Bolas's Citadel card art background for Best Black Card Draw Cards post by Mono Color Magic
MTG Bolas's Citadel card art, Artist: Ionas De Ro, TM and Copyright 2019 Wizards of the Coast

70 Best Black Card Draw Cards in MTG Magic: the Gathering

While traditionally seen as secondary to blue’s dominion over card advantage, black offers a tantalizing array of draw options that can bolster your deck’s capability to eke out a victory from the jaws of defeat.

When considering black card draw options, you must understand that it often comes with a price, be it paying life, sacrificing creatures, or discarding cards.

Card art from MTG Necropotence
Necropotence – Artist: Dave Kendall – TM & Copyright 2017 Wizards of the Coast

This cost is not without its benefits. The ability to trade a few life or an early creature for card advantage can easily swing game momentum in your favor.

High-impact draw creatures bring a formidable presence, while efficient instants and sorceries siphon resources at crucial moments.

Black’s ability to reanimate targets from the graveyard also creates synergistic opportunities.

Card art from MTG Reanimate
Reanimate – Artist: Robert Bliss – TM & Copyright 1997 Wizards of the Coast

Key Takeaways

  • Black card draw spells in MTG offer a unique blend of power and risk, enhancing your deck’s performance.
  • Effective black draw cards are essential for maintaining card advantage and developing game-winning strategies.
  • Strategic use of black draw mechanics requires a careful balance of life, resources, and timing.

The Importance of Card Draw in MTG

Imagine you are a general commanding an army – the more intel you have, the higher your chances of outmaneuvering the opponent. That’s what drawing cards is all about: gaining more options, more answers, and ensuring you don’t miss a beat.

Knowing when to draw is as crucial as knowing what to draw. Each card pulled is a potential new strategy, a solution to the puzzle that your opponent shapes before you.

Card art from MTG Phyrexian Arena, one of the best black draw cards in MTG
Phyrexian Arena – Artist: Martina Fackova – TM & Copyright 2024 Wizards of the Coast

Think of Phyrexian Arena; it’s more than just a draw—it’s an investment, a gamble on your life force for the promise of continual strategic depth.

Here are a few key points that highlight the importance of card draw:

  • Consistency: Drawing more cards means better chances of getting the spells you need when you need them.
  • Resource Advantage: Card draw means more resources, and in MTG, resources equate to power.
  • Flexibility: More cards in hand means more ways to respond to threats or press an advantage.
  • Pressure: By having a fuller hand, you keep your opponent guessing and on the defensive.

Remember, drawing cards should not be done mindlessly. It’s a strategic choice, like unleashing a Cruel Bargain – potent, yes, but at what cost?

MTG Deadly Dispute card art
Deadly Dispute – Artist: Irina Nordsol – TM and Copyright 2024 Wizards of the Coast

Whether you’re orchestrating sheer power with Liliana, Dreadhorde General or sly tricks with Deadly Dispute, remember, each card you pull is a piece of a larger puzzle that only you can complete.

Iconic Black Draw Spells

Certain black cards have become synonymous with powerful card draw mechanics. These spells leverage life as a resource, offering you crucial card advantage at the cost of your own vitality.

Dark Confidant

MTG Dark Confidant card

Dark Confidant belongs at the top of the list. At the beginning of your upkeep, you reveal the top card of your library and put it into your hand, losing life equal to its mana cost.

As a creature, Dark Confidant not only refills your hand but also pressures opponents on the board.

It’s a favorite for players who appreciate the delicate balance between resource management and strategic depth.

Phyrexian Arena

MTG Phyrexian Arena card

Next up is Phyrexian Arena, an enchantment that slowly but surely tips the scales in your favor as the game progresses.

With this spell on the table, you draw an extra card at the beginning of your upkeep, losing 1 life in the process.

A consistent engine of card advantage, Phyrexian Arena is appreciated for its simplicity and reliability, making it a mainstay in decks that can afford the incremental life payments for sustained drawing power.


