How to Build a Magic the Gathering Black Discard Deck

Why Make a Discard deck?

A Magic the Gathering Discard deck is a really fun deck to play. Rather than swamping your opponent with big creatures or hitting them with tons of direct damage spells, you empty their hands early on in the game and frustrate their strategy. When an opponent gets rattled, they are more prone to make mistakes, and a discard deck exploits that weakness.

Where to Start?

The place to start with any Magic the Gathering deck is color(s) and lands. For a discard deck the primary color should be black. If you’re a beginner at Magic the Gathering, I recommend building decks with one color so you can learn what each color is capable of, and then begin combining the colors. The typical deck is around 60 cards.

You’ll want to set aside 20-24 lands for your deck. For black the basic land is a swamp, but there are special Magic the Gathering land cards that give you special effects. For example, black has a special land called the “Bojuka Bog” that comes into play tapped and exiles creatures from a player’s graveyard.


For a Magic the Gathering black discard deck, you’ll want to load up with 12-24 creatures. I know this is a wide range, but you might find that with your collection you end up with more or less creatures. Since this is a discard deck, having some creatures with discard abilities is a plus. A good card for this would be “Liliana’s Specter.”


Your discard deck is also going to need some good spells in it, around 12-24 as well. A low mana spell like “Horrifying Revelation” or “Duress” is great for making your opponent lose cards early on. Also, “Liliana’s Caress,” an enchantment that causes the player to lose life when they discard, is great to have out early as well. Get several of them out, and your opponent is not only losing their cards, but can also begin losing a lot of life.

Some Warning

A common mistake in Magic the Gathering deck-building is to focus too much on the theme of the deck. Be careful! If you have too many discard creatures and spells, you may find yourself with nothing to do to your opponent once their hand is empty. Maybe you can send in a horde of zombies, or some vampires, and then hit them with a spell like “Corrupt,” which does direct damage to them based on how many swamps you control, and in turn gives you the like amount in health. Finally, don’t be afraid to edit. Play your discard deck a few times, and try and figure out the deck’s strengths and weaknesses. Then dip into your Magic the Gathering collection and start making some changes. Have fun!