Mono-black has a wealth of riches when it comes to commander. From a plethora of mana doublers to the best tutors in the game, it has the tools to create a strong deck if you are willing to invest in the cards to make it happen. At least you don’t see black decks with infinite mana to fuel their shenanigans to take over a game…
Actually that is not true. Cockroaches have come to take over mono-black and give it some infinite mana punch. They are resilient in real life and they are even more so in Magic the Gathering.
Endless Cockroaches on the surface looks like it is a debatable include in a deck that wants to sacrifice things. For three mana you get a 1/1 that when it dies it goes back to your hand. This card is definitely on flavor as once you get cockroaches they are difficult to get rid of. Three mana for a 1/1 is a horrible rate for a creature especially if you want to abuse it over and over again. Reassembling Skeleton comes back from the graveyard for two mana. Also, Gravecrawler casts from your graveyard if you own another zombie. On their own, either of these cards are quicker include in any deck where you want to sacrifice or recur creatures.
Where Endless Cockroaches shines is when you pair it with Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder from Time Spiral. Whenever you cast a creature spell, put X 1/1 thrull tokens onto the battlefield where X is the creatures converted mana cost. Despite the cockroaches being individually mana inefficient, Endrek gives them value and you now have four 1/1 creatures for three mana. To put the mana cost in perspective, Goblin Rally creates four goblin tokens for five mana.
A sacrifice outlet is needed to turn our creatures into mana. The most card efficient is Phyrexian Altar. It creates one mana of any color whenever you sacrifice a creature. If you sacrifice the thrull tokens and the cockroaches you can generate four mana making at least two of the mana black. The cockroaches go back to your hand. With three of the four mana generated, you recast the cockroaches and have one mana left over. You can repeat this process infinitely. This will also work for Gravecrawler but you will need another zombie on the field to make it work. This makes the Endless Cockroaches the most card efficient out of the infinite mana options and the combination most probable to assemble.
And Asnod’s Altar Too
You can also make infinite mana with Ashnod’s Altar. It is a sacrifice outlet that makes 2 colorless mana for each creature sacrificed. On its own, this altar will not make the mana needed to recast the cockroaches. Another card is needed. Gemstone Array is an artifact that will allow you to play two colorless mana to put a counter on it. It also has the ability to remove a counter from itself to create one mana of any color. Ashnod’s Altar will generate eight colorless mana and this is enough to put three counters on the array and have two colorless mana left over to pay for the Endless Cockroaches. After you recast the cockroaches you will have one counter leftover and one colorless mana. You can remove the counter at any time to create one mana of any color.
You Can’t Kill Cockroaches
For those who want to stop the infinite mana combo itis not as easy as it first seems. Any of the creatures can be sacrificed at instant speed. Target a thrull with a kill spell, or the roaches with an exile effect. However, they still sacrifice before the instants resolve. If you want to stop the combo by stopping the creatures, then you have to target Endrec Sahr. Without a way to recur him form the graveyard the combo ends. The combo is most vulnerable to artifact removal. Your opponent can sac creatures to make mana at instant speed but they can not cast them at flash speed. This means the sac outlet and mana generation is destroyed after one round of sacrifices. Then the chain stops.
Infinite mana is great you can use the mana to fuel all sorts of mischievousness. You can cast a Torment of Hailfire or Exsanguinate for a billion. Any mana sink can be spammed over and over again. You can also generate enough mana to keep come thrulls on the battlefield and add a Pontiff of Blight to extort your opponents to death. Cards that give mass haste can also allow a thrull army to overwhelm your opponents. These are all acceptable ways to win the game.
There is another way to win that fits the flavor of what the infinite mana combo is already doing. That is abusing death or enter the battlefield triggers.. If you are in red, then Warstorm Surge will deal damage one point at a time until your opponents are dead. We can more efficiently kill in mono-black though. Any black deck has access to aristocrats. A Zulaport Cutthroat or any of his friends will deal one damage to your opponents one sacrifice at a time. Ayara, First of Lochtwain will trigger damage as your black thrulls and cockroaches enter the battlefield. You can add as many of these cards as your deck can allow. This increases the odds of you drawing into them so that you kill your opponents once you assemble your infinite mana combo.
What is nice about this combination is how flexible it is. If you are in an aristocrat archetype these combinations of cards give you flexibility to include all the pieces to bring a win out of nowhere. You can also do it all in just one color. It can easily slide into any deck that uses black. Any deck that uses Phyrexian Altar also is eligible to at the very least generate infinite mana. How you choose to win with the infinite mana is entirely up to you.
How would you kill with infinite black mana shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.