Let’s start with the card:
And the (rough) list:
General: Kuon, Ogre Ascendant
CREATURES

Mikaeus the Unhallowed
Massacre Wurm
Visara the Dreadful
Butcher of Malakir
Bloodgift Demon
Avatar of Woe
Duplicant
Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Pestilence Demon
Dark Imposter
Griselbrand
Harvester Of Souls
Reaper From The Abyss
Sheoldred,Whispering One
Rune-Scarred Demon
Necrotic Ooze
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Puppeteer Clique
Solemn Simulacrum
Nezumi Graverobber
Withered Wretch
Coffin Queen

SPELLS

Phyrexian Arena
Promise of Power
Syphon Mind
Ambition’s Cost
Sensei’s Divining Top
Ancient Craving
Decree of Pain
Damnation
Oblivion Stone
Plague Wind
Barter in Blood
Dregs Of Sorrow
Betrayal Of Flesh
Consuming Vapors
Profane Command
Tragic Slip
Phthisis
Suffer The Past
Life’s Finale
Corrupt
Expedition Map
Caged Sun
Darksteel Ingot
Sol Ring
Gauntlet Of Power
Vampiric tutor
Demonic Tutor
Increasing Ambition
Phyrexian Reclamation
Mimic Vat
Living Death
Grave Pact
Beacon Of Unrest
Rise From The Grave
Necromancy
Reanimate
Animate Dead
Dance Of The Dead

