[Top 10] MTG Arena Best Black Decks

MTG Arena Best Black Decks
A skull represents the mana symbol for Black.

Do you want to achieve greatness at any cost?

In Magic, black is the color willing to gain power by any means necessary. Cards like Necropotence or Yawgmoth’s Bargain are just a few examples of black spells that powered some of the most unfair decks in Magic’s history. If you want to use this color’s power for yourself, here are 10 of the best MTG Arena decks for you.

10. Orzhov Vampires (Historic)

Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord image

Sorin is brooding over what planeswalker ability he should use.

Orzhov Vampires takes all the best vampires in Historic and puts them into a synergistic tribal deck. Your early game vampires are difficult to block and your top-end creatures have abilities that scale with how many vampires you have. Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord enables your best draws by growing your creatures, dealing damage to any target, or cheating out a big vampire.

What's good about this deck:

  • It has a great matchup against creature decks. Your creatures have relevant abilities for combat like Deathtouch and Indestructible. Sorin and Sanctum Seeker also lets you gain life to win damage races.
  • You can finish most games in only a few turns. It’s a great choice if you want to progress up the Historic ranking ladder and only a limited amount of time.
  • This deck doesn’t run out of gas. Champion of Dusk draws a ton of cards while Adanto, the First Fort and Castle Locthwain are sources of card advantage that’s hard to remove.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of a one and two-mana vampire, Sorin, and Champion of Dusk. Mulligan away hands that have too many lands or no early plays.
  • Adanto Vanguard is the best target for Sorin’s first ability in the early game. The Lifelink helps offset the cost of Adanto Vanguard’s Indestructible ability.
  • When calculating combat damage, remember that Drana, Liberator of Malakir has First Strike. This means that your other creatures will get the +1/+1 counters before they deal combat damage.
  • Cast Legion’s Landing pre-combat if you’re going to attack with at least three creatures. This lets you flip it into a land immediately and use it for mana.
  • Attack first with your Knight of the Ebon Legion before using your mana for other things. The threat of activation is usually enough to discourage your opponent from blocking.

Cards:

Deck

4 Knight of the Ebon Legion

4 Adanto Vanguard

3 Dusk Legion Zealot

4 Gifted Aetherborn

4 Legion Lieutenant

3 Drana, Liberator of Malakir

2 Sanctum Seeker

4 Champion of Dusk

4 Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord

4 Legion's Landing

4 Isolated Chapel

4 Godless Shrine

2 Castle Locthwain

8 Swamp

6 Plains

9. Sultai Field (Historic)

Hour of Promise image

Nothing says ‘Time to get out of here’ like seeing giant locusts on the horizon.

Sultai Field is a ramp deck that floods the board with zombies by putting Field of the Dead into the battlefield with at least seven different lands. You have several cards that let you play extra lands and others that find Field of the Dead and put it on the battlefield right away. The rest of the deck contains cards to disrupt the opponent or payoff cards to use all your extra mana.

What's good about this deck:

  • Its main win condition is a land which requires very specific answers. Even if they do manage to destroy Field, they’re still at a disadvantage because you already got zombies out of it.
  • Most decks have no way to deal with an increasing number of zombies every turn as you play more copies of Field. You’ll never run out of lands to play because it’s half of the deck.
  • You play Thoughtseize which is one of the most powerful discard spells in Magic’s history. For only one mana and two life, you can take their best card and play around the rest of the cards in their hand.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of Thoughtseize, several ramp cards, and Hour of Promise to search for Field of the Dead.
  • Familiarize yourself with the strategies of the most common decks in the metagame. This will help you decide what card to pick when you Thoughtseize your opponent.
  • Take note that both your removal spells can deal with multiple token creatures. Maelstrom Pulse destroys all tokens with the same name and Extinction Event exile all tokens if you pick Even.
  • If you have five different lands and an Hour of Promise, you can search for Field of the Dead plus another land to get two triggers from Field. This will help you survive if you’re under a lot of pressure and need blockers immediately.
  • Golos, Tireless Pilgrim can use its ability with the help of Cascading Cataracts. You will likely exile some lands with its ability, so activate it before making your land drop.

