I’m straying from my normal competitive talk to jump into some casual stuff. I have been playing EDH for the past year and it has been hard for me to find a deck I especially enjoy. After some seriously casual playtesting and some laughs, I have found a general I truly love.
Let me start this off by saying that I will not be providing a decklist for this particular article. Instead, I will be showing everyone how I structured my Mono-Black EDH deck, commanded by the fantastic Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath! I believe that EDH is truly a format where you find a general that is, in fact, you. Once you find your general, you begin to build around him in any way you see fit. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you
“Obnoxious, the demon summoning-life draining-kill everything-value.deck”
So we have a pretty sweet general that is really good in 4 player commander. Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath is definitely an insane card, possibly overpowered. Not only is he a fantastic general, but he can also just win on his own (though very rare). However, I would not make him your general in 1v1 commander. His abilities are amazing and are very relevant in every game (who doesn’t love pumping out 5/5 demons). I would just pull Sheoldred, Whispering One out of your deck and slap her in the command zone. If you do that, you are required to whisper for the rest of the game (just kidding). So lets talk about our value creatures in black!
Hey guys! Look! Our lieutenant/alternate commander! This card is nuts. She is a package deal, commanding both the boards of our opponents and grabbing us a creature from the yard on our upkeep (don’t miss that trigger!). As if she already wasn’t one of the best black creatures every printed, she has Swampwalk! Pair her with an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and she is un-blockable. This card is unstoppable if paired with something that protects her (Lightning Greaves). Sheoldred is a must have.
“Welcome to hell, Mr. Geth will see you now.” This guy is like Sheoldred, only not as good if our opponents completely destroy all graveyards. He can grab multiple creatures a turn and mill into even more creatures if left unchecked! This guy is excellent at establishing a “lock” with Sheoldred. Opponent sacs a creature on upkeep, we take it from their yard and put it into play. Geth is also a must have.
I always imagine Drana as a pretty girl who wants to return an expensive handbag but gets stuck in line for hours and hours on end. To avoid dying of boredom, she just decides to kill everyone and keep the bag. Her ability is gross and literally allows us to kill everything (in time). Leave her unchecked and watch your opponents’ creatures die miserable little deaths when our wonderful mother of death demands it. She is one of my favorites, and a must have in a black deck.
“It’s big, hairy, and pink! It’s a MASSACRE WURM!!” Said the Goblin, who was incapable of escaping the Wurm’s oppressive clutches. Welcome to black’s Elesh Norn. Massacre Wurm can just win against weenie decks, causing life swings that not even Gray Merchant of Asphodel could hope to imagine. Wurm is also just a good answer to any Elspeth (1/1 soldiers tend to die pretty quickly when we play Wurm) we might see and tends to boss around the mob boss himself, Krenko (goodbye goblins). This guy is a must have. I would play a deck with 38 swamps and 62 Massacre Wurms if I could. He also tends to have amazing synergy with almost every creature we have listed (Sheoldred can help get him back every turn as can Geth, and Drana can finish off some creatures in response to his trigger). Play this card. You must. It is your duty.
“That’s a nice creature. Tap, kill it.” Avatar is ridiculous. Not only is she a huge beater, but she can be cast for less! Woah! (see what I did there?). In all seriousness she is a reusable murder on a creature that has fear. If she goes to the store and gets some shoes like Lightning Greaves she is almost unstoppable. Pair her with Geth and achieve the lock I previously discussed.
If you remember mono-black devotion in Theros standard, then you will know how busted this guy can be. With all the great ways in black to kill our own creatures, this guy is basically a re-usable Exsanguinate. You gotta play this guy. Gray Merchant is honestly the best mythic rare out of Theros block (honestly he was busted) and would be my general if he wasn’t actually a common. If you are in black and tend to have a lot of random devotion, you gotta play Gray Merchant.
Well hello beautiful. Gisa is just amazing and can turn our creatures into a whole bunch of zombies. Then she can turn zombies into more zombies! Gisa is nothing short of an amazing card that demands an answer. She is the perfect black card. Play this card.
Well those are my favorite creatures. I gotta mention some of the others I play because they are pretty sweet. So here are the honorable mentions.
