Monoblack Scarabs (Somewhat In-Depth) (Standard)

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    My current Monoblack Scarabs control deck on MTGA :

    Basically, it revolves around exhausting the opponent's ressources with a lot of removals and discards, then pressure him with Torment of Scarabs over time until its death. Torment of Hailfire is a great finisher when you have a lot of mana available.

    Wincons :
    - Torment of Scarabs (Exhaust your opponents ressources and pressure them till they break. One Torment isn't enough to win most of the time, you need a second one or an Hailfire to back it up.)
    - Torment of Hailfire (Cast it as a finisher for at least 6 mana)

    Creature removals :
    - Fatal push (Push the elf)
    - Cast Down (Replace with Murder if too much legendaries)
    - Vraska's Contempt (Planeswalker removal!)

    Discards :
    - Duress (Must-have to deal with planeswalker, enchantment removal, and counterspells. Even in mainboard it has never been a dead card.)
    - Harsh Scrutiny (Remove creatures before they hit the battlefield ! Scry 1 is a nice bonus to filter your draw. I never saw an annoying artifact deck yet so it performs better than Divest.)
    - Doomfall (Excellent, both a removal and discard, and exile ! It's expensive, but still one of our best cards.)
    - Unburden (2 discard, and cycling when you don't need it !)

    Utilities :
    - Painful Lesson (Card draw engine, 2hp finisher, and 2 card finisher for those Teferi's loop enthutiasts)
    - Diabolic Tutor (Fetch your victory or perfect removal.)

    Lands :
    - Swamps
    - Scavenger Grounds (Useful to deal with graveyards recursion)
    - Ifnir Desert (bonus removal)
    - Desert of the Glorified (Avoid too much flood)

    Wipes :
    - Yahenni's Expertise (-3/-3, can cast relevant 2-3 mana cards, but it's a rare occurence)
    - Golden Demise (-2/-2)

    Creatures :
    - Gifted Aetherborn (useful to tempo and scraps few lifegain while you stall for the later game)

    Others :
    Those cards are mostly one-of because they are not definitive includes, I'm more like playtesting them to see how they perform.
    - Dread Shade (nice beater if left unchecked, interesting alternate wincon)
    - Noxious Gearhulk (Alternate wincon)
    - Liliana's Spoils (Small discard but look 5 to draw a card can be useful, difficult to evaluate)
    Fell Specter and Dreamstealer in the sideboard fits in the same category.

    Sideboard (still WIP) :
    - Lost Legacy (get rid of those wincons or enchantment removals !)
    - Crook of Condemnation (more graveyard hate, after exhausting your opponent you spend a lot of turn without doing much stuff, so you get to exile 1 pretty often.)
    - Kitesail (5th Duress, not sure it's worth it though)
    - Murder (If they don't die to your other removals)
    - Painful Lesson (Fit the gap when you have removed all creatures removal in your deck against UW Control)

    The deck works well, but it's still kinda WIP, there's other cards I want to try out and see how they performed, that I haven't crafted yet on MTG Arena. There's also some obvious possible improvements.

    Possible improvements :
    - Replace Diabolic Tutor by Mastermind's Acquisition ( It's just straight up better. I haven't put it directly into the main decklist as it's not yet in mine, I haven't yet met any cases where I thought "I wish I could tutor from my sideboard !", so I haven't bothered crafting it yet)
    - More wipes in the Sideboard (Yahenni's, Golden Demise, Bontu's Reckoning...)
    - Another Scavenger Grounds.
    - More Vraska's Contempt against walkers?
    - It's hard to tell if I should keep Fatal Push or not, really useful against some small drop like Llanowar elves, but as you rarely ever lose a permanent, you don't get to use it on stronger permanents often. Remove Eternalized tokens though.

    Cards and ideas to try out (Maybeboard) :
    - x4 Torment of Hailfire ( but x3 works well )
    - Cabal Stronghold (More mana for Hailfire !)
    - Divest (I haven't met really bothering artifacts though yet)
    - x4 Doomfall (The card is really great)
    - Arguel's Blood Fast (A card draw engine, the life loss could be really risky on aggros matchup though)
    - x2 Dread Shade, it's great.
    - Dreamstealer (I had enough discard so far, and the less creatures you have the more their removal are dead draws)
    - Fell Specter (I'm not sure you can make the opponent discard enough past T4 to make it really worthwhile, but still has potential)

    Weaknesses of the deck :
    - Weak against enchantment removal, but almost never happen before sideboard.
    - Counterspells are dangerous, though Duress & Co can deal with that.
    - Slow to win and very few damage outputs outside of the Torments. As such, they can often stall easily on 3-4 turns on their own life after getting a Torment curse without much impact.
    - Sometimes you and your opponent will be both out of ressources with nearly empty board, waiting to draw something meaningful.

    Typical Strategy :
    1 - Remove everything they put on the board.
    2 - Make them discard their assets.
    3 - When you reach 4 mana, cast Torment of Scarabs. (Unless you gotta clear an important threat or they have some counterspells ready ofc)
    4 - If you still have Torment of Scarabs available, cast another one. Else repeat 1/2.
    5 - Cast Torment of Hailfire if you have a lot of mana.

    Tips :
    - Against control, it might be useful to hold on Duress or Harsh Scrutiny to peek at their hand before casting an important spell like Torment of Scarab, see if they have an answer. Harsh Scrutiny can't remove it, but can still provide you with the information.
    - Push the llanowar elf !


    Sideboard price: 11.63 € | $ 7.67


    This deck appears to have been legal in Standard (Season Apr 18 — Oct 18)!

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