Cards:

4 Elvish Rejuvenator

3 Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

1 Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

1 Massacre Wurm

1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

4 Thoughtseize

4 Explore

2 Maelstrom Pulse

2 Extinction Event

4 Hour of Promise

4 Growth Spiral

4 Field of the Dead

2 Breeding Pool

2 Overgrown Tomb

1 Blast Zone

1 Bojuka Bog

1 Cascading Cataracts

1 Drowned Catacomb

1 Fabled Passage

1 Fetid Pools

1 Field of Ruin

1 Hashep Oasis

1 Hinterland Harbor

1 Ifnir Deadlands

1 Indatha Triome

1 Ipnu Rivulet

1 Ketria Triome

1 Temple of Malady

1 Temple of Mystery

1 Watery Grave

1 Woodland Cemetery

1 Zagoth Triome

2 Forest

1 Island

1 Swamp

8. Grixis Control

Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God image

Bolas only grants his blessing to those devoted enough to play Grixis.

Grixis Control plays all the best discard and removal available in black, blue, and red. Narset, Parter of Veils provides card selection and shuts off the opponent’s card draw. Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God is card draw, removal, and win condition all in one card.

What's good about this deck:

  • It doesn’t have a big share in the metagame so most decks are not going to be prepared against it in general.
  • Your discard spells allow you to scout your opponent’s strategy and take away cards their best cards against you.
  • Fae of Wishes lets you access a sideboard filled with powerful, narrow answers that you otherwise wouldn’t have in Best-of-One.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of a discard spell, a couple of removal spells, and Narset/Nicol Bolas.
  • Mulligan away hands that have too many cards with high casting cost and contain little to no early game spells.
  • Fae of Wishes is meant to be cast on Turn 2 against aggro decks because having four toughness lets it block many early game creatures.
  • Save Erebos’s Intervention for later turns so you can maximize the life you gain from it.
  • The sideboard provided is set up to handle a wide variety of decks. Make sure to change it based on the decks you're having trouble with.

Cards:

Deck

4 Fae of Wishes

1 Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

4 Narset, Parter of Veils

3 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God

4 Agonizing Remorse

4 Thought Erasure

2 Ritual of Soot

1 Extinction Event

3 Erebos's Intervention

4 Eliminate

4 Bedevil

4 Blood Crypt

4 Watery Grave

4 Fabled Passage

3 Temple of Deceit

3 Temple of Malice

2 Steam Vents

3 Swamp

2 Island

1 Mountain

Sideboard

1 Grafdigger's Cage

1 Disdainful Stroke

1 Negate

1 Noxious Grasp

1 The Elderspell

1 Cry of the Carnarium

2 Unmoored Ego

1 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries

1 Extinction Event

1 Ritual of Soot

1 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God

1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

1 Erebos's Intervention

1 Finale of Revelation

7. Mardu Knights

Inspiring Veteran image

This veteran inspires not only his troops but also the next generation.

Mardu Knights is a tribal deck using all the best knights black, red and white has to offer. Many of your creatures grant bonuses exclusive to Knights and the effects increase the more copies you have. Protection spells make sure that you have a way to secure your board against single or mass removal.

What's good about this deck:

  • The core cards of the deck are from Throne of Eldraine so your deck is rotation-proof. You can invest your wildcards in this deck and not have to worry about losing them in the upcoming rotation.
  • Your protection spells and the threat of Embercleave guarantee that you come out ahead during creature combat.
  • Smitten Swordmaster gives you a way to win outside of combat even if your opponent manages to stop you from attacking.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of a one-mana knight, a Worthy Knight, and a couple of other knights or a protection spell.
  • Mulligan away hands that have too many lands or non-creature spells. A hand without a one-mana creature is passable if you’re on the play.
  • Getting Worthy Knight or Stormfist Crusader down early lets you maximize the card advantage you get from them.
  • Blacklance Paragon’s ability lets you kill large attackers/blockers by surprise. This works even better when used in combination with First Strike/Double Strike.
  • When you equip Embercleave to a creature with Deathtouch, you can assign just one point of damage to a blocker and let the rest Trample to the opponent.

Cards:

Deck

4 Fervent Champion

4 Knight of the Ebon Legion

4 Venerable Knight

4 Worthy Knight

4 Inspiring Veteran

3 Corpse Knight

3 Smitten Swordmaster

2 Blacklance Paragon

2 Stormfist Crusader

3 Embercleave

4 Fight as One

2 Unbreakable Formation

4 Tournament Grounds

4 Blood Crypt

4 Godless Shrine

4 Sacred Foundry

3 Plains

2 Swamp

6. Dimir Flash

Slitherwisp image

Imagine this nightmare appearing in front of you out of nowhere.

