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Choose one--Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand; or return two target Zombie cards from your graveyard to your hand.
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Ghoulcaller's Chant Discussion
1 week ago
Alright, I finished a few decks over the last couple hours or so.
Here's a bonus Kor equipment deck I made for fun a while ago but never posted on tappedout: $15 Kor Equipment
I tried to make a decent zombies deck that fit within the budget but it's such a popular tribe that all the semi-good cards are over $1 each, which made it nigh impossible to make something good. If you're fine with pauper decks though, here's a zombie deck I made in that format: Suicide is occasionally the answer. It's like 10 bucks without the sideboard and can hold up pretty well against other non-competitive modern decks (and is really fun in multiplayer with Shepherd of Rot heheh).
If you don't mind using non-pauper legal cards, I suggest you make these edits:
- 4 Maggot Carrier --> 4 Diregraf Ghoul
- 3 Festering Mummy + 1 Carnophage --> 4 Dread Wanderer
- 2 Sangrophage + 2 Wretched Anurid --> 4 Graveyard Marshal
The last two add $8ish to the price tag but with them the deck becomes more competitive and easier to play. That said, managing your life total is pretty fun if you enjoy a challenge, and chaining together Maggot Carriers with Ghoulcaller's Chant to hit the opponent for the last few points of damage is pretty satisfying. Do what you want with it.
3 weeks ago
I love mono-b zombie aggro decks - I think you've included a ton of the best cards available but I have some suggestions to improve the list.
Death Baron is a great way to buff all your zomblers and gives some great keywords as well. I consider this card a must have for any zombie tribal deck.
Dread Wanderer Since we are always an aggro deck, more one drop creatures are better than expensive enchantments like Endless Ranks of the Dead. Plus it has built in recursion making Ghoulcaller's Chant unnecessary!
Lord of the Accursed lets us make our zomblers hard to block for a turn 4 or 5 swing for the win! Value!
Diregraf Ghoul more 1 drops and a great body is always wanted by this deck! Zomblers!
Plague Belcher is a great way to turn dying zomblers into value.
Cemetery Reaper Probably the worst zombie lord but still, we are a zombie tribal deck and we love lords!
Overall I like your deck list. My best advice is to load up on more zombies and try to limit the tech and utility cards in favor of running more zombies, that way we can hit our curve more consistently and always have creatures to play.
1 month ago
The first thing I'll say is that with 21 lands, you probably can't expect to get the mana to launch Army of the Damned or a really powerful Mind Grind or Torment of Hailfire. Well, at least without Organ Harvest, of which you're only sporting one copy. (If you don't play with teammates, or if you don't play with silver-bordered cards, you might replace it with Culling the Weak.) For reference, the math on Army of the Damned is that about 1/3 of your cards are lands = 8/24, meaning you need to survive to turn 17-18 (have seen a total of 24 cards between your opening hand and your draws each turn) to hit that 8th land. That’s a long time in a Magic game.
Second, Mind Grind, while fun, is questionable here, since none of your other cards will mill your opponent. Many people play with 4 copies of many of their cards, so milling them might not cut them off from their game plan unless you mill them so much they might die. And for that, you would need more support for the mill plan or a LOT more mana. (This is possible, but a big change. Look for cards like Glimpse the Unthinkable and Mind Funeral. Otherwise, I'd cut it for cards that affect board-state or life-totals.)
Third, your overall game plan appears to be to stall in the early game for more powerful plays late, since your low cost cards are generally defensive. This means you'll want more lands in your deck so that you don't stumble on your way to those big plays. I'd remove Coral Atoll and put in four Dimir Aqueducts. It's not the ideal play, but it's cheap and there's a lot of upside if your opponent doesn't Ghost Quarter it or something. Anyways, that will take you up to 24 lands AND increase your average mana output a little more, letting you rely on 4CMC, 5CMC, and 6CMC plays to dominate the game.
Finally, on to individual cards:
Kraken Hatchling, Mausoleum Wanderer, Pharika's Chosen, and Will-o'-the-Wisp are all fine defensive one-drops, but they all do something a little different. Thornbow Archer is a little more aggressive than the rest of your deck wants, so maybe drop it and pick your favorite of those first four and add a second.
