Halloween Deck Tech: Night of the Living Dead

Welcome back to our month of spooky content here at Master of Magics. For those that don’t know, this October we are starting Halloween early here on the site, with a whole bunch of articles covering a variety of creepy topics for our favourite games. If like us you love Halloween, make sure you subscribe to Master of Magics to not miss any of our content in the coming weeks. But for now, let’s get to today’s eerie deck tech, inspired by a true horror classic.

There are many, many iconic horror movie creatures. From Vampires to Werewolves, to Ghosts and Killer Clowns, the shear scoop of the creatures that go bump in the night is truly staggering. Most of these ghouls rise and wane in popularity, been all the rage before we begin to get bored with the concept. However, there is one horror movie creature that always seems to be popular, no matter the era. One that’s popularity has seen it enjoy cult and mainstream success, persisting in its existence long after many movie monsters have been done away with. I am of course talking about the ever-living Zombie.

The idea of the dead rising from their grave is far from a new concept. Many religions and folk tales tell of the dead rising from their eternal slumber to menace the living. But unlike the romantic depictions we see of Vampires, or the ethereal torment of a Spirit, Zombies hold an altogether different connotation in horror. For when a Zombie rises from its grave, it is not your loved one returned to the land of the living, all be it corrupted and possible evil. No, a Zombie is merely the empty shell of the person they once were, now driven by one base human compulsion. The need to feed.

This lack of any kind of consciousness means that Zombies are rarely the focal point of the narrative, as it is nigh possible to relate to a mindless creature whom only hungers. As a result, most Zombie films instead focus on the survives of these events, as they try to hold on to their humanity once civilisation becomes nothing but a memory. These make for (in my opinion) far more interesting narratives, as we see how a few desperate people try to hold on to their morals in the face of utter devastation. In that regard, Zombies are more like a natural disaster than any supernatural threat.

Now there are many great Zombie movies out there (and more than a few terrible ones also) but if I were to recommend only one to watch this Halloween season, it would have to be the 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead.

A film almost solely responsible for many of the tropes we consider essential to the genre, Night of the Living Dead was written and directed by horror legend George A. Romero, and co-written by John Russo. The film follows seven people who are trapped in a rural farmhouse in western Pennsylvania, which is under assault by an enlarging group of cannibalistic, undead corpses eager for their flesh. As the situation gets more and more dire, the party of mostly strangers begin to turn on one another while the world around them crumbles. Seriously, if you have never watched it go do it now. I’ll be here when you get back…

You seen it?


Now we all now how good this film is, lets brew a deck inspired by it.

For this deck tech, we are going to be heading to Magic Arena and the ever-growing Historic format. However, this deck would easily port over to Modern or Pioneer with a little bit of tweaking. The main focus of the deck is of course Zombies. A horde of Zombies if you will. One that keeps replacing its self and proves to be almost endless. We start this off with a bunch of solid creatures. Diregraf Ghoul and Foulmire Knight kick things off in the one drop slot, allowing us to gain board presents early on. Lazotep Reaver fits nicely into our two-drop slot, bringing two bodies for the price of one (or a bigger body if we already have an Amass token out). Next, Cryptbreaker and Graveyard Marshal can be used to create extra bodies out of unneeded cards or previously destroyed Zombies to keep the pressure on.

For when we need to remove a particularly annoying threat, Murderous Rider is our go to card, and of course we couldn’t have a tribal deck without a lord or two. Death Baron and Lord of the Accursed bring both the buffs and the keywords of Death touch and Menace, making blocks from our opponents all the trickier. Finally, no mono black deck featuring Zombies would be complete without the one and only Gray Merchant of Asphodel.

Lands are nice and simple, with twenty Swamps and a playset of Castle Locthwain to add to the card draw potential of both Cryptbreaker and Foulmire Knight. As for a sideboard? Well hand attack and removal are key to shoring up any good black deck. Since the deck wants to be somewhat budget, three copies of Duress will do just fine for our hand attack package. Legion’s End, The Elderspell and Golden Demise fill up the gaps that Murderous Rider sometimes misses, while Tymaret, Chosen from Death and Leyline of the Void help battle other graveyard centric decks. Finally, we run two copies of Feed the Swarm for any pesky Enchantments we may come across.

Creatures (36)
Diregraf Ghoul
Foulmire Knight
Lazotep Reaver
Graveyard Marshal
Death Baron
Lord of the Accursed
Murderous Rider
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Lands (24)
Castle Locthwain
20 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
Legion’s End
The Elderspell
Tymaret, Chosen from Death
Golden Demise
Leyline of the Void
Feed the Swarm

And that is Historic Zombies, inspired by the infamous Night of the Living Dead. A fun deck to try out during this Halloween and beyond, so why not try it out for yourself? If you have some suggestions for the deck, let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.

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