Dimir Flash is a tempo deck that uses cheap Flash creatures to attack the opponent while disrupting their strategy. You have creatures with abilities that trigger when you cast spells on your opponent's turn. Every card in the deck can be cast at Instant speed, giving you many opportunities to outplay your opponent.

What's good about this deck:

  • Your cards’ synergy makes the deck more powerful than the sum of its parts. Brineborn Cutthroat and Slitherwisp turn your ordinary flash creatures into value-generating threats.
  • It gives your opponent the fear of the unknown. They always have to worry about surprise blockers or creatures coming out of nowhere for a sudden lethal attack.
  • Compared to other decks, this rewards tight play and frustrates players who are not good at reading their opponent’s hands.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Unless you’re ambushing an attacker, wait until the end of your opponent’s turn to cast your creatures. You want them to have the least opportunity to kill your creature before you can attack with it.
  • Play Brineborn Cutthroat early to give it the best chance to grow into a huge threat. Once it's on the battlefield, protect it with counterspells and removal.
  • Cast your Slitherwisp with mana left over to cast a couple of your cheap flash spells. This lets you at least get some value if they immediately kill it.
  • Use Brazen Borrower as temporary removal to gain tempo when racing against creature decks. Against control, don’t hesitate to cast it early as a regular creature to pressure your opponent.
  • When your opponent casts a spell, always respond as if you’re holding a counterspell by pausing for a moment before letting it resolve. Making your opponent play around cards you don’t have can make a difference in a close match.

Cards:

Deck

4 Spectral Sailor

4 Thieves' Guild Enforcer

4 Brineborn Cutthroat

2 Cunning Nightbonder

4 Brazen Borrower

4 Slitherwisp

4 Opt

4 Drown in the Loch

2 Negate

3 Sinister Sabotage

4 Rewind

4 Temple of Deceit

4 Watery Grave

1 Castle Locthwain

1 Castle Vantress

6 Island

5 Swamp

5. Orzhov Yorion

Yorion, Sky Nomad image

Yorion soars through the clouds before going down to use his ability.

Orzhov Yorion uses permanents with Enters the Battlefield abilities that give you extra value. You have cards that provide discard, removal, card draw, or life gain depending on what’s needed. On later turns, you can use these permanents to fuel Doom Foretold or reuse them with Yorion, Sky Nomad.

What's good about this deck:

  • You have no problem taking on aggressive decks. Mass removal and life gain help you survive into the late game where they will run out of resources eventually.
  • The sheer value Yorion provides can overpower other value-oriented decks. Even control decks that fail to prevent it from using its Enters the Battlefield ability can lose.
  • Your two-mana rats will force your opponent to make difficult decisions on what to discard or exile. They can’t afford to sandbag their best cards because they risk losing them.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of a two-mana rat, Treacherous Blessing, and Doom Foretold. Mulligan away hands that don’t have early plays.
  • Make sure you have several permanents you can sacrifice before playing Doom Foretold. You’ll gain a huge advantage if you can make your opponent sacrifice permanents for several turns.
  • You can trigger an Enter the Battlefield loop that nets you value each time using Charming Prince and Yorion. Use the Prince's ability to exile Yorion, then during the end step, use Yorion to exile the Prince and all your other permanents.
  • Playing Treacherous Blessing when facing aggressive decks is a double-edged sword. Make sure you have a plan to get rid of it immediately after you’ve played it.
  • Kaya, Orzhov Usurper's minus one ability can get rid of creatures that cost zero mana as well. This is relevant for exiling token creatures like the ones created by Shark Typhoon.

Cards:

Companion

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

Deck

4 Burglar Rat

4 Yarok's Fenlurker

4 Charming Prince

3 Yorion, Sky Nomad

4 Omen of the Sun

3 Glass Casket

4 Treacherous Blessing

4 Oath of Kaya

4 Doom Foretold

3 Elspeth Conquers Death

2 Kaya, Orzhov Usurper

1 Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis

4 Kaya's Wrath

4 Indatha Triome

4 Temple of Silence

4 Godless Shrine

4 Fabled Passage

3 Castle Locthwain

1 Castle Ardenvale

9 Swamp

7 Plains

Sideboard

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

4. Mardu Winota

Winota, Joiner of Forces image

Winota lost her arm facing these creatures, but now she fights by their side.

