pie chart

Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni

Commander / EDH Mono-Black


Cut enemy creatures down, then give them a hand back up. This deck uses Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni as the center of a reanimation deck. An abundance of removal spells help keep your opponents' graveyard stocked for you to plunder with your commander and a selection of your own reanimation spells. If you think you would do a better job at using your opponent's creatures, please read my deck explanation below.

Instead of planning to use and abuse its own graveyard, this deck seeks to kill its opponents' creature and reanimate them, growing its own army while shrinking the opposition. Most of the threats in the deck either kill creatures or bring them back to life, and the "steal your opponents' things" theme is reinforced with a few additional cards.

Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni is the commander of choice for her reanimation ability. Before you mention it in the comments, I am well aware that Ink-Eyes cannot ninjutsu from the Command Zone. While there are a few cards included to give you the option of ninjutsu, it should not be the end goal of game play to sneak her into play. This deck is totally fine with its opponents knowing that Ink-Eyes is coming.

As a mono black deck, this deck benefits from a very flexible mana base that can run a lot of utility lands. Other than a big stack of Swamps, the only lands in the deck dedicate to making mana are the unsurprising Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers, Everglades, Myriad Landscape, and Temple of the False God.

Tectonic Edge, Ghost Quarter, and Wasteland are aimed at Mystifying Maze and friends, all of which can keep Ink-Eyes from triggering and our other big creatures from connection. Mystifying Maze in particular is a threat to this deck because if an opponent's reanimated creature is stopped by Mystifying Maze, it goes back to its owner, which is never fun. Rishadan Port also wants to stop these lands, but is looking to do so non-permanently yet repeatedly.

Hexproof and Shroud are annoying for this deck since so much of the strategy is single target removal. Isolated Watchtower is included to help remedy this problem.

Geier Reach Sanitarium helps fill graveyards by making everyone discard. While the opponent have greater control over what they discard, something as simple as a Farhaven Elf being made available to the deck can be a great advantage.

Command Beacon is included in the deck to facilitate ninjutsu with Ink-Eyes. In addition to just being able to get her out of the Command Zone for a reduced cost, it also gets her into your hand, creating an opportunity to, while not "sneaking" her, get Ink-Eyes passed any would-be blockers.

Our mana ramp options are limited in mono black, but we do get to run the amazing Liliana of the Dark Realms, which I am running alongside Journeyer's Kite because playing lands every turn is cool. Other than a few more mana rocks and search options, this deck is looking to just play a land every turn, though there is always the possibility of stealing a Sakura-Tribe Elder or other creature from your opponent.

Chromatic Lantern may seem like an odd choice in a mono color deck, but this deck wants access to other colors of mana since there is such an emphasis placed on taking your opponents' creatures. Nothing is more feelbad than reanimating a creature with a sweet activated ability, only to find that you don't have blue mana.

The first half of this deck's goal is to kill creatures often, and to that end there are a lot of removal options, largely single target, in the deck. Preference has been given to cheap, instant speed, repeatable, or also a threat, so let's look at the spells from those points of view.

Cheap and instant speed tend to be paired in this deck. Defile, Hero's Downfall, Curtains' Call, Murder, Murderous Cut, Rend Flesh, card:Victim of the Night, and the ever unsuspected Withering Boon are all cheap, instant speed, and fairly flexible in regards to what types of creatures they can hit. Victim of the Night is the most restrictive , but a few creature types is not nearly as restraining as entire colors.

Tendrils of Corruption costs a bit more, but is still instant speed and can help gain a bit of life that this deck will lose as an effect of relying on black card draw.

Our repeatable, threat-based removal spells are typically found on creatures. Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet, Overseer of the Damned, Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief, Reaper from the Abyss, Sheoldred, Whispering One, Tetzimoc, Primal Death, and Visara the Dreadful are all more or less the same card: a big creature that also kills things. They are all repeatable in the respect that either their abilities are repeatable or the can be reanimated and get to do their thing again when the enter the Battlefield.

