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Braids, Arisen Nightmare Art by Heonhwa Choe

Dominaria United Constructed Set Review and Decklists: Black

With the full spoiler released, DoggertQBones is reviewing the best cards from each color as well as providing sample decklists! For this article, he looks at Black and goes over why there's so much more than just Liliana!

Hello everyone! With the full spoiler for Dominaria United live, we can finally get into breaking down the cards with constructed applications!

Since I did individual card reviews already, rather than repeat myself, I’ll link the article, but still give the verdict and decklist if that’s what you’re more interested in. For this, I’m going to cover every Mythic, every Rare, and then choice uncommons and commons that have potential. Let’s get into it!

As always, here’s the scale I’ll be using to label the new cards that potentially have constructed applications.

  • 0/5 – Unplayable in every sense.
  • 1/5 – Extremely niche play or very unlikely to see play.
  • 2/5 – Niche to no play, maybe playable in certain conditions.
  • 3/5 – Reasonable playable. Not format breaking, but has the power level to see play in some strategy (or strategies).
  • 4/5 – Very strong card, but not the best the format has to offer. Has the power level to see a lot of play.
  • 5/5 – The very top of the format. This card will create a huge impact going forward on the format.

Liliana of the Veil

PVDDR breaks down the card in more detail in this dedicated Premium article:

I also cover this card in more detail in its dedicated article:

Rakdos Anvil
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $454.52
Standard
Artifacts
best of 1
9 mythic
10 rare
12 uncommon
29 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (7)
Creatures (10)
Instants (6)
4
Voltage Surge
$1.00
2
Infernal Grasp
$2.58
Artifacts (8)
4
Oni-Cult Anvil
$1.00
Enchantments (6)
Lands (23)
6
Mountain
$1.50
7
Swamp
$1.75
4
Haunted Ridge
$71.96
4
Tramway Station
$1.00
60 Cards
$589.8
Rakdos Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $852.38
Explorer
best of 1
12 mythic
37 rare
8 uncommon
3 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (7)
Instants (6)
4
Fatal Push
$17.96
2
Heartless Act
$0.78
Sorceries (6)
4
Thoughtseize
$87.96
Enchantments (4)
60 Cards
$841.24
Mardu Greasefang
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $807.21
Historic
Combo
best of 1
6 mythic
42 rare
8 uncommon
4 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Creatures (12)
Instants (3)
3
Fatal Push
$13.47
Sorceries (9)
4
Thoughtseize
$87.96
Artifacts (6)
4
Parhelion II
$7.96
Enchantments (3)
Lands (23)
1
Mountain
$0.25
1
Sacred Foundry
$22.99
4
Godless Shrine
$67.96
4
Blood Crypt
$79.96
60 Cards
$691

Rating: 5/5


Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

I cover this card in more detail in its dedicated article:

Rakdos Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $618.46
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
9 mythic
26 rare
6 uncommon
19 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Instants (6)
4
Voltage Surge
$1.00
2
Infernal Grasp
$2.58
Sorceries (4)
4
Invoke Despair
$7.16
Enchantments (6)
Lands (25)
1
Mountain
$0.25
11
Swamp
$2.75
4
Haunted Ridge
$71.96
3
Tramway Station
$0.75
60 Cards
$773.08

Rating: 4/5


Stronghold Arena

This is a super interesting card that can convert a creature hit into a Dark Confidant trigger which is decent. My issue with this card is that you only get one trigger even if you hit with multiple creatures which really gates the power of this card.

Maybe this is a good sideboard card against slow decks if you are playing a lot of creatures, but I’m not seeing the utility otherwise. The kicker ability isn’t helping much either as it just gives you a little bit of life. Interesting, but likely not strong enough to get there.

Rating: 2/5


Defiler of Flesh

I cover this card in more detail in its dedicated article:

Dominaria United Mono Black Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $231.46
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
9 mythic
18 rare
8 uncommon
25 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Creatures (22)
4
Evolved Sleeper
$9.96
2
Cult Conscript
$0.50
Instants (6)
3
Cut Down
$6.87
3
Infernal Grasp
$3.87
Enchantments (4)
Lands (24)
21
Swamp
$5.25
1
Hostile Hostel
$1.29
60 Cards
$286.52

Rating: 3/5


Shadow-Rite Priest

I cover this card in more detail in its dedicated article:

Orzhov Clerics
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $339.94
Historic
best of 1
0 mythic
40 rare
8 uncommon
12 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
60 Cards
$209.82

Rating: 2/5


The Cruelty of Gix

Wait, is that you The Eldest Reborn? You look different!

The Cruelty of Gix is a reasonable saga that has three chapters that are all value between Despise, Grim Tutor, and Rise from the Grave. Compare this to The Eldest Reborn which was Diabolic Edict that hit walkers, Raven's Crime, and a Rise from the Grave that hits walkers and you have pretty comparable sagas. That being said, I think Reborn gets the nod as interacting and/or reanimating a planeswalker is pretty obscene while Gix can only deal with creatures.

I would have written this card off completely considering The Eldest Reborn was just a fringe playable and it’s better, but with the Read Ahead ability, you can play this in a Reanimator shell as just a Rise from the Grave when you don’t want to the other modes. I’m not sure if Reanimator is going to be a strong enough strategy, but if it is, this will be a helpful piece in it.

Rating: 2-2.5/5


Drag to the Bottom

This is an easy one. In two color decks this is going to be Ritual of Soot most of the time, in three color decks it’s Languish, in 4+ this will be Damnation. Are these effects going to be good in the upcoming Standard? I’d say probably, I’m just not sure where yet. Either way, this card is quite powerful is you build around it in any capacity.

