Tich's Guide to Black Multiplayer Cards and Strategies

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Tich's Guide to Black Multiplayer Cards and Strategies


Table of Contents:
1. Introduction
2. Card Elements and Roles
      • 2a. Persistent Cards
      • 2b. Destructive Cards
      • 2c. Scaling Cards
      • 2d. Defensive Cards
      • 2e. Trap Cards
      • 2f. Global Benefit Cards
3. Artifacts and Lands
4. Additional Card Choices
5. Synergies and Strategies
6. Cards That Everyone Should Have
7. Sample Decklists
8. Other Colors
9. Coping with Adversity: Dealing with Black's Weaknesses
10. Conclusion

1. Introduction
The purpose of this guide is to aid your transition from regular Magic duels (i.e. 1v1 games) to the substantially different world of multiplayer Magic. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just getting into the game, multiplayer magic is so completely unique from any other format that it could leave anyone slightly discombobulated. Cards such as Duress and Counterspell have always been staples in their time, however these "sacred cows" will be your undoing in big multiplayer games. The mechanics of multiplayer necessitates that one forgoes cheap and efficient "duel cards" in order to adjust to the increased number of opponents. Do not sink into despair though, for many of the cards most players cherish have close multiplayer brothers. Swapping Innocent Blood over Diabolic Edict in your lists will become second-hand nature for you by the end of this. Ultimately I aspire to broaden your general multiplayer card pool knowledge, in the hopes that you'll eventually be able to construct your own solid, multiplayer decks. As we delve into the various card choices that you'll have at your disposal, you'll soon discover just how many cards are nearly broken in the format. Exsanguinate has never seen any form of competitive play, but smart deck-builders will pick up on gems like this. Remember, cards are generally balanced for 1v1 play. As this guide progresses, we'll see many occasions where having additional opponents can cause exponential power increases in cards. After I've improved your general understanding of Black's multiplayer card pool, I'll then move on to discuss general synergies and strategies. I'll finish things off by providing some sample decklists to put you on the right track to building your own, as well as briefly covering ways to cope with the color's inherent weaknesses. That way, no matter your budget, card availability, or even personal preference, you should still be able to build some solid multiplayer decks.

Before we begin, I'd like to quickly clear something up. A very big misconception that players have is that multiplayer tactics should differ greatly from duel tactics. A lot of people have gone to a lot of trouble to explain to you how to handle multiplayer politics, and even how to use them to your advantage. In fact, virtually every multiplayer article that I've ever read has merely discussed the mental aspects of the format. There seems to be this preconceived notion that the way to win multiplayer games is through the mental battle and not the cards themselves. I couldn't disagree more with that frame of mind. I believe that while your card pool is different, your overall tactics shouldn't change much (if at all). Multiplayer Magic doesn't differ from duels in the sense that the players who always build the best decks with the strongest cards usually win. If you're having a hard time staying afloat in multiplayer Magic, I'd be willing to wager that the problem lies in your decks and not your tactics. Nothing will take you further in your Magic career than learning how to build a solid deck each and every time that you sit down to play. Before you submit to reading articles about becoming a political powerhouse at your tables, ask yourself if the decks that you're using are even good enough to win to begin with. That is by far and away the best advice I could ever give you. Now that that disclaimer's out of the way, let's start things off by taking a look at what kinds of cards you'll want to be playing in a Multiplayer setting.

2. Card Elements and Roles
I'd like to take this opportunity to stress the importance of playing the right kinds of cards in a multiplayer setting. The best way that I can describe a big Chaos game is by comparing it to a marathon. While everyone typically has a strong start to the event, the players who came unprepared for it tend to fall flat during the mid-game stages of the competition. It's the savvy veterans who allocated the time to train and condition themselves that will ultimately see it through to the end. With that analogy in mind, you're primarily looking for cards that will grant you the ability to stay in the game with a chance to win for as long as possible. The 6 generic types of cards that will enable you accomplish that feat are persistent cards, destructive cards, scaling cards, defensive cards, trap cards and global benefit cards. These are all critical effects that can help you go the distance and ultimately take home the win. I'll now be taking a much more in-depth look at each of these roles, as well as showcasing the relevant cards in the color. It's my hope that this will make it relatively easy to extract useful information from this guide, since it should provide you with a fairly good idea on where to turn to get relevant card choices for your decks.

2a. Persistent Cards
This sections aims to highlight cards that have resilient, repeatable and/or constant effects. In multiplayer, they are invaluable tools for many reasons. First of all, it's important not to look at resilient cards with the frame of mind: "If I were to lose my permanent, I could pay to keep it/get it back." That's a duel mindset. Rather, you should be thinking to yourself "Since I can protect/reuse this, who would bother depleting resources to temporarily hinder it?" Remember, multiplayer Magic is about taking on many other players. Wasting valuable cards and resources to briefly shut down a threat is neither efficient nor effective. Thus, resilient cards tend to stick around much longer than they probably should. With respect to repeatable and/or constant effects, they bring inevitability to your decks. While cheap and efficient single-shot effects are what you typically see used in duels, they aren't nearly as effective in big, Chaos battles. As discussed earlier, I think of duels as being "sprints" and multiplayer games as being "marathons." You need to be in it for the long haul or you'll just fall by the wayside halfway through. Repeatable and/or constant effects help you go the distance, and that's what you'll need to eventually take down the table.  With that in mind, let's take a look at classic examples of persistent Black cards:
Persistent Cards

Resilient Cards

Gravecrawler
Nether Traitor
Bloodghast
Genju of the Fens
Nether Shadow, Ashen Ghoul, Krovikan Horror, Ichorid
Reassembling Skeleton: Insane with cards like Attrition, Fallen Ideal, Carnage Altar, and any sacrifice effect for that matter. It's a card begging to be broken in a hundred ways. My personal favorite application is Contamination, but you might take a lot of flak for pulling this out in a casual game.
Fallen Ideal: Black's Rancor isn't quite as good, but it sure loves Reassembling Skeleton.
Haakon, Stromgald Scourge: Haakon is just so powerful with discard, and mixing him with some knights gives you unlimited blockers/beaters. Nameless Inversion is indeed a knight, so he even gives you unlimited removal/pump.
Endless Cockroaches, Nether Spirit: Think Contamination for potential abuse.
Wall of Shadows
Phylactery Lich: Make use of your Darksteel Citadels, or give yourself more reasons to maindeck Darksteel Plate to protect your other creatures.
Necrotic Plague
Necrosavant: Turn anything into a 5/5 beater, such as good old Reassembling Skeleton.
Goham Djinn: This is just my way of saying "Regeneration." Any creatures that can regenerate is instantly a candidate for multiplayer because people will overlook you if your creatures can't be killed. They will usually send their forces and target their spells elsewhere, knowing that's so easy for you to recover from their effects. This keyword is one of your best friends. Learn to love it. This creature in particular is strong because colors like Green and White tend to have more permanents than Black mages do. He will almost always be a 5/5 in multiplayer games for that reason alone. Other goodies include Korlash, Heir to Blackblade and Twisted Abomination.


Constant and/or Repeatable Effects

Planesalkers:
Liliana of the Veil: Cheap Planeswalker (CMC wise) with a global effect that adds counters to herself. What's not to love? Although her minus abilities are fairly lackluster, the fact that she's a global discard engine that draws fire away from your dome makes her a very appealing Planeswalker. I especially love her interaction with cards such as Wheel of Torture and Ensnaring Bridge. This vixen cannot be underestimated in a multiplayer setting, namely in dedicated discard-based control decks.
Liliana Vess: She supports discard strategies, tutors for cards that you need and her ultimate just plain wins games. While these all seem great on the surface, the reality is that she's very hard to field effectively. Her +1 is pretty terrible and she has the scariest ultimate in the game. This means that playing her and pumping her will make you a massive target. Protecting her (and you!) is going to be vital, because she won't be lasting long if you're not dedicating everything that you have into keeping her around.
Sorin Markov: He can nail the person who just cast Congregate, take control of the guy with Insurrection in hand, and plink off small creatures/low players to boost your life total. This guy is also an EDH monster, as his ability to slash 30 life or more for 6 mana is impossible to overlook. While I wouldn't consider him to be a multiplayer card "in general," I consider him to be an EDH auto-include and EDH is primarily a multiplayer format. If you play EDH, you'll want a Sorin. It's that simple.
Karn Liberated: Karn, in my mind, is just a solid card that brings a double Vindicate to every color. His +4 ability will always be relevant, and makes him an incredibly resilient Planeswalker that will probably eat a "life total's" worth of damage before going down. His -14 ability can be somewhat "unfun" in a multiplayer setting, mostly because it can drag long games out even longer, so that's one thing to keep in mind if you do decide to slot him into your deck. Black is more than capable of powering him out (Cabal Coffers) and protecting him from harm (Damnation), which are both critically important preparations to make with respect to fielding him effectively. Since you you're in Black, you probably desperately need his ability to handle troublesome enchantments and artifacts after all.

Player Life Loss:
Pulse Tracker, Infectious Horror
Quest for the Nihil Stone, Liliana's Caress, Flipped Nezumi Shortfang, Megrim: Solid win-conditions for your discard-based Control decks.
Blood Seeker, Poisonbelly Ogre
Soot Imp
Liability, Patron of the Nezumi
Underworld Dreams
Forsaken Wastes: It's worth noting that this card represents a decent way to hose dedicated lifegain decks.
Urborg Stalker
Dark Suspicions
Wound Reflection
Xathrid Demon: This card loves creatures such as Blistergrub, Howling Banshee and virtually any of the creatures in the "Destructive Cards" section of this guide. The synergy is wonderful.
Baneful Omen: This card loves the effects of Sensei's Divining Top, Vampiric Tutor, Insidious Dreams, Cruel Tutor and Liliana Vess, especially when paired with the converted mana costs of Draco and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.
Hollowborn Barghest

Global Damage:
Withering Wisps, Pestilence: Darksteel Myr has a use! Stuffy Doll, Phylactery Lich and Simulacrum are all cards that come to mind as well.
Evincar's Justice
Crypt Rats, Plague Spitter, Thrashing Wumpus, Pestilence Demon: All love Loxodon Warhammer if nothing else.
Last Laugh

Creature Hate:
Guul Draz Assassin
Crumbling Ashes, Blowfly Infestation: See Midnight Banshee and Fevered Convulsions among others.
Keeper of the Dead
Plaguebearer
Wave of Terror, Necroplasm
Death Match
Lethal Vapors: This card pairs beautifully with cards such as Pithing Needle and Phyrexian Revoker. Just remember to play the Revoker BEFORE you land the Vapors :P.
Harbinger of Night, Midnight Banshee, Carnifex Demon
Pillar Tombs of Aku, The Abyss, Magus of the Abyss, Woebringer Demon, Anowon, the Ruin Sage, Call to the Grave
Grave Pact, Butcher of Malakir: Frighteningly strong multiplayer cards. Not only do they make all your creatures scary, but they allow you quickly establish board control. They love Reassembling Skeleton and other recurring threats too.
Tainted Aether
Night of Souls' Betrayal
Death Pits of Rath
Spreading Plague
Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Sanguine Praetor

Discard:
Chains of Mephistopheles
Stronghold Rats
Cunning Lethemancer, Bottomless Pit, Necrogen Mists
Oppression
Words of Waste
Painful Quandary
Scythe Specter
Gibbering Descent

Revival:
Phyrexian Reclamation
Disturbed Burial
Haunted Crossroads
Recurring Nightmare: So I get to trade my Reassembling Skeleton for a Kokusho, the Evening Star or Sundering Titan? Insanity doesn't quite cover it.
Necroskitter: Carnifex Demon and Fevered Convulsions have a new best friend.
Diabolic Servitude
Hell's Caretaker
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed: Combo-city right here. Cinderhaze Wretch, Triskelion and any Persist creature (Lingering Tormentor) + any sac outlet (Blasting Station, Altar of Dementia) all give him a hearty hello.
Sheoldred, Whispering One

Creature Generation:
Skirsdag High Priest
Cemetery Reaper: Screw you Genesis, Glory, etc.
Bloodline Keeper
Demonic Rising
Grave Titan: This card is a house. 10 power for 6 mana in Black and it just keeps making more and more warm bodies. He even trades with everything he blocks/blocking thanks to Deathtouch. I can't say enough good things about this card. If you're looking for a powerful Black creature, look no further.

Graveyard Hate:
Planar Void
Withered Wretch
Leyline of the Void: Combos amazingly well with Helm of Obedience. It's a solid way of packing an extra win condition into decks that might need one.

