Imperial Seal | Illustration by Milivoj Ceran
Not again! You’re playing a Commander game with your pod for Friday Night Magic, and the game’s not going in your favor. Get prepared for your next game night by editing your black decks with the best sorceries available.
Sorceries are spells that usually affect creatures and one or more players based on the text printed on the card. Black spells are all about destruction. They’re a force to be reckoned with when cast against your opponents.
So what makes black sorceries so special in MTG? Let’s dig into the graveyard of answers to discover more.
Bond of Revival | Illustration by Lake Hurwitz
Black sorcery cards are curveballs you can cast on your turn to change the tides of the game in your favor. They’re spells that destroy creatures, cause discard, incur life loss for card draw, or other destructive features. These black sorceries can positively or negatively affect one or more creatures or players in different ways.
A black sorcery card draw spell lets you draw cards but usually at the cost of losing some life points. This is a good representation of how Magic players who love playing black utilize their life total as a resource.
Sure, Blood Money is a high-cost 7-drop black board wipe. However, casting it when the battlefield is flooded with creatures across you and your opponents’ boards will reward you with Treasure tokens.
Get additional Treasure tokens from your creatures dying with Pitiless Plunderer already on the battlefield. Have Revel in Riches as a win condition on your board before casting Blood Money to get even more Treasure tokens equal to the number of your opponents’ creatures that died.
This card would do best in mono-black graveyard or reanimator decks. If you're already running artifacts such as Bolas's Citadel, Jet Medallion, Whip of Erebos, and Bontu's Monument then you're getting even more synergy, cost reduction, and increasing the value of your Monumental Corruption.
Choose from two of the four effects on Gix's Command to customize how you want the game to go. Getting rid of a large Voltron creature can be beneficial by having all the opponents sacrifice their highest-powered creature.
Incur a board wipe for a token player by destroying all creatures power 2 or less. Get back two of your best creatures that were sent to the graveyard earlier in the game. Pump up your creature with a couple of counters and lifelink to gain life and strengthen your army. Choose your two modes wisely!
If you’re playing a black lifegain deck, Bond of Agony is a definite auto-include. The amount of mana you pay decides how much life your opponents lose. It’s a great exercise in using your life total as a resource to win a game.
Here’s another card where you must use your life points as a resource to get ahead. Toxic Deluge is a full-on board wipe for only 3 mana with the power to remove almost any creature. As long as the caster is willing to give up the corresponding life points, it can be a more powerful board wipe than Blood Money!
Returning a creature from your graveyard to your hand for only 2 black mana seems awesome enough. However, it’s even more valuable if you have seven or more cards in your graveyard to achieve threshold and put the creature on the battlefield instead of back to your hand.
Pour your black mana into a game finisher by casting Exsanguinate to drain your opponents while gaining a large amount of life. This card is best in a mono-black or Golgari lifegain themed deck.
Once you have your opponentss life totals low enough with Exsanguinate, try out a black lifegain combo to finish them off. Aristocrat creatures such as Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, Dina, Soul Steeper, or Marauding Blight-Priest can act as one of the pieces for an infinite lifegain and infinite lifeloss combo with Exquisite Blood.
Aether Snap is a more conditional black sorcery, but it can work in the right instances against counters or token-themed decks. Counters decks pump their army with +1/+1 or other types of counters as token decks go wide with creatures. Aether Snap puts a temporary stop to their board states.
Deadly Tempest may seem like a high-cost board wipe. However, it holds its value because of the life loss it causes for players with lots of creatures. Originally printed in 2015, this card works as a game finisher for any deck including black.
Finale of Eternity from War of the Spark acts mainly as creature removal. If you have 10 or more mana to pour into this spell, it also acts as a graveyard recursion resource for reanimator decks. Getting all your creatures back and swinging in for the win with Finale of Eternity can be a strong win condition for your deck.
Vampire decks will benefit greatly from having New Blood in the build. When you gain control of any opponent’s creature, their creature type changes to Vampire, which can trigger other vampire payoffs in your deck.
Captivating Vampire and Thirsting Bloodlord can each pump the creature you gained control of. With Crossway Troublemakers on the field, the creature will gain lifelink and deathtouch whenever it attacks.
Praetor's Grasp gives you access to one of the best cards in your opponent’s library as long as it stays exiled. If an opponent is missing a combo piece or win condition, you can grab it from them, forcing them to refine their strategy.
Buried Alive can place three of your best creatures from your library into the graveyard to use later in a reanimator deck. The Beamtown Bullies or Chainer, Dementia Master are great examples of commanders that resurrect creatures to the battlefield at little to no cost.
Persist, a black sorcery card inspired by the persist mechanic, returns a creature to the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter on it. While it can only target a non-legendary creature, it can be valuable by returning a synergistic card to the battlefield.
Diabolic Intent costs 2 more mana to cast than Demonic Tutor, and both cards have the same effect. Add Diabolic Tutor as a backup search card if what you searched for using Demonic Tutor gets removed.
Play this card in the early game for the best results, so your opponent is not searching for anything too menacing that will set you back. For flavor purposes, search your library for removal using Scheming Symmetry. Your opponent will never know what hit them!
Crux of Fate is best placed in dragon typal decks. It can act as a one-sided board wipe if you control only dragons while your opponents control creatures of other types. Otherwise, you can use this card in any deck featuring black as a full board wipe.
