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Zombie Horde: The Gathering of the Dead

Archenemy* Casual Horde Magic Multiplayer Primer Tokens Zombie



The Gathering of the Dead
~ Zombie Horde ~

This deck was inspired by the popular format Horde Magic with custom rules.

Original thread: http://mtgsalvation.gamepedia.com/Horde_Magic

Please, +1 Upvote if you like this deck

Horde Magic is a casual, multiplayer variant of Magic: the Gathering involving all players working cooperatively to defeat an automated deck.


Horde Magic is divided up into two factions:

  • The Horde (a deck that runs automatically)

  • The Survivors (1 to 5 players).

Like in Two-Headed Giant, The Survivors are a team and all take their turn simultaneously. They attack and block as a team.

Win Conditions

  • The Horde wins if The Survivors' group life total is reduced to zero or below.

  • The Survivors win if The Horde has no cards in its library, no cards in its hand, and no creatures on the battlefield.

Spirit of the Format

Have fun! This is a casual and social format and as such is meant to be fun. If some portion of the game-play is unfun or not working well within the rules of Horde Magic, it is generally accepted practice to come to a consensus as to what works best for those involved. Cycling problematic cards or house-ruling them is a common fix.

  1. The Survivors prepare their decks and take mulligans as usual.

  2. Set The Survivors' life total to 60 for a 4-players game. Add 20 extra starting life for each missing player.

  3. Shuffle The Horde's deck and separate it into a number of piles equals to the number of Survivors.

  4. In each pile, shuffle a "Wave" card (depicted by a Swamp card or a Poison counter). Then put back all Horde's piles together to form a deck without shuffling it furthermore.

  5. Shuffle the Environment deck and set it aside near the Horde's deck.

  6. Shuffle the Loot deck and set it aside near the Survivors.

The Survivors have three turns to set their defenses before The Horde gets its first turn. Then turns alternate like normal. The Survivors aren't allowed to draw a card at the beginning of their first turn.

The 9 Rules of the Dead

  1. The Horde has a deck of 100 cards exactly and has no player, it pilots itself automatically.

  2. The Horde has infinite mana of all colors and types, and an infinite hand size, at all times.

  3. The Horde has no life total. (It can't lose life, it can't pay life.)

  4. The Horde is already dead (Undead in fact). It's immune to "you lose" effects (e.g. Phage the Untouchable) and decking.

  5. Any choice The Horde must take should be made as randomly as possible. If that choice has a default option, The Horde always chooses the default one. (The Horde shouldn't have to target anything but if it does it typically chooses the target at random unless specified. Any other choices the Horde is forced to make are made at random.)
    • If The Horde has to choose one of its creature, it chooses its weakest creature based on its Power value. Tokens are always weaker than other cards. (A 5/5 Zombie token is weaker than a 2/2 Zombie Lord.)
    • If The Horde has to choose one of its noncreature permanent, it chooses one with the lower converted mana cost.

  6. All creatures controlled by The Horde have Haste and "This creature attacks each turn if able." (Moat, Ensnaring Bridge, and Silent Arbiter-like effects doesn't apply to The Horde.)

  7. Tokens owned by The Horde and originating from its deck are considered as "cards" for the purpose of this game. They can change zone as any other Magic cards. (e.g.: Tokens put into The Horde's graveyard don't vanish, they stay in that graveyard like other cards.)

  8. The Horde plays with its hand revealed and casts cards from it as soon as possible. (Following the timing rules.)
    The Horde first casts all nontoken creature cards, then all noncreature permanent cards, then all other nonpermanent cards. All spells are cast in order of increasing mana cost for cases with multiple spells of the same type. (E.g. If Twilight's Call and Barter in Blood are revealed simultaneously, Barter is cast first, then Twilight.)

  9. Cards bounced back to The Horde's hand can't be cast until its next turn.

Unleashing the Horde

  • If The Horde would draw the first card during its Draw step, instead it skips that draw and reveals cards from the top of its library until it reveals a nontoken card. The Horde casts that card, then put all tokens revealed this way onto the battlefield.

    Repeat this process for each unveiled Wave cards since the last turn. (Including those revealed during this process.)

