saw the Mirrodin spoiler. “What are these people thinking?” we asked. A Drain Life
Drain Life
Drain LifeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Drain Life does 1 damage to a single target for each B spent in addition to the casting cost. Caster gains 1 life for each damage inflicted. If you drain life from a creature, you cannot gain more life than the creature's current toughness.
and a Disk on steroids? We all knew that MBC was back and would dominate the metagame for the next year.


Then, E-League had its first Mirrodin legal tournaments, and MBC was one of the big winners. Of course our dark favorite was hosed by Karma
Karma
KarmaSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
During a player's upkeep, Karma does 1 point of damage to that player for each swamp he or she has in play.
, but it beat everything else. Right?


Wrong. In between those first tournaments and States, the Affinity craze began. At first, writers told us of their lists that included Vedalken Archmage
Vedalken Archmage
Vedalken ArchmageSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
0
Toughness:
2
Text:
Whenever you play an artifact spell, draw a card.
and Atog
Atog
AtogSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
0: +2/+2. Each time you use this ability, you must sacrifice one of your artifacts in play.
. Affinity then began to evolve. It no longer played Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.
s and Assert Authority
Assert Authority
Assert AuthoritySet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
30
Artist:
Greg Hildebrandt
Text:
Affinity for artifacts (This spell costs 1 less to play for each artifact you control.) Counter target spell. If it's countered this way, remove it from the game instead of putting it into its owner's graveyard.
. It had a set of artifact lands and the most versatile mana base in the game...and it knocked Mono Black Control to the ground.


Then came the States results that we all were so eager to examine and build our new gauntlet. We looked, and looked, and looked. MBC did not have 5 Champs wins, nor did it have 4, nor 3, nor a measly 2. Mono Black Control only took 1 State Championship.


So you ask me, “If MBC won only one State Championship, why do you even consider putting into your gauntlet?” It has potential my friends, potential. It is the only deck in the format that can draw five cards in one turn, deal 20 to your opponent’s dome, and back it all up with solid removal and discard effects.


Now, the question is, “How will we make Mono Black Control the Tier 1 deck that everyone thought it would be?” We must evolve, just like every other great deck must.


My first thoughts took me to black’s angry and raging cousin, red. Yes, the land of the barbarians and little green men can give black some help against its two horror matches. It provides second turn land destruction in the form of Shatter
Shatter
ShatterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Shatter destroys target artifact.
and wrecks white with Flashfires
Flashfires
FlashfiresSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All plains in play are destroyed.
. After several sideboarded games of testing against Affinity and U/W Control, I felt that the red splash just didn’t cut it. I had to look to black’s other family member, blue.


We all remember the days of Standard Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
wrecking our hopes and dreams with an Upheaval
Upheaval
UpheavalSet: Odyssey
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
113
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Return all permanents to their owners' hands.
floating 3. During the Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
era, blue was the main star featuring effective countermagic and great card drawing. Now, we need it to take a supporting role as it is black’s turn to shine.


After numerous games of testing, I have found that the blue splash is quite effective. It provides us with March of the Machines
March of the Machines
March of the MachinesSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
42
Artist:
Ben Thompson
Text:
Each noncreature artifact is an artifact creature with power and toughness each equal to its converted mana cost. (Equipment that's a creature can't equip a creature.)
that destroys all of Affinity’s artifact lands and Mind Bend
Mind Bend
Mind BendSet: Mirage
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
Change the text of target permanent by replacing all instances of one color word or basic land type with another. (For example, you may change nonred creature to nongreen creature or plainswalk to swampwalk.)
that sends Karma
Karma
KarmaSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
During a player's upkeep, Karma does 1 point of damage to that player for each swamp he or she has in play.
right back at the opponent by making it deal damage to players controlling Plains
Plains
PlainsSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add W to your mana pool.
.


Here is what my testing showed when I played 10 sideboarded games each with the normal MBC and the one with the blue splash against U/W Control and Affinity.


I used a fairly standard MBC list. Here it is:


22 Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.

2 Stalking Stones
Stalking Stones
Stalking StonesSet: Tempest
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Stephen Daniele
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.6: Stalking Stones becomes a 3/3 artifact creature permanently. (This creature still counts as a land.)



