Tuesday Night Takeover

Top 10 Black Commander Staples Intro to EDH

This list serves as a great resource for new players to gain some familiarity with cards they may be seeing frequently!

Commander staples are cards in every color that are just universally good and played in most decks that can play them todays list focuses on very common white spells and permanents you will encounter throughout your EDH journey! Please note that this list is definitely meta / playgroup dependent although these cards are played heavily this list may not be totally accurate to your EDH environment!

Black is a color in magic that represents opportunity, using whatever resources it needs to achieve the ultimate goal of besting your opponents. Many Black cards involve sacrificing other resources to cast a very powerful card Death's Shadow and Snuff Out are both great examples of how black sacrifices other resources for large benefits today we are going to take a look at the top 10 black commander staples!

10. Phyrexian Arena

Phyrexian Arena is a classic EDH card and has been good in any black deck in EDH for a very long time. For only 1BB you get a great enchantment that lets you draw 1 card in exchange for 1 life every turn, in a 40 life format this is not a drawback. Phyrexian Arena can really work in any deck and outside of super focused combo strategies goes into pretty much any mono-black or multicolor strategy. Phyrexian Arena also sees a lot of play due to being printed in many precons and its a very accessible staple for a ton of decks!

9. Sidisi, Undead Vizier

Sidisi is a 3BB Demonic Tutor and a sac outlet all in one! Sidisi is an amazing card for really any reanimator / graveyard strategy since Sidisi acts as both as sac outlet and a tutor! Sidisi is also a well stat-ed creature being a 4/6 with deathtouch for only 3BB. Some of the top decks that Sidisi goes in is Meren of Clan Nel Toth and Karador, Ghost Chieftain though Sidisi really fits into any reanimator focused or themed deck. Sidisi is really strong on the first cast but in reanimator strategies where you can cast her over and over again it gets out of hand quickly. Since Sidisi is a one-time sac outlet it has great interactions with sacrifice matters cards like Butcher of Malakir or Grave Pact.

8. Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Gray Merchant of Asphodel has a very interesting design and is an absolute powerhouse. Being able to make each opponent lose life and you gain life equal to your devotion to black. Gray Merchant is best suited in a mono black deck where you can use it as a finisher. Gray Merchant also works really well in a reanimator strategy where you can constantly recur it and make its ETB trigger. This card in the late game can be an absolute game-ender for your opponents or save you with the lifegain! Gray Merchant also infinite combos with a bunch of different cards which only adds to its value.

7. Dictate of Erebos

Dictate of Erebos is very similar to another great commander card Grave Pact. The biggest edge that Dictate of Erebos has is flash. Being able to flash it in before one of your creatures falls victim to a kill spell or flash it in once you have a sacrifice outlet like Ashnod's Altar or Viscera Seer. Dictate of Erebos really shines in reanimator decks but since there are so many black cards that have sacrifice effects built in it can function very well in a lot of decks! Dictate of Erebos making each opponent sacrifice a creature can take your sacrifice outlet into a board wipe for your opponents. Dictate of Erebos also has the added benefit of being able to kill indestructible creatures. Dictate of Erebos is an absolute amazing card for almost any black deck in commander!

6. Gonti, Lord of Luxury

Gonti is a really well designed and cool card! Gonti is a very fun card that allows you to play your opponents cards. One of the biggest upsides of Gonti is that even if you steal stuff that wont have a positive impact by casting, since they are in exile you have removed them from your opponents! Gonti is very well costed at 2BB and is well-stated as a 2/3 with deathtouch. Gonti also allows you to spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast these spells meaning no deck is off limits for being targeted! Gonti is amazing in really any black strategy and gets better if you have ways to make him re-enter the battlefield but even as a single cast can be really powerful!

5. Living Death

Living Death is an absolute house of a card, sacrificing all creatures on the battlefield and putting all creatures in all graveyard under their owners control. This card is utilized typically in a reanimator or self-mill style deck and is an absolute game changer with a full graveyard but can also be used when behind as a great way to clear the board / reset the game if the graveyards are relatively empty. This card can really fit into any black deck as the game goes into the later turns there will be more stuff in the graveyard and it only gets better. I don’t believe every black deck in EDH wants to run living death but a large majority of them do! Living Death has been a game changing spell for a pretty long time in EDH and I don’t see that changing anytime soon!

4. The Meathook Massacre

The Meathook Massacre is an amazing board clear with a ton of upside! Not only can it kill indestructible and other hard to remove creatures but whenever a creature you control dies each opponent loses 1 life and whenever one of your creatures die you gain 1 life! On a full board The Meathook Massacre feels very much like a Fumigate and a Blood Artist all in one. The Meathook Massacre is just all around a great removal spell with nothing but upside, it is especially effective against heavy creature strategies like token decks! The Meathook Massacre is a card that I believe could be played in most black decks as there is no real downside to it!

3. Toxic Deluge

Toxic Deluge is one of the best board wipes of all time! Not only does it have a very cheap cost at 2 and a Black it can kill indestructible creatures and really anything that typical “destroy all creatures” effects are able to dodge. The main drawback of this amazingly efficeint spell is that you must pay X life and creatures recieve -X/-X based on the amount of life you give up. This is no doubt a drawback but in a 40 life format like EDH this card is very easy to run in pretty much any black deck. Being able to get rid of your opponents Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre or Blightsteel Colossus for and only having to exchange life for it is absolutely worth it. Toxic Deluge is one of the best board wipes in magic since it basically hits every creature, it is an efficient easy to cast spell that can really flip the state of the game!

2. Sheoldred, The Apocalypse

Sheoldred is a devastating card whether in the 99 or in the command zone, Sheoldred is an insanely powerful card any time she hits the field, expect all eyes to be on you when she lands! Sheoldred is just a powerhouse black creature, making it so you gain 2 life anytime you draw a card and your opponents lose 2 life every time they draw a card and Sheoldred has deathtouch and to top it all off she is a 4 mana 4/5. Sheoldred is one of the best printed creatures in a long time whether in an offensive or deffensive role it is insanely powerful whether you are casting a Dark Deal or your opponent is casting a Wheel of Fortune Sheoldred is one of the best black creatures in all of EDH

  1. Demonic Tutor

Demonic tutor is one of magics most classic spells! Demonic tutor is very reminiscent of old magic which is cheap extremely powerful effects! For only1 Colorless and 1 Black mana you can search your deck for any card and not even have to reveal it. I cant think of one black deck that would not want to run demonic tutor it is a great enabler at any stage of the game. In the early game it can search for needed ramp and setup pieces and in the late game due to its low cost you can tutor for something big and likely cast it in the same turn! Demonic tutor is amazing in casual EDH decks all the way up to CEDH decks it is one of magics best and most iconic spells and that is why it tops this list!

In Conclusion black is one of the strongest colors in EDH having ultra efficient and powerful spells with an added cost of some resources. Mono-Black is great in EDH but when you have black as a supporting color is where it really shines being able to interact very well with the other colors on the color pie.