  • During its First Main phase, The Horde cast all spells in its hand. (See rule 8 of the dead for casting order if multiple spells should be cast at the same time.)

  • During its Combat phase, the Horde attacks The Survivors team with all its creatures.

  • The Horde uses Flashback and Unearth abilities only during its Second Main phase (Postcombat).

How to attack a Planeswalker Show

Increasing the Waves

Each unveiled Wave card increases the number of nontoken cards revealed at the beginning of The Horde's turn (The Unleashing). Wave cards are symbolized by Swamp cards or Poison counter cards.

  • If a Wave card leaves The Horde's deck (exiled, drawn or put into a graveyard), instead The Horde unveils it and puts it aside.

The Environment Deck (Maybeboard)

The Environment deck contains ~15 powerful cards used by The Horde that are either enchantments or emblems.

  • Whenever a Wave card is unveiled, The Horde puts the top card of the Environment deck onto the battlefield under its control. (It is not cast.) For added difficulty, you may allow The Horde to put as many cards from the Environment deck as there are Wave cards already unveiled.

  • If a card originating from the Environment deck would leave the battlefield, instead put in on the bottom of that deck.

The Loot Deck (Maybeboard)

The Loot deck contains ~50 artifacts that The Survivors may use to help them in their survival against The Horde.

  • Whenever a spell or ability a Survivor controls destroys or exiles a FOIL permanent The Horde owns, or whenever lethal damage from a source a Survivor controls causes the destruction of a FOIL creature The Horde owns, The Survivors reveal a number of cards from the top of the Loot deck equal to the number of players.
    Each Survivor chooses a card among those cards revealed this way and put it onto the battlefield under their control.

  • If a card originating from the Loot deck would leave the battlefield, instead put it aside face-up near that deck.

  • The Horde's deck contains about 10 Zombie creature cards that are FOIL. Those creature should be though to kill. Moreover, the Environment deck contains about 3 enchantment cards that are also FOIL.

Spite the Dead & Burn the Bodies

As a Survivor begins their Combat Damage step, for each attacking creature they control, they declare if that creature is going to "Spite the Dead" or "Burn the Bodies".

  • To Spite the Dead, the creature attacks The Horde and replaces damage with milling that many cards from the top of The Horde's deck.

  • To Burn the Bodies, the creature attacks The Horde and replaces damage with exiling that many cards from the top of The Horde's graveyard.

This is a replacement effect and therefore no damage is dealt to The Horde. Effects that would trigger from combat damage will not trigger. (E.g. Sword of Fire and Ice.)

If a player would have multiple Combat phases in one turn, they may choose a different combat effect from the previous choice.

  • The Horde never blocks.

  • If The Horde would be dealt non-combat damage, instead it mills that many cards.

  • If The Horde would lose life, instead it does nothing. (Remember, The Horde has no life total.)

  • If The Horde would gain life, instead it does nothing. puts that many cards from the bottom of its graveyard on the bottom of its library. (Rule simplified.)

Piling up the Bodies

  • All cards milled from The Horde's deck are put into its graveyard in the same order.

  • If multiple permanent cards would be put into The Horde's graveyard from the battlefield at the same time, put them in that graveyard at random.

  • The Horde uses real token cards inside its deck. See rule 7 of the Dead: Tokens owned by The Horde and originating from its deck are considered as "cards" for the purpose of this game. They can change zone as any other Magic cards. (e.g.: Tokens put into The Horde's graveyard don't vanish, they stay in that graveyard like other cards.)


    Creature tokens created by other permanents are still considered "normal" tokens, they vanish as soon as they go into another zone than the battlefield.

  • The 5x Swamp cards depict the Wave cards.

  • Army of the Damned: If that spell was cast during The Horde's First Main phase, The Horde flashbacks that spell on its next turn's Second Main phase.

  • Bone Harvest / Gravepurge: The Horde always chooses all creatures, tokens included. Shuffle all the concerned cards before putting them on top of The Horde's library.

