Mono Black Peer into the Abyss

Peer into the Abyss card art

I got beaten by the key combo of this deck and thought this might be a fun deck to play. Alternative win conditions are fun. Well, alternative – this deck certainly kills the opponent by wasting all life, it’s just that it’s mostly done at once, and it doesn’t really matter how much life the opponent has. Few decks can amass enough life to survive the hit from the main combo of this deck.

Format: Standard (2021)

Deck list


4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel (THB)
3 Kitesail Freebooter (M21)
3 Tymaret, Chosen from Death (THB)
3 Palladium Myr (M21)
2 Murderous Rider (ELD)
1 Massacre Wurm (M21)
1 Rankle, Master of Pranks (ELD)


4 Underworld Dreams (THB)

Instants and sorceries

3 Peer into the Abyss (M21)
2 Heartless Act (IKO)
1 Grim Tutor (M21)
1 Drag to the Underworld (THB)
1 Erebos’s Intervention (THB)
1 Eliminate (M21)
4 Grasp of Darkness (M21)


1 Wishclaw Talisman (ELD)
1 Nyx Lotus (THB)


24 Swamp (ANB)

Notes on play

The main combo is of course Underworld Dreams and Peer into the Abyss: this will first cut opponent’s life total in half, then make the opponent draw half the deck – and Underworld Dreams hits one damage per card drawn, so if the opponent has, say, 36 cards left in deck, that’s 18 damage after half the life has been taken.

The fastest this can happen is on round five: on round three, play Underworld Dreams, on round four play Nyx Lotus, on round five play Peer into the Abyss. Usually it takes a bit longer, but with some luck, the deck can survive: there’s quite a bit of removal. Getting Underworld Dreams or two in play is a priority, as it can make waiting all the more pleasant.

There’s also an alternate method of winning. Do not underestimate the Gray Merchant of Asphodel. If you have devotion – and you will – playing two of these guys can easily break your opponent. Even one will often give you more time to hunt for the combo.

A really fun way to win is to have your opponent flood the board with weenies, then play Massacre Wurm for 10+ damage.

Development ideas

The deck should really have fourth Peer into the Abyss. I only have three and rare wildcards are rare enough that I’ve been stingy and haven’t bought one. More Nyx Lotuses would be helpful as well.

I tried playing a version that would use Lurrus of the Dream-Den and enchantment removal instead of instants, but that didn’t work out. That variant would require more Lurruses, and I only have one.

I’ve seen this deck played as green/black combo, using green mana ramping. Ilysian Caryatid generates all colours and Druid of the Ilysian Grove makes all your lands all colours, so that would help with the heavy dependence on black for the key cards. I’ll probably try building that deck at some point.

I think I could try Ugin the Spirit Dragon here, now that I got one. Might fit well in here!

Arena Import

Here’s the whole list for Arena import:

3 Peer into the Abyss (M21) 117
24 Swamp (ANB) 116
4 Underworld Dreams (THB) 121
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel (THB) 99
3 Kitesail Freebooter (M21) 107
1 Wishclaw Talisman (ELD) 110
3 Tymaret, Chosen from Death (THB) 119
3 Palladium Myr (M21) 234
2 Heartless Act (IKO) 91
1 Grim Tutor (M21) 103
2 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
1 Drag to the Underworld (THB) 89
1 Massacre Wurm (M21) 114
1 Erebos’s Intervention (THB) 94
1 Eliminate (M21) 97
1 Rankle, Master of Pranks (ELD) 101
4 Grasp of Darkness (M21) 102
1 Nyx Lotus (THB) 235

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