Here we are again!
As usual, we will be going through the cards in both color and alphabetical order and will only be talking about new cards; I will not be touching upon the new to modern reprints or the enemy fetch lands as, put, the unique to modern cards have already been in the format for a long while.
So, without further adieu, we move onto Black and see what dastardly new toys this color gets!
So Black in Commander doesn’t need many upgrades but could do with a few spicy new toys, as the color already has plenty of unconditional removal, tutors, drain and gain effects, discards, and more. Black is easily one of the most diverse colors in the color pie and honestly is one of my favorite colors to play. Nearly every single color pair and trio with black involved are intense, often just because black is there, making it better and offering so much more versatility. So, with Modern Horizons 2, black is entering an extreme situation, but how much stronger will it get?
When looking at certain Magic cards, you can see that the rules text on the creature is more or less the same as another Magic card. You can then use it to give yourself an idea of whether or not the creature is worth the investment asks of you. For example, Archfiend of Sorrows has a better version of the card Infest tagged onto it, where it only hits your opponents creatures, plus -2/-2 is pretty big, killing some of the more minor Commanders like Kaalia of the Vast or Nejeela, The Blade Blossom, but also handily sweeping token players. Also, being cast later in the game for five mana makes this giant Demon an exciting proposition. Something I could consider playing.
Archons are cool. That’s the main thing I want to say here; Magic needs more of them. It’s a fantastic creature type that evokes the feeling of an inconceivable, all-powerful entity. This Archon is also pretty crazy levels of good. While eight mana is a high investment, big mana decks with Cabal Coffers, Cost cheating Commanders like Rakdos, Lord of Riots, or plain and straightforward reanimator decks can bring this into play far before the intended turns. It also does so much, giving you a 6 point life swing every attack, drawing you a card while getting rid of one of their cards in their hand, and causing them to sacrifice a creature or Planeswalker in the process. With a 6/6 body to boot, this card will be in the format for a long time to come, I’m sure of it!
So I was certain this card was a reprint but lo and beheld, it actually is a brand new card. Similar to Bone Splinters and Spark Harvest, this lets you either discard a card or lose a creature and for just 1 mana, get rid of any threat you want! Plus, the sacrifice or discard can even be a little tasty bonus upside for you, triggering death effects of cards in play or fuelling madness in your Anje Falkenrath deck. So while not every Black deck wants this, the ones that do will be ordering their retro foil copies!
Time for an Ice breaker! As stated above, my name is Lily. I’m 25 years old, my favorite Video Game of all time is Disco Elysium, and I absolutely love destroying my opponent’s lands! Lucky for me, while this card doesn’t reek of existential dread, it does let me destroy lands for the low, low price of 2 mana. There’s not an awful lot of things this actually hits, as many utility lands can be sacrificed in response to this effect. However, you will still more often than not find times where you can play it. Additionally, it has the extra spice of ruining the day of anyone playing Snow lands, so take that Jorn, God of Winter, and King Narfi. How’s that for betrayal!
So this is a graveyard hate card for everyone but you, in the color that actually uses graveyards the best in the whole game. I’m already interested as exiling any card that hits your opponent’s graveyard is actually pretty great, and being a 3/2 Shadow body is also icing on the already delicious cake. But it’s the tap ability on the card I am most interested in, as just tapping and sacrificing the card means you can grab any card exiled with it and just cast it without paying its mana cost. So your opponent had to discard their Ugin? Or Expropriate? Well, guess what, now you get to cast it for free.
So yes, this card is TECHNICALLY an Orzhov card, but this is my recommendations list, and it’s next in collector number order, so it’s going in the Black section, sue me! But seriously, this card is actually beguiling. For BB, it can act as a better cost but sorcery speed murder, though you can cast it for 2WW and actually instead cast Wrath of God. The sheer flexibility of this card means that you will frequently have good opportunities to cast this. If you are W/B/X and you are already playing Wrath of God or Day of Judgement, well, now you’re going to be playing Damn because it does what those cards do, but also more!
Back in Darksteel, there was this pretty darn awesome cycle of cards called the Echoing cycle; they did an effect that targeted a certain permanent type but hit every single card with the same name. So now we have a new card in that cycle, which lets you grab all creatures in your graveyard with the same name and put them all back into your hand. Now usually, this wouldn’t be able to do much in Commander. Still, I am mentioning it for Rat Colony, Relentless Rats, and Shadowborn Apostle because you can now suddenly get back a huge pile of your graveyard and usually be able to put them back into play for minimal mana. Of course, most decks can’t make value from this, but you will absolutely love it if you can. Bonus point for Persistent Petitioner in Dimir Mill decks too!
I am a sucker for a build around me, Uncommons, and that is most definitely what this card is! The obvious type is Madness decks, as allowing you to ping whenever you do the thing your deck wants to do (and also gain life back from doing so) is a good start, but this gets to be pretty wild when you start throwing it around with wheeling effects because you refill your hand and can on average do around 5 damage wherever you want. This is what I call a good deal.