Mardu Winota uses its namesake card to get a huge board advantage by attacking with non-Humans. All your early-game cards create a couple of bodies to maximize Winota's triggers. In case you don't draw her, you also have other cards that power up your creatures for a go-wide strategy.

What's good about this deck:

  • You're almost unbeatable if you manage to get off several triggers from Winota. The various Humans you can grab give your board protection from sweepers or replacement bodies.
  • Bant Ramp and Temur Reclamation's demise brought out other midrange decks that had a bad matchup against those two. You can prey on these slow decks and get easy wins.
  • Unlike other builds, you can still play like a regular aggro deck if you don't find Winota. There's no danger of getting cards stuck in your hand because the mana curve stops at four.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of several non-Human enablers and Winota or other pay off cards like Venerated Loxodon or Judith, the Scourge Diva.
  • It’s critical to have some number of non-Human enablers in your opening hand. Keeping a hand without a payoff card is okay as long as you have good mana because that sets you up to draw the payoff later.
  • Only use Selfless Savior to protect important creatures like Winota or Judith. If they use their removal at Selfless Savior, sacrifice it still to give another creature Indestructible.
  • Always use Woe Strider's sacrifice ability whenever one of your creatures dies outside of combat. You don't have a lot of ways to draw cards, so Scrying into your good cards is important.
  • When playing against decks with mass removal, sometimes it's better to go all-in. It's better to force them to have it than hold back and let them find one for sure.

Cards:

Deck

4 Selfless Savior

1 Knight of the Ebon Legion

4 Lazotep Reaver

2 Kitesail Freebooter

1 General's Enforcer

3 Woe Strider

3 Judith, the Scourge Diva

1 Tajic, Legion's Edge

4 Basri's Lieutenant

4 Winota, Joiner of Forces

4 Venerated Loxodon

4 Raise the Alarm

4 Savai Triome

4 Blood Crypt

4 Godless Shrine

4 Sacred Foundry

2 Fabled Passage

1 Temple of Silence

1 Temple of Triumph

1 Castle Embereth

2 Plains

1 Swamp

1 Mountain

3. Mono-Black Aggro

Rankle, Master of Pranks image

Rankle may be a prankster but his stats and abilities are no joke.

Mono-Black Aggro hits hard and fast with under costed creatures supported by cheap removal. Demonic Embrace gives you a repeatable way to grant your attackers flying plus extra power. The creatures at the top-end of your mana curve fly over ground-based blockers to close out the game.

What's good about this deck:

  • You have many creatures that hit for a ton of damage and are hard to block. A Rotting Regisaur enchanted with Demonic Embrace is a two-turn kill if they don’t have a flying blocker.
  • Your threats can keep coming back. You only need to damage your opponent to get back Gutterbones and you can discard dead cards or excess land to cast Demonic Embrace.
  • Against control decks, Castle Locthwain ensures that you never run out of gas because they don’t pressure your life total.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of a couple of one or two-mana creatures, Rotting Regisaur, and Demonic Embrace or a four-mana creature.
  • Attack first with your Knight of the Ebon Legion before using your mana for other things. The threat of you activating the knight’s ability is usually enough to discourage your opponent from blocking.
  • When racing other aggressive decks, Blacklance Paragon can swing the game in your favor. Use it to take out one of their big attacking creatures or combine it with pumping Knight of the Ebon Legion to gain a big chunk of life.
  • Don’t run out Rotting Regisaur on Turn 3 if your opponent can stall it and you have other good cards. In that scenario, work on emptying your hand first so the discard drawback doesn't hurt you.
  • Consider your options when you damage an opponent with Rankle, Master of Pranks. There are cases where you don’t want to use the draw option because it might let your opponent draw an answer.

Cards:

Deck

4 Gutterbones

4 Knight of the Ebon Legion

4 Serrated Scorpion

4 Blacklance Paragon

4 Rotting Regisaur

4 Spawn of Mayhem

3 Rankle, Master of Pranks

4 Demonic Embrace

4 Eliminate

1 Grasp of Darkness

4 Castle Locthwain

20 Swamp

2. Sultai Ramp

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath image

Poor Uro falls over because he wasn’t cast using his Escape ability.

Sultai Ramp uses cards like Arboreal Grazer and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath to get ahead on lands. You can then use that extra mana to cast powerful pay off cards like Hydroid Krasis and planeswalkers. This deck uses all the powerful spells available in the black, blue, and green to overpower decks that don't pressure it in the first few turns.

