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Core Set 2021 Standard Set Review: Black and Multicolor

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Today we get to cover the Black and Multicolored cards! Buckle up, it is going to be a wild ride. Before we start, let us go over my grading scale!

I will not be going over cards that I believe will not see play in Standard and I will not be going over the Commander cards that will not see Standard play. For example, cards like Elspeth, Undaunted Hero (Planeswalker duel deck rare) and Archon of Falling Stars will be omitted since they are just Limited/Commander cards and saying, "This is just a Limited card" repeatedly gets old rather fast. Don't worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.

Keep in mind I'm rating all these cards for Standard playability. I will mention Modern applications if I believe the card has some.

Each card will be listed by color, then alphabetically by name.

Each card will be given a rating of 1-5. If a card would receive a 0, meaning it will see no play in that format ever, its rating is left off the list.

Rating | Explanation | Standard Examples

0 - Will never see play in this format (0 ratings are not listed).

1 - Unlikely to see play. (Pursued Whale)

2 - Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card. (Massacre Wurm)

3 - Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Oath of Kaya, Thought Erasure, Terror of the Peaks)

4 - Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Growth Spiral, Teferi, Master of Time, Narset, Parter of Veils)

5 - Format warping. If you are in these colors, you play that card or keep that card in mind when building decks. (Teferi, Time Raveler, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon)

Now that we have that out of the way, let us begin!

Black

Archfiend's Vessel
Archfiend's Vessel - 2.5 - Making a 5/5 demon with Archfiend's Vessel is easy with things like Lurrus and Revival // Revenge. You also have plenty of sacrifice outlets in Priest of Forgotten Gods, Witch's Oven, and Woe Strider. Only thing holding this back is Teferi, Time Raveler. I do not expect Archfiend to do too much while Tef3ri is around but looking forward to what it can do after.
Demonic Embrace
Demonic Embrace - 3 - Free spells are good, especially ones you can recur. Seems great with Rotting Regisaur. I will probably be memeing with it and Liliana's Contract.
Eliminate
Eliminate - 4 - Finally, we get a cheap removal spell that hits both creatures and planeswalkers. This card is amazing for midrange decks because it allows you to not have dead cards against creatureless decks as they are most likely playing planeswalkers.
Grasp of Darkness - 3 - Solid removal spell. Kills things like Seasoned Hallowblade when Heartless Act would not.
Grim Tutor
Grim Tutor - 2 - 3 mana and three life is so much in Standard. I do not expect this card to see competitive play unless we have some crazy combo deck. Not affecting the battlefield and losing three life on turn three is just asking to die to any aggressive deck.
Hooded Blightfang
Hooded Blightfang - 2 - Super cool design! Now if only you could give your deathtouch creature a way to ping so it can kill planeswalkers by just tapping. Call of the Death-Dweller anyone?
Kaervek, the Spiteful
Kaervek, the Spiteful - 2 - Sucks that Kaervek is so underwhelming. This ability is much better as a non-creature. 4 mana with 2 toughness means he is not long for this world. Best place I can see him is out of the Sideboard against gw decks as they have a hard time dealing direct damage and tend to have a lot of X/1 creatures.
Kitesail Freebooter - 2.5 - Cards like Kitesail Freebooter are not what they used to be. These cards and cards like Meddling Mage used to be great main deck because you did not have too many options for removal spells. Standard now is a much different monster and Kitesail is easily dealt with. Cards like Sin Collector are much better.
Liliana, Waker of the Dead
Liliana, Waker of the Dead - 3 - Awfully close to Liliana of the Veil, at least for Standard. Card is fine but it just feels like every deck either goes way over the top, generates way too much card advantage that Liliana is relevant, or just kills you on turn four. We are just need in a world currently where gbx attrition is a great strategy. Still, card is solid and hoping things change after rotation.
Liliana's Standard Bearer
Liliana's Standard Bearer - 2.5 - Worse Midnight Reaper and should not see play until after Midnight Reaper rotates out. Still a solid card, it is just that Reaper is the better option.
Massacre Wurm - 2 - Would be hilarious to bring this in against Field of the Dead. Massacre Wurm is a good sideboard option for small creature decks that serves as removal and a win condition.
Necromentia
Necromentia - 2 - Add another one to the Cranial Extraction list! Decent in sideboards if a combo deck pops up or a deck that is all in on one card.
Peer into the Abyss
Peer into the Abyss - 2 - Pretty funny with Underworld Dreams as you can just kill your opponent. Outside of that could be a combo piece alongside Omniscience. Can also see it in some form of big Black devotion, used as a kill spell or to draw half your deck.
Pestilent Haze
Pestilent Haze - 2 - Yes! keep printing cards like these that are not just dead against planeswalker decks. Love that we are getting module spells like this.
Sanctum of Stone Fangs
Sanctum of Stone Fangs - 2.5 - This alongside the Blue shrine are the two best shrines. I honestly think just playing this one or the Blue one alongside one other shrine is good enough for them to do a lot of work.
Silversmote Ghoul
Silversmote Ghoul - 3 - Zombie Vampire! First time we have seen that! Great combo with Creeping Chill in Standard. Maybe a Sultai self-mill deck with this, Creeping Chill, and Uro?! Eh? Also, worth mentioning it comes back if you sacrifice a food token!
Thieves' Guild Enforcer
Thieves' Guild Enforcer - 2 - ub Aggro mill with Vantress Gargoyle. Go go go! We do not have quite enough mill payoffs yet in Standard to make a great mill deck but still fun to brew around with.
Village Rites
Village Rites - 3.5 - The mad lads did it! First they printed one-mana Threaten in Claim the Firstborn and now we have a onw-mana version of Altar's Reap. Onw mana is so much cheaper than two, this card will be a staple in sacrifice decks.
Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose
Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose - 2.5 - Card has great combo potential with Revival // Revenge. Casting Revenge will just kill the opponent. I do not believe sacrifice decks want this as Mayhem Devil and Lurrus seems better, but this could spawn its own lifegain / drain deck.

