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Subject: Mono-Black Zombies... Thoughts and Suggestions rss

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Getchell Williams
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Here is my deck so far:

-----------------
Creatures
4x Gravecrawler
4x Diregraf Ghoul
4x Highborn Ghoul
4x Butcher Ghoul
3x Geralf's Messenger
4x Demonlord of Ashmouth

Spells
4x Murder
4x Bone Splinters
3x Ghoulcaller's Chant
4x Altar's Reap

22x Swamp
-----------------

I really like this deck, but I am also open to suggestions on what can make it better.

I like the Demonlord's in this deck because they work so well with Gravecrawlers and the undying effect of the Butcher Ghoul's and Geralf's.

I have been thinking about replacing the Chant's and one land with four tragic slips. A lot of things will be dying with this deck, so Tragic Slip's morbid ability would be very useful. plus, with 23 creatures, I don't know if the Chants are really needed in this deck.

The reason I have only 3 Geralf's is simply because I only have 3. If I come across another, that will be changed to 4.

I want this deck to be playable for the next year or so without much modifying, so I am really only looking to add cards from the current block (INN, DA, AR, M13). I don't have much money to be spending on cards throughout the year, so I would like to have a deck that I won't have to put money into for a while. Only if a card really stands out in the sets that are yet to be released.

My sideboard isn't fully finished yet. So far I have:

4x Cower in Fear
2x Rise From the Grave
1x Curse of Death's Hold

Could use some help with the sideboard as well.

Lastly, what are your thoughts on using Stuffy Doll in a Zombie deck? I know they are kind of slow, but they could really help out in the late game if you aren't able to finish your opponent off early with creatures. I have 2 that I am dying to use in a deck somewhere.

Thanks for your time, any thoughts and criticism is welcome.
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Jon
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I always made sure to include a few Bad Moons in my mono-black decks back in the day...
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Getchell Williams
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AnakinOU wrote:
I always made sure to include a few Bad Moons in my mono-black decks back in the day...


Unfortunately, that card isn't legal in current standard.
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John Madia
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Watch out for Tormod's Crypt.

I'm just getting back into mtg so I'm not the best for advice but I would consider replacing some of the murders/bone splinters with tragic slip. With all the death going around you might want some blood artists in the deck. I'd also look at Disciple of Bolas, Skirsdag High Priest, Sign in Blood and Unbreathing Horde.
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Getchell Williams
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Also, with this kind of Deck, how much land should I be running? Would I do alright with 18-20 land, or is 22 where I should be at? Maybe more?
 
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Yoga Wind
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GreAsyG wrote:

3x Ghoulcaller's Chant

My zombie deck started out with 4 of these, and slowly worked its way down to 1 or 2. Just too many times that I wished it was just a zombie of some sort - usually when I ended up with two in hand...
 
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GreAsyG wrote:
Also, with this kind of Deck, how much land should I be running? Would I do alright with 18-20 land, or is 22 where I should be at? Maybe more?
I would consider 24.

In terms of possible adds:

Dread Slaver is a nice addition to any zombie deck:


All those zombies and no Zombie Apocalypse?


... ditto Endless Ranks Of The Dead?


Moan Of The Unhallowed gets you zombies:


Maalfeld Twins gets you more zombies upon death:


And cap it off with poor Mikaeus:

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Sean Raffuse
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While your deck is mostly zombies, you're not leaning too heavily on synergy, which means you could safely add non-zombies. I definitely think that Blood Artist is perfect for your deck; it compliments the messengers nicely and gives you a way to kill the opponent without needing to get through blockers. I would suggest cutting two ghoulcaller's chants, and perhaps a butcher ghoul for 3 of them.

Tragic Slip would definitely work well in your deck, but are you finding yourself low on removal? It seems like your deck has plenty of ways to kill creatures. Perhaps they should go to the sideboard and come in against aggressive creature decks. You might also consider splitting, so that you have 2 Murder and 2 Tragic Slip in your main and 2 of each in the sideboard.

Stuffy Doll is awesome! It's my avatar on MTGO). I would test it as a one- or two-of in the sideboard for decks where you need the reach (though Blood Artist will help more for this).

Speaking of sideboard, what's your metagame look like? Do you know what you're loosing against? It's best to use your sideboard to shore up weaknesses against certain match-ups. One that might work for you is Mutilate, which can help you deal with large creatures and hexproof creatures, too. Also good with Blood Artist!

As for land count, I think you are pretty close with 22. I would be afraid to cut another, since you want to get the Demonlord down on turn 4.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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I think Sign in Blood is just better than Altar's Reap. Also, have you thought about sneaking in just enough blue for Diregraf Captain?
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Getchell Williams
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My altered deck...

