Playtesting for Standard Pro Tours with Christian Calcano since Pro Tour Amonkhet means that if there is even just a single Zombie available, he’s going to try to break it! So this time, I’ll prepare in advance, and try to get my Zombie brew together before he does.
Last week I wrote about Cleansing Nova, and I talked a lot about rotation. I know that rotation hasn’t happened since RTR came out, but I said that I think Fumigate is much better. Hence, Nova will stay in the dark until Fumigate rotates out, as I don’t think we’ll ever see the tokens archetype again because of Goblin Chainwhirler.
A bunch of Zombies were previewed with Core 2019 but the one that caught my attention and made me start brewing was Liliana, Untouched by Death.
Planeswalkers in M19 are much weaker than we’re used to seeing, and this Liliana doesn’t seem impressive.
But the fact that you can go off with her ultimate and do useful things with the first two abilities makes me want to brew with her.
Graveyard Marshal is another Zombie that synergies well with the graveyard and makes you want to fill your deck with creatures so that you never run out of them.
In doesn’t combo particularly well with Liliana, Untouched by Death’s -3 ability, but she does fuel the Graveyard Marshal with her +1, and since you are producing so many Zombies, her -2 will be better.
Death Baron is a reprint from Shards of Alara, and a pretty expensive one. But we are not here to talk about finance—we are here to talk about the fact that we have a new lord, in addition to Lord of the Accursed.
It isn’t pretty, but since I want to build my deck with a critical mass of Zombies to always be able to get value from the M19 cards, this lord might make the cut.
Another reprint! This time from Innistrad. A cheap and effective Zombie that starts filling the board as early as turn 1 is definitely a good addition to the mix.
Stitcher’s Supplier is a new one, but even if it seems to synergize well with the rest of the deck, I believe that a 1/1 for 1, in a world of Goblin Chainwhirler, can’t be Standard playable. I’m not saying that Goblin Chainwhirler deserves to be banned for this reason. I’m just saying that you have to build your deck accordingly from now on.
Lots of new cards from M19 fit the theme, so let’s take a look at the other sets to see what we can put together.
While Khenra Eternal is a good curve filler, it’s too weak for such a powerful Standard environment and Scrapheap Scrounger is still miles better. In past Standard, Zombies succeeded because the deck revolved a lot around Cryptbreaker and you wanted all of your creatures to be Zombies. We still have many synergies between lords and Liliana, Untouched by Death, but Scrapheap is one of the best cards in Standard, especially with Liliana’s +1 ability.
You can also exploit Graveyard Marshal in other black shells with Dread Shade and less Zombies synergies by putting Gonti and Ravenous Chupacabra in the mix, and I will definitely try those for the upcoming Pro Tour M19!