Are you thinking about building a new Commander deck in Magic: the Gathering? One of the first steps you should take is determining whom your Commander will be.
Your Commander will set the tone for the rest of the deck. Unless you’re just using it as a fancy figurehead that has nothing to do with your other cards, you should choose one that reflects a strategy you’re interested in playing. It will ideally have synergy with the rest of your deck.
Overwhelmed by the number of Commander cards available? That’s okay – let’s start by deciding what colors to go with. Blue and black make an excellent combo, and we’ll discuss them in more detail here.
To get you started, we’ve even gathered a list of the best MTG blue black Commanders. Here is what we’ll go over:
- How blue black generally works in-game
- The Best MTG blue black Commanders
- Other commonly asked questions about the color combination
Why Go Blue Black?
Each color in the game has its strengths and weaknesses. This is why it’s oftentimes a good idea to do multi-color decks, especially in Commander. By combining two colors, you can help mitigate the weaknesses of one or the other.
Blue black, also called Dimir, is one such example. Blue generally lacks board wipes (with the obvious exception of Cyclonic Rift), a must-have for just about any Commander deck…and black can help fix that with its abundance of inexpensive board wipe options.
The downside to black is that it’s kind of like making a Faustian deal. Black can do most things other colors can do, but usually at a price. Thus, if you want to have more card advantage without paying a steeper price, blue can help you with that.
Dimir decks also specialize in getting creatures through unblocked, with tribes such as Ninjas and Rogues. This color combo also has a bevy of other unblockable creatures that are great for smacking opponents.
Additionally, blue and black decks are excellent for control. If you want to have a say over what your opponents can and can’t do with an arsenal of counterspells, this is a great combo to go with.
Best MTG Blue Black Commanders
What we love about Oona, Queen of the Fae is that she’s the card of choices. She may not look like it at first but dig a little deeper and you’ll see what we mean.
For one thing, her mana cost can be paid with blue or black mana – that’s what it means when the mana symbols are divided into two colors. This means that, if you’re lacking either blue or black mana, you can pay with either one rather than being limited to one or the other.
Her activated ability – the part you must pay mana to use – is the fun part. She lets you choose a color, then exile the top X cards of someone’s library, depending on how much mana you choose to pay into it. This makes her a great mana sink for when you’re drowned in lands.
Plus, she exiles cards with her activated ability, which is superior to run-of-the-mill milling. Opponents generally can’t get exiled cards back.
If you’re looking to build a zombie-themed deck, Gisa and Geralf make an excellent combined Commander. At a glance, they might seem kind of risky, since they force you to put cards from your library into your graveyard.
However, in zombie decks, the strategy often revolves around bringing things back from the graveyard…much like zombies in the media. You’ll have no problem bringing any zombies that are put in your graveyard back from the beyond, especially with Gisa and Geralf’s second ability.
Another benefit to this card is that, mana-wise, it’s fairly inexpensive. You won’t have to wait long before you’re able to cast it.
There are many who would say Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow is a “broken card.” This is a compliment. It means she’s insanely powerful.
Part of that is her Commander ninjutsu ability, which basically lets you switch her into the position of another creature that’s attacking. The crazy part is that you can do this while she’s still in the command zone.
Here’s the strategy: you swing with a creature that’s unblockable or otherwise isn’t being blocked. Then you swap it out with Yuriko. Her single point of combat damage triggers her second ability, which draws you a card and then each other player takes damage equal to that card’s converted mana cost. It’s an insane card that will bleed your opponents dry.
Willing to play a little risky? Then Dralnu, Lich Lord is potentially the perfect blue black Commander for you.
He’s risky because if he takes damage, you sacrifice your own permanents for each point of damage Dralnu would take. However, by tapping him, you can give instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard Flashback, allowing you to cast them again.
Our recommendation is to play Dralnu with cards that create tokens. That way, you have things you can sacrifice that you won’t miss all that much. Also consider packing a Dralnu deck with counterspells so you can prevent him from being damaged in the first place.
Wrexial, the Risen Deep’s greatest flaw is its mana cost. For a beastly converted mana cost of eight, it’s going to be difficult to cast him – especially if he keeps getting destroyed and returned to the command zone.
However, if you can get it out, this card is a real monster. It has islandwalk and swampwalk, which means that people with island lands and swamp lands can’t block it. Given that blue and black are two of the most popular colors in Commander, there’s a good chance opponents won’t be able to block it.
Once it gets through and damages someone, you can cast an instant or sorcery from that person’s graveyard without paying its mana cost. This is absurd and may give you access to spells in colors that aren’t available to your deck. Furthermore, the spell you effectively stole from someone else is exiled after, so they have no chance of casting it again.
The best way to describe Lazav, Dimir Mastermind is as a chameleon. He can become a copy of a creature card as it is being put into an opponent’s graveyard, giving him all that card’s abilities.
