What are the Best Black Planeswalkers in MTG?

A collection of the best black Planeswalkers in a collage with the text 'Best Black Planeswalkers' over it, in purple

Planeswalkers are a powerful card type in MTG, so naturally a mono black player may ask the question, what are the best black Planeswalkers MTG has to offer? Over the course of MTG’s history, there have been over 25 mono black Planeswalkers printed. Some of these black Planeswalkers are incredibly OP, while others are pretty tame, in comparison.

It may come as no surprise, but one of the best black Planeswalkers is Liliana, Dreadhorde General. She has so much value packed in to a single card, it is crazy to think about. In addition to Liliana, this article will go over 11 of the best black Planeswalkers MTG has ever printed, and give an in-depth overview of each one and why it is considered the best. Follow along as we activate abilities to victory!

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Abilities the Best Black Planeswalkers Have

When trying to find the best black Planeswalkers, there are certain qualities I am specifically looking for. Two of black’s biggest strengths are creature destruction and card draw. So in my opinion, the best black Planeswalkers should have at least one of those as an ability, bonus points for having both as abilities. Now, if a ‘walker has a way to create a creature token as another ability, that’d be chef’s kiss. This is why (spoiler alert) Liliana, Dreadhorde General is one of the best black Planeswalkers ever created and my personal number one pick.

When I am trying to evaluate what qualifies as one of the best black Planeswalkers, abilities you can use right away outweigh ultimate abilities, easily. So generally, I think of ultimate abilities as ‘nice to have’ and nothing more. Sure, ultimate abilities can be win conditions, but a good rule of thumb is to have multiple different win conditions in your deck, because pulling off a Planeswalker’s ultimate ability is by no means a sure thing. So with all of that outlined, let’s get right into the list of best black Planeswalkers!

Best Black Planeswalkers Ranked

There are over 25 mono black Planeswalkers in existence. These 11 specific ones, no matter their ranking position, are the best black Planeswalkers. Please note, this is my personal ranking, based on my play style. Your ranking could be completely different than mine. Also, depending on your deck’s theme and win conditions, some of these Planeswalkers may be better or worse for your deck. For example, if you are playing a black spellslinger style deck, Professor Onyx would probably be ranked #1 for that specific deck.

1. Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Card image of Liliana, Dreadhorde General. #1 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

Liliana, Dreadhorde General is my favorite black Planeswalker, and in my opinion, is easily the number one spot on the best black Planeswalkers ever printed. She has a starting loyalty of 6 and costs 2 black and 4 generic, for a total of 6 mana. Not only does she have 3 abilities, she also has a strong static ability:

Static Ability: Whenever a creature you control dies, draw a card.

  • +1: Create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.
  • -4: Each player sacrifices two creatures.
  • -9: Each opponent chooses a permanent they control of each permanent type and sacrifices the rest.

While those abilities are all incredibly good and useful, her static ability is really what makes her #1 in my book. The moment she hits the battlefield, she gains you value. You can use here +1 ability and create a Zombie to protect her, if you’re in need of creatures. Alternatively, if you want to get rid of a few creatures, you can always use here -4 ability,

right off the bat. You will have to sacrifice two of your creatures, yes, but you’ll then draw two cards after doing so because of her static ability. And if you don’t have any creatures to begin with, you wont be losing anything at all!

So not only is it a 3-for-1, assuming you’re playing a 4 person game, but then you’ll also get two fresh new cards too! Not to mention her -9 ability… talk about depriving your opponents of their resources. Although, I have only been able to pull off her ultimate ability like two or three times ever. Opponents try their best to eliminate her as soon as she hits the battlefield.

2. Lolth, Spider Queen

Card image of Lolth, Spider Queen. #2 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

Coming in at #2 on my best black Planeswalkers list is Lolth, Spider Queen. She enters the battlefield with 4 loyalty counters and cost 2 black and 3 generic, for a total of 5 mana. The abilities this Planeswalker has are:

Static Ability: Whenever a creature you control dies, you put a loyalty counter on Lolth, Spider Queen.

  • 0: You draw a card and you lose 1 life.
  • -3: Create two 2/1 black Spider creature tokens with menace and reach.
  • -8: You get an emblem with “Whenever an opponent is dealt combat damage by one or more creatures you control, if that player lost less than 8 life this turn, they lose life equal to the difference.”

