I am resurrecting my old zombie deck for Varina, Lich Queen.

Yes, I know that Grimgrin, Corpse-Born is incredibly powerful, considering he is his own sac outlet that has amazing synergy with everything zombies like to do, and The Scarab God has pure, raw power. But I am intrigued with what Esper zombies brings to the mix by adding white. So let's delve in!

What does the Lich Queen offer herself? Well, for starters, she is a 4/4 body for 4 - - that's not too shabby! She's a zombie and a wizard; one of those we care about, the other is pretty irrelevant (here, anyways). And she makes her own zombies too! For the low, low price of and exiling two cards from your graveyard, she can summon forth an undead warrior for you zombie-ing pleasure. But wait, there's more! Whenever you attack with one or more zombies, you get to loot your deck for each member of your shambling horde that you turn sideways, and you gain that much life too!

Wow! Talk about incentivizing zombies to do what zombies already like to do anyways! You want to swing? Swing away! This is a card game, so we love to draw cards! But these are zombies, so we also like to fill up our graveyard too! And, hey, who doesn't like more life? So how do we work to make the most out of all of this fun stuff?

Supporting Cast: (all the non-zombies)

  • Ghoulcaller Gisa and Grave Titan They make zombie tokens. Probably lots of them.
  • Gisa and Geralf Recasting zombies from the graveyard is good.
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One Recursion for you, forced sacrifice for your opponents. Yes please.
  • The Scarab God What can't he do? He can non-Eternalize Eternalize creatures in any graveyard (which is a bonus win if you snatch an opponent's creature, exiling it for them). Oh! And he lets you Scry, for probably a lot, and damages your opponents at the same time. And he can be hard to get rid of too!
  • Laboratory Maniac There's a reasonable chance we'll draw out due to our commander. This will turn that into a victory!
  • Archfiend of Ifnir This guy turns your combat phases into one-sided Toxic Deluges. Swing with a bunch of zombies, and watch the blockers melt before they know what's coming!

  • Anointed Procession This deck can make lots of zombie tokens. So why not make double lots of zombie tokens?
  • Cemetery Reaper Exile a dead creature, gain a zombie. Zombie anthem too!
  • Diregraf Colossus Cast a zombie, get a bonus zombie!
  • Ghoulcaller Gisa A small sacrifice can raise a lot of zombies.
  • Grave Titan Get two zombies on ETB and when attacking. Free dead people!
  • Noosegraf Mob Odds are it'll split apart into five zombies pretty quick. That's not a bad thing.
  • The Scarab God Non-Eternalize Eternalize, and you can get good stuff this way!
  • Josu Vess, Lich Knight Kick him and he brings eight friends, 16 with Anointed Procession in play!
  • Necromancer's Covenant Post wrath, this can really ruin an opponent's grave, or ransack your own to make a lot of zombies! Oh ... Did I mention zombies have Lifelink?
  • Army of the Damned This is a lot of zombies! And it's got built-in Deja Vu!
  • From Under the Floorboards With our commander's draw and discard, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to cast this for its Madness cost and get
  • Endless Ranks of the Dead Do you like more zombies? How about more zombies every turn! Expect your opponents to want to get rid of this fast though!

White adds some good stuff to the removal package (not like black is lacking there...)

Plus a pretty standard counter package:

  • Cryptic Command Because versatility is good, and being able to tap out your opponents for an alpha strike is even better!
  • Disallow Because it's so versatile!
  • Counterspell It may be a classic, but it hasn't lost its class.
  • Negate It's pretty rare that I ever counter a creature anyways...

If it's not in another panel, then this is why it's in the deck.

  • Crucible of Worlds Al those cards we're discarding? Well, some of them can be lands too. We can play creatures from the grave ... Why not lands too?
  • Rooftop Storm Does this card need any explanation? Well, other than why it's blue and not black, or at least blue/black.
  • Cathars' Crusade Put out creatures, make your other creatures bigger. Need I say more? Well, I guess I could say that if it's in play when you cast Army of the Damned then the rest of your horde just got really ugly...
  • Chromatic Lantern Mana fixing is good. Also, as Raphiezar reminded me, makes Havengul Lich able to call up creatures from opponents' graveyard.
  • Sol Ring and cardThought Vessel Mana rocks are good; so is no max hand-size.
  • Throne of the God-Pharaoh How many of those zombie tokens come into play tapped? Lots of them. How many zombies are tapped after you attack? All of them. Ouch.
  • Urza's Incubator If they can't be free, vis-a-vis Rooftop Storm, then let's make them cheap!
  • Alhammarret's Archive Soooo ... Now I gain two life and draw two cards for every attacking zombie?? Also, the replacement effect only affects the draw portion of Varina's ability, so you draw two cards, but only discard one, per attacking zombie. Sign me up!!
  • Vault of the Archangel Speaking of Lifelink... Also, I like the irony of undead hordes shambling forth from an ostensibly holy grave...
  • Boseiju, Who Shelters All My meta doesn't use much countermagic (fools), but I don't want the few spells I do want to use getting counters!

