What to Expect: The Impact of M13 on the metagame – Black

Yes, yes it did just get real. Black is back in a BIG way. Screw Zombies and UB control, there is a real possibility that you’ll be going up against mono-black decks of death in the coming weeks full of Murder, Mutilate, and demons of every shape and size. With M13 black now has a wide array of weapons to deal with most decks out there. I think the color that is going to be brewed the most in the first few weeks of M13 is going to be black, and not even protection from black will be able to help you against a Mutilate. Let’s start off strong with probably the best creature in black, Vampire Nocturnus.

Vampire Nocturnus: Probability – high to very high

I don’t know who has played the Duels of the Planewalkers games, but if you ever went up against Sorin and his army of Vampires you damn well know how much of a pain in the ass it was to beat him. If you’re not playing with board wipes like Day of Judgement you’re in trouble. Even if you have Whipflares, Bonfires of the Damned, and Slagstorms, that’s no guarantee him or any other vampire will die. If you look at his typing, he’s NO Legend. It’s perfectly fine to put 4 into the battlefield and give each Vampire +8/+4 and Flying. There’s always that problem of having a land on top instead of a black card, but that’s why you have Liliana of the Dark Realms! Get those swamps out of the deck as fast as you can! This guy might show up in RB Vampire decks, especially teamed up with the Stormkirk Captains to give another +4/+4 and first strike, and you’ll definitely see Vampire Nighthawk with this guy, most likely the turn before.

The problem with him is all of those swamp symbols after that 1. If you run a BR Vampire deck you might not get the mana you need when you need it. I think Nocturnus will best fit into an all black Vampire deck with cards like Nighthawk, and maybe some Dragonskull Summits that allow you to splash in cards like Falkenrath Aristocrat and Olivia Voldaren. Blood Artist is going to be MIGHTY happy to see this guy.

Vampire Nighthawk: Probability – high

He was great back in Zendikar and he’s still great now. He’d fit in great with the BR Vampire crowd, especially with a Captain in play. Make him a 3/4 First striking, life linking, deathtouch creature and I think your opponent will think twice about flashing in his Restoration Angel. It’s hard to place Vampire Nighthawk into the current metagame, but it’s a great card and I think people are going to be brewing new decks focusing on black and he’s definitely going to be in there. WB Exalted would be another deck where Vampire Nighthawk will fit in I think.

Cower in Fear: Probability – moderate

Great against token and weenie decks, but I don’t know if this would be in the main deck. Most likely you’ll see this in the sideboard and put in against Esper Tokens and other aggro type decks that simply want to overwhelm you. This card will definitely be in the new mono black decks that will be showing up in the near future. When timed right, your Nighthawks will survive and their Restoration Angels will be dead.

Crippling Blight: Probability – low to moderate

This is not a bad card, and against control decks that have few creatures, it will cripple them. I think you’ll see this card  in WB Exalted decks the most since it will let you decide what blocks your creature to a certain extent. It probably won’t see a lot of play in standard, but you never know. I just have a hunch that you’ll see a lot more black out there, and in an aggressive black deck this card would be a good card. It can keep your attack path open, especially when you’re running flyers and your opponent has very few of them.

Sign in Blood: Probability – moderate to high

With cards like Disciple of Bolas, Sign in Blood, and Altar’s Reap, black finally has some awesome card drawing without the help of blue. Of course this card will be a staple of mono-black, but it will also find it’s way into other decks running black as well. W/B Tokens and BR Vampires would benefit from this card.

Disciple of Bolas: Probability – moderate to high

4 mana seems kind of high, but look at what it does! You gain life and draw cards! This card would be awesome in a GB  deck where you’d have the mana acceleration as well as large creatures. A GB Exalted trample deck (with Rancor of course) would be a good way to get maximum benefit out of him, but even if you’re just sacrificing a 3/3 vanilla creature, that’s still 3 life and 3 cards! I think he’ll see some constructed play as well.

Murder: Probability – high

With Murder you really don’t need to have Go for the Throat and Doomblade in your UB control deck anymore. 4 of these should be fine, especially with a full set of Snapcaster Mages to cast them twice. Any deck running black will have these in it.

Knight of Infamy: Probability – moderate

He’ll show up in just about any X/B exalted deck, but having protection from white might land him in some other black decks as well.

Duress: Probability – moderate

Great against control decks, works even better with Distress. Mono black control could shut down your opponents game early on. First turn Duress to get rid of your counterspell, 2nd turn Distress to get rid of your creature, and 3rd Turn murder to kill whatever you did put down. I’m interested to see where this will turn up.

Shimian Specter: Probability – moderate

Geez, a 2/2 Flyer with built in Memoricide? I like it. At 2/2 it does seem like it would die easily, but if you can deal any damage whatsoever you get great value from it. I’d personally put Lightning Prowess on it and just ping away at the player, taking all of their good cards away. If you can protect him he’s a great asset. But because of his low defense and cost, I don’t think that many mainstream players will use him.

Liliana of the Dark Realms: Probability – moderate

I played with her a little during the pre-release and she’s not bad. The Innistrad Liliana is still superior, but in a mono black deck where you’re casting a lot of “X+black mana” she’d be useful. She’ll basically act as mana acceleration for black, but her most useful ability is her -3 ability I think. You can use it to boost one of your own creatures, or use it to kill a creature. Since it’s -X/-X, even those pesky Indestructible creatures will die (good bye Predator Ooze !)

Phylactery Lich: Probability – low

EDIT: Sorry I was too tired when reading this card.

As a reader pointed out, you ONLY have to put the counter on an artifact when it ENTERS the battlefield. This means you need something indestructible like a Darksteel Relic and you’ll be set. As long as somebody doesn’t Revoke Existence your Relic, he’ll be fine. If you don’t mind running 4 Darksteel Relics in your Zombie deck, this guy would fit in really well.

Mutilate: Probability – moderate to high

Black really hasn’t had any good board wipes lately. Black Sun’s Zenith isn’t bad, but it’s rotating, and with Killing Wave you’re not always guaranteed that your opponent’s creatures would be gone. In their place I’d recommend Mutilate. Against aggro/beatdown decks it’s incredibly effective. Since it doesn’t target any creature specifically, you can take out Thruns and Geists of Saint Traft too. It will definitely be a mainstay in Mono black decks, probably with 1-2 main and another 1 sideboard. I think Black is poised to dominate the metagame relatively soon, so watch out for this card.

Black has a few more cards than the others for standard in my opinion. I do think some of my choices/reasonings are bad (sorry, I’m doing this article late at night and can’t think straight), but overall I feel that black is a strong color and that we’ll see a shift to more black cards before the end of August. The types of decks I forsee using some of these black cards are BR/Mono Black Vampires, Mono black control, and probably UB control . Keep an eye out and if you see any interesting uses for black, and  please leave a comment with your experiences. If you think any other cards deserve a spot on this list, I’d love to add them so please leave the card name and reason why you think it will be popular in the standard format.

Thanks again for reading and be sure to see the conclusion of how I think M13 cards will impact the metagame with White and Multicolor cards tomorrow.