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"Instant Tribal" - Toshiro Umezawa - EDH PRIMER

Commander / EDH* Budget Casual Control Mono-Black Primer Spellslinger



If anyone runs into this, any feedback or recommendations are always appreciated!

My first EDH deck. I'm mainly playing it 1v1 against my GFs Karador, Ghost Chieftain and Meren of Clan Nel Toth decks while we're in lockdown, which seem to be the antithesis of this deck...

I find the games often stall out once we're both at 7+ mana, she casts a few big creatures each turn, I destroy them all... rinse and repeat until I can draw graveyard hate to stop her resurrection nonsense, or she plays enough Artifacts and Enchantments that I get overwhelmed.

I'm trying to keep this deck budget-friendly at around $100usd, so not many cards over the $5 mark. One exception is Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, which I already had on hand, so I chucked it into the deck, but it's really not needed in the deck.


Use removal to control the board, then once my graveyard has some good Instants, Play Toshiro to get value from Flashing Back some Removal, Resurrection and Card Draw spells. I have found it's best to only play Toshiro once I'm sure I'll be able to use his ability, which is usually once I have 3+ cheap Instants in my graveyard. It feels GREAT to cast him when you have tons of spare mana, then chain a few cheap kill spells from my graveyard, finishing with a card draw spell! Playing him the moment you get to 3 mana is a really good way to lose the game.

I really value effects that let me use my opponents cards (Gonti, Mimic Vat, Geth etc...) to make up for the inherent weakness of Mono-Black (a lack of Artifact and Enchantment removal). Using Mimic Vat to copy something like an Acidic Slime or Reclamation Sage is ideal, but failing that I do have a few ways to remove Artifacts and Enchantments myself.

Artifacts and Enchantments:

Mono-Black has an inherent weakness against Artifacts and Enchantments as it has very few ways to remove them. In a 4v4 game, you may be able to strike deals with opponents to have them take out these kinds of threats ("I'll kill that Flyer that you can't block if you remove that Smothering Tithe that I have no way of dealing with"), but that's not consistent or reliable.

The ways this deck can interact with Artifacts and Enchantments itself are: Pharika's Libation, Sword of Sinew and Steel, Steel Hellkite and the new Feed the Swarm. There is also the option of using an opponents cards, through 'steal' effects from Gonti, Lord of Luxury, or resurrection effects from Fated Return, Grim Return, Geth, Lord of the Vault, Sepulchral Primordial or Mimic Vat.

There are also some cards I don't run (usually due to budget requirements) that can deal with Artifacts and Enchantments, including: Unstable Obelisk, Karn, Silver Golem, Scour from Existence, Nevinyrral's Disk, Oblivion Stone and Meteor Golem.

WotC is slowly adding Enchantment removal to Black's color-pie. Feed the Swarm from Zendikar Rising is some decent targeted Enchantment removal that I've added to the decklist. Soon it's only weakness will be Artifacts, which are usually enablers rather than game-winning payoffs.

Noncreature Spells:

Mono-Black also has very few ways to interact with decks that are not Creature-based. One way to deal with spells you can't otherwise interact with is by forcing your opponents to discard them. Duress, Distress Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtseize and Sadistic Sacrament are ways to remove threatening cards before your opponents get the chance to cast them, however they lose a lot of value in a multiplayer setting, so I would only consider running them in very specific metas.

Another option is the card Imp's Mischief, which can effectively counter a Counterspell by redirecting the counter to itself, as well as act as creature protection by redirecting targeted removal to another creature. I would absolutely run this card... if it wasn't so bloody expensive!


My meta has 0 Planeswalkers, however Black does have some good options if faced with Superfriends decks, or just the odd Planeswalker. Hooded Blightfang is a nice way to take out Planeswalkers using Deathtouch creatures (which this deck runs plenty of) and Sword of Sinew and Steel lets you hit someone's face and deal with a Planeswalker at the same time!

Cards I don't run, but are excellent at taking out Planswalkers include: Hero's Downfall, AEther Snap, Vampire Hexmage, Eat to Extinction, Eliminate, Finishing Blow, Murderous Rider, Vraska's Contempt, Hex Parasite and, of course The Elderspell. The Instants that remove Planeswalkers are going to be the best as Toshiro can flash them back. It is important to note that Toshiro does not trigger when a Creature is Exiled, only when it is Dies, so cards like Vraska's Contempt aren't nearly as good as Hero's Downfall in this deck!

Single Card Discussions:

Comments on each card in the deck, including unusual interactions and how well I've felt they play out!

