This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series The Power of the Dark Side

By Phil, AKA BeltFed Weapon

 

Build up your weaknesses until they become your strengths

–Knute Rockne

 

As nice as this adage is, it does not really apply to Magic.  You cannot print your own cards or alter the rules – you are constrained to the rules that Commander and Wizards imposes upon you.  What you can do however, is to recognize those shortcomings and shore them up as best as possible, hopefully with some synergy and being on-theme to with your deck.  Because Black can do so much and there is nearly 25 years of cardboard at this point, some creativity is all that is needed to largely overcome these weaknesses.  You will find that your biggest constraint will invariably be the 99 cards that make up your deck as you want to do more but only have so many slots.  With that said, let us continue…

 

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This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series The Power of the Dark Side

By Phil, AKA BeltFed Weapon

 

Now that I’ve walked through Black’s strengths for three articles, it is time we review the color’s primary weaknesses.  To quote Sun Tzu:

 

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.  If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. – Sun Tzu

 

Black, for all its merits, still has some serious holes in its arsenal.  Instead of a long introduction, I want to jump right past the upfront theory and embed it in each section.  

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This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series The Power of the Dark Side

By Phil, AKA BeltFed Weapon

 

This week I’ll continue my examination of Black’s strengths and how capitalize on them.. Let’s get to it.

 

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This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series The Power of the Dark Side

By Phil, AKA BeltFed Weapon

 

I found that I liked starting with a flavor text quote after the first two articles, so I should not have a problem finding something applicable for every article in the 20+ years of Magic.  I was looking through one of my decks when I found an applicable quote from a Black board wipe that is a pet card of mine.  Not using magiccards.info, can you name the card?

 

The feeble resistance of the flesh is over.  Phyrexia spreads its shadow over all.

 

When I’m playing one of my Black decks and it is humming along, I certainly feel this way.  There are generally two strategies I employ when playing a mono-Black deck in Commander.  Both are controlling, but one I call “boots-on-necks” and the other I call the “rope-a-dope.”

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This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series The Power of the Dark Side

By Phil, AKA BeltFed Weapon

 

 

The flavor text on Juzam Djinn is one of the more fitting summations for Black’s place in the color pie:

“Expect my visit when the darkness comes.  The night I think is best for hiding all.”       

 

This quote evokes a certain amount of menace regarding an unbridled power that does not play fairly and comes with a price once summoned.  It’s part of the reason Juzam was the best creature in the game for a long time, as his CMC was so good for a beefy 5/5 body with such a small additional cost in life each turn.  It also sums up Black as a color in the game of Magic.  

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This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series The Power of the Dark Side

By Phil, AKA BeltFed Weapon

 

My favorite flavor text in all of magic is actually on a little known red card called Aggression and is a rip off from an epic quote from Blade Runner:

 

The star that burns twice as bright, burns half as long.

 

I have always thought this quote was misapplied to a red card since it basically sums up Black as a color.  Much like Roy from Blade Runner, Black is the color where you can do just about anything… at a cost.  It is the color that asks the most devotion (literally) for it to gain full effect of some its best spells and characteristics at the cost of eschewing other colors; it is the color that cares least about working with others.  Mono-Black is a surprisingly diverse and powerful archetype in commander and it is because Black asks so much as a color that you get a return in power for fully embracing the concept.

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