Top 3 mono black commanders per EDHREC.com

Magic the Gathering Mono Black Commander Tier List 2023

These are the top 100 mono black commanders in order as of June 2023.

Without further ado, let’s see the TOP TEN!

CMCNameCard KingdomTCGPlayerSaltDecks
7K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth$5.49$4.101.248672
5Marrow-Gnawer$27.99$24.730.326539
5Tergrid, God of Fright$3.99$3.282.296206
4Sheoldred, the Apocalypse$74.99$64.831.115281
4Yawgmoth, Thran Physician$18.99$12.961.174887
3Braids, Arisen Nightmare$3.49$3.500.643826
2Tinybones, Trinket Thief$15.99$10.310.963482
5Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker$0.49$0.460.383475
5Syr Konrad, the Grim$0.99$0.790.763469
3Ayara, First of Locthwain$0.59$0.680.263330
Top 10 mono black commanders per EDHREC.COM as of June 2023

EDHREC.COM provides a few columns of info with the cards, such as the Converted Mana Cost (CMC), prices from a few websites, salt level which is how angry your play group might be if you sit down with this deck, and the number of decks they found with that commander.

If you’re not that familiar with commander yet I’d suggest checking out our beginner’s guide.

Looks like everyone wants to play K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth at the moment and for good reason, it’s probably the strongest deck on the list. Leading the decklists by over 2000 it’s the most popular deck on the list. The power level is off the charts.

MTG K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth card
K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

Here’s what makes him so potent:

Phyrexian Mana Cost: K’rrik’s ability allows you to pay life instead of black mana for spells you cast, effectively making many of your spells much cheaper. This enables faster and more efficient casting of spells, providing a significant tempo advantage.

Life Gain Synergy: Many black cards and strategies involve paying life for various benefits, which synergizes with K’rrik’s ability to use life as a resource. This also makes cards that gain you life particularly valuable in a K’rrik deck, as they essentially serve as additional mana sources.

Voltron Potential: K’rrik has a secondary ability that gives him +1/+1 counters whenever you cast a black spell, turning him into a potential voltron threat that can take out opponents with commander damage. This gives you an additional win condition besides whatever other strategies your deck is built around.

Flexible Deck Building: While K’rrik encourages a black-heavy deck to take full advantage of his abilities, he doesn’t restrict you to any specific strategy. You can build around him in many different ways, from lifegain and -loss strategies to heavy control or a reanimation game plan. His versatility in deck construction is one of the key reasons for his popularity.

Combos: There are various combos possible with K’rrik. One notable combo involves using “Aetherflux Reservoir”, which in conjunction with the numerous spells you’re likely casting due to K’rrik’s cost-reduction ability, can gain you a substantial amount of life and potentially one-shot opponents with its secondary ability. Pair K’rrik with the right cards in the 99 and go to town.

Remember that while K’rrik is powerful, he also makes you a target at the table, as experienced players will recognize the threat he poses. Furthermore, managing your life total is crucial when playing K’rrik, as reckless spending of life can leave you vulnerable to being taken out by your opponents.

Marrow-Gnawer and Tergrid, God of Fright clock in at #2 and #3 with impressive showings.

Marrow-Gnawer is a popular mono-black commander due to his synergy with rat creatures and tribal strategies. K’rrik may be the strongest deck on the list, but Marrow-Gnawer may be the best deck, in my opinion.

Rat Tribal Synergy: Marrow-Gnawer’s abilities specifically work with Rat creatures, making him an excellent choice for a Rat tribal deck. He can create a horde of rat tokens and boost their combat effectiveness.

Token Generation: His activated ability allows you to sacrifice a Rat to create a number of 1/1 black Rat creature tokens equal to the number of Rats you control. This can quickly get out of hand, resulting in a massive Rat army.

Fear Ability: Marrow-Gnawer grants all Rats you control Fear, which makes them unblockable except by black and artifact creatures. This significantly improves their offensive capabilities, making it easier for you to deal damage to opponents.

Combo Potential: Marrow-Gnawer pairs extremely well with cards like “Thornbite Staff”, which untaps a creature whenever a creature dies. If Marrow-Gnawer is equipped with Thornbite Staff, you can sacrifice a Rat to create a number of new Rats, and then untap Marrow-Gnawer to do it again. With two or more Rats, this creates an infinite combo where you can generate an unlimited number of Rat tokens.

Deck Building Fun: Building around a specific tribe can be a lot of fun, and Rats have a lot of interesting cards and synergies. Cards like “Relentless Rats” or “Rat Colony” can be included in any number without violating the usual deck-building rules of Commander, which adds another layer of strategy and fun to the deck construction.

