Geralf's Messenger


Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Custom Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Dark Ascension (DKA) Rare

Combos Browse all

Geralf's Messenger

Creature — Zombie

Geralf's Messenger enters the battlefield tapped.

When Geralf's Messenger enters the battlefield, target opponent loses 2 life.

Undying (When this creature dies, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a +1/+1 counter on it.)

Geralf's Messenger Discussion

Darkfundip on Muldrotha Zombie Tribal

5 days ago

add things like Varolz, the Scar-Stripped could be very good with a graveyard based deck. That and cards with Undying like Strangleroot Geist or Geralf's Messenger That and Blood Artist could be very good if you throw some more aristocrats cards in there like Yahenni, Undying Partisan

kamarupa on Undying Burn

1 week ago

Ratchet Bomb in the sideboard. It hoses tokens and can also help you remove Enchantments. Everlasting Torment might be useful, too.

Fate Transfer would be another way to remove counters from Undying creatures.

Sign in Blood and Bump in the Night seem like possible mainboard fits. Priest of Forgotten Gods also seems worth considering.

If you want an alternative way to abuse Undying creatures, Solemnity fits the bill. Geralf's Messenger + Solemnity + Viscera Seer is an infinite combo.

lagotripha on Advertise your MODERN deck!

2 weeks ago

KaiyanK Hi, I've played mono-black a whole bunch. Zombies is an interesting tribe with some cool options.

Right now you are setup as a slow aggro deck- the traditional fix to that is to become a fast aggro deck. You can pack a decent disruption package and zombie making enchantments to become more midrange so long as you pack card advantage tools. The important part is looking over your options and picking cards that work well together. I have a big list of mono black stuff I've made work in modern. Mono black deckbuilder's toolbox

Key options are;

Stitcher's Supplier +Graveyard shenanigans ( Haunted Dead etc)

Zombie Infestation +discard/graveyard shenanigans

Geralf's Messenger / Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Gurmag Angler best zombie in the format

Korlash, Heir to Blackblade powerful ramp w/ Lashwrithe

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed easy combo fuel, if you can reach six mana

Haakon, Stromgald Scourge & Bridge from Below powerful shenanigans.

Languish Budget damnation dodged by big creatures.

I'm testing a combo list Familiar Ground at the moment- its a hybrid umbral mantle izzet guildmage combo deck making use of Biomancer's Familiar as extra Training Grounds .

HalbrechtHalbrecht on Black Plague

2 weeks ago

You know what? No! I don't think you're crazy. After a few more playtests, I agree with your hunch about Ascension .

I mean, it's not a bad route (at least, not in a less fast-paced format than Modern). Assuming it was in my opening hand or I could fetch it turn 3 with Beseech , I was able to reliably get it activated by turn 5-6. Between Geralf's Messenger , the Priest , Qarsi Sadist , and Collective Brutality , I never had issue draining life.

That said, it does take a bit of work. Also consider that by the time you've activated it, you've drained nearly half the opponent's life (assuming no lifegain; if you face lifegain, this card might help catch up to them). This is an amazing card in slower formats like Commander, but definitely isn't suited to Modern.

Speaking of....

I couldn't help but chuckle at your most recent comment of frustration. You're expressing the exact reason that I got tired of Modern! I'm with you — I like creative deck building and formats that give each deck a chance to show off what it was designed to do. Modern isn't that anymore.

Anyways, yeah, you could try cutting the Ascension and perhaps shave off a couple copies of some of the other cards in order to fit in Zulaport Cutthroat and Bloodghast .

HalbrechtHalbrecht on Black Plague

3 weeks ago

I agree that control via stall tactics is a viable strategy, but the problem I foresee is that the "sac oppression" doesn't actually start until Grave Pact is out on turn 4. For most Modern games, that's simply too late. (For instance, I have a Co-Co Elves deck that was reliably Overrunning you with elves on turn 4-5 for the win.) If you had cheaper forced sacrifice to stall until Grave Pact came online, it might work.... but I'm still not sure.

Then again, it's been a couple years since I've played in the Modern format, so I have no idea what the current meta is like. Maybe a few more games on Cockatrice will give you more data!

As to abusing ETB/LTB effects, I'd have to do some searching, but off the top of my head, copy effects are usually in blue while flickering creatures are usually in blue/white. Resummoning (or more commonly known as reanimating) creatures is definitely in black, but a lot of the best ones aren't Modern-legal — you'd have to dip into legacy. All the Modern options have a very high CMC.

Your best bet is probably copying the triggers. For that, you have two options — Panharmonicon and Strionic Resonator . The former only copies ETB triggers, so you'd want to build your deck to focus on that, but it'll give you double Exploit when Qarsi Sadist ETBs (note it will NOT double up his second ability) and Geralf's Messenger will drain for 4 instead of 2.

I personally feel that the Resonator will probably be better. It hits the table earlier, and although it requires mana to activate, this actually has great synergy with Priest of Forgotten Gods , who gives you the 2 mana you need. In fact, SO many times in playtesting, I used her ability during the opponent's turn but sadly didn't have any instant-speed ways to take advantage of the mana I got. Now, however, even if you're tapped out, you can activate her*, and then any abilities that your opponent's sacrificed creature triggers (Bloodchief Ascension, Blood Artist, Grave Pact) can be copied with the two black mana. And obviously, any other trigger can be copied — double tokens from Bitterblossom, double Exploit as described above, double drain from a single Exploit with the Sadist or from the Messenger's ETB, etc.

