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March 21, 2018

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Daily Dose of Dominaria – Black Legendary Creatures

Welcome back to the Daily Dose of Dominaria, where it’s currently Legendary creature week!

Today I’m moving on from blue and continuing on to look at the new black Legendary creatures Dominaria has in store for us. Now, when I think of black Legendary creatures, I tend to lean towards large creatures that have a huge impact on the game. Just recently we got Tetzimoc, Primal Death, an amazing Elder Dinosaur that could clear your opponents’ battlefield of creatures. Dominaria is certainly bringing the big baddies to the table, but it’s also bringing in some new Legendary creatures with some interesting abilities. Let me delve into these new black Legendary creatures.

When I think of black creatures, one creature type that pops to mind is Demons. It seemed like a fitting place to start my talk on black Legendary creatures, so here is Demonlord Belzenlok:

Demonlord-Belzenlok

That is a lot of text on one Magic card.

To start off, you get a 6/6 flying, trample creature for six mana. That will be hard to beat.

Demonlord Belzenlok’s ability is a weird Demonic Consultation-like ability, where you have to exile cards off the top of your library until you exile a nonland card. No matter what, you will automatically get one card back from casting this spell. There is also a chance that you can repeat this process to draw more cards. Could you build a deck that has many cards with a casting cost of four or more to break this card? Perhaps, but be careful. If you have too many cards with a cost of four or more you could deck yourself or take so much damage that you could lose.

Ideally you want to draw two to three cards with this ability, but it will be hard to do based on having the right mix of casting costs without overdrawing and taking too much damage.

Let’s continue the big black creature train with a new creature that’s basically Hypnotic Specter on steroids. Here is Urgoros, the Empty One:

Urgoros-the-Empty-One

Growing up playing Magic, one of my favourite cards to play, and least favorite to play against, was Hypnotic Specter. Being able to make your opponent discard a card at random when you damage them is so powerful that it has only every been printed on two Magic cards: Hypnotic Specter and Rakdos Ringleader.

When it comes to base stats, a 4/3 Flying creature for six mana won’t cut it in most scenarios. Plus, thanks to an added ability, Urgoros, the Empty One will be a lightning rod as your opponent will have to kill it before it accumulates too much card advantage. Even if your opponent’s hand is empty, you still get to draw a card instead of making them discard to make sure the advantage bar stays on your side.

There isn’t any ability that screams black on a creature more than sacrificing your own creatures. But why stop at sacrificing one creature? Let’s take a look at Whisper, Blood Liturgist:

Just recently, I played in a Masters 25 sealed event where the only match I lost was because of a card called Hell’s Caretaker. Whisper, Blood Liturgist has some advantages and disadvantages compared to that card. First off, you must sacrifice two creatures with Whisper, Blood Liturgist and only one with Hell’s Caretaker. Where Whisper, Blood Liturgist excels over Hell’s Caretaker is that you can use its ability at any time and not just during your upkeep. Sacrificing two creatures is a steep price, but the reward could be huge.

That big reward comes into play if you’ve set up your graveyard with some large creatures, like the ones I’ve mentioned above. Sacrificing two small creatures to get is Urgoros, the Empty One could be worthwhile. A key detail to remember is that Whisper, Blood Liturgist can sacrifice itself to its ability. This means that if you don’t want to reuse its ability you only need one other creature on the battlefield.

Speaking of sacrificing your own creatures, did I say that two creatures was quite a cost to spend? How about we take this to the next level with the new Torgaar, Famine Incarnate?

Any card that has a built-in cost reduction to it has the possibility to be a broken card. Mana reduction mechanics like Delve have proven quite powerful. Now let’s have a look at all the possible casting costs for Torgaar, Famine Incarnate, how you would achieve them, and on what turn you are most likely to get it onto the battlefield.

6BB (Turn 6-8) – If you don’t have any creatures to sacrifice to it, you will likely have to wait until the late game to cast it. Depending on what kind of mana ramp you’ve had up to this point, that is.

4BB (Turn 5-6) – Having one other creature is a likely scenario when attempting to cast Torgaar, Famine Incarnate. If one of those creatures is a ramp creature, like Llanowar Elves, you could be able to cast this between turns five and six consistently.

2BB (Turn 3-4) – Having two creatures out by turns three or four won’t be too hard of a task. Throw in some mana ramp in the form of spells and creatures, and you could have Torgaar, Famine Incarnate out on the battlefield by turn three.

BB (Turn 2-3) – Turn one: Blooming Marsh, Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter, Mox Amber, Llanowar Elves. Turn two: Blooming Marsh, Llanowar Elves, cast Torgaar, Famine Incarnate by sacrificing all three creatures.Welcome to the best possible draw you could have to get Torgaar out on turn two.

Do you want to do this? Probably not, but it’s possible. More likely you can achieve it on turn three by playing a one-drop creature on turn one, followed by a spell like Servo Exhibition on turn two. This will give you the three creatures needed to cast it on turn three.

Now that we’ve seen what Dominaria has in store for black Legendary creatures, let me have a look at what Standard currently has for them.

 

Standard Legendary creatures currently have a wide range of abilities and mana costs for these black Legendary creatures. Dominaria’s Legendary creatures are all high casting cost ones, but with some abilities that can take over games.

Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Dominaria here on Legendary creature week. Join me again tomorrow as I delve into the red legendary creatures of Dominaria.