Patriarch's Bidding is another group hug card in black where each player can choose one creature type to resurrect from their graveyard to the battlefield. It can return things to normal to get a game back on course after a board wipe
Players running counters decks will tremble seeing their opponent casting Black Sun's Zenith. The great thing about this spell is that you can customize how many -1/-1 counters are placed on creatures based on the mana you pour into it while casting. Since you can shuffle Black Sun's Zenith after casting, you never know if it’ll return for you later in the game.
Bontu's Last Reckoning lets you destroy all the creatures on the battlefield. However, there is the cost of your lands not untapping at the next untap step. Make this the only spell you cast on your turn so that you have access to mana to continue building your board state on the next turn.
The opponent can lose up to 6 life and you can draw up to three cards. Alternatively, you can diminish an opponent’s board state if they have all three permanents to sacrifice, which is still a win.
Everyone hates when their cards get milled, except for blue players with self-mill decks, but that’s for another article! Having all your opponents mill 10 cards and possibly gaining access to one of their creatures or planeswalkers can improve your board state.
Pair Breach the Multiverse with Dualcaster Mage and Ashnod's Altar for a formidable combo producing infinite colorless mana. The combo will also self-mill and mill your opponents’ decks while receiving infinite magecraft triggers.
Duress allows you to remove a variety of different cards from an opponent’s hand. Casting this spell on turn 1 will force your opponent to strategize more because of losing one of the best cards from their hand.
At the cost of sacrificing a creature and paying 2 mana, you can search for any card in your library and place it in your hand with Diabolic Intent. If you’re low on mana, you can even use this card to search for a land.
If you’re close to the end of the game, use Diabolic Intent to search for your win condition. Maybe you’re missing a combo piece. Tutor it with this card instead of waiting for it to appear during your draw step.
As one of the highest-cost black sorcery spells in MTG, Rise of the Dark Realms is also one of the most valuable for reanimator decks. For 2 black mana and 7 mana of any color, you can have access to not only to your creatures in the graveyard but also to the creatures in your opponents’ graveyards. This card creates substantial value in a 4-player pod, especially if you’ve been milling opponents’ libraries throughout the game.
Demonic Tutor is one of the most used black sorcery spells for searching cards. One of the most popular combos with this card is with Approach of the Second Sun to win the game. First, cast Approach of the Second Sun to place it seventh from the top of your library. Use Demonic Tutor to find Approach, then cast it for the second time to take the win.
Thoughtseize is a better version of Duress because you can select any nonland card from your opponent’s hand to discard, giving you more choices on what to remove. Cast this spell early in the game to remove a formidable creature or powerful enchantment or artifact to disadvantage your opponent.
Choosing a creature from any graveyard to revive back to the battlefield is a powerful ability. And that’s a high-value card for 1 mana!
Losing life equal to that card’s mana value is only a small trade-off for getting a powerful creature back into your possession or utilizing one from your opponent’s graveyard.
Reanimate can be combined with K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth, Buried Alive, Chainer, Dementia Master, Viscera Seer, and Gray Merchant of Asphodel for a complex combo. It’ll cause infinite life loss, sacrifice triggers, lifegain, and death triggers. The combo will also place all the creatures from every graveyard onto the battlefield under your control.
Damnation is great against decks with creatures that can regenerate (they do exist!). It’s the black version of Wrath of God, which has the same text printed on it. Why fix it if it ain't broken, right?
Bone Splinters is best in a sacrifice or token-themed deck because you have to sacrifice one of your creatures to destroy a creature on an opponent’s side of the battlefield.
Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim and Slimefoot, the Stowaway would benefit from Bone Splinters in the deck build. Create a Saproling token to sacrifice to destroy an opponent’s creature with Bone Splinters, or cause all opponents to lose a life with Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim on the field.
Temporal Extortion helps you take an extra turn, which is best to cast when you know your win condition is ready. However, the most competent players could counter the spell by paying half their life total. This card is best in aristocrat decks like Ayara, First of Locthwain.
Agadeem's Awakening is the flip side of the land Agadeem, the Undercrypt. When you pour 5 mana into the X portion, you get to return up to one creature with each mana value from 0-5 to the battlefield. Depending on your deck build and the mana costs of your creatures, enjoy the value of this graveyard recursion card.
Torment of Hailfire is best cast immediately after a board wipe when opponents have little to no permanents on the field to sacrifice. Put enough mana into the X cost of the spell to win the game by whittling down opponents’ life totals.
Grim Tutor has you look for any card in your library at the cost of losing 3 life. Include all the other top tutor cards in this list in your black deck to always have constant access to your deck resources. Rowan, Scion of War from Wilds of Eldraine is a new commander that’s synergistic with Grim Tutor.
Certain cards are synergistic with these black sorceries that generate valuable payoffs during gameplay.
If you’re running a mono-black deck, Gray Merchant of Asphodel can be a game-ender because of life loss for your opponents and life gain for you based on your devotion to black. End the game consistently by using one of the tutor cards listed above.
Dark Confidant can help you find your black sorceries faster. Archon of Cruelty helps you draw your sorcery spells quicker whenever it attacks, which will be easy if your opponents don’t have flying creatures.
In the early game when you’re low on mana, you can cast Dark Ritual to get the three mana needed to then cast Demonic Tutor or Grim Tutor. Or, even better, to accelerate out a larger threat you tutored up in the first place!
Grim Tutor | Illustration by Igor Kieryluk
Which black sorcery spell do you think is the best? Chime in down below in the comments to start the conversation! Connect with us on the Draftsim’s Facebook page to be updated on new blog content.
If you haven't played a deck featuring black yet, now's your time to try and include some of these black sorcery spells for a competitive edge! Make sure to let me know what you think in the comments or join the official Draftsim Discord to get to know some like-minded MTG Players!
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