Why play Varina, Lich Queen?

Zombie tribal is the most popular tribal archetype in commander, and for good reason. Zombies are definitely the most interesting tribe, they pump each other up like the other tribes and relay heavily on graveyard recursion. I'm a big fan of graveyard recursion, since a commander deck has to be able to bounce back from a constant stream of removal and board wipes throughout an average game, and graveyard recursion is a good way to recover.

I have to be honest, I'm not a fan of tribal decks. Tribal decks all run similarly to each other, all elf decks ramp like crazy and pump each other, all goblin decks have haste and pump each other, and so on. Zombies seem to have a wider range of options. I wanted to make a zombie deck a few years ago, however I found one glaring problem w/ Zombie decks, they suck at making tokens. All that ended up happening was my zombie lords pumping each other up and sitting there not attacking, because I didn't want them to die, there was no army for the lords to pump. Varina solves this issue.

PROS

  1. Varina has the capability to create an entire army of zombies on her own.

  2. The deck runs a ton of graveyard recursion.

  3. Varina fills up the graveyard for the graveyard recursion.

  4. Varina has life gain... for some reason.

CONS

  1. The deck is pretty slow, since the deck doesn't run much ramp

  2. You need to have a decent chunk of creatures on the battlefield to do any damage, which makes the deck fragile to board wipes, even w/ all the graveyard recursion.

  3. Weak to graveyard hate, and just exile effects in general.

CREATURES

Carrion Feeder - A zombie that protects our creatures from exile effects, and serves as a sacrifice outlet for the Gravecrawler + Rooftop Storm combo.

Cemetery Reaper - A zombie lord that creates zombies and acts as graveyard hate for creatures.

Cryptbreaker - Creates zombie tokens and can draw you cards.

Death Baron - A zombie lord (& skeleton lord for some reason?) that gives deathtouch, making combat much more difficult for your opponents.

Diregraf Captain - A zombie lord that also drains an opponent.

Diregraf Colossus - A giant zombie factory.

Eternal Taskmaster - A solid way to recur your zombies back to your hand.

Fleshbag Marauder - An edict effect that can easily be recurred attached to a zombie.

Gempalm Polluter - A cantrip that does direct damage to an opponent that can be easily recurred from the graveyard.

Gisa and Geralf - A one per turn zombie recursion creature.

Graveborn Muse - I normally don't play this card in zombie decks, because the life loss ends up being too much, but Varina does a good job at mitigating the life loss.

Gravecrawler - A persistent one drop that is part of the Rooftop Storm combo.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel - A finisher that can drain your opponents for a good chunk of life.

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born - Creature removal on a zombie, it's also a sacrifice outlet to protect your creatures from exile and as a sacrifice outlet for the Gravecrawler + Rooftop Storm .

Josu Vess, Lich Knight - Army of the Damned attached to a zombie, so it becomes recurable.

Lord of the Accursed - A zombie lord, that gives you the option to give your zombies menace.

Lord of the Undead - A zombie lord, that gives you access to zombies in your graveyard.

Noxious Ghoul - Often a one sided board wipe, or it's just really good at killing X/1s.

Plague Belcher - A zombie that drains your opponents, and has menace for some reason.

Relentless Dead - A zombie that comes back when he dies, often w/ a little zombie buddy.

Risen Executioner - A zombie lord, that is easily recurred from the graveyard.

Shepherd of Rot - You gain life quite regularly, because of Varina, so you should survive the life drain from this guy, and kill off your opponents first.

Sidisi, Undead Vizier - A recurable tutor attached to a zombie.

The Scarab God - The zombie god, he lets you scy, he drains your opponents, gives you graveyard hate, and converts creatures from the graveyard into your zombie army.

Undead Augur - Solid card draw attached to a zombie.

Undead Warchief - Makes your zombies cheaper, and pumps up your zombies.

Vengeful Dead - Drains each opponent whenever a zombie dies.

Vengeful Pharaoh - Has great synergy w/ Varina since you can discard him to Varina's discard ability.

Vesper Ghoul - I didn't think that a zombie mana dork existed, but alas it exists, the deck doesn't have much ramp, so having ramp attached to a zombie is something we can't pass up on.

Wayward Servant - Great way to slowly drain out your opponents, it's also a way to kill off your opponents when you have the Rooftop Strom + Gravecrawler + sac outlet combo.

Zombie Master - Gives your creatures some resilience and swampwalk, which combos well w/ Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth .

ENCHANTMENTS

Land Tax - Is already one of the best cards in commander, however this card becomes ridiculously powerful in this deck, since you can use the lands as discard fodder for Varina's looting ability.

Mystic Remora & Rhystic Study - Are both auto-includes in any deck, they're just a powerful way to draw cards.

Phyrexian Reclamation - One of the most reliable and effective ways to recur creatures from your graveyard.

Rooftop Storm - An obvious choice in any zombie deck running .

Smothering Tithe - An auto-include for any deck running , especially in this deck where the mana can be used by the commander.

