Mono-Black Zombies by kenelli on MtGO

Creatures (20)
4 Cryptbreaker
4 Haunted Dead
4 Prized Amalgam
4 Relentless Dead
4 Voldaren Pariah

Non-Creature Spells (16)
2 Liliana, the Last Hope
4 Sinister Concoction
4 Fatal Push
4 Grasp of Darkness
2 To the Slaughter

Lands (24)
24 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
2 Distended Mindbender
1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
2 Pick the Brain
2 Ruinous Path
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Transgress the Mind


Does anyone else long for the days of mono-colored decks? If you’re looking for a deck in Standard that doesn’t rely on a kind output from its manabase to cast its spells, you might want to check out this Mono-Black Zombies deck. The B/R Zombies deck has been a fringe staple of Standard for a while now, but its popularity has waned as of late. It’s possible that this version that forgoes red entirely may have the extra bit of consistency and focus needed to put Haunted Dead and friends back on the map.

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The most obvious question at hand is what does this deck lose by not having access to red? The answer is: Insolent Neonate, Cathartic Reunion, Lightning Axe, Fiery Temper, and Unlicensed Disintegration. That’s a lot of cards, but nothing that’s irreplaceable. Insolent Neonate and Cathartic Reunion (and Lightning Axe to an extent) facilitate the graveyard strategies in the deck, and Lighting Axe, Fiery Temper, Unlicensed Disintegration are some of the most potent removal spells in the format.

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To replace Neonate and Reunion, we have Liliana, the Last Hope, which is also a very decent removal spell against some of the more aggressive decks in the format. To replace the removal spells, we have the best removal spells that black has to offer; Fatal Push, Grasp of Darkness, and To the Slaughter, as well as Sinister Concoction, which does an extremely good Lightning Axe impression at one more mana. This deck has also added Relentless Dead, which offers another incredibly grindy card that helps create a loop of value that’s incredibly hard for most opponents to deal with.

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The sideboard of this deck has some different things going on. The playset of Scrapheap Scrounger should almost certainly be in the mainboard, and the copies of Distended Mindbender offer the deck another angle of attack which I think is very necessary, so I’ll be moving those to the mainboard as well. The rest of the sideboard, including the full playset of Transgress the Mind, is in the deck to help in the more grindy matchups. However, that’s where this deck already shines, so some changes to help with the more aggressive matchups will be necessary going forward.

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The power level of the Zombies archetype since Prized Amalgam and Haunted Dead were printed has never been questioned, but it’s frequently been kept down either by an unfavorable metagame or a suboptimal configuration. While not the first solution that many might think of, cutting the enabler color, red, might be the answer to the deck’s inconsistency problem. Time will only tell if this is the correct deck to break the stagnation in this Standard format.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:


-2 Voldaren Pariah

-2 To the Slaughter

-1 Grasp of Darkness

-1 Sinister Concoction

+4 Scrapheap Scrounger

+2 Distended Mindbender


-2 Distended Mindbender

-4 Scrapheap Scrounger

-2 Pick the Brain

+2 Gonti, Lord of Luxury

+1 Liliana, the Last Hope

+4 Gifted Aetherborn

+1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

This is day 61 of’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 60 here, where we covered an innovative Standard deck that combines 3 (yes, 3!) Standard decks into one!

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