Black is the color of death and decay, easily corrupting or corroding flesh to meet its own needs. The manmade, on the other hand, is immune to such petty things as disease and rot. Welcome to another article of “Things that colors do, but badly.”
Like red’s inability to handle the intangible, black’s corrupting power has no effect on things that cannot be touched by death magic. While elves, humans, dragons, and the like fall easily to such things, Staff of Nin has no such worries – it is not alive. “Ah!” I hear you cry. “Artifact creatures are not alive, yet black can destroy them.” True; however, it’s not just gears and pistons that make juggernauts move, it’s the animating magics as well, and they give a semblance of life that black can destroy.
There are only two black cards that directly destroy artifacts: Gate to Phyrexia and Phyrexian Tribute. These were created in an era when color design space wasn’t quite nailed down and in sets that dealt directly with Phyrexia, a plane of living metal mixed with flesh. Flavorfully, these are spot on. Black is not afraid to get its hands dirty and sacrifice its underlings to be rid of troublesome things. Modern design wouldn’t touch these with a ten-foot pole, but they still feel in-color.
There are, however, a slew of cards that make players sacrifice permanents; Curse Artifact is for artifacts only, while Braids, Cabal Minion offers a wider choice and Liliana of the Veil and Torment of Hailfire hit more still. I would not consider these “artifact removal” in the strictest sense because your opponent will always pick the best option for them instead of you. In Commander, Torment could certainly be seen as such if you can politic your opponent into sacrificing something, but it would be difficult to do so unless you had the muscle to back up your threats.
Overall rating: 2/10. Too few cards, and too high of a cost for those. Gate to Phyrexia: 7/10. Phyrexian Tribute: 5/10. Curse Artifact: 4/10. Liliana and Torment: 2/10. Braids: 3/10.
That’s all for today. Have a good whatever!