Fun with Zombies

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Heavy B, May 29, 2006.

  1. Heavy B Been gone too long

    I'm revising my old-school Zombie deck by trying to infuse some new life into it. There are some outstanding Green and Red cards for a dual color Zombie deck but as I'm continuing my project of upgrading my old decks before I build new ones...I give you my Zombie deck.

    Name: (proposed) I call this my Jean Lafitte deck after one of my favorite figures from history - Jean Lafitte. He made his base in the marshes and bayous South of my hometown of New Orleans. Certainly he's not a nice guy...but then again this IS a Black deck.

    Some info on Lafitte

    4x Will O' Wisp
    4x Nightscape Apprentice
    4x Gangrenous Zombie
    4x Zombie Trailblazer
    4x Zombie Master
    4x Zombie Warchief

    4x Dark Ritual
    3x Drain Life
    3x Disk
    3x Phyrexian Arena
    3x Dark Banishing

    17x Swamp (All my Snow Covered Swamps are in here for the Gangrenous)
    3x Unholy Grotto
    1x Lake of the Dead

    This deck works reasonably well. There's nice synergy between the Master and the Trailblazer. The Disk is a nice board cleaner but I do lose the Masters and the Arenas when it goes off.

    I think I need help with the following:

    1. My one-drop is currently the Will O' Wisp. This is a good one-drop as a flying regenerator but is not enhanced by either the Warchief or the Master and is effectively just a wall. Early on it's wonderful but later in the game not so much. Is there a better one-drop out there?

    2. Zombie Enhancers...Master, Chief, or Lord of the Undead? I like the Master for the regen in combo with the Disk and the Swampwalk in conjunction with the Trailblazer. Lord has the great ability, however to bring Zombies back to your hand rather than the Grotto's ability to put them on top of your library.

    3. Zombies...no matter how many enhancers I get I currently have only 12 Zombies now that I've pulled Sarcomancy and replaced it with the Wisp. I'd like the deck to have some longevity and while Sarcomancy and Carnophage are great for a quick start - they're both happily being dead in my Suicide Black deck - I didn't think that they fit the concept of a deck that needs to be able to play past turn 5-8.

    The only way that I see to get more Zombies in is to pull the 4x Master and the 4x Cheif, add 4x Zombie of choice and reduce the number of Lord/Enhancers to 4. This is a critical decision for this deck. Opinions are so welcome that I can't even stand it.

    4. Support cards: I like the 4x Ritual for this deck. I also like the 3x Disk and may up it to 4x Disk though that seems to be a bit of overkill.

    The crux of the decisions in the Support area focus around balancing removal and card drawing. Is Phyrexian Arena the best idea for this deck? The other option I'm entertaining is Necropotence with Necrologia running a distant 3rd. Having to hold 5 mana until the end of a turn is not my idea of a good time.

    5. Also...(now I'm reaching...) I would just LOVE to hammer Coat of Arms into this deck but I can't really get myself to cut any further.

    Thanks for reading this far. Good card flopping to you all.
  2. Jareth Goblin King Grinning Lavamancer

    Lafitte was a pirate who stole goods and would sell them in the swamp to buyers. He also helped Andrew Jackson win the Battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812. I have a fondness for History and loved learning about this guy. There is an old movie about him thats decent. I can't remeber the name , but I'd suggest it if ou like old movies
    My advice for this deck is to drop the Zombie Master for Lord of the Undead. With the Lord you could cycle Gempalm Polluter every turn. Take out the wisp for Putird Imp. This would give you another zombie and if you have Lord on the field you can discard a zombie from your hand to give the imp flying and retrieve it later.
    If you like I could Email you my old Zombie Decklist for ideas.
  3. Terentius The Instigator

    I'm not sure what your deck is supposed to focus on, but I see Disk, Drain Life, and the Gangrenous, so I'm thinking life loss/direct damage. I will suggest:

    Why Wisp anyway? There's Zombie one drops... he's not a zombie... throwing a swamp, Festering Goblin first turn then a swamp, Dark Ritual, Zombie Warchief second turn and attacking with a 3/2 sounds a lot better than a 0/1 regenerating flyer. How can you even suggest Coat of Arms when you have so many non-Zombies... and what is Nightscape Apprentice doing?

    What you could do is just put out a bunch of tiny zombies pumped up by Warchief, then use Shepherd of Rot.