----------------------
Creatures
4x Gravecrawler
4x Diregraf Ghoul
4x Blood Artist
4x Butcher Ghoul
3x Geralf's Messenger
4x Demonlord of Ashmouth

Spells
4x Murder
4x Bone Splinters
1x Ghoulcaller's Chant
2x Lashwrithe (I have them, so I guess I'll use them until they rotate)
4x Altar's Reap

22x Swamp

Sideboard
4x Cower in Fear
4x Highborn Ghoul
2x Rise from the Grave
2x Swamp
2x Ghoulcaller's Chant
1x Curse of Death's Hold
----------------------

I have 4x Vampire Nighthawk in my collection and was wondering if he would fit into this deck anywhere. What do you think? Maybe take out the Butcher Ghoul's and replace it with Vampire Nighthawk? Or, maybe take out the demonlords, butcher ghouls, and bone Splinters and replace them with Vampire Nighthawk, Highborn Ghoul and Tragic Slips? Take away the sac nature of the deck. I don't know, any thoughts?
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Pete Lane
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Since you're already running Blood Artist, this little card will change the game for you:

Killing Wave

This is good as a 2-3 of because you want to use it on YOUR OWN GUYS. With 1-2 Blood Artists out, it can be good game right there.

They are at 10 life, have a couple of dudes and just hit you down to 3 life. It's looking grim for the home team! You have 2 Blood Artists and a Geralf's Messenger in play. You Swing with the Messenger (8 life), and cast Wave with one B saying "0 life." You deal them 6 life off the Blood Artist triggers, and Messenger comes back off Undying getting him for the leftovers. So for one B mana, you win the game. Also a nice trick with Mutilate, but hits thier guys as well and is more mana heavy,.

Also, a nice trick with Lashwrithe is Agent of Bolas. You would draw a TON of cards.

And yes, at all costs bring in Nighthawk. Just because he's not a zombie doesn't mean anything. He's the best B creature in Standard right now.
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Getchell Williams
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So using the cards that I have, which deck do you think would work better?

Deck 1:
-------------
-------------
Creatures
4x Gravecrawler
4x Diregraf Ghoul
4x Blood Artist
4x Butcher Ghoul
3x Geralf's Messenger
4x Demonlord of Ashmouth

Spells
4x Murder
4x Bone Splinters
1x Ghoulcaller's Chant
2x Lashwrithe
4x Altar's Reap

22x Swamp

Sideboard
4x Cower in Fear
4x Highborn Ghoul
2x Rise from the Grave
2x Swamp
2x Ghoulcaller's Chant
1x Curse of Death's Hold
-------------
-------------

or
Deck 2:
-------------
-------------
Creatures
4x Gravecrawler
4x Diregraf Ghoul
4x Blood Artist
4x Highborn Ghoul
3x Geralf's Messenger
4x Vampire Nighthawk

Spells
4x Murder
4x Tragic Slip
1x Killing Wave
2x Lashwrithe
4x Altar's Reap

22x Swamp

Sideboard
4x Cower in Fear
4x Butcher Ghoul
2x Rise from the Grave
1x Swamp
3x Ghoulcaller's Chant
1x Curse of Death's Hold
-------------
-------------
 
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Pete Lane
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Deck two, by a landslide.

Remember as well, Sideboards are there for defense against spacific threats, not for cards that you "would like to put in maybe."

Curse of Death's Hold is a great option, and I'd say even put in another if you have it. Otherwise, Human Frailty should be 4 in the SB. There are a LOT of human based decks running around. Delver, Huntmaster, Snapcaster, Avacyn's Pilgrim, Soulbond dudes, etc, etc... Vile Rebirth would be a good one too, since you can hurt reanimation strategies with it, and give yourself a zombie for Gravecrawler effects. It's also instant speed, so you can poop out a surprise blocekrs with it.
 
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Sean Raffuse
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I actually prefer the first deck. Vampire Nighthawk is a great creature, but it is much more offensive than defensive. Your first deck seems to have a more cohesive plan - a mission statement, if you will. "Flood the board with early attackers to force through damage, removing blockers along the way. Do you last bits of damage with Blood Artist." While the second deck has a higher average card quality, the nighthawks give it a bit of an identity crisis. I would, however, put in the Tragic Slips over the Bone Splinters. Force the bad guys to kill your team instead of doing it yourself.

Another card you might consider in your sideboard is Barter in Blood. As it stands, you are weak to things like Dungrove Elder and Geist of Saint Traft.

Sign in Blood might be better than Altar's Reap (it typically is) but I would test it. I'm a sucker for running a split two of each, at least until you determine one is just better. Two advantages I can see in the Sign in Blood Camp: 1) since you're aggressive and Blood Artist provides incidental life gain, the two damage will likely not be an issue; 2) that two damage aimed at your opponent provides an extra bit of reach to your deck in case you need to get those last points in.

