And so it begins...
Black dragons are the second-weakest of all PHB dragons. Their breath weapon is a line of acid, which I dislike (I just find cone-shaped breath weapons more draconic), and they can swim very well and breathe water. They've got the water subtype, which will probably be a burden the few times it's relevant. Their skills are Hide, Move Silently and Swim: decent but not extraordinary.
I fail to see how these are relevant at 4th-level. Flight and a ranged attack should be devastating, but said ranged attack can be used only 1-2 times per encounter. Sure, metabreath feats can help, but a dragonfire adept is able to do the same while being useful in other ways. The dragon HD are nice, but not enough to save these wyrmlings from -0 LA.
Seven HD, and yet only small-sized. About any PHB race outclasses these guys in melee damage, a few Fiery Bursts in AoE-potential. Literally nothing has changed significantly in potential here: -0 LA.
We're at 10 HD now: the other PC's are smashing through stone walls, charming their way through social encounters or turning enemies into frogs. A black dragon just got medium-sized, and they actually lost maneuverability. Miraculously, their breath weapon is slightly better than Fiery Burst: predictably it's not better than a dragonfire adept's attack. -0 LA.
What editor ever thought these needed +4 LA, and what was he smoking at the time? +6 strength and human size are available for +1 LA: they're not worth 13 levels.
Surprisingly, dragons do actually gain a new ability at this age: 3/day Darkness. It's not like warlocks have been casting it for a dozen levels, is it?
To think I was seriously expecting positive LA's here. Large size, at last, at 16 HD. It's a nice set of natural attacks dragons have by now, but there's hundreds of monsters out there with nice sets of natural attacks, and most of them are actually usable.
Black dragons gain DR (which everyone can overcome by now), SR (which an equally-leveled caster will always penetrate) and sorcerer casting (first-level sorcerer casting) at this age. I feel like an explanation for my -0 LA is unneeded.
The final nonepic black dragon: is it worth its 19 HD? Nope. SR progression sucks, sorcerer progression sucks, Corrupt Water is a total insult. -0 LA.
This is level 22 we're talking here: every nonmundane is altering reality as a free action. Black dragons just got 2nd-level spells and the ability to squish small-sized creatures. -0 LA.
Great Lendys, will it ever stop? No, Plant Growth is not relevant at this level. -0 LA.
Good job picking creative age category names, nameless editor. -0 LA.
What, I need to give reasons? DR 15/magic at ECL 28, that's my reason.
Q: Is Insect Plague relevant at 31st-level?
A: No. -0 LA.
Brain... not... working... Over... whelmed... by... useless... dragons...
Now this is something else! Charm Reptiles? Don't mind if I do! This OP ZOMGability is worth at least +7 LA, and SR 28 should probably add a few more points. I'd say +11 LA is most balanced here.
...Except it isn't: -0 once more.
Well that was 'fun'. Let's pray the next batch is less useless.