While Blue holds the keys for card draw in MTG, Black is a close second. This color has many powerful tools to ensure your EDH or Constructed decks won’t run out of gas anytime soon. That said, Black has a lot of options to choose from for card draw. What are the best card draw engines that Black has to offer? We hope to help you answer that question with this top 11 list! Without further ado, here is our top 11 Best Black Card Draw list! As a note, we will only be looking at mono-Black cards for this list.
11. Phyrexian Arena
When most MTG players are asked the question: “what does Black card advantage look like?” this is a common answer. Phyrexian Arena has been the staple for Black card advantage for a really long time. While many still consider it the best version of card advantage for Black, we think that take is a little outdated. Regardless, this is an excellent option for Commander players who want to get a ton of value out of one card.
10. Tenacious Underdog
Tenacious Underdog is absolutely the spiciest take on our list, but it may not be as spicy as you think. This card sees an absurd amount of Standard play, fringe Pioneer, and even fringe Modern play. It will only start drawing cards consistently when you’re Blitzing it from your graveyard, but Tenacious Underdog turns into a clock that grants you an absurd amount of card advantage over time. If you have a Commander that likes to smack people, consider Tenacious Underdog as a powerful enabler that draws you cards!
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9. Liliana, Dreadhorde General
The mana investment here is significant, but it’s worth it. Liliana is an absolute house. Not only will this creature turn your tokens into card draw (alongside any other creatures you control), but Liliana can also remove potentially deadly threats. The -2 ability is absurd in Commander, where you only have to sacrifice two creatures to get rid of six! Liliana will also be sure to replace those creatures with card draw with her static ability.
The only major downside to Liliana is that she’s a Planeswalker (and her mana investment is high). This can make her easy to remove, especially in a Commander game. That said, the sheer advantage Liliana threatens to offer is still worth it.
8. Null Profusion
Null Profusion is potentially a build-around, but it is a very effective one. In exchange for your draw step, Null Profusion turns every single card you play into a cantrip. Since Null Profusion cares about your playing cards, your lands can even turn into cantrips! The downsides to this card come in its mana investment and hand size limit. Therefore, you should ensure the price you’re paying to cast this card initially isn’t too high. Sure, six mana for an effect like this is definitely worth it, but also think about the cards you may have to discard to stick this on board initially.
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7. Deadly Dispute/Village Rites (etc.)
There are a lot of effects like this, but these are the best of them. The only reason why these aren’t in one of the top three spots is that they only offer a one-time effect. In terms of mana efficiency, these are, by far, some of the best options on this list. Unlike other options like Liliana, Dreadhorde General, and Null Profusion, you are likelier to find this in Constructed formats.
Fortunately, Deadly Dispute and Village Rites are also incredibly affordable. Expect to find these in a multitude of Aristocrat decks across different formats.
6. Sign in Blood/Night’s Whisper (etc.)
There are a lot of black instants and sorceries that draw two cards for two mana with an additional life-based setback. This represents a category for all those cards. While this is not a recurring effect, these cards offer a rate that can’t be beat. It is pretty difficult to draw multiple cards for such a low mana investment, hence these card’s spot on the list. Creatures are more expensive than life a lot of the time, which is why this beats out the Deadly Dispute group of cards. Remember that, in a pinch, some of these cards can target your opponents. Sign in Blood can also become an expensive Shock to close the game out!
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5. Black Market Connections
Black Market Connections is the breakout Commander card released in Baldur’s Gate’s Party Time Commander deck. It took a little time for people to realize just how good this card was, but once they did, the card exploded in price.
Black Market Connections does it all. It draws cards at a bit more of an expensive rate than Phyrexian Arena, but it can also create threats and Treasure Tokens to go along with it! You’ll be paying seven life per turn to do all three, but the payoff, especially in a game of Commander, is worth it!
4. Bolas’s Citadel
Bolas’s Citadel is a card that will make the table immediately move to code red upon resolution. Once again, the mana investment for this card is huge, but since it wins the game upon resolution, it’s definitely worth it.
Since Bolas’s Citadel lets its owner play cards from the top of their library by using their life total instead of investing mana. It is very easy to dump a bunch of cards on the board that ends up winning the game. This, most commonly, is seen in sacrifice shells when it does show up in constructed to try and make the Citadel as consistent as possible. In Commander, this can show up just about anywhere since 40 life is a massive bank of resources for Bolas’s Citadel.
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3. Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Representing one of the biggest villains in MTG history, Yawgmoth is so terrifying that he has a Modern deck built around him. This card engine is a bit more restrictive than Bolas’s Citadel since you need sacrifice fodder to get your cards rolling, but should you succeed in doing that, Yawgmoth becomes a card capable of taking over entire formats.
Take Modern, for example. Using the Undying mechanic, Yawgmoth can quickly get into infinite combo situations where he continuously draws cards by sacrificing Undying creatures. Sure, you’re still losing life as this goes on, but a Zulaport Cutthroat or Blood Artist-like effect fixes this while killing your opponents at the same time.
Uh, this card is banned in a lot of stuff, which means it’s pretty good – right?
Griselbrand is the butt-end of a lot of turn-one combos in Constructed. You won’t find this card in Commander because you aren’t allowed to play it there. Griselbrand allows you to draw an obscene amount of cards in exchange for your life total. As has been established when discussing Bolas’s Citadel, paying for cards with life is an incredibly powerful effect.
The only major downside to Griselbrand, outside of its legality issues, is that the card is very hard to cast. Therefore, most decks that want to cast Griselbrand are all-in on using glass cannon methods to get the card into play as quickly as possible. While this card will win the game upon entry, chances are you won’t see this absurd draw engine very often.
Another card that exchanges card advantage for life? Necropotence is another card on this list that has suffocated formats to a halt. These are all in the past, though. Necropotence is now free to play in Commander and other Eternal formats.
Honestly, the downside of skipping your draw step on Necropotence is laughably irrelevant. For only one life, Necropotence exiles the top card of your deck face down. At your end step, all of the cards exiled face down by Necropotence go to your hand. Remember that you will still have to discard to hand size afterward. Notably, this part of Necropotence only triggers on your end steps. This means that, should you try to get cards during your opponent’s turns, you may be disappointed. Regardless, Necropotence offers a full hand every turn for a minimal cost and only costs three black mana to play. Therefore, because of the absurd payoff for its mana value, Necropotence is the best of the best for MTG Black card draw.
0. Ad Nauseam
Ad Nauseam, when set up, is by far the most powerful effect on this list. That said, the card doesn’t technically draw cards (neither does Bolas’s Citadel, but that card doesn’t really need support to work). Ad Nauseum decks are built to cast this card and draw enough cards to win the game outright. In Commander, because of how many good cards have low mana values and your life total of 40, it’s much easier to make Ad Nauseam work. You will, therefore, most likely run into this card there. That said, fringe constructed decks are also built around this card.
This takes up such a strange position on this list because Ad Nauseam requires a lot of build-around to work. When it does, however, it’s the best card on the list.
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