The biggest reason I have Lolth ranked as the #2 best black Planeswalker is because of her static ability, in combination with her activated abilities. Her static ability can sometimes make her very difficult to remove.

Opponents will be hesitant to attack you or kill your creatures since every time one dies, Lolth gets a loyalty counter put on her. This is what makes her -3 ability so good. Not only do you get 2 creatures per activation, but each spider she creates has both menace and reach.

That means you can protect her from regular attackers along with flying attackers. The spiders also make excellent blocking fodder as Lolth‘s loyalty will just keep growing every time a spider dies.

Once you have a solid army of blockers, you can use her 0 ability to draw cards and keep your hand filled. Also, it is very reasonable to be able to activate her ultimate ability and get yourself that emblem. Then, every time any of your creatures deals combat damage to an opponent, they will take a minimum of 8 life! Even if you are only able to do 1 point of damage, the emblem will make them lose an additional 7 life.

3. Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools

Card image of Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools. #3 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

Next up on the best black Planeswalkers list is Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools. This is a pretty unique Planeswalker than not only can be your commander, but that can also be partnered with any other card that has the Partner ability, too. For 1 black and 4 generic, totaling 5 mana, you get this Planeswalker with 4 starting loyalty and the following abilities:

  • +2: Create two 0/1 black Thrull creature tokens.
  • +1: You may sacrifice another creature or planeswalker. If you do, draw two cards, then draw another card if the sacrificed permanent was a commander.
  • -10: Gain control of all commanders. Put all commanders from the command zone onto the battlefield under your control.

Tevesh Szat is one of the rare Planeswalkers where your goal is to use his -10 ultimate ability. Both of his non-ultimate abilities are plus abilities and the +2 ability gives you two bodies on the battlefield to protect him with, as you inch closer to that magical 10 loyalty. Unlike most other Planeswalkers, when playing Tevesh, you should try and get to the ultimate ability as quickly as possible.

Once you are able to use it, you get every single commander (including you own) whether they are on the battlefield or in the Command Zone. For a lot of players, this will completely shut down their deck’s game plan and put you in the driver’s seat.

4. Professor Onyx

Card image of Professor Onxy. #4 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

The best black Planeswalkers fourth space goes to Professor Onyx. Totally not a Liliana Planeswalker… She comes in at 5 loyalty and costs a total of 6 mana, with 2 being black and 4 being generic. She has the following abilities:

Static Ability: Magecraft – Whenever you cast or copy an instant or sorcery spell, each opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

  • +1: You lose 1 life. Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.
  • -3: Each opponent sacrifices a creature with the greatest power among creatures that player controls.
  • -8: Each opponent may discard a card. If they don’t, they lose 3 life. Repeat this process six more times.

Professor Onyx is a really powerful Planeswalker. If you are running any sort of spellslinger or storm deck, she is an absolute include. Her static ability will drain your opponents and boost your life total every time you cast/copy an instant or sorcery.

And there are tons of 1-2 mana black instants/sorceries to trigger that static ability. Also, the life gain from this static ability works very well with some of the black cards that you let you cast spells using your life total, rather than paying their mana cost, such as Bolas’s Citadel or K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth.

The entire game plan with her is to cast as many instant/sorcery spells as you can and use her -1 ability to find another spell to cast, preferably an instant or sorcery. You can obviously find a land or creature, if you’re in need of either as well. Her -3 ability is also fantastic.

It only applies to your opponents, and usually, you’re making them sacrifice their scariest threat! If you’re able to active her ultimate ability, chances are you will win on the spot. At worst, you will be forcing your opponents to have no cards in hand and just be playing from the top of their decks.

5. Liliana, Death’s Majesty

Card image of Liliana, Death's Majesty. #5 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

The fifth place on the best black Planeswalkers list belongs to Liliana, Death’s Majesty. She is a 2 black and 3 generic mana Planeswalker that starts at 5 loyalty with the following abilities:

  • +1: Create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token. Mill two cards.
  • -3: Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield. That creature is a black Zombie in addition to its other colors and types.
  • -7: Destroy all non-Zombie creatures.

This Liliana version is a great recursion/reanimator tool. The main goal with her is to bring devastating creatures from your graveyard on to the battlefield. One of the main reasons I have her ranked so high on the best black Planeswalkers list is due to her being able to jumpstart your reanimation plan.

