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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Set Review: Commander 2013 – Black

August 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Review

Cabal Archon

“Join the dark side. This is an order not an invitation, by the way.”

Hi and welcome back to Commander 2013 set review. Thank you for staying with this series of article. For today article we will look at the new Black cards added in this set. As we had done with the previous reviews, we shall continue to look at each card in regard to their political, self value and also talk a little about how each might fare or impact in normal variant. So now, shall we begin?

 

Black:

There are 8 mono Black cards in the set as follows:-

 

Baleful Force

Baleful Force

  • The Black part of the mega cycle of “Forces”. Along with Blue Tidal Force, Baleful Force poses as the other enemy colors of Green and joins in the family allowing you to have a Phyrexian Arena during each upkeep. During its preview, I have seen mixed review for this Creature. But in my opinion for its role in EDH multi-player, this is quite a double-edge sword if not use carefully. It is definitely not a Creature you want to have when your life is low. As the advantage of the card draw comes in straightaway at your opponents’ upkeep, you will lose at least 3 life in a four player game before your turn comes by. Adding your own upkeep, that is 4 life loss, plus four card draws of course, if the Force stays that long. The immediate danger may not be as big as Magmatic Force or Verdant Force, but Baleful Force gives quite a big card advantage for as long as it stays on the battlefield. Now you just have to find a way to gain back those life losses.
  • This falls, again as with the other Forces, into the reanimation targets. But due to its Creature status, Phyrexian Arena would far outshine it for being easier to cast and harder to get rid of. Not that big of an impact really in my opinion.

 

Curse of Shallow Graves

Curse of Shallow Graves

  • The Black part of the Curse cycle of Commander 2013. This is, in my opinion, the best among the Commander 2013 Curses. The advantage of getting an extra 2/2 body is quite good actually even when the Zombie enters the battlefield tapped. Tokens had long been fodders in MtG, so it doesn’t matters if they enter the battlefield tapped. Do note that the Curse will not trigger if you attack a Planeswalker of the cursed player.
  • This may be the most playable among the Curse, adding one extra attacker for your next attack every combat phase. It may see some use in mono Black beatdown decks. Perhaps Suicide Black maybe.

 

Fell ShepherdFell Shepherd

  •  Besides a huge cc, Fell Shepherd actually has a very deadly abilities combination. First off, since it is Black, the high cc problem could be solved simply by reanimating it from the graveyard. Now looking at its trigger when it deals combat damage to a player. You could easily wipe out the entire board if you have a couple of Creatures to sacrifice. The way to work with it is to sacrifice the Creatures before combat damage is dealt. All those sacrificed Creatures would then return to your hand when combat damage is dealt. So you will need low cc Creatures so you could recast them afterwards. You could even open the way for the Shepherd by clearing the blockers before attacking. Creatures I would recommend for this purpose will be; Memnite; Ornithopter; Phyrexian Walker; Shield Sphere. Or if you could find and afford them; Crimson Kobolds; Crookshank Kobolds; Kobolds of Kher Keep. This will be more fun if you have a Rakdos, Lord of Riots attacking. You could now use any Artifact Creatures for this purpose as when both Rakdos and the Shepherd, that will be a whopping 14 discount off all your Creature spells after a successful combat. That is almost any Artifact Creatures, even Eldrazi if you so desire, will be free to cast or at a very low cost.
  • This may not be all that good in normal variant as there are other Creatures with better or more devastating abilities for reanimation. It would had been better if the cc was a bit lower.

 

Hooded Horror

Hooded Horror

  • Hooded Horror has a weird trigger for being unblockable. As long as you do not have more Creatures than the player you are going to attack, it is unblockable, even if only both of you have one Creature on the battlefield. The Horror itself is not too small either. It is a very good Voltron-style Creature with its own evasion. All you have to do now is protect it. Quite a basic beatdown Creature in my opinion.
  • Not much of an impact on Legacy. Its cc is rather high to be of any use. There are many other Creatures with lower cc and some even higher power/toughness and all.

 

Ophiomancer

Ophiomancer

  • At first look at this Snake trainer reminds me of the Force cycle. All of them have an upkeep trigger at each upkeep. Unlike the Forces though, Ophinomancer does not trigger if you already have Snakes on your side. This means you cannot grow an army out of it. But what it lacks in this only weakness, it makes up with the Snake tokens it produces. With a Deathtouch Snake on your side, opponents with ground attackers will think twice to attack you for fear of losing their best ground beater. Even if they finally decide to attack you, you could still block with no worries. Since the Snake will most likely die in combat along with the attacker it blocked, you will get to have another Snake with Deathtouch at the next upkeep as long as Ophiomancer stays on the battlefield. You could consider it as a blocker producer.
  • Just as above, it could be use the same way. One thing good about normal variant, you do not have to worry about too many removals from multiple opponents. If you do not plan on attacking with the Snake tokens, you could use them as fodder for sacrifice purposes. Although Verdant Force does this better, Ophiomancer does has the advantage of being much lower in cc and also the plus side with the token having Deathtouch.

 

Price of Knowledge

Price of Knowledge

  • This is a good Enchantment which can be used to outright punish opponents who draw and keeps a big hand. It is nifty enough to spare you the damage so you are still allowed to have your card advantage. It even allows players to have no maximum hand size to allow for maximum amount of damage. A nice add if your play group likes to draw more than the usual one draw per turn.
  • Not much of an impact for normal variant. May needs a lot of work and commitment for the deck to actually work out with it.

Tempt with Immortality

Tempt with Immortality

  • The Black part of the Tempting Offer cycle. This in my opinion is the second most powerful for the cycle for when casted timely could really swing the game to your favor. For the maximum effect, this spell is definitely not going to be cast in the early games. But with a full graveyard it will be very tempting for the opponents to consider bringing back their own Creatures. The risk of opponents bringing in a Creature which may foil your board may be ever present, but with the right build (obviously a reanimator style deck), that risk can be neutralized. This spell is definitely not Living Death or Rise of the Dark Realms but could potentially be one when your politics are played right.
  • As with most of the Tempting Offer cycle, the Black also falls short in normal variant as there is only one opponent to tempt. If he or she does not take up the offer, then this spell becomes a 5cc reanimator spell. Given the huge amount of other reanimator abilities and spells available, this spell just does not make the mark.

 

Toxic Deluge

Toxic Deluge

  • A very low cost but powerful board sweeper. Life points start high in EDH. With 40 life at your disposal, there are not a lot of Creatures which can survive after your cast this board sweeper. Since the cc is low at 3, it offers you more mana after you casted it to cast other spells. Definitely a good choice for Black board sweeper. A good thing about this board sweeper is that it stops Regeneration, which although is not played a lot, since it dishes out –X/-X instead of destroying Creatures. Also this spell wins over a similar spell, Black Sun’s Zenith, since its X depends on the amount of life paid instead of mana which really generates a lot of card advantage.
  • Also very powerful in normal variant. A lot of Legacy players among our group are in buzz to get more of this as the board sweeper. The good points mentioned earlier for this spell for EDH is the same reason why this spell, in our opinion, works in normal variant too.

 

That is all we have for all the Black cards. Do leave a comment of what you think of any card otherwise; or if I had missed out some interesting ways to use them, do enlighten us for multiple heads is always better than one. I shall end this article here for Black. The review of the rest of the set shall follow up soon. Till then…..

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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