 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Yeah, I don't think Altar's Reap really has any advantages here. You are not doing nearly enough with sacrificing creatures to actively want to do it. Also of note, Butcher Ghoul is pretty unimpressive on the offensive, and if you are blocking with this deck, the game is basically over. I'd recommend Highborn Ghoul as a significant upgrade that should be easy to pick up.
 
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Getchell Williams
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Ok, Altered Deck #3

--------------------------
Creatures
4x Gravecrawler
4x Diregraf Ghoul
4x Blood Artist
4x Highborn Ghoul
3x Geralf's Messenger
4x Demonlord of Ashmouth

Spells
4x Murder
3x Go For the Throat (will be replaced with Tragic Slip when I get some)
2x Killing Wave
2x Lashwrithe
4x Sign in Blood

22x Swamp

Sideboard
4x Cower in Fear
4x Vile Reburth
1x Rise from the Grave
2x Barter in Blood
3x Ghoulcaller's Chant
1x Curse of Death's Hold
--------------------------

I still can't decided if I want to use Vampire Nighthawk or Demonlord of Ashmouth in this deck, so far I have one person saying to use Nighthawk and another saying to use Ashmouth. Any more opinions on that matter? What do you think about the deck thus far?
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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I don't think a deck this aggressive wants 4 copies of a card draw spell like Sign in Blood. Also, I suspect 7 pieces of spot removal is too many for the main. Murder is incredibly inefficient at 3 mana, and you are really hoping to be winning sooner rather than later. My instinct would be to cut the Murders, cut two Sign in Bloods, and go up to four Tragic Slips once you get them. Then you can include a few more creatures. You might consider Moan of the Unhallowed, and the earlier suggestion of Mikeaus the Unhallowed was very good, I think it would combine well with your Blood Artists.

I really don't like the Demonlords because they cut into your board advantage and give your opponents good targets for their removal, which then further erodes your board advantage. I think I prefer the cheaper Nighthawks. Falkenrath Nobles are an option if you want to double up on the Blood Artist effect. Perhaps as a two of. Another reasonable two of is Skirsdag High Priest, which I've heard some reports of doing well in tournaments. It combos well with your swarms of dudes, and has a potent board impact.

 
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Getchell Williams
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delirimouse wrote:
I don't think a deck this aggressive wants 4 copies of a card draw spell like Sign in Blood. Also, I suspect 7 pieces of spot removal is too many for the main. Murder is incredibly inefficient at 3 mana, and you are really hoping to be winning sooner rather than later. My instinct would be to cut the Murders, cut two Sign in Bloods, and go up to four Tragic Slips once you get them. Then you can include a few more creatures. You might consider Moan of the Unhallowed, and the earlier suggestion of Mikeaus the Unhallowed was very good, I think it would combine well with your Blood Artists.

I really don't like the Demonlords because they cut into your board advantage and give your opponents good targets for their removal, which then further erodes your board advantage. I think I prefer the cheaper Nighthawks. Falkenrath Nobles are an option if you want to double up on the Blood Artist effect. Perhaps as a two of. Another reasonable two of is Skirsdag High Priest, which I've heard some reports of doing well in tournaments. It combos well with your swarms of dudes, and has a potent board impact.



You, know, you are probably right about the 7 spot removals I have, but I think I would get too nervous playing with less. I understand this deck is meant to win quick and early, but I need something to help me if I can't win that quickly and I go into the late game. Murder and the other removal spells will allow me to take away their defense and powerful creatures so I can continue to chip away at their health. I might experiment with Murder in my sideboard and then bring in Vile Rebirth to replace it. That way I will have some surprise blockers (love it's instant speed) to deal with their stronger creatures if need be, otherwise it is a great 2/2 for one black.

Is Mikeaus that great of a choice? I don't know the card well, but isn't a 6 mana creature to expensive for a deck like this?

I was thinking about maybe using Phylactery Lich in this deck, but then I didn't really know what artifacts to add to support him. Maybe take out the 2x Lashwrithe's and 2x sign in blood and replace them with 4x Demonmail Hauberk. Or maybe bring in 4x those new Ring artifact equipments that M13 brought in (regen and +1/+1 on your upkeep). It would be cheaper and would allow me to get the Lich out on turn 3 (ring T2 then Lich T3 placing the counter on the ring) instead of turn 5 if I used the Demonmail Hauberk. Or, I could use 4x Tormod's Crypt which cost nothing to play but has no other real benefit other than allowing the Lich to come out (unless I am playing a deck that plays from the graveyard a lot). But would four artifacts be enough to support Phylactery Lich?
 
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Sean Raffuse
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First off, we've been doing a lot of theorycrafting, and we're reaching the point where you need to start playing some games and reporting back.