    I got nothin...
  4. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    Ah... zombies! Lets do this one card at a time:
    • Will O' Wisp: Huh? This isn't a zombie? I agree with just about everybody who posted here that this deck doesn't want a Wisp. I think you are packing enough removal not to have to worry about flyers.
    • Nightscape Apprentice: They are zombies, but if you want a 1/1 1B:Regenerate so badly, you're better of trying to get some boneknitters.
    • Gangrenous Zombie: More removal. Nothing wrong with that
    • Zombie Trailblazer: cool card, but do you need four? Do you really win by tapping a 'small zombie' (1/1) so that another zombie (2/2) can get through? Isn't it more usefull just to attack with both? (the fact that you can boost all of them with the Warchief and the Lord of the Undead has to be taking into account with this argument).
    • Zombie Master: Not my first choice for a zombie deck, but I like the combo with the Disks.
    • Zombie Warchief: Dare I say it? MVP.
    • Dark Ritual: If you don't want to win through tempo (no Sarcomancy etc) are Dark Rituals really necessary?
    • Drain Life: Okay, stop it with the removal already! :)
      I can understand wanting to get a little life back, but two should be more than enough. It does fit the Control idea though..
    • Disk: Four? I don't think that's such a bad idea..
    • Phyrexian Arena: Perhaps these could become Graveborn Muses? Would really kill you, but the card advantage is just ridiculous
    • Dark Banishing: And, to finish us of, some more removal :/. Maybe it could be the removal on a stick: Skinthinner?

    17x Swamp (All my Snow Covered Swamps are in here for the Gangrenous)
    3x Unholy Grotto
    1x Lake of the Dead

    The mana base seems a bit slim; again, it looks focussed on tempo instead of control.
    So, upped the zombie count to 24 (Lord of the Undead is a Zombie Lord) and with the Boneknitter the Disks will be even more useful.
    I added a lot more mana and Cabal Coffers, so that a late game Drain Life can be very threatening, but you also have enough mana to play all the spells you'll draw with the Graveborn Muse.

    Good luck!
  5. Killerbob Official CPA European Guy

    when playing gangreneous zombies, I think you should generally skip zombies with toughness 1. Festering goblin is nice anyway, since it does a nice thing when it dies. This must be the good 1-drop for your deck. In need of more 1-drops, you could add some tap-lands instead. Spawning pool seems nice with disks. I guess 4 festering goblins and 2 spawning pools would be fine.

    The choose of enhancers is highly dependant of your choose of supportcards. Warchief gives a major boost, but my own experience is that you never really use his "manaability", and then you might prefer lord of the undead, which gives +1/+1 for 3 mana, instead of a +2/+1 boost for 4 mana. In a control deck like this, I think the choice is easy. No warchief.
    So Lord of the undead, or zombie master? I´m not sure. Lord of the undead is simply a much better card. After disking, he can help you recover. He has nice synergy with gempalm polluter and unholy grotto, which is an ok wincondition for a controldeck. But zombie masters regenerationability is very nice with disks (btw, I think 3 is the right number, especially because you play arena, so you WILL find it). My ad vice would be to play some of each, and then experience what works best in your metagame. And fits with your taste :)

    Trailblazer: this card is not good. If you have some affection for it, play 2. If you dont, play 0. The synergy with zombie master isnt that amazing.

    2-drop zombies: it is not easy finding good 2-drop zombies with toughness >1. There is only 1 reasonable choice, withered wretch. Fortunately, this guy is a firstclass spoiler. Play him :)
    Plaguebearer is a nice controlzombie too, but he dies to about everything.
    Other 2-drops could be the evil hymn to tourach, or some manastones. But stones doesnt fit well with disks. Maybe mindstone. You need some tempo.

    Actually, finding 1-drop zombies with toughness >1 isnt easy either, so you might play sarcomancy anyway. It shouldnt give you any trouble. Lord of the undead can get zombies back for you, and disks can get rid of the enchantments. Other 1-drops could be duress.

    Supportcards: I think arena is fine. Necrologia isnt very good. If the arena becomes a porblem, you can disk it away. No problem.
    Dark rituals might be necessary, since the deck tends to be a little heavy -dependant of which zombies you end up playing.

    You might consider gravedigger and noxious ghoul too. Both are nice controlzombies.


    Edit: maybe skip snow-covered swamps, since your creatures generally cant handle -2/-2. You could also play fetchlands, and 1 snow-covered in you deck. Fetch it if you need it.
  6. Terentius The Instigator

    I reckon Nightscape Apprentice is a Wizard.