Multicolor

Alpine Houndmaster
Alpine Houndmaster - 3 - A two-mana card that draws two non-land cards is good, even if those cards are medium in Standard. I would play this alongside Winota, Joiner of Forces.
Conclave Mentor
Conclave Mentor - 2.5 - Solid around Stonecoil Serpent and Venerated Loxodon. If token or counter decks come back then I expect Conclave Mentor to see play in those decks or at the very least, the Sideboard.
Niambi, Esteemed Speaker
Niambi, Esteemed Speaker - 3 - Niambi seems great in a uwx enter the battlefield midrange deck. Bouncing things like Barrin, Alirios, Frilled Mystic, Fblthp, etc. Then having Thassa to round things out.
Obsessive Stitcher
Obsessive Stitcher - 2 - Hate to keep saying but TeFeRi but, yea, Teferi hurts this card as it does not have an enter the battlefield ability. You are better off just getting a big creature in your graveyard and then reanimating with something like Bond of Revival.
Radha, Heart of Keld
Radha, Heart of Keld - 3.5 - An Aggressive Courser of Kruphix. Good for both aggressive and midrange rg decks as it helps aggro decks draw less lands and just pairs with Azusa, Lost but Seeking very well in the Midrange / lands matter decks.
Rin and Seri, Inseparable
Rin and Seri, Inseparable - 2 - Good boy and good girl tribal have arrived! Is it good enough? No, probably not but it is fun and a sweet commander when we get more dogs and cats to play with.
Sanctum of All
Sanctum of All - 2.5 - Sanctum of All is a super fun card and powerful if you can untap with it once or twice. Again though, Teferi, Time Raveler bouncing this card means you just lost the game as you spent five colored mana to do nothing.
Watcher of the Spheres
Watcher of the Spheres - 2.5 - Much better than Warden of Evos Isle, they keep trying to make a uw flying matters deck and if they keep printing cards like this, it is only a matter of time!

Top 5 Black or Multicolored Cards

  1. Eliminate
  2. Village Rites
  3. Radha, Heart of Keld
  4. Grasp of Darkness
  5. Niambi, Esteemed Speaker

I am pumped or Eliminate; it is such a good removal spell. I hope they continue down this road and continue to print removal that hits both planeswalkers and creatures. Cards like that are also excellent for best of one. Radha is another card I am excited for and should see play as long as Gruul is halfway decent in Standard.

That's it for today! Tomorrow we will be going over the Red and artifact cards, make sure to tune in!

As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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