Hello My Fellow Planeswalker,
Mathew from GenericBadMagic here to talk you through a ghoulish deck which is sure to send opposing creatures running back to their owners hands, this is Zombie-Bounce!
The flavour here is achieved by filling the deck with twenty-two creatures, mostly of the type Zombie, to strike fear into the hearts of your adversary. Their creatures will scurry back to their hands under the influence of spells like Compelling Deterrence and Unsubstantiate. Lets take a closer look at what makes this deck tick.
2x Dread Wanderer
3x Relentless Dead
4x Prized Amalgam
3x Diregraf Colossus
2x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2x The Scarab God
2x Gisa and Geralf
So, smaller creatures first, everyone knows the kind of engine that a Cryptbreaker can be in any Zombies list and here is no exception, helping you to generate tokens and draw cards rather effectively.
Dread Wanderer is another Zombie which can be tapped to help Cryptbreaker draw cards for you, whilst also being a recurring threat from the graveyard.
Following this same pattern Relentless Dead, whilst being evasive with Menace, allows us to chose either paying a single black mana to return it to our hand, or paying x mana of any colour to return a creature with Converted Mana Cost (CMC) x from the graveyard to the battlefield when Relentless Dead dies, turning itself, and your other creatures, into truly relentless threats.
All of the above help, in some way, to trigger Prized Amalgams return from the graveyard to the battlefield. With Cryptbreaker you can discard it, Dread Wander can bring them back by returning itself and Relentless Dead can revive them by returning another creature. A very tasty synergy in the early game indeed.
Diregraf Colossus is another big player in the Zombie decks which have been so prevalent lately, benefiting greatly from a stacked graveyard and generating tokens whenever you cast a zombie spell, another resource for Cryptbreaker!
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and his Lifelink can be a real thorn in the side of aggro decks, even converting their small creatures that die into 2/2 zombie tokens for yourself.
*Cough* Cryptbreaker *Cough*
He can even utilize these tokens with his activated ability to pump himself up with two +1/+1 tokens, intimidating all in his path!
The Scarab God really takes advantage of all these zombies gaining life and scrying for X (the number of zombies you control) during your Upkeep steps, making this ability even more useful by exiling creatures from your graveyard and making a 4/4 black zombie copy to further fuel your synergies. (have I mentioned Cryptbreaker recently?) Our creepy-crawly overlord also has the added advantage of just not staying dead, returning to it’s owners hand at the end step following it’s demise.
The final creature to tie all of this together is Gisa and Geralf, entering the battlefield to ship four cards from the top of your library off to the graveyard and hopefully dumping a couple of zombies to bring back later in the process. The second ability on these grisly siblings is allowing you to cast one zombie creature card from your graveyard on each of your turns as long as they are in play… a huge swing if you buried your Prized Amalgam’s in there earlier.
2x Liliana, the Last Hope
Liliana presents a threat that must be answered, no one wants to see her remove seven loyalty counters and suddenly present an army with the power of exponential growth. No one except you, that is. To help her get there she can give up to one target creature -2/-1 until your next turn, somewhat protecting herself, for the benefit of adding a loyalty counter. With her minus ability also returning a creature from the graveyard to your hand you shouldn’t struggle to maintain a number of blockers to keep her safe and insulate your own life total.
3x Cemetary Recruitment
3x Grasp of Darkness
3x Supreme Will
3x Compelling Detterence
Let’s take a look at the Instant and Sorcery options that don’t bounce creatures. With Cemetery Recruitment we can return a creature card from the graveyard to our hand and, as an added benefit, draw a card if that creature was a Zombie… it probably will be!
Grasp of Darkness is solid removal, killing most creatures in the format, including Hazoret the Fervent, Standard just won’t be the same without it!
Supreme Will is brilliant for card advantage, either digging through our deck or acting as a counter spell when the opponent is low on mana.
These two spells both offer us ways of bouncing creatures back to the opponents hand and buying ourselves some time. Compelling Deterrence even hits nonland permanents in general and can knock back a Heart of Kiran or Skysovereign, Consul Flagship at will. Due to our large Zombie contingent the opponent will then often have to discard a card, which can be great when they’re nearing top-deck mode.
2x Choked Estuary
4x Sunken Hollow
2x Evolving Wilds
The mana base is pretty straight forward, Dual-Lands in the corresponding colours and Evolving Wilds because sometimes we just need to go find a blue source and thin out the deck a little bit. The heavy concentration of black mana symbols in the deck justifies only three islands, Evolving Wilds is just insurance for our fixing.
3x Flaying Tendrils
2x Bontu’s Last Reckoning
2x Torment of Hailfire
3x Jace’s Defeat
3x Liliana’s Defeat
These cards in the sideboard all offer us a kind of boardwipe, Flaying Tendrils sweeps away most of the low toughness creatures you find in aggro strategies like Ramunap Red, Bontu’s Last Reckoning clears the board of all but indestructible things and claims your mana for an extra turn by not letting you untap and Torment of Hailfire (with enough of an investment) can eat your opponents hand, make them clear their own board and even eat into their life-total quite nicely if timed correctly.
To add to this versatility, Jace’s Defeat offers us a real silver bullet against control and in the event of countering a Jace Planeswalker also lets you scry 2 while Liliana’s Defeat can take down Nicol Bolas, Innistrad’s verion of Liliana (The Last Hope) or even a big black creature like Razaketh. If it does take down a Liliana Planeswalker the opponent also loses three life.
That’s the rundown of this deck and although it is due to rotate out shortly this really is a deck which can provide some real fun shenanigans, so could be worth it to put together and jam a little before rotation rolls around!
If you do try it out or otherwise want to give me feedback anyway please catch me on Twitter @GenericBadMtg
Next time out we’re going to look at the Dinosaur spoilers of Ixalan! (or at least my favourite ones)
Until then, have a good one,