MTG Necropotence card

Necropotence is the among pinnacle of black card draw spells, allowing you to pay 1 life, repeatedly, to exile the top card of your library and put that card into your hand at the beginning of your next end step.

While you skip your draw step, this potent spell can fill your hand each turn at the beginning of your end step, crafting a formidable grip of options as you deftly pilot your strategy around this cornerstone card.

It’s reserved for those unafraid to wield their life total as a resource in pursuit of victory. Many epic decks rely on Necropotence.

High-Impact Draw Creatures

Certain black creatures are powerhouses when it comes to card draw, granting you not just a creature on the board but an invaluable stream of new cards into your hand.

Grim Haruspex

MTG Grim Haruspex card

Grim Haruspex is not just a decent-bodied creature for its mana cost; you’ll get to draw a card every time another nontoken creature you control bites the dust.

Bloodgift Demon

MTG Bloodgift Demon card

At five mana, Bloodgift Demon stands out with its flying ability and an invitation to draw an extra card during your upkeep.

In fact, you can make anyone draw one and lose 1 life during your upkeep. A fun combo with one of my all time favorite Magic cards, Underworld Dreams.

MTG Underworld Dreams card

Species Specialist

MTG Species Specialist card

How about Species Specialist. A great option for tribal draw, both yours if you’re playing a tribal deck, or an opponent’s if they’re tribe heavy, since you don’t have to name your own tribe.

Erebos, God of the Dead

MTG Erebos, God of the Dead card

Erebos, God of the Dead may help your draw situation, but he’s really in there to hose your opponents.

Indestructible and prevents your opponents from gaining life.

You need 5 devotion to black for Erebos to be a creature, but then he’s a 5/7 .

Ayara, First of Locthwain

MTG Ayara, First of Locthwain card

What a threat Ayara, First of Locthwain is. Tap her and sacrifice another black creature to draw a card.

Her card draw isn’t necessarily where Ayara thrives.

She provides an enter the battlefield ability for any black creature under your control where you gain a life and each opponent loses a life.

Elder Brain

MTG Elder Brain card

Elder Brain is another one that can do massive damage when coupled with the likes of Underworld Dreams effects.

Attacking with this giant Krang (that’s a TMNT reference for you kids out there) forces your opponent to exile a ton of cards, and you can then treat them as though they were in your hand.

Not exactly card draw, but it does give you card advantage and options.

You can even play the exiled cards using whatever mana you have and not worrying about their color identity.

Graveborn Muse

MTG Graveborn Muse card

Graveborn Muse can be a bit double-edged. Primed in a deck swarming with Zombies, this muse will reward you with abundant draws.

Just be cautious – she can deplete your life as quickly as she fills your hand, depending on the number of Zombies saluting her.

Undead Augur

MTG Undead Augur card

Next is the Undead Augur. It capitalizes on the typical zombie tribal strategy, allowing you to draw a card each time it or another Zombie you control shuffles off its mortal coil.

It’s a compact synergy piece in any zombie deck, offering replenishment as your undead army dwindles.

“You may” makes this card a real winner, as you don’t have to if your life is waning or it doesn’t make sense.


MTG Cryptbreaker card

Cryptbreaker is more zombie goodness.

This tribal helper will allow you to tap a trifecta of zombies to draw one and discard one.

He’s just a 1/1, but he also only costs 1 black mana.

Midnight Reaper

MTG Midnight Reaper card

Whenever a nontoken creature you control dies, Midnight Reaper deals a damage to you and you draw a card.

Potent card draw in a little 3/2 zombie package.

Demonlord Belzenlok

MTG Demonlord Belzenlok card

Demonlord Belzenlok is a beefy demon at 6/6 flying trample.

His enter the battlefield ability will net you at least one extra card, possibly more if you’re playing with a higher mana curve.

Kothophed, Soul Hoarder

MTG Kothophed, Soul Hoarder card

Kothophed, Soul Hoarder is another 6/6 flying demon with a card draw ability.

You draw a card and you lose a life every time an opponent puts a permanent into their graveyard.