Draw:
Phyrexian Arena, Graveborn Muse, Bloodgift Demon
Necropotence
Yawgmoth's Bargain
Null Profusion
Griselbrand: Because, you know, Yawgmoth's Bargain needed a 7 power, evasive, Lifelinking body right? Sigh... where to begin... Buried Alive, Entomb and Putrid Imp all get him into your graveyard and Recurring Nightmare, Necromancy, Animate Dead, Diabolic Servitude and much more all revive him. From there you should be able to draw and/or revive a bunch of Kokusho, the Evening Stars and cast some Exsanguinates until you win.

Denial:
Contamination: Where to begin... Reassembling Skeleton, Endless Cockroaches, Nether Spirit, Gibbering Descent, Eon Hub, Nuisance Engine, you get the idea :P.
Desolation: Loves Sundial of the Infinite.
Tainted Aether
Infernal Darkness: Another game-breaking card, especially when paired with something like Eon Hub or a Hellbent Gibbering Descent.
Nether Void: The classic Black denial spell.
Braids, Cabal Minion: This card is disgustingly powerful in dedicated Prison decks that churn out a body (Bloodghast, Reassembling Skeleton) to feed her every turn. You can also just abuse the fact that Sundial of the Infinite exists and use it as well.
Descent into Madness
Helldozer

Acceleration:
Heartless Summoning
Pawn of Ulamog: I've done some mean things with Skullclamp and this guy. Not that you need to combo something with Skullclamp to make it broken lol.
Nirkana Revenant



2b. Destructive Cards
These are the face-smashers; the cards that pound everyone into the ground and gain you a massive advantage in one fell swoop. Any powerful, temporary, global effect fits into this category, with the "single-shot" attribute being their most distinguishing factor. These are not the kinds of cards that are used to gain you small, incremental advantages over time. Rather, they're trying to immediately bash the table to bits. While their temporary nature doesn't make them ideal when it comes to winning marathons, you're still probably going to have to rely on them to shore up some of your decks' weaknesses. They're a "necessary evil" in that sense. While some of these cards leave you relatively unscathed, a fair number of them wail on you equally as hard as they beat on everyone else. Building around the latter effects should be an important consideration when constructing your decks, since you don't want accidentally become the agent of your own demise. While the volatile nature of these cards makes them somewhat risky, since you can't rely on them to help you out more than once, it's offset by the fact that they provide you with access to some of the strongest effects in the game. Multiplayer, as is self-evident, necessitates that you challenge a great number of foes. It would be arrogant-if-not-stupid to think that you wouldn't find yourself behind at some point in your games, and so cards like these are a great way to keep the other players in check when you find yourself on the back-foot. If peoples' armies, life totals, mana bases, etc. start to get out of hand, then these are the kinds of cards that can level the playing field or even swing things back into your favor. Every color has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to destructive effects, so you'll just have to make due with what you have available to you. Let's take a look at some of the most prominent choices:
Destructive Cards

Alternate Win:
Ichor Rats: Between standard revival, Corpse Cur, Mimic Vat effects and "Proliferate" cards (see Contagion Engine), it's not that hard to kill players with poison counters nowadays. Don't forget about all the other solid poison creatures such as Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon and Phyrexian Crusader floating around either.
Phage the Untouchable: One cut, one kill. She's Black's walking katana. It's important to note that her drawback in easily manageable, what will all the cards such as Torpor Orb and Sundial of the Infinite floating around nowadays.
Mortal Combat: Why not use it in heavy creature decks? Gets past Moat and all kinds of cards that could otherwise prevent victory. Think Iname, Death Aspect and Morality Shift for potential abuse.

Discard:
Mindlash Sliver, Liliana's Specter, Rotting Rats
Unnerve
Mind swords, Delirium Skeins
Strongarm Tactics
Cabal Conditioning
Ill-Gotten Gains
Myojin of Night's Reach
Mindslicer

Mass removal:
Innocent Blood, Barter in Blood
Killing Wave
Hideous Laughter, Infest, Massacre
Decree of Pain, Dregs of Sorrow
Plague Wind
Mutilate, Bane of the Living
Forced March
Damnation
Life's Finale
Reiver Demon
Consume the Meek
Black Sun's Zenith
Living Death, Living End: Mix with Leyline of the Void/Withered Wretch and you have a Damnation + Twilight's Call for ~5 mana. These are some of the scariest cards ever printed for multiplayer.
Massacre Wurm: What can't be said about this card? It's an aggressive beater, mass removal, and global life loss all wrapped into one. I know this isn't coming as news to anyone, but this is one of those cards that you can just throw into most most black and expect good things to happen.
Havoc Demon
Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Dread Cacodemon

Life Loss:
Maggot Carrier, Rathi Fiend, Howling Banshee
Deathcurse Ogre, Blistergrub, Caustic Hound
Bond of Agony
Exsanguinate: One of the (if not the) best mutiplayer cards of all time. In terms of a card that you can just automatically throw into any deck, nothing really tops this one. If the only thing you do after reading this guide is buy a set of these, I'd feel like it was mission accomplished.
Repay in Kind: Lich couldn't ask for a better partner in crime.

Discard + Removal + Life Loss:
Smallpox
Death Cloud
Pox

Revival:
Zombie Apocalypse

Mill:
Shared Trauma


2c. Scaling Cards
In this section, I'll highlight cards that scale directly off of having more players around. That is, the more players that are in the game, the more powerful that they become. The two types of scaling cards are the "true scalers" which benefit from having more players around and "semi-scalers" which benefit from having many more targets to choose from. An easy way to think about it is that Verdant Force (a true scaler) will produce more creatures every circuit in a 10 player game than it would in a 8 player game, but something like Rise from the Grave ( a semi-scaler) will only ever revive a single creature. You'll always appreciate having a bunch of awesome targets to choose from, but the card doesn't become wildly stronger or anything. These are prime examples of cards that are (generally) useless in duels that have suddenly become incredibly powerful due to the increased number of players in the game. If anyone started to read this guide in order to find the true multiplayer cards that are deliberately designed to be played in big Chaos games, then look no further. These are some of the first cards that you should be looking to invest in, especially if you're just starting to build up a collection of powerful, flexible, multiplayer cards. They'll always be relevant threats, regardless of the number of foes you'll be facing. Keeping all of that into consideration, let's take a look at what we have to work with:
Scaling Cards

True Scalers:
Bloodchief Ascension: Mix with Mindcrank for a 2 card instant win combo. My favorite way to get the counters rolling is by using Ankh of Mishra.
Dross Harvester
Syphon Soul, Blood Tithe, Chancellor of the Dross
Urborg Syphon-Mage
Syphon Mind: Feel free to start any black deck with 4 of these, it'll never steer you wrong.
Syphon Flesh
Scavenger Drake, Khabál Ghoul
Falkenrath Noble
Death Match
Mortivore: Cheap regeneration? Check. Huge body? Check. Cheap cost? Check. Fantastic card? Check.
Sangromancer
Necrotic Ooze
Cairn Wanderer
Black Market
Exquisite Blood: Combos nicely with Sanguine Bond, but is fairly powerful on its own too.
Subversion
Polluted Bonds
Kokusho, the Evening Star: This card is a true multiplayer beast. Feel free to just play him as is, but you can also thoroughly abuse him using cards such as Entomb, Buried Alive, Animate Dead, Necromancy and more. Cycling through multiple copies via Recurring Nightmare is even more degenrate, especially since Buried Alive can get 2 of them and a recurring threat (Bloodghast, Reassembling Skeleton) into your graveyard at the same time.
Harvester of Souls: This is one of those occasions where I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and be thankful that Wizards wants us Black mages to have all of the fun in multiplayer. This card is absurd.
Reaper from the Abyss
Avatar of Woe

Semi-Scalers:
Any/enemy graveyard revival such as: Nezumi Graverobber, Chainer, Dementia MasterBeacon of UnrestGeth, Lord of the Vault, Lim-Dûl the Necromancer
Spoils of Evil
Sewer Nemesis
Puppeteer Clique
Enslave
Herald of Leshrac: Zuran Orb anyone?


2d. Defensive Cards
As the name suggests, these cards ward-off other players, encouraging them to direct their attention elsewhere. Their purpose is to keep you alive for as long as possible by using whatever means necessary. This all stems back to coming prepared to go the distance and completing the marathon, which often entails protecting your own personal space from any would-be delinquents. While many of these cards may seem marginal at first (often times being 1-for-1 trades), it's important to remember the mental aspects of multiplayer. Making the "you gain nothing from attacking me" argument to 4 people, even if it's implicit, essentially makes your defensive cards 4-for-1 trades should they successfully stave off any would-be attackers. The fact that death and/or retaliation is assured goes a long way to protecting you, and shouldn't be underestimated. As you will soon see, the cards listed below range in terms of mana cost and level of protection that they offer. Picking the ones that will work best for your decks should be based off of a combination of their weaknesses and your own personal metagame. That is, try to pick the ones that will protect your deck when it's at its most vulnerable stage of development, given what you expect the other players to be doing at that time. With that general guideline in mind, you should have plenty of options to mull over:
Defensive Cards

Vow of Malice
Vampire Nighthawk, Nirkana Cutthroat: These are my generic "Deathtouch" examples. It says a lot when your 2/3 can trade with their 7/7, and so this idea of mutually assured destruction basically prevents any rational person from making moves against you. Learn to love this keyword, as it will go far in protecting you in the long run. This is especially true if Deathtouch is paired with an ability like first strike.
Abyssal Gatekeeper
Executioner's Capsule, Seal of Doom
Wall of Souls
Flayed Nim
Koskun Falls
Vampire Hexmage: Dropping her is the best way to say "attack me and I'm killing your Planewalker." Loves Dark Depths and Grim Discovery if all else fails .
Hissing Miasma
No Mercy
Stronghold Overseer: Good luck attacking into this walking Darkness.
Attrition
Dread
Phyrexian Obliterator
Vengeful Pharaoh


2d. Trap Cards
Trap cards punish your opponents for making uninformed decisions, unaware of the impending consequences of their ill-timed actions. Their distinguishing factor is that they typically abuse some sort of instant-speed effect to catch them off-guard and promptly discipline them for their ignorance. A select-few can only come out at sorcery-speed, however the overwhelming majority of them can "get" people at any time. While these cards will rarely-if-ever have a devastating effect on the board, their primary use is to put your opponents off-balance. You're not using these cards because you expect them to win you games; you're using them so that people will stop screwing with you when you appear to be defenseless. The idea is to let them know that you are never open, no matter how little you may appear to have on your side of the table. It's assumed that you're not to be trifled with, since there's no telling what could all be lurking in your hand. This should hopefully set you up later in games to bluff a defense, which means that the effects of trap cards tend to span far beyond the game at hand. Keep in mind that psychological warfare can be an important factor when it comes to consistently winning games in a multiplayer setting, and so every little edge that you can acquire helps. A word of caution though; I wouldn't rely on having your opponents "play scared" against you on a regular basis. Don't assume that just because you blew someone out once that you'll never have to put early-game defense in your decks ever again. If you fail to deliver on your promises too often then you'll quickly become known as the person who "cried wolf." That being said, it'll still sometimes be the best shot that you'll have at winning. Anyways, let's take a look at what awaits our unwitting foes:
Trap Cards

Phthisis: What's this? You ramped a Darksteel Colossus into play? YOU DUN GOOFED SON!! This is the best example of a sorcery-speed Trap card as far as I can tell.
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
False Cure
Sudden Spoiling: Watch any 2 armies clash and instantly change the tide of the battle to suit your needs. Or, use it like Darkness.
Shriveling Rot: Now that's a multiplayer card! Scares, kills, wins... what doesn’t it do? This is easily one of the most powerful cards I've mentioned so far and is worth acquiring.


2f. Global Benefit Cards
These are the kinds of cards that benefit everyone at the table. It's that simple. Unlike destructive cards, these ones attempt build players up rather than focus on dismantling them. I typically hate fielding these kinds of cards in a multiplayer setting unless I have a very good reason to include them in my decks. You're almost required to be building around these cards in order to justify their inclusion in my mind. It's simply far too likely that you'll wind-up distributing the wealth equally otherwise. That's just not a spot that most players should aspire to be in. As such, I wouldn't advise investing into these kinds of cards unless you're willing to build around them, or alternatively if you're one of those people who legitimately want to have fun and create crazy board states and help other players win. I'm not trying to sleight those people or that playstyle mind you; it's just not conducive to winning the game. The overall focus of this guide has always been to help you become a more competent deck builder so that you can win more multiplayer games, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone when I express my dislike for overly casual, well-intentioned tactics. I hope it's clear that I'm speaking from a competitive frame of mind with respect to these types of subjects. Anyways, let's take a gander at exactly what we have to work with:
Global Benefit Cards

Grollub: The best way to abuse this card probably involves False Cure.
Exhume
Endbringer's Revel
Balthor the Defiled, Twilight's Call, Patriarch's Bidding, All Hallow's Eve
Empty the Catacombs
Plague of Vermin, Infernal Genesis: Loves Blood Seeker.
Seizan, Perverter of Truth
Endless Whispers: This card was made for Bronze Bombshell... or vice versa.
Maralen of the Mornsong
Abyssal Persecutor: You never know, it might give people a reason to keep you around.
Tombstone Stairwell: I consider this card to be part of a 2 card "instant win" combo when paired with Vengeful Dead.