-Corpse Churn: Fills my graveyard for Toshiro and resurrection fuel and occasionally returns a key Creature! If I don't have anything to do in my first few turns, I usually play it out anyway, just to fill my graveyard. Even without any Creatures in my grave, there's about a 24% chance I'll hit one in the mill anyway!

-Cremate: Awesome little card. Usually ends up being ", Exile 2 cards from graveyards, Draw 2 cards", which is excellent. Perfect target for a Toshiro trigger when you have nothing else to do with it.

-Dark Bargain: Great card draw for this deck as it's an Instant that Toshiro can flash back. If I hit a 1-2CMC removal spell, I usually put it into my graveyard as fuel for Toshiro.

-Defile: Excellent cheap removal that scales with the game and can take out Indestructible/Regenerating Creatures. Having really cheap removal spells is invaluable with Toshiro as you can use them to trigger his ability, while keeping enough mana to flash back a more expensive Instant from your graveyard. They are also great to recast from the graveyard as you don't need to hold up much mana.

-Dismember: Another excellent removal spell. The ability to kill all but the biggest Creatures for 1 COLORLESS mana (I run quite a few colorless lands) is great. It also gets around Indestructible and Regenerate. Also, it has a mini combo with Gravebreaker Lamia, which lets you cast it from the graveyard using Toshiro's ability for just 4 life and no mana! Build your own Pact!

-Erebos's Intervention: A very flexible removal or graveyard hate card. Often I'll use it as removal early on, then flash it back with Toshiro as graveyard hate. The lifegain can also be quite handy, especially if you have lots of excess mana, you can overkill a Creature and gain a ton of life!

-Fated Return: Quite a good finisher that you can flash back with Toshiro, although it's pretty difficult to. I find this card wins me a lot of games. Usually it's best to target a really big Creature as they're harder to kill with P/T reducing effects when they're Indistructible. If you need to use it to resurrect a Reclamation sage to take out a game winning Artifact/Enchantment, it's ok, you're still left with a really tough chump blocker... The Scry is also really nice later in the game as it can let you put useless lands on the bottom of your library.

-Force of Despair: This card can just end people, especially in 1v1 matches. It works really really well with Toshiro, as you can cast it for 0 mana from your hand OR GRAVEYARD by discarding a Black card, and if that card was an Instant, you can use the Toshiro trigger/s from Force of Despair to flash it back! Also... the art is just fantastic! Seb McKinnon is amazing!

-Foul Renewal: I almost always get an easy 2-for-1 with this, killing a creature and returning one to my hand. I run plenty of creatures, and all the best ones have high toughness!

-Go for the Throat: Another excellent, cheap Instant removal spell. Its targeting restriction is one of the easiest to work around, compared to cards like Doom Blade, Price of Fame and even Victim of Night!

-Grasp of Darkness: Another excellent cheap removal spell that can take out Indestructible and Regenerating Creatures! Its mana cost can sometimes be hard to pay twice in one turn using Toshiro to flash it back, especially as I run a fair few colorless mana producing lands.

-Grim Return: A cheap (repeatable with Toshiro) way to steal a good Creature of an opponents when it dies! The drawback of only targeting Creatures that died that turn is also partially negated when flashing it back.

-Malakir Rebirth  : A nice new card from Zendikar Rising. Early in the game, play it as a land, late in the game when you have all the mana you need, save it as a protection spell for one of your Creatures. It's counted as an Instant in the graveyard, so Toshiro can flash it back. The most reliable way to use it from the graveyard will be to flash it back with Toshiro before combat on a creature you intend to attack or block with!

-Moonlight Bargain: A great card-draw spell. 5 mana and 10 life to draw 5 cards is ok... but not great. The real power is that the excess cards go to your graveyard, and this deck is built around casting Instant spells from your graveyard. Usually the only cards i'll pay life to keep are Creatures that I want to play the next turn or Lands I need to play more expensive cards in my hand.

-Pharika's Libation: One of the only ways Mono-Black can deal with Enchantments, and as an Instant, it's pretty good in this deck. I often use it to take out a single Creature early on, then flash it back later to take out an Enchantment. Sacrifice effects are pretty good in the deck as they get a lot better when cast multiple times. The first cast might brick on a utility creature, but the next one is likely to hit something more valuable.

-Price of Fame: Great removal. Often the best targets are Legendary, which makes this ", Destroy target Creature, Surveil 2". Surveil is really really strong in this deck as putting an Instant into your graveyard is almost as good as putting it into your hand. Most Instants that I see will be put into my graveyard, unless I need them ASAP.