Taborax, Hope’s Demise

MTG Taborax, Hope's Demise card

Card draw is really the last thing on this demon’s mind, but it will let you draw cards for your clerics that die.

Otherwise it’s a 2/2 flyer that can quickly get out of hand with pump, and gain lifelink.

Vilis, Broker of Blood

MTG Vilis, Broker of Blood card

The card draw on this demon is a bit different than black’s normal pay life to draw cards.

Vilis, Broker of Blood instead forces you to draw a card for each life point you lose.

He’s also an 8/8 flyer for 8 mana, with another powerful activated ability.


MTG Griselbrand card

Banned in Commander, Griselbrand is almost the epitome of black draw power.

A 7/7 flying lifelink demon for 8 mana, he has an activated ability of pay 7 life to draw 7 cards.

Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar

MTG Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar card

Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar‘s ability to sac a creature and draw life equal to its power is one of the few black draw cards allowing you to draw an X amount of cards and not pay life for it.

Tinybones, Trinket Thief

MTG Tinybones, Trinket Thief card

Also a potent commander, Tinybones, Trinket Thief enables discard strategies to thrive. If anyone discarded this turn, at the end of turn you draw 1 and lose a life.

This dude’s activated ability is The Rack on steroids. Tap 2 black and 4 colorless to do 10 damage to each opponent with no cards in hand. OUCH!

MTG The Rack card

Dread Presence

MTG Dread Presence card

Dread Presence offers beneficial options whenever you play a swamp.

The only real drawbacks here are that it costs 4 mana and it’s just 3/3.

Dusk Legion Zealot

MTG Dusk Legion Zealot card

The unassuming Dusk Legion Zealot offers a simple yet effective bargain: when it enters the battlefield, you draw a card and lose 1 life.

This low-cost creature provides early game presence and maintains card parity, often worth the small sacrifice of health.

It also fits into both Vampire and Soldier tribes.

Champion of Dusk

MTG Champion of Dusk card

Champion of Dusk is another Vampire tribal draw creature.

Draw x cards and lose x life, x equaling the number of vampires you control.

God-Eternal Bontu

MTG God-Eternal Bontu card

God-Eternal Bontu has Reprocess as an enter the battlefield ability, in addition to menace and its own built in recusion.

Faerie Dreamthief

MTG Faerie Dreamthief card

While not bearing the typical black card draw methodology, Faerie Dreamthief is a 1/1 flyer for 1 black mana that will let you peek at your next card and decide to leave it on top of your library or drop it in the graveyard.

When in your graveyard this faerie can serve another purpose. For 1 black and 2 colorless, and an additional cost of exiling the Dreamthief, you get a typical black draw 1 discard 1 ability.

Clattering Augur

MTG Clattering Augur card

It’s hard to argue against a creature like Clattering Auger, where you get to draw one and lose a life when it comes into play, then it has built in graveyard recursion.

It is just a 1/1 for 2 mana though, and it can’t block.

Corpse Augur

MTG Corpse Augur card

Corpse Augur is a 4/2 creature for 4 mana.

It’s also an interesting black draw in a multi player format like commander, where you would have options for how many cards to draw (and life to lose,) based on the chosen player’s graveyard .

Fell Stinger

MTG Fell Stinger card

Deploy the Fell Stinger with its deathly scorpion’s sting, and you can exploit (sacrifice another creature,) to evoke its 2 cards for 2 life ability, which can target any player.

It’s a tactical maneuver that demands sacrifice for a rush of new cards, perfect for decks that don’t mind sending their own to the grave, or deploys a draw-pain strategy on its opponents.

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

MTG Yawgmoth, Thran Physician card

Then there’s Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, a potent engine in creature-based decks, capable of both controlling the board and refilling your hand.

Pay 1 life, sacrifice a creature: not only do you weaken your adversaries with a -1/-1 counter, but you also draw a card. 

For 2 black mana, proliferate. Yawgmoth is a popular mono-black commander.

Asmodeus the Archfiend

MTG Asmodeus the Archfiend card

Some interesting ways to end up with a lot of cards in your hand from Asmodeus the Archfiend.

