Giving 8Rack A Try

ImageSo, I’ve recently stepped into the realm of Modern and been trying out a few different deck archetypes.

I’ve tried Zoo.

I’ve tried Tron.

I’m currently working on BW Tokens.

But of everything I’ve tried so far, I’m loving mono-black control, also called 8Rack.

The concept of the deck is simple: use spells to force your opponent to discard and drastically reduce their hand. Then, use enchantments and artifacts that cause damage based on how many cards your opponent has in their hand.

It’s a very simple, elegant strategy, and I’d honestly been playing some version of it casually for years before I picked it up in earnest. There’s a copy of the decklist I’ve been using along with this article.

Here are some of the insights I’ve picked up since playing the deck:

1) Your Starting Lineup:

, , : These are the beating heart of your strategy with this deck. Your optimum opening hand should contain at least two lands, at least one Thoughseize or Inquisition of Kozilek, and then some combination of the rest of them, hopefully a Wrench Mind. A hand like that will go a long way to crippling your opponent early-on. Once they’re down in cards, and The Racks will steadily shave down their life total.

I played this deck at a tournament at the local gaming convention – it went 2-2 – and I quickly became known as “That Guy with All the Thoughtseizes.”

2) Splash Green

Why would you splash green in a mono-black deck, you ask? Solely for a playset of , which will be the major source of removal in the deck. Decays will take care of most issues in the format, including and . Green also opens you up to some nice sideboard options like , in case you run into pesky blue mages.

3) Back-Up Plan

Your second win-condition is, well, to bash your opponent’s head in with a combination of and . Obliterator is costed about right for late-game Modern shenanigans and can be devastating. Given the choice, I play Obliterator first to, hopefully, bait their removal before I play Tombstalker. Tombstalker, with its Delve, means that you can play it for B after a few turns and really shake up the board. In my experience, once he’s out on the table, the game is over. The playset of s in the deck, being pro White and Red with infect, make good blockers, as do the 3 .

4) What to Watch Out For

This deck is a lot of fun against slower decks and things like combo decks (especially if you side in or to get rid of , Twins, and other things you’ve forced your opponent to discard). It has a fair match in Burn, which this deck can race to the bottom (I’ve done this once or twice). Very fast decks like Zoo can be a problem, because this deck is all about dealing with threats before they hit the board; once they’re on the table, it can be hard to deal with a lot of critters all at once. Also – watch out for decks that have a lot of card draw. You won’t be able to keep up without siding in answers.

5) It’s A Good Beginner’s Choice

I like this deck not only because it’s pretty easy to pilot, but because the cost of entry is pretty light compared to other decks. The only major money outlays are going to be for Thoughtseize, Obliterators and . You can basically use any Black fetch you need (of course, are preferred). Also, the deck is pretty consistent and intuitive to pilot.

If you’re looking for an easy “in” to Modern, I’d whole-heartedly advise you give this little deck a shot.



  • 4x Abrupt Decay
  • 1x Doom Blade
  • 4x Inquisition of Kozilek
  • 1x Phyrexian Arena
  • 4x Raven’s Crime
  • 4x The Rack
  • 4x Shrieking Affliction
  • 4x Thoughtseize
  • 4x Wrench Mind


  • 4x Phyrexian Crusaders
  • 2x Phyrexian Obliterators
  • 2x Tombstalkers


  • 3x Mutavault
  • 3x Overgrown Tomb
  • 11x Swamp
  • 1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
  • 4x Verdant Catacomb

Here it is in a copy and past friendly format

4 Abrupt Decay
1 Doom Blade
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
3 Mutavault
3 Overgrown Tomb
1 Phyrexian Arena
4 Phyrexian Crusader
2 Phyrexian Obliterator
4 Raven's Crime
4 Shrieking Affliction
11 Swamp
4 The Rack
4 Thoughtseize
2 Tombstalker
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wrench Mind


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