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While brainstorming new deck ideas with Journey into Nyx, something occurred to me. Black just received its third 2-power 1-drop in Standard with Gnarled Scarhide. White has several as well. Why not combine all of them into one crazy, hyper-aggressive deck? Attacking for 6 or more on turn three every single game seems pretty good to me. Since all the creatures save Soldier of the Pantheon are commons and uncommons, this seemed to be a great budget deck. Here's the list I came up with.

All for One and One for All

Righteous Charge
Yeah, that's twenty-eight 1-drops. In fact, every creature in the deck costs 1 mana. By coincidence, the average mana cost of the deck including lands is also exactly 1. The creatures chosen are pretty self-explanatory. I threw in every creature available that costs 1 mana and attacks for more than 1damage. With those creatures occupying half the deck, you're almost guaranteed to be putting 6 power on the board by turn two.

Spear of Heliod and Path of Bravery pump up your creatures, usually representing an immediate boost of 3 to 5 power. This makes it impossible for Sylvan Caryatid to block without dying, and it allows all your creatures to trade with Nightveil Specter.

I also wanted a more high-impact, one-shot pump spell. With the two main options being Fortify and Righteous Charge, I chose the latter. Although Fortify is an instant, that's really only important if your opponent doesn't block your creatures because he doesn't know how much damage is coming. In a deck like this, your opponent is pretty much just going to be blocking everything always anyway, especially since almost any creature will trade with one of yours. Speaking of which, Fortify doesn't stop that from happening. Most of your creatures will still have 1 toughness, so the ones that are blocked are going to die the same as they would have if you hadn't cast it.

Righteous Charge is different. You do have to cast it before combat, so you're opponent knows what's coming. That doesn't necessarily help very much though. All your creatures are now 4/3s or larger, meaning that most creatures that your opponent could have cast early in the game aren't going to be big enough to do anything other than die and soak up some damage. If your opponent doesn't have any creatures, you can easily charge in for anywhere between 12 and 20 damage.

Ultimate Price gives you a cheap removal spell to take those pesky blockers out of the way. I really wish we still had Crippling Blight in Standard to use here, but this will have to do. It hits the vast majority of creatures in the format, and clearing out one big creature can really help if you still need to push a couple attacks in to finish the game.

Context Is Everything

Gnarled Scarhide
Surprisingly, the deck isn't even as weak against cards like Supreme Verdict as you might think. If you're on the play, you can easily win on turn four, and you can do it even through a Dissolve or a Detention Sphere. On the draw, your opponent will still have to have the Verdict right on turn four, and he'll probably only be killing three creatures if you played an Anthem on turn three. Even afterward, your opponent should be between 5 and 9 life depending on which spells you cast, making it relatively easy to finish him off if you can stick even one creature.

Playing the deck is fairly straightforward. Your first two turns are going to play out pretty much the same way every game. Just make sure that you don't cast Loyal Pegasus or Boros Elite on turn one if you can avoid it, and be mindful of the colors of mana you'll have access to on turn two. For example, if you have a Plains, a Swamp, two white creatures, and a black one, you need to play the Plains and a white creature first so you can put all of them on the board by turn two.

The other somewhat tricky part is deciding when to play your Anthems or removal spells instead of more creatures. The best way to do this is to just add up your damage. Figure out how much damage you're dealing this turn and next turn if you cast the Anthem now, and figure out how much you're dealing this turn and next turn if you wait. Then think about any risks involved with making one decision or the other, such as running your Anthem into a Dissolve or playing all your creatures only to have them wiped away by Supreme Verdict.

If you're looking to put a bit more money into the deck, the two cards I would recommend are Athreos, God of Passage and Mana Confluence. Athreos is actually the card that inspired me to make a deck like this. Whether fighting against blockers or Supreme Verdict, Athreos will give your opponent a bad time. If your opponent takes a Lava Spike to the face every time something dies, the game will be over shortly, and if he doesn't, you can keep casting your 1-drops without losing much tempo, and since you'll almost certainly have more creatures than your opponent, some of them will make it through every turn.

