Do Your Worst - Mono-Black Blink
Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
Hello, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Do Your Worst, where we take a popular archetype and find the most unusual home for it! I'm your host, Philomène, and in this column, we look at decks that shouldn't be... or should they?
One of the most useful things a creature can do is replace itself by. But what if somehow this creature could re-enter the battlefield ? The result? Pure, sweet value. Welcome to the world of (or ) decks!
Blink decks try to use the EtB effects of permanents as much as possible to generate advantages, be it a combo using cards like ., or even . While of the archetype can be notorious for dragging games on without assembling any win conditions, there are a lot of ways to finish the game either with a or with
But what are the most played colors for Blink decks?
Blue and white are all over this list, as expected. The commanders representing these color combinations are, , , and . I'm surprised to see so little red in this top five. As an and enthusiast, the only thing that is really missing from my deck is a to close out those games where I can't really connect with my Soldiers.
Anyway, let's take those five commanders, put all the cards from their average decks together and see what color distribution we get, after taking out irrelevant cards (like).
Colorless ways to flicker includeand , which are both excellent. In a less efficient but still acceptable tier, we've got , and . That's a good start... I think?
As I started wondering about what colors I should choose, my mind immediately went to black'seffects. They function a lot like spells, but there is a lot of them, so I abandoned the idea as being too easy. Black does have some ways to exile and bring back creatures, though! and have similar text to . has to target a creature with Shadow, but we'll get to that later. One of my favorite cards in this search was . It still asks us to sacrifice creatures, but at least it exiles them, which I consider to be legal for our purposes. If that sounds arbitrary, it is. It's my column, I can do what I want!
When thinking about red, my mind went back to a game I played with my friend Robyn. She had an an Animate Dead combo, I just wanted to use the Dragon for value! I was glad to find , who can tutor to the battlefield and get rid of it in one fell swoop.deck in which she put all the spells that can make copies of creatures, like . That deck functioned a lot like a Flicker deck! The thing is, there are a lot of those effects in red and I still feel like that would be cheating. Red does have an actual blink effect in . I wasn't really interested to win with
My first version of the deck was Jund. It was interesting, but I realized that what I needed the most in the command zone was a way sacrifice creatures and artifacts. You see, I had to reliably get rid ofand , plus triggers when you sacrifice a creature. The deck was a pile of good stuff that eventually casted . Overall it didn't feel unique, and my commanders and were clunky. I decided to take out green to make the deck a little worse.
Rakdos was an interesting build withon the throne. She can sacrifice artifacts or creatures: Perfect! I could even transform her in a pinch to reanimate stuff from the graveyard and flicker them to keep them around. The thing is, , , , and especially made things really easy. I wondered what would happen if I took out red. The deck was mostly black anyway.
I went back in time beforewas compleated and chose her mono-black version, . Now, I know she's a popular commander, but she seemed like the most logical choice for a Flicker deck. No , or Aristocrats, though! Just pure, unadulterated blink shenanigans.
Let's see what's in the deck!
Blink and You’ll Miss It
So, what are some of black's best enter-the-battlefield effects (EtBs)?
is already a banger. I really like to introduce The Initiative in a game and I'm always happy to see . I've come across a lot of folks who don't agree with me though, so if you really don't want to bring this mechanic in your game, you can always swap it for and .immediately stands out. They were on the short list to helm this deck, but 's utility and payoff for creatures entering the battlefield was ultimately more useful in the command zone. is basically black's . , and are all well known and need no further introduction. is fairly new but
Is it bad to include a card in the 99 just to make another card in the 99 work? Yes. Am I above it? Certainly not! I foundso neat that I just had to play . Plus, giving creatures Shadow can make them virtually unblockable, which is a nice upside! You can also prevent an opponent's scary creature from blocking. See, it's not totally useless!
All the Small Things
A cool deck idea is nothing if we can't execute it well. Let's go over our essentials!
Black has a ton of options to generate mana. I really likein a mono-black deck, because it can copy a ' ability. You might even see an across the table! is obviously great in Blink decks, as is ! is such a great card, probably the best in our deck. It's also probably my favorite of the Swords!
Card Advantage and Velocity
, and are repeatable card draw on a body. can do the same, but can also create a blocker or exile a problematic graveyard. Sweet! also belongs here, and can give us access to effects not otherwise found in our color, like artifact removal.
a lot more, but that's not the play experience I'm going for. I prefer targeted removal like , , and . For board wipes, we have the Massacre duo, and ! Fun times.is the only creature in the deck. You can obviously put
For stack interaction,is really great in mono-black, and it just got a reprint in Commander Masters! If you're feeling adventurous, try out as well. You would think that black doesn't need an , but some creatures have powerful EtBs that you want to avoid, or have indestructible. I personally like it! And the art is awesome.
And there we go. Now for the decklist!
💫 Do Your Worst - Mono-Black BlinkView on Archidekt
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View this decklist on Archidekt
(Secret Lair) | Art by Tsubonari
Gone in the Blink of an Eye
Let's talk about some notable exclusions.
- I tried and , but they cost way too much mana to activate, making them virtually unplayable. was also a consideration, because it can bring back what it previously exiled. We would have had to lean heavier into an artifact build, and even play , but I didn't want to go there. One day I'll find a deck for you, , one day.
- and are two pretty efficient ways to blink creatures, but they also do it for our opponents. Every other creature comes with an EtB effect nowadays, so we would be giving too much value to our enemies. Pass.
- In the Jund version, I experimented with and creatures that bounce other creatures back to hand to replay them and reuse their EtB. In mono-black, I tried , and , but I had enough blink effects without them so I found these cards unnecessary.
The deck plays surprisingly well, and feels very similar to mydeck. We play only two reanimation spells, and , so the vast majority of our EtBs are triggered by blinking our creatures. Success!
Now for the sad part of my article, which I kept for last.
No Pun for This Title, Just My Heartfelt Thanks
Folks, I am sorry to announce that this will be my last article for the foreseeable future. These take a lot of time to write, but a lot more time to brew, and I have other projects that I want to pursue. Also, I feel like I have covered the majority of the most popular archetypes over the course of a year and a half. It's getting harder and harder to find interesting topics as the strategies get more niche.
I do hope that this series has encouraged you to be curious and adventurous in your deckbuilding. If you've missed any of my other articles, you can find all of them here.
Thank you very much for reading! This has been a blast.
As always, let me know if you would have approached this non-Azorius blink deck differently! Are there any sweet cards or synergies that I missed? Let me know in the comments! I'm Philomène, and this has been Do Your Worst. Keep brewing, friends, and remember, always do your best to do your worst.