ARTIFACTS

Dimir Signet & Orzhov Signet - Signets are great ramp in any non- deck. (I chose to exclude Azorius Signet since this deck is so heavily .)

Fellwar Stone - The best 2cmc mana rock in commander.

Lightning Greaves & Swiftfoot Boots - Varina's ability triggers on attack, so the quicker you can attack the better, and providing some protection is a nice bonus too.

Sol Ring - This card is good

INSTANTS

Anguished Unmaking - An auto-include in any deck, the card is so versatile that it would be silly not to include it.

Arcane Denial , Counterspell , Countersquall , Dovin's Veto & Negate - Are all the solid 2cmc counterspells that I play in any deck that wants to run counterspells, you don't want to use any counter magic above 2cmc in this deck, so you can hide the 2 mana acting like it's for a Varina activation when your actually holding up counter magic.

Cyclonic Rift - Goes in every deck, an incredibly powerful instant speed, one sided board wiper.

Path to Exile & Swords to Plowshares - Goes in every deck running , these two are the most efficient removal in commander.

Return to Dust - An auto-include in any deck, just a solid, efficient, and effective way to deal w/ artifacts/enchantments.

SORCERIES

Cemetery Recruitment - Graveyard recursion that's also a cantrip.

Diabolic Intent - There's plenty of sacrifice fodder in this deck to pay for the additional cost of this spell for a powerful tutor.

Kindred Dominance - A one sided board wipe.

Living Death - This card can be easily set up for using Varina's looting ability discarding your creatures to the graveyard.

Toxic Deluge - One of the best board wipes in commander, the life loss is even less of an issue in this deck thanks to Varina's ability to gain life.

Zombie Apocalypse - Solid graveyard recursion for any zombie deck.

LANDS

Cavern of Souls - An excellent card in any tribal deck, not only does in fix your mana for creature spells, but it also prevents a zombie from being countered.

Caves of Koilos , & Underground River - I'm a big fan of the pain lands, since the come into play untapped and the one life is no big deal in a format that starts you at 40 life, especially when your commander has lifegain attached to them.

City of Brass , & Mana Confluence - I put these two in every multicolored deck, it's silly not to use redundant Command Towers at the low price for a couple of life, especially in a format that starts you at 40 life.

Command Tower - An auto-include in every multicolored commander deck.

Drowned Catacomb , & Isolated Chapel - I'm a fan of check lands, they will usually come into play untap.

Exotic Orchard , & Reflecting Pool - Usually just redundant Command Tower s.

Flooded Strand , Marsh Flats , & Polluted Delta - Fetch lands are the best lands in magic, and they feed the graveyard for Varina's ability.

Godless Shrine , Hallowed Fountain , & Watery Grave - Shock lands are amazing are auto-includes in every multicolored deck.

Morphic Pool , & Sea of Clouds - Lands that will usually come into play untapped.

Path of Ancestry - A tap land w/ such a huge upside that it's well worth running P.S. I will often forget to scry 1, so don't be stupid like me.

Prismatic Vista - An auto-include in any multi-colored deck that runs a decent amount of basics.

Silent Clearing - A solid land that can be turned in for a card in a pinch.

Unholy Grotto - An auto-include in any zombie deck, having graveyard recursion on a land is incredible.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - An auto-include in any deck running .

2x Island , 2x Plains , & 13x Swamp - This deck plays a ton of Swamp s since the deck is about 2/3 black.

Zombie Swarm

Obviously the best way to win is by dealing damage w/ your undead horde, make zombie tokens w/ Varina, then pump up those zombies using the many zombie lords in the deck.

Rooftop Storm Combo

Rooftop Storm + Gravecrawler + Sac Outlet ( Carrion Feeder or Grimgrin, Corpse-Born ) = infinite death and ETB triggers

Once this combo is active you can win using Diregraf Captain , Plague Belcher , Vengeful Dead , Wayward Servant or you can just swing in w/ an infinite/infinite Grimgrin, Corpse-Born , also the combo will clear out any non-zombie creatures using Noxious Ghoul .

Replaced Anointed Procession for Smothering Tithe , Smothering Tithe is an auto-include in any deck running & replacing 4 drop enchantment for another 4 drop enchantment, especially since Anointed Procession has performance has been mediocre in the deck.

Replaced Havengul Lich for Eternal Taskmaster , since Eternal Taskmaster is much more mana efficient.

Replaced Talisman of Dominance for Dovin's Veto , Dovin's Veto is an auto-include for every deck and ramp isn't particularly useful in this deck when compared to other decks.

Replaced Evolving Wilds & Terramorphic Expanse for Prismatic Vista & Silent Clearing , these lands are clearly better and the less tap lands in the deck the better.

Replaced Corpse Connoisseur for Undead Augur , Corpse Connoisseur is too much mana and Undead Augur adds some much needed card draw in the deck.

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Comments

22% Casual

78% Competitive

Date added 1 year
Last updated 3 months
Exclude colors RG
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.00
Tokens None Copy Clone, 2/2 Zombie, 2/2 Zombie Knight, None Treasure
Folders Uncategorized, the deck list, Interesting
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