Some cards I've previously considered, but decided against or removed. WOuld consider again, if there's a strong enough argument (unless it was excluded as a consideration for my meta).

  • Undead Alchemist My meta doesn't care for massive mill. Does anyone's? It's not a very casual friendly card.
  • Panharmonicon Could be very potent with some of the ETB stuff in here. Ultimately, I just feel it is unnecessary and, again, not friendly to my meta.
  • Filth I used to love swampwalking all over everyone. Then I realized that, every time I did, it was usually the last game of Magic for the night.
  • Mystical Tutor and Personal Tutor This deck is less reliant on instants and sorceries than these two cards really warrant.
  • Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor Eschewing these tutors too. It's a self-handicap I am imposing for my meta. By all means, though, include them in yours!
  • Cavern of Souls I have it, yes. But there's not much countermagic in my meta (mostly it's me). And when counters do pop up, they're very rarely against creatures. If you have a problem with it in your meta, recommend adding this.
  • Cryptbreaker I think I've got enough draw and discard going on here, as well as plenty of ways to make zombies.

So what are we trying to do here, anyways? Well, at heart we've got your standard tribal zombie horde type of deck. But now we've got a commander that really rewards you for being aggressive by giving you lots of card draw and plenty of lifegain. We've got all the anthem sticks to make zombies big (well, most of them). Mirror Entity can make them even bigger. Lord of the Accursed means your opponents have to block each of your zombies with at least two creatures, while Death Baron ensures that you'll be killing at least two creatures with even the lowly 2/2 zombie tokens. Make sure Varina is in play, swing with a bunch of zombie, and reap the rewards!

Speaking of our commander, Varina really is a beast. She can easily hit the table on turn four with three zombies in play, allowing you to swing and net more card and more life. When it comes to Varina, take advantage of the ability to discard things that you know you can get back. Toss lands if you have Crucible of Worlds, toss zombies because they pretty much always come back, and discard From Under the Floorboards because you want to cast it for its Madness cost. But keep your power cards. We really want that Wayward Servant, Alhammarret's Archive, and especially card:Annointed Procession. Double up on the zombie tokens, as well as the card draw and lifegain, and punish your opponents for every zombie that claws its way onto the battlefield.

Win conditions are:
  • Aetherflux Reservoir With all the lifegain, it will be easy to drop 50 damage on one opponent's head. If you're mean, include Rings of Brighthearth in your list (I still might, thanks to BlueBat93 for the suggestion!), and take two out together.
  • Gray Merchant of Asphodel Cast, sacrifice, recur, repeat for plenty of ETB Devotion-based Exsanguinate. Your devotion to black is probably going to be high.
  • The Scarab God If you have enough zombies in play, your upkeep will be plenty lethal to your opponents. Stacking your deck for Varina doesn't hurt either.
  • Wayward Servant Causes pain for every zombie that hits the board. It will make your opponents really suffer if you cast Army of the Damned, From Under the Floorboards, or kick Josu Vess, Lich Knight. Throne of the God-Pharaoh rubs some sharp, pointy salt into those wounds, as well as adding an extra screw you from all the zombies you attack with.
  • Oh, yeah! And it's a zombie deck. Swing away!

This deck and the description are a work in progress. I'll be working on it over the weekend, so look for updates. But I would also love any suggestions for improvement, how to make it better, what to add, and what to clip. The most helpful suggestions would be thoughts on what to add, what to take out for it, and why. And, if you like it, !


Updates Add

So I've had the chance to play some multiplayer games finally. I've been playing against fields including: Gaddock Teeg, Linvala, Keeper of Silence, The Gitrog Monster, Sliver Overlord, The Ur-Dragon, Phenax, God of Deception, Kaalia of the Vast, Estrid, the Masked, Lord Windgrace, and others that I forget.

We did some with Planechase, most without. Planechase adds a lot of fun to games, but wow ... The most well-laid plans are blown away like dust in the wind.

So far, the only thing not carrying its weight in multi-player games was Aetherflux Reservoir. It won me a couple single player games but, in multi-player when I'm being picked at from all sides, it just provokes people to attack at me even more. And so...

  • Out: Aetherflux Reservoir
  • In: Archfiend of Ifnir
  • I've been wanting to try this one out I feel like the massive amount of discard that I do will turn into a melting field of opposition. So let's see how it goes!


93% Casual


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11 months ago)