Rating: 3-3.5/5


Braids, Arisen Nightmare

Now this is an interesting one! Old school Braids, Cabal Minion has been the topic of ire in the Commander community so it’s cool for it to come back in a more balanced form!

While this won’t be the easiest to make work in Standard, the trigger happening on the end step and getting value no matter what happens seems pretty reasonable. Admittedly I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this card to see if it’s just fine or really good, but I’m leaning more towards the fine end of the spectrum.

Rating: 2.5-3/5


The Raven Man

I know I’m in the minority here, but I really don’t think The Raven Man is s good as people think it is. Yes, if you go The Raven Man into Liliana of the Veil you’re going to feel very smart, but if that’s the only discard you have, I think you’re going to be playing a Goblin Piker more often than not.

That said, if you have more ways to make discards happen, then you’re definitely looking at a reasonable card. Connive works perfectly here as that can consistently let this trigger and if you can get two Birds off of this, you definitely got your moneys worth.

Esper Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $492.91
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
14 mythic
38 rare
6 uncommon
2 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (9)
2
Kaito Shizuki
$17.98
Creatures (14)
4
The Raven Man
$1.56
Instants (6)
2
Cut Down
$4.58
4
Infernal Grasp
$5.16
Enchantments (5)
Lands (26)
1
Island
$0.25
1
Swamp
$0.25
4
Adarkar Wastes
$9.96
4
Caves of Koilos
$1.96
4
Shipwreck Marsh
$23.96
2
Deserted Beach
$21.98
60 Cards
$670.84

Rating: 3.5-4/5


Evolved Sleeper

I cover this card in more detail in its dedicated article:

Mono Black Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $370.78
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
11 mythic
20 rare
4 uncommon
25 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Creatures (18)
4
Evolved Sleeper
$9.96
2
Shakedown Heavy
$0.98
Instants (4)
4
Infernal Grasp
$5.16
Sorceries (4)
4
Invoke Despair
$7.16
Enchantments (6)
Lands (24)
21
Swamp
$5.25
1
Hostile Hostel
$1.29
60 Cards
$444.6

Rating: 3.5/5


Choking Miasma

It’s this sets Infest, so generally a solid card. These effects have seen play in sideboards in many Standard formats and I envision it will here as well.

Rating: 2.5-3/5


Sheoldred’s Restoration

Initially I thought this was just Zombify coming back which I was so happy about, but then I read it again and it’s actually a four mana Reanimate. Come on Wizards! Give me my Zombify back!

Nonetheless, this card likely does a lot for the playability of reanimator decks as having to hit five mana to start doing your impactful thing is pretty brutal, even if it’s going to cost you a ton of life. That said, it’s hard to say if this is going to see any play as it’s only going to be good if the creatures are worth cheating in.

Grixis Reanimator
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $279.11
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
9 mythic
33 rare
17 uncommon
1 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (11)
2
Cut Down
$4.58
2
Infernal Grasp
$2.58
3
Maestros Charm
$0.75
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (6)
60 Cards
$423.42

Rating: 2.5/5


Pilfer

I can get behind Agonizing Remorse, we all stan for Tinybones, Trinket Thief, but I can’t get behind this card. The lack of utility just doesn’t do it for me.

Rating: 1.5/5


Cult Conscript

Back in the day we had Gutterbones and we liked it, but now we get one thats even better at uncommon! Returning to the battlefield when you kill something is pretty good, and although this card is a bit narrow, it is a solid one drop.

Rating: 2.5-3/5


Cut Down

Oh boy, we reach one of the juiciest ones. Cut Down has spawned a lot of conversation concerning if this is the new Fatal Push, if it’s good, if it sucks, and so on. The truth, as it usually is, is somewhere in the middle if you gate your expectations.

This is a one mana removal spell that you should play if you want to kill almost every one and two drop and some amount of three drops, that’s it. To me, this is just Bloodchief's Thirst at instant speed, which seems like a strict upgrade, but not being able to scale up is a bit brutal. This card is going to see a lot of play and likely just be a solid playable. Personally, I don’t think this is the new Fatal Push, but I wouldn’t be shocked if I’m wrong there.

Rating: 3.5/5


Writhing Necromass

I know I’m a maniac, but I do see potential here. If you can cast this for 3 mana or less, you’re definitely getting a good deal, but obviously getting to that point is the difficult part. I have been trying to make this style of deck work for awhile now, and it’s probably never really going to, I still think there’s a chance.

Golgari Graveyard Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $95.77
Standard
best of 1
0 mythic
29 rare
12 uncommon
19 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (28)
4
Willow Geist
$1.00
4
Urborg Lhurgoyf
$7.16
4
Undead Butler
$1.56
Instants (4)
4
Infernal Grasp
$5.16
Sorceries (6)
4
Mulch
$1.00
Enchantments (1)
Lands (21)
6
Forest
$1.50
5
Swamp
$1.25
4
Deathcap Glade
$39.96
4
Thran Portal
$2.76
60 Cards
$137

Rating: 2.5/5


Shadow Prophecy

Here’s another interesting one. Like many of the other domain payoffs, you do want to go pretty hard to enable this, but if you do, you get a better Memory Deluge that trades a mana for two life. I’m not positive where this would go, but it is a strong enough effect to keep an eye on.

Rating: 2.5/5


Phyrexian Rager

This card isn’t good enough for Standard anymore, but I just love it so I’m mentioning it.

Rating: 1.5/5


Conclusion

Black seems to be the standout color of Dominaria for me as, beyond just Liliana, of the Veil there are a lot of fantastic cards that’ll certainly have a big impact on Standard.

Thank you for reading!

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DoggertQBones
DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
Twitch and Discord.

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