He’s a 6/6 creature that doesn’t fly, and will drain your life to give you everything he exiled, for one black mana.

Efficient Instant and Sorcery Draw

When you’re looking to add some punch to your black deck’s drawing capabilities, efficient instant and sorcery cards are your go-to tools.

These spells allow you to restock your hand rapidly, often inflicting minimal pain to your life total or board presence.

Sign in Blood

MTG Sign in Blood card

Sign in Blood stands out for its low mana value and dual nature: it’s both a threat and a resource.

For two black mana, target player draws two cards at the cost of 2 life.

Read the Bones

MTG Read the Bones card

Read the Bones costs 1 more than Sign in Blood, but it lets you scry 2 before you draw 2.

It’s a solid pick for decks that need to sift through cards to find key pieces.

Ambition’s Cost

MTG Ambition's Cost card

If you’re willing to pay more mana and life for more power, Ambition’s Cost is your card.

It draws you three cards at the cost of 3 life, tipping the scales in your favor in the mid to late game, as long as you can spare the life.

Skeletal Scrying

MTG Skeletal Scrying card

Skeletal Scrying is a flexible option, allowing you to draw X cards and lose X life for one black mana and X other mana, at instant speed.

As an additional cost you also need to exile x cards from your graveyard.

It is as powerful as the current situation allows, making it a versatile choice in any stage of the game.

Night’s Whisper

MTG Night's Whisper card

Simple and straightforward, Night’s Whisper gets you two cards for one black and one colorless mana with a negligible life loss of 2 at sorcery speed.

Deadly Dispute

MTG Deadly Dispute card

With Deadly Dispute, you get the added bonus of creating a treasure token along with drawing two cards, at instant speed for just 1 black and 1 colorless.

The drawback here is a creature or artifact sacrifice, but in today’s game with treasure and other artifact tokens plentiful, this may not be so painful.

You’ll find other cards with this or extremely close in ability named Reckoner’s Bargain, Costly Plunder, and Altar’s Reap.

Ancient Craving

MTG Ancient Craving card

For those moments when three cards can make all the difference, Ancient Craving delivers.

Despite its higher life cost, it’s useful for refilling your hand at the cost of 1 black and 3 colorless. It’s basically black’s version of Concentrate or Harmonize.


MTG Necrologia card

A little blast from the past coming from the Exodus set originally, Necrologia has a special qualification for an instant.

You can only play this spell during your end step.

That said, you can pay as much life as you want to draw as many cards as you want, for 5 mana.


MTG Reprocess card

Reprocess allows you to sac a few or a bunch of permanents and draw a few or a bunch of cards.

Painful Truths

MTG Painful Truths card

Painful Truths demands a diverse mana base but rewards you with three cards for a mere 3 life and 3 mana.

If your deck spans multiple colors including black, this spell provides significant drawing power that scales with your commitment to variety in your mana.

Cling to Dust

MTG Cling to Dust card

Cling to Dust is instant speed graveyard removal of a card, and in addition you either gain life or draw a card.

The Escape ability on this one allows you to take advantage of Cling’s effects twice.

Pact of the Serpent

MTG Pact of the Serpent card

With Pact of the Serpent you may draw, or make another target player draw cards equal to the number of creatures they control of a chosen type.

May be a great opportunity for you to draw an clutch of cards, or smoke an opponent with a board full of tokens.

Minions’ Murmurs

MTG Minions' Murmurs card

Similar to Pact of the Serpent, however you can’t target anyone else for the draw, and it’s for the total number of creatures you control, not based on type.

Synergistic Enablers and Combos

Black draw cards often excel when paired with enablers and combos that escalate their potential. Here’s a dive into some of the most formidable partnerships involving black card draw options.

Ad Nauseam

MTG Ad Nauseam card

Ad Nauseam is a high-stakes play that can draw you a significant portion of your deck at once.

You’ll want a life buffer or alternate costs to mitigate the life paid for each card drawn, maximizing its effect without jeopardizing the game state.