3. Artifacts and Lands
Each color has its own various strengths and weaknesses, and so one of the best ways to enhance what it already does well or shore up areas where it struggles is to turn to colorless solutions such as artifacts and lands. At the end of the day, even though these types of cards could care less about the color(s) of the deck that they're in, it's still very easy to associate certain artifacts and lands to certain colors. The point here is that I'm not trying to create a blanket list of powerful multiplayer artifacts or anything, but rather to showcase the ones that naturally pair with the color. Everything listed will serve an important role in one way or another, and will hopefully shed light on some powerful synergies and strategies that you may not have previously considered. Keep in mind that many of these cards may not be multiplayer cards in the traditional sense, but they bring such a high degree of consistency and/or power to decks that I feel compelled to mention them anyways. The available options include:
Artifacts and Lands

Synergistic Lands:
Leechridden Swamp: Global, colorless life loss on a land is so devious.
Volrath's Stronghold
Howltooth Hollow: The old Mindslicer into a free Hollowborn Barghest combo never looked so good.
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: Loves Filth, breaks Cabal Coffers in two and is just generally awesome at turning utility lands into Swamps to shore up your mana base.
Dark Depths: Cabal Coffers, Vampire Hexmage, Hex Parasite and Aether Snap are all great ways to get a 20/20 indestructible flier on the field. For more abuse, pair it with the Hexmage and throw in Grim Discovery to recover the combo should anything happen to Marit Lage.
Boseiju, Who Shelters All: Imperative land to have access to in counter-heavy metas. You can't afford to have your Exsanguinates for 15+ be stopped after all.
Dakmor Salvage: Pox effects sure chew through lands.
Glacial Chasm: Loves Eon Hub and a Hellbent Gibbering Descent. Mix with Contamination and you can stop all damage and most spells. Scary! This is easily the strongest multiplayer land for its cost ($ wise).
Scrying Sheets + Snow Lands: Control decks typically need ways to draw extras cards, and this is an easy way to incorporate a mediocre draw engine to your decks without wasting vital spell slots.

Persistent Artifacts:
Sundial of the Infinite: Combos amazing well with cards like Dawn of the Dead, Mimic Vat, Unearth (Corpse Connoisseur for example), Braids, Cabal Minion, Glacial Chasm, Infernal Darkness, Desolation, and so much more. It even stops Eldrazi graveyards triggers which makes Exhumeing Emrakul, the Aeons Torn possible. This card is incredibly versatile and strong.
Ankh of Mishra: Best used in quick-kill decks with cards like Pox, Bloodchief Ascension, etc.
Mindcrank: Nothing beats pairing this card with Bloodchief Ascension for a 2 card instant win combo. Just remember to include Ankh of Mishra to get those counters rolling quickly.
Skeleton Shard: Amazing form of recursion in a world of Sundering Titans and Wurmcoil Engines.
Crucible of Worlds: Pox and Death Cloud destroy your mana base after all.
Staff of Domination: Put that Cabal Coffers mana to use.
Mimic Vat: Utterly abusive in multiplayer, especially when paired with strong "enters the battlefield" effects.
Rackling, Wheel of Torture: Perfect win conditions for your discard-baased Control decks.
Phyrexian Processor: Setting this off at 5-8 in your decks with global drain spells can be backbreaking. Much like Exsanguinate, it's not always about firing if off for 15+ to outright win the game. Value X spells are still very powerful.
Dingus Staff, Dingus Egg: Pox effects are so much better when they win games outright. Think of a Death Cloud for 10 with these on the field!
Bösium Strip, Mirari: Good in MBC decks that have access to tons of mana and ramp massive spells. Doubling Exsanguinates wins games.
Psychosis Crawler: You can see how abusive he can be with Yawgmoth's Bargain, Griselbrand and black's other bursty draw effects that cost life, such as Promise of Power. Great way to burn everyone down with you while creating massive beaters to finish enemy players off.

Destructive Artifacts:
Ghoulcaller's Bell, Worry Beads, Mesmeric Orb, Whetstone: Mill for the mill decks.
Oblivion Stone, Nevinyrral's Disk, All is Dust: Grant Black mages the ability to destroy bothersome enchantments and/or artifacts that they wouldn't be able to touch otherwise.
Memory Jar: Gruesomely powerful combo card. Not only does it draw you 7 cards to work with, but it can also be paired with Underworld Dreams and/or Liliana's Caress to destroy the entire table.

Defensive Artifacts:
Ensnaring Bridge: Great defensive card to use in discard decks. Gibbering Descent and the like do a good job of locking everyone at 0 cards. Note that Guiltfeeder loves discard and attacks snugly past it at 0 power.
Noetic Scales: Another beastly defensive card to field in your discard decks.
Witchbane Orb
Urza's Armor: Pestilence and such love this beast.
Stuffy Doll, Creepy Doll: 2 of my favorite cards to field in Pestilence-style decks. Fair warning that Stuffy Doll doesn't exactly make you any friends though :P.

Scaling Artifacts:
Bonehoard: Mortivores 5-8. This card is disgustingly good in creature heavy metas.
It that Betrays: Probably the single greatest card to play/revive just before you Death Cloud for 10. Has so much fun Pox-like effects. Try to revive him if possible to get past his steep mana cost.
Geth's Grimoire: Mix with Words of Waste for maximum effectiveness. Toss in Sickening Dreams and you have a bonified way of winning the game outright.
Grimoire of the Dead
Mind's Eye

Card Draw:
Candles of Leng
Bottled Cloister, Grafted Skullcap: Decent cards in general since they represent an easy way to draw an extra card every turn, but they can also be paired with Ensnaring Bridge to shut creatures out of the game. This can be especially relevant in discard decks.
Seer's Sundial
Jayemdae Tome: The definition of a mediocre card in my mind. Not too cheap, not too expensive, no downside, no amazing upside, just a moderately playable card.
Angelheart Vial: Pseudo-Sun Droplet that draws you cards. Very relevant card for Pestilence decks.
Illuminated Folio: While costly and revealing, I still enjoy playing with this card in general.
Well of Discovery: Remember when mana burn was a thing? I miss those days... Oh well, at least we get treats like this now.

Miscellaneous Draw/Fetch/Manipulation:
Expedition Map: Grabs your Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Dark Depths and Cabal Coffers.
Sensei's Divining Top
Journeyer's Kite: A personal favorite of mine in slow control decks. It's great at helping you build up your Swamp count so that you can dominate the late-game with massive Cabal Coffers-fueled plays.


4. Additional Card Choices
Let's face it; I've only started the list of the playable Black cards. Just because a card doesn't meet one of the arbitrary requirements that I've previously established, that doesn't outright prevent it from being an amazing card to field in a multiplayer setting. I mean, I'm not exactly going to call Ancestral Recall a bad card because it "doesn't scale" or whatever. An amazing card is always going to be worth playing, regardless of the number of opponents that you're facing down. I'm not going to list every playable card in the color here or anything, just ones that I could see myself playing in some decks. I'm still trying to keep you on the right track when it comes to building your decks after all. So, after some reflection, I came up with:

My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
5. Synergies and Strategies
Now that we've gone over the most prominent multiplayer card choices, it's high time we start piecing some of this information together to start building decks. The goal of this section will be to discuss general synergies that can be applied to various decks/deck types rather than discussing specific combos or interactions in great detail. In multiplayer games more-so than in duels, the sum of the parts has to be greater than the whole. It's the only realistic way to win the game given the incredible opposition that players are likely to be facing. I'm going to be taking simple, easy-to-understand concepts, and start incorporating what I've been discussing into them. That is, I will show you how to put a multiplayer spin on a strategy that you already know and love. Full decklists will come later, since I'm still trying to drive home the idea of thinking about things from a multiplayer perspective at this point in time. You need a solid plan to defeat a large number of opponents, and that won't come intuitively to everyone at first.
Discard Effects

I want to start off by talking about discard-based strategies since it's one of the few features that is more-or-less unique to Black's portion of the color pie. If we turn back to our persistent and destructive cards, we can see a just how many constant and mass discard cards that we have at our disposal. It would be a shame if we couldn't find good ways of putting them all to use. Still, most people will have probably also noticed that many of them force the caster to discard cards as well. Now, you might be asking "since this leaves players on a level playing field (essentially), what's the point of using them?" Well, your goal should always be to break the parity and come out ahead after the exchange. Make those discard effects work for you; not against you. What do I mean by this? Let's explore some of your options:

Friends with Benefits
With all the revival spells Black mages have at their disposal, be it Recurring Nightmare or Beacon of Unrest, Black mages often want to get their big creatures in the graveyard to power them into play. Casting Smallpox and following it up with an Exhume on a beast such as Griselbrand or Kokusho, the Evening Star is going to swing games massively into your favor after all. In addition, there's a good deal of revival that allows Black mages to resurrect any creature from any graveyard. Rise from the Grave certainly comes to mind, and even Ashen Powder has the potential to be brutal. Sometimes it's perfectly viable to revive the biggest creature discarded and use that to smash your way to victory. Moreover, cards like Haakon, Stromgald Scourge can only be used if discarded/milled, meaning discard might be a required component of the deck to begin with. With some decent knights and Nameless Inversion, Haakon can be a real beast. If you want to get even more tactical, you can sit behind an Ensnaring Bridge and/or Noetic Scales for defense and attack with a Guiltfeeder to win. He puts discarded cards to great use, and at 0 power, he's unphased by your artifacts. The idea here is that discard does not have to be disadvantageous. When you're discarding Bloodghast to Liliana of the Veil, and other players are discarding real creatures and spells, you're actually powering yourself forward while simultaneously setting the other players behind. Self-discard does not have to be a bad thing.

It's a Race! And I'm Winning!
Even if Black mages lacked the means to resurrect fallen creatures, they could still use discard as a primary win condition. Quest for the Nihil Stone, Hollowborn Barghest, Liliana's Caress, Rackling, Nezumi Shortfang and Wheel of Torture (my personal favorite) all turn discarded cards into straight up damage. This is the primary focus of this section of the guide; building synergies within decks that enable them to win the game. Discarding cards hinders people but it doesn't win games. By taking what your deck already does best and using that to win, you will quickly become a force to be reckoned with in your multiplayer games. If you're building a multiplayer discard deck I strongly suggest that you include a full set of Wheel of Tortures, because they are the most solid win condition that I've ever played with. If you're one of those players who opts for cards such as Necrogen Mists and Mindslicer, don't forget that some cards (namely Howltooth Hollow and Hollowborn Barghest) reward you for discarding your hand as well.

Digging Deeper
Let's look at Geth's Grimoire. Mix it with Words of Waste to draw an enormous hand and winning should be fairly academic from there (Sickening Dreams anyone?). Or, you could pursue the opposite strategy and keep your hand at 0 cards instead. Why? Ensnaring Bridge and Noetic Scales are reasons enough alone, but Gibbering Descent is your real champion for this tactic. Once you're locked at 0 cards, Contamination, Glacial Chasm and much more all become game winners. Keep in mind that discard tends to draw a lot of hate, which I why I typically start my lists with some amount of Ensnaring Bridges and usually some Null Brooches as well. They're easily one of the best investments that you could make if you're an avid discard mage.

Removal Effects

Looking back at our persistent and destructive cards sections once again we can see various ways of clearing the board of pesky creatures and/or lands. While this does a good job of setting players back, it doesn't actually win you the game. I've said it before and I'll say it again; it's not enough to just play a deck that handles threats and hopes to play a bomb and win. That may work in duels, but it won't take you very far in serious multiplayer games. Remember, decks typically need to be much more synergistic in order to stand a chance in a multiplayer environment. That means that if you're going field a lot of removal and/or disruption, you better plan on integrating that as your primary win condition.

