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Magic Monday: A Beginner’s Guide to Magic- Black

In honor of the Star Wars movie, we join the dark side.

You know the stories they tell you about witchcraft and voodoo and necromancy?  Well that were here to do! Black wizards use tricks and savage tactics to manipulate aspects of the game. Often, they do not care about their creatures and gain perks when they die.  Black is very twisted, but it is very satisfying.

Here’s a mono Black deck I threw together for today:
Lands 23
23x Swamp

Monsters 29
4x Bloodsoaked Champion
4x Hangarback Walker
4x Zulaport Cutthroat
4x Qarsi Sadist
4x Carrier Thrall
4x Nantuko Husk
2x Drana, Liberator of Malakir
2x Smothering Abomination
1x Gurmag Angler

Spells 8
1x Bone Splinters
3x Alter’s Reap
2x Ruinous Path
1x Murderous Cut
1x Duress
1x Transgress The Mind

Creatures die! It’s part of the game, after all. Our deck just takes advantage of this. This deck is stylized in the form and aristocrats deck that runs cards that want to die. Were mono black and not fancy. So we do not run Rally The Ancestors. You want to be sac’n Bloodsoaked Champion because he can revive himself. Hangarback leaves tokens behind, which, in return, can sac’d themselves. Do this while Zulaport is on the field and you start to hurt your opponent. Sac’n as a result of Nantuko Husk can beef him up and just kill your opponent right there. Drana, Smothering, Gurmag are here to finish the deal. The spells are mix of goodies from removal to draw spells. Duress is good for control and Transgress picks stuff out that is bigger than us.

Black is for players who- want evil creatures and diabolical spells. If you have ever dreamed of playing the bad guy black is for you. You have access to some of the best straight removal, most of your creatures have abilities

Pros- Black cards give you some amount of say in what sticks around(In the form of removal). Like green, the little guys shine here. Though green pumps its creatures,  black normally does not mind if it’s creatures die. You may not always have board presence because you are sac’n your creatures, but with all your removal they should have trouble establishing a board on you as well.

Cons- As mentioned, your creatures are small. Drana is a flyer which helps, but she’s still a 2/3 for 3. Gurmag is a welcomed addition because you can delve all your sac’d guys to get him out for 1 or 2. Remember, black with go faster, green will get bigger, and blue will try to deny you, but you are the most wicked one of them all!

Next week we finish the colors up with white!

Until then check out more Magic Monday here!

Magic Monday: Black Control In Standard

One of the first places to start when building a deck is to choose which colors you want. Heading into this standard, I wanted to play some from of Esper(White/Black/Blue). Blue has counter magic, black has removal, white has Ojutai. Well I was looking over what Black lost, and well, it’s a lot. For starters, and probably what has everyone the saddest, whether you run Esper or Abzan(Green/Black/White), is no more Hero’s Downfall. Black is also losing Bile Blight and Silence The Believer and Drown In Sorrow, and maybe almost as heavy as a hit as losing Hero’s Downfall is losing Thoughtseize and Ashiok, Dream Weaver.

So what does black magic still have? For Esper, still a good bit of stuff. For Abzan, not as much. Abzan only has two cards left over: Languish and Ultimate Price. Oh and Sorin if you want to count him. Esper has a few more toys to work with. They still have Foul-Tongue InvocationCrux of Fate, as well as having Ultimate Price and Languish too.

What is Black gaining? They get Ob Nixilis Reignited who looks GREAT. They get Ruinous Path which will probably be as relevant as people are thinking it will be. They get Rising Miasma the poor man’s Languish/worse Drown In Sorrow. And Bone Splinters whose sac clause might be too demanding for control players but fits well in a more creature heavy deck.

The Devoid Black cards are where the set shines in my eyes. Devoid Black gives us access to Grip of Desolation, which gives the chance to disrupt their tempo while exiling their creature, Transgress The Mind which is new hand disruption that stops Siege Rhino before it ever hits the field, and Complete Disregard that exiles Hangarback Walker and allies.

Other black cards still in the format include: Utter EndSelf-Inflicted Wound, and Reave Soul.

Here’s a quick recap:

Lost:
Thoughtseize
Hero’s Downfall
Silence The Believers
Bile Blight
Drown In Sorrow

Still In Play:
Languish
Utter End
Crux of Fate
Foul Tongue Invocation
Self-Inflicted Wound
Reave Soul
Ultimate Price

Gaining:
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Ruinous Path
Rising Miasma
Bone Splinter
Complete Disregard
Transgress The Mind
Complete Disregard

So how do you guys feel about black as far as Standard Control goes? Did what it gain make up for what it lost? Are Esper Control and Abzan Control/Midrange still reliable decks?