LANDS

Cabal Coffers
Reliquary Tower
Bojuka Bog
Phyrexian Tower
Polluted Mire
Barren Moor
Temple of the False God
Volrath’s Stronghold
Everglades
Strip Mine
Vesuva
Miren, The Moaning Well
Winding Canyon
High Market
Mystifying Maze
21 x Swamp
I say ‘rough’ because there are too many cards in here, and I’m honestly not sure what has been cut to get it down to fighting weight.  Also, there have been some changes, such as getting rid of Griselbrand for obvious reasons and slotting Ink-Eyes instead.  Also, Dread Cacodemon is in there somewhere too.  I know this because he Wrath-ed the board twice during my testing.  I badly need to do a physical inventory and post a correct, updated list.  It’s on the way.
Anyway, when I did my recent culling of decks, my goal was to try to piece together a smaller set of playable lists that cover as many bases as possible.  I covered nostalgia and three colors with Intet, artifacts with Slobad, reinventing my angels theme deck and two colors with Sigarda, and full-blown tokens aggro with Thromok.
This left black open.  Now, while I love the things black brings to the table, I’ve honestly never played an actual black deck.  (By that, I mean that black is always an auxillary color when I build it into something.  I love me some tutors, and a Phyrexian Arena or Reclamation, but I rarely make a deck that “feels” black.)  
Clearly, the thing to do is go all-in and make a mono-black list, right? 
Allow me to present a quick look at my internal deck-building process.
PART 1 – THE DESIGN
THE GENERAL
Three things conspired to push me towards Kuon:
-Fond memories of playing The Abyss in Vintage ‘Keeper’ builds back in the day.
-My idiotic desire to try to go off the beaten path with my general selections.  (Which I’m clearly terrible adhering to, as Thromok, Intet, and Sigarda will attest to.)
-The fact that a foil copy of Kuon was sitting on my desk.
What could go possibly wrong?
THEME/STRATEGY
I decided to go top-down on my design and start with Kuon.  He’s good at making creatures go away, and he needs several to do so all at once to flip.  Perfect.
Mono-black removal, then.  Super.
It occurred to me at some point in the process that a path to victory would be a good idea to include, so the soft reanimation theme was added as a slight afterthought.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS
-Card draw.  Black is mildly good at it, but not without a huge price to be paid in life.  No problem, then…Drain Life effects can cover that end of things.  (And I can play Suffer the Past, which is an incredible card that gets wildly overlooked in EDH.)
-Enchantments.  Black just flat-out doesn’t handle enchantments.  Clearly, my plan here is to hope no-one plays any.
-Artifacts.  See enchantments above.  My plan?  See enchantments above.
-The deck just might not do anything.  
Er…yeah.  I’ve got nothing there. 
-Is that an Exsanguinate?  And a Cabal Coffers?
Ha!  But no Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth!  (Honestly, the former is in due to theme, and the latter due to the need for black to find acceleration.  Will they pop up together once in a while?  Probably.  But it is black, after all.  And black is evil.  So this is legit.)
PART 2 – PLAYTESTING
The first time this deck hit the table, Griselbrand was legal.  The testing went like this:
-An opponent plays Griselbrand.  I manage to kill it, but not before he draws twenty-eight cards.  The rest of the table teams up to smash him to pieces.
-I then play Griselbrand.  Someone manages to kill it, but not before I draw twenty-one cards.  The rest of the table teams up to smash me to pieces.
Lesson learned.  Glad that card is gone.  Ink-Eyes feels far less evil, even in a mono-black deck. 
The second session occurred last week.  For those of you who don’t know, our regular Wednesday EDH session at Worlds Apart in Amherst, MA utilizes a hybrid version of the Armada Games ‘points’ list to even the games and make them more fun for everyone.  
I decided that I would see if the deck would perform best as a bit of a session deck; I would tweak the cards here and there and try to play the deck in a way that keeps the table interacting and the game-state moving forward.  I would try to win the evening on points, rather than being the last person at the table.
Interaction!
For the record, this worked moderately well.  The first interactions Kuon had with the game involved firing off an early piece of removal at a Noggle Ransacker, playing Animate Dead, and swinging with it to be the first person to damage a player with creature combat.  (Worth a point.) 
Not long after, Consume Spirit bought me some extra life and gained me another point (for the first non-creature damage done to another player), and before long,  I was able to leverage Necromancy to foil a Debtors’ Knell trigger and get a soft board sweep from my reanimated Pestilence Demon. 
Everything seemed to be going well.
From there, things started to head south.  The player to my left had been locked mostly out of the game due to an early decision to play Dralnu, Lich Lord.  This left him stuck on two lands for most of the game once damage started to hit. 
The player to my right, running Ghave, Guru of Spores, stayed fairly active, with the afore-mentioned Debtors’ Knell, various removal and board sweepers, and eventual late pressure via Artisan of Kozilek.  Most of his efforts were pointed at me, however, as the last player at the table was running a Ruhan “random” effects designed to completely drive me insane leverage coin flips.  As a result, he was left mostly alone due to nobody else understanding what his deck was supposed to do.  (Indeed, while there were some very amusing exchanges involving Goblin Bomb, it turns out that the biggest threat he posed was to himself, eventually decking due to an unchecked Mind Unbound…) 
So, the late game.  After the Dralnu player was finally killed, I found myself and Ghave both with ample lands, few cards in hand, and packed graveyards.
I didn’t win this one.
He had an Eternity Vessel active and Terramorphic Expanse in reserve, meaning that he could reset his life total to forty at instant-speed.  I was looking at Profane Command in hand, and the ability to cast it with X = 18, giving me the ability to only deal him roughly thirty-five damage between it and the beaters I had in play. 
This wasn’t going to cut it, so I hoped that I could sit back and find beaters or appropriate means of finding Drain Life to end things. 
Instead, I drew lands wile he drew business, eventually killing off my blockers and overwhelming me with creatures,
PART 3 – LESSONS LEARNED
The deck is enjoyable to play.  I liked it more than I thought I would.  But it has a huge gaping hole when it comes to running out of gas.  Without real recursion, getting to a point where top-decking is happening is akin to signing a death warrant.  This is why my last take on a deck like this ran green as well; if I could have recurred even one card from my graveyard, it would have been the difference between a win and the loss I took.
There’s also a question about threat density.  Despite the reanimation and creature count, the deck just feels like it spends too much time sitting without any pressure to apply.  Looking at the list, it appears top-loaded with enough draw and tutors to keep things moving, and enough things that deal damage one way or another that this shouldn’t be an issue.  Perhaps the answer is more seat time.  (It’s equally possible the answer is not wasting removal and Animate Dead on Noggle Ransacker…)
But the biggest issue?  Kuon himself.  Cool factor aside, Kuon wants to exist in a list that produces tokens.  Unlike The Abyss, you can’t abuse use of protection from black or artifact creatures to circumvent the creature destruction.  If you have a creature on the board, it’s going to die. 
Clearly, this is a big problem for a deck that has two game-plans; either play a big beater, or reanimate a big beater.  Kuon flipped hurts the deck as much (or more) than it hurts opponents.  This results in Kuon sitting comfortably in the command zone for the entire game, and I don’t want that.
What to do?
PART 4 – THROW OUT KUON
At this point, I’m starting my revision with a simple change:
Xiahou Dun immediately fixes my recursion problem in a big way.  He is a useful general, and I’ll be encouraged to play and replay him to keep moving and effectively double the size of my functional deck.  This should be a huge help.
There’s also a random point achievement at Worlds Apart that involves a creature with horsemanship and a creature with banding somehow getting involved in combat.  Here’s to living the dream!
Lastly, I’ll be damned if the price on the Judge Foil version hasn’t tanked down to the $40 range.  That means you can usually find one on Ebay for $25-$30 if you look hard enough.
Which is what I did.  
Stay tuned for results and additional changes.  I’ll be damned if I don’t make this deck into a good deck, and enjoy it in the process.  
FROM THE VAULT: REALMS GIVEAWAY
In case you missed last Thursday, I’m giving away a copy of From The Vault: Realms when it releases this summer.  Head over here to enter the contest. 
Thanks again for reading.

àDJ