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Arcane Laboratory: Standard Preperation

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

Prerelease is this weekend and Journey into Nyx looks like a sweet set to shake up both the limited and Standard formats. We all know I’m not much of a limited player, but I do jam Standard at FNMs, IQs, and the occasional Open or GP. Whenever we’re transitioning in Standard as new set is released I like to try and find the established archetype that changes the least.

There are two reasons I look for this deck. The first is that the deck will need the least amount of cards from the new set. I don’t have to spend time scrambling to get cards just before my next event. I also like waiting about a month into a set’s release to actually pick up a majority of the cards because their prices have settled by then. Prices of cards in the first month they are available are very volatile and for something like Standard, I’d rather wait a month to invest my money into something more stable.

The second reason is because the archetype is tested and proven. You know what it’s game plan is, you know how it should play out, and you know it’s weaknesses. There are no surprises, no frustrating situations with new cards that aren’t as good as they appeared on paper. This time around the archetype that changes the least actually happens to arguably be the best archetype from the format; Mono Black Devotion.

Yes, I joined the Darkside. I actually really like the Mono Black Devotion deck. It doesn’t have many terrible match-ups in the format. In fact, most of the match-ups it has are reasonable to very good. It plays the best two cards in Standard, Mutavault and Thoughtseize.

My list is very, very stock. But, at this point in the format almost all of the lists are. The only real difference is that I prefer having the fifth discard spell, a Duress, in my main deck. I value information highly with this deck as it really lets you sequence your plays correctly and knowing what to hold your removal for is key. I also just like hedging a bit against UW Control.


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We went a poorer 1-2 on the night. We hit what was basically three mirror matches, first a BUG devotion list then two Mono Black Devotions. I really should’ve expected as much because Mono Black has been about 25% of the MTGO metagame for quite some time now. The biggest issue with this Mono Black Devotion deck is that it requires you to play with it a lot to really understand how you’re supposed to play out the Mirror. Almost all of the games we lost were because our opponents drew their Underworld Connections while we did not. Taking a mull against a deck playing Thoughtseize is also pretty terrible.

I still think the deck is what I want to be doing in the first few weeks of Journey into Nyx Standard. There really are no new tools for MonoB, but plenty of new cards for other decks. I’d rather let my opponent’s stumble with their new cards while I destroy them with Thoughtseize, Desecration Demon, and Mutavaults.

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