Completing the four black colour pairs is Orzhov. The basic concept of this deck is to put together a large bulk of cards which in various ways hinder your opponents. Effects include making your opponents pay more to attack or block, making them pay more to cast spells, anything with the extort keyword and effects which, in general, are just a bloody nuisance.
There are also a few exalted cards in these colours too to make combat less predictable for your opponent.
I’ve pulled ideas on what to include from decks like pillowfort, hatebears, death and taxes etc.
Disruption and removal
This deck doesn’t have the advantages of some of the other colour combinations in terms of card synergy (the tribal decks), grinding advantage (graveyard decks) or just silly hugeness (ramp) but what this pair does have is some of the best disruption in the cube. Both colours have some of the strongest single target removal (I actually cut back on whites targeted removal while doing this as it was a little too good, I’ve kept Path and Swords as a “best in class” kinda thing).
Black also gives you plenty of options for hand disruption, the latest addition being Hymn to Tourach which now I’m increasing the cubes power level should be fine. I considered Cabal Therapy but outside of a constructed format the first cast is basically luck based which I wanted to avoid.
Also as is a theme in this deck you get many extra copies of the same effects bolted onto creatures, such as Fiend Hunter and Banisher Priest for removal and Tidehollow Sculler and Sin Collector for hand disruption.
Taxes and interference
Another section of this archetype is permanent which disrupt the general course of play for your opponent. I’m aiming for a variation on the sort of cards you would see in a WB hatebears/pillowfort type of thing.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Vryn Wingmare punish your opponent for playing non creature spells. Ghostly Prison, Norn’s Annex and Archangel of Tithes all make attacking difficult for your opponent and are particularly punishing for any deck that wants to go wide, such as a GW tokens deck.
There are also a few cards to reduce the effectiveness of your opponents cards. Blind Obedience, Hushwing Gryff, Containment Priest, Aegis of the Gods, Spirit of the Labyrinth and Eidolon of Rhetoric all nerf or outright prevent something on your opponents side from functioning (the effects are largely symmetrical, but as is often the case in magic the person controlling an apparently symmetrical effect usually gets a disproportionate benefit from it).
Winning the game
All this is well and good but you do need to eventually be able to win the game. You could just throw in a Baneslayer Angel or a Grave Titan but there are some slightly more subtle ways available.
Exalted is the first way this deck has to win. Sublime Archangel turns just about any creature you can protect into a huge threat, plus there are a few extra sources of exalted triggers dotted throughout white and black including my personal favourite exalted creatures Knight of Glory and Knight of Infamy. Speaking of…
Protection is something I tried to keep to a minimum in building this cube and most of it is in this deck. The aforementioned knights, Soldier of the Pantheon and a few others have protection (there’s a little outside of black white but its either at the high end or fairly niche…except for Stormbreath Dragon which is basically trinket text unless you have a StP in hand and True Name Nemesis…because True Name Nemesis). You also get Mother of Runes, a card which just makes everything difficult for the other guy, basically blanking one removal spell or combat interaction per turn.
There’s also Pontiff of Blight to win without even attacking, Bitterblossom to gradually overwhelm your opponents with flyers (bitterblossom + pontiff + just about anything = fun).
This deck doesn’t have a great deal of synergy with other colours but there are some deficiencies which are helped by pulling cards from other colours. Green works particularly well as both the Selesnya (WG) and Abzan (WBG) sections have some big chunky creatures (such as Siege Rhino) and some good hate effects (such as Dryad Militant and Voice of Resurgence).
This may change as I’m thinking of heavily reworking the artifact deck (currently spread across all non green colours) into either UR or entirely replacing it with eldrazi.
An example deck
Realising I should really have been doing this with the other archetypes as I go (hmm….TO THE EDIT BUTTON…when I can be arsed), here’s an example deck.
This one came out a little low on spells but, the cards that come up are the cards that come up.
The complete list
BG Cube Subtheme (Graveyard/Morbid) - December 2015
On looking at all this I think the raw power level on some of the cards in this section is higher than most of the BG/BR/UB section but the cards in this section will be more fought over for generic good stuff decks, whereas the tribal or graveyard cards will be easier to pick up a larger number of the cards for.