As always, before I get into my rating for each card, here’s a brief overview of my rating system.
- 1 – Bad card or only useful in the sideboard
- 2 – Passable, but not something I would pick early or often
- 3 – A solid card I’m happy to pick most of the time
- 4 – Powerful cards that provide a lot of value on their own
- 5 – Cards that will almost always win the game if your opponents can’t deal with them
Now that we know how I’ll be rating each card, let’s get straight into the ratings.
Ikoria Draft guide – Black
Bastion of Remembrance – 2.5
Bastion of Remembrance provides a steady amount of value throughout the game. It doesn’t do much on its own, but it is nice that it comes with a 1/1 human token. Orzhov Humans and Rakdos Sacrifice will want to include this into their decks most of the time. Golgari and Dimir won’t see as much value, but can still include this card most of the time.
Blitz Leech – 3
Blitz Leech is definitely a nice creature to pick up early on in the draft. Its flexibility is awesome. This card can usually snipe a small creature through its -2/-2 effect, and the fact that it removes all counters off a creature shouldn’t be underestimated. On top of all of that, it can be played at instant speed, and can trade very well against most creatures in the format.
Blood Curdle – 4
Blood Curdle is an amazing common. 4-mana instant speed removal is going to be great in this set. Giving a Menace counter to your creature isn’t always going to be impactful, but is a nice bonus.
Boot Nipper – 2.5
I think most of the time when you cast Boot Nipper, you’re going to choose Deathtouch. With that said, Lifelink is a good option if you plan on Mutating in the future. This card has value in all stages of the game, and will be a nice pick up most of the time.
Bushmeat Poacher – 2
4-mana for a 2/4 is nothing to be excited about. However, this card is a pretty decent blocker and provides a nice value engine for blockers that were going to die anyway. The fact that Bushmeat Poacher gains you life is going to add up over time, and makes this card a decent inclusion in black decks.
Call of the Death-Dweller – 3
The flexibility of Call of the Death-Dweller is amazing. The decks that can utilize this card’s effect are going to have an insane amount of value. Still, not every black deck is going to want Call of the Death-Dweller. Also, keep in mind that it doesn’t scale very well later on in the game. So make sure you have enough creatures to bring back if you’re going to include this card into your deck.
Cavern Whisperer – 2.5
A 4/4 menace creature for 5 mana is already a passable card. However, being able to mutate Cavern Whisperer into play on turn 4 can be a huge swing for you. Cavern Whisperer gets a little worse later on in the game, but is still a good pick overall.
Chittering Harvester – 2.5
Initially I thought Chittering Harvester was very good, but now I find that it’s only good in certain situations. After playing with this card a few times, paying 5 mana to remove your opponent’s worst creature was underwhelming. Against go-wide decks, Chittering Harvester isn’t going to do you a whole lot, even if you get a few mutate triggers off it. With that said, against other decks that aren’t capable of going wide, Chittering Harvester is going to be awesome.
Corpse Churn – 1.5
Dark Bargain – 2
This bargain is dark indeed. Paying 4-mana and 2 life for Dark Bargain isn’t that great, and I wouldn’t prioritize this card.
Dead Weight – 2.5
In other formats, Dead Weight is usually a good card and can snipe early creatures. However, Ikoria doesn’t have that many great targets for Dead Weight. The card still does its job and will still be good against aggressive decks, but it won’t find as much value as it normally would.
Void Beckoner – 2.5
I would give this card a 2 if it didn’t have cycling. I like that cycling this card permanently gives a creature death touch. This means that you don’t need to wait for combat to cycle this card. Also, the flexibility of keeping it as a giant beater later in the game is nice.
Whisper Squad – 1
No matter how many other Whisper Squads you get, I just don’t see it doing much. I’d much rather just have cards that create human tokens.
Zagoth Mamba – 1 // 2.5
This is the best mutate target in the set. It comes down early and has a very relevant ability when mutated on top of. However, Zagoth Mamba is only useful when you have a good amount of mutate in your deck. Otherwise, it’s just a 1 mana 1/1.