Updated: Feb 20, 2019
Well, we are off to the races with Guilds of Ravnica! Any Standard format that is touting access to Chromatic Lantern certainly promises to be exciting. Front running decks share allegiance with the Guilds of Boros, Golgari, and Izzet. Early archetypes are falling in line with the new abilities of Surveil and Mentor, and display synergism that the design team at WotC are hoping you will buy into and enjoy playing.
What are you about to read? Well, I build decks that disrupt the meta.
I want to be competitive, but competitive in a way that throws my opponents for a loop in being able to accurately predict what my deck is doing. There are only so many decks that can be built within the scope of the available card pool in Standard, and I wanted to make sure that this one that I've been testing and WINNING with was brought to you by Land Say Go.
I GIVE YOU: DOOM GOLEMS.
Again, in a multicolored format, the most disruptive decks tend to not lean on a requirement of multiple mana colors or sources. It's about consistency. When you have a deck that really doesn't require a well tuned mana base and can generate tremendous amounts of "said mana" it becomes a matter of hitting curve and understanding how the deck locks down games. That is not to say that the current guilds do not have decent synergy, they do, but in this case black is back. Let's jump into the deck. Just look at the recent success of mono-blue tempo and it's not hard to see how this deck can shine.
It's a creature deck...
First, let's focus on the recursive power of this list. We feature 6 creatures at converted mana cost 1, 6 creatures at converted mana cost 2, and six creatures at converted mana cost 3. Isareth the Awakener is a powerful rare at a 3-drop. She is a 3/3 body with deathtouch, but also showcases the ability to pay the converted mana cost for a creature in your graveyard when she attacks, and return that card to the battlefield. We have a number of additional cards that really make this ability exceptional; when we pile on other resources the recursive capability of this list is pretty overwhelming.
Hired Poisoner at common gives a super-cheapo recursive blocker and attacker that nobody wants to swing a Knight of Autumn or Carnage Tyrant into - deathtouch. We have Vicious Conquistador to fill out the remaining 1-drop slots - this card has always been an all-star in my opinion. It's decent early aggro at a 2/2 for 1 and can even draw removal when your opponent is freaking out about early damage disparities. These smaller toons are susceptible to first strikers, but we showcase options mainboard for answers aggro decks that may running Chainwhirler, Knight of Grace, and Knight of Malice. But, we don't care if we board wipe turn 4.
We've got some great 2-drops here, and before you go off blasting me about synergy, hear me out. Dire Fleet Poisoner is a house - it flashes onto the battlefield for deathtouch blocks that can prove disastrous for our opponents. Yes, it is a 2/2 body for 2, so not great in the face of the inevitable presence of Shock, but our deck does not care. We are drawing out cards from our opponents hands; the Dire Fleet Poisoner fits perfectly into a 2-drop slot that can totally stifle early game aggro mechanics and mentor strategies. Which, trust me, are all the rage right now. We don't see the benefit of the additional +1/+1 buff for another pirate on etb, but the Dire Fleet Poisoner adds an invaluable benefit to the games we are playing - psychological warfare. "Is she just going to flash in and deathtouch my creature?"
Dusk Legion Zealot plays right into the game plan of our deck, we need draw power beyond Karn, and the Zealot gives us some early tempo that can be beneficial when we need blockers. We don't really care if he dies, most of the time he isn't staying in the graveyard for long. He becomes a minor draw card effect for the deck and a chump blocker that Isareth loves to bring back from the graveyard.
In the 3-drop slots we have Isareth the Awakener and Midnight Reaper. From my experience, both are removal magnets, which is optimal for our game plan when we are comfortable wiping the board on our own accord in a creature heavy, token laden format. Boros Mentor strategies, Selesnya Convoke, Mono-Blue Tempo, Mono-Green Stompy, G & GB Elves all experience substantial setback with a turn 4 Ritual of Soot. Midnight Reaper gives us additional draw card power when we wipe the board and makes our trades with deathtouch creatures all the more equitable.