4 Oblivion Stone
Oblivion Stone
Oblivion StoneSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Sam Wood
Text:
4, T: Put a fate counter on target permanent. 5, T, Sacrifice Oblivion Stone: Destroy each nonland permanent without a fate counter on it, then remove all fate counters from all permanents.

4 Barter in Blood
Barter in Blood
Barter in BloodSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Each player sacrifices two creatures.

4 Terror
Terror
TerrorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Buries target creature. Cannot target black creatures or artifact creatures.

4 Consume Spirit
Consume Spirit
Consume SpiritSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Artist:
Matt Thompson
Text:
Spend only black mana on X. Consume Spirit deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.

2 Extrapanar Lens
4 Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic TutorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
129
Artist:
Rick Farrell
Text:
Search your library for a card, and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

3 Mind Sludge
Mind Sludge
Mind SludgeSet: Torment
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
70
Text:
Target player discards a card from his or her hand for each swamp you control.

4 Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian ArenaSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
47
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

4 Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn SimulacrumSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a graveyard from play, you may draw a card.

1 Visara the Dreadful
Visara the Dreadful
Visara the DreadfulSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gorgon Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
179
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying. T: Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.

2 Promise of Power
Promise of Power
Promise of PowerSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
74
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Choose one|You draw five cards and you lose 5 life; or put a black Demon creature token with flying into play with power and toughness each equal to the number of cards in your hand as the token comes into play. Entwine 4 (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)



Against Affinity
Please note that I only played sideboarded matchups.
I boarded in Dark Banishing
Dark Banishing
Dark BanishingSet: Ice Age
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Drew Tucker
Text:
Bury target non-black creature.
s in place of the Terror
Terror
TerrorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Buries target creature. Cannot target black creatures or artifact creatures.
s. Not too exciting.
The Affinity player boarded in 3 Persecute
Persecute
PersecuteSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Choose a color. Look at target player's hand. That player discards all cards of the chosen color.
and 2 Temporal Fissure
Temporal Fissure
Temporal FissureSet: Scourge
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
53
Artist:
Edward P. Beard Jr.
Text:
Returen target permanent to ower's hand.
Storm
. Very exciting.
This sideboarded match is almost an auto-loss for MBC. If you try to deal with their creatures, they will Persecute
Persecute
PersecuteSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Choose a color. Look at target player's hand. That player discards all cards of the chosen color.
you and steal your hand. If you try to hold back on a big Consume Spirit
Consume Spirit
Consume SpiritSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Artist:
Matt Thompson
Text:
Spend only black mana on X. Consume Spirit deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
, they will hold their counters and set your up for a big Temporal Fissure
Temporal Fissure
Temporal FissureSet: Scourge
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
53
Artist:
Edward P. Beard Jr.
Text:
Returen target permanent to ower's hand.
Storm
.
After 10 games against Affinity, the match was 7-3 in Affinity’s favor.


Against U/W Control
I boarded in Persecute
Persecute
PersecuteSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Choose a color. Look at target player's hand. That player discards all cards of the chosen color.
s to hopefully steal is Karma
Karma
KarmaSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
During a player's upkeep, Karma does 1 point of damage to that player for each swamp he or she has in play.
. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen much and I was often time just run over by the Karma
Karma
KarmaSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
During a player's upkeep, Karma does 1 point of damage to that player for each swamp he or she has in play.
. The best bet in this match is to wait until the U/W Player drops Karma
Karma
KarmaSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
During a player's upkeep, Karma does 1 point of damage to that player for each swamp he or she has in play.
so you will hopefully be able to drop an Oblivion Stone
Oblivion Stone
Oblivion StoneSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Sam Wood
Text:
4, T: Put a fate counter on target permanent. 5, T, Sacrifice Oblivion Stone: Destroy each nonland permanent without a fate counter on it, then remove all fate counters from all permanents.
to counter it.
After 10 games against U/W Control, the match was 6-4 in U/W’s favor.


After seeing these horrible game 2 and 3 matchups against the two most popular decks I knew how MBC must change.