Her +1 ability will not only create a creature token to protect her, but you can start milling cards into your graveyard so you can find some awesome targets to reanimate. Besides, if you already have a creature in your graveyard that you want on the battlefield, you can instead immediately user her -3 ability to reanimate that creature!

She is very versatile, and chances are, you will be able to use her -3 ability two or more times before she dies. Due to every single ability referring to Zombies, she is basically a must include in any Zombie deck that runs black.

6. Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting

Card image of Vrask, Betrayal's Sting. #6 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

The #6 entry of the best black Planeswalkers is another pretty strong one with Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting. Being that this Planeswalker is Compleated, there are two different casting costs. Either 2 black and 4 generic for a 6 loyalty Vraska, or 1 black 4 generic and 2 life for a 4 loyalty Vraska. Along with being Compleated, she has the following abilities:

  • 0: You draw a card and you lose 1 life. Proliferate.
  • -2: Target creature becomes a Treasure artifact with “Tap, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color” and loses all other card types and abilities.
  • -9: If target player has fewer than nine poison counters, they get a number of poison counters equal to the difference.

Vraska‘s first two abilities are great. Her 0 ability is basically a +1 ability since it gives you card draw and a Proliferate trigger. Whereas her -2 ability is essentially creature removal, albeit semi-ramps the opponent, or yourself if you target one of your creatures! Don’t be afraid to cast this Vraska with only 5 mana, paying the 2 life for the Phyrexian black.

The 2 life is negligible and the 2 less starting loyalty is not that big of a deal either, in my opinion since you will more often than not, being spamming her 0 ability, which will add a loyalty counter from the Proliferate trigger anyways.

7. Ob Nixilis Reignited

Card image of Ob Nixilis Reignited. #7 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

For #7 on the list of best black Planeswalkers, I went with Ob Nixilis Reignited. He cost 2 black and 3 generic, for a total of 5 mana and enters the battlefield with 5 starting loyalty. All-in-all, this is a pretty basic Planeswalker with the following abilities:

  • +1: You draw a card and you lose 1 life.
  • -3: Destroy target creature.
  • -8: Target opponent gets an emblem with “Whenever a player draws a card, you lose 2 life.”

If there is a problematic creature that needs taken care of, you can immediately bring his loyalty to 2 by using his -3 ability to destroy that creature. Aside from that, his +1 ability does the usual black thing by drawing yourself a card and losing one life.

When using Ob Nixilis Reignited, my goal is to draw a few cards and be able to use his -3 ability at least twice before it dies or gets removed. I would call it a success if you are able to destroy two creatures and draw even just one card from him. All of that for 5 total mana over three turns is not a bad return on investment in my book.

8. Sorin Markov

Card image of Sorin Markov. #8 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

Coming in at the eighth entry of the best black Planeswalkers is the OG Sorin, aptly named Sorin Markov. Sorin has a starting loyalty of 4 and costs 3 black and 3 generic, for a total of 6 mana to cast. He has the following abilities:

  • +2: Sorin Markov deals 2 damage to any target and you gain 2 life.
  • -3: Target opponent’s life total becomes 10.
  • -7: You control target player during that player’s next turn.

Like every single Planeswalker on this best black Planeswalkers list, Sorin Markov is extremely powerful. From my experience, maybe even a little too powerful as whoever casts this seems to end up being public enemy number one. As soon as he hits the battlefield, his -3 ability is a massive threat that each opponent will take notice of, wondering if and when you will target them with it.

Aside from that, you can potentially use his ultimate -7 ability two turns after casting him, assuming he sticks around that long. Nobody wants to be controlled during their turn, which again paints a huge target on your back. Plus, his first ability is just so much value.

You either kill a problematic creature or drain an opponent for 2 life while you yourself will gain 2 life, all while giving Sorin TWO loyalty. Honestly, if his +2 ability was just a +1 instead, I think he would be much more manageable. But threatening the -7 ability just two turns after casting him is huge.

9. Liliana of the Dark Realms

Card image of Liliana of the Dark Realms. #9 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

The number nine spot on the best black Planeswalkers goes to another Liliana. Shocking, I know. This time it is Liliana of the Dark Realms. She starts with 3 loyalty and cost 2 black and 2 generic, totaling 4 mana and has the following activated abilities:

  • +1: Search your library for a Swamp card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.
  • -3: Target creature gets +X/+X or -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of Swamps you control.
  • -6: You get an emblem with “Swamps you control have ‘tap: Add 4 black.’”

