Toxic Deluge | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov
One of the fundamentals of Magic is deckbuilding. It has to be one of the most fun parts of the game, but removal effects are essential to keep in mind as a part of this process. Your opponents try to kill you with their permanents, and you need to have a way to answer them.
Some prefer addressing the issue one by one, and others like to do it in one swing. Which is why today I’m going over the best board wipes in black.
Want to know which ones are the most popular? Let’s find out!
Damnation | Illustration by Seb McKinnon
Black board wipes are spells that are usually instants or sorceries that clear the board of creatures and other permanents. Black has multiple ways to do this and while the most popular effects are “destroy” based, some others deal damage or just give -X/-X to all creatures.
Last Laugh is a weird board wipe. It requires some sort of sacrifice outlet to trigger it properly, and you always want to have a creature to stay alive. I mention sacrifice outlets so you can manipulate how much damage you deal per turn with this.
I imagine that dealing three damage to each creature was a big deal back in the day. Nowadays it seems a bit expensive for five mana, but Dakmor Plague and Famine are still solid options that are worth mentioning.
If you want to deal with small creatures and have a cheap efficient way to deal with them, especially if they’re tokens, Dry Spell is an all right way to do so.
This weird card can potentially go well in some madness-themed decks. I say “some” because Sickening Dreams isn’t necessarily good if you aim to cast your creatures with it since they resolve first. The damage resolves after that, but I can see some good interactions happening if you pair it with the likes of Fiery Temper.
I like Noxious Field because it’s a hard-to-deal-with way to assure a fixed amount of damage per turn. It may not be much, but it can make combats tricky.
14 mana is a lot to commit to for a board wipe, but Hythonia the Cruel is an excellent consideration if you plan to spread this cost over multiple turns.
Phyrexian Scriptures is an okay board wipe because your opponents will see it coming and can find ways to deal with it. It’s still unique in killing non-artifact creatures and can work in artifact creature decks.
Force of Despair is a card that you’ll only be able to get the most of during your opponent’s turns because it’s not likely that creatures enter on their side of the battlefield during your turns.
#60. Do or Die
Do or Die may not be the best board wipe ever created, but it’s still okay at two mana.
Board wipes in the form of permanents are hard to find, but Dread Cacodemon is one of them. The only downside I see with this is that it’s hard to cast and you can’t cheat it onto the battlefield with a reanimation spell.
I see Endemic Plague as a narrow sideboard card, or possibly a main deck one in dedicated steal and sacrifice decks that struggle against tribal strategies.
Forced March might be expensive or cheap depending on the situation since you can theoretically kill every token without a mana cost for just three mana. But you have to invest more mana into it if you plan to kill something more significant.
If you’re looking for one-sided board wipes while running a mono-black deck, Hellfire is an excellent card. But you’ll need to watch out if the number of creatures destroyed is bigger than your life total.
If clearing the board of creatures wasn’t enough, Necromantic Selection also lets you choose a creature that died to it to return to your side of the battlefield.
You’ll need to invest a lot of mana to get the most out of Dregs of Sorrow, but destroying up to 10 creatures and drawing the same number of cards is the dream.
The only downside to Overwhelming Forces is its casting cost because this has gotta be one of the best wrath effects ever printed otherwise.
Deadly Tempest punishes any player that wanted to go over the top by creating an excessive number of creatures. If you build your deck with almost no creatures to assume the control role, this is the card you’re looking for.
Deadly Vanity is the backside of Selfless Glyphweaver. It’s a great board wipe since it deals with planeswalkers. Make sure you have at least one creature to choose from your board or you’ll have to choose one from your opponents.
The sweet thing is that you can play its frontside for free with Bring to Light.
Instant-speed board wipes are hard to find, and that’s exactly what Consume the Meek is. It may limit the number of things you can kill with it but is still a fine choice to stabilize and make a solid comeback.
#44. Season of the Witch
I like Season of the Witch as a pseudo-board wipe for creatures that didn’t engage in combat this turn but could’ve. It forces attacks and is perfect for control decks.
Ichor Explosion is undoubtedly one of the worst board wipes ever printed. It’s not only pricey but also requires you to sacrifice a creature in the process, meaning that it’s not the top-deckable wipe you want in most situations.
There’s not much to be said about Hideous Laughter. You’ll rarely pay the Splice onto Arcane cost and it’s already a bit pricey to only give -2/-2 to all creatures.