Fogwalker is okay on defense, though it's not the best two-drop out there. I'm not a fan of Olivia's Dragon, especially outside of madness/reanimator decks. Rancid Rats just doesn't offer enough oomph for the mana (skulk is not typically a very useful ability). Graf Rats is bad unless you have Midnight Scavengers, so it's really about how much you personally want to meld them. Ultimately, I'd rather replace them with better blockers like Wall of Tears, Wall of Souls, Contraband Kingpin, Dragon's Eye Savants, Gifted Aetherborn, or the absolute top-tier Baleful Strix. Other value options include Omenspeaker, Sigiled Starfish, and Augur of Bolas. Other fun options here are Surge Mare, Riptide Mangler, Lazav, the Multifarious, Fathom Feeder, and Ludevic's Test Subject Flip. Choose your favorites. Alternately, spot-removal like Doom Blade, Victim of Night, Cast Down, Go for the Throat, and sometimes Dimir Charm are pretty effective.
Wharf Infiltrator can be good sometimes. You can leave it in for fun or replace it.
Eternal Scourge has its uses, but I don't think this deck is optimized for it. Ideally you'd want a few things that can exile it from graveyard or hand, such as Gurmag Angler, Soulflayer, Tombstalker, Scavenging Ooze, Grim Lavamancer), Azor's Gateway Flip (from hand), or the most hilarious option, Serum Powder. As it stands, it's just difficult to kill outside of combat, like a bad shroud or hexproof. Honestly, I don't think you need a 3/3 to be immune to removal. Replace with a finisher, which I'll discuss in a bit. Alternately, one of my favorite defensive 3CMC creatures is Graveblade Marauder, since its offensive capabilities can rapidly increase.
Markov Crusader isn't actually very good even in the rare case when you do have another vampire, and you only have one other one. Compare to 4CMC utility wunderkind Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 5CMC finishers (like Archfiend of Depravity, Glyph Keeper, Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, Vengeful Pharaoh, and maybe even Serra Sphinx), and 6CMC game-winners (like Noxious Gearhulk, Dread, Kokusho, the Evening Star, Wurmcoil Engine, Grave Titan, or even Vengeant Vampire, though that last one is much worse than the others). Sure, none do exactly what Markov Crusader does, but some are close and they all have incredible upsides. Even something like Shriekmaw might ultimately gain you more life by just killing something outright, plus it's super-flexible. Heck, Soul Ransom and Mind Control are strong cards too, at least against creature decks. Anyways, Markov Crusader is a card to replace.
Midnight Scavengers is okay, especially if you have a lot of disposable deathtouchers to bring back, but it still doesn't compare favorably to the above finishers unless you really want to meld it with Graf Rats. Remember, doing things you want to do is an important part of MTG. But if you don't care to meld, I'd look to replace it.
Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is fine. In most cases it doesn't compare favorably to the 6CMC critters above, but it has its uses. If you've got a lot of little deathtouchers (Pharika's Chosen, Typhoid Rats, Dire Fleet Poisoner, it can grow really out of hand. Also, Field of Ruin forces a library search.
Elder Deep Fiend is fine. Usually you play it in a deck that has plenty of creatures you don't mind (or are better off) sacrificing (for example, Priest of the Blood Rite, Relentless Dead, Doomed Dissenter, Stormbound Geist/Geralf's Messenger), then you emerge it early and tap down lands. That's not really your plan here, so it's probably not the best choice. Some good choices for replacements are above, but within the category of emerge creatures, I think Distended Mindbender fits your deck better.
Organ Harvest is a powerful card, but has some drawbacks. Most importantly, a lot of people don't play with or against silver-bordered cards. They're not legal in any official tournaments. Tournament legal variations are Dark Ritual, Culling the Weak, and Ashnod's Altar. Other than that, it's a card that is useless in many situations and completely changes what you're able to do when you actually can make use of it, and that can be awkward from a strategy perspective. If you don't have creatures, you can't cast it. If you don't have a big spell in your hand, you don't need to cast it and you'd rather have almost any other card. So it wants your deck to be full of disposable creatures and big spells, like an emerge deck or a zombie deck really making use of Army of the Damned and From Under the Floorboards. But for the most part that is not this deck, so unless you want to build around the card, I'd remove it, either replacing it with Dark Ritual which is always useful when drawn early, or something else that's cheap and effective: Dead Weight, Apathy, Doom Blade, Pharika's Chosen, or whatever.
Sorcerous Sight is worse than Peek and Gitaxian Probe, but I don't think any of those are particularly good in your deck. If you want to know what's in your opponent's hand, play Telepathy. Otherwise, there's better card draw: Preordain and Ponder are the best cheap spells, but it might be worth spending more mana for more effect with Sign in Blood or Chart a Course.