* Note that any triggers caused by the two creatures you sac for the activation cost will resolve prior to you receiving the two black mana, so you can't use the Resonator on those triggers unless you have other mana open.

The question is, what would you take out? I still believe that 4x Grave Pact is too many. I'd personally cut that down to 2x and add 2x of the Resonator. Since you have such a low curve, you might be able to get away with 23 lands (much like low-curve red decks can; some even run 22). Then you could bump that up to 3x.

HalbrechtHalbrecht on Black Plague

3 weeks ago

Hey there! Sorry for the delay. I looked through a ton of black cards, and then have done a bit of playtesting myself. Below is the list I have been refining towards all night.

I agree with your assessment of Bloodline Keeper — awesome card! but not as good in this deck.

In my playtests, I found that I actually didn't need very much card draw. The Priest gave me a little, which was enough. So I completely removed Mask of Memory for more synergistic effects.

This list generally "goes off" turn 6 - 8 and wins straight away.


Creature (16)

4x Blood Artist
3x Geralf's Messenger
4x Priest of Forgotten Gods
3x Qarsi Sadist
2x Undercity Informer

Enchantment (11)

4x Bitterblossom
4x Bloodchief Ascension
3x Grave Pact

Sorcery (9)

4x Beseech the Queen
4x Collective Brutality
1x Torment of Hailfire

Land (24)

24x Swamp


Ruthless Ripper
Syphon Life
Smothering Abomination

Card analysis

Torment of Hailfire is an amazing finisher if you have lots of mana but are stalled out otherwise. You don't want more than 1x of it, especially since you can tutor for it if need be.

Collective Brutality proved to be one of the best additions to the deck. Early on, you can activate its third mode to help get Ascension counters. Once Ascension is activated, then its discard mode gets the Ascension trigger. It also can kill a creature, triggering all of your death synergy. It's just so flexible!

I cut Grave Pact down to 3 copies, just because it has a higher CMC and you really don't need more than 1 in play (maybe 2 if going against a deck that "goes wide"). Considering you have 4 tutors, this means you basically have 7 copies of it, so you're nearly guaranteed to be able to get it.

I like the addition of Undercity Informer , but he has no stacking effect and doesn't have to tap, so having more than one in play isn't helpful. He also feels like a mid- to late-game play, when you have the extra mana and creatures to sac them all and finish off an opponent.

Geralf's Messenger did some major work in this deck. Absolutely loved getting him. I considered even upping him to 4x. I'm not as in love with Qarsi Sadist , but I was also never disappointed to draw him, as the Exploit sac outlet provided another means to put a counter on Ascension, as well as trigger any Artists or Grave Pacts I may have in play.

Maybeboard thoughts

I was looking at Ruthless Ripper because I think it's very important to get Ascension online as quickly as possible, which means being able to make the opponent lose 2+ life during his turn, not just during yours. Currently, the only instant-speed option is Priest of Forgotten Gods (or an Undercity Informer if you have a Geralf's Messenger with no counter on it or 2+ Artists out). The Ripper provides another instant-speed option that doesn't rely on having another card out. But other than that, there's not any other synergy with the deck. I haven't playtested it, though.

I was considering Syphon Life just for its Retrace ability, which can help in mana flood situations, late game if things are stalling, etc. I haven't playtested it, but again, other than its repeatability (which gives you card advantage), it doesn't do multiple things like Collective Brutality or Qarsi Sadist does.

I would try out a 1x of Smothering Abomination just to give the deck reach if the game goes long. I like the idea of card draw that doesn't drain you life. Since many of your creature deaths will be due to sacrifice, it's almost as effective as Dark Prophecy . And while it costs 1 mana more, it also gives you another creature. Even its downside of forced sacrifice isn't that bad, since you can turn it off at any time by sac-ing itself to its own ability.

lagotripha on Dripping-Gargadon

1 month ago

While garagadon doesn't interact with hex parasite like that, it does like having a lot of bodies to sac, and interactions with persist and undying make Geralf's Messenger or Kitchen Finks combos a little smoother, providing an alternative 1 mana outlet to the usual Viscera Seer .

For cards that do interact with parasite, the most notable Dark Depths has been banned a long time ago due to Vampire Hexmage and Thespian's Stage making it too strong. Lost Auramancers , Quicksilver Fountain , Thing in the Ice  Flip and the ahmonket 'drop -1-1 counters on your creatures' cards are all interesting options.

Zubera tribal similarly has some pretty amazing lists built around Return to the Ranks and similar 'mass res' spells.

Boza on Which Marchesa deck works better ...

1 month ago

Well, given that 2/5ths of your budget are your commander with Queen Marchesa , the non-royalty one takes the crown.

With the other marchesa, you have so many ways to go - modular artifacts like Arcbound Ravager builds or undying builds with things like Geralf's Messenger .

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Geralf's Messenger occurrence in decks from the last year


All decks: 0.05%

Commander / EDH:

All decks: 0.01%