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Stacking the Deck: Dragons of Tarkir Roundup, Delving into Black

Updated on March 16, 2015

Today we've delving into the depths of darkness and look at the mono black cards of Khans of Tarkir. Is it just me or does every set have an obscenely amount of good black cards in it? Well, this set is no different.

We start the day with a reprint. Duress allows you to pluck a noncreature, nonland from your opponent's hand. With this card coming back, that means that black has access to Duress, Despise and Thoughtseize for a couple months. I don't know about you but that's a scary thought. Duress has it's upside to Thoughtseize though, you don't lose the two life. Combine Duress and Despise in blue/black control and you don't have to worry about lowering your own life total.

Butcher's Glee is something I never thought I'd see this format, a combat trick in black, and it's a good combat trick! Three mana to give something +3/+0 and lifelink at instant speed sounds really good to me. Not only that if it dies, you can regenerate it. Three mana?! This card is unnecessarily good. Who expects a combat trick, especially in a mono black deck? Throw this in black/white warriors and make your opponent regret attacking into them with only black mana up.

Coat with Venom is another great combat trick card for black decks. +1/+2 and deathtouch at instant speed is a very welcomed addition to any deck. Once again, put this in a white/black warriors deck in either draft or standard and watch your opponents squirm.

We're going to start the Uncommons with Virulent Plague. I'm convinced that Virulent Plague was made just to mess with Jeskai Tokens. Creature tokens get -2/-2. Drown in Sorrow was good at instant speed, but they decided to put it in Enchantment form. Trade the scry off for something permanent. Personally I like Jeskai Tokens but this is a good card. Side board it in amy black deck and wait for someone to go off with Hoardling Outburst, Raise the Alarm and Goblin Rabblemaster in Game 1. Then just sit back and laugh as you smack it on the table.

Ambuscade Shaman is one of the better dash creatures in this set. When it or another creature enters the battlefield, it gets +2/+2 until end of turn. You can let it sit there and give all of your dash creatures a major power boost, or you can dash him in for four mana and have a 4/4 with haste. Either way, it sounds like a good plan.

Death Wind is a simple, yet powerful removal spell. Give target creature -X/-X until end of turn. This can easily fit into Blue/Black control due to the high amount of mana in the deck.

This one is weird to say the least. If you control one creature, it gets +2/+0, lifelink and deathtouch. I could see this card being valued in two different strategies. Tasigur control, and exploit everything. First use Tasigur in a control based deck and keep him alive and threatening by making him a 6/5 deathtouch, lifelink creature. Use his ability to recycling control cards like Murderous Cuts and Dissolves. The second strategy is use it in an exploit deck. Have one creature on board, summon another creature with exploit and depending on the situation you can sacrifice the new or old creature. You trigger an effect and you're left with one creature on board.

The final uncommon is a reprint of Ultimate Price. While multicolored has been the way to go lately, Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir has made playing mono colored creatures the cool thing to do and with every trend comes haters.

The first rare is Pitiless Horde. This is a prototypical dash card. You lose two life every upkeep, but the goal of this card is to dash it out for two colorless and two black mana to have a 5/3 with haste. By the time you drop it on turn four, your opponent should have little answers to stop this.

Damnable Pact is unique, and powerful. Cast for X and two black, target player draws X cards and loses X life. Note how it says target player, not you. You can tap out, mill your opponent out, or just kill them. You can also just draw a bunch of cards at instant speed. This card could be the black version of Jace's Ingenuity. Whether it's Standard playable or not is debatable. What isn't debatable is that this card is a bomb in Commander. This card will be a monster late game. Draw ten cards or make your opponent lose ten life and the game, the choice is yours.

Hedonist's Trove is a card made for a black mirror match. Exiling cards from an opponent's graveyard will throw off any delve strategy. This card is made for the sideboard of Blue/Black Control. Side this in against any Whip of Erebos deck or Sultai strategy and take control of any lands and creatures you want. It's like another copy of Ashiok (and it won't rotate out).

Of all the Khans in Khans of Tarkir, the one I felt the least sorry for in the new timeline was Sidisi. She's dead but reborn as a 4/6 deathtoucher. Her exploit ability makes her playable in any black deck. Search any card you want and put it into your hand. The best part is that you don't have to reveal it. So underhanded, just like the Sultai/Silumgar way.

The last card of the day is the only Mythic Rare. Risen Excecutioner can't be blocked and gives other Zombies +1/+1. He's also a 4/3 for two colorless and two black that can be revived from the graveyard if you cast an additional colorless for each creature in your graveyard. Basically, if you delve out all of your creatures, you can recast this card for it's original mana cost every turn. This is a great card for a zombie based commander deck. I doubt this will see Standard play unless you play a black control deck with only Risen Excecutioners and the undead Sisidis.

Green is the final color and while it's always interesting to talk green, I can't wait until we get to the Dragons and Planeswalkers in the set. Until next time, thanks for reading.

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