Gotta be honest, I'm a little upset with WotC over Professor Onyx.

When I first saw it, I was excited. A Professor Onyx who doesn't go by Professor Onyx?! Why the need for a secret identity? It probably has to do with the fact she's being hunted down by other Planeswalkers and Ravnicans for her role in Nicol Bolas's invasion, so I kinda get it. But still, with a new identity comes all kinds of exciting possibilities for new mechanics, too!

And to be fair, it kinda delivered. Magecraft is interesting, and the main theme here is pretty straightforward—spells matter. But I'm upset WotC didn't compensate very well by either putting more mono-black magecraft cards in Strixhaven, OR making this new Professor Onyx multicolored. You're telling me Professor Onyx couldn't be a UB card, so I could have more prowess & spells matter stuff? C'mon WotC, how dare you.

Full Disclosure: I'm not putting Chain of Smog in this list. It's not that I don't have copies—in fact I probably need to dig out a bunch to unload next time I go back to my parents' house where all my bulk still lives. I just wasn't interested in a two-card combo that ends the game instantly.

So anyway, I'm not doing the infinite combo. And mono-black is ill-suited to take the fullest advantage of Professor Onyx skillset. But that doesn't mean we can't have a fun deck right?

Ok class, take your seats and let's begin:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Professor Onyx by Andy Hurst

'Professor Onyx' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $31.07

Cards

Moan of the Unhallowed

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180926_200w.jpg

Create two 2/2 black Zombie creature tokens.
Flashback {5}{B}{B} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Go Blank

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235576_200w.jpg

Target player discards two cards. Then exile that player's graveyard.

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Mage Hunter

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235659_200w.jpg

Whenever an opponent casts or copies an instant or sorcery spell, they lose 1 life.

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Plumb the Forbidden

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.72

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236007_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may sacrifice one or more creatures. When you do, copy this spell for each creature sacrificed this way.
You draw a card and you lose 1 life.

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Disfigure

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192506_200w.jpg

Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.

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Dark Petition

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/100099_200w.jpg

Search your library for a card, put that card into your hand, then shuffle.
Spell mastery — If there are two or more instant and/or sorcery cards in your graveyard, add {B}{B}{B}.

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Cabal Patriarch

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9395_200w.jpg

{2}{B}, Sacrifice a creature: Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
{2}{B}, Exile a creature card from your graveyard: Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.

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Morbid Hunger

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9425_200w.jpg

Morbid Hunger deals 3 damage to any target. You gain 3 life.
Flashback {7}{B}{B} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Sengir Autocrat

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118606_200w.jpg

When Sengir Autocrat enters the battlefield, create three 0/1 black Serf creature tokens.
When Sengir Autocrat leaves the battlefield, exile all Serf tokens.

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Professor Onyx

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $10.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/234963_200w.jpg

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.

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Brackish Trudge

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235946_200w.jpg

Brackish Trudge enters the battlefield tapped.
{1}{B}: Return Brackish Trudge from your graveyard to your hand. Activate only if you gained life this turn.

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Dark Dabbling

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180901_200w.jpg

Regenerate target creature. Draw a card. (The next time the creature would be destroyed this turn, it isn't. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)
Spell mastery — If there are two or more instant and/or sorcery cards in your graveyard, also regenerate each other creature you control.

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Ransack the Lab

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191758_200w.jpg

Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.

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Overeager Apprentice

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93591_200w.jpg

Discard a card, Sacrifice Overeager Apprentice: Add {B}{B}{B}.

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Umbral Juke

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235903_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Target player sacrifices a creature or planeswalker.
• Create a 2/1 white and black Inkling creature token with flying.

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Discordant Piper

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206939_200w.jpg

When Discordant Piper dies, create a 0/1 white Goat creature token.

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Goremand

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215663_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, sacrifice a creature.
Flying
Trample (This creature can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)
When Goremand enters the battlefield, each opponent sacrifices a creature.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215721_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Morgue Theft

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9426_200w.jpg

Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
Flashback {4}{B} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Apprentice Necromancer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.53

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180825_200w.jpg

{B}, {T}, Sacrifice Apprentice Necromancer: Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield. That creature gains haste. At the beginning of the next end step, sacrifice it.

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Lab Rats

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5365_200w.jpg

Buyback {4} (You may pay an additional {4} as you cast this spell. If you do, put this card into your hand as it resolves.)
Create a 1/1 black Rat creature token.

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Liliana's Devotee

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248769_200w.jpg

Zombies you control get +1/+0.
At the beginning of your end step, if a creature died this turn, you may pay {1}{B}. If you do, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.

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Biblioplex Assistant

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235992_200w.jpg

Flying
When Biblioplex Assistant enters the battlefield, put up to one target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard on top of your library.

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Pawn of Ulamog

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/140009_200w.jpg

Whenever Pawn of Ulamog or another nontoken creature you control dies, you may create a 0/1 colorless Eldrazi Spawn creature token. It has "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}."

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Repentant Vampire

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9432_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever a creature dealt damage by Repentant Vampire this turn dies, put a +1/+1 counter on Repentant Vampire.
Threshold — As long as seven or more cards are in your graveyard, Repentant Vampire is white and has "{T}: Destroy target black creature."

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Professor's Warning

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235970_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.
• Target creature gains indestructible until end of turn. (Damage and effects that say "destroy" don't destroy it.)

