Core Set - Ninth Edition Theme Deck
In the "Dead Again" deck, life begins at death. The deck uses your life total and your graveyard as extra resources. It even uses your opponent's life total as a resource!
Black's power comes from rot and decay. Usually it's your opponent's job to take chunks out of your life total. When playing with black cards, you'll often lower it yourself in exchange for powerful effects. Some creatures, such as Serpent Warrior and Foul Imp, cost both mana and life to play. This extra cost of life means they cost less mana than normal, so you can get them into play fast. Once there, they can start hurting your opponent instead of you.
Don't worry too much about your life total because the "Dead Again" deck has a health-care plan. Tanglebloom and Demon's Horn can restore you to better than new. The nastier way to get healthy is with Highway Robber, which gives you extra life by taking it directly from your opponent! Consume Spirit does the same thing, but you can drain either your opponent or a creature. You also choose how big the spell is—that's what the X in the cost means.
Having power over death means you can inflict it at will, and one of black's strengths is the ability to destroy creatures of any size. Dark Banishing and Nekrataal can clear out your opponent's biggest threats. Deathgazer makes it difficult for your opponent to mount an attack, since it can take down the biggest creature coming at you.
For black, it makes sense that the graveyard isn't a dead end. Raise Dead and Gravedigger let you put the best creatures from your graveyard back into your hand so you can play them again. If Nekrataal and Highway Robber were good the first time, imagine how happy your opponent will be to see them again. To really make your opponent groan, play a Gravedigger to dig up another Gravedigger!
All this helps you make the game last as long as possible. You're bumping off your opponent's creatures, returning your own from your graveyard, gaining life, and blocking forever with the regenerating Drudge Skeletons. Why? Well, the longer the game goes, the more damage Underworld Dreams will inflict. And late in the game, Nightmare will be an unstoppable force. Its size is based on how many Swamps you have, so ten Swamps mean it's a 10/10 flying monstrosity. That should be more than your opponent can handle.
* = from a previous set
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