For the last few weeks I have been focused on Mono-Black Eldrazi in Standard, preparing for the quickly approaching Grand Prix Denver. Mono-Black Eldrazi felt like it had the right tools to compete in a metagame chocked full of White-Blue Flash, Black-Green Delirium and various aggro decks, so it seemed like a good investment of time. A few weeks later and the deck has undergone some serious changes, but I like the improvements made.

This week, I wanted to get some better gameplay videos against a wider array of decks in Standard. I specifically wanted to match up against White-Blue Flash since that is a key matchup and an interesting one to play against. Black-Green Delirium was also a target as I have a new sideboard plan to deal with Ishkanah, Grafwidow which is easily the biggest issue out of that archetype.I managed to get quite a good slice of Standard in the five recorded matches found below, but I never did run into Black-Green Delirium, so my hunt will continue there. Here's what I battled with.

Changes

Main

+2 Swamp
+1 Pilgrim's Eye
+1 Complete Disregard

-1 Blighted Fen
-1 Crumbling Vestige
-1 Wasteland Strangler
-1 Spatial Contortion

Sideboard

+1 Flaying Tendrils
+2 Lost Legacy
+2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
+1 Wasteland Strangler

-1 Key to the City
-1 Pick the Brain
-1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
-1 Pilgrim's Eye
-1 Spatial Contortion
-1 Warping Wail

I think this positions us much better against Flash and Delirium, which have proven to be the best decks in Standard, or at least the most popular. Looking to the sideboard, I have always been a believer in remaining flexible whenever you sideboard because every single list you run up against could have something unique about it that sets it apart and warrants a tweak in your boarding strategy. Here's where I currently stand with sideboard plans for the major decks and archetypes.

Sideboarding

Vs. White-Blue Flash

+1 Harsh Scrutiny
+1 Titan's Presence
+1 Wasteland Strangler
+1 Distended Mindbender
+1 Flaying Tendrils (on Draw)/+1 Distended Mindbender (on Play)

-1 Scrapheap Scrounger
-1 Smuggler's Copter
-2 Reality Smasher
-1 Reality Smasher (on Draw)/-1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship (on Play)

There is a lot of wiggle room with how you exactly decide to board in this matchup, but I like a rough outline like that above. Smuggler's Copter is going to have more or less value depending on the specific build you play against, so I can certainly see leaving in all four of those sometimes.

Flaying Tendrils on the draw helps to make sure you don't fall too far behind, especially to Gideon, but you probably want Distended Mindbender on the play to take out Spell Quellers, Gideon and Avacyn before they have the chance to be a real problem.

Vs. Black-Green Delirium

+1 Titan's Presence
+2 Lost Legacy
+2 Distended Mindbender
+1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

-1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
-2 Reality Smasher
-1 Smuggler's Copter
-1 Harsh Scrutiny
-1 Scrapheap Scrounger

Vs. Aggro (Red-White Vehicles/Red-Green Energy)

+4 Flaying Tendrils
+1 Titan's Presence
+1 Wasteland Strangler
+2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
+1 Harsh Scrutiny

-3 Reality Smasher
-2 Transgress the Mind
-1 Pilgrim's Eye
-2 Scrapheap Scrounger
-1 Smuggler's Copter

These are the matchups where that fourth copy of Flaying Tendrils can come up big. In some matchups, it is just the best possible thing we can do postboard so it made sense to move all-in there and make our powerhouse card show up as often as possible in the match ups where we want it to.

You will need to make a judgment call about whether Liliana has enough value in these match ups, but you will often want her as well. Sometimes she will be better than one of the copies of Flaying Tendrils, while other times you are going to want to bring her in in addition to the four sweepers. In those spots, you probably want to make a swap like this:

+1 Liliana, the Last Hope

-1 Matter Reshaper

Vs. Combo (Aetherworks Marvel/Metalwork Colossus)

+2 Distended Mindbender
+1 Lost Legacy
+1 Lost Legacy or +1 Harsh Scrutiny

-1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
-1 Reality Smasher
-2 Harsh Scrutiny or -1 Wasteland Strangler and -1 Complete Disregard

Lost Legacy naturally feels like an anti-combo card but one of my major grips with the card is that you cannot name an artifact. This makes Metalwork Colossus and Aetherworks Marvel both less than ideal match ups for the card. That said, it can still disrupt other elements of the decks, such as Emrakul or Elder Deep-Fiend and so having it around is usually better than an alternative, but just be aware of the limitations. (You also can target yourself, if that ever comes up).

Utilize your hand disruption and try to put your opponent on as much of a clock as your draw permits.

Vs. Control (Dynavolt Tower/ Fevered Visions)

+1 Reality Smasher
+2 Distended Mindbender
+1 Liliana, the Last Hope
+1 Lost Legacy

-2 Harsh Scrutiny
-1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
-1 Complete Disregard
-1 Wasteland Strangler

Another matchup where hand disruption is at a premium. Snagging cards from the opponent and disrupting their plan has value, but almost as valuable is being able to figure out what the opponent has going on and what you need to play around. Getting the opponent to waste a counterspell or piece of removal while you hold the real threat in hand can turn an entire game around. Utilizing your Ruins of Oran-Rief and Scrapheap Scrounger to give you maximum value on any given turn can also help you to pull ahead easier here.

Wrap Up

Next week we will move to talking about other aspects of Standard in a last minute effort to prepare for GP Denver, but expect to see a final list of Mono-Black Eldrazi as well. For those of you considering playing the list, definitely get in some games with it over the next 10 days. Until next week, thanks for reading!

Conley Woods