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Updating Chromatic Black

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It’s Friday already? Well… I can’t really complain about Friday, don’t think anyone can really. Today’s Friday is special too! I don’t have any new brews for you, but I do have an updated list of Chromatic Black. Chromatic Black is currently my best brew. It’s the one I’ve found the most success with and would be the deck I take to any Standard event. Chromatic Black has been successful almost since day one. It remains successful today where Rainbow Lich has gotten a bit weaker because of the popularity spike in control decks and Izzet Drake decks (both are hard matchups for Rainbow Lich). On top of that, Rainbow Lich preyed on Golgari, Selesyna tokens, and Boros Angels. All those decks seem to have gone down a bit in popularity. Unlike Rainbow Lich, Chromatic Black has a very good matchup against the aggressive decks, and it is even with Jeskai Control and Izzet Drakes. I’ve found the hardest matchup to either be Dimir Disinformation Campaign or Golgari Midrange, the one with a million planeswalkers, but both are still very winnable. The deck has changed a decent amount since the first iteration, so let us go ahead and look at the updated list.


The biggest change is cutting the Discovery // Dispersals for the full playset of Treasure Maps. I’ve also shaved down to one Demonlord Belzenlok, I traded the second copy for a Doom Whisperer. That spot is flexible; you can play a Tetzimoc, Primal Death or something else over Doom Whisperer if you wish. The reason I went down to one Demonlord Belzenlok is because it is very unlikely that you can play two of them in a game outside of a control matchup. Doom Whisperer is still a big threat and will allow you to filter the top cards of your deck, if you so desire, when you have the extra life. The other big change to the deck is the addition of two Thaumatic Compass. The biggest draw to the full set of Treasure Maps and the Thaumatic Compass is to help the deck hit land drops early while gaining card advantage later in the game. The deck needs these tools, especially the Treasure Maps to insure it hits land drops early. We don’t have access to things like Chemister's Insight, so Maps and Compass are what we use. Spires of Orazca is also just an excellent card late in the game, especially against Izzet Drakes.

Deck Synopsis

I’m sure for some people this is their first time seeing this deck. At its core it is mostly a Mono-Black Control deck. It kills creatures early while setting up its draws and mana with Treasure Map. Later, after the game is stabilized, you will start getting card advantage with Treasure Cove, The Eldest Reborn, and Demonlord Belzenlok. You will gain the mana advantage through transformed Treasure Maps and Thaumatic Compass. The difference that this deck has from normal Mono-Black Control decks is Chromatic Lantern. Chromatic Lantern allows you to get ahead on mana and allows you to do very powerful things that you would not be able to normally do. Mastermind's Acquisition can tutor for whatever answer or threat you need from the main deck. Once you have an active Chromatic Lantern, you can do insanely powerful things with Mastermind's Acquisition by getting cards you would not normally have access to alongside Cabal Stronghold. Cards like Banefire, Sanguine Sacrament, Overflowing Insight, and Mama Zacama. You can generate a ton of mana with one or two Cabal Strongholds that any of those cards will close out the game. Normally Mono-Black cannot deal with enchantments or artifacts but Zacama is an excellent way to deal with both. Also keep in mind that you just need one treasure token to enable a huge Banefire from the sideboard, you don’t not always need Chromatic Lantern.

Main deck you have two Niv-Mizzet, Parun. You cannot cast them without Chromatic Lantern, but the card is still worth having main deck. Niv-Mizzet, Parun is a game ender against control decks and aggressive decks alike. The only matchup where Niv-Mizzet is not so good is against Golgari Midrange, since they do not play mana instants or sorceries and have cards like Vivien Reid and Vraska, Relic Seeker to deal with your big flying threats.

This deck is not the hardest to pilot but Mastermind's Acquisition lines can be difficult at times, especially if you are not used to the card. Sometimes you will need to tutor for a card for the next turn while other times you will need to hold it so you can activate Cabal Stronghold, tutor for a card with Mastermind's Acquisition, then play said card. Sideboarding can be tricky but it is overall easy since you have so many cards to cut against decks where you won’t need Golden Demise, Ritual of Soot, and sometimes even Moment of Craving. So instead of breaking all that down and continuing to explain the deck over and over, I have something better for you. I ran this deck on stream through a competitive Constructed league on MTG Arena. We play against a good variety of decks so you’ll be able to see how the deck plays out and how we sideboard with the deck. This will hopefully give you some knowledge and experience so that when you play the deck, you will understand the interactions of the deck and how it works.

Here’s the video

Well, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this article. Take this deck and go crush some tournaments and make sure to let me know how you do. Tweet at me with your results and thoughts. That is all I have for you today.

As always, thanks for reading.

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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