Recycled Zombies

Building On A Budget - Recycled Zombies

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Brr. Braain! MMM. Gud.

This is what you want your troops to be thinking. Zombies. So efficient, so environmentally friendly, so...well...dumb. While the line between refuse and weapon is blurred with modern-day zombies, they still do one thing the same way -- smash face.

Zombies have evolved over the years from Scathe to Husk, but this is their heyday. Take note, for these will probably be the most powerful zombie decks you will see for a long, long time (once Onslaught block rotates out anyhow). The Scourge set probably has some of the coolest zombie cards we've seen in awhile, but before that rotates in, Recycled Zombies is the best mid-speed zombie deck out there.

Tribal Wars is the best place to find a zombie deck, and this particular zombie deck is a close build to the one fellow teammate and Magic Online writer Paul Sottosanti loves to play. The nice thing about zombies is that they are rather flexible -- this particular deck has the ability to beat-down, wrath, or stalemate and burn the opponent out. This kind of flexibility makes it ideal for an environment like Tribal Wars where you never know what will come out of your opponent's deck.

Building on a Budget - Recycled Zombies

Playing The Deck

The main engine of this deck is Read the Runes and Patriarch's Bidding. By using these two cards, it should be an easy trick to make a horde of zombies. If one of those zombies happens to be a Noxious Ghoul, well, let's just say about twenty things will go on the stack and all your opponent's creatures will choke to death while you click away.

One of the tough things to understand about zombie-Bidding is that you need to know, in the eternal words of Mike Flores, who's the beat-down. Since this is a mid-speed deck it can go several ways.

For example, against an Elf deck, you are the control player. You should bide your time and hold down the fort until you can Read the Runes for a bunch, then Bidding for Zombies, which will create a Wrath-their-team effect with a Noxious Ghoul. Afterwards, proceed with the swinging of a large, shambling army.

Against other mid-speed decks (or worse, other Zombie decks that wont let you wrath), you may need to Gempalm Pollute your opponent out (Unholy Grotto is helpful in doing this). Against control decks, be prepared to take initiative and beat with large Soulless Ones and Nantuko Husks.

As a general rule, if your opponent is playing a creature deck, you'll want to take the control route and clear the board with your Noxious Ghouls. That much is rather straightforward.

If your opponent is playing a counter/Wrath-oriented deck it gets more complicated. Don't overextend -- use your resources cautiously -- you won't be able to bid your legions back into play because Bidding will be a likely counterspell target. Instead, make your opponent deal with your threats one or two at a time, and make sure to apply enough pressure for a 4- or 5-turn clock. Your most valuable resource is Read the Runes, because it lets you use your mana as a threat on your opponent's end step (or in response to Wrath) while gaining a huge card selection advantage. Just keep plugging away with this strategy and try to win before your opponent takes control of the game.

Sideboarding Tips

Try to stick with Zombie-oriented cards. Here are some examples:

Shepherd of Rot
Shepherd of Rot is good against the same decks you want Gempalm Polluter for.

Crypt Creeper Against annoying flashback/graveyard effects like U-G or Reanimator, Crypt Creeper can remove key cards your opponent wants against your deck.

Graveborn Muse
Graveborn Muse is great against control decks, but be careful about how many zombies you put out. You will need a Husk to sacrifice the Muse if you plan to cast Bidding.

Other good sideboard cards are Duress and Cabal Therapy against control, and Smother versus Wild Mongrel decks.

Adding More Money To The Deck

If you want to go all out with this deck, I suggest using Rotlung Reanimators and more zombie clerics like Withered Wretch and perhaps maindeck Shepherd of Rot. This gives you better game versus decks with a lot of creature removal and extraordinary game versus Cleric decks...not to mention your Husks go lethal a lot faster. Polluted Deltas and Underground Rivers also help, considering Read the Runes is your only blue card and drawing more than one Island isn't very helpful.

Overall the deck is a lot of fun. However, beware if you have a computer that locks up -- it can get a little rough when twenty Noxious Ghoul activations go on the stack -- you don't want to time out!

I'm anxious to see what will happen to this archetype once the Scourge set comes out. Will Zombie Beats be the next big thing? Zombie Control? Finding out is half the fun. Just watch your brains -- they are tasty!

Till next time, may all your dragons breathe fire!

Nate Heiss
Team CMU
Nateheiss on Magic Online

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