Daily Digest: I See Dead People

With all the dredge cards that are legal in Modern and the increasing emphasis on graveyards in Shadows over Innistrad, a deck has to come together eventually, right? Maybe it already has, as Ross Merriam demonstrates here!

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease March 26-27!

Wow, there is a lot going on in this deck and I’m not sure where to start.

Well, it’s clear that the deck is trying to abuse its graveyard to gain value. Between Faithless Looting; Squee, Goblin Nabob; Bloodghast; and Life from the Loam this deck is capable of generating plenty of card advantage in a long game. Zombie Infestation is the fastest way to turn those extra cards into a significant battlefield presence. This isn’t exactly an aggro, combo, or control deck. It’s an engine deck that at any given time can assume any necessary role, so long as its engine is up and running.

If you hit a couple of early Squees, then you can work on making Zombies with Infestation as quickly as possible and supplementing those creatures with Bloodghasts. Even against strong resistance, the resilience of Squee and Bloodghast can help you fight through plenty of removal and slowly peck your opponent to death.

However, if your opponent comes out quickly, you can use Stinkweed Imps and Vengeful Pharaohs to contain their aggression until your Zombies and Spirits stabilize the battlefield. If the battlefield clogs for a long period of time, you can recur Life from the Loam to either lock them out with repeated Ghost Quarters or set up a gigantic Conflagrate to finish them off.

It’s going to be impossible for your opponent to defend against every angle of attack this deck can generate, so it’s important that the deck can consistently establish its engine early. Faithless Looting and Zombie Infestation are the key cards here, since they let you stock the graveyard with dredge cards, at which point you can start tearing through your deck in the typical dredge fashion, even if this deck is significantly fairer than what we’re used to seeing.

Honestly, I’m surprised to not see more Stinkweed Imps and Golgari Grave-Trolls to facilitate the deck’s engine, although it could be that dredging so quickly causes you to deck too often without a combo finish. Darkblast also has solid functionality as a removal spell but is narrow enough that four copies seems excessive to me. Golgari Brownscale is a nice option against burn decks and small aggro strategies, but Necroplasm looks out-of-place to me as a bullet that you can access from the graveyard.

Deadly Allure seems to me to be functioning as an Edict effect that you can dredge into and is probably solid at dealing with some of the larger Eldrazi, but I would like to see some actual removal in the deck, likely Murderous Cut. Delve is such a powerful mechanic that I want to take advantage of it in some capacity in a deck that is explicitly looking to fill its graveyard.

Nothing too surprising in the sideboard, with a bunch of solid Flashback cards and a healthy amount of discard to help against combo decks. Since combo can typically ignore the various angles this deck has, the onus is on us to disrupt them, and Thoughtseize and Raven’s Crime seem like great tools for the job. Memory’s Journey may seem strange, but I have seen enough Goryo’s Vengeance decks recently that having some way to disrupt the opposing graveyard seems prudent.

I am sure there is plenty in this deck that I am missing because the way all the pieces interact is so varied, but Life from the Loam is a very powerful card that has been used to good effect in Modern before, so I like the core of what is going on here. There are tons of different options for supplementary cards, from different dredgers and removal spells to a Dread ReturnUnburial Rites package for a combo finish. I would encourage anyone looking to try this deck out to experiment liberally.

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease March 26-27!