    I would never combine Noxious Ghoul with non-Zombie creatures such as Lord of the Undead; he'll die as soon as Ghoul comes into play.
  7. Heavy B Been gone too long

    To begin with: Thanks for all the help.

    I mis-typed and noted Nightscape Apprentice in the decklist when it should have been Nightscape Familiar.

    - The idea is to maintain board control via recursing Gangrenous, Drain Life, Disk and Dark Banshing and to eventually walk over and hit them in the head with some pumped Zombies.

    - The apprentice was a mistake...the only non-Zombies were the Wisps and the Masters.

    Wisp - Was there as a safety measure. It's a regenerating flying blocker for B and regens for B. Can help early and late. But...it's not a Zombie so I've never been truly comfortable with it in the deck because that gives me 4 fewer creatures that are helped by the various Zombie pumpers.

    Knitters - I wasn't aware of them but after looking them up they're very nice and provide some versatility.

    Warchief - Love this guy.

    Ritual - I have them in the deck because they can provide an early Zombie pumper or a great push after Disking. I'm open to removing them and will work it out.

    Drain Life - Ghetto removal vs Black creatures and a bit of life to help offset the Arena and / or the Gangrenous. I know...I'm probably over-killing the removal.

    Skinthinner - A good card..the Morph cost scares me a bit but overall it's good in that well...it's a Zombie....

    Disk - I will cut them to three if I leave some of the other removal but otherwise will likely leave at four.

    Arena - I'm not sold on this as my card-drawing option but it seems to work well in this deck. The Muse would really put a hurt on me in this deck unless I can use her for a turn or two then Disk her.

    As you note...the Gangrenous at -2/-2 is a bit heavy for this deck in its current incarnation. The graveyard diminishing ability is not great for my playgroup but one never knows. He may find himself into the final deck. Formerly it was a Lim Dul deck with the Cohorts and the Legions all having 3 toughness so the Gangrenous wouldn't kill them without help. Alas, even in the world of the Living Dead some things must change so here I find myself looking for some newly dead talent.

    Thank you all very much for your input.
  8. Terentius The Instigator

    You guys use Drain Life on creatures? For the short time I used it, I always tried to Dark Ritual or Cabal Coffer the hell out of it around turn six for a cheap life loss win. Don't you have enough removal in there?
  9. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    Hah. I totally thought you meant Nightscape Familiar. I just wondered what that card was doing in a mono black deck.

    Lord of the Undead: not a non-Zombie.
    But Noxious Ghoul and Zombie Master is kinda a nonbo.
  10. Heavy B Been gone too long

    Enough removal? The answer to that question lies in the metagame. My playgroup is very large-creature focused. While I'm trying to fish out combos and start a recursion engine my opponents are generally playing Forest: Llanowar. Next turn. Swamp. Tap Elf, Tap 1st Florest Tap 2nd turn Swamp. Play Dark Ritual. Play Sol Ring. Tap Sol Ring. Play big nasty creature.

    Another favorite is Swamp+Dark Rit = 1st turn Hypno or the sometimes pulled off Swamp + Dark Rit + Dark Rit = 1st turn Sengir Vamp.

    The point in all this is that my play group normally plays what I call "Sluggo" decks. Big fast creatures with fireball, disenchant, naturalize and the like for removal / board control. Kind of like an overhand right punch. Simple but effective if you don't have a way to deal with it.

    I'm re-stacking the current deck and will likely go with 4x Disk, 3-4x Drain Life, and 3x Arena. None of that leaves me with a good answer for an early flier or Shadow creature so I'm still a bit wary. Even with Coffers it will take me until turn 4-5 before I can get moving with fast replies to threats by casting a Disk or a Drain Life - neither of which is truly fast. Fortunately the recursion in this deck largely minimizes the effect of Hyppies but there are other fast dangerous cards for which I'd like to have an Instant speed answer.

    Do I feel that I have enough removal? Actually with 7-8 cards dedicated to removal and the ability to sac the Gangrenous over and over again I think I'm OK but the actual mix of cards is causing me some concern. I'm considering some instant speed removal because of the commonality of early fliers (and particularly the fascination with early Hypnos and other black fliers) in my group.
  11. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    Instant removal that'll work on small black flyers?
    How about Last Gasp?
  12. Killerbob Official CPA European Guy


    Have you heard about errata? Lord of the Undead is now a Zombie Lord.