-Shred Memory: is an excellent budget tutor for 2CMC cards, which are some of my best targets for tutors anyway! It can fetch Creature removal (Grasp of Darkness and Go for the Throat), Enchantment removal (Feed the Swarm), Graveyard Hate (Tymaret, Chosen from Death), Recursion (Nullpriest of Oblivion and Corpse Churn), Creature protection (Lightning Greaves), Finishers (Runechanter's Pike and Torment of Hailfire) and Profane Command, which is incredibly versatile in its own right! It can't be Transmuted from the graveyard using Toshiro, but he can recast it as graveyard hate!

-Silence the Believers: This might be one of single the cards that's stopped me from losing the most. First, Toshiro does not trigger when a creature is Exiled, only when it dies. This is one way to deal with annoying Aura Enchantments, especially things like Rancor or Journey to Eternity... The ability to Exile Indestructible/Regenerating/Undying/Persisting/Escaping creatures is very handy, and this can take out a few in one go!. I usually cast it for 7 in 1v1 games, but if you have enough mana from things like Crypt Ghast, it can act as a one-sided Wrath effect.

-Soul Shatter: A new "all opponent" edict effect from Zendikar Rising. It should avoid the usual downfall of edict effects (bricking on a useless token or cheap utility creature), and should be the perfect way to deal with Indestructible/Hexproof Voltron commanders sitting behind a horde of chump blockers/sac fodder. Also, the art is just fantastic!

-Succumb to Temptation: One of the few Instant card draw spells. Never outstanding, but is well worth running.

-Supernatural Stamina: A cheap creature protection spell that can be used as a combat trick in a pinch. Works well with any creature with an ETB effect.

-Tendrils of Corruption: A decent removal spell that can give you a nice health boost later in the game. Not outstanding as it costs quite a lot, but scales well in the late game.

-Tragic Slip: Great removal in this deck. Great early on to take out a mana dork, great later on to basically any creature. It's always a -13/-13 for when cast from the graveyard with Toshiro.

-Vona's Hunger: The City's Blessing is really easy to activate in EDH, and when you have it, this reads ", each opponent sacrifices half the creatures he or she controls, rounded up", which is devastating, and probably gives you all the Toshiro triggers you could need.

-Wretched Confluence: A really versatile spell that's just perfect in this deck. Card draw, raise dead effect and/or removal all in one... and Toshiro can flash it back! I often use every mode in one go, killing a small utility creature to trigger Toshiro, returning a good creature to my hand and drawing a card!

-Bloodgift Demon: Phyrexian Arena on a big thicc flying stick! Great consistent card draw (if he doesn't get killed) and a good body to attack/block with.

-Crypt Ghast: One of the most powerful cards in the deck. Essentially doubling my mana potential, and giving me a way to use it with Extort. If it sticks around it can allow Toshiro to flashback an entire graveyard of Instants, or fuel a game-winning Torment of Hailfire.

-Desecration Demon: A big cheap flying beater that demands removal, or Toshiro-fueling sacrifices! A new addition recommended in another Toshiro decklist, it seems to work quite well, either acting as "removal bait", or forcing your opponent/s to sacrifice creatures to it to hold it back, which can give you "free" Toshiro triggers, allowing you to use all your mana on flashing back Instants. A pretty good Mimic Vat target, especially on defense as you can generate a token during your opponents "Declare Attackers" phase so you can block with the token without anyone getting a chance to sacrifice a Creature to tap it down!

-Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief: A new addition to my deck, she looks like a great way to repeatedly trigger Toshiro, while being a threatening Creature. Her ability is quite expensive, so I think I'll be using her to take out small Creatures, letting me recast better removal from my graveyard using Toshiro.

-Dread Presence: An awesome cheap Creature. He just does everything. Card draw or removal of small Creatures whenever you play a swamp is fantastic. I'll usually try to play him followed up by a Swamp in the same turn, so I can trigger him at least once before anyone removes him. Most of the time I'll use his trigger to draw, unless there's a really good target for the damage or i'm running low on life. He also has a small combo with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, which makes ANY land you play trigger his ability.

-Geth, Lord of the Vault: Kind of the definition of a "Must Kill" Creature. He's a really big evasive Creature that can give you great card advantage by letting you play cards from your opponents graveyards. I LOVE using him to steal Sol Rings :) He's also great at stealing Creatures like Reclamation Sage to take out Artifacts and Enchantments, which black usually struggles with! He can't target your own Creatures, but I don't usually find that to be an issue as I have other ways to get back my own dead Creatures.