Kuro Pitlord is a great way to wrath your opponents if you have something like a million life. Just be careful. He can be pretty taxing if you lose everything but him.
Platinum Emperion is the best panic button ever. He shuts down a lot of your deck since you are constantly throwing around life (Nectopotence mainly). I’m glad I have him when I am losing terribly to a very fast EDH deck.
Blightsteel Colossus is a great way to just win. He can be a pain to cast, but can wrap a game up versus all the life gain decks in EDH (If we don’t have our good friend Erebos).
Lets talk about how you cast these bad boys and girls! I’m talking about the mana base. The lands!
Must have. If you aren’t playing it you cannot do fun things. Pair this bad boy with an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and profit! This card enables all of our Drana and Geth shenanigans. With all the available tutors in black, this card is a must. Once you play with it, you will never want to not play with it again.
If you like swamps, you’ll love this card. This card’s best friends with Cabal Coffers and tends to be the dreaded combo among playgroups. It also enables Swampwalk and is pretty amazing with Corrupt. This card is a must have.
This card is good at making a lot of mana after a wrath effect, but tends to be a one-time deal. Crypt just loses to Bojuka Bog. However, you gotta play it in order to windmill slam a bunch of creatures after a wrath effect gives you some extra mana to work with. Perfect black card and is deceptively good, probably won’t get Strip Mine’d.
This is a .35$ card that literally destroys Karador, Ghost Chieftain. There is no better feeling than beating an entire deck with a land. This card also tends to be extremely good against another mono-black deck. We gotta have it since Karador is arguably one of the most played generals right now.
There are other good lands, but these are the only non-basics I run (aside from cycle lands). I just tend to think that it is better to have a bunch of Swamps to turn on Coffers than clogging my deck full of ETB tapped lands or colorless lands.
Black has a whole bunch of removal spells. In order to maintain good friendships with my playgroup, I tend to only play around 10-15 spot removal spells. Some of my favorites (just to name a few) are Hero’s Downfall, Doom Blade, Murder, Go for the Throat, Slaughter Pact, Bile Blight, Ultimate Price, and Profane Command. I am constantly swapping out removal spells, trying to find the perfect balance. I have found that I really like all these spells and rarely find myself not using them.
Black also has an excellent bunch of Wrath effects. I play cards like Damnation, Black Sun’s Zenith, Decree of Pain, and Living Death. I tend to only play around 3-4 wraths because they are pretty terrible back to back; and sometimes we just don’t want them at all. We just got a new one in Crux of Fate, and it will definitely be in my deck!
Black also has awesome card draw spells. I love Bloodgift Demon, Underworld Connections, Necropotence, and Phyrexian Arena. All these cards have the same basic effect: Lose one life to draw a card. All these cards are great and deserve play in a mono black. I also love Disciple of Bolas in order to draw a whole bunch of cards and gain us some life when we really need it. We can make a creature really huge with Drana, then draw a lot of cards with Disciple of Bolas.
This is EDH! We have to have fun with our awesome black deck! Here are some awesome and fun black cards that tend to be very funny or just plain fun. We’ll start off with Withering Boon. This is a black counter spell that tends to draw a lot of laughs from opponents because it is the last thing they expect. Temporal Extortion is a time walk that can be countered if an opponent pays half their life. It is always funny to see a table argue about who will pay the life if they do not have the counterspell, especially in the late game. Raving Dead attacks random opponents and halves their life total. This is always fun to see happen in a game and can lead to a lot of laughs and loud, rambunctious fun. Army of the Damned makes 13 zombies and can be flashed back to make 13 more! Always a fun card to play in a game that is pretty locked up. Lastly, Worldslayer is a reset button that is hilarious to play and watch people complain. I play all of these cards because I love having fun and doing very funny/goofy things.
In conclusion, this deck is sweet and you should play it. That is really all I have to say about it. Make a list and try it out or just buy the new pre-con with our great general and give it a go. Make the deck yours, not mine (aside from the value creatures!). Also, sleeve it up in some nice sleeves like Dragon Shields or KMCs if you are going to put in all these expensive cards I have mentioned. Protect your investment! Lemme know in the comments if you have any questions or if you have any recommendations. I am still building my deck (and I will probably never stop)!
May the skull mana be with you,
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