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by Andrew Babcock
Dimir players, are you down? Have you taken a look at the top decks of late and decided to wait until your favorite secret sneaks get released in Gatecrash to brew again?
Forget that, Black-Blue Control is still alive, baby!
While lacking the firepower that Jund & Naya decks are seeing at the moment, there are still some strong options for the creature removal and tempo playing available to Dimir’s wheelhouse. You control players out there know exactly what I’m talking about when I asked about tired of looking at the top decks of late, they’re all full of Thragtusks and Restoration Angels and some Huntmaster of the Fells, still. Well, the best option available to dealing with these creatures is exactly what your deck wants to do: counter them.
While Mana Leak is gone there are still strong options to getting rid of these powerful creatures that are run amuck. The truth is some of these creatures aren’t even that dangerous on the board, but the riders that they bring provide powerful advantages just by getting cast – yes, I see Restoration Angels blinking Thragtusks in my nightmares, but I’ve brewed one deck here designed to stop them in their tracks: Mono-Rats Control.
Mono Rats Control
3 Drainpipe Vermin
4 Pack Rat
4 Ravenous Rats
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Appetite for Brains
4 Essence Scatter
2 Liliana of the Veil
3 Mind Rot
2 Runechanter's Pike
3 Think Twice
4 Dead Weight
3 Disciple of Bolas
2 Killing Wave
2 Liliana of the Dark Realms
4 Tribute to Hunger
The deck tops out at 4 drops, so it was easy to cut back land to twenty-two.
For creatures, Pack Rat is your best weapon. Sometimes you’re going to want to discard your own spells for the advantage of getting more Pack Rats on the field and you can since its ability can resolve at instant speed. That’s the key, since you’ll want to hold back counterspell mana every turn – so if you still have mana open at end of your opponent’s turn you can put it into the Pack Rats before your turn and have a threat.
Drainpipe Vermin will do some serious work for you if you let it. That one black mana can be a great add-on to the result of a Mutilate, Killing Wave, or block. Otherwise, the rats just want to chump or bump up the Pack Rat.
The counterspell suite is obviously aimed at one-for-one creature denial and keeping them out of the game altogether via Dissipate & Syncopate. I think Appetite for Brains is considered a counterspell in this situation – it hits EVERY problem creature Jund decks are playing: Thragtusk never hits the battlefield, strips Thundermaw Hellkite out of their hand, and also nabs Huntmaster of the Fells or Olivia Voldaren. You’re worrying less about Bonfire of the Damned, plus you can still counter it if necessary.
Mind Rot & Liliana of the Veil do the best damage to ruin a ramp player’s day. Mind Rot can put them into top deck mode on turn three or four and Lil gives you the best options for disruption available. The Runechanter’s Pikes can help you end the game by making your rats into bigger threats as your graveyard piles up with counter and discard spells.
In the Sideboard, Killing Wave will help you add some more mass removal against Lingering Souls and Armada Wurm heavy decks. Liliana of the Dark Realms works for offense or defense, plus she adds more punch to your Mutilates in case things get out of hand. Tribute to Hunger will help you stay alive, plus also gets rid of any Hexproof guys that slip by your counterspells.
I actually had a problem with Dead Weight in this deck. It’s very good removal for the price, but may be wrong for this deck’s sideboard. It won’t get rid of the worst creatures you’ll face, can’t hit Geist of Saint Traft, and can only be cast at sorcery speed, but for the cost, there’s nothing better to melt ramp creatures, Lotleth Trolls, or Deathrite Shamans. Sorry, but it was a somewhat lazy selection by me. Please feel free to add comments or suggestions for better removal!
Now, I’m sure that Gatecrash is going to bring a whole slew of creatures, counter magic, and discard spells that will replace nearly 50% of this deck. Dimir’s creatures will be evasive and provide some better card draw and card advantage, but at the moment the rats will do you proud.
Thanks for reading!