-Gonti, Lord of Luxury: Just a great value card. For 4 mana, it gives you a 2/3 Deathtouch Creature, which really dissuades attacks, along with the choice of a card from an opponents deck! This is a great way to get access to effects that Mono-Black usually can't, like Artifact and Enchantment Removal. He's also an excellent target for Mimic Vat, 3 mana to draw the best of top 4 cards of an opponents deck, plus a 2/3 Deathtouch chump blocker or attacker!

-Gravebreaker Lamia: Another card that just seems to do it all! A big Lifelink Creature that makes it cheaper to flash spells back with Toshiro, who also puts a spell into your graveyard! The best targets for her "tutor" ability in my deck are Dismember (which she lets you flashback for 0 mana using Toshiro), Stinkweed Imp (lets you fill your graveyard even more by Dredging it with your next draw) or really any other Instant spell! Good Mimic Vat target!

-Gray Merchant of Asphodel: A great source of lifegain that can potentially act as a finisher if you have enough Black devotion. I run lots of Creatures with in their CMC, so he often drains for 6 or 8 when he hits the board. Another great Mimic Vat target!

-Harvester of Souls: I love and hate this card. He usually either draws me 0 cards, or like... 20... IF I remember his trigger, which I often don't. He's a great Creature that, if left alive, can essentially close out games by giving you huge amounts of card draw. He also works as Wrath insurance because he still "sees" every other Creature die during a wrath, and subsequently draws you a huge amount of cards, which usually lets you recover easily!

-Hooded Blightfang: A really nice cheap, tough Creature that holds back early attackers from just chipping in. He acts as "removal bait" as people don't usualllly want to have to trade him for a Creature with 4+ Power! He also plays well with quite a few of my other Creatures as they also have Deathtouch!

-Isareth the Awakener: An interesting Creature that works as a good attacker/blocker in the early game due to her good stats, but also works well in the late game as Deathtouch means she's usually going to trade up. Her second ability also works well late in the game as she usually trades for a bigger Creature, while giving me the opportunity to recast another Creature from my graveyard. That... or she eats a good removal spell before I get to attack with her, which is also pretty good! Not a bad Mimic Vat Target!

-Leaden Myr: A nice little Black mana dork that can chump block and wear equipment! Also, being colorless means he can block Creatures with protection from Black!

-Massacre Girl: A Wrath effect on a stick! Even in 1v1 matches, she usually kills everything! In a 4v4 game, it seems like it's almost guaranteed! She also works okkkkk with Toshiro. If he's in play when she enters, you usually get a couple of triggers with him before he dies. Great Mimic Vat target!

-Nightmare Shepherd: This guy is awesome. First off, 4/4 Flying for 4CMC is perfectly fine! This deck runs plenty of Creatures that are still really strong as 1/1 tokens, or have great ETB effects. It's a shame that he exiles the Creatures he turns into tokens, because we often want to resurrect Creatures from our grave, but I usually find that he acts as "removal bait" because nobody wants to have to kill your other Creatures twice...

He works very well with Commanders, especially Toshiro. If your Commander dies while he is in play, you can choose to Exile the Commander to make a 1/1 token copy, then just send your commander back to the command zone, keeping a 1/1 token copy with the same abilities, and even CMC, so it counts towards Devotion!

-Nullpriest of Oblivion: A really nice versatile Creature from Zendikar Rising. A good turn 2 play as it's likely to get in for a lot of hits with Menace, and the Lifelink means it's going to have a decent impact on life totals. In the late game, it's a fine 6 mana play that can get you back a Creature from your graveyard, and this deck has plenty of good creatures. It wears Equipment like Lashwrithe or Runechanter's Pike quite well, gaining you a bunch of life and forcing double blocks. Also a great late-game target for Shred Memory, if you don't have enough Mana to fire off a lethal Torment of Hailfire...

-Overseer of the Damned: Removal on a stick, that brings an army of zombies with it. It is pretty expensive at 7 mana, but it can really turn a game around. It also works as Wrath effect insurance, as it will "see" every other Creature die, leaving you with an army of zombies after everything else dies! The perfect Mimic Vat target, 3 mana for a 5/5 flying haste (that's exiled end of turn) a removal effect and a 2/2 zombie...