I added one March of the Machines
March of the Machines
March of the MachinesSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
42
Artist:
Ben Thompson
Text:
Each noncreature artifact is an artifact creature with power and toughness each equal to its converted mana cost. (Equipment that's a creature can't equip a creature.)
as a silver bullet against Affinity in place of a Terror
Terror
TerrorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Buries target creature. Cannot target black creatures or artifact creatures.
in the maindeck. I also added three Marches to the sideboard and added 4 Mind Bend
Mind Bend
Mind BendSet: Mirage
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
Change the text of target permanent by replacing all instances of one color word or basic land type with another. (For example, you may change nonred creature to nongreen creature or plainswalk to swampwalk.)
s as well.


I also had to adjust the mana base to accompany the blue splash. I dropped five Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.
and added 4 Polluted Delta
Polluted Delta
Polluted DeltaSet: Onslaught
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
321
Artist:
Land
Text:
T, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Polluted Delta: Search your library for an island or swamp card and put it into play. Then shuffle your library. Rob Alexander
and an Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.
.


MBuC Against Affinity
This match is much better for you. Dropping an Oblivion Stone
Oblivion Stone
Oblivion StoneSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Sam Wood
Text:
4, T: Put a fate counter on target permanent. 5, T, Sacrifice Oblivion Stone: Destroy each nonland permanent without a fate counter on it, then remove all fate counters from all permanents.
the turn before the unexpected March of the Machines
March of the Machines
March of the MachinesSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
42
Artist:
Ben Thompson
Text:
Each noncreature artifact is an artifact creature with power and toughness each equal to its converted mana cost. (Equipment that's a creature can't equip a creature.)
cripples the Affinity player. Fortunately, this happened often enough. The added March of the Machines
March of the Machines
March of the MachinesSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
42
Artist:
Ben Thompson
Text:
Each noncreature artifact is an artifact creature with power and toughness each equal to its converted mana cost. (Equipment that's a creature can't equip a creature.)
improved the Affinity sideboarded matchup to even.


MBuC Against U/W Control
You board in the 4 Mind Bend
Mind Bend
Mind BendSet: Mirage
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
Change the text of target permanent by replacing all instances of one color word or basic land type with another. (For example, you may change nonred creature to nongreen creature or plainswalk to swampwalk.)
s as well as 2 Persecute
Persecute
PersecuteSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Choose a color. Look at target player's hand. That player discards all cards of the chosen color.
s for this match.
The Mind Bend
Mind Bend
Mind BendSet: Mirage
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
Change the text of target permanent by replacing all instances of one color word or basic land type with another. (For example, you may change nonred creature to nongreen creature or plainswalk to swampwalk.)
s just cripple the U/W player. Often times, the unexpecting opponent will drop his Karma
Karma
KarmaSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
During a player's upkeep, Karma does 1 point of damage to that player for each swamp he or she has in play.
on turn 4 with no counter back up in hopes of a fast win. You can then ruin his day with a Mind Bend
Mind Bend
Mind BendSet: Mirage
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
Change the text of target permanent by replacing all instances of one color word or basic land type with another. (For example, you may change nonred creature to nongreen creature or plainswalk to swampwalk.)
followed by Persecute
Persecute
PersecuteSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Choose a color. Look at target player's hand. That player discards all cards of the chosen color.
and Mind Sludge
Mind Sludge
Mind SludgeSet: Torment
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
70
Text:
Target player discards a card from his or her hand for each swamp you control.
on the following turns. With the Mind Bend
Mind Bend
Mind BendSet: Mirage
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
Change the text of target permanent by replacing all instances of one color word or basic land type with another. (For example, you may change nonred creature to nongreen creature or plainswalk to swampwalk.)
and added discard, the U/W sideboarded match improves to 6-4 in your favor.


i hope that you have learned a great deal from this article. Not only did I want you to see that MBC can still be effective in this environment; I wanted you to notice that some creative thoughts that you first thought to be janky and ineffective can have a widespread effect on the metagame. Until the next time, may you beware the power of the Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.
.


Rate Article



Discuss Article

Click here to discuss this article in forum or leave comments for the author.

RSS feed RSS Feed


This article is provided to you by CardShark.com - A Better Way to Buy and Sell Collectable Games Online. Please check out the rest of our site - you won't be disappointed.

View More ArticlesView More Articles