Your goal when you’re using this card is to copy your opponents’ strongest cards. He turns their strategies against them, so the more powerful your enemies are, the stronger Lazav is.
As an extra mean cherry on top, he has Hexproof. This means that other players cannot target him with spells or abilities, protecting him from a wide variety of threats.
Read Also: MTG Artifacts with Hexproof
While many people adore Vela the Night-Clad for the art on the card, there are many other reasons to make use of her. The first reason is her ability to give intimidate to all other creatures you control.
Intimidate is an ability that makes your creatures unblockable, except by artifact creatures or creatures that share a mana color with them. This means it will be much easier to get through your opponents’ blockers. Consider packing any Vela deck with tons of creatures that have abilities that trigger upon doing combat damage to players, since you’ll be getting through frequently.
The second reason she’s useful is her last ability. If any of your creatures leaves the battlefield, whether they’re destroyed, exiled, or bounced into your hand, each opponent loses life. This means your opponents have an incentive not to get rid of your creatures.
If you want an affordable Commander who can fly under the radar easily, Sygg, River Cutthroat is the card for you. A 1/3 that only costs two black or blue mana, it doesn’t look threatening at first and may therefore get left alone.
Its ability is particularly useful in multi-player Commander games. Should any opponent lose three or more life on a turn, you’ll get to draw a card at their end step. You don’t have to be the one doing this damage – it just needs to occur somehow, which is likely to happen in a game where multiple people are targeting each other.
Card draw is pretty much always a good thing. Sygg gives you more opportunity to fill out your hand and draw into a solution. Plus, like Oona, you can pay black or blue mana to cast it, so you if you’re lacking one color or the other, you can likely still get it out.
We know we included Gisa and Geralf on this list, but The Scarab God is an even better zombie tribal card if you want the best of the best. Literally all of its abilities are good in Commander.
For one thing, the more zombies you control, the more harm it does to opponents. At the beginning of your upkeep, opponents will lose one life point for each zombie you control. You’ll also get to scry one card for each zombie you have out, which means you can view the top cards in your deck to see what’s coming up.
Then the second ability lets you exile a card from a graveyard and make a token copy of it that’s a 4/4 black zombie. The keyword here is a graveyard. That means you can basically reach into anyone’s graveyard, exile a card from it, and reap the benefits of that card’s abilities.
Finally, the last ability puts The Scarab God back into your hand instead of the graveyard or command zone when it dies. This allows you to bypass the commander tax that increases the cost of casting a commander repeatedly from the command zone.
Gods have always been popular cards in MTG for their flavor alone. Although it’s difficult to do, there are even people who do “god tribal” decks that are packed with god cards.
Pheax, God of Deception does best in a deck centered around him, though. This is because he has an extremely efficient milling ability. All of your creatures will gain an ability that allows you to tap them and mill a player one card for each point of that creature’s toughness.
Milling isn’t always the best strategy in Commander, since players start with much larger decks to begin with. However, if you pack a bunch of creatures with a high toughness into your Phenax deck, you’ll be able to mill large amounts of cards from the get-go. You can empty libraries in no time.
Is mono blue good in Commander?
In general, mono colors are weaker in Commander than multi-color decks. As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, this is because a single color often has a clearly defined role in the Magic color pie. With narrowly defined roles come weaknesses and strengths.
That being said, blue is an extremely powerful color by itself. If you were going to build a mono-color Commander deck, blue is likely one of the best options available to you.
Should you build a mono black Commander deck?
Building a mono-color Command deck puts you at the risk of being pigeon-holed. Remember, each color has its owns strengths and weaknesses. If you choose just one, what you will be able to do is naturally more limited.
Like blue, however, black is another fairly strong color in Magic: the Gathering. If you’re going to build a mono-black deck, you won’t have a shortage of strategies, options, and potential Commanders to try.
What are the benefits of multi-color decks?
The best part about building multi-color decks in Commander is that you’re expanding your pool of options. If you restrict yourself to a single color, you only have access to either colorless cards like artifacts or cards of that specific color. You will find the possible strategies and play styles available to you are numbered.
Multi-color decks are therefore more competitive than mono-color ones. In addition, there are specific cards that are multi-color themselves, which you wouldn’t be able to use in a single-color deck.
There is one glaring drawback to building multi-colored decks, though: building a mana base is significantly more challenging. You need to ensure you have enough lands for each color you’re running. Sometimes, you even have to invest in costlier cards, such as dual-color land and mana-fixing artifacts that help you gain access to all your colors.
As far as two-color combos go, Dimir (blue and black) is one of the stronger options out there. These decks are incredibly popular for there abundance of controlling mechanics and strategies.
Because there are so many Dimir Commander decks out there, there are plenty of resources for you to access if you need help building a deck after choosing your Commander. Try checking out EDHREC for recommendations on how to build each Commander’s deck.