Getting Back on the Horse
One of the best ways to convert mass removal and/or denial into a game win is to recover from their effects and/or abuse them much faster than the other players can. Think about a tense boxing match in which both players deliver a knock-out punch and the winner winds being the first person who can get back on his feet. You're all going to fall, so you gotta work fast to pick yourself back up before the others can. Pox and Death Cloud will leave mana bases in shambles, but cards such as Crucible of Worlds and Dakmor Salvage can be used to enable you to recover much faster than anyone else. If you can win as a result of this speedy recovery, then they'll be well worth the investment. While we're on the subject of mass-sacrifice effects, it's important to think about what your gameplan will be after nuking the field of creatures. Choosing the right cards to play post-Wrath is vital to your success, since that will be your best chance to seize the initiative and make a play to win the game. I strongly suggest fielding cards such as Mortivore and Bonehoard who turn fallen creatures into raw power. Keep in mind that you have creatures such as Reassembling Skeleton and Bloodghast and so your Bonehoards should always have warm bodies to fuel it.

Winning Outright
Conversely, maybe we don't care about post Death Cloud warfare because maybe there won't be any. Using cards such as Dingus Egg, Dingus Staff and Bloodchief Ascension you can convert mass destruction into straight up damage. Last Laugh deserves a special mention here because it can really chain out of control and cause massive amounts of life loss. All you need is a simple Urza's Armor to protect yourself, and you can proceed to watch the field vanish after a big Death Cloud or Pox. Liability and Patron of the Nezumi also deserve a tip of the hat, as they can both close things out just as easily. Lastly, Shriveling Rot is a game-ender. If cast at the opportune moment, all it takes is a simple tick from a Pestilence to seal the deal.

Built to Last
Simply put, there are a lot of cards that survive the destructive whims of Black mages. Polluted Bonds, Subversion, Forsaken Wastes, Ankh of Mishra and many more can all survive Pox effects to keep damaging players in the wake of their aftermath. It's not just enchantments and artifacts either, it can be creatures too. Phylactery Lich, alongside other Indestructible creatures, shrug off Damnation fairly easily. Again, this all stems back to knowing what your deck is going to do and ensuring that you can win while doing it.

Drain Effects

One of the cards that has dramatically changed the face of multiplayer Magic is Exsanguinate. While it was preceded by Kokusho, the Evening Star and other weaker variants such as Blood Tithe, nothing of its caliber was seen until Mirrodin Besieged was printed. It's what I like to call a "one card win condition." That is to say it has the (virtually) unique ability to defeat any number of opponents on its own. That is an incredible feat to say the least. I feel as though this card, more than any other, has paved the way for multiplayer drain decks. As a Black mage myself,  I've learned a lot about building drain decks in my lifetime. While the strategy being employed is fairly linear, I can tell you that there's much more to building the decks than simply cramming as many drain spells as you possibly can into the thing.

Defense is Paramount
Any global deck is going to draw global hate. If you're simultaneously draining down each opponent they're going to eventually gang-up on you in an attempt to stop you from killing them all. You're not exactly giving them much choice after all. As such, I've come across a number of defensive precautions that you can take to thwart the inevitable onslaught heading your way. Your first line of defense is typically Boseiju, Who Shelters All. It's an extremely relevant card in counter heavy metas, because it ensures that you'll be firing off drain spells constantly in order to maintain the high life total that you'll need to survive. You cannot afford to have that Exsanguinate for 8 get Mana Leaked after all. Next, you'll probably want to turn to something like Ensnaring Bridge to stifle creature-based attacks. It combos amazingly well with both Grafted Skullcap and Bottled Cloister, but also works nicely with constant discard effects such as Necrogen Mists. You can also just play out your hand; you're not required to pair it with anything. You'll also want to support it with some powerful mass removal. Innocent Blood, Massacre, Barter in Blood, Mutilate and Damnation all spring to mind as good options to consider. The idea here is to prevent "dogpiles" of creatures from taking you down by using a combination of constant defense and mass removal. Your last line of defense should almost always be Glacial Chasm. It's an amazing card that has won me countless games. These decks do not care about attacking and the life payment is irrelevant when you're draining everyone down. It's the penultimate defense for those reasons alone, and so I strongly suggest that you consider including some in your lists. They can be utterly insane in the right hands.

Life for Cards
In addition to shoring up your deck's defenses, you'll have to ensure that the deck will draw enough threats to keep the drain engine going. This is actually incredibly easy, because no other color can covert life-to-cards like Black can. Whenever I build drain decks, I always turn to cards such as Necropotence, Yawgmoth's Bargain, Phyrexian Arena, Necrologia, Skeletal Scrying and even Promise of Power. I personally feel like every Black mage should experience the power of untapping with a Yawgmoth's Bargain in play. Simply draw cards until you grab an Exsanguinate or Blood Tithe, play it, and repeat. It's honestly that simple. Learn to love trading life for cards, because it's one of Black's greatest strengths.

Playing Your Meta
The last thing to consider when playing drain decks is how competitive your meta is. In highly competitive ones with lots of removal for instance, Urborg Syphon-Mage probably won't be very effective. You don't want to play a card just to have it eat a removal spell. He is a best used in removal-light metas where he can happily turn all of your dead lands and weak draws into Syphon Souls. Furthermore, ensure that you take advantage of the casual nature of multiplayer whenever possible. For example, I know that a lot of playgroups have "friendly" mulligan rules that allow player to take freebies if they so desire. A creature such as Chancellor of the Dross can become a very potent tool in those instances, and should strongly be considered in your decks. There is no one way to build or play a drain deck. Make sure that you account for your individual playgroup and how you can best exploit it.

Mill Effects

As strange as this may seem, Black is actually a very strong mill color. While most players know it as something that Blue mages typically specialize in, I actually find some of the strongest mill decks to be Black-based. That being said, this is primarily because of the very specific intentions of very specific cards. Blue has a great deal of "mindless" mill, whereas Black mill decks tend to look more like combo decks. Even so, I find milling to be an incredibly effective multiplayer tool, and I'd like to talk about the various ways in which you can abuse it.

Bringing the Boys to the Yard
The biggest challenge for any mill deck will be to quickly and effectively mill each of its opponents before it loses the game itself. How that problem is tackled will vary based on its individual deckbuilder, but I can offer you some solid advice. First of all, "combo" mill decks exist. Pairing Painter's Servant with Grindstone can be an effective way to mill an opponent's entire library every circuit for 1 mana. That's nothing to scoff at, especially considering how fast the combo can hit. A step up from that would be pairing Leyline of the Void with Helm of Obedience to exile an entire library for 1 mana every circuit. This can be especially relevant if people are packing Eldrazi/Gaea's Blessing that would otherwise prevent you from milling them normally. I should probably take this opportunity to highlight the fact that Leyline of the Void and Planar Void are just plain good cards in general if you're playing a mill deck. You really can't go wrong with them, because they stop any all Elixir of Immortality shenanigans and whatnot. They also hose graveyard-based strategies altogether, which will often prevent your mill plan from backfiring on you. Moving on, the most multiplayer-friendly mill combo that I know of is pairing Bloodchief Ascension with Mindcrank. If it isn't evident, once the Ascension is active, any card sent to a graveyard will cause its owner to be milled for his entire deck and dealt an obscene amount of damage (which will then heal you for a lot of life). Again, I want to take the time to plug Bloodchief Ascension's use in any mill deck, regardless of how it goes about winning the game. It's a one-card win condition in most cases. Now, I know that combo decks aren't for everyone. If you're not looking to end the game using one of these methods, build a global mill deck that has a lot of strong multiplayer mill effects. Shared Trauma, Mesmeric Orb and Whetstone should comprise the backbone of your deck. Finish it off with cards such as Worry Beads and Ghoulcaller's Bell which can shore up any remaining slots. Don't overlook Mindcrank in non-combo decks either, especially in metas with a lot of burn-based and/or aggro decks. Using the other player's threats to your advantage is never a bad idea. Crumbling Sanctuary is the final contender for your global mill strategy, and even has some interesting defensive capabilities.

Holding the Fort
Speaking of defense, you're going to need it. If it isn't clear by now, Black decks tend to draw a lot of hate in multiplayer. That's the price we pay for being so awesome at everything. Now, I'm going to plug Ensnaring Bridge and Glacial Chasm for the millionth time, but I will also offer some new insights for a change. Mill decks have a whole new resource to work with; their graveyard. This does open up some interesting options. Immortal Coil and Nefarious Lich both swap your life total with the number of cards in your graveyard (more or less), which can be very powerful in decks with cards such as Mesmeric Orb and Whetstone. They both do have some scary drawbacks, so it's not like you can just mindlessly play them, but they can both make for some very interesting games. While the Lich is the scariest of the 2, it also has the most potential. When you have cards such as Exsanguinate and Blood Tithe at your disposal, gaining a lot of life becomes very easy. In addition, the "defensive cards" section of this guide does a good job of highlighting some much safer options to consider. I'll also be discussing some very strong creatures in the next section, and it's important to remember that big creatures can serve as both offensive and defensive tools as needed.

Taking the Gold
While we've gone over the most commonly employed ways to mill people and some of the more relevant ways of defending yourself while doing it, we still haven't tackled the problem of winning the game. Sure, you can eventually mill everyone to 0 cards, but that can be exceptionally slow and difficult if you don't go about it the right way. Now, you can obviously play revival, and I've listed some great options in other sections already (Grimoire of the Dead sure spring to mind). While mill is fine and revival is great, do not feel like you're pigeon-holed into pursuing those routes. The first alternative that I consider is creatures. Not just any creatures though, creatures that care about graveyards. Mortivore, Bonehoard, Sewer Nemesis and Guiltfeeder can all turn mill into straight up damage. Don't forget that Guiltfeeder attacks past Ensnaring Bridge unhindered, even if you're sitting pretty at 0 cards in hand. Another creature that I like including in mill decks is Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. While he typically acts as a simple way to prevent self-decking, it's actually not that hard to get him into play either. A lot of people forget that Makeshift Mannequin can be used to revive him after his shuffle trigger is put on the stack. This allows you to not only reset your library, but also lets you keep good old Cthulhu to stomp some scrubs with. Other ways to get him into play include cards such as Crypt of Agadeem, Songs of the Damned and even Spoils of Evil. People might look at these cards and say "ok, but what happens if you don't draw Emrakul?" The truth is that we can also use them to fuel massive Yawgmoth's Wills, Shared Traumas, Whetstone triggers, or even plain old Exsanguinates. This is your second alternative as far as I'm concerned; use mill to power out a way to end the game quickly and effectively. Your final alternative, as I've already touched on earlier, is to simply use mill to simply drain everyone down via Bloodchief Ascension.


6. Cards That Everyone Should Have
Buy Me

In terms of lands that you'll want to grab, get a set of Leechridden Swamps right off the bat. Having a source of repeatable, colorless, mass life-loss is too useful to pass up. Beyond that, your top priority should be getting some Cabal Coffers. It's the single best reason to play a mono-Black deck over some combination of colors, as it really gets out of hand as times goes on. It allows you to power out those Cabal Conditionings and Decree of Pains well before you realistically should. I know that it's not a budget land, but I couldn't bring myself to not talk about it. Volrath's Stronghold and Boseiju, Who Shelters All aren't exactly "wallet friendly" either, but they fill vital roles that can't easily or efficiently be replicated. I would grab one of each to throw into your decks as needed. Taking a momentary break from the paycheck gobblers, I'll take a second to champion Glacial Chasm. Not only is it incredibly budget friendly, but it's also one of the best multiplayer lands ever printed in my opinion. There's no better feeling than firing Exsanguinates off while sitting behind one, and I've won countless games on the back of this card doing just that. Any Black mage worth their salt will have a couple of these sleeved up and ready to go in their combo/drain decks. Finally, grab a singleton Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth as well, because it makes Cabal Coffers and such that much stronger. This should set you up for lands for virtually your entire multiplayer career. I know that this section wasn't very kind on your checking account, but that's just how lands tend to be. Hey, at least I didn't mention The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale!

All players need a way to gain early board control. As such, a playset of either Innocent Blood, Barter in Blood, Massacre or Pestilence should be a high priority. I like Innocent Blood and Massacre in particular because of their ability to clear the field without slowing down your deck at all. 0-1 mana mass removal is incredibly powerful in multiplayer, and I highly recommend picking both cards up if possible. In addition, Decree of Pain is awesome because it can be cycled for an instant speed, uncounterable, cantripping Infest. Late game it just straight up wins the match by burying the table in card advantage. It's a fairly cheap and powerful rare, and so most player would do well to purchase some.

To add a bit of longevity, Exsanguinate should be put into any mutiplayer deck that can conceivable pay the BB mana cost. Exsanguinate is among the best multiplayer cards ever printed (if not the best overall), and everyone should get their hands on a playset. If there is one single card that you purchase from reading this guide, I want it to be this one. Honestly, I can't stress enough how good this card is. I would die a happy man if all multiplayer Black decks started with 4x Exsanguinate.