Marrow-Gnawer’s effectiveness may vary in different metagames, but his unique abilities and fun playstyle make him a great choice for many players.

Tergrid, God of Fright is a mono-black commander that was introduced in the Kaldheim set of Magic: The Gathering. She can be a very powerful commander due to her ability to take advantage of one of black’s primary strengths: forcing opponents to sacrifice creatures and discard lots of cards. While 3rd on the list, Tergrid can still command one of the top decks in mono black EDH. Here’s what makes Tergrid, God of Fright, a strong choice:

Card Theft Ability: Tergrid has a unique ability that allows you to take control of any card an opponent discards or sacrifices. This is an incredibly powerful effect in commander, where opponents are often sacrificing creatures for various effects or discarding cards to hand size. With Tergrid on the field, every forced sacrifice or discard your opponents make could potentially benefit you.

Versatility: Tergrid is a double-faced card, which means she can be played either as Tergrid, God of Fright, or as her artifact side, Tergrid’s Lantern. This gives you flexibility depending on the state of the game.

Forcing Interaction: Tergrid’s Lantern, the artifact side of the card, can force opponents to either lose life or sacrifice nonland permanents, which fuels Tergrid, God of Fright’s ability when she’s on the battlefield.

Synergy with Black Effects: Black has a number of powerful cards that force opponents to discard cards or sacrifice creatures, such as “Mind Twist”, “Smallpox”, and “Liliana of the Veil”. These cards become even more devastating when you can take control of the discarded or sacrificed cards with Tergrid.

Deck-Building Options: Tergrid offers a unique deck-building challenge, as you’ll want to maximize the number of cards in your deck that force opponents to discard or sacrifice. This can lead to discovering and using cards that you might not include in other decks.

While Tergrid can be a very powerful commander, she can also draw a lot of attention and make you a target at the table, since her ability can be quite oppressive. If you choose to build a deck around her, make sure you include plenty of ways to protect her and control the board.

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician round out the top 5.

Sheoldred, the Apocolypse Is one of the new cards on the list, having come out not even a year ago in MTG Arena and print for Dominaria United. Benefits of using Sheoldred, the Apocalypse as a commander:

Reanimation: Sheoldred’s ability to reanimate creatures from your graveyard can help you to quickly rebuild your board after a board wipe or to get back powerful creatures that have been killed. 

Hexproof: Sheoldred has hexproof, which means that she can only be targeted by spells and abilities that specifically say they can target creatures with hexproof.

Versatility: Sheoldred fits into a variety of different mono black strategies. She can be used in a reanimator deck, a control deck, or even an aggro deck. 

Drawbacks of using Sheoldred, the Apocalypse as a commander:

High mana cost

Vulnerable to board wipes

Requires a lot of support

Reasons to use Yawgmoth, Thran Physician as your commander:

Value: Yawgmoth’s first ability is a repeatable source of card advantage and removal. Whenever a creature dies, you can put a -1/-1 counter on target creature or player. This can be used to keep your opponents in check or to fuel your own graveyard recursion.

Synergies: There are a lot of cards in Magic that synergize well with Yawgmoth’s abilities. Cards that sacrifice creatures, cards that give creatures -1/-1 counters, and cards that benefit from creatures dying all work well with Yawgmoth.

Versatile: Yawgmoth can be built in a variety of ways. You can build him as a reanimator deck, a control deck, or even an aristocrats deck.In multicolor you may find him in an orzhov clerics deck, but in mono black a Magic player can make special use of that proliferate

Drawbacks of using Yawgmoth, Thran Physician:

High mana cost

Vulnerable to removal

Requires a lot of support

The top ten are top of the meta, and probably the best representation of what you might see in the current meta for commander at your local game store.

Mono Black Commanders 11 – 20:

CMCNameCard KingdomTCGPlayerSaltDecks
4Imotekh the Stormlord$2.99$0.6902707
3Karumonix, the Rat King$0.49$0.1702362
3Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose$5.49$2.610.682320
3Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor$11.99$8.0202104
3Liliana, Heretical Healer$3.99$1.590.222059
3Toshiro Umezawa$5.49$4.660.271842
5Ghoulcaller Gisa$4.49$2.300.141604
4Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm$39.99$31.9801457
5Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon$8.99$7.931.251352
4Gisa, Glorious Resurrector$1.79$1.440.511233
Mono Black Commanders 11 through 20 per EDHREC.COM as of June 2023

I’ll call out 2 from each of the next few sets of 10 for various reasons. In this case let’s take a look at Karumonix, the Rat King and Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm.

Two more Rat tribal commanders, but two completely different ways to play Rats! Also of note other than the different play patterns is the extreme difference in cost.