-Palladium Myr: Worn Powerstone on a stick. Like Leaden Myr, a good mana-dork that can chump block, wear equipment and block Creatures with Protection from Black. Works well in this deck as I have plenty of good 5 and 6CMC spells, so getting to play one on turn 4 is excellent!

-Plaguecrafter: In 1v1, he's not great, just a 3 mana Edict effect. In 4v4, he might give you 3 Toshiro triggers, but attract unwanted attention. He is almost always the target of his own sacrifice effect in this deck. A perfect Mimic Vat target.

-Sepulchral Primordial: In 1v1, it's ok, in 4v4, I would think it could be muuuuuch better. It does what it says on the tin, 5/4 Intimidate + a creature from each opponents graveyard is very strong, and depending on the creatures you get, can win you games on the spot. Also works well with Mimic Vat.

-Solemn Simulacrum: A new addition, I'm hoping he will help bring some more consistency to the deck. Also a good Mimin Vat target!

-Steel Hellkite: A pet card of mine that also fits into Mono-Black really well as it's a way to destroy Artifacts and Enchantments. It also totally hoses Tokens as they usually have a CMC of 0. It also makes good use of the huge amounts of mana this deck can produce, the colorless "fire-breathing" effect it has can easily finish someone off.

-Stinkweed Imp: A cheap Flying "Deathtouch" creature that acts as a great chump blocker, and can be Dredged to fill your graveyard with Instants to flash back with Toshiro, and creatures to target with resurrection effects.

-Tymaret, Chosen from Death: Excellent repeated graveyard hate, that also gives a nice bit of lifegain. He's great in my meta, but if nobody else is doing anything with their graveyard in yours (which is VERY unlikely), then he's actually actively bad in this deck.

-Feed the Swarm: New targeted Creature or Enchantment removal from Zendikar Rising. The downfall of Mono-Black are Enchantments (and to a lesser extent Artifacts), because Black just hasn't had good ways to remove them. Now that's changed with Feed the Swarm. The life loss isn't much of an issue in EDH, and it's even fetchable with the budget Tutor Shred Memory. Even if this only destroyed Enchantments, I'd run it. The ability to take out Creatures as well is the cherry on top! You can't flash it back with Toshiro, so don't intentionally Mill it.

-Profane Command: I love the command cards, and even though it's a Sorcery, it's versatile and powerful enough to be well worth running. Most often I play this as ", Destroy an X/4 Creature, Resurrect a 4CMC Creature" which is great. it can also be used to finish off a player if you have enough Mana to fuel it. I haven't used the "fear" option yet... because Black is a big part of my Meta, but I could see that being very strong a a finisher effect against someone who isn't playing Black or Artifact Creatures.

-Ransack the Lab: God, I which this was an Instant SO MUCH. A really nice card selection spell that also helps fill your graveyard. Play it on turn 2 to find a Land or cheap Creature, or on turn 10 to find a big creature or answer to a threat! It's really versatile, good in the early and late game, and also fills your Graveyard! If you see an instant spell with it but don't NEED it right now, it's fine to put it into the Graveyard to flash back later with Toshiro. The same goes for any Creatures, this deck has plenty of recursion options, so having a couple of Creatures in the graveyard is really handy!

-Torment of Hailfire: One of the best finishers in the deck. Pretty simple, play it with 10+ mana late in the game and it's likely to either kill your opponents, or clear their boards and hands enough that they'll have a hard time recovering. Works best immediately after a Wrath effect that someone else cast!

-Expedition Map: A new addition that I'm hoping will give the deck some more consistence. The main targets will be Cabal Stronghold for extra mana in the late game (if I already have enough Swamps in play), Detection Tower to take down the Hexproof on any Voltron nonsense, or Bojuka Bog as some great graveyard hate!

-Everflowing Chalice: A really nice budget mana rock that can scale with the game nicely. Play it on turn 2 to ramp you early on, or wait until you have 4 mana to ramp to 6 and get big demons out, orrrrr spend 12 mana late in the game to get a mana rock that taps for 6, and use it to fuel a game winning Torment of Hailfire!

-Lashwrithe: Often a 7/7 Creature for 4 mana when played later in the game.. which dies into a +7/+7 Equipment with a 0 mana equip cost. Works as a 1-card Voltron win condition with Toshiro.

-Lightning Greaves: A great way to protect Toshiro or another valuable creature! I don't target my own creatures, so Shroud is almost as good as Hexproof. The haste ability on these is surprisingly useful, leading to plenty of openings to chip in for some damage the turn you play a creature! The 0CMC Equip cost is really great, Being able to Equip it to a Creature you've tapped out to play is great!