This Liliana ‘walker is a little different from the rest. She is all about swamps: ensuring you hit your land drops and using your swamps to buff or (potentially) destroy creatures. Her +1 ability is great because you can use it to make sure you always have a land to play for turn. Fun fact, it can also grab non-basic lands, so long as they have the Swamp sub-type!

The turn you play her, you will probably want to use that ability so you don’t immediately kill her by using the -3 ability. But in a pinch, using her -3 ability right away is not the worst thing in the world. It could essentially be a 4 mana kill spell. For example, if you have enough swamps, giving an opponent’s indestructible creature -X/-X could just outright kill it.

10. Liliana Vess

Card image of Liliana Vess. #10 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

For the fifth and final Liliana, the #10 place on the best black Planeswalkers list is, appropriately named, Liliana Vess. She enters the battlefield with a starting loyalty of 5. To cast her, she cost 2 black and 3 generic, for a total of 5 mana and comes with the following abilities:

  • +1: Target player discards a card.
  • -2: Search your library for a card, then shuffle and put that card on top.
  • -8: Put all creature cards from all graveyards onto the battlefield under your control.

I think the biggest appeal with this Planeswalker is her -2 ability to put any card you want on top of your library. The ideal play is to use her -2 ability and get one of your win conditions on top of your library. Then, worst case scenario, draw that card at the beginning of your next turn.

But, being in black, you may have a way to draw that card without having to wait until your next turn. Now you are in cruise control. You can then utilize her +1 ability and starting forcing opponents to discard a card, one-by-one each turn. Slowly, but surely, you will begin to build her loyalty up. If she can stick around and graveyards have not been exiled, the -8 ability is essentially a game-ender.

11. Sorin the Mirthless

Card image of Sorin the Mirthless. #11 on the list of best black Planeswalkers.

Finally comes Sorin the Mirthless as the final inclusion in the best black Planeswalkers list being discussed here. He enters the battlefield with 4 starting loyalty and costs 2 black and 2 generic, for a total of 4 mana. He also has these 3 abilities attached to him:

  • +1: Look at the top card of your library. You may reveal that card and put it into your hand. If you do, you lose life equal to its mana value.
  • -2: Create a 2/3 black Vampire creature token with flying and lifelink.
  • -7: Sorin the Mirthless deals 13 damage to any target. You gain 13 life.

While this Sorin has two of the three abilities I mentioned in the Abilities the Best Black Planeswalkers Have section, I am not the biggest fan of his ‘card draw’ ability. I wish it was more akin to all the others: draw a card and lose 1 life.

Instead, you can choose to reveal the card and then if you do, you lose life equal to is mana value and put it in your hand. The life loss can quickly add up. Imagine revealing a 5 mana value card on turn one and then a 3 mana value card on turn two… You are already down 8 total life. With that being said, I do like that his -2 ability’s creature has Lifelink to hopefully negate some of that life loss, but I just wish it cost 1 loyalty to activate instead of 2.

Despite all the negativity, this is still one of the best black Planeswalkers and can be very useful in your deck(s). I do think he is much better in the late game, though. Especially if you only have a single opponent left. This allows you to (hopefully) protect him easier and get up to 7+ loyalty so you can use his ultimate, causing a 26 point swing in life totals, with you being up 13 and the opponent being down 13.

Final Thoughts

If you found the information in this article helpful and are considering purchasing some of these killer black Planeswalkers, please consider using the links provided throughout. It really does help because it lets TCGplayer know you found this beneficial. Plus, this site receives a small commission to keep the lights on, and of course at zero cost to you!

All of that being said, these are what I feel are the 11 best black Planeswalkers MTG has printed, ranked. As you noticed, there a ton of Liliana cards on this list. And that sort of makes sense, given how powerful or a character she is and her overall popularity. As stated above, my rankings for the best black Planeswalkers are based on my personal play style. To be considered one of the best black Planeswalkers, it should have at least two of the following three abilities. The ability to draw cards, some sort of creature removal and a way to generate token creatures to protect itself when it is first cast.

I really hope you enjoyed this and I will be sure to update the best black Planeswalkers rankings as time passes and more Planeswalkers are introduced into the game. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I would definitely be interested to see how you rank these along with what specific criteria goes in to your decision process. Thanks for reading and happy deck building!

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