Commander 2018 zombies.

This is my take on Varina. Let’s identify the four steps of Varina’s overall strategy.

  1. Get Zombies: Getting Zombies will either include lots of actual Zombie creature cards or focus on a few various ways to make lots of Zombie tokens.

  2. Cast Varina: Until you have achieved Step 1 (“Get Zombies”), there isn’t much reason to try to skip to Step 2. Much like Edgar Markov waiting in the command zone waiting for a critical mass of Vampires, we shouldn’t see Varina on the board until there is already a squad of Zombies ready to attack.

  3. Attack With Zombies: Since Varina’s profit is based on the number of Zombies we use, each of them is precious. We could add some cheap support to help them survive with things like Reconnaissance, Dolmen Gate, or Inner Sanctum, for example. Try to have at least one card in your hand when doing Step 3.

  4. Profit: If you have already achieved steps 1, 2, and 3, then this is where Varina can draw lots of cards, discard lots of cards, and gain lots of life. The quantification of “lots” in this case depends on how many Zombies you invited to the party. Like Edgar Markov, quantity of minions can be more important than their quality. There are many juicy ways we can take advantage of this profit, but if we include too many cards to do that then we won’t have enough cards to complete Step 1 (“Get Zombies”).

If you have at least one card in your hand when Varina’s triggers activate, then you get to keep the best card(s) out of what Varina draws before you discard. If you have zero cards, then Varina is effectively just milling your library but with additional draw and discard and life gain triggers.

Card choices

Zombie Lords: Adaptive Automaton; Death Baron; Diregraf Captain; Diregraf Colossus; Lord of the Accursed; Risen Executioner; Metallic Mimic; Noosegraf Mob.

Buff Effects: Vanquisher's Banner; Etchings of the Chosen; Graf Harvest; Liliana's Mastery; Necromancer's Covenant.

Card Advantage and Recursion: Corpse Augur; Forgotten Creation; Phyrexian Arena; Victimize; Bolas's Citadel; Gisa and Geralf; Tomebound Lich.

Token Generators: Cryptbreaker; Diregraf Colossus; Josu Vess, Lich Knight; Noosegraf Mob; Graf Harvest; Liliana's Mastery; Necromancer's Covenant; Zombie Infestation; From Under the Floorboards; Grave Titan; God-Eternal Oketra; Dreadhorde Invasion.

Ramp: Sol Ring; Dimir Signet; Orzhov Signet; Chrome Mox; Heraldic Banner; Gilded Lotus.

Taxation: Corpse Knight; Plague Belcher; Wayward Servant; Smothering Tithe.

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