Black in Magic: The Gathering represents ruthlessness, selfishness, greed, and death. Black creatures typically feature keywords like menace and deathtouch, and spells in that color often focus on removal, sacrifice, and life loss.
As a result, black is one of the colors most relevant to the story of the March of the Machines, including an all-out global war at the hands of the fearsome Phyrexians. A magical setting couldn’t be more deadly than that.
8 Invasion of Eldraine
Throughout Magic’s history, we’ve seen all sorts of variations of discarding two cards. Invasion of Eldraine is the latest addition to the block. This spell costs 1 more mana than some previous versions, but it’s not a bad trade for the value you get from flipping the siege.
Additionally, it’s often good to hold onto discard spells like Invasion of Eldraine until your opponent has two or three cards in hand. This way you are more likely to force important spells such as bombs and removals to be discarded. Prickle Faeries offers evasive damage and a relatively fast clock, so there may be a place for this card in aggressive Black decks.
7 Invasion of Innistrad
Four mana for a removal spell is certainly expensive, but this card at least deals with any creature threats you face (including indestructible ones). As far as Siege is concerned, the front side of Siege needs to be playable on its own for the cards to see any kind of built viability.
Invasion of Eldraine isn’t normally a removal spell you’d be happy to play, but it’s passable. The real power here is on the back of the card, where he offers two Zombie-her tokens as soon as the card is flipped. Additionally, Siege can spew more zombies as long as someone has a creature card in their graveyard. This card is going to be a bomb in Limited and could see play in some of his Standard decks.
6 Hoarding Bread Road
For Commander players who love dragon-themed decks, this is a great addition. Broodlord is a big evasive threat that can be replaced with any card you want to coach from your deck. It’s already a great baseline. Add to this the ability to cast him Broodlord in Convoke, and you have a true contender for top threats.
That being said, 8 mana is what every deck wants. Additionally, his three black pips in Broodlord’s casting cost can make it difficult to reliably cast even in two-color decks. That said, the Tutor effect is strong no matter what you’re playing, and if Broodlord doesn’t make it to Standard, it’s sure to see at least a lot of Commander decks.
Five shadow arcpriest
This is an aggressive threat for black decks that makes one combat step a nightmare for your opponent. While the backup mechanic seems lackluster for the build as a whole, Archpriest is one of the cards that features this mechanic and it could sneak into some builds.
A backup ability that returns creature cards from your graveyard to the battlefield means whatever creature you target with Archpriest will be the block your opponent needs. Combined with deathtouch, opponents are forced to trade creatures when his Archpriest enters the battlefield. That said, he feels pretty bad casting Archpriest without any other creatures in play.
Four break the multiverse
This is another card that March of the Machine Commander players will enjoy casting. At a minimum, Breach is almost certain to add your opponent’s best creatures to your side of the battlefield with his three. In the best case, you also get 1-3 planeswalkers.
It’s 7 mana and very valuable. While it’s hard to see a world where this card has a place in a format other than Commander, the presence of Grand Unifier Atraxa creates a world where Breach can be played in Standard sideboards. Still unlikely, but possible.
This version of Sheoldred has a higher ceiling than Apocalypse, an all-powerful Sheoldred, but a much lower floor. In other words, Shieldred can win games on its own, but not as consistently as her Apocalypse version of her.
Shieldred’s ETB (enters the battlefield) trigger is great, but suffers from the same problem of all sacrifice effects. Most opponents always have more than one of his creatures on the battlefield, so it’s unlikely you’ll get the value you want from this triggered ability.
Additionally, the high mana cost required to convert Shieldred at sorcery speed allows for instant speed removal and completely blows you away. That being said, the player who manages to flip Sheoldred has a good chance of winning the game.
2 pile up
That’s the kind of value you’d expect from a 4-mana removal spell. Pile On not only removes creatures and planeswalkers, but also modifies the draw his step on future turns thanks to espionage.
It’s important to note that the presence of convoke here makes this an ideal removal spell for aggressive decks. This is sure to become a staple of his decks in Standard in the future, and could see play in Esper Legends, Mono Black Aggro, and Rakdos decks.
1 shining deluge
There are three other mana board wipes in Standard and Pioneer, but none are as complete as Glistening Deluge. The fact that this card grants temporary negative counters allows it to circumvent common white and green effects like indestructible.
In other words, Deluge is arguably the best answer for aggressive green and white decks going forward. This card can even dodge the newly printed Salvation Wave and Brave Factor, so you really don’t have to rely on aggressive green/white decks to counter this. At least not after sideboarding. you just have to care.
Next: Magic: The Gathering – Best Creatures from March of the Machines