The third of the incarnations and the first one to lack Flash. What we get here is a 4 mana 3/2 with Menace that casts a strictly better version of Thoughtseize, an already incredibly powerful Magic card, when it enters. I actually don’t really rate this in Commander outside of the most cut-throat games of cEDH and Duel Commander. Yet, outside of that, targeted hand removal is usually just too low value to really matter.
Now I am not Erin Campbell. I am no Dredge Queen. But I have played and played against my fair share of Dredge and Bridge from Below, and I have never once in all my games of Commander seen it played in this format. Now, this is certainly potentially powerful. Whenever you lose a creature, such as sacrificing bodies in aristocrats or just making bad attacks, then you get a 2/2 Zombie for your troubles. But as soon as your opponent has a creature enters their graveyard from play, then you lose your Magus of the Bridge. Combine this with Dauthi Voidwalker or Leyline of the Void, and you will certainly have a powerful zombie army in no time, but will it even be that good? I think not, sadly.
This was actually one of the cards I was legitimately most excited for. The fact it just keeps growing with the number of all creatures in all yards (plus the fact it has a Nitrogen Mists effect stapled onto it, which is backbreaking to play against in Commander), and the fact it can also be cast for just 3 mana from madness. I really thought this card would be amazing, and then I noticed that it only gained power from the cards in the graveyard but stays permanently at a paltry 4 toughness. Sure it dodges bolt, but with no evasion, it will just get chump blocked and eventually killed in every game you play it.
A new reanimation spell is something I’m always on the lookout for, and this, honestly, at least in my humble opinion, is very exciting. Granted, it cannot grab legendary creatures, so you cannot bring your Commander back to life, nor a host of other very strong magic cards, but the vast majority of creatures can be brought back to life for the small investment of 2 mana and a -1/-1 counter on the creature, all in all, this strikes me as an absolute bargain.
It just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t at long last get a functional reprint of Demonic Tutor, and with this card, we finally do… Sort of. This is Profane Tutor, the 3rd Null spell in the cycle, and this time for 2 mana and 2 turns in the suspend/time out zone, we get to actually cast Demonic Tutor, one of the most powerful spells in Magic. The drawback, of course, is that 2 turns is a long while to wait in Magic, and you will be painting a proverbial bullseye on your head when you innocently suspend this card. But hey, sometimes you can get the 2 turns you need, and your master plan will come together, or you can just cast this from As Foretold or Electrodominance or from a Cascade spell and ignore it completely.
TOURACH! HIGH PRIEST OF THE ORDER OF THE EBON HAND, CHANTER OF DESPAIR, DEATH, DISCARDER OF CARDS!
Sorry, I don’t really know what happened to me there… So after 27 years, we finally see Tourach in card form. I personally have waited for this day for 10 years since first reading the Magic lore myself. But…
He’s not very good.
So he, of course, cares about your opponents discarding cards, and when they do, he gets a +1/+1 counter, and you can kick him on cast for BB to actually cast Hymn to Tourach. But nothing about the card actually feels good to cast. He appears weak. I think he may be a card far more designed for Modern, where Hymn to Tourach cannot be cast. However, in Commander, I can’t see myself playing this iconic character, making me sad.
Squirrels, you either love them, or you hate them. They are the epitome of the meme creature type in Magic. Luckily I bloody love squirrels, both inside Magic and as cute little furballs IRL. Unfortunately, wizards decided that they belong as a Golgari tribe, which I totally get as they technically are vermin, similar to rats in some regard, albeit much cuter and more socially acceptable. Underworld Hermit is a strong card that for 6 mana always gives you 5/5 worth of stats as he himself provides 2 devotion to black. As long as you get at least 4 tokens from this card, it seems like a very good deal. Honestly, even non-squirrel aristocrat decks will very easily find a home for this card, though seeing peasant on a Magic card still takes some getting used to.
Joining Persist, we have a 2 mana version of Entomb, another powerful card that this time at least does not have many comparisons in Commander, the only one I can think of being Buried Alive. Like Persist, this cannot actually grab legendary cards, but it can put any card type into your graveyard, opening it up to a really wide array of cards. From setting up powerful turns in Kess, Dissident Mage, to putting Golgari Grave-Troll into your yard to allow you to get a big dredge turn, Unmarked Grave actually has an awful lot of potential aside from the obvious of just putting a big creature into your graveyard.
Very clearly meant to evoke the feelings of entombing, this quite literally casts entomb when it comes into play and is a 2/2 Deathtouch creature. I actually really like this as a budget option or variant that you can far more easily recur. Not really much else to say, honestly but expect to see this more than you expect.
And out with a bang that was black, with a whopping 17 cards to look out for, the most so far. But will Red have something to say about that? Well, we’ll have to wait and see, but yeah, keep an eye on these because, for the most part, black is getting quite consistently powerful cards, and many of them you will want to be sleeving up and wreaking havoc!