While other colours’ removal might be more versatile, black’s is the best at getting things dead and makes black very appealing. It often has a targeting restriction, but with the quality and quantity of removal available to black you should have no problem hitting the mark. In what will become a common theme, some of black’s strongest removal – Snuff Out or Toxic Deluge, for instance – requires a hefty life payment, but whatever you’re killing would likely have dealt you as much or more damage anyway.
Through discard black gets not only information, but answers to cards it can’t deal with – enchantments, planeswalkers – and would rather not deal with on a one-to-one basis – Mulldrifter, Blade Splicer, and so on. While it leaves you at the mercy of the
opponent’s topdecks, black has plentiful answers for whatever comes off the top. Being able to use discard proactively rather than hold up mana to deal with threats also lets you control the pace of the game.
Black is more than happy to exchange life for cards, especially since it’s good at trading one-for-one with the opponent’s threats. Most of black’s best card draw is incremental, but the likes of Promise of Power or Skeletal Scrying offer an immediate burst of cards if that’s what you’re after.
Black also has some of the best direct tutors, allowing you to draw on important cards as and when you need them.
Reanimation is one of black’s hallmark effects, and one which it doesn’t share with other colours (aside from a small overlap with white). As a strategy, Reanimator is one of the few
Cube-friendly combo decks, being both easy to include and assemble as well as very powerful – turn 6 Grave Titan is good enough,
and turn 3 Grave Titan is even better! Most Cubes are also full of small creatures with useful enter-the-battlefield or sacrifice abilities, meaning that reanimation spells can be used more ‘fairly’ to gain value.
More generally, black is the most adventurous colour when it comes to the graveyard. There’s enough depth there to dedicate your black section to it if you like, but more often it will be a source of incidental card advantage that doesn’t need to be built around. Between focused effects like Entomb and more open-ended discard like Oona’s Prowler, it’s easy for black to stock its graveyard.
This is yet another side to black, and one where it excels. With an abundance of 2-power 1-drops and cheap removal/disruption, a fearsome black aggro deck is a regular occurrence if the cards are there to support it.
Recently, some Cubers have tried to add even more variety to black by exploring resource denial and sacrifice effects in concert with recursive cards. This is a more exotic theme than some of the others showcased here, but it ties in nicely with what black naturally wants to do – discard some things, kill others, and clean up the mess afterwards.
One of the most common mistakes new Cubers make with black is trying to do too much – a few cheap creatures for aggro, a sprinkling of reanimation, some removal and discard, and so on. Ensuring that black has a clear identity will help it be a competitive Cube color.