What's good about this deck:

  • Your deck is tuned against aggro and other ramp decks. Arboreal Grazer lets you ramp earlier and defends against aggro at the same time.
  • You can handle strategies on both ends of the spectrum. You have life gain and plenty of removal for aggressive decks, and effective cards against counterspells like Uro and Krasis.
  • Fae of Wishes lets you have access to a sideboard with powerful narrow answers that you normally wouldn’t be able to have in Best-of-One.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of Arboreal Grazer, Uro, Nissa, and a payoff card like Krasis or Fae of Wishes.
  • It goes without saying that as a ramp deck, making all your land drops is critical. Cast Krasis for a small amount if you have to and lean toward keeping lands instead of expensive spells during mulligans.
  • You have cards that have strict color requirements so make sure to play the correct lands early. Paying two life for an untapped shock land can make you lose the game against aggro decks.
  • When you have an Uro in the graveyard, look for ways to reach the required number of cards to pay for its Escape cost. Cycle Zagoth Triome if you already have plenty of lands or use Teferi, Master of Time's first ability even if you don't have a card in hand.
  • Consider all your options when casting Hydroid Krasis. Sometimes it might be better to leave a few mana open for a chance to draw and immediately cast a cheap kill spell.

Cards:

Deck

4 Arboreal Grazer

4 Fae of Wishes

4 Hydroid Krasis

4 Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

4 Teferi, Master of Time

3 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

1 Extinction Event

1 Ritual of Soot

2 Enter the God-Eternals

4 Heartless Act

1 Aether Gust

4 Zagoth Triome

4 Breeding Pool

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Watery Grave

4 Fabled Passage

2 Temple of Deceit

2 Swamp

2 Island

2 Forest

Sideboard

1 Duress

1 Aether Gust

1 Disdainful Stroke

1 Negate

1 Noxious Grasp

1 Cry of the Carnarium

1 Ashiok, Dream Render

1 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries

1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

1 Thought Distortion

2 Casualties of War

1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

1 Mass Manipulation

1 Castle Vantress

1. Rakdos Sacrifice

Judith, the Scourge Diva image

Judith is a bit of a diva, but tell her at your own peril.

After the bans, Rakdos Sacrifice is back to claim the title of the best black deck in Standard. Archfiend’s Vessel and Village Rites take the place of Cauldron’s Familiar and Witch’s Oven. Your typical core of value creatures, sacrifice outlets, and payoff cards fill out the rest of the deck.

What's good about this deck:

  • You will crush any deck that relies on small creatures like Mono-Red. Judith, the Scourge Diva or Mayhem Devil together with steal and sacrifice effects will destroy all their creatures.
  • You can damage your opponent without attacking. Blockers will not be enough to save them from dying once they’re low on life.
  • Removal is less effective against you compared to other creature decks. You can sacrifice your creatures for value in response to kill spells then revive them later.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of Archfiend’s Vessels, a way to sacrifice them, and Call of the Death-Dweller.
  • Play and attack with your Dreadhorde Butcher early. One hit gives the Butcher enough power to trade with a four toughness creature on the next attack.
  • Always combine Claim the Firstborn with a sacrifice outlet. You can take creatures like Stonecoil Serpent or Hydroid Krasis because X doesn't affect converted mana costs.
  • Mayhem Devil triggers when either player sacrifices any permanent. You get free damage from things like your opponent sacrificing their Selfless Savior or when you use your Fabled Passage.
  • Exile spells before creatures when you use Woe Strider’s Escape ability. You need some creatures in the graveyard in case you draw Call of the Death-Dweller or Lurrus of the Dream-Den.

Cards:

Deck

4 Archfiend's Vessel

4 Serrated Scorpion

4 Dreadhorde Butcher

4 Priest of Forgotten Gods

4 Mayhem Devil

3 Woe Strider

2 Judith, the Scourge Diva

1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den

4 Claim the Firstborn

3 Village Rites

4 Call of the Death-Dweller

4 Blood Crypt

4 Fabled Passage

2 Castle Locthwain

7 Swamp

6 Mountain

 

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As a lover of real-time strategy and fighting games, Albert can't wait for games to start using neural controllers so he doesn't have to rely on his slow reflexes.
Gamer Since: 1991
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: PokeMMO
Top 3 Favorite Games:Diablo, Civilization IV, Fable: The Lost Chapters
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