Cube Archetype – Zombie Tribal (BUg)

Continuing in updating my cube to make the themes a bit more noticeable, today I’m looking at Zombies.

Originally this was the BG archetype but while there are a few good BG zombies there are very few straight up green zombies. There are however some BU zombies I’m quite fond of and some acceptable mono blue zombie creatures.

The BG “happen to be zombies, actually graveyard matters” cards will stay in and become part of a kind of 3 colour arc of graveyard matters decks (the black part of Rakdos vampires, Golgari sacrifice and Dimir zombies, plus Sidisi herself in Sultai can all to a degree mix and match).

The All-In Cards

Much like vampires we have a pair of lords, one mono black, one dual colour. Death Baron nearly made the cut over Lord of the Undead but I thought that in a primarily midrange/control cube which is designed to encourage big silly plays mass deathtouch could be a little on the OP side (or at least really annoying to play against).

Endless Ranks of the Dead and Lich Lord of Unx are both aimed at giving you a huge horde of zombie tokens. Endless ranks is dead outside of a heavy tribal deck and I do want a few cards like this in each theme.

The Standalone Cards

As expected for the titan cycle Grave Titan is a bomb in its own right. Liliana’s Reaver and Sidisi, Undead Vizier are both great in any black deck.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed basically goes into ANY deck which has few or no humans. The undying is a little better in a deck with sacrifice effects but is still perfectly good in isolation.

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born is a little on the clunky side BUT is a huge trundling value engine as long as you can keep him fed (happy time occurs if you have a gravecrawler).

Army of the Damned is a card I glossed over as too slow and clunky when I first built the cube, but after playing it (and realising my concerns about rampant aggro were hilariously unrealistic) I decided I could push up the top of the curves and put in a few over the top items like this.

The Filler Cards

Deranged Assistant is an enabler for the graveyard cards in here (plus this isn’t a quick deck so every little helps). Havengul Runebinder obviously plays better the more zombies you have. The actual blue zombies all either fill or eat your graveyard (roll on Shadows over Innistrad for more blue zombies).

Black has a bit more selection, but zombies arent great at the sub 3 CMC level. Gravecrawler sits at 1 and is best used as combo fuel with sac outlets like Grimgrin. 2 has Blood Scrivener (not terrible if you ever manage to grind a game out long enough to empty your hand), Highborn Ghoul (blech, true filler) and Sultai Emissary (I really quite like this guy, I only just remembered he was a zombie).

Once you pass CMC 3 the selection opens up and we have the more interesting Nantuko Husk, Lifebane Zombie, and Ghoulraiser all having useful effects stapled on. We also have Rakshasa Gravecaller (conveniently makes zombies, plus one of my absolute favourites from DoT) and Silumgar Butcher (I’ll just sac this here Gravecrawler).

Crossover With Other Archetypes

Pontiff of Blight is great in the zombie deck (especially as its slightly slower to get rolling than some of the other decks and would be happy to gain a little extra life to stay in the game) but is intended mainly for the BW taxman deck.

Corpseweft gets a mention here also as its much more at home in the GB deck which will have a full graveyard a bit more often. UB cares more about getting its stuff back out (Ghoulraiser, Lord of the Undead, Gravecrawler, etc) and has less means of getting cards into the yard.

The Off-Colour Bleed Cards

Golgari Rotwurm, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord and Lotleth Troll all serve as strong creatures with a means of filling the graveyard up (again, this is going to be Golgari’s thing) while also being zombies. In addition all our tribal lords synergise with at least one of these guys.

Dreg mangler is just a decent body with the benefit of working from the graveyard (Golgari is rapidly filling up with things I like too much to remove so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go at some point).

Varolz, the Scar-Striped is an honourable mention as he isn’t a zombie at all (although I briefly thought he was) but is a pretty strong addition to the deck regardless as both a strong sac outlet and a use for whatever youve put in your graveyard.

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant works as great in both the GB and UB decks, or a combination of the two, Lord of the Undead and Cemetery Reaper both love a full graveyard and there are some incidental self mill cards floating around the general Sultai section of the cube (such as Forbidden Alchemy, Mulch, Splinterfright and Nyx Weaver).

The complete list

BUg Cube Subtheme (Zombies) - November 2015

Black (22)
Gravecrawler
Blood Scrivener
Highborn Ghoul
Sultai Emissary
Cemetery Reaper
Fleshbag Marauder
Geralf's Messenger
Ghoulraiser
Lifebane Zombie
Lord of the Undead
Nantuko Husk
Liliana's Reaver
Rakshasa Gravecaller
Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Silumgar Butcher
Grave Titan
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Pontiff of Blight
Moan of the Unhallowed
Army of the Damned
Corpseweft
Endless Ranks of the Dead

Blue (9)
Screeching Skaab
Armored Skaab
Skaab Ruinator
Stitched Drake
Havengul Runebinder
Relentless Skaabs
Skaab Goliath
Deranged Assistant
Forbidden Alchemy

Dimir (4)
Diregraf Captain
Lich Lord of Unx
Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
Possessed Skaab

Golgari (4)
Lotleth Troll
Dreg Mangler
Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
Golgari Rotwurm

Sultai (1)
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant

In the future I’d definitely like to improve the quality here and add a couple more early game cards. Innistrad 2 is pretty guaranteed to at least buff up the Vampire and Zombie tribes (hopefully not with some kind of parasitic ingest esque mechanic stapled on). In an unrelated aside I would love to see more werewolves too…I want modern werewolves to be a thing…I know it wont…but give me just a few more and I’ll try dammit (another decent 1 and 2 drop and at least the deck will be roughly the right shape).