Make use of Black's defensive options! Abyssal Gatekeeper and No Mercy can find homes in any deck and protect you while you need it the most. If you're going to play combo or control decks in multiplayer, staying alive is going to be that much harder. You might need to rely on these effects to avoid damage while you dig for your Mutilates to clear the field. You can also turn to creatures like Wall of Shadows, Darksteel Myr, Mortivore, Wall of Souls, or almost any of the creatures I've listed in the persistent and/or defensive sections of my guide. Furthermore, get a set of Reassembling Skeletons. Anyone who read this guide will know how many times it popped up as an abusive combo creature that also protects you at every stage of the game. This card is so cheap ($ wise) and useful in countless decks. Every single player should have 4 of them.

In terms of supplementing your forces, Phyrexian Reclamation, Oversold Cemetery, Syphon Mind and Harvester of Souls are truly under appreciated. They permit you to be flexible with your armies, and allow you to recover from various forms of denial and mass removal. That versatility is precisely what most players are lacking in their first decks. Always have cards that will help you come back from behind if possible. Additionally, Phyrexian Arena is a powerful draw engine that is still relevant even today. The measly point of life loss is mitigated by spells such as Exsanguinate and such, and so the card is essentially a free way to double your draws. When paired with Syphon Mind, you will have more than enough ways to keep yourself in the game. Still, all of these cards pale in comparison to the mighty Necropotence and Yawgmoth's Bargain. I'm going to make a statement that I hope people will be able to take my word on. Yawgmoth's Bargain is by far and away the best $3.00 that you will ever spend in Magic cards. Period. It should be noted Necropotence is only about $4.00, which is more than reasonable given that both of these cards could be easily be used in 100% of the Black decks that you will build. Not 80%, not 90%, 100%. I know that a lot of newer players are reading this thread, and that they might be turned off from the idea of trading life for cards. Don't be! Exsanguinate has drastically changed how multiplayer Magic is played. Once you pair this combination of cards together in your decks you'll soon realize that "Oh, hey, any life I pay is regained thrice-fold via Exsanguinate. This isn't scary at all!"

I want to stress how much I love cards like Contamination (especially good with Reassembling Skeleton), Pox and Smallpox. I urge newer players to test the waters with the cards, as I find them to be essential components of my most successful decks. They may not suit everyone's personal play-style, but I can assure you that they have a unique role that most other colors cannot replicate. A key to consistently winning multiplayer matches, in my experience, is to shift the focus away from making your own deck work. Simply put, there are hundreds of 2 card instant win combos out there that can win off of 6-7 mana and a few cards in hand. As such, it's hard to ever have an edge over the rest of the field when it comes to winning. So, rather than focusing on your own victory condition, I find the best way to win is to severely cripple my opponents' decks. That's why I've personally turned to cards that can cause heavy disruption, such as Pox, to try and create a bigger edge for myself. Nothing beats playing it on turn 4 and watching everyone sacrifice 2 lands (remember, it's rounded up!), sac their creatures, and discard essential combo pieces from their hands. It's pure evil, and goes a long way to eventually winning you the game

The last cards I'm going to suggest are not tailored for multiplayer, and they aren't exactly budget, but they are just plain the strongest black cards ever printed; Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor. While tutoring isn't very good when it's done Diabolic Tutor style, it's very powerful when it's only costing you 1-2 mana. Combo and Control decks are looking to find specific combo cards and/or answers to threats, which make cheap, flexible tutors incredibly powerful. These are cards that could go in any Black deck and just plain make it more consistent.

Creature Curves

One comment that I constantly receive is that people play in metas where curving out with warm bodies is important to them/vital to their survival. It doesn't matter how big or small the creature is, they simply refuse to play without a fair number of early drops to durdle around and dissuade attackers. While I typically disagree with that mindset, and would rather take a bit of damage early on than play weak cards, I respect the fact that not everyone will agree with that philosophy. In this section, I'll post "cheap" (CMC wise) creatures that can fill your curve, but who also work fairly well in multiplayer. Some will be defensive; some will be offensive, and others a bit of both. This is basically the Coal's Notes of "what to play if anything." While I don't recommend playing some of these cards in general, I'd rather see people put Guul Draz Assassin in their decks than Festering Goblin.

1CMC
Deathgreeter
Entrails Feaster
Guul Draz Assassin: The best 1 drop by far in my mind.
Maggot Carrier
Mindlash Sliver
Mortician Beetle
Pulse Tracker
Typhoid Rats

2CMC
Abyssal Gatekeeper
Blood Seeker
Bloodghast: I love this card to death. Skullclamp, Recurring Nightmare, Grave Pact, Viscera Seer and so much more can all abuse the heck out of it.
Consumptive Goo
Hunted Horror: Fantastic if you have defensive players, or people who otherwise need the bodies for defense themselves.
Keeper of the Dead
Kiku, Night's Flower
Nantuko Shade
Nezumi Graverobber
Nezumi Shortfang
Plaguebearer
Reassembling Skeleton: See Bloodghast.
Skirsdag High Priest
Vampire Hexmage: Planeswalker removal + a solid early game blocker.
Wall of Corpses
Wall of Souls
Withered Wretch

3CMC
Blistergrub
Bone Shredder
Cemetery Reaper: Does not to be included in to a dedicated Zombie deck. A lord that makes bodies and hoses graveyards is perfectly fine on its own.
Crypt Rats
Dusk Urchins: Especially relevant if Black Sun's Zenith is your mass removal of choice.
Fleshbag Marauder
Kuon, Ogre Ascendant
Liliana's Specter
Nirkana Cutthroat
Nyxathid: Obviously only good if you're playing a discard-based strategy or you know that someone in your meta empties his/her hand in a jiffy.
Pawn of Ulamog: Pairs well with Bloodghast and Reassembling Skeleton-esque creatures, especially when sac outs are involved.
Plague Spitter
Soot Imp
Urborg Syphon-Mage
Vampire Nighthawk

4CMC
Abyssal Persecutor
Balthor the Defiled
Bane of the Living
Bloodline Keeper
Braids, Cabal Minion
Dimir House Guard: While his body is fairly unimpressive, his real value comes from his ability to transmute for key spells if needed. Massacre, Mutilate, Grave Pact, Syphon Mind etc.
Falkenrath Noble
Graveborn Muse: A 3/3 Phyrexian Arena is perfectly fine. You don't need other Zombies to make her worthwhile.
Howling Banshee
Kezzerdrix
Korlash, Heir to Blackblade
Magus of the Abyss: Powerful if your deck has Reassembling Skeletons in it or other, similar recurring threats.
Mortivore
Phyrexian Obliterator: We've come a long way since Phyrexian Negator o.O.
Scavenger Drake
Sewer Nemesis: Very solid card if you expect someone in your meta to have a decently sized graveyard at all times.

5CMC
Bloodgift Demon: I love drawing cards, don't you?
Chainer, Dementia Master
Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
Shriekmaw
Vengeful Pharaoh

6+ CMC (not listing all of them, just a few choice goodies)
Visara the Dreadful
Scythe Specter
Reaper from the Abyss
Xathrid Demon
Harvester of Souls
Grave Titan
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Kokusho, the Evening Star: The best 6+ drop by far.
Massacre Wurm
Dread
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Havoc Demon
Butcher of Malakir
Griselbrand
Avatar of Woe
Pestilence Demon
Reiver Demon
Myojin of Night's Reach
Dread Cacodemon


7. Sample Deck Lists
The purpose of this section will be to provide readers with an idea of some sample decklists that I have constructed over the years. I'll do my best to highlight the most important interactions and synergies amongst the various cards; which probably means that I won't spend too much time explaining why Syphon Mind is in the deck. They'll be good starting points for anyone looking to make similar decks, by giving you a basic idea of the most obvious card choices. Now, keep in mind that these deck lists will become somewhat outdated and suboptimal as time goes on. I'll do my best to update them as much as possible, but I'm only 1 man. They'll still be useful learning tools however, even if they're not always relevant. Each of these decks brings various multiplayer elements that I've previously discussed into play. Please keep all of this in mind as you read over them.
Control Decks

Pestilence


One of the most important aspects of a Pestilence deck is that you need to do most of your work pre-Pest. You really don't have much time to do stuff afterward. The goal of this deck will be to play some sort of early, indestructible creature (either the Myr or the Lich) and from there you'll just play some Pest variant and tap out until you win. Now, Phylactery Lich is kind of awkward card. He demands that we have a lot of good targets to put his counter on. That's why the deck has Darksteel Myr, Darksteel Pendant, Darksteel Axe and Vault of Whispers as early artifacts. I don't consider Darksteel Citadel to be a viable option since we need way too much Black mana in this deck.

Darksteel Pendant isn't useless by the way. The filtering isn't massive, but it isn't "nothing" either. It helps you smooth your draws a bit in the early stages of the game, which is exactly what this deck needs. Obviously we're using it for the Lich moreso than anything else, but hey!

Simulacrum is here since it can act as a Darkness, heal your Pest damage for the turn, and just becomes nutty with Stuffy Doll. Activate pest for 5, Simulacrum your Doll for 5 to deal ANOTHER 5 to the enemy player and heal 5 yourself. It also makes attacking in to your Stuffy Doll stupidly hard. Think about "no blocks, Simulacrum, redirect to the Doll, you take 12" scenarios.

Skull Pact

[deck=Skull Pact]
Lands
16x Swamp
4x Leechridden Swamp
3x Cabal Coffers
1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Creatures
4x Bloodghast
4x Reassembling Skeleton
3x Pawn of Ulamog

Spells
4x Innocent Blood
4x Skullclamp
3x Ashnod's Altar
4x Exsanguinate
4x Beseech the Queen
2x Buried Alive
4x Grave Pact
[/deck]
This is a Control deck seeking to abuse Skullclamp and Grave Pact by pairing them with a hose of recurring threats. Buried Alive is a great way to pitch 3 Bloodghasts into your bin at which point every land drop gets you a nice 3 bodies to Clamp away. Grave Pact should all-but clear the field from that point on, leaving you with a ton of time to eventually set up an Exsanguinate win. Ashnod's Altar obviously has a lot of fun with a creature like Bloodghast, since a trio of them can produce 12 mana if you make your land drop.

In terms of modifying the deck, Recurring Nightmare springs to mind as a powerful candidate. Using Buried Alive to pitch Kokusho, the Evening Star and a couple of Skeles/Ghasts should end most games in short order. In addition, when I personally play this deck, I include fetchlands such as Marsh Flats and Verdant Catacombs. The obvious interaction is to abuse them with Bloodghast and Ashnod's Altar to create ludicrous amounts of mana. I also play with Demonic Tutor, Necropotence, Yawgmoth's Will, Sensei's Divining Top and Vampiric Tutor in my list, but they were omitted for budget reasons alongside the other cards mentioned here so far. Still, an ideal list would include them all.

No Drain, No gain

[deck=No Drain, No gain]
Lands
4x Cabal Coffers
1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
21x Swamp

Creatures
2x Kokusho, the Evening Star

Spells
4x Innocent Blood
1x Demonic Tutor
4x Exsanguinate
1x Necropotence
4x Phyrexian Arena
4x Syphon Soul
2x Oblivion Stone
3x Massacre
4x Blood Tithe
3x Barter in Blood
1x Mutilate
1x Yawgmoth's Bargain
[/deck]
A new take on the classic MBC style decks. This list seeks to keep the field clear of critters, land a solid draw engine, and from there is seeks to chain drain spells until it wins. The amount and type of removal used will vary from meta to meta, but the idea here is to have enough to keep yourself alive.

Discard Control

[deck=Discard Control]
Lands
21x Swamp
4x Howltooth Hollow

Spells
4x Quest for the Nihil Stone
4x Dark Ritual
4x Innocent Blood
1x Demonic Tutor
4x Necrogen Mists
4x Bottomless Pit
3x Wheel of Torture
4x Ensnaring Bridge
3x Noetic Scales
2x Null Brooch
2x Massacre
[/deck]
This is a very simple discard-based Control deck. Kill small creatures with your removal, land a constant discard engine or two, and survive long enough to kill everyone with Wheel of Torture or Quest for the Nihil Stone. Ensnaring Bridge and Noetic Scales handle anything large, which is why Massacre and Innocent Blood were chosen to handle the small fries. I want to stress that Massacre is a meta game call, and should only be used if it will consistently be cast for free. Consider something like Abyssal Gatekeeper otherwise. Do not play a 4 mana Infest, that would be terrible. Null Brooch is included to answer troublesome mass removal spells such as Tranquility that would just destroy you. My deck only includes 2, but you may need more if your meta calls for it. I'd also highly suggest cutting them if mass removal isn't a concern for you, since they don't really do much at that point.


