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You Only Need One Color in Standard


Hello everyone. Over the past couple of weeks, I've looked at some tribal decks that you can try out during this lull period between releases. I'll probably have some other tribal decks in the not too distant future, but not this week. This week we'll be taking a look at some mono-colored decks that have recently gone 5-0 on Magic Online. By playing a mono-colored deck, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of each color easier, and this can allow you to play multicolored decks better. We'll get started this time by taking a look at the Mono-Black deck.


In Magic, Black cards embrace death. Many of our current Black cards give you a benefit when a creature dies, and this is seen in the deck I have for you today. Let's take a look at it.

Lolth, Spider Queen
This deck gains a lot of advantages when your creatures die. Lolth, Spider Queen gains a loyalty counter each time a creature you control dies. This is the only way for Lolth to gain any additional loyalty counters. Eyetwitch allows you to learn when it dies. Shambling Ghast will either create a Treasure token or give -1/-1 to one of your opponent's creatures when it dies. Even spells you cast provide benefits when a creature you control dies. Deadly Dispute requires a sacrifice of either an artifact or a creature, but it allows you to create a Treasure token and draw two cards. Since it's an instant spell, you'll often want to cast this after you've blocked with a creature that's sure to die, creating even more of an advantage for you from that creature's death.

Blood on the Snow is a sorcery that can destroy all creatures, both yours and your opponents. You'll benefit from playing this by being able to return a creature or planeswalker from your graveyard to the battlefield whose mana value is equal to or less than the amount of snow mana spent to cast Blood on the Snow. Finally, The Meathook Massacre is all about getting an advantage from death. Not only can it act as a board wipe, but also you can often use it to deal enough damage to your opponent to allow you to win the game on the spot. Since each creature in this deck has a mana value of three or less, and your opponent will lose one point of life whenever a creature you control dies, it's easy to bring out a number of creatures over a few turns only to see them slaughtered by The Meathook Massacre, dealing your opponent lethal damage with the death of your own creatures.


Red, in Magic, is the color of direct damage and high emotions. It's also the main color of the Goblin tribe. My Mono-Red deck for you this week is a Goblin tribal deck that embodies everything Red holds valuable. Let's check it out.

Battle Cry Goblin
When your emotions run high, you can often find yourself acting without thinking. That's represented in this deck by some of the creatures having haste. Goblin Javelineer, Hulking Bugbear, and Fireblade Charger (if equipped) all have haste, allowing you to attack with them on the turn they enter the battlefield. Battle Cry Goblin has an activated ability you can use to give haste to any Goblin you control. Having haste gives your team some measure of unpredictability. Your opponent can never be sure whether they need to hold some creatures back for defense or whether it's okay to attack full on.

High emotions can also result in a lot of damage, and Red is typically the color of direct damage. This deck only has one card that deals direct damage, Roil Eruption. This sorcery can also be unpredictable, as it will deal either three or five points of damage to any target, depending on whether it is kicked. There is one other card that definitely requires high emotions in order to play it. Alchemist's Gambit is a Hail Mary pass that you can use to either win the game, or lose it. You'll get an extra turn following the turn you play Alchemist's Gambit, but if you're not able to finish off your opponent during that turn, you'll lose the game. This is best playable when you're all but assured to defeat your opponent.


In Magic, Green's belief is all about survival of the fittest. Let's take a look at the Mono-Green deck to see how this works.

Werewolf Pack Leader
The creatures in this deck certainly meet the 'fittest' portion of the survival of the fittest belief. Werewolf Pack Leader is a 3/3 for only two mana. That's an amazing amount of value. In the early days of Magic, you would expect to see some negative effect to help balance things out, but not in today's world. It also has a couple of abilities that provide you with the potential for even more value. Kazandu Mammoth // Kazandu Valley is one of Standard's best creatures with landfall. Finally, Old-Growth Troll only costs three mana, but provides you a 4/4 body with trample that can effectively return from the dead once it is killed.

In order to help your fit creatures survive, this deck relies on +1/+1 counters. Ranger Class, Snakeskin Veil, and Inscription of Abundance all offer the means of gaining +1/+1 counters. You can maximize the effectiveness of your creatures if you're able to get Unnatural Growth onto the battlefield. This deck also offers multiple ways that you can dominate your opponent's creatures via the fight mechanic. Inscription of Abundance and Blizzard Brawl both allow you to fight an opponent's creature. By using these +1/+1 counters and fights strategically, you can remove your opponent's greatest threats from the battlefield and prove that you are the mightiest.


The Mono-White deck I have for you showcases White's belief that by banding together, great things can be accomplished. Let's take a look at the deck.

Clarion Spirit
The creatures in this deck are relatively small. The largest is a 3/3, but the majority of them are 2/2 or smaller. Their mana value is also relatively small, with the majority being two mana or less. That means you'll be able to build up a large force of creatures in a short amount of time. Some of your creatures will allow you to create creature tokens, further enlarging the size of your army. Clarion Spirit and Usher of the Fallen both help with this task. Gavony Dawnguard also helps your army grow in size whenever day changes to night or night changes to day. By building up your forces, you're able to 'go wide' and attack with more creatures than your opponent can block. But with such small creatures, how are you able to defeat your opponent?

The answer lies in another of White's strengths, helping the members of the team. There are a few cards that show this in action. Codespell Cleric allows you to give a +1/+1 counter to one of your creatures when you cast it as your second spell of the turn. Ingenious Smith and Monk of the Open Hand have the means to gain +1/+1 counters of their own. Finally, Show of Confidence allows you to give a +1/+1 counter and vigilance to a creature, and it's possible that this spell will be copied numerous times. These small boosts, in conjunction with removal spells like Reduce to Memory, Kabira Takedown // Kabira Plateau, and Portable Hole, can allow White to overcome nearly any opponent in its way.


Finally, I have a Mono-Blue deck that shows that its creatures have potential inside them that can be unlocked, creating something better than it once was. Plus, since it's a Blue deck, it features a ton of counter magic. Let's check it out.

Ascendant Spirit
In Magic, Blue believes that a person can become whatever they want to be. This is evidenced in this deck in some of its creatures. Ascendant Spirit is a great example of this. By paying mana over a series of turns, you'll be able to transform this Spirit into a Spirit Warrior Angel capable of drawing a card whenever it deals combat damage to your opponent1. Delver of Secrets is another example. In the beginning, this Human Wizard is nothing special, being just a 1/1. It has the potential of becoming a 3/2 with flying, provided you can find the instant or sorcery card needed for it to transform. Finally, Malevolent Hermit // Benevolent Hermit starts off as a grouchy old man who can help counter an opponent's spell. Once he has passed on and is returned to the battlefield as Benevolent Geist, his true potential can shine and he will protect your noncreature spells from being countered.

It's no secret that Blue uses its great knowledge to prevent your opponent from successfully casting spells. This deck offers a lot of ways to counter your opponent's spells, leaving their side of the battlefield empty. Concerted Defense, Reject, and Syncopate all offer 'soft' counter spells. If your opponent has the necessary mana available to them, and they wish to use it, they can override these counters, but doing so can be costly. In the event that your opponent manages to get a credible threat onto the battlefield, you can always send it back to their hand with either Divide by Zero or Fading Hope. If possible, you might want to try to counter that creature the next time your opponent casts it.

Wrapping Up

Mono-colored decks offer a lot of consistency. You never have to worry that the land you drew won't provide you with the mana needed to cast your spells (for the most part). They're also a great way to be able to complete those daily challenges on Magic Arena that require you to play cards of a certain color.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Also, feel free to share this article with your friends anywhere on social media. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

-Mike Likes

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