Peer Into the Abyss

MTG Peer Into the Abyss card

Cast Peer Into the Abyss for half of target player’s deck into their hand at the cost of half their life.

Paired with something like an Underworld Dreams and when an opponent draws this is game over. Or maybe you genuinely need the draw to finish off the game.

Village Rites

MTG Village Rites card

Village Rites is a great newer option for black draw at instant speed, at the cost of a creature sacrifice and 1 black mana.

Black’s own little Skullclamp that you can only use once, but don’t need to worry about artifact hate. 

MTG Skullclamp card

Yawgmoth’s Will

MTG Yawgmoth's Will card

With Yawgmoth’s Will, you can play cards from your graveyard as though they were in your hand, turning your graveyard into a treasure trove of resources.

The card’s synergy with black’s ability to toss stuff in the graveyard can quickly overload your opponents with a barrage of plays. Think Entomb and Buried Alive.

Ob Nixilis Reignited

MTG Ob Nixilis Reignited card

Ob Nixilis Reignited serves a dual purpose by destroying threats and drawing cards.

His ultimate ability gives an opponent a 2 damage on anyone’s draw emblem.

Null Profusion

MTG Null Profusion card

Limits your hand size and eliminates your draw step.

But, when you play a card you draw a card.

As far as black draw goes, this is pretty light on inconvenience and may form some potent combos in commander.

Demonic Pact

MTG Demonic Pact card

Demonic Pact offers a selection of advantageous effects before its deadly drawback.

Clever players will find ways to donate the Pact to their opponents or to reset its counters, turning the tables on its final, treacherous clause.

Liliana, Dreadhorde General

MTG Liliana, Dreadhorde General card

Liliana, Dreadhorde General amplifies your strategy by providing a steady stream of card draw through creature death or a sacrifice from her -4 ability, bolstering your hand while depleting your opponents board.

Her ultimate devastates opponents if left unchecked.

Underworld Connections

MTG Underworld Connections card

Underworld Connections allows you to enchant any land for 2 black and colorless mana with the ability to tap, pay a life, and draw a card.

Blood Token

MG Blood Token card

Blood Tokens, generated by various means, can fine-tune your hand by transforming unwanted cards into new draws, or allowing you to toss things to your graveyard for later use.

Castle Locthwain

MTG Castle Locthwain card

Castle Locthwain is a land that taps for a black mana, or you can tap 2 black and a colorless to draw a card. That draw ability will set you back life equal to the number of cards in your hand after the draw, though.

Dark Prophecy

MTG Dark Prophecy card

Dark Prophecy rewards you for creature deaths with card draw, converting board presence into raw advantage.

Ensure you’ve got a surplus of creatures or tokens, and life, to sustain its morbid engine, as each death will cost you a life and this is NOT a “you may.”

Demonic Lore

MTG Demonic Lore card

With Demonic Lore, you draw three cards at minimal immediate cost, building your hand swiftly.

Its life loss can be mitigated or repurposed, making it a compelling choice for decks built around life manipulation.

Treacherous Blessing

MTG Treacherous Blessing card

Same cost and draw ability as Demonic Lore but instead of end of turn losing life, you lose a life each time you cast a spell.

This one does have a built in self destruct any time it’s targeted.

Mask of Griselbrand

MTG Mask of Griselbrand card

So your creature doesn’t have inherent draw ability?

Slap a Mask of Griselbrand on it for a 3 colorless equip. Gives it lifelink, flying, and when it dies you may pay life to draw cards equal to its power.

Infernal Contract and Cruel Bargain

Infernal Contract and Cruel Bargain are essentially the same card. Three black mana and half your life will net you a 4 card draw. Quite an ultimatum.

Deck Building Considerations

Mana Curve Balance: It’s critical to balance your deck’s mana curve. Incorporating cards like Sign in Blood and Read the Bones gives you early game draw options without breaking the mana or life bank. But, remember to include higher-cost, high-impact draw cards like Ambition’s Cost, for when your mana pool deepens.