Combo Decks

Pox BloodCrank

[deck=Pox BloodCrank]
Lands
14x Swamp
4x Dakmor Salvage
4x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4x Mishra's Factory

Creatures
2x Nether Spirit

Spells
4x Innocent Blood
4x Bloodchief Ascension
4x Dark Ritual
1x Demonic Tutor
4x Smallpox
3x Ankh of Mishra
4x Mindcrank
4x Pox
4x Beseech the Queen
[/deck]
The goal of this deck is simple; assemble the Mindcrank + Bloodchief Ascension combo that instantly mills a player out once a card hits their bin. The deck fields a variety of threats that swing for 2 damage (Nether Spirit + Mishra's Factory), but ultimately relies on Ankh of Mishra to do most of the work. Given that the deck can win with only 2 mana, lands are of little consequence to it. That's why it fields the full 8 Pox effects in an attempt to shut everyone else out of the game. By denying them essential resources, the deck hopes to assemble its "win" before anyone else can react to it.

Anyone looking to adopt a similar list should consider how the deck will fare in their own personal playgroup. Perhaps the deck will require more removal, and so Innocent Blood and possibly even Massacre could be powerful options. Maybe it needs more disruption, in which case Desolation or Contamination + Entomb (to tutor for Nether Spirit) would be needed. Struggling to keep lands in play? Crucible of Worlds and Lodestone Bauble spring to mind. My list is a basic outline for the "ultra combo" version of the deck. All of the tutors and rituals could easily be replaced with more relevant cards if needed.

HelmLine HexDepths

[deck=HelmLine HexDepths]
Lands
16x Swamp
4x Verdant Catacombs
3x Dark Depths
2x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1x Volrath's Stronghold

Creatures
4x Vampire Hexmage
4x Dimir House Guard

Spells
4x Innocent Blood
1x Mana Vault
2x Expedition Map
1x Sol Ring
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Crucible of Worlds
3x Ensnaring Bridge
3x Beseech the Queen
1x Necropotence
4x Leyline of the Void
4x Helm of Obedience
1x Massacre
[/deck]
This deck incorporates multiple combos, strong tutors and a decent defensive package all-in-one. The 2 main combos of the deck are Vampire Hexmage + Dark Depths (self-explanatory) and Leyline of the Void + Helm of Obedience. Since the Leyline prevents cards from ever hitting the graveyard, Helm of Obedience exiles a player's entire library for just a single mana. Volrath's Stronghold can also recur your Vampire Hexmage, and Crucible of Worlds will pop your Dark Depths back into play. That means that this deck has the potential to create an infinite number of 20/20 indestructible fliers, which isn't too shabby all things considered. Beyond that, the deck just aims to find key cards and stay defensive. Innocent Blood and Ensnaring Bridge hold creatures off, and even the miser's Massacre can be tutored/transmuted for and played for free (hopefully) if need be.

Mikaeus Combo

[deck=Mikaeus Combo]
Lands
20x Swamp
4x Spawning Pool
1x Phyrexian Tower
1x Volrath's Stronghold

Creatures
4x Tatterkite
4x Skinrender
3x Lingering Tormentor
2x Puppeteer Clique
4x Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
4x Triskelion
4x Netherborn Phalanx

Spells
1x Demonic Tutor
2x Altar of Dementia
2x Oversold Cemetery
4x Blasting Station
[/deck]
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed is the star of this deck, as the card is patently broken. The obvious synergy is to pair him with Triskelion to instantly win the game (barring instant speed removal/graveyard hate), but there are many other potent combination as well. Pair him with Workhorse to generate infinite mana, Cinderhaze Wretch to force infinite discards, etc. For this deck I have chosen the "sac outlet that can win the game" + "creature that ignores counters" route. Both Blasting Station and Altar of Dementia are repeatable sac outlets have effects that can outright win games (dealing damage, milling) and so pairing them with Mikaeus and a creature who can remove a counter from itself should end the game. Netherborn Phalanx tutors for both Mikaeus and Trikelion, but also helps fuel Oversold Cemetery. The rest of the creatures either have persist or can remove +1/+1 counters from itself (Skinrender can target himself with his ability), and so they pair with the sac outlets. Anyone looking for more card/deck ideas should check out this EDH deck. If nothing else it highlights all the crazy cards and interactions that I couldn't fit in to my deck.

Ooze Combo

[deck= Ooze Combo]
Lands
22x Swamp

Creatures
1x Necrotic Ooze
1x Phyrexian Devourer
1x Triskelion

Spells
4x Mind Stone
2x Charcoal Diamond
1x Sickening Dreams
4x Dimir Machinations
4x Beseech the Queen
4x Buried Alive
4x Massacre
4x Diabolic Tutor
4x Zombify
4x Makeshift Mannequin
[/deck]
The goal of this deck is to abuse Necrotic Ooze + Phyrexian Devourer + Triskelion to instantly win the game. Buried Alive is your key combo piece since it puts all 3 creature cards directly into your graveyard, at which point you can Zombify the Ooze and win on the spot. You would do this by using the Devourer's activated ability to exile the top card of our library to add a bunch of +1/+1 counters onto it. From there you would use Triskelion's activated ability to ping everyone to death. Removal and Stifle effects will not stop he Ooze from killing them since you can always respond to their spells/triggers by continuing the process. As such, even Makeshift Mannequin can't "backfire," since you can always respond to the sacrifice trigger by exiling more cards and continuing to ping people. Still, the card could be easily be replaced with something like Dread Return. Makeshift Mannequin was chosen for being the cheapest 4 CMC revival spell ($ wise), not because it's the best card for the job. In fact, it should be noted that many of the card choices are "sub-optimal," but that's by design. This is deck is not only supposed to be budget friendly, but it's also looking to kill ~4 players if possible. That means that it will be required to have a fairly high curve. As such, cutting expensive spells for cheaper ones just isn't that desirable.

As far as the card choices are concerned, there are only a few worthwhile ones to explain. Sickening Dreams is a discard outlet that can be tutored for by most of the tutor in the deck, and will allow you to discard any of your creatures should you draw them. Since the discard effect is an additional cost of the card, we're not even concerned if the spell gets countered. Insidious Dreams could easily be used in this slot as well for the same reason. Last Rites is another strong option since it's a 3 CMC card and can thus be transmuted for by Dimir Machinations, but it can also be countered which would cause us headaches. The mana stones serve many roles. They allow us to cut back on the number of lands that the deck runs to further increase its sum CMC cost, and Mind Stone can even be cycled if needed to draw you into more action. They also help to power out the many 3 and 4 drops of this deck, since it's forced to have such an awkward curve. Massacre is a great spell in this deck since it's a 4 CMC card that we can play for free. It provides some level of protection to the deck, rather than not having access to anything at all. It's an easily replaceable card if you're not concerned with getting swarmed out however. Beyond that, every card in the deck is focused on either getting a Buried Alive online or reviving a creature from your graveyard.

If you're worried about counterspells, the deck can easily be protected by adding Boseiju, Who Shelters All to the mana base as a 2-3 of. It can always be tutored for if needed, and the mana stones can even be exchanged for Expedition Maps if you so desired. Still, since this adds about $10.00-$15.00 to the total cost of the deck, I do not recommend it unless counterspells are a serious concern for you.


Aggro decks

Demonic Fury

[deck=Demonic Fury]
Lands
20x Swamp
4x Leechridden Swamp
1x Volrath's Stronghold

Creatures
4x Guul Draz Assassin
4x Nantuko Shade
4x Blistergrub
3x Phyrexian Rager
3x Howling Banshee
4x Phyrexian Obliterator
2x Phyrexian Gargantua
4x Xathrid Demon

Spells
4x Exsanguinate
4x Skullclamp
[/deck]
This deck is all about Xathrid Demon. The deck has an aggressive curve that ultimately seeks to beat everyone low enough so that a combination of Exsanguinate, Howling Banshee, Blistergrub and Xathrid Demon can finish everyone off. Skullclamp is an insane draw engine in any creature-based deck, and so its power will certainly be felt here. Beyond that the deck is looking to stay somewhat defensive when needed, and also field as many value creatures as possible.

Tribal Vampire Drain

[deck=Vampire Drain]
Lands
20x Swamp
4x Leechridden Swamp

Creatures
4x Pulse Tracker
4x Blood Seeker
4x Falkenrath Noble
4x Malakir Bloodwitch
4x Chancellor of the Dross

Spells
4x Bloodchief Ascension
4x Exsanguinate
4x Phyrexian Arena
1x Necropotence
4x Blood Tithe
[/deck]
This is a no-thrills, no-gimmicks Drain deck where every card is either draining all of your opponents for some amount, or drawing you into more drain. I won't harp on it too much since it's fairly self-explanatory.

Tribal Zombie Lifeloss

[deck=Zombie Tribal]
Lands
18x Snow-Covered Swamp
4x Leechridden Swamp
2x Unholy Grotto

Creatures
4x Gravecrawler
4x Maggot Carrier
2x Carrion Feeder
4x Shepherd of Rot
4x Gangrenous Zombies
4x Vengeful Dead

Spells
4x Skullclamp
3x Exsanguinate
2x Grave Pact
3x Tombstone Stairwell
2x Patriarch's Bidding
[/deck]
My take on the classic Zombie archetype. The list features tons of small bodies and global drain effects, all in the hopes of chaining Skullclamp draws into a critical mass of Vengeful Deads and Tombstone Stairwells. Both cards on the field simultaneously should end the game in under an orbit, but you can also simply try and ride them to victory on their own. Carrion Feeder is very interesting, as it can sac your Gravecrawler and stairwell tokens to get big. It also has a lot of fun with Grave Pact and Vengeful Dead obviously. Zombies are a very unique tribe, and so I encourage people to play around with different builds.

Good Stuffs

[deck=Good Stuffs]
Lands
18x Swamp
4x Leechridden Swamp
3x Cabal Coffers
1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Creatures
4x Guul Draz Vampire
4x Nezumi Graverobber
2x Skirsdag High Priest
4x Vampire Nighthawk
2x Urborg Syphon-Mage
4x Graveborn Muse
4x Phyrexian Obliterator
4x Bloodgift Demon
4x Kokusho, the Evening Star
1x Reaper from the Abyss
1x Sheoldred, Whispering One
[/deck]
Not much to say about this deck. I'm mostly just highlighting some of the better multiplayer creatures at your disposal. Be it creating 5/5 Demons, reviving creatures directly to play, drawing a ton of cards or simply destroying everything that opposes you, creatures can basically do it all.



8. Other Colors 
As much as I'd like to think that a color can stand on its own, there exist many Gold cards that are tailored for multiplayer play that can often times provide it with some much needed support. Because Gold cards are harder to cast relative to mono-colored ones, you typically get more bang for your buck when you field them. As such these gems will not only enhance the tactics you've already become familiar with, but will likely upgrade the power level of your decks to the next threshold. This is all too important in multiplayer, where you'll constantly be barraged by a horde of powerful threats all barreling down at you from you stiff opposition. It's difficult to express a general use for these kinds of cards, and so I can't give a much more specific description of what Gold cards will bring to your decks. The best advice that I can give you is to simply peruse the list as you build decks of the corresponding colors. You just may find a diamond in the rough. Relevant Gold cards, in my mind, include:
[spoiler=Gold Cards]
Black + Red:
Breath of Malfegor
Kulrath Knight: Midnight Banshee never had it so good.
Spiteflame Witch
Kederekt Parasite, Spiteful Visions
Malfegor
Everlasting torment
Kaervek the Merciless
Deathbringer Thoctar
Defiler of Souls
Lightning Reaver

Black + Blue:
Urza's Guilt
Breathstealer's Crypt
Memory Plunder: I'll take that Insurrection thank you.
Vile Consumption

Black + White:
Orzhov Guildmage
Putrid Warrior
Agent of Masks
Debtors' Knell

Black + Green:
Grim Feast
Pernicious Deed
Savra, Queen of the Golgari
Vulturous Zombie
Lord of Extinction
Glissa, the Traitor
[/sblock]

9. Coping with Adversity: Dealing with Black's Weaknesses
I'd like to think that I've done an adequate job of explaining the various strengths of Black in multiplayer. That being said, it is a color with some exploitable weaknesses. The most prominent examples are artifact and enchantment-based decks. While Black is very good at razing life totals, armies, land counts and hand sizes, it lacks traditional answers to the few remaining resource types. Your best bet is to grab a set of All is Dusts, Oblivion Stones and/or Nevinyrral's Disks and wipe them all out at once. While fielding these kinds of cards severely restricts your deckbuilding possibilities, they're the only powerful options at your disposal. Karn Liberated and Spine of Ish Sah are both marginal solutions to consider, and so is Ratchet Bomb to a lesser extent. They can all be moderately effective at times, but I wouldn't put much faith in them. It'll be difficult to remove more than a couple of permanents on average with them after all. Beyond that, you're looking at much more targeted solutions within the color itself. Let's explore some of the specific counters we can utilize:

Handling Artifacts

Luckily for us, artifacts aren't quite as bad as enchantments. Gate to Phyrexia is a card you probably haven't heard of, but it exists for a reason. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and count your losses in win or lose situations. With creatures like Reassembling Skeleton floating around, the drawback of this card is very minor and easily manageable. Additionally, we all know that Black is the king of creature removal, and that makes Xenic Poltergeist a very appealing solution to artifacts. Simply transmogrify and kill as the situation calls for it. Black has plenty of cards that it can use to revive him if needed, and more than enough removal to ensure that his ability reads "Tap: destroy target artifact."

