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War of the Spark Constructed Set Review: Black

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Constructed:

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White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts, and Lands

Ravnica Allegiance Set Reviews (Click to Expand)

Limited:

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Azorius | Gruul | Orzhov | Simic | Rakdos

Constructed:

White & Azorius | Blue & Simic | Black & Orzhov | Red & Gruul | Green & Jund

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Ratings Scale

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind SculptorTarmogoyfSnapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s ProdigyCollected CompanyRemand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace BelerenRadiant FlamesShambling Vent.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of ThoughtZulaport CutthroatExplosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory AdeptAnticipateTransgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living GuildpactNaturalizeDuress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing). (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)

Bleeding Edge

Bleeding Edge

Constructed: 2.0

It’s hard to compete with Moment of Craving when it comes to aggro-stopping power, though I do like that this leaves a 2/2 body behind. I’d want to have more combos with amass before playing this, even if it’s pretty close on its own merits.

Bolas’s Citadel

Bolas's Citadel

Constructed: 3.0

Bolas’s Citadel is one of the sweetest cards in the set. I’m not convinced there isn’t a sick Standard deck with it, where you use various life gain cards to keep the train rolling. That can either be Wildgrowth Walker + explore creatures or something like Dovin’s Acuity and Revitalize, with the end goal being to play tons of cards and eventually win the game with the tap ability. I’m also excited by the prospect of using this alongside Tinker in Vintage, as this is an artifact after all.

The effect here is incredibly powerful, and even if it takes work to harness it, Bolas’s Citadel has a ton of potential. Also, as a note to Twitch chat: this cannot sacrifice lands, no matter how many times you suggest it.

Bond of Revival

Bond of Revival

Constructed: 2.0

Zombify has seen fringe play before, though this hitting only your graveyard is likely worse than the creature getting haste.

Command the Dreadhorde

Command the Dreadhorde

Constructed: 3.0

This is a mondo combo with The Wanderer or Gideon’s Sacrifice, and is powerful enough to keep in mind. We aren’t short on 6-drop ways to win the game these days, so there’s a long list of cards this has to compete with, but this can put a million things into play and overwhelm the opponent easily. I like combining this and life gain, with Wildgrowth Walker and explore creatures being an obvious place to start.

Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage

Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage

Constructed: 3.0

8-Rack is old news. Today it’s all about 10-Rack, and perhaps some daring visionary will introduce us to 12-Rack. Davriel serves as a win condition and a way to force more discard, which is a strategy that has applications in Standard as well. This is a good rate, as three cards for 3 mana is awesome, though it being over three turns does make it a little worse. Still, Davriel is so cheap that it’s an effective card in any attrition-based matchup.

Deliver Unto Evil

Deliver Unto Evil

Constructed: 2.0

I’m not convinced you need much help once you have Bolas in play, but in the event that you do, this does deliver. It isn’t great without Bolas, though it’s not totally embarrassing if you have a stacked graveyard.

Dreadhorde Invasion

Dreadhorde Invasion

Constructed: 3.0

Dreadhorde Invasion is not the next coming of Bitterblossom, but it does provide a powerful effect and is worth building around. I particularly like Gleaming Overseer, as it gives the token hexproof and makes it a lot more likely you can get a 6-point hit in.

The Elderspell

The Elderspell

Constructed: 3.5

I love having The Elderspell in the format. Planeswalker-heavy decks are popping up all over the place, and having a backstop against them is super valuable. If people go too nuts, The Elderspell can shut them down, and it even has some neat combo potential by letting you ultimate a planeswalker thanks to all the extra counters.

Eternal Taskmaster

Eternal Taskmaster

Constructed: 2.0

Zombie is a valuable subtype, and this has a nice combo of good stats and a relevant ability. My guess is that it falls a little short, but it’s not completely out of the question.

Finale of Eternity

Finale of Eternity

Constructed: 2.5

I like this mostly as a sideboard option against WW, as you may be able to snipe three creatures for 3 or 4 mana. One edge over Ritual of Soot is that it doesn’t hit your own creatures, so it’s a good option in a deck where Ritual would kill too much of their own stuff.

God-Eternal Bontu

God-Eternal Bontu

Constructed: 2.5

Sacrifice cards at high rate always have some takers, and Bontu might be a solid 1-2 of as the top end of a Judith deck. It’s large, can draw a few cards, and keeps coming back.

Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Constructed: 3.5

Liliana and Ugin are the two 6-drops that just about everything else is measured against. Liliana in particular can demolish the opponent if you have any board presence, as her -4 ability is just devastating. If you happen to not have anything out, then she builds a board for you, and has a ton of loyalty while doing so. She’s one of the marquee cards in the set, and her power level lives up to that.

Liliana’s Triumph

Liliana's Triumph

Constructed: 3.0

I’m mostly looking at this for Legacy, where Diabolic Edict was a go-to removal spell. This is a slight upgrade, and given we are talking about Legacy, that’s pretty meaningful.

Massacre Girl

Massacre Girl

Constructed: 3.0

Massacre Girl is a powerful card if people are playing a lot of small creatures, which does point a little more toward sideboard use. She crushes any sort of WW deck, and Llanowar Elves tremble at the thought of her. I actually don’t mind having a few dorky creatures in a deck with Massacre Girl, as sometimes you need to get the party started yourself.

Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty

Ob Nixilis's Cruelty

Constructed: 2.5

If Cruelty could get rid of God-Eternals forever I’d be a lot higher on it, but as is it can still fill a removal slot if the metagame is right.

Price of Betrayal

Price of Betrayal

Constructed: 2.0

Price of Betrayal is an efficient sideboard card, and may get the nod over The Elderspell if people are consistently playing one planeswalker at a time instead of many.

Sorin’s Thirst

Sorin's Thirst

Constructed: 2.0

Moment of Craving eats Thirst’s lunch (that is a sentence that makes zero sense if you don’t understand Magic, and not a lot more even if you do). This is harder to cast for a slightly worse effect, which doesn’t bode well for the future of Sorin’s Thirst.

Toll of the Invasion

Toll of the Invasion

Constructed: 2.0

I’ve been loving Toll of the Invasion in Limited, and even in Constructed it has a shot. You really have to want the 1/1 for this to be good, but in a sacrifice deck that seems totally reasonable.

Top 3 Black Cards

3. Liliana’s Triumph
2. Command the Dreadhorde / Bolas’s Citadel
1. Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Liliana is a clear winner, and her Triumph isn’t far behind. I do have both Command and Citadel second, as the two cards as so similar, though if I had to pick one I’d give Command the nod for Standard and Citadel the nod elsewhere. Black gets a lot of powerful cards here, and many of them cost 6, which means they aren’t going to play all that nicely together. It’ll be interesting to see which comes out on top, though no matter what, the power level is there.

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