When I first read Outbreak it looked like it was a weird one. I thought you had to discard a creature card to give -1/-1 to all creatures to share that card type. It turns out it’s way better, but -1/-1 may not be enough unless you’re trying to target specific decks.
It’s funny how Rising Miasma is decent as a board wipe but way too expensive to pay seven mana. I still think this was okay in Limited formats.
Mephitic Vapors is a good board wipe for the little creatures. It also allows you to look at the top of your library in time to craft your upcoming turns.
Curse of Death’s Hold can act as a pseudo-board wipe against some decks, especially token lists.
Biting Rain is a bit expensive considering there are better board wipes that can shrink by four or five for each creature. The catch with this one is that you can do it at an instant speed if you trigger madness with it.
The best-case scenario for Yahenni’s Expertise is to clear the board and put a creature in play right after for just five mana.
Multiple effects give creatures -2/-2 for three mana. Infest was one of the first that started it all and was followed by many others with the same mana cost but minimally better because they added little extra value. Some of them are:
What I like about Cloudkill is that it almost guarantees killing everything on the board. It may not kill an Eldrazi, but sometimes the -X/-X effect is better than the destroy one against creatures with indestructibility.
#27. Evincar’s Justice
Crypt Rats is a Pauper staple as one of the few board wipes in the format. The good part about this card is that if you give it lifelink to it and there are multiple creatures in play you gain life equal to the damage dealt to each creature.
Decree of Pain is a flexible board wipe that can be cast at instant speed if you cycle it. While the impact might be less you can still accomplish your feats in the right spots.
Demon of Dark Schemes is a fine creature on its own as a 5/5 flier. It’s hard to deal with. But if you pair it with the possibility of clearing the board when it enters the battlefield you have one of the creatures that wreaked havoc when it was legal in Limited sets at your disposal.
Unlike the other board wipes with legs that I’ve mentioned so far, Havoc Demon’s ability only triggers when it dies, making combats a nightmare.
Kagemaro, First to Suffer is a weird card, but being a creature gives you the ability to play it multiple times during a match if you happen to run some sort of recursion on your deck since its ability isn’t tied to being cast from the hand.
Plague Wind is a simple, effective, and expensive one-sided board wipe. Not much else to be said here.
I like Life’s Finale because you wipe the board and look at your opponent’s library. From there you can gather information on what cards they may have in their hand and, more importantly, get rid of some annoying creatures they may have in their library.
You can choose to destroy either white or green creatures with Reign of Terror, which makes it a one-sided board wipe if your deck doesn’t run any of those colors or your creatures just don’t share them.
The flexibility on Path of Peril is surprisingly good. It kills cheap stuff and acts as any other standard board wipe with a little more investment.
Playing snow lands may be a bit difficult, but you can clear the board and still have the most powerful creature or planeswalker on your side of the field if you’re willing to pay Blood on the Snow‘s price (literally).
#12. Bontu’s Last Reckoning
If you manage to pay for Bontu’s Last Reckoning’s mana cost with something other than lands, you’ll have one of the better board wipes out there on your hands. It’s just a cheap way to clear the board.
Dead of Winter reads “creatures get -3/-3 by turn 3” in a dedicated deck.
The best scenario for Planar Despair is to have all basic land types in play and give 5/5 to the bard for just four mana. This may be a little difficult to accomplish, but is somewhat easy to do nowadays where Triomes and New Capenna Tri-lands are prevalent.
Noxious Ghoul is another example of the various one-sided board wipes for tribal decks. This one is for zombies. The more you play each turn, the greater its effect is.
As I may have mentioned already, four mana to give -2/-2 to all creatures is a bit expensive. But Massacre may be a turn 1 board wipe against the right decks running white if needed.
Toxic Deluge has to be the best board wipe ever printed, especially in formats where the life total starts above 20.
Dead of Winter | Illustration by Zack Stella
As you may have seen there are tons of board wipes in black. It’s the color with the most variety of ways to kill multiple creatures. Some may be straight better than others, and some are the best according to their format, but there’s undoubtedly a vast selection of them in this color.
Did you like the list? Were there any black board wipes I may have missed that you like? Please let me know in the comments or over on the Draftsim Twitter.
That’s all I’ve got for you today. Thanks for hanging out and have a great day!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: