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Mono-Color in Zendikar Rising Standard


Hello everyone. In our current Standard environment, we're able to play decks featuring multiple colors very easily. There are numerous ways of ramping our mana, allowing lands of various colors to enter our battlefields. Because of this, you would think that multicolored decks would have dominance over mono-colored decks. Luckily, that's not true. While there are many advantages to playing multicolored decks, mono-colored decks are still able to thrive. This week I have five mono-colored decks (one for each color), that all have done well on either Magic Arena or Magic Online (MTGO). Let's get started.

Mono-Red Aggro

Most healthy Standard environments have a Mono-Red deck that can hold its own. Luckily, our Standard has just such a deck. Let's take a look at it.

Zendikar Rising has provided the Mono-Red deck with a few new additions that help it regain its status as a well-performing deck. As a 1-drop with only 1 power, Fireblade Charger is an innocent-looking Goblin. When it dies, it deals damage equal to its power to any target. You can use that damage to get your opponent a few points closer to their demise, or direct it toward a creature as a form of removal. You can finish off a creature that's slightly bigger by then using Spikefield Hazard on it, sending it off to exile.

One thing Red decks have been missing are spells that can deal a decent amount of damage directly to an opponent, but can still target their creatures if needed. Slaying Fire can easily deal four points of damage to any target. Zendikar Rising brought another tool we can use with Roil Eruption. Roil Eruption will normally deal three points of damage to any target, but in those games that go on for a very long time, you might be able to kick it to deal five damage instead. While it's not something to count on in every game, you'll be thankful for it when you need it.

Mono-White Midrange

Our next deck is a midrange deck that sometimes can become very aggressive. Let's take a look at it.

While I've classified this deck as being a midrange deck, there are times when playing this deck will feel like playing an aggro deck. Much of it will depend on the creatures your opponent has in play that can act as blockers, and when you get a copy of Luminarch Aspirant to stick on the battlefield. With its ability to pout a +1/+1 counter on any creature you control at the beginning of your combat, you'll be able to choose whether to give that counter to a creature with evasion, allowing you to deal a little extra damage, or whether to give it to a more defensive creature, making it more difficult for your opponent to successfully attack. Either way, the creature receiving the counter becomes a little more difficult for your opponent to deal with on following turns.

This deck is really good at filling up the battlefield. Legion Angel allows you to put another copy of itself from your sideboard into your hand. Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis can create two 1/1 Human Soldier tokens when she uses her -2 loyalty ability. Even Castle Ardenvale can help out by creating 1/1 Human tokens with your unused mana each turn. Finally, Emeria's Call creates a pair of 4/4 Angel Warrior tokens that fly. You can take advantage of those extra creatures when you cast Makindi Stampede, giving all of your creatures +2/+2 until the end of the turn.

Mono-Black Midrange

Next up, we have a Mono-Black deck that has the ability to win unexpectedly. Let's take a look at the deck.

If creatures are prevalent in your local meta, you might want to give this deck a try. There are multiple ways of dealing with an opponent's creatures. Hagra Mauling, Drag to the Underworld, and Bloodchief's Thirst outright destroy an opponent's creature. Grasp of Darkness effectively does the same much of the time, by reducing a creature's toughness by four. There are also numerous creatures that help the cause, such as Murderous Rider, Foulmire Knight, and Grimdancer. Finally, there's Rankle, Master of Pranks, which can cause an opponent to sacrifice their own creatures.

Now that the battlefield is clear, you could achieve victory by simply attacking. But where's the fun in that? To score true style points, you can win games relatively easily without ever having attacked. This is thanks to Ayara, First of Locthwain and Gray Merchant of Asphodel, a.k.a. Gary. Ayara drains your opponent of a point of life whenever another Black creature enters the battlefield under your control. In a Mono-Black deck such as this one, that will happen regularly. Gary drains your opponent of an amount of life equal to your devotion to Black. Once again, since this deck is Mono-Black, your devotion to Black can be considerably high.

Mono-Green Stompy

Our next stop bring us to the Mono-Green deck. It features a combination of Food-based fun and some slight landfall shenanigans. Let's take a look at it.

By starting off with Gilded Goose, you begin gaining Food tokens that you can use later on. A fair amount of the time, you'll utilize those Food tokens with the ability on Trail of Crumbs that acts as pseudo-form of card drawing. Alternatively, you can sacrifice those Food tokens to make Wicked Wolf indestructible when it enters the battlefield. It will also get a +1/+1 counter for each Food token you sacrifice, which can allow it to destroy any opponent it fights. Finally, you can save your Food tokens in order to play Feasting Troll King from your graveyard. It can be an effective way of keeping a powerful threat on the battlefield.

I did mention that this deck also features a bit of landfall. That ability lies with Kazandu Mammoth. Its landfall ability gives it a +2/+2 bonus for the turn when landfall happens for you. While there's not any way to gain multiple landfall triggers in this deck, becoming a 5/5 is generally enough. By following up the landfall ability with Primal Might, you'll be able to fight nearly any creature successfully, and then attack for a ton of damage.

Mono-Blue Blink

The final deck I have for you this week is Mono-Blue and features a couple of ways to win. Let's take a look at it.

Much like most decks, this deck has the ability to attack to victory. With evasive creatures like Brazen Borrower, Arcanist's Owl, and Yorion, Sky Nomad, you can often attack into fewer blockers than you could with forces that were on the ground. By utilizing the activated ability of Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, which taps another target creature, you can remove would-be blockers before they are able to block at all. Utilizing this strategy will allow you to claim victory in the majority of your games.

Alternatively, you can use the creatures from the previous strategy as defenders, allowing you to cast cards like Gadwick, the Wizened, which enable you to draw additional cards. This will help thin your deck, which allows Thassa's Oracle to do its work. Since this deck has a few different ways of blinking your creatures (like Yorion, Sky Nomad or Thassa, Deep-Dwelling), you'll be able to utilize Thassa's Oracle's ability to great effect, and possibly to victory once your deck is small enough.

Wrapping Up

Even though multicolored decks will have a slight advantage in games by being able to cover its weaknesses more easily, mono-colored decks provide consistency, which can allow you to win more often.

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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