Zendikar Rising - Limited Set Review - Black

Welcome back to our next chapter of the Zendikar Rising Limited Set Review! In today's article I will be making my predictions for how strong each of the set's Black cards will be in Limited, and more specifically Draft. As always, my 5-point scale is as follows:

1.0 = Unplayable

2.0 = Not often desired

3.0 = Decent filler to round out most decks

4.0 = High priority, finishers

5.0 = Top Pick, must have

And as always, all opinions and card ratings in this article are my own. Let's jump in!


Acquisitions Expert















Interesting concept, but any time the opponent doesn't reveal their entire hand from the effect they will be able to keep the card(s) that is(are) most important. I expect to hold off on playing this card until the effect really matters.

Rating: 2.0


Blood Beckoning















Inexpensive for the effect, but when cast with Kicker it becomes par for the course. It is still a great effect and I expect to play this as a one-of when I don't have enough creatures in my deck.

Rating: 2.0


Blood Price















Picking two of the top four cards in the library for 4 mana and 2 life is pretty fair, and on par with similar cards in recent Standard sets. I'd be happy to play one in my deck, but probably no more than that.

Rating: 2.5


Bloodchief's Thirst















Great removal for early threats as well as late game must-kill targets. The scaling cost that relates to the targeted creature is very fair, and the only thing missing is instant speed.

Rating: 4.0


Coveted Prize















Normally cards like this that let the player search their library for a card aren't worth the slot unless there is also a game winning spell that needs to be drawn as soon as possible. With this spell, the upside of getting to cast any spell from hand if a full Party is in play is very enticing. If getting enough creatures for a full party is easy enough, this card is pure value.

Rating: 4.0


Deadly Alliance















Fair removal spell without any creatures in play, and the possible discount makes this card even more desirable. Without a doubt one of the go-to removal spells in Limited.

Rating: 4.0


Demon's Disciple















Requires some playing around so as not to accidentally sacrifice itself or leave the opponent with their best creatures, but a great effect otherwise.

Rating: 3.0


Drana, the Last Bloodchief















Great stats, and the ability being triggered by Drana attacking instead of dealing damage to a player makes this card scary. I would play this with spells to get it back from the graveyard for when the opponent inevitably commits all their resources to keeping Drana off the battlefield.

Rating: 5.0


Drana's Silencer















Pretty expensive, and requires a lot of setup to kill a creature of moderate toughness. At common the power level makes sense, but whether it is worth playing will have to be seen.

Rating: 2.0


Dreadwurm















A great persistent attacker when the lands are flowing and likely most vulnerable during the opponent's turn. I predict it to be a capable common finisher.

Rating: 3.0


Expedition Skulker















Occasional Deathtouch is fine, and this creature will be fine for Rogue heavy decks or just for filling the lower end of the deck's mana curve.

Rating: 2.5


Feed the Swarm















One of many subjects for debate in the MTG community at the moment, black finally has access to enchantment removal. Capable of killing just about everything the opponent controls that matters, but be cautious about when/what to kill as the life lost to kill one creature could be substantial.

Rating: 3.5


Ghastly Gloomhunter















There aren't too many creatures with Flying in the set, and I feel like this creature will probably steal a fraction of the opponent's life before it is dealt with. Quite expensive at 6 mana, but making the creature bigger might be difficult for the opponent to deal with. I expect to prioritize Party members over this, but I would be happy to play this card if I needed inexpensive creatures.

Rating: 2.5


Guul Draz Mucklord















Average common creature with added bonus on death. Not super exciting, but still expected to be a nice addition in decks that care about +1/+1 counters.

Rating: 2.5


Hagra Constrictor















Zendikar Rising may have a main theme focused on +1/+1 counters, but there seem to be enough cards that care about counters in the set to make this card desirable in draft. Almost certainly more of a late draft payoff rather than an early pick or first pick, but still playable in any black deck as it also gives itself menace.

Rating: 3.0


Highborn Vampire















The equivalent of an energy vampire who snuck into the Party, playable but boring.

Rating: 2.0


Inscription of Ruin















Three good effects on one card that are versatile enough to play at almost any point in the game. Having limits on what it can destroy and reanimate, this card may not be a one-and-done game ender when kicked.

Rating: 4.0


Lithoform Blight















This card was likely designed with the Constructed crowd in mind, but in Limited it still replaces itself and can provide some color fixing which is unusual to see on a black spell, but welcome.

Rating: 2.5


Malakir Blood-Priest















A nice way to get some life back or deal the last few points of damage to the opponent's remaining life total, but only able to cause a real swing with a more complete Party.

Rating: 2.5


Marauding Blight-Priest















Clerics are many and do well at gaining life in this set. This card will help speed up the opponent's loss of life slightly, but probably not by any more than 1 additional damage per turn. If already playing a deck where Clerics matter, this card will surely be an auto-include.

Rating: 3.0


Mind Carver















Cheap to play although more expensive to equip a second time, but probably still strong since Mill isn't necessary to get eight cards in the opponent's graveyard, although mill can't hurt. I would prioritize this for Mill decks as a means of improving weaker Mill creatures into creatures that can also threaten the opponent's life total in game the Mill plan falls short.

Rating: 3.0


Mind Drain















Another card that does it all. If getting cards into the opponent's graveyard is the goal, then this card is the perfect common for doing so.

Rating: 3.0


Nighthawk Scavenger















A much needed upgrade to the original Nighthawk. It would be effective to play this creature in conjunction with Mill to increase the power of this creature as there isn't likely a better way of getting lands and cards of other types into the opponent's graveyard.

Rating: 4.0


Nimana Skitter-Sneak















A 4/4 with Menace for 4 mana if the opponent has at least eight cards in the graveyard, otherwise average for the mana cost. Unlikely to play multiples.

Rating: 2.0


Nimana Skydancer















A great flying attacker or instant-speed blocker, and the Mill is just a bonus. A great addition to any black deck.

Rating: 3.5, tiny dancer, big value


Nullpriest of Oblivion















A decent creature at face value, but huge value when cast with Kicker. Just be sure that there is a creature in the graveyard worth reanimating before paying the Kicker cost.

Rating: 4.0


Oblivion's Hunger















Looks to be a nice combat trick and extra card in black or black/green decks where +1/+1 counters seem to be most prevalent.

Rating: 3.0


Scion of the Swarm

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