Magic: The Gathering Theros Beyond Death is shaping up to be a meta changer, as we discussed in our overview of the red meta. Today, we’re looking at black, Magic‘s color of sacrifice and amorality. In ELD, black was a fairly popular part of sacrifice and adventure decks. Let’s see if that trend continues in Theros Beyond Death!
Gray Merchant Of Asphodel
Gray Merchant of Asphodel is back! It takes a lot for the highlight of the set to be a reprint, at uncommon nonetheless. But Gray Merchant (aka Gary) definitely deserves it. He is a great finisher, as with only a couple other creatures he can take away almost half of your opponent’s life.
Gray Merchant has always been great at establishing mono-black devotion as a top-tier deck in Standard. This is especially so with so many excellent mono-black creatures in Standard such as Murderous Rider or 1-drops like Knight of the Ebon Legion. He also facilitates black’s penchant for paying life for card advantage. With Gary back in Standard, we’re likely to see a comeback to black devotion lists.
The new black Theros Beyond Death god is a doozy. Erebos isn’t a creature unless you have five black pips on the board. He is an indestructible, legendary enchantment creature with 5 power and 6 toughness for 3 and a black mana.
Sacrifice decks such as cat-oven are already quite dominant in the Standard meta, and Erebos can let you draw a card every time you sacrifice Cauldron Familiar with his effect. In fact, Erebos might be enough to make mono-black aristocrats a thing again. Cauldron Familiar, together with Ayara, First of Locthwain already gives you enough devotion to turn Erebos into a 5/6 indestructible beater.
While the life-loss accumulated through Erebos’ draw effect might seem significant, Gray Merchant of Asphodel and Erebos’ Intervention can easily offset this. This basically makes Erebos into a better Midnight Reaper. The indestructible makes it extremely difficult to remove, especially when he’s an enchantment.
Tymaret, Chosen from Death
Tymaret is a legendary enchantment creature for 2 black mana. His toughness is also equal to your devotion to black, meaning that with just a black 1-drop, he gets out of Shock range. His effect lets you exile two other cards from graveyards, gaining life for each creature you do so to. This only costs 1 and a black mana, letting you easily gain life from your and your opponent’s graveyards.
The life-gain aspect of Tymaret will allow you to have a much easier time with Erebos’ effect, and also it gives you 2 black pips to facilitate your devotion. While this effect will help you withstand aggro decks, it’ll also make it a great hoser for escape cards. This is especially important in a Standard with the titans — and Elspeth who might be a component of the mono-white deck. While Tymaret isn’t as unconditionally good as the above two cards, having 2 black pips on a card by itself is a great boon to the mono-black devotion deck.
How do you feel about what Theros Beyond Death gave black? Is Gray Merchant going to dominate Standard? Let us know in the comments. Then check out what we had to say about the white meta.
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