Cube Roster- Black
We have arrived at the last of the 5 colors, but certainly not the least. Black is a somewhat interesting color in the cube, straddling the line between aggro and control much like white. Unlike white, black has reasonably sized creatures that are severely undercosted due to horrendous drawbacks.
1. Okiba-Gang Shinobi – This guy is a major beating on turn 4; no one likes getting Blightninged, and this guy can do it every turn. He also allows you to rebuy ETB abilities on the creature that went unblocked.
2. Viscera Dragger – Its either 6 damage for 6 mana or 3 damage and a card for 4. This guy is pretty sweet.
3. Disturbed Burial – 5 mana to keep recycling your dead cards gives black some late game.
4. Terror – On the cut list. If I end up adding in a few more regeneraters, this would be worth it.
5. Fleshbag Marauder – 3 mana for a recurrable edict is pretty swell. You can also sac your own creatures that have outlived their usefulness for a 3 power dude.
6. Phyrexian Arena – Trading 1 life for an extra card each turn is pretty sweet. Occasionally, this is a dead draw (like against an all-in red deck like I faced on Sunday), but I will never take this out of the cube. It is too good.
7. Phyrexian Rager – Mini-Arena!
8. Dregscape Zombie – Uninteresting guy gets in for some damage, then does it again. Good with sac requirements, overall rather ho hum. This guy is on the chopping block for something awesome.
9. Nether Traitor – 1 unblockable damage that is just a pain in the ass to get rid of permamently.
10. Consuming Vapors – Its a 4 mana edict that gets rid of 2 creatures and gains you some life. I think this card is much better in Commander than it is in the cube and I am open to suggestions. I think that a Shriekmaw could stand here probably.
11. Arrogant Bloodlord – There arn’t really that many 1 or less power creatures in the cube. And fewer that you would actually want to block with, so this guy is usually just a brick wall or an unstoppable force.
12. Demonic Tutor – Good card is good.
13. Go for the Throat – If it ain’t an artifact, its dead.
14. Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon – How many 8/4 fliers are for 5 mana? How many of those can regenerate? How many have haste? This guy is a beating, and gives infect decks something to finish with.
15. Vampire Nighthawk – Mmm, cheap beater with all upside, helps to mitigate some of black’s life payments.
16. Ashling, the Extinguisher – An on curve creature that forces a creature’s controller to sacrifice it if she connects with the player.
17. Diabolic Edict – Instant speed edicts are pretty sweet.
18. Dismember – Kills most creatures in the cube for 1 and 4 life or for 3.
19. Disfigure – Instant speed -2/-2. I think that I would rather have a creature here.
20. Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief – Big flier that can blow through an enemy’s board.
21. Doom Blade – Like Terror, but slightly more versatile, but doesn’t get rid of regeneration.
22. Ob Nixilis, the Fallen – Single-handedly can close out games.
23. Smallpox – Symmetrical spells that can be turned towards the caster with other cards are pretty sweet.
24. Vampire Hexmage – Kills off Planeswalkers or can remove minus/minus counters from one’s own creatures.
25. Smother – Kills most creatures in the cube without any real drawback.
26. Inquisition of Kozilek – Smother, but for hands.
27. Buried Alive – Grabs your reanimation targets.
28. Bloodghast – Aggro’s best friend. Also a great thing to sacrifice to Smallpox.
29. Gatekeeper of Malakir – Edict on a dude. Heavy Black investment though.
31. Infest – Small sweeper.
32. Phyrexian Vatmother – 8/5s for 4 are pretty sweet.
33. Foul Imp – Efficient flier with a slight drawback.
34. Carnophage – Aggro!
35. Child of Night – More lifegain to deal with the life payments.
36. Bad Moon – Anthem effect for black.
37. Dark Ritual – Fast mana.
39. Death’s Shadow – Gets better as you get deader. Once again, good with the life payment theme.
40. Black Sun’s Zenith – The best zenith. Repeatable sweeper effects are pretty sweet.
42. Mind Shatter – Kill their hand! I really want to turn 3 dark ritual -> Mind Shatter.
43. Morbid Plunder – More card advantage!
44. Duress – Grab a threat now, so you don’t need to get it later.
45. Gravedigger – Its a 2/2 that brings back something.
46. Hymn to Tourach – Random discard is random.
47. Guul Draz Assassin – Creature removal on a stick. I think its better than the Royal Assassin that it replaced because there is more time to answer it and it does not discourage attacking like Royal did.
48. Howling Banshee – Efficient Flier with a smaller drawback than others.
49. Keening Banshee – Less efficient flier that kills something when it hits the field.
50. Sign in Blood – Trading life for cards again.
51. Enslave – Steal their guy and put them on a 20 turn clock.
52. Necrogen Scudder – Cheaper version of Howling Banshee with more of a drawback.
53. Grasp of Darkness – Decent kill spell again.
56. Reanimate – Reanimates.
57. Entomber Exarch – Removes a threat or rebuys one of your own.
58. Unearth – Reanimate something small.
59. Animate Dead – Bring back anything from anywhere.
60. Consume the Meek – It kills off smallfry while leaving your larger thing untouched. Possibly not good enough.
Well, tomorrow I will be doing Artifacts and Lands. I think black is a pretty good color to be. Once I finish the roster, I will be doing a spell vs creature breakdown to see what colors are unbalanced and by how much.