Last year around this time, I presented a bunch of themed Magic decks that were inspired by some of the best cult horror films ever made. One of those films was of course, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (one of my personal favourite zombie movies). Sure, it is tame by todays standards. But for many it is still the gold standard for what a zombie movie should be, and is widely praised as single handily kickstarting the entire genre.
As with most successful horror movies, it wasn’t long before a sequel was in the works. And like Aliens and Terminator 2, the sequel surpassed the original. Dawn of the Dead was a huge success, earning $900,000 on its opening weekend, and $5.1 million in its first four weeks. It’s been the inspiration for most of modern zombie media and has led to many homages such as Shawn of the Dead, as well as spawning its own sequel and even a 2004 remake by Zack Snyder.
Now I know what you are thinking. “What has that got to do with Magic the Gathering James?” Well, my dear readers. Much like how Night of the Living Dead spawned Dawn of the Dead, it is time for the deck it inspired to get the sequel treatment. And lucky for us, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt just so happened to bring us a whole bunch of rotten toys for this tribal brew.
Now while Innistrad: Midnight Hunt brought us a ton of new zombie cards to play with, there are really only two stand out critters that got me excited when it comes to resurrecting this deck. Those been Champion of the Perished (an amazing call back to Champion of the Parish) and Tainted Adversary. Much like its living counterpart, Champion of the Perished is a one drop that wants us to play out all the zombies as quickly as possible. Starting off as a humble 1/1 for one black mana, this rotten creature can quickly become too big to handle and forcing your opponent to have to spend premium removal on it (which means they are less likely to have it later when you start dropping lords on the field).
The other new addition to the deck is a bit different in its function, as Tainted Adversary is a card you want to hold onto rather than play out early. As many an aggro player will know, board wipes are the bane of our life, ruining our nicely laid plans to swarm the battlefield and overwhelm our opponents. Usually when this happens, you are forced to have to wait while you draw up some new threats, which gives your opponent enough time to find another magic bullet. But thanks to Tainted Adversary’s “multi-kicker” effect, you can easily re-establish a board state in no-time flat.
Soon the Champion of the Perished will be too big for even Mayhem Devil to ‘ping’.
Even if you only pump an addition three mana into it, its still going to net you seven power over three creatures, which can often be all you need to finish out the game. And yes, while the zombies it creates do have decayed and so are no good for blocking, you should always be on the offence by that point, so the drawback is less of an issue.
The rest of the deck is pretty much the same as before, with Diregraf Ghoul, Foulmire Knight and Cryptbreaker filling out our one drops and Lazotep Reaver and Graveyard Marshal topping you our two drops. Cryptbreaker, Lazotep Reaver and Graveyard Marshal are even better this time around, as Champion of the Perished doesn’t care about creatures that were cast, only that they entered the battlefield (so those tokens we will be creating will also grow the Champion). As before, we are running two playsets of zombie lords in the form of Death Baron and Lord of the Accursed for that sweet anthem effect as well as the keywords of Death touch and Menace. Finally, we add in four copies of Murderous Rider, because creature and planeswalker removal is always good to have.
When it comes to lands, we are playing on the lighter side with only twenty-one, eighteen of which are Snow-Covered Swamps. The other three are another new addition to the deck in the form of Faceless Haven, which gives us another avenue to victory should our opponents be on the “kill all our creatures plan”.
4 Champion of the Perished
4 Diregraf Ghoul
4 Foulmire Knight
3 Tainted Adversary
4 Lazotep Reaver
4 Graveyard Marshal
4 Death Baron
4 Lord of the Accursed
4 Murderous Rider
18 Snow-Covered Swamp
3 Faceless Haven
2 Pithing Needle
2 The Elderspell
2 Leyline of the Void
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Crippling Fear
Now when it come to a sideboard, we have a few new toys to play with. First up, Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek gives us ways of attacking our opponents hand if they are on the control game plan, while The Elderspell and the newly reprinted Pithing Needle gives us answers to problematic planeswalkers. Crippling Fear gives us a one-sided wrath, while Leyline of the Void helps stop our opponents from employing graveyard tactics (something that surprisingly we happen to avoid). Lastly, Shadowspear gives us a way of taking out hexproof threats, while also helping pad out our own life total when we come up against other aggro decks.
The rest of the undead watch on from the graveyard as the horde overwhelms a Mill deck.
And that my dear readers is the revamped Historic Zombies, just in time for this year’s spooky season. Is this the kind of deck that you would like to play in Historic? Tell us about it in the comments below, and if you have some suggestions for the deck, you can add those while you are down there. Plus, don’t forget to like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here. Also, if you have any ideas for new and exciting decks you want me to look at you can contact me directly @TenguPlaysGames over on Twitter, where i can often be found teasing future content for the site.
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