We wrote an article a few days ago about a Mono Black Ayara deck that we were pretty excited about. It had a very high win rate, was super fun, and seemed like it was doing extremely powerful things but could use some tuning. Well, we tuned it, and it seems broken. Observe Command the Dreadhorde Mono Black Ayara Combo.
4 Cauldron Familiar 4 Witch's Oven 4 Gutterbones 4 Footlight Fiend 4 Priest of Forgotten Gods 1 Orzhov Enforcer 4 Cruel Celebrant 4 Midnight Reaper 4 Ayara, First of Locthwain 3 Command the Dreadhorde 4 Castle Locthwain 12 Swamp (339) 4 Godless Shrine 4 Temple of Silence
This is first and foremost an Aristocrats-style deck built around Ayara and Cruel Celebrant. But in the rare instances where that gameplan doesn't just kill them on its own, you just cast Command the Dreadhorde and the game ends. Have fun trying to accumulate value with Field of the Dead or whatever your Bant ramp deck is doing, we're just going to kill you.
Pretty much every creature in this deck that costs more than a single mana is an all-star. Priest of Forgotten Gods lets us control our opponent's board, contribute to our life drain plan, and oh yeah, it means we only need four lands in play to cast Command the Dreadhorde. Even without the 6-drop, the mana and card draw is almost always useful. Midnight Reaper is obviously nuts in a deck like this that can send so many small creatures to the bin, and it ensures that we find all of our combo pieces throughout the course of the game.
We finally realized that the only games we were losing were the ones where we got stuck only casting one spell per turn, whether due to mana screw or being glutted on 3-drops. As powerful of a card as it is, we cut the Murderous Riders that didn't contribute to our extremely synergistic gameplan, as well as anything more expensive than three mana not named Command the Dreadhorde. When we fully embraced the 1-drop (and Orzhov Celebrant as being just better than Lazotep Reaver), we found that all of our draws were awesome. Midnight Reaper, Ayara, and Priest of Forgotten Gods all let us draw additional cards if we can just get creatures into play. It's also nice to have to many actual 1-mana creatures that we could target with Command the Dreadhorde in case we are in a pinch and just need some more Ayara triggers.
Oh, our beloved Witch's Oven plus Cauldron Familiar combo. There's no better home for it than this deck, as we are very happy to see either piece, and they're just nuts when combined. You can sacrifice random creatures that get removal early on if you draw Witch's Oven before Cauldron Familiar, and by accumulating some food you have virtual blockers or sacrifice fodder in the future. When you play against Oko decks, be sure to keep Witch's Oven untapped until after they activate it if possible so that they have a harder time using his minus 5 ability profitably. You can also use it simply to get the key creatures into your graveyard for a later Command the Dreadhorde that combos them out.
We're only running eight white sources for the Cruel Celebrants, but that is probably good enough that we don't need to run any copies of Scoured Barrens. We don't need to cast Cruel Celebrant on turn 2 necessarily, and by turn 4 we're already above an 82% chance to have white mana available, before counting any scry or extra card draw action. Since this lets us play so many Swamps we can also run four copies of Castle Locthwain to ensure that we always draw one against control decks, though three copies is probably just fine as well.
Check out this video of us piloting Command the Dreadhorde Ayara: