Amonkhet Set Review – Black

Archfiend of Ifnir

Rating: 5.0

Starting Black with a bang! A 5/4 flyer for five is just a beast, and the ability is insane in a set with cycling. I don’t imagine cycling this out much, but it is obviously good to have the option for the rare times where you are manascrewed and need something quickly.

Baleful Ammit

Rating: 3.5

Three mana for a 4/3 lifelinker is insane; if you have this, try to have a good amount of two-mana fodder to drop a counter on, as this is pretty tough to beat at its best size. As a 3/2 it’s still solid, but unexciting.

Blighted Bat

Rating: 2.5

Wind Drakes are pretty hard to cut, even though you’re never really ecstatic to have them. Solid mid-pack pickup. Haste is nice, but not big on the evaluation.

Bone Picker

Rating: 3.5

This is a great card; even at face value it is solid, and if you can cast this plus another spell in the midgame after trading one of your creatures, it can be game-breaking.

Bontu the Glorified

Rating: 4

I think this is the second best God for Limited, behind Rhonas. The ability makes attacking extremely uncomfortable for your opponent (as 4/6 is a huge blocker and will eat most things in the format, and you can just sac a smaller creature to activate it), and it is a solid attacker. I like this a lot.

Cartouche of Ambition

Rating: 3.0

Lifelink is a pretty powerful ability, as this can make an evasive creature impossible to race. I think this is powerful enough to be worth eating the eventual 2-for-1, and obviously Trials make it much better.

Cruel Reality

Rating: 3.5

A bit expensive for my taste in Draft, but should be a absolute bomb in Sealed. This is probably playable in a defensive-minded deck, but the difference between 6 and 7 mana is huge, and so at this cost this isn’t a good card in every deck.

Cursed Minotaur

Rating: 2.5

Menace is a good keyword, making this a bit better than your random 3 mana 3/2 dork.

Dispossess

Rating: 0

Just don’t play it.

Doomed Dissenter

Rating:2.5

This would be a mediocre card in most formats, but here with the -1/-1 counter cards this might be worth a good pick, maybe even closer to a 3.

Dread Wanderer

Rating: 3.0

This is a one-drop with two-drop stats AND a very relevant ability. A good card which should be picked early accordingly.

Dune Beetle

Rating: 1.5

If you need a turtle, there’s one for you. Not exciting, but cards like this are playable in slow formats.

Faith of the Devoted

Rating: 1.0/3.0

This is a gimmick card, which I dislike, but sometimes it will be excellent. I’d not pick this early, but be aware if the table is passing stuff like this to you and adjust accordingly – after getting this and some other “discard matters” card, you start picking up cyclers much higher.

Festering Mummy

Rating: 1.0

Same thing as most one-mana creatures: too small to matter. Pass.

Final Reward

Rating : 3.5

Removal is always at a premium, more so in this format because there aren’t that many of them, and this prevents Embalm. This is the best black common and a good way to start a draft.

Gravedigger

Rating: 3.5

Always a good card, Gravedigger gets better in this format where you can cycle away your fatties to find mana early and return them on-curve.

Grim Strider

Rating: 2.5

This is a good card for low-curve aggressive decks only. Otherwise, stay away.

Horror of the Broken Lands

Rating: 3.5

Another great black common. This thing is very, very hard to block, and can be cycled away for one mana, which is super relevant in the color. A high pick.

Lay Bare the Heart

Rating: 2.0

This is one of the better discard spells for limited in a while as this takes pretty much everything, but I still don’t like it much. Too situational for my taste.

Liliana, Death’s Majesty

Rating: 5.0

High loyalty, protects itself, powerful minus ability and wins the game when ultimate. Liliana checks all marks of the best Limited planeswalker bombs.

Liliana’s Mastery

Rating: 4.0

Six power for five mana across two creatures is already a pretty good rate, and once you remember that every single Embalm creature in the format is a Zombie when coming back from the graveyard, this starts to look like the really sick bomb it is.

Lord of the Accursed

Rating: 3.5

Again, remember Embalm creatures are Zombies. This is a good Lord in most decks.

Miasmic Mummy

Rating: 1.5

Not a great card. I’d only play this if I really, really needed the two-drop, even considering the small synergies available for this effect in the set (Embalm and “few-cards-in-hand-matters” stuff).

Nest of Scarabs

Rating: 1.5

Even in the decks where this is supposedly good it doesn’t seem to do that much. I’d stay away.

Never / Return

Rating : 4.o

Unconditional removal that would already be great by itself, and the Aftermath side can pick up something with Embalm later on. Premium card.

Painful Lesson

Rating: 1.5

I don’t like wasting time with cards like this in Limited, and this doesn’t have the same digging power as a Read the Bones. I’d avoid it.

Pitiless Vizier

Rating: 3

This is the kind of card I love: a solid beater that makes life very difficult for your opponent. This is pretty hard to block properly, so it is a great card in my book.

Plague Belcher

Rating: 3.5

If you can put the counters on something else this is insane and finishes games quickly. Better pick those Doomed Dissenters!

Ruthless Sniper

Rating: 1/2.5

The creature is barely playable, but once you have a lot of cyclers this can be really, really good, making combat a nightmare for your opponent. I’d still not pick it very early, though.

Scarab Feast

Rating: 1.5

Do yourself a favor and leave this in your sideboard.

Shadow of the Grave

Rating: 1

This seems cute on paper, but will disappoint you. Too much setup to not do much makes it unplayable to me.

Soulstinger

Rating: 2.5

I don’t think this is very impressive, to be honest – the big 3-drops with the -1/-1 counters are less replaceable than this, and you only get the death trigger off this if you put the counters on itself, and playing it as a 2/3 is really bad.

Splendid Agony

Rating: 3.0

This is an expensive trick/removal spell, but you can get some pretty absurd blowouts in combat with this.

Stir the Sands

Rating: 3.5

Great card – flexible and powerful on both modes.

Supernatural Stamina

Rating: 1.5

One mana tricks are always at least ok this is another one you can retrigger abilities and save big monsters for just one mana.

Trespasser’s Curse

Rating: 0.5

Even though I know I’ll lose to this card once in a while, I still think it is unplayable. Mediocre on turn 2, horrendous later on, don’t play it.

Trial of Ambition

Rating: 2.5

Diabolic Edict isn’t impressive, but this is cheap enough that you can get multiple re-triggers with Cartouches without losing a lot of tempo, so it can become very good if you have multiple Auras.

Unburden

Rating: 3.0

Mind Rot has always been a decent card, and cycling is much more powerful in an effect like this. I’d always maindeck one, and maybe two in decks where cycling matters (and there’s a lot of those in black, as we’ve seen)

Wander in Death

Rating: 2.5

This seems like a good card for Sealed, but I think it’s a bit on the slow side for Draft.

Wasteland Scorpion

Rating: 3.0

Deathtouch is great in Limited and this can cycle in a pinch. Sign me up!

 

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