M13 Pre-release: Play to Your Weaknesses – Black

Yeah, I know I just posted the artifacts a few hours ago, but I have 13 hours of work for the next 3 days straight and don’t know if I’ll be able to get every color out in time if I just do one at a time. I also want to get the Rares and Mythics covered by Friday night as well.

Well, as I said before, black is all about killing stuff or making it weak. But one of the bonuses that black gets in M13 is Exalted. This adds another layer of strategy against/for black, especially with built in deathtouch on creatures like Vampire Nighthawk. who wouldn’t love to attack with a 5/6 Lifelink death touch creature on turn 4 with 3 Duty-Bound Deads? Take a look at my choices for playable cards and tell me what you think. And as always, if you have other COMMON OR UNCOMMON cards you’d recommend that I left out of, please leave a comment afterwards!

Duty-Bound Dead

Okay, the reasons I like this: 1) it costs 1 and it has 2 toughness. A good blocker against other 1 drops (Kraken Hatchling is the best I think, but it’s in blue). 2) Exalted. You can attack with it on turn 2 and it will be a 1/3. Really doubtful that anybody will have anything to kill it early on. 3) Regenerate. Meh, it’s always great to have Regenerate, but the cost of it is its draw back. Running 2 of these and then something like a Vampire Nighthawk on turn 3 would be great. 1/3 Turn 2, 2/4 Turn 3, and then on turn 4 your Nighthawk would be a 4/5 in the air. Very nice.

Vile Rebirth

Holy crap this is powerful. It costs 1, it exiles a troublesome CREATURE card from ANY graveyard, and also puts a 2/2 Zombie into play for you! Getting something into the graveyard early might be a problem, but there are some cards that can help you do this (Murder, Mind Rot, etc)

Vampire Nighthawk

I’m pretty psyched this got a re-print. I thought it was great back in Zendikar, and in the current format with Bloodline Keeper and Vampire Nocturnus, he’s just gonna be nasty. In limited he’s going to be a beast. He can handle those 2/2 drakes and dragons, and if you put the black ring on him your opponent will be in trouble really quick. If you can just give him first strike . . .

Sign in Blood

Awesome value, especially if you are running lifelink in your deck. You’ll need all the card advantage you can get during the sealed pre-release, so definitely think of running black if you get some of these. Also could be used to deal 2 damage to your opponent for 2 mana. Not bad at all.

Servant of Nefarox

This might not be the best 3 drop, but this might not be bad card as your 23rd card to finish off your deck. If you’re focusing on Exalted, this definitely would be a nice fit, especially if you have 2 Duty-Bound Deads in play. A 6/4 on your 4th turn isn’t bad at all. Not the best, but it could definitely fit into a few decks, especially since you can splash it.


Doomblade is going, as well as Go for the Throat, but in it’s place we get Murder. No drawbacks, no restrictions, just kill something. The extra mana is more than worth it. One or two of these in a sealed tourney would be worth their weight in gold against the big creatures later on in the game. There aren’t any indestructible cards in M13, and only one or two Hexproof creatures I believe, so you’ll have plenty of targets to throw this at. A little hard to splash, but running a two color deck with black is doable.

Knight of Infamy

Again, awesome value. A 2/1 for 2 mana that has exalted and protection from white. Duty Bound turn 1, Knight on T2 (attack with a 2/4), Servant on turn 3 (attack with a 5/4 Knight) . . . Exalted is definitely going to be pulling it’s weight in these games. Expect to see a lot of it and think of how to stop it!

EDIT: Thanks to Kamiken for pointing out these two cards to me!

Tormented Soul

I totally skimmed over this card because it was a reprint and nothing new, but with Exalted? Unblockable, hitting every turn, and if you can keep the Exalted cards coming out, you could have an opponent begging for mercy really quick. Definitely good in a sealed tourney.

Again I skipped over a good card. It costs 1 mana, weakens a creature, and keeps it from blocking. If you just need to attack one more time and your opponent keeps one card back to block your creatures, just slap this on the creature and you can swing in for the kill.


That’s it for Black. I think Black is back and it’s gonna kick a lot of ass during the Pre-release. Right now I’m really thinking of running a Black/White Exalted lifelink deck if I can get the cards for it. These are just the commons and uncommons but they are pretty damn good I think. Throw in the black Ring and you’ll be in really good shape using black during the tournament! If you have any other black common/uncommon cards you’d like to recommend, or can think of some awesome combos, please share! Tomorrow I’m hoping to get around to white or blue, so look for another post then.

Also a Pre-release update on Card Brunch near Kanayama station. They’ll have tournaments both days at 11am and are charging 2200 yen for it. This is the CHEAPEST place and I’m planning on going both days. I’ll be sure to post a comprehensive list on Friday before the pre-release in case you forget.