One of the first places to start when building a deck is to choose which colors you want. Heading into this standard, I wanted to play some from of Esper(White/Black/Blue). Blue has counter magic, black has removal, white has Ojutai. Well I was looking over what Black lost, and well, it’s a lot. For starters, and probably what has everyone the saddest, whether you run Esper or Abzan(Green/Black/White), is no more Hero’s Downfall. Black is also losing Bile Blight and Silence The Believer and Drown In Sorrow, and maybe almost as heavy as a hit as losing Hero’s Downfall is losing Thoughtseize and Ashiok, Dream Weaver.
So what does black magic still have? For Esper, still a good bit of stuff. For Abzan, not as much. Abzan only has two cards left over: Languish and Ultimate Price. Oh and Sorin if you want to count him. Esper has a few more toys to work with. They still have Foul-Tongue Invocation, Crux of Fate, as well as having Ultimate Price and Languish too.
What is Black gaining? They get Ob Nixilis Reignited who looks GREAT. They get Ruinous Path which will probably be as relevant as people are thinking it will be. They get Rising Miasma the poor man’s Languish/worse Drown In Sorrow. And Bone Splinters whose sac clause might be too demanding for control players but fits well in a more creature heavy deck.
The Devoid Black cards are where the set shines in my eyes. Devoid Black gives us access to Grip of Desolation, which gives the chance to disrupt their tempo while exiling their creature, Transgress The Mind which is new hand disruption that stops Siege Rhino before it ever hits the field, and Complete Disregard that exiles Hangarback Walker and allies.
Here’s a quick recap:
Silence The Believers
Drown In Sorrow
Still In Play:
Crux of Fate
Foul Tongue Invocation
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Transgress The Mind
So how do you guys feel about black as far as Standard Control goes? Did what it gain make up for what it lost? Are Esper Control and Abzan Control/Midrange still reliable decks?