Weekly MTG Deck Tech: Blue-Black Cycling Beatdown/Control in Standard [Blog Post], by Thomas Davis

A new perspective on Cycling in Standard


Weekly MTG Deck Tech: Blue-Black Cycling Beatdown/Control in Standard [Blog Post]

We’ve all seen a cycling deck at some point but let’s take a new perspective on cycling in standard.

This deck is based around having early removal and counter spells to prevent your opponent doing too much before using excess mana and payoffs to win the mid to late game. 

One of the all stars in this list is Archfiend of Ifnir. This monster of a bomb not only hits hard but acts as a one sided board wipe multiple times. Often, if one of these resolves and says around for a couple of turns, that will be the game. 

Another key piece in this list is Vile Manisfestation. This can get big quickly.  On a small board this will end the game fast: often in two or three turns.  As an added bonus it can cycle too if something else is required in a more specific situation. 

Cunning Survivor is your way out of slow game states or when the opponent has a large blocker. The card may not seem like much but when it has Unblockable on most attack steps it will do a lot of work throughout a game. Think of it as a constructed playable Slither Blade

Our other payoffs are three copies of Drake Haven and four copies of Hollow One. Drake Haven is a very good Mana sink. However it can be slow and clunky, hence why we stay at only three copies. Hollow One can both be an enabler and a payoff. A free 4/4 is not to be ignored. 

The rest of the deck is our control package. One of the easiest choices here was Censor. It does everything we want it to do: Control early and Cycling late. Very similar to this are our four copies of Countervailing Winds. These can be Control in the mid to late game and just like Censor can be Cycled when not required. We also run a play set of Nimble Obstructionist. This is often played as a creature or just Cycled away, however against decks like Black-Green Constrictor or Blue-White Monument is an all star. Finally we have the obvious copies of Fatal Push. There’s not much to say on this it is just very good removal. 

The Mana base is very secure and even contains a little Deserts package. We run 8 Lands which can Cycle and 6 Deserts. The two copies of Ifnir Dreadlands are both additional removal and protection against flooding. 

Blue-Black Cycling Beatdown/Control

Archfiend of Ifnir
Vile Manifestation
Drake Haven
Cunning Survivor
Hollow One
Nimble Obstructionist
Countervailing winds
Fatal Push
Abondoned Sarcophagus
Fetid Pools
Desert of the Mindful
Desert of the Glorified
Ifnir Dreadlands


Essence scatter
Ruthless sniper
Ob Nixilis, Reignited
Lay Claim
Grasp of Darkness
Cunning Survivor
Yaheeni’s Expertise

There are many options for Sideboards for this deck. Something that is there that you may not expect recommend however is Yahenni’s Expertise. Most of our important creature have more than three toughness so against Monument decks this is surprisingly efficient.  You could however replace it with something like Bontu’s Last Reckoning.

One card that I considered but didn’t quite fit this version of the deck is Rise from the Tides.  If you prefer to run a few more instants with cycling then this is an incredible payoff.  The only thing about it is how clunky it can be.  The fact that it is sorcery speed really hurts it.  Not only this but it does not work well with either Abandoned Sarcophagus or Yahenni’s Expertise.  But If you do end up running more spells definitely consider this card. 

All of this combined leaves us with a competitive and fun brew for use on many levels of play.  This deck will be fun with friends on the kitchen table or competitive and levels from FNM to GP.

Thanks for reading. If you like the deck feel free to test it and let me know what you think. As usual please share the article and follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular MTG updates, insights and Deck Techs.

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/DavisMTG

Twitter: @mtgdavis

Weekly MTG Deck Tech: Blue-Black Cycling Beatdown/Control in Standard [Blog Post], by Thomas Davis
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