In this week’s article, John writes about the B/R Zombies deck that he played at Game Day and explores the possibility of Zombies in Modern.

"It’s amazing how fast the world can go from bad to total sh*t storm." –Columbus

Zombies have been all the rage for the past ten years or so. There have been some terrific movies like Zombieland, some awful movies like the majority of the Resident Evil series, and television series like The Walking Dead. There are even marathon runs dedicated to Zombies.

So what’s all the buzz about?

There was a time not long ago when Zombies bit Magic as well. There have been many different variations over the last year and a half, ranging from B/U to Jund and even Zombie Pod:

Zombies have been somewhat eradicated as of late with the lack of control decks and the higher density of aggressive decks. Although Zombies can deal with control much better than traditional aggressive decks due to undying, Gravecrawler, and Falkenrath Aristocrat, the deck struggles with other aggressive decks because a lot of its creatures enter the battlefield tapped or cannot block. If you read last week’s article, then you understand why a deck like Zombies is not a good metagame call right now.

As they say, blame Kibler.


"Time to nut up or shut up." –Tallahassee

The other weekend was Magic Game Day, and the prize was a box of Korean M14 plus store credit based on attendance on Saturday along with the same thing on Sunday for a French box instead. This wasn’t a serious event for me, and I wanted to have some fun. With Zombies rotating out of Standard soon, I wanted to give it a last hurrah. I also wanted it to be unique from the traditional lists but still competitive. There were some variations I considered, but ultimately I decided to design a Sam Black inspired list:

As you can see, there are some notable new additions here from what we have seen in the past.

A Goblin Bombardment wannabe. This card is the main concept of the deck and reason why I’m playing four Rakdos Guildgates. There are only two copies because although it’s powerful drawing a second copy has diminishing returns. Getting this in play with a Gravecrawler can turn into some pretty absurd turns. And don’t even get me started on when Blood Artist is involved as well.

The Ghoul is a very good complement to Barrage of Expendables and also helps slow down opposing aggressive decks. It’s useful against control decks too thanks to undying. My only complaint is that it isn’t a 2/1 to begin.

This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Lifebane Zombie is a great new addition to the three slot and really helps against the midrange decks like Jund and B/G.

The popular anti-midrange / control enchantment really helps shore up those matchups. There’s only two now since people are starting to adjust to the card.

On Saturday I ended up going undefeated in the Swiss portion, beating the likes of Jedi Jund, Mono-Red Aggro, and some other tier 2 decks before losing in the quarterfinals to the same Jedi Jund player. The matchup felt good, but I managed to flood out in game 1 and then couldn’t find any lands in game 2. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the deck played, however, and thought it deserved a second shot on Sunday.

Sunday was much of the same in the Swiss portion, and I made it to the semifinals this time, where I faced off against R/G. Game 1 my opponent didn’t get past two lands, but it didn’t matter since his entire hand was in play by turn 4. Game 2 was much closer, as I managed to kill off the real threats as we traded creatures. The game went on the decline after turn 4 when I found a land clump and my opponent didn’t. My girlfriend made it to the finals and split with the R/G player. Woot!

A Zombie Apocalypse

With the countdown to the imminent rotation, there’s an expiration date on everyone’s favorite brain eaters. Does this mean this is the end? In Standard, I believe that to be the case. Modern, however, is a different story entirely. The archetype is relatively unexplored in Modern, and I know for a fact that it’s at least competitive because the PTQ I won for Pro Tour Avacyn Restored was Modern and contained a Zombie deck in the Top 8. In fact, it went undefeated in the Swiss portion.

Have I caught your attention?

What if I told you he was playing a Standard list in a Modern PTQ?

This got me thinking. If a completely underwhelming list managed to Top 8, what would happen if we actually had a Modern Zombie deck with *gasp* Modern cards? You can certainly make an argument for a lot of different variations with the great mana bases available in Modern. This is the list I came up with:

A very strong Zombie that can put a reasonable clock on your opponent. It being able to stay out of Lightning Bolt range is just a plus.

Giving all your guys deathtouch certainly makes it a pain to deal with. This card really does good work when you have a Mortarpod in play. Speaking of which . . .

An old Zombie favorite has made its way in to my list. It works great with Death Baron at knocking off troublesome creatures. It also makes the Birthing Pod matchup much easier to handle.

Although Cavern may seem like an obvious choice, it is one of the main draws of playing a deck like this. When blue decks can no longer Mana Leak or Spell Snare your creatures, you can expect some easy wins that a traditional B/G deck may not be able to offer you.

Although Modern season is still many months away, Grand Prix Detroit is just around the corner. If you plan on going, make sure you spend time exploring Zombies. This could be the next Aggro Loam!

"I’m not good at farewells, so, uh, that’ll do, pig." –Tallahassee

John Cuvelier

@JCuvelier on Twitter

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