PTQ Berlin: Urchin Blossom

Looking through the top eights of the first two PTQs for Berlin 2008, we see mainly familiar archetypes, including a flood of faeries — four in the first one, five in the second. One interesting choice from the second PTQ is Nicolas Rolf’s mono-black control build, which uses many of the best black cards, and attempts to leverage the Tendrils-like power of Corrupt into success. More in the extended entry.

11 Creatures:
Dusk Urchins
Murderous Redcap
24 Spells:
Nameless Inversion
Warren Weirding
Beseech the Queen
Makeshift Mannequin
Profane Command
25 Land:
22× Swamp
15 Sideboard:
Faerie Macabre
Flame Javelin
Beseech the Queen
Poison the Well
Eyeblight’s Ending

This deck combines aggressive finishers with a lot of reach with a ton of removal, and has significant overlap in roles across most of its cards. Bitterblossom makes a horde of attackers and Shriekmaws are unblockable attackers; Shriekmaws and Redcaps are reusable removal; Redcaps, Profanes, and Corrupts and pure reach; Corrupt also offsets the life loss from the Blossoms…and so forth. Thoughtseize pushes for card advantage in one direction while Dusk Urchins gain it in the other. Mannequin lets you reuse the Shriekmaws, Redcaps, and Urchins.
In short, there’s a giant, giant mountain of synergy across the bulk of the cards in this deck. It’s very well built in that regard.
Looking at mono-black in block, the big question for me is “how do you handle Chameleon Colossus?” In the maindeck, Nicolas has two Warren Weirdings to do the job; over in the side he has the very neat trick of two more Flame Javelins that come online when you hit six mana, and can kill a Colossus in an off moment.
This deck has a non-traditional amount of reach for a mono-black control build, and that probably lets it succeed where other mono-black builds don’t, because rather than going for removal, disruption, and a grinding win, it can just Profane, Redcap, and Corrupt to your face for the win.