    Anyway, I dont think Noxious Ghoul is right for this deck. For different reasons I wouldnt play him with disks.
  13. Terentius The Instigator

    Well I'll be damned, I certainly did not hear about the errata. I'll have to get that card back from my friend and put it in my own deck, then. So what the hell was the reasoning behind changing the already extant Lord of the Undead's creature type, but not changing and re-releasing Zombie Master's?

    And to Heavy B: I 'spose I did not consider the type of players in your playgroup. In mine, the only person playing big creatures is me. I got one complete Johnny who will never win with combat damage, and another guy who will be trying to dominate the board with control and invulnerability til his last breath... But tell your group not to use Sol Ring.
  14. Heavy B Been gone too long

    My revised decklist as it stands:

    4x Putrid Imp // Removed 4x Sarcomancy
    4x Boneknitter
    4x Gangrenous
    4x Lord of the Undead
    2x Soulless One
    2x Putrid Raptor
    4x Undead Warchief

    4x Drain Life
    4x Disk
    3x Phyrexian Arena

    20x Swamp (most snow-covered)
    3x Unholy Grotto
    2x Cabal Coffers

    I removed the Sarcomancy in lieu of the potential flier Putrid Imp. Thanks for the suggestion. Discarding to make him a flier in an emergency shouldn't be a big issue in this deck with seven cards capable of pulling Zombies out of the graveyard.

    Most of the other cards are pretty obvious. I went with the Raptor and Soulless in an attempt to get some bigger creatures. The Raptor I like because I can cast it for 3 and then morph it with a discard for a 4/4 on turn 3 that can regen if Boneknitter is out and which next turn can become 5/5 or 6/5 if I can get a Lord or Warchief out.

    Do you like the Raptor and the Soulless One as bigger creatures in this deck? I'd like to pack a bit of a bigger creature unless I can find a great effect for a similar casting cost. Big creatures matter less when all my creatures can regen w/ a Boneknitter out...but he won't always be out, etc.

    Thanks again for all the help.
  15. Killerbob Official CPA European Guy


    Theres probably no reasoning. I guess they throw a coin. Osai Vultures are still vultures, but Wake of Vultures hass errata, so they now are birds. Lllanowar elves are now elvers and druids. But Fyndhorn elves are just elves. You can find lots of this. No reasoning. I think Zombie Master should be a zombie. He definately looks like one, and he needs a power boost. He´s just too weak. Goblin king got the boost. Now he´s a goblin. But Zombie Master? No, far to powerfull :)
  16. Heavy B Been gone too long

    That doesn't make a great deal of sense to me either. He's clearly a candidate for a type-change to Zombie Lord. All he does is pump Zombies. It would be different if he pumped Black creatures or "all creatures that you control."

    What of Lord of Atlantis. I could not find any revisions on him. He used to be "Summon Lord of Atlantis". Then he got demoted to just "Summon Lord." Has he had his job re-classified to "Merfolk Lord" or is he still simply a "Lord"?
  17. Killerbob Official CPA European Guy

    He´s just a lord. But I can understand that. He costs only 2 mana, and is actually a fine card. Blue isnt supposed to be a weeniecolor, so making him better than he is, is controversial.

    Elvish Champion is an elf lord.

    Keldon warlord is a lord, but I think they should make him a barbarian lord. Probably doesnt matter anyway, since his ability doesnt fit well with barbarians (but what does?).

    Kangee is just a legendary creature. No problem in making him a bird. Maybe someone would play him then.
  18. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    He's still a Lord. You can check Gatherer and search under the Oracle rulings.

    I did a Search for Creature types in Ask Wizards and came up with this answer about Goblin King:

    So apparently this way of thinking changed since then and only Goblin King was affected. Maybe it's a good Ask Wizards follow-up question :)
  19. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    I still wonder if Graveborn Muse wouldn't be better than the Arena in this deck.. But maybe its too much life loss.

    Let us know how this version works out!
  20. Terentius The Instigator

    What's wrong with functionally changing older cards? It needs to be done!

    Jaguars, Cats, Cheetahs, Lions all need to be combined (Aswan Jaguar is a good green card EDIT: oh crap, this card is from Oversized, that explains why it's so good... but still!).
    Birds, Vultures, Albatross, what have you need to be combined. Although I do not think Birds and those Bird Soldier types should synergize... it's like two different evolutionary links =). It's also kind of weird if a Cleric from CHK would synergize with a Cabal Cleric...

    And much more. I know there was an article about this on wizards.com a while ago. Assimilating and combining these creature types may, I don't know, greatly expand the base of usable cards? Of course, Coat of Arms would see a vast increase in its already prodigious popularity.

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