Karumonix will start the poison counter race, which can be extremely powerful in Commander where the number of poison counters to win the game remains 10 in spite of increased life totals vs 60 card formats.

Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm thrives in a reanimator style deck and pumps all of your other Rats.

Mono Black Commanders 21 – 30:

CMCNameCard KingdomTCGPlayerSaltDecks
6Trazyn the Infinite$0.49$0.3201191
5Chainer, Dementia Master$0.49$0.260.461150
4Horobi, Death’s Wail$0.49$0.150.711082
3Mari, the Killing Quill$1.79$1.310.231079
4Gonti, Lord of Luxury$0.49$0.120.451056
3Maralen of the Mornsong$21.99$25.071.171027
5Massacre Girl$0.69$0.410.42931
3Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire$3.99$2.680.28919
7Phage the Untouchable$6.49$6.400.68917
8Vilis, Broker of Blood$8.49$7.040.76853
Mono Black Commanders 21-30 per EDHREC.COM as of June 2023

The card quality starts to dip a little after the top 10 but there’s a couple oldies but goodies found in 21 through 30. Chainer, Dementia Master hails from the Torment set in the Odyssey block, and Phage the Untouchable from Legions.

I have a special place in my heart for Phage, I pulled her in my Legions pre-release flight. I didn’t win every game, but if she hit the board I won that day. It was a good deck for limited format, even if she was never viable in standard format.

Chainer has great synergy with reanimator and you may see similar results to a Tergrid deck. It would be difficult to find tribal synergies Nightmares, but there are others out there. The three mana and three life reanimate from any graveyard at any time is hard to beat. Plus you pump what you grab, and if Chainer dies your opponents can’t reanimate or bring it back again.

Phage is one of those cards that you have to be a little crazy to play her. You literally can’t play her from the Command Zone outright, she has to be cheated into play with combos and special mechanics. These cards can do the trick even in a mono black EDH deck:

Torpor Orb: This artifact prevents creatures’ enter-the-battlefield abilities from triggering. If you have Torpor Orb on the field when you cast Phage, you won’t lose the game.

Sundial of the Infinite: This artifact allows you to end the turn as a special action. If you cast Phage and then activate Sundial in response to her enter-the-battlefield trigger, the trigger will be exiled and you won’t lose the game.

Platinum Angel: This artifact creature prevents you from losing the game. If you have Platinum Angel on the battlefield when you cast Phage, you won’t lose the game when her ability triggers.

Command Beacon: This land has an ability that puts your commander into your hand from the command zone, allowing you to cast Phage from your hand and avoid her deadly trigger.

Mono Black Commanders 31-40:

CMCNameCard KingdomTCGPlayerSaltDecks
7Arvinox, the Mind Flail$1.29$1.690.34834
7Sheoldred, Whispering One$9.99$7.541.21781
3Acererak the Archlich$8.49$5.560.41776
5Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder$1.49$1.510.14764
4King Macar, the Gold-Cursed$0.59$0.560.07751
6Mikaeus, the Unhallowed$21.99$17.830.98738
4Erebos, God of the Dead$14.99$9.660.44736
3Taborax, Hope’s Demise$0.49$0.200.08710
1Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist$0.49$0.130706
4Rankle, Master of Pranks$7.99$6.390.65672
Mono Black Commanders 31 through 40 per EDHREC.COM as of June 2023

Sheoldred, Whispering One is very versatile and can be played in reanimator, Voltron, and control, though it has a high casting cost. 

Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist is the other end of the casting cost spectrum, only starting at a single black mana. Those single-mana commanders can be hard to come by. While another black do something with your graveyard deck, creating Powerstones and Zombie artifact creature tokens ain’t too shabby either.

Mono Black Commanders 41 – 50:

CMCNameCard KingdomTCGPlayerSaltDecks
4Szarekh, the Silent King$0.99$0.250633
3Yahenni, Undying Partisan$2.49$2.000.27606
5Seizan, Perverter of Truth$0.49$0.210.29594
3Jerren, Corrupted Bishop$0.99$0.510.06587
2The Raven Man$0.49$0.210.3574
5Anrakyr the Traveller$0.69$0.410536
5Sheoldred$24.99$17.940526
5Yargle, Glutton of Urborg$0.35$0.040.3523
5Drivnod, Carnage Dominus$4.99$3.970512
4Korlash, Heir to Blackblade$2.99$2.520.11494
Mono Black Commanders 41 through 50 per EDHREC.COM as of June 2023

Magic has toyed with the dark side of religious leaders for as long as I can remember, and Jerren, Corrupted Bishop is no different. Can make for a fun deck though with the Human tribal and the explicit transform ability.