Handling Enchantments

Enchantments are where things get ugly. Black has a very hard time dealing with enchantments, and White has many pesky ones they can use to thwart a Black mage's well-laid plans. Moat and Imperial Mask sure spring to mind, but there are many others as well. No mono-Black deck can realistically deal with these cards once they've hit the table, barring the aforementioned artifacts that blow everything up. That being said, the situation isn't entirely hopeless. Thankfully, the worst enchantments that you'll be facing down are mostly in White and so Black mages do have some countermeasures that they can utilize. Gloom is a great way to hinder enchantments from ever hitting the field, and ruins the effectiveness of cards such as Circle of Protection: Black. Dystopia is one of the few tools Black mages have to remove a white enchantment on the field, and you can even negate its drawback with a Hellbent Gibbering Descent. Black also has access to a lot of life leech (see Exsanguinate) that it can use to sustain itself while the bothersome permanents are being sacrificed. Your best bet is to mix Dystopia with a card like Damnation to ensure that your opponents are unable to merely sacrifice creatures and such. Stromgald Cabal is your best bet to try and counter any enchantments your opponents might try to spring on you, and is a final way to try and tackle the problem. Sadly, all of these solutions are lackluster at best. If enchantments are causing you excessive grief, you will likely be forced to splash other colors or turn to artifact removal to deal with them.

I will admit that it's an uphill battle to face heavy artifact and enchantment themed decks, but the best way to circumvent that weakness is to focus on Black's strengths. Use better tactics and stronger cards to outwit and ultimately outplay your opponents. Make sure that people are reacting to you and not the other way around. By seizing control of the game, it's very possibly to beat decks that would otherwise crush you. That will go a lot further than trying to cram Gate to Phyrexia and Dystopia into every deck you play "just in case."

10. Conclusion
If you're not overwhelmed, you should be! This is way more information and cards than most players can handle in one sitting. Don't try to learn everything I wrote, just look up the various sections as they become applicable to the deck you're trying to play, and apply it as best you can. My goal for this guide was not to list every card, but to list the best ones. I'm hoping this makes card choices easier on the reader, since the suboptimal ones have been purposely left out. Remember, I'm always patrolling the forums to help out anyone seeking advice on their Black decks, so feel free to PM me or make a post and I'll be sure to do as much of the grunt work for you as I can. I would actually prefer to have people not post deck lists in this thread if possible, so please keep that in mind. Finally, I would like to thank you for your time and hope my guide proved to be a useful tool to anyone playing Black in their multiplayer games. My goal was to open your minds to the wide world of multiplayer, and I hope that reading this guide has inspired new decks and strategies in all who've read it. After all:

Once you go Black, you never go back!
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Just wanted to say that I use vampire tribal in black. O_o Wasnt sure if you acknowledged it as a good tribe my but vampires has made many enemies. X3 I really like this thread though so thank you!

*** An Open Request to Anyone Who's Read This Guide ***


First of all, let me personally thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say. I hope that my guide has steered you in the right in the direction by clearly demonstrating to you what a multiplayer deck should look like. Still, one thing that I would always love to hear is what I could do better. Are there any decks that I should add to my "Sample Decklists" section? I'm not asking for full lists, just general concepts. I do my best to come up with as many as I possibly can, but I'm only one man. Are there are any strategies that I should add to my "Synergies and Strategies" section? Am I showcasing the right kinds of cards in my "Cards Everyone Should Have" section? Did you find the guide too long, too complicated, too boring? Are there any obvious spelling mistakes/broken links? What did you find most useful from reading this? Was there anything that you felt was a total waste of time? Can you apply these concepts to your own deckbuilding process? All these questions and more are things that I would love to hear about. You don't have to answer them all or anything, as I would greatly appreciate any and all feedback. Oh, and by all means, pour on the criticism. Trust me, I can take it. The best responses that I've ever gotten about my guides have been constructive criticism that I've been more than happy to apply to them. Putting it bluntly, I'd rather hear about what I'm doing wrong/what I could do better over what I'm doing right. Your opinion matters a lot to me, even if you don't think it does. I don't want anyone to feel as though they're not qualified to give negative feedback or what have you. I've made this guide for you. If you've read it and didn't find it useful, then believe me, I want to hear it.


Thank you for your time and consideration!

My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Thanks for your effort Tich

/me goes off to update his sig
It's difficult to acknowledge them because the only real potential is say Mephidross Vampire and Triskelion to kill every opposing creature as it comes into play. I guess they are sorta "rattlesnake" cards, but I'm not sure if they really are built for MP.

I dont use Triskellion at all, I use Mephidross+ Coat of Arms. My deck has at least 7 different types of creature kill including Chill to the Bone, Corrupt, and Eyeblights Ending. All extra mana I get from Magus of the Coffers goes into Skeletal Vampire and then end the game with Coat of arms, its won me mant games against 4 to 5 players at a time.
The problem with a deck like that is it has nothing that MP enhances. The deck plays exactly the same as in a 1v1 situation. You play creatures, use removal, and beat them down. However, your deck would say fall apart if you had to kill 10 people. Your removal only hits 1 target, so if there was 10 creatures on the field you'd be hurting.

I'm not saying your deck doesn't work, because it obviously does for you, but I hope you see where I'm coming from when I say it's not a MP deck.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Is this a copy of the old one cause I remember everythnig in here but date of postng indicates this is new... and different other posts.

Cause if it is, I wanted to tell you I loved your guide but I know Zombifying a thread is not the best way to make friends when you are new (old) poster...

D-End
My first 2 guides were kind of clunky and had a lot of useless stuff in them. They were also very out of date and I had to add a few blocks worth of cards. The reason why I didn't just update my old threads is because there was a lot of discussion about things no longer in the guide, or that have been moved to other articles in my sig. I don't plan to make ANOTHER post, I'll just update this one and make new articles linked in my sig when I add stuff. Yeah, I know most ppl have seen this before, and I'll try to stop reposting it if possible.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Ahh ok, thanks I guess I have to Edit my favorites:P

Umm I spoted playing for a while (last thing out was 10th Edition /Future sight) and I came back on the forums and apart from the new sets (which I don't understand :P) EDIT: MY QUESTION HAS BEEN ANSWERED

thanks

D-End
Nice to see you've updated your guide. I suppose I will have to go update mine now as well, as it is also out of date with some out-of-date information.
Nice to see you've updated your guide. I suppose I will have to go update mine now as well, as it is also out of date with some out-of-date information.

I also went through a bunch of sets looking for MP cards and found a fair number I neglected to mention, as well as cards from the newer sets. Sadly these only remain relevant for so long :P.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
I also went through a bunch of sets looking for MP cards and found a fair number I neglected to mention, as well as cards from the newer sets. Sadly these only remain relevant for so long :P.

Why only for so long? O^O
Why only for so long? O^O

Well as with any game, it evolves as time goes by. Power shifts, new cards are added, new strategies exist. I added like 20-25 cards to this since my last post, so clearly there exists room for improvement yet.

Just as a random example, I've been cheer leading discard decks for MP for a long time. Now suddenly we have Howltooth Hollow to power out Hollowborn Barghest from a Mindslicer on turns 3-5 (with accel like Dark Ritual and tutors like Demonic Tutor). Now I had to go update all my old discard sections (including the link in my sig) to make note of this game winning combo. Also see cards like Nihilith.

That's just one example though.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Well as with any game, it evolves as time goes by. Power shifts, new cards are added, new strategies exist. I added like 20-25 cards to this since my last post, so clearly there exists room for improvement yet.

Just as a random example, I've been cheer leading discard decks for MP for a long time. Now suddenly we have Howltooth Hollow to power out Hollowborn Barghest from a Mindslicer on turns 3-5 (with accel like Dark Ritual and tutors like Demonic Tutor). Now I had to go update all my old discard sections (including the link in my sig) to make note of this game winning combo. Also see cards like Nihilith.

That's just one example though.

Ah gotcha. Oh And I do understand now what you said about my vampire deck. Your right there arent any "affects all player cards" in it besides plague wind but it still shine in my heart. Im actually thinking about a discard/control deck like you previewed in your other thread. Im thinking Stronghold Rats as one of the discard engines.
Tich: Respectfully and officially requesting that ThrullPox be removed from your sample decks list on account of it sucked.

Feel free to replace with any of the following...



+++Autoblack
The concept here is a non creature deck full of enchantments and artifacts that can run itself. Something like...
[deck=Autoblack]
cards 64
manabase 24
18*swamp
4*terrain generator
2*Howltooth Hollow
critters 6
4*Seizan, Perverter of Truth
2*Hollowborn Barghest
artifacts/enchantments/planeswalkers 26
4*sun droplet
4*wheel of torture
2*Talon of Pain
4*necrogen mists
4*bottomless pit
4*megrim
4*pestilence
instants/sorceries 8
4*dark ritual
4*Consume Spirit
[/deck]


+++Hot Potatoes
Giving away the losecons!
[deck=Hot Potatoes]
cards 63
manabase 24
16*Swamp
3*High Market
2*Phyrexian Tower
1*Miren, the Moaning Well
1*Shizo, Death's Storehouse
1*Volrath's Stronghold

critters 20
1*Steel Golem
2*Silent Arbiter
4*Bronze Bombshell
3*Leveler
4*Stinkweed Imp
4*Shriekmaw
2*Phage the Untouchable

artifacts/enchantments/planeswalkers 10
1*Spawning Pit
3*Haunted Crossroads
4*Endless Whispers
1*Grave Pact
1*Liliana Vess

instants/sorceries 9
4*Dark Ritual
4*Diabolic Intent
1*Living Death[/deck]


...if you so choose.


These decks actually win games. ThrullPox became Thrullsac and it wins games now too, but it is more of a dueling deck now. It does win a few group games based on resiliency.
Multiplayer decks don't have to have a bunch of "pigeon" cards (cards that get better the more people are in the game) to be good decks. I've seen decks that instead focus on long-term re-usability and card advantage as tools to win a multiplayer game.

My best multiplayer deck is a mono-green deck I've been tuning for a while, and the only card in the deck that could be considered a "pigeon" card would be Multani, Maro-Sorcerer. He's only a one-of in the deck as well. Instead my deck focuses on using cards like Genesis and the combination of cards like Stampeding Wildebeests, Eternal Witness, and Spike Weaver to re-use cards over and over and grind out victories.
Multiplayer decks don't have to have a bunch of "pigeon" cards (cards that get better the more people are in the game) to be good decks. I've seen decks that instead focus on long-term re-usability and card advantage as tools to win a multiplayer game. re-use cards over and over and grind out victories.

That's what ThrullSac does now.

Multiplayer decks don't have to have a bunch of "pigeon" cards (cards that get better the more people are in the game) to be good decks. I've seen decks that instead focus on long-term re-usability and card advantage as tools to win a multiplayer game.

Oh you'll get no argument from me on that point. My "resilient aggro" deck in my sample decks is a prime example of what you just said. Haakon, Stromgald Scourge mixed with knights like Dakmor Lancer and Nameless Inversion is absolutely game breaking.

I will say this though: you mentioned long-term and card advantage. Well Syphon Mind is a pigeon card that's a hella big CA, and Polluted Bonds isn't going anywhere fast. In a 4 player game that's a 12 life swing every round where no one misses a land. No, they are not essential, but their raw power cannot be denied.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Cool, but:

No Grim Harvest love? Its more expensive then many of the repeatable recursion you've listed but it happens to be card advantage while none of the other ones are (barring things like Squee shenanigans with Tortured Existence.)
Cool, but:

No Grim Harvest love? Its more expensive then many of the repeatable recursion you've listed but it happens to be card advantage while none of the other ones are (barring things like Squee shenanigans with Tortured Existence.)

