Mono-Black Aggro by Caleb Scherer at SCG Atlanta – 6th

Creatures (24)
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Walking Ballista
4 Bone Picker
4 Dread Wanderer
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
4 Night Market Lookout

Non-Creature Spells (16)
3 Liliana, the Last Hope
4 Fatal Push
4 Grasp of Darkness
2 Collective Brutality
3 Never//Return

Lands (20)
18 Swamp
2 Aether Hub

Sideboard (15)
4 Gifted Aetherborn
4 Scarab Feast
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
3 Harsh Scrutiny
3 Transgress the Mind


It certainly seems that after the banning of Felidar Guardian, Mardu Vehicles will reign supreme for the time being. That being said, it’s not unbeatable. Cut//Ribbons has all but made slower decks that clog the board (like B/G Constrictor) an unviable option to fight Mardu Vehicles. This has caused low to the ground aggressive decks to be the go-to option to battle Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Heart of Kiran, and friends. One of these decks is Mono-Black Aggro, which Caleb Scherer brought all the way to the top 8.

The creature base of this deck is quite an interesting one to look at. Dread Wanderer and Night Market Lookout are the go-to 1-drops in this deck. While neither has the damage output of a card like Toolcraft Exemplar, they are both still sizeable beaters. Scrapheap Scrounger offers a resilient threat, while Glint-Sleeve Siphoner draws extra cards with important pseudo-evasion at 2 mana. Lastly, Bone Picker offers an efficient creature with evasion when paired with a removal spell, while Walking Ballista is an important curve-filler, removal spell, and burst damage source all rolled into one.

This deck has significantly more removal spells than you would assume for a low to the ground aggressive deck. However, this deck plays out a lot like a tempo deck, so it’s necessary to have a large removal suite. Fatal Push and Grasp of Darkness are the only 4-of removal spells, which is certainly warranted due to them being the two most efficient removal spells in the format. Never//Return seriously impressed this weekend at the SCG Open, and this deck uses 3 as a flexible, catch-all removal spell that battles Mardu Vehicles excellently.

Collective Brutality adds a mainboard discard option that kills many of the format’s important early threats as well. To round out the removal suite, 3 copies of Liliana, the Last Hope is a removal spell and recursion option rolled into one. The planeswalker is also excellent insurance against board wipes, as it can be a game-ending threat itself.

The sideboard of this deck is simple, clean, and effective. Harsh Scrutiny and Transgress the Mind offer discard options, mostly included for large midrange decks like B/G. Scarab Feast is an option against the present and future graveyard decks of the format. This inclusion was mostly a hedge by Scherer against Amonkhet-heavy decks, but I think that its applications are limited now that we have a better knowledge of what the format looks like. Gifted Aetherborn is an excellent option against the aggressive decks that have a hard time punching through the 2/3 body.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:


-1 Collective Brutality

+1 Never//Return


-2 Scarab Feast

-1 Liliana, the Last Hope

+3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

This is day 121 of’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 120 here, where we featured a Legacy combo deck that kills on turn 1.

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