Life as a Resource: Black card draw often demands a blood price. Gauge how much life you’re willing to sacrifice on the altar of card advantage. Cards like Dark Confidant reward the bold with extra draw each turn, at the risk of precious life points.

Synergies and Combos: Seek out cards that harmonize with your draw mechanics. Ensure you have enough creatures for Phyrexian Arena to shine, or spells to trigger an Underworld Dreams effect. Balancing your draw sources with actionable plays is key to maintaining tempo.

Card TypeConsideration
Low Cost SpellsEarly game advantage with minimal life loss.
Midrange SpellsSustain your card advantage mid-game.
High Cost SpellsPotent late-game draw cards.

Let your play style dictate your choices, too. If you’re aggressive, lean on cheaper black draw cards. But if your approach is to bide your time, powerful spells like Necropotence can be game-changing despite their steeper life cost.

Remember this fundamental rule of thumb: your black draw cards should never leave you vulnerable, but instead should serve as stepping stones to overwhelming your opponent with a relentless tide of resources.

Card Advantage in Different Formats

Card advantage is a crucial component in any MTG format that can sway the tides of the game in your favor. Each format offers a distinct landscape for these strategic plays, with specific cards excelling in their respective environments.


In Standard, the card pool is limited to the most recent sets, keeping the game fresh and dynamic. Card draw spells like Blood Pact and Blood Fountain often shape the metagame, providing players with critical options to outpace opponents.

Current standard offers some interesting mono black creatures with potent draw options, such as Braids, Arisen Nightmare and Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal.

Standard’s ever-evolving nature requires vigilance for the latest efficient draw engines to maintain advantage.


Commander, the singleton format brimming with social interactions and complex board states, prizes cards like Phyrexian Arena and Necropotence for consistent draw power.

With 99-card decks, redundancy in your card draw effects is key. Greed and Bolas’s Citadel are also incredibly strong options for this strategy in commander.

Having access to reliable sources of card draw—preferably those that do not depend on other colors—allows for sustained pressure and options throughout the match.

What’s your favorite black card draw combo? Let us know in the comments!

Maybe after looking through all of the black card draw options you’d rather fill that deck slot with a black tutor?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s tackle your most pressing questions on selecting the best black card draw cards to ensure you’re holding the reins of the game.

What are some of the most powerful card draw spells for mono-black decks in EDH format?

For the EDH format, spells like Phyrexian Arena offer a steady stream of card advantage at the expense of life—a currency black mages are well-versed in spending.

Additionally, don’t overlook the impact of Elder Brain when coupled with a strategy to get it out early and swinging.

How do black card draw mechanics compare to those of other colors in Magic: The Gathering?

Black’s card draw often comes with a price—paying life, sacrificing creatures, or discarding cards. This contrasts with blue’s and green’s straightforward draw or red’s impulsive draw mechanics.

Indulging in black’s dark powers means embracing risk for potentially greater reward. It tends to be stronger at drawing than both red and white card draw, and can be as potent as blue and green but at a cost.

How does card draw in black contribute to card advantage strategies in competitive MTG play?

In competitive play, black card draw can dictate the pace of the match.

Utilizing life and creatures as resources, black can outpace opponents in card advantage, turning the tide of the game by sheer volume of options available each turn.

Your life total is just a number; the cards in your hand, a path to victory.

Bryan - MCM
Author: Bryan - MCM

Magic player since Revised in 94. Still remember opening boosters of Revised, the Dark, and Arabian Nights as a kid. Watching it be a big deal (and then let down) when Fallen Empires dropped. Then Magic got it right again and really took off. While the current state of Wizards is debatable, I still enjoy playing with friends and my kids. I don't do tournaments much these days but I've played Draft, Sealed, Standard, Extended (not a thing anymore,) Pre-Release, Grand Prix, States Qualifiers, and Teams tournaments. Though I'm not a judge, I'm the one the friends turn to when there's a rules question, and if I don't know it, I find it. Please, ask me anything, comment on posts, and share Magic with your friends and family!

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