We are running Cabal Stronghold for mana production, and there are definitely uses. Golden Guardian provides us with a mana sink for our Cabal Strongholds upon transformation. The golem enters the battlefield with an ability that let's us run two mana through it and fight one of our many tiny deathtouch creatures to transform the card to Gold-Forge Garrison upon death. It may seem counter intuitive to run so many board wipes main board when generating tokens, and in some ways it is, but the alternative school of thought is that we don't really care about nuking our golems. We just make more; it may seem like a slog and wasted efficiency, but your competition will not be able to keep up with your continuous building of golems. Think of it as a reliable ever-ready engine for you to sink your black mana into.
Doom Whisperer does what it does. It whispers Doom, and oh boy, believe me, does it add a level of filtering to this deck that can be needed at times when we are at 25 lands to suit our curve. Our life total can be difficult to recoup without moving into the sideboard - if not impossible, but a 6/6 flying trampler for 5 will justify it's 25 dollar price tag per card (rolls eyes). I decided to toss in a single copy of Gravewaker - it's a quarter bin rare, but represents a substantial airborne threat in a 5/5 flyer, that gives us a tremendous end of turn mechanic to deploy, and in which to sink our copious amounts of black mana.
Did I mention that this deck has staying power? Isareth and Gravewaker aside, we are also running 4 copies of Gruesome Menagerie. This new Guilds of Ravnica sorcery allows its caster to return a creature with cmc (converted mana cost) 1, a creature with cmc 2, and a creature with cmc 3 from their graveyard to the battlefield. We are running 18 creatures that fit that bill, most of them deathtouch or have other added benefits on entering the battlefield. A small disclaimer, there may be better cards that slot into these categories, but not from what I've seen in mono-black...at this point.
This deck really does have a great deal of "things that it does." This deck can stifle early aggro, it can reset the board, and get back to where it left off quite easily. We decided to include Karn, Scion of Urza in this list for a number of reasons. His draw card potential is undeniable; Karn does not ultimate into a game-ending emblem, but Karn does, however, meaningfully impact our creature capabilities in this deck. Once we get the Gold-Forge Garrison online and we are pumping out Doom Golems, the tokens Karn can produce add yet another threat to the board that grows each time we generate a golem with the garrison and each time we minus two Karn. His primary use should be drawing you cards, but I'm sure you'll find other things to do with him. Gerrard sure did...
What's the Sideboard Plan?
"Doom Golems" sometimes needs to flip into a control heavy deck to contend with mid-range deck archetypes that are starting to make themselves present in the meta. Grixis Control is weak right now - unless we are talking about Grixis Dragons, and eventually I could see 4 to 5 color options for Dragons given we have access to Chromatic Lantern. When we need to go bigger, and when we aren't playing against most of what this early meta consists of (fast aggro) we basically dump all four copies of Gruesome Menagerie and a smattering of our smaller less effective creatures to add in additional support and beaters.
Duress helps us answer our opponents counterspells, planeswalkers, and enchantment removal. Price of Fame offers spot removal and additional filtering to the graveyard for recursion or enhanced top-decking. Demon of Catastrophes allows us to go bigger and faster in terms of our own aggro plan and slots in well over the Golden Guardian or Karn. Vraska's Contempt is a staple to the format until it rotates and therefor an auto-include in our sideboard options.
On an island all it's own is Arguel's Blood Fast. This card requires some special attention. Before rotation we saw the Blood Fast being used in blue-black archetypes running Torrential Gearhulks as the primary resource for card draw in a pinch. More importantly it was used to rebound from the deficit in life it creates as you sacrifice your life total for draw card potential by giving you a transformed option to sacrifice a creature and recoup life equal to its toughness. When we are faced with opposition that presents "a grind" we should embrace it. Gaining 4 life every turn off of a golem token is a good way to stabilize, 6 life in a pinch off of a Demon of Catastrophes or Doom Whisperer isn't bad either. The artistry comes in surviving the flip into Temple of Aclazotz. It requires finesse, and experience playing the deck with that strategy.
Give this deck a whirl. Tell us what you think here on the site. We are always open to conversations on how we might improve our game and deck lists. Doom Golems is perfectly place to disrupt the current meta. The more of these deck techs we can get into your hands ahead of the Pro Tour solidifying the meta, the better.
Until next time. Play a Land and Say Go.