Second, it seems like this deck could go in two directions, and this is why you're getting conflicting suggestions (at least from me). Personally, I'm in favor of the version that keeps the Demonlords and Butcher Ghouls over Vampire Nighthawks and Highborn Ghouls, even though both of the replacements are better in the abstract.

Undying is powerful in a deck like this. The problem with weenie swarm decks is that they must commit most of their cards to the board in order to win. They are then destroyed by board sweepers like Day of Judgement and friends. Your original version, with the heavy undying theme, was very resistant to board sweepers (not to mention spot removal). The addition of the Blood Artists puts opponents in an uncomfortable spot. The dream scenario is turn 1 gravecrawler, turn 2 blood artist, turn 3 messenger, turn 4 demonlord (probably sacrificing the gravecrawler). Built in this way (with the admittedly weak butcher ghouls) the demonlord's downside is closer to neutral or upside, and a 5 power flyer for 4 is nothing to sneeze at. According to this awesome article (http://www.channelfireball.com/articles/in-development-the-d...), your demonlord has about at 50% chance of coming down on turn 4 with the number of lands currently in your deck. In those cases, their damage output will outpace that of the nighthawk. Plus, the demonlord is more resistant to spot removal than the nighthawk, since you can sacrifice a less powerful creature if your really want to keep it around and bash for 6 next turn.

Those are my thoughts, but I'd be curious to see how it goes with whatever you put together.

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Getchell Williams
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Raffscallion wrote:
First off, we've been doing a lot of theorycrafting, and we're reaching the point where you need to start playing some games and reporting back.


I really wish I could just go out and test these deck ideas, but the only opportunities I have to play magic is usually at FNM's. None of my friends are really interested in playing this game. So "Theorycrafting" is really my best bet at the moment. I would like to get the best deck possible that I can make in theory and they use it at an FNM. If it doesn't work I'll alter it.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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GreAsyG wrote:
Raffscallion wrote:
First off, we've been doing a lot of theorycrafting, and we're reaching the point where you need to start playing some games and reporting back.


I really wish I could just go out and test these deck ideas, but the only opportunities I have to play magic is usually at FNM's. None of my friends are really interested in playing this game. So "Theorycrafting" is really my best bet at the moment. I would like to get the best deck possible that I can make in theory and they use it at an FNM. If it doesn't work I'll alter it.


The best thing you can do is play a bunch of agmes against yourself. I would always go to tournament reports and proxy up the best decks on index cards, then play my deck against them. Go find a decent version of Delver and see how your deck does. It will also help your play against Delver a lot, because you will know the sort of choices they are making.
 
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Greg Jackson
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Just to throw something else in the mix - I've played a similar deck but with bloodflow connoisseurs in. That way if you curve out with gravecrawler, blood artist, BC, then diregraf ghoul or another gravecrawler it means you can basically drain life every turn whilst also making a large BC.
 
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Getchell Williams
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So, Phylactery Lich? Thumbs up or down? I really like this card but I don't really know how to add it to my deck since I would also have to add more artifacts. I have some Tormod's Crypt's being shipped to me, so I figured I could add 4x of those and take out the Sign in Blood. Would 6x Artifacts (4x Tormod's Crypt and 2x Lashwrithe)be enough to support, say, 3x Phylactery Lich's?
 
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Sean Raffuse
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It's a cool card, but I don't think your deck will be made better by it. I tried really hard to make it work, but everything needs to go your way and you wound need to warp your deck to make it even decent. Your 3 cost slot is messenger, which is super good. If you think another 3 drop is needed, I'd look to the nighthawks. Incidentally, I think nighthawks might be great in the sideboard for if you need to take a more controlling stance.
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Getchell Williams
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played at FNM with the following deck:

------------------------------
Creatures
4x Gravecrawler
4x Diregraf Ghoul
4x Blood Artist
4x Highborn Ghoul
3x Geralf's Messenger
4x Demonlord of Ashmouth

Spells
4x Murder
3x Go For the Throat
2x Killing Wave
2x Lashwrithe
3x Sign in Blood
2x Vile Rebirth

21x Swamp

Sideboard
4x Cower in Fear
2x Vile Rebirth
2x Swamp
1x Rise from the Grave
2x Barter in Blood
3x Ghoulcaller's Chant
1x Curse of Death's Hold
------------------------------

I went 3-2 for the night. Lost the first two games to an exalted deck and a lifegain deck. I defeated a delver deck, an Exalted deck, and a mono black infect deck.

When I wasn't getting mana screwed, the deck worked out very well. Didn't realize how much the blood artists could help out. As far as the Demonlords, they work pretty well. Didn't have much problems with using them.

Anyways, next time I think I am going to experiment with the Vampire Nighthawks in place of the Demonlords. I might even give the Lich's a try.
 
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