Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Black

Monocolored reviews in a set like Return to Ravnica is boring. All the fun cards are gold or hybrid, which leaves just a handful of monocolored cards to sift through. And it takes a lot of sifting to find the gold – and I don’t mean gold cards. I found those just fine.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

 Assassin’s Strike

For a while, there was a time when the idea of black getting unrestricted creature removal was awesome. Now, black is able to kill pretty much any creature. At six mana, killing one creature at sorcery speed just isn’t enough.

Catacomb Slug

Main deck this in your slug deck.


Nothing new here, but Cremate is too narrow for casual.

Daggerdrome Imp

I guess if you’re running a mono-black imp deck, you might want this? It is better than Bog Imp!

Dark Revenant

About time we get to something interesting! A 2/2 flier for 4 isn’t exciting, but a 2/2 flier that keeps coming back is definitely interesting. My biggest concern is that the ability isn’t optional, kind of like Vengeful Pharaoh (what ever happened to him?) which was awesome in concept… until your opponents prevented you from drawing new cards.

Desecration Demon

Now this is a multiplayer card – a giant demon, that keeps and keeps punishing everyone. Originally  I thought this trigger on YOUR combat phase but then I remember my Magic card reading comprehension skills are often wrong the first time. Sure, this demon is easy to stall against but the longer your opponents wait, the bigger he gets and I love that – especially with cards like Vish Kal.

Destroy the Evidence

I really hate this card. First, it’s overpriced and annoying (but will probably be terrifying after Gatecrash). Second, someone milled me out with it during the prerelease.

Drainpipe Vermin

When Ravenous Rats is just too expensive.

Grave Betrayal

It’s almost like Wizards is only making rares and up worth playing in casual and Grave Betrayal is the perfect casual and commander card. It’s expensive, but turns the battlefield into a losing proposition for everyone else as your army slowly grows. If this resolves, combat becomes much more interesting. Be sure to add in a Grave Pact too.

Launch Party

The name of this card makes me angry. It’s better than Death Bomb, but I don’t think anyone was clamoring for a better Death Bomb.

Mind Rot

Not worth playing but the art is terrifying.

Necropolis Regent

If this card just made all your creatures into Sliths, it would be good. But making it so they all add counters equal to the damage is absurd! Thankfully it’s combat damage so players can’t got completely nuts but like many mythics now, if this card resolves, you are the new table target.

Ogre Jailbreaker

I know you want to abused this but don’t. Please.

Pack Rat

The newest version of Relentless Rats, Pack Rat is a weird card. The fact that it makes tokens allows it to play well with populate (Golgari-populate anyone?). I’m sure this card will find a home because it’s too weird to pass up and rat players love new rats – usually. Sorry Drainpipe Rat.

Perilous Shadow

Overpriced and awkward at best, this isn’t the kind of shade I want to be running.

Shrieking Affliction

Multiplayer Rack! I love the idea of getting to bolt anyone who has one or no cards in hand, but to get this to really work you’ll need some mass discard and dropping this on turn one is going to give away your plan.

Slum Reaper

I love mass removal, but this guy forces you to go down a creature too which can be discerning. Still, when combined with graveyard stealing shenanigans (like Grave Betrayal), this card really shines.

Stab Wound

How is this an aura? If you get stabbed, it isn’t magical in nature! YOU’VE BEEN STABBED! That’s like Batman saving his one weakness is bullets fired out of guns.

Tavern Swindler

Probably my favorite card in this color (and not just because she’s a busty, albino rogue). I love coin flipping decks… but flipping a coin to either gain 3 life or lose 3 life is a terrible proposition. The initial wager of 3 life is a lot, but what I really love is that she’s a cheap coin flipping card! At two mana, she’s a bear and that’s fine. I can’t wait for someone to be on the edge of losing, only to take the bet and come out ahead.

Ultimate Price

Black keeps getting better and better removal for legacy formats! While similar to Go for the Throat, Ultimate Price is just a solid piece of spot removal that’s cheap. It’s a weird card tough that really depends on your metagame since artifact creatures make it into a slightly worse Terror.

Underworld Connections

I love getting a new Phyrexian Arena – even if it is an enchant land. While costing effectively an extra mana to use, I love that this isn’t a card that will end up killing you. Bloodgift Demon and Bob are great fun, but the constant card draw in longer games can weaken you and this does get around it.

Maybe I’m just bitter but it feels like Black doesn’t get anything new in Return to Ravnica. The whole set is just a handful of cards that are so specifically targeting certain decks, it’s leaves you with a lot of chaff. Unless you like rats and slugs, then you’re all set.

Good thing I like rats and slugs.

Top 5 Return to Ravnica Black Cards for Casual & Commander
5. Tavern Swindler Slum Reaper
4. Desecration Demon
3. Underworld Connections
2. Grave Betrayal
1.  Necropolis Regent

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands