I love an opportunity to maximize Transgress the Mind in Standard right now, so a shell that can cast the card over and over again sounds really appealing to me.

Transgress has its limitations. You can’t take their early drops, so it’s never been excellent against aggro, and it fails to hit some important cards like Jace, Duskwatch Recruiter, and Sylvan Advocate. That said, most black decks are full of spot removal and sweepers alike, so you tend to care more about the expensive cards.

Not being able to hit something like Negate or Clash of Wills is a much bigger deal to me, but still, Transgress with neutralize their best threats. The fact that this card is so good against midrange, can take planeswalkers, can take Company and half its creatures, and exile Eldrazi that would otherwise come back from Grapple has me really high on Transgress.

BW Control has been the two-color black deck of choice. A large part of that is because of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, but when Gideon is not looking incredible in the format, it’s reasonable to start looking to branch out. You’re still losing Shambling Vents, Sorin, and other awesome cards, so you’re going to need reasonable alternatives.

Chandra, Flamecaller is perfect. She’s a closer like Sorin, and will win the game in short order. She also helps dig through your deck quickly, or she will sweep the board when that’s what you really need. You don’t see much of Chandra, but you also don’t see much red! Chandra is one of the biggest draws back into Standard’s neglected color.

The other big red draw received crazy hype when it was spoiled, had a relatively decent stay in Standard, and then fell off completely with Eldritch Moon. Goblin Dark-Dwellers is still awesome. A 4/4 menace creature for 5 is fine, but being able to flashback important spells from your graveyard is the kicker. Transgress the Mind to clear the way followed by a 4/4 Transgress the Mind to finish the opponent off is massive. With other great card drawing spells and removal spells, Dark-Dwellers should always pack a punch.

The combo with Kolaghan’s Command is to get initial card advantage and then to bring back a Dark-Dwellers for more. If there are 2-toughness creatures or artifacts in the format, then Kolaghan’s Command is a great place to be. I’ve seen a bit of uptick in cards like Hedron Archive, Corrupted Grafstone, and Pilgrim’s Eye to try to fuel delirium. That puts Kolaghan’s Command’s stock on the rise.

The other removal spells are pretty basic. Fiery Impulse, Grasp of Darkness, Ultimate Price, and Ruinous Path can take care of problematic creatures and planeswalkers, and they all come back with Goblin Dark-Dwellers.

Read the Bones is card advantage and selection at a reasonable cost. This is another opportunity to pull ahead with Dark-Dwellers as spending 2 cards and 8 total mana to scry 4, draw 4, and have a 4/4 is a real challenge to beat.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is still insane, and it’s still better with red since Fiery Impulse is the cheapest removal spell in the format. Kalitas being able to come back from the ‘yard with Kolaghan’s Command is a reasonable bonus.

Finally, there’s Liliana, the Last Hope. She’s still great—she deals with small threats, teams up with your removal spells to kill bigger creatures, ultimates to win the game, and can also minus to bring back Dark-Dwellers or load your graveyard with fuel. What more could you want out of a card? I would strongly suggest playing more Lilianas, assuming she fits in your budget.

This is a pretty sweet take on a black control deck, and it even has a transformational sideboard option. Expect people to board out their cheap removal and sweepers against you, making Hanweir Garrison an awesome threat that can win the game quickly!

Red/Black Control

OAFMCNAMARA, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League