Cemetery Recruitment isn't particularly good with so few zombies. You can add more zombies, or switch to Ghoulcaller's Chant/Find / Finality/Recover/Disturbed Burial/Death Denied to simulate the effect, or just do card advantage the old-fashioned way, with stuff like Sign in Blood/Consult the Necrosages/Read the Bones/Notion Rain/Secrets of the Golden City. Alternately, shred your opponent's hand (and lose friends) with Hymn to Tourach or punch your opponent for cards with Shadowmage Infiltrator. If you're committed to bringing creatures back from the dead, look to Zombify, Extract from Darkness, or Isareth the Awakener, which can randomly run away with the game if your opponent doesn't have an answer. The most efficient reanimation spell is Unburial Rites, but you'd need to splash white for it to be better than the above options.
Contingency Plan doesn't actually net you any cards in hand; you just control what you are going to draw later. Since you're not very graveyard-focused, there's little benefit. The more flexible version is Dimir Charm, and the more powerful version is Lim-Dul's Vault. If you want to stack the top of your deck for 2CMC without wasting a card to do it, there's Diabolic Vision, but the 1CMC Preordain and Ponder are worthy as well. Alternately, raw card advantage is an option. Any of the options I've already listed are fine, but here are some more: Chemister's Insight, Foresee, Deep Analysis.
Mind Grind attacks on an irrelevant axis. Recommend replacing it with a finisher unless you add more mill. If you want a non-creature finisher, Ob Nixilis Reignited is pretty cool. If you just want something that can't get Murdered, there's Sphinx of Jwar Isle.
Torment of Hailfire is possibly workable if you go to 24 lands with Dimir Aqueducts. X=3 is pretty much the bare minimum, and if they have cards in hand even that might not be enough. This is a possible swap for a finisher, as above.
Army of the Damned is hard to cast at 8CMC. Recommend replacing it with a cheaper finisher unless you're all about Organ Harvest.
Apathy is pretty decent at 1CMC. Probably not as good as just casting Doom Blade/Go for the Throat to kill the thing, but definitely more interesting and fun. It can stay in, though swapping it for something more reliable is technically the correct decision.
Strange Augmentation is bad in your deck. While +3/+3 for 1CMC is fine in a very aggressive deck, that doesn't seem like your game plan. Ideally, your finishers are big enough to win without the extra P/T. If they're not, these could be replaced with kill spells to make sure they are.
Tormod's Crypt is useless unless you frequently play against graveyard-based decks. Even then, with only one in the deck, you're in bad shape. I'd swap it for Relic of Progenitus or Sentinel Totem if you really need graveyard hate. If a creature is reliable against those graveyard decks, Deadeye Tracker, Nezumi Graverobber, or Withered Wretch can do some work. Agent of Erebos is another option. If the only things you need to exile are creatures, then Cemetery Reaper, Dimir Doppelganger, and the powerful Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet are options. Otherwise, cheap kill spells, counterspells, or even more expensive exiling removal (e.g. Sever the Bloodline, Silence the Believers) are options. Phyrexian Scriptures is another card I'll mention, just 'cause it does lots of stuff.
Nevinyrral's Disk is pretty good. Go ahead and keep that in there.
Gridlock is okay, but it's basically a Darkness you can use aggressively. I think Sleep is generally better at that. Alternately, if you want a mass-defense spell, Yahenni's Expertise, Languish, and Damnation are the go-to sweepers.
Outwit is way too narrow; most decks don't target players. (The primary exceptions are burn and mill, so if you play against them a lot, it might be fine.) If you want a dollar-cost-effective counterspell in that slot, play Counterspell or MAYBE Dimir Charm for flexibility.
Murder is fine. (Card-wise, not morally!) Technically Hero's Downfall is better if you can get one.
Liliana Vess is fine, but she's a little slow. I'm not sure whether she's better or worse in this deck than Jace, Unraveler of Secrets, Ob Nixilis Reignited, Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath, or even Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. My inclination is that those are stronger as you increase the median quality of the cards in your deck (making Vess's -2 less important).
Here's one inexpensive, somewhat-boring take:
2x Glyph Keeper
1x Liliana Vess
2x Dimir Charm
2x Doom Blade
2x Agony Warp
3x Notion Rain
That's just one take on the general strategy. Ultimately, (I think) you're playing Dimir Midrange, and so you're looking for about 40% (24) lands, 30% (18) things that keep you alive until you have 4-6 mana, 20% (12) things that kill your opponent and are themselves hard to kill, and 10% (6) things that put you ahead on cards just in case you're not drawing the right part of your deck.
