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Mono-Color Decks for the Beginning of Karlov Manor Standard


Hello everyone. Normally, this would be the week where I begin bringing you decks featuring some new cards from Murders at Karlov Manor. However, since there were no Early Access events, I'll get started with some decks you can play in the first few weeks of our new Standard environment. This week, I'll be focusing on mono-colored decks. Let's get started.

Mono-White Gnomes

My first deck this week is focused around a creature type that is underutilized. Let's take a look at the deck.

Threefold Thunderhulk
While the Gnome creature type has been around since Legends, they haven't received the same level of support as some of the other creature types have over the years. Until recently, that is. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan included 11 Gnome creatures, including a couple that are in this deck. The first is Market Gnome. When it dies, you'll gain 1 life and draw a card. That works nicely alongside Threefold Thunderhulk. Threefold Thunderhulk has an activated ability that allows you to sacrifice another artifact to put a +1/+1 counter on itself. That's some nice synergy.

Another card that synergizes well with the Gnomes in this deck is Clay-Fired Bricks // Cosmium Kiln. When this artifact enters the battlefield, you're able to search your library for a basic Plains card and gain 2 points of life. Later on, you can craft an artifact with Clay-Fired Bricks to create Cosmium Kiln. Doing this will net you two additional 1/1 Gnome artifact creature tokens, plus all of your creatures, including the creature tokens just created, will get a +1/+1 bonus.

Mono-Blue Swords

Next, I have a Mono-Blue deck for you that showcases the final two swords in the dual-color 'Sword of ..." series. Let's take a look at the deck.

Sword of Forge and Frontier
Sword of Once and Future

This deck includes two copies of both Sword of Forge and Frontier and Sword of Once and Future. Both swords provide a +2/+2 bonus when equipped, as well as protection from Red & Green and Blue & Black. Each sword also has an equip cost of two mana, making Omen Hawker the perfect creature to tap for this. Each of the swords also do additional effects when the creature that is equipped with them deals combat damage to their opponent, but those effects are all bonus effects and not really something to focus on in this deck.

To get the best benefit from having one or both of these swords equipped, you'll want a creature that has some sort of evasion. Sleep-Cursed Faerie, Spyglass Siren, and Faerie Mastermind all have flying, making them difficult for a ground-based team to block. Alternatively, you could equip Gingerbrute with these swords and activate its ability that makes it only able to be blocked by creatures that have haste. There's also Surge Engine, which you can make completely unblockable by paying a single Blue mana. Any of these options can allow you to take a massive chunk from your opponent's life total, and win the game within a few turns.

Mono-Black Deathtouch

The next deck I have for you is Mono-Black and focuses on keeping you safe from your opponents attacks by deterring them with deathtouch. Let's take a look at the deck.

Bilious Skulldweller
I recently found out that of all of the keywords in Magic, deathtouch is my wife's favorite. There's something about a lowly 1/1 creature being able to destroy anything it deals damage to that makes deathtouch so fun. Take Bilious Skulldweller, for example. For a single Black mana, you can cast Bilious Skulldweller which can single-handedly stop some opponents from attacking entirely. The fear of losing their most powerful creature by simply having it blocked by a 1/1 that happens to have deathtouch can cause them to slow down their attack until they can find some piece of targeted removal.

Notable other creatures in this deck with deathtouch include Preacher of the Schism and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. Both of these creatures have ridiculously high toughness amounts for creatures with deathtouch, so they will provide a lot of protection without necessarily facing destruction when blocking. If your opponent manages to get out a creature that has trample or some form of evasiveness that makes it impossible to block, this deck includes a variety of removal spells that you can use to remove those creatures from the battlefield.

Mono-Red Skitterbeam Reactor

Up next, I have a Mono-Red deck featuring a number of artifacts that have a lot of synergy when they are on the battlefield together. Let's check out the deck.

Dragonspark Reactor
Dragonspark Reactor looks innocent enough. For two mana, you get an artifact that gains a charge counter whenever another artifact enters the battlefield under your control. For four mana, you can sacrifice Dragonspark Reactor to deal an amount of damage equal to the number of charge counters on it to your opponent and to one target creature. Normally, that might only amount to a few points of damage, but, thanks to a pair of other artifacts in this deck, you'll be able to deal much more damage.

The first artifact that allows you to place multiple charge counters on Dragonspark Reactor is Skitterbeam Battalion. Whether you cast it for its full mana value or for its prototype cost, you'll always get three copies of it, as long as it was cast. The second artifact is Reinforced Ronin, which you can cast turn after turn, since it returns to your hand at the beginning of your end step. Both of these artifacts charge up Dragonspark Reactor more than usual methods, resulting in the potential for it to deal extra damage when sacrificed.

Mono-Green Midrange

The final deck I have for you this week is a Mono-Green deck that is full of terrific creatures. Let's take a look at the deck.

Poison Dart Frog
In a deck full of powerful creatures, it might seem strange to talk about one of the smallest, but I think it's a creature that is very overlooked. I'm talking about Poison Dart Frog. At the low, low price of just 2 mana, you get a 1/1 capable of blocking nearly any opposing creature, thanks to it having reach. It can also take down the most powerful attacking creature by giving itself deathtouch until the end of the turn. Sure, Poison Dart Frog might die in the process, but it's taking your creature along with it. And, perhaps the most important ability it has, it can tap to create one mana of any color.

That extra mana helps you power out bigger creatures earlier than you could if you had to wait for mana from just your lands. You can also use that mana to cast Nissa, Ascended Animist for her full mana value. Doing this lets her come into play with seven loyalty counters, which you can then remove to activate her ultimate ability which provides your creatures +1/+1 for each Forest you control, plus trample. This can help you end games very quickly.

Wrapping Up

While I'm looking forward to providing you with some new decks featuring cards from Murders at Karlov Manor, I'll definitely be building these Mono-Colored decks to play in Standard until I'm able to procure the cards I need for those new decks. Hopefully these decks will let you bridge the gap into our new Standard environment as well.

What do you think of these decks? 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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