Lulzing it up with Mono-Black Heroic (AKA the Eye Gouge Deck)
Monday, February 24, 2014 at 04:45PM
John de Jong in Gaming, MTG

With few exceptions (see my love affair with Jund in Innistrad—Return to Ravnica Standard), I'm not interested in playing the most popular deck.

It's not that I need to be different—although that's part of it. I think it's more that I'm never that good with decks when I first pilot them, so trying something new is insurance against mirror matches. You can't blame yourself for losing to someone with an identical deck if you never encounter an identical deck!

So when the Twitters were a-bubbling about a wacky mono-black Heroic deck doing well at Grand Prix Vancouver, I knew I had to try it out. Luckily, Born of the Gods had come out, so I had even more things to play with.

Such majesty!

Here's what I took to a recent tournament:

20 Swamp
4 Mutavault

4 Agent of the Fates
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Nighthowler
4 Pack Rat
1 Pain Seer
4 Tormented Hero

4 Eye Gouge
3 Gift of Orzhova
2 Hero's Downfall
4 Thoughtseize
2 Underworld Connections

4 Bile Blight
4 Dark Betrayal
4 Doom Blade
3 Duress

The deck works a bit like a faster mono-Black Devotion deck, with the fun twist of being able to bestow a Nighthowler on a creature and get some nice resistance to sweepers. And it's always fun to Eye Gouge your own Agent of the Fates to make your opponent sacrifice a creature. (In a pinch, you can even target your opponent's Mutavaults directly!)

I did reasonably well, going 2-1 with it and coming in 4th out of 8. I lost to BW Control (or mono-Black with White?), and won against Maze's End Control and UW Control. Given the low number of creatures I faced, I didn't get to run rampant over people with Eye Gouged Agents. Instead, I dropped Pack Rats as quickly as I could, and then protected them however I could, until I had built an army of the little buggers and turned sideways to victory. Nothing says "awesome" like a flying, lifelinked Pack Rat, I assure you.

The Pain Seer was a workhorse, given my match-ups, and I was super pleased every time I drew him. I'd have run the full three instead of one and two Underworld Connections, if I had had more than one Pain Seer at the time. It's nice to be able to do damage and draw cards!

It was a fun deck to play, especially due to the eye-rolling I got when people realized what deck I was using. But I felt that it was a bit too cutesy. So I'm trying something different next time. At least now I have the deck list written down here so I can build it again if the mood strikes me.

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