-Mimic Vat: The only bad thing about this card is that it's so stupidly powerful it rarely lasts long before attracting some Artifact removal. I run plenty of Creatures that work well with it, but it's real power comes in "imprinting" an opponents Creature that has an ETB effect that destroys Artifacts and/or Enchantments... because Mono-Black has veryyyy few ways to deal with them any other way! The only issue is you need to play Mimic vat after that type of Creature has been played, but before it dies... which can be tricky!

-Mind Stone: Nice budget 2CMC mana rock that can be cheaply turned into a card later in the game! Most of my lands produce Black mana, so rocks that produce colorless mana are perfectly fine in this deck!

-Pristine Talisman: Another budget mana rock. The lifegain is actually petty useful, and adds up quickly if it's played early on. In an average length game, it can often gain you 10+ life. It's also very low-key, so it doesn't attract Artifact removal! The 3CMC cost is annoying, however it can ramp me to one of my many 5CMC spells on turn four, in conjunction with four Lands.

-Runechanter's Pike: Works great in this deck as you often have more Instants in your graveyard than you can recast, so this can easily give +5/+0 First Strike. Also works well with no Instants/Sorceries in your graveyard when equipped to a Creature with Deathtouch, which I run plenty of!

-Skeleton Key: This has a cute interaction with Toshiro. Because he has Bushido 1, and this gives him Skulk, he can't be blocked by anything with more than 2 Power (if nothing is altering his stats), and if he IS blocked, he goes up to a 3/3... so it makes him pretty hard to kill in combat unless they double block with more than one 2/X creature, or use a combat trick. Aside from that, it's a pretty useful equipment to put on any smaller creature. Getting to "Loot" is a great way to increase the average card quality in your hand. It also lets you fill your grave with Instants that you can Flashback with Toshiro later on... also it looks great as a Foil.

-Sol Ring: It's Sol Ring... Almost every commander deck runs one, for good reason. Even in Power 9 Cube it's one of the top 2 most powerful cards. In 1v1, a turn 1 Sol Ring is just stupidly good, in 4v4, it can put a BIG target on your head. One reason I personally don't mind playing some of the "less powerful" mana rocks is that they're unassuming, people love blowing up Sol Rings, but are less into blowing up an Everflowing Chalice, even if it's tapping for 2 mana!

-Sword of Sinew and Steel: It Slices, It Dices, It juliennes! A new addition that I'm hoping will help take care of troublesome Artifacts that Mono-Black has a hard time with. My meta also has a lot of Black in it, so this can also protect my creatures from removal, and let them slip in for serious damage! Pro Tip: The owner of the Artifact/Planeswalker doesn't have to be the person you hit, so you can make deals with someone not to block your equipped creature, so you can blow up someone else's stuff!

-Worn Powerstone: This deck has plenty of powerful 5 and 6CMC spells, so being able to ramp there from 3 mana is pretty handy. It's not great late in the game as is comes in Tapped, so it's worth binning if seen with a card like Moonlight Bargain or Dark Bargain.

-Palace Siege: Potentially insane card advantage. Late in the game the first option essentially reads "draw a great Creature every turn". The second option isn't bad either, each opponent losing 2 life, plus you gaining 2 life, adds up quickly, but might end up making you the enemy of the whole table.

-Blighted Fen: A nice utility land. I usually use it late in the game (when I don't have other removal spells) to trigger Toshiro's ability. Also, sacrifice effects are really nice against indestructible/hexproof/shroud Creatures that I can't take out with my usual removal.

-Bojuka Bog: Great graveyard hate, which is really relevant in my local meta. Can be a double edged sword as I tend to want to steal Creatures from my opponents graveyards, but still necessary to run.

-Cabal Stronghold: Budget Cabal Coffers. Even with my relatively high proportion of nonbasic lands, it usually gives me 3+ extra mana in the late game, which is really useful when chaining kill spells with Toshiro or kicking the hell out of a Torment of Hailfire.

-Castle Locthwain: Most of the time it just feels like a Swamp that doesn't fuel Cabal Stronghold, but when I'm running out of cards later in the game with loads of spare mana, it's an extra card each turn! which is fantastic! There have been games where I have gotten so much mana that I just dumped my whole and on the field, and in those games, this card just reads ", Pay 1 life, draw a card" which is exactly what you need!

