The Best Black Cards In Wilds Of Eldraine – MTG

Anyone who’s read the original stories of the Brothers’ Grimm will know that the fairytales we’re told as children have older, darker origins. This is something that Magic: The Gathering’s designers kept firmly in mind when putting together Wilds of Eldraine, a set where every whimsical character casts a corresponding shadow.

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Much of this darkness, naturally, lurks among the black cards in the set, Magic’s traditional home for the wicked and the macabre. You’ll find horrible curses, monstrous creatures, and fates worse than death among this sinister selection, some of which rank among the most powerful cards in the set. If you’re looking to dance among the darkness, look no further than these great and terrible cards.

10 Lich-Knights’ Conquest

MTG: Lich-Knights' Conquest card

Magic players have understood the power of trading a cheap card on the board for a pricey one in the graveyard since 1999’s Goblin Welder. Lich-Knight’s Conquest doesn’t quite reach the same heights as that eternal all-star, but it does offer a similar, more flexible effect for decks built around reanimating powerful creatures.

For five mana, the price you’d expect to pay to reanimate a single target in the current economy, you can sacrifice any number of artifacts, enchantments, or tokens and resurrect the same number of creatures from your graveyard. In a blended token/self-mill strategy, this can result in some ridiculous swing turns in both Commander and Constructed.

9 Twisted Sewer-Witch

MTG: Twisted Sewer-Witch card

Fans of Magic’s humble Rat creature type have had an absolute field day in Wilds of Eldraine, which brings with it a veritable nest full of new options for a deck dedicated to the little guys. While not a Rat herself, Twisted Sewer-Witch might just be the best finisher for the deck, in Standard and beyond.

Not only does she bring along a Rat familiar when she enters play, but she also grants all of your Rats a Wicked Role, giving them +1/+1 and letting them deal damage to your opponent when they hit the graveyard. With a full board of Rats in play, this can spell doom for your opponent whether they decide to block your swarm or not.

8 Lord Skitter’s Blessing

MTG: Lord Skitters' Blessing card

Phyrexian Arena is a card that will likely remain a staple in Commander for as long as Magic exists, so any time a comparable effect arrives it’s worth a thorough look. Lord Skitter’s Blessing is the latest in this venerable line, a conditional two-mana Phyrexian Arena effect that requires you to have an enchanted creature in play at the start of each turn to function.

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The card does come with a Wicked Role built-in, meaning you’ll likely get at least one round of bonus card draw out of it, but beyond that, it really needs to be part of a dedicated Auras deck to pull its weight. Thankfully, such decks are always hungry for cards, making it a great fit in Aura decks across multiple formats.

7 Virtue of Persistence/Locthwain Scorn

MTG: Virtue of Persistence/Locthwain Scorn card

Every card in the Virtue cycle is a highlight of the set, both because of their mechanical novelty as the first noncreature cards with Adventures in Standard (sorry, Monster Manual), and because of their raw power level. Persistence is no exception, providing black decks with both an endless value engine and a cheap early-game removal spell in one convenient package.

Pricey value cards such as Virtue of Persistence typically underperform in Standard due to games not running long enough to use them, so pairing it up with Locthwain Scorn, an efficient answer to early aggression that also pads your life, is an inspired choice. Casting Scorn early makes it much more likely that you’ll live to play Persistence, laying the foundation for a very solid Control deck.

6 Rankle’s Prank

MTG: Rankle's Prank card

Rankle was one of the standout cards from Throne of Eldraine, a hasty Faerie Rogue with a suite of symmetrical effects he could use when damaging an opponent. He doesn’t return in Wilds, likely due to taking a hiatus following the stresses of the Phyrexian invasion, but his legacy lives on in Rankle’s Prank.

As a sorcery, Prank lacks the 3/3 flying body of the original Rankle, but it makes up for it with much more potent effects. Forcing all players to discard two and take four damage are both excellent effects for an aggressive deck, and the creature sacrifice option is ideal in Control, making Prank a versatile option for multiple archetypes.

5 Hopeless Nightmare

MTG: Hopeless Nightmare card

A card that benefits greatly from Magic’s more liberal use of the word ‘each’ in recent years, Hopeless Nightmare is a surprisingly potent card in the Commander format. Forcing one opponent to discard a card and take two damage is solid, but doing the same to three or more opponents is a huge value swing for just one mana.

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Beyond this, the card also offers an additional benefit when it hits the graveyard, letting you scry two. You can trigger this effect using the clunky three-mana self-sacrifice effect on the Nightmare itself, but you’re much better off sacrificing it to one of the many cards with bargain from Wilds of Eldraine instead.

4 Faerie Dreamthief

MTG: Faerie Dreamthief card

Some cards make their way onto lists like these because they’re incredibly powerful in specific scenarios, or enable particular decks to succeed by their very existence. Faerie Dreamthief is not that kind of card, but rather one that’s so efficient and flexible that it can slot into the majority of black decks, regardless of archetype.

A 1/1 flier for one is solid at a base level, and the incidental surveil is a nice added bonus, but it’s the Dreamthief’s ability to draw you an extra card from beyond the grave that pushes it over the top. With this trinity of effects, Faerie Dreamthief can find a place in Aggro, Midrange, and Control builds alike, and do a stellar job no matter what the rest of your deck looks like.

3 The End

MTG: The End card

There have been many Cranial Extraction-esque effects in Magic over the years, cards that let you name specific cards and get rid of all copies of them in your opponents’ hand, deck, and graveyard, but rarely do those cards actually have an impact on the board. The End is here to buck that trend.

While you’re restricted to dealing with a card your opponent actually has in play, rather than having free rein to choose anything that might be in their deck, the fact that The End is a removal spell as well makes it a much better card in general than past versions of this effect. It also gets a nice discount when you’re on death’s door, which is both fun and flavourful.

2 Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator

MTG: Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator card

Thanks to Magic’s new philosophy on planeswalker frequency, Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator is the only planeswalker in Wilds of Eldraine. Thankfully, it makes up for that fact by being one of the most interesting, complex ‘walkers we’ve seen in recent memory.

This is largely down to its passive effect, which lets you pay for life costs by exiling cards from the top of your library: a much more affordable cost, in most scenarios. This is ripe for exploitation in formats like Commander, and it’s complemented beautifully by Ashiok’s other two abilities: an efficient token generator and a Mill-based win condition, respectively.

Put it all together, and Ashiok is an absolute Nightmare for your opponents to deal with.

1 Beseech The Mirror

MTG: Beseech the Mirror card

Beyond being the obvious best black card in Wilds of Eldraine, Beseech the Mirror has a very compelling claim to the title of best card in the set, period. It’s a four-mana Tutor effect that lets you grab any card. Not exciting so far, but when you factor in the ability to bargain it to immediately cast the card if it costs four or less, things suddenly get very, very spooky.

The interaction with the format-warping One Ring and Sheoldred, The Apocalypse has already been noted, but the real beauty of Beseech is its flexibility. As with all Tutors, the ability to grab whatever you need for your current situation is the big draw, and this one lets you do that for effectively no mana if you manage to bargain it.

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