Back In Black, MBC in Standard by Gaz Hirst

Back In Black, MBC in Standard by Gaz Hirst

Magic and history, both of these things tend to repeat themselves, archetypes come and go and I recently decided to revisit an archetype which for the most part has been largely forgotten about since 1999 when Jakub Slemr dropped this little beauty on the world championship…

Jakub Slemr M.B.C Worlds 1999

1 Bottle Gnomes

Phyrexian Negator

Phyrexian Plaguelord

Ravenous Rats

Ticking Gnomes

Corpse Dance

Cursed Scroll

Dark Ritual

Diabolic Edict


Powder Keg

Rapid Decay


Vampiric Tutor

Yawgmoth’s Will

Spawning Pool

15 Swamp

Volrath’s Stronghold


An awesome deck which powered out the hand disruption then sniped at you with the Cursed Scroll whilst applying pressure with the Plaguelord, Spawning Pool and the Negator. I played against this deck several times after my friend bought the deck and the deck wrecks havoc by controlling the tempo of the game with a minimal board presence creating a “virtual” card advantage, after all what good is a removal spell without a target? leaving a “dead” card in your opponents hand. The strength of the deck however comes from the recursive element given by the Yawgmoth’s Will and corpse dance allowing you to replay the powerhouse cards from the graveyard as this effectively let’s you run 8 DuressDiabolic Edict and Powder keg.

How does this relate to the current metagame you may be thinking? Yawgmoth’s Will is on the banned/limited list along with Cursed Scroll so surely this deck archetype is substandard without such powerful cards. I was under this illusion myself until I began experimenting with M.B.C. after the release of worldwake but found at that time I would be swamped by fast decks suchs as RDW and Boros before I could stabilise the game. Then along came a spider… or more precisely Scars of Mirrodin and the replacement for Powder Keg appeared in Ratchet Bomb and an idea started to form…

4x Ratchet Bomb

3x Gatekeeper of Malakir

3x Skinrender

3x Lilliana’s Specter

3x Mimic Vat

3x Duress

3x Inquistion of Kozilek

3x Grasp of Darkness

3x Everflowing Chalice

3x Mind rot

2x Lilliana Vess

1x Sorin Markov

1x Ob Nixilis

2x Wurmcoil Engine

4x Marsh Flats

4x Tectonic Edge

24x Swamp


3x Sadistic Sacrament

3x Doom Blade

3x Disfigure

3x Mind Sludge

3x Vampire Hexmage

This is the current evolution of standard deck. It plays as a reactive deck, offering your opponent little or nothing of value to interact with whilst using 2 for 1 cards such as Gatekeeper, Specter and Skinrender to establish a board position until the heavy hitters of the deck hit the table. The interesting card here is the Mimic Vat as it has great synergy with most of the decks creatures as well as allowing you to “borrow” your opponents creatures. The Vat has many uses but with the amount of removal in the deck, killing one of your own creatures for a reusable effect at an instant speed helps the deck control the battlefield without losing cards in hand.

The sideboard is specific to certain types of match up so let’s look at each card and the specific matchs it’s intended for Sadistic Sacrament: Control, Eldrazi/Valakut Ramp. This card is used to target specific parts of these decks, Vs the control match up Jace, the Mind Sculptor is the primary target. Ramp decks I tend to chose my target after using duress or inquistion turn 1 or 2 but the targets are Primeval Titan, Valakut, the Eldrazi or the Eldrazi Temple / Eye of Ugin dependant on what my opponent has in hand. After all what’s the point in targeting a Titan if they have one in hand when taking the Valakuts stops them from shooting great holes in you?

Doom Blade: One word…. Baneslayer Angel. This card is the punch to remove bigger threats which you may not be able to deal with say the gatekeeper and grasp of darkness is not enough.

Disfigure: This is cheap and cheerful Anti aggro removal, kills most weenies dead for 1 mana at instant speed. Job Done.

Mind Sludge: Versus control it’s simple, stick a mind sludge and they are in a world of trouble.

Vampire Hexmage: Two fold really, versus aggro/RDW this cards first strike is useful as well as increasing the creature count for blocking. Secondly the obvious use, Planeswalkers…. Hexmage and mimic vat = 3 mana, destroy target Planeswalker.

There we have it, MBC, although still considered a “rogue” choice by many,– it is however –in humble opinion quite viable for the standard environment.

It’s been a while and I quote AC/DC…

“Yes, I’m back, Well, I’m back, back, I’m back in black, Yes, I’m back in black….”

Gaz Hirst

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