Mass removal is a bit light in this deck, but there are a few options. Hythonia the Cruel is mass removal attached to a big threatening creature, and can be activated at instant speed. Necromantic Selection and Life's Finale both lend themselves to the our reanimation goal, either by finding use fun new targets from the library or by just reanimating by itself. Massacre Girl can clean up the whole board if you are able to set it up correctly.

Once we have put some fun creatures in our opponents' graveyards, we can take them for our own nefarious schemes. Since our goal is to reanimate our opponents' creatures, special attention should be given to what our spells can target. If a card cannot reanimate someone else's creature, it has not been included in the deck.

Animate Dead, Reanimate, and Gruesome Encore are more or less the same cards, with Sepulchral Primordial and Puppeteer Clique being creature versions.

Command the Dreadhorde is a bit painful, but the ability to get more than one thing as well as grab planeswalkers is a useful option for the deck.

Thrilling Encore is a powerful card to play after a mass removal spell, which if not cast by you can usually can be expected in a Commander game. Even if it is just cast after killing one creature, the instant speed aspect of it is quite strong.

Demon of Dark Schemes takes a little time to get going, but if it can come down on the right board then it can start reanimating right away. While its ability can be activated at instant speed, one should note the creature it grabs comes into play tapped, a fact that has eluded some people I've played with.

In recent years, black has started gaining one or two cards that left them steal cards from their opponents to use later. There is not much in this space right now, but I have included some of the cool ones.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury gives you your choice of one card to use later, lets you use black mana to cast it, and even has deathtouch to maybe kill a creature later on.

Praetor's Grasp gives you just the card you need for a situation. Granted it is often a card:Rampant Growth of some kind, but stashing away a counterspell or utility creature for later is quite powerful.

This deck can take advantage of Dead Man's Chest due to its high number of removal spells. This spell combined with any Murder variant gives us a huge chunk of cards to play with.

Our support options are largely limited to card draw. Since we are in black, and thus our card draw generally comes at the cost of our precious life points, Whip of Erebos is in the deck. After spending some life points on Ambition's Cost and pals, the whip pairs well with the deck's big creatures (and the big creatures we've hopefully stolen) to gain back big chunks of life.

Erratic Portal is in the deck for two reasons. The most obvious reason is its interaction with Ink-Eyes, letting us make use of her ninjutsu ability in a game. In addition, some of our creatures have strong enter the Battlefield abilities, and being able to reuse those effects can be quite powerful.

This deck plays off what your opponents are doing, so there can be games where you feel like you are doing nothing. A grip full of kill spells and reanimation spells feel pretty bad when your opponent is cantrip-ing or ramping. In these slow games it's best to play slow along with your opponents if possible. Draw if you can, ramp if you can, and just remember that it doesn't matter how far along your own game plan is, because the deck is only doing its thing if your opponents keep losing creatures.

By the same token, don't forget that these creatures that Murder or Reanimate are generally also 5/5 or bigger. If you have the mana and your opponent isn't doing anything, just play Ink-Eyes and start attacking. At the very least it will force your opponents to take action.

If there is a card I'm not running that I absolutely should because otherwise my deck is terrible, it is probably because I either didn't have access to it or am unaware of it. Please let me know if I overlooked Rise from the Grave variant #376, because that may very well be an amazing card.

The slow, reactive play style of this deck suite me and works in my play group, but it might be a bad fit for you and yours. If there are some differences in play style or group dynamics that might not mesh with this deck, feel free to start a discussion about it in the comments. Not only might you find a way to fit this sort of deck in your group, but you also might inspire someone to try a new card or tactic.

I hope you've enjoyed my slightly different take on mono black control, and I hope you've found it a refreshing change of pace from the normal "kill creature, get big mana, blow people out with big mana". Please let me know in the comments below what you think of the deck, if you have any card suggestions, or if this deck should be killed with no thought given towards reanimating it.


Updates Add


Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 month

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

8 - 0 Mythic Rares

38 - 0 Rares

23 - 0 Uncommons

9 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 4.13
Tokens 2/2 Zombie, 1/1 City's Blessing, Liliana, 2/2 Vampire
Ignored suggestions
Shared with