-Labyrinth of Skophos: Budget Maze of Ith. This thing has saved me from so many 50/50 Lord of Extinctions or death by commander damage! It can also save an expensive attacking Creature from a combat trick or flash blocker! In 4v4 games it can also be used politically, preventing a player from being killed off!

-Memorial to Folly: A nice late game mana sink option to get back a game-winning Creature, but it's on the chopping block. I have so many cards that care about Swamps that playing nonbasic lands can be a big cost. I also have lots of other ways to get Creatures back from my Graveyard, so I may cut it for a Swamp soon.

-Myriad Landscape: A way to ramp on a turn where you have nothing to do with your mana, which happens a lot if you're holding mana up to cast an Instant answer to a potentual threat. It also fetches 2 Swamps for my many "Swamps Matter" cards

-Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: Used to fix my handful of colorless lands and turn them into into Swamps for the purpose of Defile, Dread Presence, Lashwrithe etc. Unless you're running Cabal Coffers you realllllly don't need this in a mono-black deck, and as a side note, Cabal Coffers would fit perfectly in the deck if you have a copy, or if your playgroup is proxy-friendly!

-Agent of the Fates: Not a bad early creature to dissuade attackers, but too expensive to be worth running, and was in the heavily contested 3CMC slot. He did have some cute combos with cards like Lose Hope, which could target him without killing him, forcing your opponents to sac Creatures.

-Aphotic Wisps: A nice cheap spell (with awesome art) that I mainly used for card draw. I ended up cutting it because the Fear ability was totally useless in my Meta, and I didn't have many creatures that I really needed to attack with. I replaced it with Lose Hope, which acts primarily as removal for X/1 utility creatures.

It does have some potential as a political tool in a 4v4 game. The effect of making a creature become Black for a turn can effectively counter a lot of targeted Black removal spells, which have "nonblack" targeting restrictions. Use it to save a nonblack creature an opponent controls from a Doom Blade , or just one of your own colorless creatures. The effect overrides all other colors the creature had, so it can also be used to turn a blocking creature Black, then attack past it with a creature that has Protection from Black (maybe granted by a Sword of Feast and Famine )

-Ashling, the Extinguisher: Just too many hoops to jump though to make her worth running. She ended up essentially being a 4/4 Creature for 4CMC that Must be Blocked, which isn't that good. She also can't be used politically as the creature you destroy MUST be controlled by the player you hit... so no "let me hit YOU so I can make HIM sacrifice his creature" nonsense

-Blast Zone: A decent utility land, but I found it too expensive to get going, and further reducing my Swamp count wasn't worth it. It also can't take out 0CMC tokens. The main targets for it were Enchantments, but Mono-Black is getting targeted Enchantment removal now!

-Dark Ritual: It works well with Toshiro as he can flash it back, however I found that it just isn't worth a card slot. Spending a card to ramp one thing out early just puts a target on your head and opens you up for an easy 2 for 1. It would be ok in a more combo-focused deck that aims to win by assembling combo-pieces together quickly in a single turn, but this deck tends to play better as a slow controlling deck. It's also an awful late-game topdeck.

-Deathbringer Regent: Honestly, a pretty good creature, and I might add him back into the deck if I start playing 4v4 rather than 1v1. A 7CMC Wrath effect on a big flying stick is ok, but he's only good when you're behind, otherwise he's an overcosted beater that might wipe your board if you're in the lead. When you're behind, he's pretty good, but still expensive.

-Detection Tower: Useful to get around Hexproof on Creatures, but there isn't enough in my Meta to warrant this over a Swamp. Arcane Lighthouse is a better version as it also gets around Shroud (looking at you Lightning Greaves), but costs quite a lot more. I would run this card against a meta with any Voltron decks that rely on hexproof.

-Mutilate: A good budget wrath effect for Mono-Black that can take out Indestructible and Regenerating Creatures. It does struggle with really big Creatures, but that's what targeted removal is for. I cut it only because I don't really need many sweepers in my meta.

-Oathkeeper, Takeno's Daisho: I have found this to be a bit of a double-edged sword :) No denying that it's bloody awesome when it stops Toshiro from getting killed... but it's awful when someone gets a 2-for-1 when they destroy it while it's equipped to him... I found that it just wasn't worth playing. Every.Single.Time I played it, it got destroyed, and whatever I had it equipped to (usually Toshiro) gets exiled. The potential upside just hasn't outweighed the likely downside. It may be much better in 4v4 games, where there are going to be more powerful Artifacts that demand removal, however, in 1v1, it's the perfect target for any Artifact hate.

