Defend the Stronghold

One of the most exciting things about Dominaria Standard is the return of Mono-Black. As long as Cabal Stronghold is in the format, people are going to be looking for creative ways to leverage this land to do crazy things. At the Pro Tour, we saw people trying to play with Dread Shade and removal spells, but eschewing the Cabal Stronghold top end. This week, Godhamu has gone in the other direction, and committed hard to playing a protracted game and fully leveraging Cabal Stronghold:


Cabal Stronghold
This deck is exciting because it shows that there’s the potential for a Black control deck that can keep up with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. This deck has enough early interaction with Fatal Push and Cast Down that you should be able to keep the Red deck off of your back. Then you have Doomfall and Vraska’s Contempt against both aggressive and control decks to bridge into your midgame.

The midgame revolves around card advantage engines that help to create openings. Karn, Scion of Urza is a great way to pull ahead on cards while forcing your opponent to commit resources to fighting your Karn. The Eldest Reborn is a great way to pull ahead on cards while presenting an enormous threat to your opponent by reanimating something like a Teferi or a Glorybringer. You even have Thaumatic Compass, which helps you continue to hit land drops and power up your Cabal Strongholds while starting to lock opposing aggressive decks out of the game.

The real question for all of these Black decks is this: How do you close out the game? Karn does a pretty good job, although it can be somewhat slow since there aren’t any Treasure Maps or the like to boost your artifact count. Perhaps the best option is Josu Vess, Lich Knight, which is a great way to put an enormous amount of power on the board all at once if you have no reason to fear a sweeper. The alternative is to leverage Torment of Hailfire, which is fantastic as long as you can clear the way of countermagic.

If you’re looking to find a way to leverage Cabal Stronghold in Standard, this seems like a good shell to do it in. You’ve got a great mix of early interaction against both control and aggro strategies backed up by a couple of powerful card advantage engines. You can customize with things like maindeck Duress or Yahenni’s Expertise depending on what you expect to see at your local events, and you can even leverage Mastermind’s Acquisition to give you access to powerful sideboard cards and alternative win conditions in unsideboarded games.


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