I found Korlash, Heir to Blackblade an interesting one to be on the list, especially so high, when his main ability for 60 card decks can’t even be applied in Elder Dragon Highlander decks, unless you find a way to clone him then get your actual commander in your hand. I have not played commander against him, but I can see him becoming an obscene Voltron with cards like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in the 99.

Mono Black Commanders 51 – 100:

CMCNameCard KingdomTCGPlayerSaltDecks
5Tivash, Gloom Summoner$0.49$0.180.21494
5Sidisi, Undead Vizier$7.99$7.080.48473
6Kokusho, the Evening Star$20.99$20.360.57463
6Volrath the Fallen$1.49$1.180.06452
4Starscream, Power Hungry$0.99$1.250442
2Tourach, Dread Cantor$2.79$1.910.35435
2Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia$2.49$1.920.15430
6Asmodeus the Archfiend$0.49$0.200.39422
6Mortarion, Daemon Primarch$0.49$0.160412
Burakos, Party Leader // Haunted One402
3Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion$2.99$1.710.34379
6Iname, Death Aspect$0.49$0.290.09367
4Balthor the Defiled$12.99$10.360.24365
6Geth, Lord of the Vault$0.99$0.410.33343
5Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath$10.99$6.470.12337
7Lorcan, Warlock Collector$0.49$0.280.38322
5Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief$0.49$0.350.45319
6Timothar, Baron of Bats$0.99$0.210.06318
3Drana, Liberator of Malakir$0.99$0.440.21298
4Whisper, Blood Liturgist$0.59$0.320.12295
6Ob Nixilis, Unshackled$1.99$1.860.65295
8Torgaar, Famine Incarnate$0.49$0.280.25293
3Fain, the Broker$0.49$0.210.15278
6Demonlord Belzenlok$1.99$1.600.27278
4Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet$12.99$8.480.64266
8Gorex, the Tombshell$0.49$0.260.04264
Sengir, the Dark Baron // Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools235
5Junji, the Midnight Sky$6.99$4.410.27231
6The Haunt of Hightower$4.99$2.730.41229
4Erebos, Bleak-Hearted$2.99$2.340.22215
5Anowon, the Ruin Sage$0.49$0.240.62211
5Drana, the Last Bloodchief$2.79$1.900.27211
3Illuminor Szeras$1.49$0.570208
5Ob Nixilis, the Fallen$6.49$5.650.37199
2Aphemia, the Cacophony$0.49$0.130190
4Ebondeath, Dracolich$4.49$3.070.17181
4Henrika Domnathi$1.29$0.690.14173
3Egon, God of Death$0.49$0.180.11172
5God-Eternal Bontu$3.99$3.120.15171
3Haakon, Stromgald Scourge$0.49$0.150.05168
6Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni$12.99$10.380.29164
3Maga, Traitor to Mortals$2.99$2.240.19160
3Bontu the Glorified$2.29$1.340156
8Razaketh, the Foulblooded$19.99$15.741.05154
4Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed$139.99$126.210.14150
4Forge, Neverwinter Charlatan$8.49$6.170148
4Kaervek, the Spiteful$0.49$0.180.35146
Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools // Tormod, the Desecrator146
Armix, Filigree Thrasher // Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor142
Miara, Thorn of the Glade // Nadier, Agent of the Duskenel138
Mono Black Commanders 51 through 100 per EDHREC.COM as of June 2023

Hey look at that, a Transformer made the back end of the list! I’d play Starscream, Power Hungry for that reason alone. Being a crossover for the Universes Beyond series this was never allowed in a Standard deck. It’s great to see these crossovers, prior to the UB series the only way to get anything similar was unofficial fan content like homemade proxies.

Another fun one on the bottom 50 is Ob Nixilis, Unshackled. New players may find the simplicity of the card to their liking. And that library search smack down can be downright deadly against some decks that tutor or mana fetch on the regular.

Mono black commanders can be incredibly powerful, and as you can see there’s no shortage of them. If you’re looking for power, special mechanics and win conditions, versatility, tribes, or just your next idea, I’m sure you can find a great one on the above list! This list can provide the start for aggro decks, control decks, and midrange decks. But you’ve spent enough time reading, it’s time to pick a mono black commander and go build a great deck!

What’s your favorite mono black commander? Let us know in the comments!

Need a black tutor to regularly find your combo pieces? All the best black tutors are listed here.

Not yet sold on mono black? Check out our write ups on the 100 best mono blue, mono green, mono red, and mono white commanders. For a different kind of challenge, check out the top 20 colorless commanders!

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All cards are copyright Wizards of the Coast and many above images and symbols are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC (now a subsidiary of Hasbro.)

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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