-Rogue's Passage: I had this in as a "free" alternative win condition, however I found that I really don't have enough good targets for it to be worth running over a swamp. The best target was a creature equipped with Lashwrithe, or Ashling, the Extinguisher, which I also cut.

-Scour from Existence: I only ran this because Mono-Black has very few ways of removing Artifacts and Enchantments. It was just too expensive to be worth running, even with the ability to flash it back with Toshiro. The situations where I needed it to stop something, tapping out for a turn to cast it was also a death sentence. The main targets were Enchantments, but Mono-Black now has targeted Enchantment removal with Feed the Swarm.

-Undying Evil: I cut this for Expedition Map. I found that it wasn't doing enough work to justify a slot in the deck. Supernatural Stamina is a similar card that I still run, but I think it's much better as it can also work as a combat trick!

-Unstable Obelisk: Cut for the same reason as Scour from Existence, It's a really bad Mana rock that you can (theoretically) sac later in the game to act as a universal removal spell. However the 7 mana cost was just too much, and i'd much rather run a 2CMC rock in its place... which is why I swapped it for Mind Stone. I had an excess of 3CMC spells, so swapping it for a 2CMC rock that ramps me into my 3 or 4CMC cards is way better.

-Thrilling Encore: Basically a more powerful Grim Return that is just fantastic post boardwipe... if you have the mana. The reason I'm not running it is because I'm only playing 1v1 currently, and I don't run into many board wipes. But in your average 4v4+ match, it's basically a must-run. If Toshiro is on the board and this is in your Graveyard when a boardwipe goes off, Toshiro will "see" all the other creatures die, so you get plenty of triggers from him to recast this... again... if you have the mana up.

-Malicious Affliction: Doom Blade on steroids! I had this in my deck, and I would put it back in, if 90% of the creatures I end up facing weren't Black... It's pretty great, against nonblack Creatures, if you have Toshiro out, you can kill 4 Creatures for just , which is a good rate even in EDH!

-Imp's Mischief: A very unique card that has a ton of uses. It can "counter" a Counterspell by redirecting it at itself. It can redirect targeted removal to your opponents Creature. It can also redirect a burn spell aimed at your face back at the opponent, although that's pretty unlikely. It's usually only a 1-for-1 or a 2-for-1 at best, but it does things people won't think you're capable of doing. I would replace one of my "Protection" spells with it, but it's pretty expensive, and I don't run into too many Counterspells.

-Slaughter Pact: I was running this, but 90% of the targets in my current meta had Black in them. In any meta where Back isn't so dominant, this is going to be a fantastic card in the deck! The ability to trigger Toshiro for 0 mana is really handy when you need to flash back an Instant from your graveyard when you're low on mana. It's also a great way to have some interaction available while tapped out. Passing your turn with mana open is very threatening in this deck with all its Instant effects, so passing while tapped out can bait your opponents into going for creature based wins... which you can still stop with Slaughter Pact or Force of Despair.

Best Opening Hands:

A good opening hand will usually include 3-4 Lands, 1-2 early interaction spells (removal or cheap creatures), 1 source of Ramp and 1 source of Card Draw.

I'l usually mulligan any hand with 2 or less lands (unless it also has Sol Ring and good early interaction spells or card draw), and keep one with up to 6 lands, depending on if the 7th card can help me draw more cards, or protect myself in the first few turns. This deck makes quite good use of excess mana, from big expensive creatures with mana-sink abilities to card draw spells, I almost always have something to do with spare mana. The bigger issue is not having enough lands, and this deck doesn't run very many (mainly because I hate cutting cool cards for lands :), which is why I'll keep a hand with 5-6 almost all the time.

Top Finishers:

-Torment of Hailfire with X=10+, using Crypt Ghast, Cabal Stronghold and Everflowing Chalice to generate tons of mana

-Commander damage by equipping Toshiro with Lashwrithe, Whispersilk Cloak and/or Runechanter's Pike

-Profane Command or Gray Merchant draining for 10+

-Slow attrition with Palace Siege draining and/or Extorting with Crypt Ghast each turn

-Mimic Vat spewing out copies of a Creature with a powerful ETB effect (Gray Merchant, Sepulchral Primordial etc...)

-Good old fashioned beatdown with big evasive creatures


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Top Ranked
Date added 3 months
Last updated 1 day

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

2 - 0 Mythic Rares

39 - 0 Rares

15 - 0 Uncommons

19 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.21
Tokens 0/0 Germ, 2/2 Zombie, City's Blessing, Copy Clone
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