Mana Confluence might be a bit overpriced at the moment, but I'm pretty sure this is the best possible deck for the card, and this is probably one of the only decks that wouldn't mind playing four copies. With a need to produce both colors of mana reliably with only two or three lands, and with a game plan that doesn't allow Temples, it seems to be a far better fit than it would be in most decks people are putting the card in. Finally, Mutavault would be tempting, but with a grand total of eleven cards you can even spend colorless mana on, I don't think it fits here.

Playtesting

Mono-Black Devotion – Game 1

Soldier of the Pantheon
My opponent started the game with a Swamp, and I led with a Soldier of the Pantheon.

He cast Pack Rat, and I attacked for 2. He took the damage, and I cast Dryad Militant and Rakdos Cackler before passing the turn.

My opponent cast Nightveil Specter and ended his turn. I cast Spear of Heliod and attacked for 9. He took the damage, and I passed the turn.

He played a Temple of Silence and passed back. I attacked with everything, and my opponent made a copy of Pack Rat. He traded the two Rats for Soldier of the Pantheon and Dryad Militant, taking 3 from Rakdos Cackler. I cast another Cackler and two Boros Elites and passed the turn.

My opponent cast Gray Merchant of Asphodel, gaining 5 life. He passed the turn, and I attacked with everything. Gray Merchant blocked a Cackler, and the Specter threw itself in front of a Boros Elite. My opponent dropped to 4, and I cast a Loyal Pegasus before passing the turn.

My opponent drew his card and conceded.

Game 2

Pack Rat
My opponent cast Thoughtseize, taking my Path of Bravery. I cast Rakdos Cackler and passed the turn.

He played a Mutavault and cast Pack Rat before passing back. I cast Loyal Pegasus and another Rakdos Cackler and ended my turn.

My opponent played another Mutavault and passed back. My opponent made a copy of Pack Rat and traded with the two Rakdos Cacklers, taking 2 from the Pegasus. I cast Soldier of the Pantheon and Gnarled Scarhide, and I ended my turn.

My opponent cast Desecration Demon and passed. I cast Dryad Militant, sacrificed it to tap the Demon, and attacked for 6. I passed the turn.

He cast Gray Merchant to gain 4 and passed back. I cast Soldier of the Pantheon and Gnarled Scarhide before ending my turn.

My opponent cast Nightveil Specter and ended his turn. I played a land and passed.

My opponent hit me for 7 with the Demon and ended his turn. I cast Loyal Pegasus and passed. During my end step, my opponent cast Hero's Downfall on a Pegasus, and he then cast Devour Flesh, to which I sacrificed a Gnarled Scarhide.

I sacrificed a Scarhide to tap his Demon, and he hit me for 2 with Nightveil Specter. I drew Spear of Heliod, cast it, and attacked with everything. My opponent cast Hero's Downfall on Loyal Pegasus, killed a Soldier of the Pantheon with Gray Merchant, and took 3.

On his turn, he cast Bile Blight to kill my copies of Soldier of the Pantheon, and he killed me with Desecration Demon.

Game 3

Boros Elite
I started out with a Tormented Hero, and my opponent played a Swamp and passed the turn.

I attacked for 2 and then cast another Tormented Hero and a Loyal Pegasus. I ended my turn. My opponent cast Devour Flesh, and I sacrificed a Tormented Hero.

I attacked for 4 and then cast Gnarled Scarhide and Boros Elite before passing the turn. My opponent cast Nightveil Specter and passed back.

I cast Path of Bravery and attacked with everything, gaining 4 life. Nightveil Specter traded with Loyal Pegasus, and my opponent dropped to 4. My opponent played a Mutavault, cast Pack Rat, and ended his turn.

I attacked with everything. Mutavault traded with Tormented Hero, and Pack Rat blocked Boros Elite. My opponent dropped to 1 life, and he conceded after drawing his card.

Wrap-Up

This deck can be incredibly fast, especially on the play. In Game 3, my opponent was at 4 life on his fourth turn, and he was facing 10 power across three creatures. Having a way to pump your creatures was even more important than I anticipated. It's possible that another copy or two of Path of Bravery is in order, although this weakness would probably be shored up by Athreos in the deck. For a non-budget version of the deck, I might start experimenting with something like this:

If you're looking for the most aggro-y aggro deck around, or if you just want murder unsuspecting opponents with an army of 1-drops, give this deck a try.


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