  • Gempalm Polluter: The Horde never cast this creature. Instead, it cycles it as soon as possible. (If this card is revealed during The Horde's Unleashing at the start of its turn, the cycling ability is activated after all other cards have been cast and all tokens have been put onto the battlefield.) As the cycling triggered ability is put onto the stack, The Horde chooses a legal targetable Survivor player at random.

  • Graveyard Shovel: The Horde always exiles the bottom card of its graveyard.

  • Josu Vess, Lich Knight: The Horde always pays the kicker cost. Yes, this is a 20-power attack with Menace, be prepared for!

  • Past in Flames: See "Army of the Damned" above. Flashbacked spells are cast in increasing converted mana cost order. (See rule 5 of the Dead.)

  • Patriarch's Bidding: The Horde always chooses "Zombie".

  • Pox & Smallpox: The Horde always sacrifices first its weakiest creatures (See rule 5 of the Dead). The Horde doesn't lose life (See rule 3 of the Dead). The Survivors lose only one third of their life total, not one third for each player. If that spell resolves as The Horde has any cards in its hand, it discards those cards at random. Wave cards aren't land cards, they aren't sacrificed by The Horde.

  • Toxic Nim, Token Skeleton: Because it has infinite mana, The Horde activates Regenerate abilities any time it's necessary. (The Horde still follows timing rules and thus cannot bypass Split Second.)

  • Syphon Mind: The Horde cast the drawn cards in drawing order.

For increasing difficulty, you may:

  • Add more Wave cards into The Horde's deck.

  • Decrease the number of turns The Survivors have to set their defenses.

  • Decrease The Survivors' starting life total.

  • Increase the number of cards revealed from the Environment deck by The Horde.

  • Remove the Loot deck outside the game.

  • Double the damage needed to Spite the Dead and/or Burn the Bodies.

  • etc...

Flavor of the Format

Horde Magic was originally themed around zombies and representing the Zombie Apocalypse. Since The Horde's deck uses special rules that allow it to run automatically, The Horde should have as few choices to make as possible. This fits well with the brainless nature of the depictions of most zombies in pop culture. Cards included in Horde's decks should be thematic as well as work within the rules.

Deckbuilding The Horde

  • Minimum 100 cards. More than 150 becomes challenging to shuffle.

  • This Horde's deck is singleton, but it's just a personal choice. Don't hesitate to add multiple copies of cool spells or creatures if you like it.

  • At least 60% of The Horde's deck should be Zombie tokens.

  • Try to balance the ratio between the quantity of game-breaking cards (e.g. Army of the Damned, Twilight's Call, ...) and the number of flop cards (e.g. Severed Legion).

  • Never use cards that need a target or a choice for The Horde.

  • Avoid cards that counts the number of Zombies, it can be annoying in some situation.

The Loot deck

  • It should contains between 30 and 50 artifact cards with flavor related to role-playing games.

  • My own loot deck contains also proxified P9 artifacts and some Hero cards from Theros.

Other Hordes from the Community

You like this format? Looking for inspiration? Take a look at what other community members have created;

Zombies Show

Eldrazis Show

Spirits Show

Slivers Show

Golems & Myrs Show

Wolves Show

  • The Horde's deck is monoblack, except for Ghoultree and Past in Flames due to flavor reasons.

  • If The Horde needs to sacrifice a creature, it chooses it among its weakiest creatures (tokens first, then power, then toughness).

My other EDH decks Show


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68% Casual

32% Competitive

Top Ranked
  • Achieved #23 position overall 1 year ago
Date added 2 years
Last updated 10 months
Exclude colors WU
Splash colors RG

This deck is not Archenemy legal.

Highlight illegal cards
Cards 100
Avg. CMC 4.55
Tokens 2/2 Zombie, 2/2 Zombie Knight
Folders My EDH, stuff, Horde, Horde, Neat Stuff, Horde Magic, ~$200 Decks, Horde, Horde, Horde Magic, See all 15
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Revision 6 See all

10 months ago)

+1 Dark Tutelage maybe
-1 Steel Wall maybe
+1 Nihil Spellbomb maybe
+1 Underworld Dreams maybe
+1 Polluted Bonds maybe
+1 Open the Graves maybe
-1 Underworld Dreams maybe