2 months ago
I love Ghoulcaller's Chant, I think it's a highly-underrated card in pauper. I know that Nameless Inversion gives you the potential for amazing control recursion, but I think that moving it to the sideboard and replacing it mainboard with Victim of Night or Snuff Out fits better into what you need to compliment your aggro deck. Direct removal via Victim of Night and snuff out will kill a wider range of threats and/or blockers than Nameless Inversion. If after round one you can see that most of their creatures will die to nameless inversion (or they're running black creatures), then you can swap it in safely.
I also love Gempalm Polluter, but I'm not sure that you want a full 4 (maybe 3 instead), since getting 2 in hand any time other than late game will probably mean that you've lost your opportunity to overwhelm them with aggro.
Shepherd of Rot is a really good way to push for the end of the game, but like gempalm it subtracts from your aggro tempo, and does it's own thing. Gempalm should stay mainboard because it will be good near the end/late game regardless since it also draws you a card, but Shepard of Rot is more situational. I think that it could play a key role in the deck as a sideboard against matchups that find a way to consistently fog you or beat you in terms of the combat field.
Sylvok Lifestaff is a great card for stamina, but I'm not sure that it fits here specifically. I think that if you want a lifegain card in your sideboard for games that drag on, or for decks that can stall our your aggro, Gray Merchant of Asphodel is your best bet.
And as always, Gurmag Angler is a frustratingly good card, and it's even a zombie too! It might be a good finisher with 2 copies. It might seem counter intuitive to eat your graveyard instead of potentially recurring it, but Gurmag is so strong it's worth it. Also, if your opponent sides in graveyard hate to remove your graveyard, Gurmag laughs at them and eats it first.
It might be worth consider 2-3 Costly Plunder either sideboard or mainboard, because like your Carrion Feeder, it allows you to get value from a creature that your opponent is about to kill/control, or one of the creatures you can no longer afford to pay life for. Plus it's always nice to have more sacrifice triggers for Festering Mummy.
2 months ago
keeping zombies in the graveyard is an asset, so using Raise Dead to bring them to your hand when you can eternalize them is not very good. Byt if you want to get them back to use things like Gempalm Polluter you should use Ghoulcaller's Chant, which is strictly better. For cheap mana base you can get Tainted Isle and Darkwater Catacombs, Sunken Hollow (synergy with cards that use swamps) and Drowned Catacomb
2 months ago
I need some help deciding to remove some cards to make it 100 cards commander legal, it’s 105 right now.
Throw me some ideas to add or replace cards too. Feel free to criticize me, tell me if there should be changes. First time really trying to put a deck together. I think I’m having mana and creature cost issues? I’m not sure? Thanks!
5 months ago
Hi 5finga, thanks for your many suggestions. I don't really like Voracious Null nor Gutless Ghoul because their active abilities have an additional mana cost (even though that cost is perfectly balanced in the case of Gutless Ghoul). I also never understood the popularity of Twisted Abomination (paying 6 for a 5/3?? , ok it can regen, but... Maybe only if cycled and then Exhumed). Similar thought for Gavony Unhallowed, it costs too much and for this reason Carrion Feeder is better. Cemetery Recruitment is good, but it would be perfect for a , with its 2 drop cost is replaced by the better Ghoulcaller's Chant. Also, it couldn't combo with Nameless Inversion, because it explicitly says "creature card" and not only "zombie card" as the Chant does. On the other hand, Wight of Precinct Six may be perfect, I don't know how I missed it! Thank a lot for this last piece of advice! I know it's a long answer but I wanted to write down all my thoughts about these cards.
5 months ago
So I actually play Zombies is Modern as well, and I have some critiques for your list:
You want more one-drops. You are an aggro deck, so only 4 Gravecrawler aint gonna cut it. You want some number of Dread Wanderer and Cryptbreaker, Diregraf Ghoul if you want even more than that. I personally run 4 of each, besides Diregraf Ghoul where I run 3.
Your noncreature spells are gonna be relatively ineffective. Youre playing an aggro deck, you would never want to play a Rancor when you could cast another zombie. Same with Altar's Reap, you certainly dont want to get rid of one of your creatures, youd rather just play another creature. Ghoulcaller's Chant is fineeeeee, another zombie would probably be better, but I dont hate the card.
The manabase is a little meh. Im pretty sure running 4 Cavern of Souls, 4 Unclaimed Territory, and some number of Mutavault will be worth while. At the very least cut the Opulent Palace, you dont want lands that come in tapped.
And finally, there are two final cards I'd like to suggest. The deck will probably play completely fine without them, but they're cards I run in my list and are arguable 2 of the best cards in the list... those cards being Aether Vial and Relentless Dead. They're both very strong cards and worth including.
I like the list though, your list brought a lot of cards to my attention that might be worth while running in my list!