In our guide to the best common black creatures in MTG, we touched on a bunch of common-level black cards that are still quite powerful. However, we only touched on creatures in that guide, and there are far more commons out there than just creatures.
That’s why we decided to make a guide to the best MTG black commons in general. This is the perfect starting place for you if you’re searching for cards to add to a black pauper deck or if you’re simply looking to expand your collection of black cards.
Keep in mind that we will not be discussing common black creatures here. In this guide, we’ll be looking at other black commons that we weren’t able to cover previously.
Why Choose Commons?
Common is the lowest level in Magic: the Gathering’s rarity scale. This type of card is much easier to find, generally more affordable, and often less powerful than uncommon, rare, or mythic-level cards.
For that reason, people tend to assume that commons are weak. You may think that you should avoid using these cards, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
A card’s place on the rarity scale doesn’t always guarantee its usefulness. Just like how there are weak mythic cards, there are also strong commons.
Another benefit to common cards is that they tend to be less expensive than rarer cards. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it’s more likely than not true for the majority of commons.
Additionally, there is a whole format built around using only commons called Pauper. Many players find it fun and challenging to build decks this way, as it limits their options and forces them to get creative.
Best MTG Black Commons
The moment we started on this list, we knew we’d have to include Dark Ritual. This is without a doubt one of the strongest black commons you can get.
In a nutshell, Dark Ritual is like paying one black mana and getting three back. You are essentially tripling your mana pool one time with this card. Because it is so low in terms of mana cost, you can use it extremely early in the game to get ahead of your opponents.
Getting to draw additional cards is usually useful. Unless you’ve been consistently scrying, you never know what you’re going to draw into next…it could be the solution to a threat looming over the battlefield, like a removal spell to help you get rid of a powerful creature.
That’s what makes Night’s Whisper so incredible. For just a converted mana cost of two, you get to draw two cards. Sure, you’re losing two life in the process, but we think that’s a small price to pay.
Read Also: 10 Best MTG Commander Board Wipes
Like Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual is another card that can help you get ahead earlier on in the game. Initially, it may seem weaker, though, since you’re paying two mana to get three.
The kicker here is its Threshold ability. Provided you have at least seven cards in your graveyard, Cabal Ritual will give you five mana instead of merely three. In black, a color that makes it easy to place things in your graveyard, it’s not hard to have to plenty of cards laid to rest so you can access Cabal Ritual’s second ability.
We should mention that Cabal Ritual may not always be a common, depending on which set you purchase it from. We’ve elected to include it because it is a common in some of its printings.
Tragic Slip is some of the best creature removal in the game. If a creature that’s threatening you has indestructible, basic kill cards that say “destroy” on them won’t work. Tragic Slip gets around this by potentially applying -13/-13 to a creature’s power and toughness.
The key here is to ensure another creature dies on the same turn prior to casting Tragic Slip. This shouldn’t be too hard to manage, though, and for a measly one mana, you could just wait to cast this spell some other time once a creature has died.
If you’re unable to invest in the pricier Reanimate for your deck, Exhume is an excellent alternative. It will achieve a similar effect, which is bringing one of your creatures back from the graveyard and onto the battlefield.
For a simple cost of two converted mana, this is a powerful card. It’s true that it lets every player put a creature from their graveyard onto the battlefield, but it’s not a bad price to pay. The key here is to ensure that you use it when you have something crucial you need to bring back, and you know your opponents’ graveyards aren’t filled with powerful creatures.
Read Also: 10 Best MTG Black White Commanders
Need to pump up your mana quickly to cast a particularly expensive spell? One way to do it is with Bubbling Muck. This infamous black sorcery will make it so each swamp you tap for mana produces two black mana as opposed to one.
Put another way, Bubbling Muck doubles your mana production for a single turn. This should give you plenty of mana to work with to cast something costly.
Forcing opponents to discard cards is a mechanic they’ll hate you for, but that’s what makes it worthwhile. What we like about Hymn to Tourach is that it forces someone to discard two random cards from their hand.
Normally, when someone is forced to discard, they’re able to choose what goes, effectively shaping their hand. With Hymn to Tourach, they don’t get that choice. They may be forced to toss out one of their best cards at the moment.
Did someone just play a board wipe that eliminated one of your best creatures? Fear not – with cheap cards like Unearth, you can easily bring back a whole cornucopia of creatures.
You’re a little limited with what you can use Unearth to bring back. Specifically, the creature in question must have a converted mana cost of three or less. However, there are tons of creatures out there for such a low mana cost that are still strong.
And if you don’t plan on using Unearth to dig into your graveyard, you pay two generic mana to cycle it. That way, you can discard it and draw another card if it’s just not what you need right now.
It’s kind of bending the rules to include Bojuka Bog on a list like this. Lands technically don’t have a color identity – they just produce mana of specific colors. However, given that Bojuka Bog is a black mana-producing land, we feel it’s applicable to this list.
It’s some of the best graveyard hate in the game. You can see just by looking at this list alone how easy it is to resurrect something from your graveyard. If you’re worried about your opponents doing the same thing, you can use Bojuka Bog to prevent that from happening by exiling someone’s entire graveyard.
Land destruction is one of the cruelest strategies you can employ. Remember, players use lands to generate mana to cast spells. If you eliminate their lands, you likewise eliminate their ability to play cards.
Sinkhole, like its name, does exactly that: destroy one of someone’s lands. This effect is so powerful for a card that is sometimes printed as a common that it was actually banned in the Pauper format.
Black Common Questions
What is the best black card in MTG?
Black is a powerful color in Magic, and it has historically been so. Picking just one black card and calling it the “best” out of all the thousands of others is difficult.
One card that we think at least deserves to be ranked near the top is Necropotence, pictured above. Sure, it prevents you from drawing cards naturally on your draw step, but it also gives you the ability to draw cards by paying a single life, exiling a card face-down, and putting it into your hand on your next end step.
That sounds complicated, but it basically just means you can pay life to draw cards.
Is Dark Ritual good in Commander?
Dark Ritual is just an all-around good card, which is why we put it on this list at all. If it’s legal in a format, it’s not a bad idea to slip it into your black decks.
We also, therefore, feel like it’s a great fit for Commander. If you happen to get it in your first hand, you’ll be lightyears ahead of your opponents with it.
Given its long history of being strong, it’s little surprise to us that there are so many good black common cards. The ones we included on this list are just some of our favorites.
If you’d like to see some other powerful cards, take a look at our list of MTG artifacts with infect. Infect can help you win a game quickly if you wield it effectively.