Demons are a creature type that dates back to the earliest days of Magic: The Gathering with Lord of the Pit’s printing in Alpha. Throughout Magic’s history, Demons have been a creature type most often associated with black mana, often toting sizable mana costs and splashy, impactful effects. While Demons aren’t often known for their tribal synergies, with the printing of the Demon-tribal commander, Be’lakor, the Dark Master, there’s no better time than the present to construct a powerful new Demon-tribal Commander deck.
While a wide variety of great demons serve as potent standalone cards, cards that specifically synergize with Demons as a creature type are harder to come by. So we’ll examine several cards that no Demon-tribal Commander deck would want to be without. Before we begin, it should be noted that we will specifically be discussing cards within the 99 of Demon-tribal decks, not Demon-tribal commanders themselves.
A great inclusion within the 99 of Demon-tribal decks with access to both black and red mana, Raphael, Fiendish Savior’s ability interacts with several creature types. Most notably, it improves the usefulness of your demons. This is because Raphael provides each Demon you control with +1/+1 and lifelink, allowing them to gain you life over the course of a game as they attack your opponents. This is key as a wide variety of demons feature abilities that, while powerful, require you to pay life to reap their benefits.
Raphael ensures you’ll have some additional elbow room when using such Demons in your strategy. To add additional value to this creature, Raphael even provides a Devil token during each end step in which one of your creatures dies, further cementing it as a great asset for Demon-based strategies.
This is an 8/8 mono-black Demon for eight mana. While Razaketh, The Foulblooded may be quite mana intensive, it offers far too much value for a Demon-tribal deck to pass up. Razaketh is an evasive threat with both flying and trample, but its power lies in its activated ability that allows you to pay two life and sacrifice a creature to tutor for any card in your deck at instant speed.
This means that Razaketh can be used to convert your unwanted resources into the exact cards you need in a given moment. This allows you to not only gain access to your strongest Demons but the likes of instant-speed removal and responses to help protect your key assets and disrupt your opponents’ win conditions. When paired with Demons capable of producing disposable tokens such as The Great Unclean one, once Razaketh resolves, a game can quickly come to an end.
It’s no secret that effective board wipes are a cornerstone of the Commander format, allowing you to remove a wide array of problematic permanents from play with a single card. When gauging the power of a board wipe, the two elements most often considered are the card’s efficiency and if the spell is asymmetrical. When it comes to the latter, there’s no better board wipe for a Demon-tribal deck than Kindred Dominance. A black sorcery for seven mana, Kindred Dominance allows you to name a creature type, then destroy each creature that isn’t the selected type.
This means you can clear away each of your opponent’s creatures while leaving your own demons completely unaffected. Additionally, while this card may demand a rather steep mana cost, as Demons are rather costly, this spell can be strategically cast once you’ve built up your board with a few Demons, ideally catching an opponent or two who’d over-committed to the board off guard.
As previously mentioned, one common unifying factor of Demons as a creature type is their sizable mana costs that offset their highly impactful abilities. This means that in most cases, Demon-tribal decks tend to have a rather high mana curve.
However, Heartless Summoning is a great black enchantment that can help provide mana ramp in the form of mana cost reduction. For the low cost of two mana, this enchantment offers comparable value to an Urza’s Incubator, reducing the mana costs of each creature you cast by two mana. While this cost reduction comes at the cost of reducing the power and toughness of each of your creatures by -1/-1, the inherently sizable nature of Demons causes this drawback to be rather negligible for Demon-tribal decks.
While Heartless Summoning is a card comparable to Urza’s Incubator that’s right at home in a Demon-tribal deck, Heral of Slaanesh is a creature that was specifically created to be Demon-tribal’s own highly offensive cost reducer. For the efficient cost of three mana, this red 2/2 Demon not only states that Demons you cast cost two less mana to cast, but it also provides each other Demon you control with haste.
This means that not only does this creature allow you to play your highly impactful Demons ahead of schedule, but it allows them to quickly close out a game, providing additional value in the form of combat damage on the turn they were cast.