Which is why there is Haunted Crossroads and Revive the Fallen. ^^
Haunted Crossroads, while good, is not card advantage. It puts the card on top of your library, not in your hand. This is a significant difference.

Revive the Fallen feels worse, to me, than Grim Harvest.

1. Grim Harvest is instant, and so can be used at more opportune times.
2. You're more likely to be able to re-use harvest, whereas revive the fallen has a greater than 50% chance to fail to be re-used.
Hey man, I am trying to make a MBC deck for a 4v4 game. Any suggestions? I am very new to MP. Thanks in advance.
Hey man, I am trying to make a MBC deck for a 4v4 game. Any suggestions? I am very new to MP. Thanks in advance.

Find out what your teammates are playing first.
You don't want to blow up their game.
Grim Harvest is indeed a great spell, I will definitely be adding it. Like I said, there are many great MP spells not in my guide. I can't think of them all off the top of my head after all :P.

Cervid, I know Revive the Fallen doesn't always seem it, but it is an amazing card. I am a big fan of deck thinning and manipulation, and cards like Lose Hope and Sensei's Divining Top always have homes in my games. I have found that even w/o manipulation, since my game is usually a mid range (4cc-ish) deck, I win quite a few clashes fairly consistently. I also normally use Scrying Sheets and snow swamps (even if my deck has nothing to do with snow lands) just to thin land draws. Again, the card becomes great in that situation.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Find out what your teammates are playing first.
You don't want to blow up their game.

We got a Mono U permission, Mono G elves, and me. 4th deck is undecided might be a big mana deck.
Buried Alive + Entomb + Exhume + Reanimate + Aname, Death Aspect + Mortal Combat. Use lots of small spirits and Culling the Weak/Dark Ritual and Diabolic Intent.

You can win turn 3-4 fairly consistently :P.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Buried Alive + Entomb + Exhume + Reanimate + Aname, Death Aspect + Mortal Combat. Use lots of small spirits and Culling the Weak/Dark Ritual and Diabolic Intent.

You can win turn 3-4 fairly consistently :P.

Lol, thats pretty awesome. But i am a little afraid of combo decks, too much potential to screw up. What work well with kokusho?
Here's my first attempt. Basically trying to get one of the big finishers quickly while being able to reuse them. I couldn't decide whether to use subversion or polluted bonds...



Thoughts?

Or this...

[deck=Hollowborn discard]
Lands-23
4 *Cabal coffers
2 *Urborg, tomb of yawgmoth
3 *Leechridden swamp
14 *Swamp
Creatures-17
4 *Myojin of night's reach
2 *Hollowborn barghest
4 *Nezumi shortfang
4 *Kokusho, the evening star
3 *Shriekmaw
Spells-20
4 *Dark ritual
4 *Words of waste
2 *Geth's grimore
3 *Grim harvest
4 *Hymn to tourach
2 *Cabal conditioning
1 *Demonic tutor
[/deck]

This one's more discard less control.

This third one's a bit of a mix between the first two. Kinda of focused on being able to reuse stuff. I really like the idea of urchins + haunted crossroads. The one thing that scares me is a little lack of removal, asuming i don't get the shriekmaw + crossroads going.
[deck=MB Cockroach control]
Lands-23
4 *Cabal coffers
4 *Leechridden swamp
1 *Urborg, tomb of yawgmoth
14 *Swamp
Creatures-16
4 *Kokusho, the evening star
2 *Myojin of the night's reach
4 *Shriekmaw
2 *Puppeteer clique
4 *Dusk urchins
Spells-21
4 *Dark ritual
3 *Chainer's edict
1 *Grim harvest
3 *Haunted crossroads
4 *Subversion
2 *Mutilate
2 *Tendrils of corruption
1 *Demonic tutor
1 *Loxodon warhammer
[/deck]
double tap
I am Blue/White
I am Blue/White
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both orderly and rational. I value control, information, and order. I love structure and hierarchy, and will actively use whatever power or knowledge I have to maintain it. At best, I am lawful and insightful; at worst, I am bureaucratic and tyrannical.
This is my attempt at a "fun", albeit scattered, black(with a splash of white) MP deck. Basically my logic is that any card i dont draw i'll be able to tutor into my hand, once the proper ground work is put into place my enchantments, artifacts and creatures will be safe and be able to trample ( Gruul War plow ) their way to victory, or I can suicide my Kokusho, the Evening Star and revive it. Let me know!

LANDS
18x Swamp
4x Orzhov Basilica

Creatures
4x Duskwalker
4x Wall of Shadows
1x Haakon, Stromgald Scourge
1x Kokusho, the Evening Star
4x Stinkweed Imp
2x Western Paladin
2x Eastern Paladin

Spells
1x Exhume
2x Greater Auramancy
1x Conspiracy
4x Diabolic Tutor
4x Rhystic Tutor
1x No Mercy
4x Buried Alive
1x Hanna's Custody
1x Treacherous Urge (for fun)

Artifacts
1x Ashes of the Fallen
1x General's Kabuto
1x Coat of Arms
1x Gruul War plow
I am Blue/White
I am Blue/White
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both orderly and rational. I value control, information, and order. I love structure and hierarchy, and will actively use whatever power or knowledge I have to maintain it. At best, I am lawful and insightful; at worst, I am bureaucratic and tyrannical.
Hey Tich,

Love the guide!

Was wondering what your thoughts were on Curse of the Cabal?
Obviously a powerful effect, but I think it would be interesting to suspend out in my standard 4 player FFA multiplayer games....I'm really not sure how people would react!

Just seems fun....
My main issue with that card, and cards like Choice of Damnations and such, is that it only affects one player. Now, if you're playing a black control deck and you play that on someone, they are likely to lose. If someone did that to me, I'd sac all my lands and send my army at the person until he died. I hate drawing massive hate from one player, spending all my mana on single target effects, and all around not accomplishing anything. He gets to pick what he sacs, and quite frankly that's a lot bigger then most people think. Sure, most people end up with 12 lands late game, but you don't need that many. Most people will sac 6 and not really care in the long run. However, you can bet who that person is going to go for.

It doesn't win the game, it doesn't stop other people from winning the game, and it doesn't bring much to the table you can use as leverage. It's going to hit someone, everyone knows that. You can only play politics for so long.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
To jc27141;16830294,

I sort of doubt that Tich wants this specific deck on his general strategy thread, but I would suggest 3 general rules of deckbuilding:
1: Focus. What is your theme? Kniggits and enchantments and graveyards, oh my! Go all in to white and put in a set of Opalescences, or more Knights! Go graveyard with 4xLiving End. What's with the Duskwalker and War-Plow???
2: Redundancy. I love singletons, but if you're going to reanimate your knights, then you need more Haakons - otherwise the first RFG effect will ruin you, and without that your reanimation suite is limited to say the least (e.g. 2+Buried Alive+1xHaakon+1xSwords=Game Over thanks to your now irretrievably depleted library). Beacon of Unrest would be nice, as would some way of sacrificing Kokusho.
3: Mana. 22 land is low for a deck that doesn't do much before turn three, and really wants to hit 6 mana ASAP. But beyond that, the cahances of you hitting your white mana are a bit on the low side. At least add some Vivids, and maybe artifact mana like Prismatic Lens or Obelisk of Esper.

Finally, redundancy means always being able to execute your plan; it does not mean having a laundry list of cards, each of which MIGHT save the day IF you run into a particular counter-strategy. Kabuto and War-Plow are the wrong kind of card. What if they target my legends? Add more legends. What if they can block all my creatures? Play more creatures, or add evasion (I think the shadowy Dauthi Marauder is a knight, right?) or get some other form of reach, such as Corrupt or Drain Life. Execute your gameplan better before you worry about what the other players might do.
Check out my Multiplayer Magic articles on the new site http://www.gatheringmagic.com/
Oops, sorry. *delete*

Oh, well, I suppose I could contribute otherwise...been awhile since I came by here though so forgive me for repeating anything.

YAY CORRUPT! Profane Command!

Multiplayer love!

Repeatable Drain!

I <3
Oops, sorry. *delete*

Oh, well, I suppose I could contribute otherwise...been awhile since I came by here though so forgive me for repeating anything.

YAY CORRUPT! Profane Command!

Multiplayer love!

Repeatable Drain!

I <3

My problem with sorceries you listed is that they're not intuitively useful in multiplayer. Corrupt hits one person or creature very late into the game. That is not an effective win condition or form of removal. Profane Command really doesn't gain anything in MP. The reason why it was so good for duels was because it can single handidly take out a player later on, and provides you with great mid game card advantage. While it still accomplishes this goal, when you need to kill 3 or 4 players, it undermines the goal of the card, which is to "win" when you play it. Syphon Life there is definitely a case. Life gain is kinda sexy, and black does have Dakmor Salvage. I just hate the whole "target player." It's just as good in duels as it is in MP.

Infectious Horror is in, but I seriously feel that people are overestimating a 4 mana 2/2. Is it cool (and cool looking)? Yes. Is it game changing? No.
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
My problem with sorceries you listed is that they're not intuitively useful in multiplayer. Corrupt hits one person or creature very late into the game. That is not an effective win condition or form of removal. Profane Command really doesn't gain anything in MP. The reason why it was so good for duels was because it can single handidly take out a player later on, and provides you with great mid game card advantage. While it still accomplishes this goal, when you need to kill 3 or 4 players, it undermines the goal of the card, which is to "win" when you play it. Syphon Life there is definitely a case. Life gain is kinda sexy, and black does have Dakmor Salvage. I just hate the whole "target player." It's just as good in duels as it is in MP.

Infectious Horror is in, but I seriously feel that people are overestimating a 4 mana 2/2. Is it cool (and cool looking)? Yes. Is it game changing? No.

Ah, but in terms of density, particularly for the budget player, having a deck with 4 X Corrupt/Consume Spirit/Profane Command can mean taking out one or two players a turn at a certain stage of the game. Just sayin'.
Ah, but in terms of density, particularly for the budget player, having a deck with 4 X Corrupt/Consume Spirit/Profane Command can mean taking out one or two players a turn at a certain stage of the game. Just sayin'.

Budget Profane Command lol?
My guide to Black multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/18893722?sdb=1&post_num=1#322195706 My guide to Red multiplayer cards and strategies: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28999213/?sdb=1&post_num=1#517562879 My guide to White multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29011349/?sdb=1&pg=last#517773211 My guide to Green multiplayer cards and strategies http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29034323/Tichs_Guide_to_Green_Multiplayer_Cards_and_Strategies
Budget Profane Command lol?

haha, Drain Life?
Okay, so, Tich, buddy, I'm in a new playgroup as of late and...well, they are primarily a multiplayer group and the skill level is...conflicted.

There's one guy who's pretty good and builds amazing, top level Multiplayer decks...and then hands them to several complete noobs.

There are a few other good players but I haven't had much experience with them.

In addition, the noobs are numerous but not completely helpless.

There are a few proxies running around and sweepers are either ridiculously prevalent or utterly absent depending on who shows up.

Now then, I hate going all out against noobs and do not like using proxies. The one guy who's pretty good AND makes GREAT multiplayer decks is actually a really nice guy so I don't want to trump him or anything.

The group is very wary or rattlesnakes but also hates getting beaten on.

SO.

This is what I'm thinking:If I had them I'd be rocking some Circle of Affliction and Phyrexian Arena, Dark ritual/Subversion/Polluted Bonds, Wound Reflection, Caustic Tar, Urborg Syphon Mage, etc.. Sadly, I don't (I don't actually have those Storage Lands ATM, I just want them, for now they are Basic Swamps/Corrupt/Tendrils).

Anyway, the point is to play off their very real fear of Rattlesnakes via repeatable loss of life. It's also targeted (mostly) so that I can pick on whoever I want without drawing ire from the rest of the group. I'm not out to "win" so much as I am "make things happen."

I think it could get ridiculously depending on how far the game goes...and many of them have gone painfully long.*shudder*
I don't see how you plan to stay alive without mass removal while only using weak global ping effects, small creatures and single target drains without Cabal Coffers (and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth).

As for a contribution to the topic: I mainly like black's multiple ways to kill stuff very dead. After that there are even more methods to return said dead things to play or hand.

Good card draw like the arena is nice as well. In general black can deal with a lot. Just some nasty artifacts/enchantments can ruin it, which is why pairing with green for something like Pernicious Deed and more recursion covers pretty much everything .
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