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Liliana's Shade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/59969_200w.jpg

When Liliana's Shade enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a Swamp card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.
{B}: Liliana's Shade gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

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Covenant of Blood

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/90847_200w.jpg

Convoke (Your creatures can help cast this spell. Each creature you tap while casting this spell pays for {1} or one mana of that creature's color.)
Covenant of Blood deals 4 damage to any target and you gain 4 life.

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Shambling Ghoul

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/167980_200w.jpg

Shambling Ghoul enters the battlefield tapped.

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Brush with Death

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5313_200w.jpg

Buyback {2}{B}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B}{B} as you cast this spell. If you do, put this card into your hand as it resolves.)
Target opponent loses 2 life. You gain 2 life.

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Boneclad Necromancer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192647_200w.jpg

When Boneclad Necromancer enters the battlefield, you may exile target creature card from a graveyard. If you do, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.

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Sedgemoor Witch

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235964_200w.jpg

Menace
Ward—Pay 3 life. (Whenever this creature becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter it unless that player pays 3 life.)
Magecraft — Whenever you cast or copy an instant or sorcery spell, create a 1/1 black and green Pest creature token with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life."

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Unholy Hunger

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180945_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature.
Spell mastery — If there are two or more instant and/or sorcery cards in your graveyard, you gain 2 life.

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Chainer's Edict

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180795_200w.jpg

Target player sacrifices a creature.
Flashback {5}{B}{B} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Black Cat

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215978_200w.jpg

When Black Cat dies, target opponent discards a card at random.

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Crippling Fatigue

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9739_200w.jpg

Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
Flashback—{1}{B}, Pay 3 life. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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The Game Plan

We're mostly looking to lock things up with solid spells. With Professor Onyx in play, we'll cast as many spells as possible, so buyback and flashback are at a premium. We're very interested in spells to trigger that magecraft!

Because of the Professor Onyx magecraft, we're interested in siphoning off some of our creature slots into spells that make token creatures—which means we'll want a few payoffs for having a number of disposable creatures sticking around. I'm not 100% sure the payoffs here are worth it, but it involves one of my favorite cards in the rare pile that I knew would be difficult to otherwise incorporate, so I'm pleased with the result.

Turns out there aren't a ton of other scholarly positions with the black cards, although both Overeager Apprentice and Apprentice Necromancer make appearances from the student ranks. Biblioplex Assistant helps recycle some valuable spells. But mostly these creatures are holding the fort for either the spicy rares or the fun spells. Goremand has a 10/10 name, and it's tough for me to have a Liliana deck without some kind of demonic reference, given her past. And we'll certainly have fodder to cash in for it.

The spell package is looking for stuff that can build out our board, or things we can replay. Lab Rats and Brush with Death both buyback, so even though they're not the most efficient package, they can trigger magecraft whenever we need. Chainer's Edict, Morgue Theft, Morbid Hunger, Crippling Fatigue, and Moan of the Unhallowed all flashback for more triggers too, and can mitigate the sting of something like Ransack the Lab putting too many goodies in the grumper. Because we'll have so many spells in the yard, Dark Dabbling and Unholy Hunger—both nice flavorful nods to Professor Onyx—should have no trouble hitting the Spell Mastery.

The Rares

It's so nice to have another rare here that cares about magecraft! It's a tall order pushing a theme when only one card in the deck that cares about it comes out on turn six. Sedgemoor Witch is a fine addition to the "value three-drop black rare" we often see. And hopefully the tokens she'll generate will hold the fort, pad the life total, and maybe even help fuel some of our other rares.

This card is pretty medium. I'm not sure it was too good, ever. But, the idea of a bad guy who eventually turns good and helps beat up other bad guys is a narrative that nicely captures Professor Onyx arc, too. Hopefully she'll continue the slide to sometimes acting on the side of the angels and justifying Gideon's Sacrifice sacrifice. Also, this Repentant Vampire is a solid flyer and should hopefully evade blockers to start chunking out the opponent's life total.

I've always loved this card, even though it's abundantly clear it's a Limited-only card. And even in the nascent days of EDH, there were always better options. But he's such a neat character, so I decided to throw it in there. He's definitely a nasty customer, but not a pure vortex of hate and evil. There's some grey in there, kinda like Professor Onyx. And the ability will make use of the tokens our spells and effects churn out to help lock down the board.

In an ideal world, this is a Demonic Tutor, both because of its iconic status and the fact that Professor Onyx could very likely make use of Demonic Tutor in her curriculum. But, it's a pricey card, and I'm trying to keep the budgets reasonable here. Dark Petition, as a Liliana-specific Demonic Tutor, is a fine substitute that plays well with our other theme of magecraft—since we're playing enough spells to reliably turn on the Spell Mastery. Remember that Kyra can be played very conveniently with the three mana rebate…

Unsung Hero

We're not exactly a Zombie deck, but we don't have to be. The Liliana's Devotee is a great teacher's assistant. The wording here is very important—Liliana's Devotee triggers regardless of whose creature died, token or not. Suddenly, even though some of our tokens are on the anemic side, it becomes so much harder to really lose a combat, since we can turn crappy creatures into 3/2 Zombies. The Liliana's Devotee won't be winning any speed records for demolishing our opponents, but that's ok. If the Liliana's Devotee gets to live, the advantage he generates will prove insurmountable.