Evaluating M10 – Part 3: Black

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Welcome back! With StarCityGames putting up their pre-order prices, these evaluations are no longer so "preliminary". Instead we'll take a look at what they're selling for and discuss potential applications for the new cards and reprints!

Cemetery Reaper

Creature - Zombie Rare
Other Zombie creatures you control get +1/+1.
2{B}, {T}: Exile target creature card from a graveyard. Put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield.

A well-flavored Lord for a tribe that doesn't really have enough support right now. For your mana, Necrogenesis is probably better at generating tokens on its own. While Reaper pops out 3/3 tokens, Creakwood Liege does the same thing without an activation cost. Star City has it priced at 2.50, which is about right. Casual players will enjoy the flavor but it likely will see no tournament play.

Haunting Echoes

Sorcery Rare
Exile all cards in target player's graveyard other than basic land cards. Search that player's library for all cards with the same name as cards exiled this way and exile them. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

Sweet reprint indeed. Haunting Echoes was a great card when it was printed in the "Graveyard Matters" Odyssey block, but there's no reason it shouldn't be good in current Standard. The dream is obviously to crush a Reveillark deck with this, but it has many applications in the format. It'll be interesting to have this in the same deck as Thought Hemorrhage. Star City has priced it at 5 bucks, which might be a little low all things considered. Newer players may not remember this card so picking it up at the prerelease could be easy.

Hypnotic Specter

Creature - Specter Rare
Flying (This creature can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.)
Whenever Hypnotic Specter deals damage to an opponent, that player discards a card at random.

Hyppie is in Standard already, and still isn't worth much. SCG has it at 5, which is far too high.

Liliana Vess

Planeswalker - Liliana Mythic Rare
+1: Target player discards a card.
-2: Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it.
-8: Put all creature cards in all graveyards onto the battlefield under your control.

Liliana's already a known quantity since she's currently in Standard. SCG has priced the M10 version at 8 dollars, which is just what she's been going for.

Mind Shatter

Sorcery Rare
Target player discards X cards at random.

Another reprint that's already in the format. SCG's price of 1.99 represents the fact that Mind Shatter is really only a sideboard
option for some decks.


Creature - Nightmare Horse Rare
Nightmare's power and toughness are each equal to the number of Swamps you control.

Most Magic players couldn't care less about this card. Despite being a cool, well-flavored Magic icon, the card itself is well, garbage. Sad, really, but when 6 mana gets Broodmate Dragons and 9 power of Soldiers, a flying horse doesn't seem as good. Bulk rare.

Royal Assassin

Creature - Human Assassin Rare
{T}: Destroy target tapped creature.

Remember when this guy was the epitome of Black's power, back in Revised Edition? The sheer threat of Royal Assassin made Vigilance an extremely powerful ability, and cards like Maelstrom Pulse and Terminate hadn't seen print. Priced at 3.99, Royal Assassin will certianly earn cool points with the older players but again, is too fragile for tournament play.

Sanguine Bond

Enchantment Rare
Whenever you gain life, target opponent loses that much life.

As a 99 cent rare on Star City, there's some design space to be explored with this card. As much fun as it'll be to shock your opponent with a Kitchen Finks, it's one more card that's got a ton of flavor and limited use in competative play.

Underworld Dreams

Enchantment Rare
Whenever an opponent draws a card, Underworld Dreams deals 1 damage to him or her.

3.99, and a reprint from 10th Edition. Should have little impact on Standard or older formats, and 3.99 is too much for this card!

Vampire Nocturnus

Creature - Vampire Mythic Rare
Play with the top card of your library revealed.
As long as the top card of your library is black, Vampire Nocturnus and other Vampire creatures you control get +2/+1 and have flying.

4 mana for what will sometimes be a 5/4 flying? Sounds good. Unfortunately, the triple black cost and the need for a mono black deck works poorly with the most powerful set released in the Alara block. 2.50 is about right for this bulk mythic.

Xathrid Demon

Creature - Demon Mythic Rare
Flying, trample
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature other than Xathrid Demon, then each opponent loses life equal to the sacrificed creature�s power. If you can�t sacrifice a creature, tap Xathrid Demon and you lose 7 life.
Illus. Wayne Reynolds 7/7

Oh look! The card they should have added to Duel Decks: Angels vs Demons! A 7/7 flying for 6 is nothing to scoff at, but Xathrid Demon fails the Broodmate Dragon test miserably. If the alternative to sacrificing a creature was say, sacrificing HIM, he might be an interesting card. As is, it's just another highly flavorful card that will probably have sick artwork, but will see zero tournament play. Another bulk Mythic. Enjoy this taking the place of a Planeswalker!

Aside from Haunting Echoes, there seems to be precious little for Black decks in the Rare slot. There are some pretty good looking cards in the common and uncommon spots like the new Terror and the new Night's Whisper that doubles as Burn, but as far as rares go, black is filled with flavorful cool cards that will have almost no effect on Standard. Check back next time when we take a look at Red, which got the most talked-about reprints so far!

Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

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One thought on “Evaluating M10 – Part 3: Black

  1. There's a really sick monoblack deck to be had in M10. Tendrils of Corruption is back, and that and Duress and Haunting Echoes as a finisher looks really nice. There's nothing along the lines of Scrying or Coffers, but you have Consume Spirit. A good casual deck at least!

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