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Grimgrin, Corpse-Born: Gravecrawler's Lament

Commander / EDH Combo Infinite Combo Reanimator UB (Dimir) Zombie


A zombie tribal deck chock-full of fodder to sacrifice to Grimgrin. Ample recursion, tricksy combos/control or just a good old fashioned zombie swarm makes for quite the fun yet formidable little theme deck.

As hinted in the deck name, Grimgrin & Gravecrawler go really well together. If no one can manage to exile Gravecrawler, prepare to see the poor bastard come back for punishment turn after turn while Grimmy & pals reap all the benefits...

Combos and Synergies

"Let those idiot priests tremble! A new era in unlife begins here and now. Oglor, raise the lightning vane!"

So I didn't set out to make this a combo-centric deck. I wanted a pure zombie tribal theme deck that ran a bunch of the big splashy reanimate spells that you simply wouldn't play outside of Commander (Finale of Eternity, Rise of the Dark Realms, Zombie Apocalypse etc). The problem is that one simply can't not run Rooftop Storm in a Dimir zombie tribal deck - It has to happen! Likewise with Gravecrawler in a Grimgrin deck - They're inseparable bros. The combos started to organically creep in as I honed the deck over the years, primarily due to those two cards...

It all starts with this 3 card foundation: Grimgrin, Corpse-Born + Gravecrawler + Rooftop Storm. Infinitely sacfrifice Gravecrawler to Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (for free, thanks to Rooftop Storm) making Grimgrin immeasureably huge. Swing for commander damage. I hear you asking "But what about blockers?!" Well if the blockers aren't already dead thanks to Grimgrin's inherent creature destroy ability alongside a bunch of other creature removal options (this is after all), perhaps you could stealth your giant general of doom through a sneaky Rogue's Passage. For further evasion, maybe you could bestow the gift of fear courtesy of Shizo, Death's Storehouse. Also, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth pairs nicely with Zombie Master which would allow Grimgrin (and all other zombies for that matter) to swampwalk all over opponent's faces.

Although the above 3 card combo base works well on it's own, ideally you'll want any of these evil undead bastards on the table as well:

  • Diregraf Captain: Every time Gravecrawler comes into play, Diregraf Captain's triggered ability takes out opponents one by one for the win.
  • Plague Belcher/Vengeful Dead: See above - The only difference is that Plague Belcher & Vengeful Dead take out all opponents at once.
  • Bontu's Monument: See above - The difference being that it's on cast rather than the death of a zombie. Bonus points for reducing the casting cost of most of my creatures.
  • Diregraf Colossus/Tormod, the Desecrator: Yep, that's 2/2 zombies.
  • Noxious Ghoul: As above, Noxious Ghoul's triggered ability = a one sided board wipe (unless of course you're going head to head against another zombie horde). Also a handy way of dealing with indestructible creatures.
  • Kindred Discovery & Vanquisher's Banner: Draw as much as you want.

  • Now that we've covered the combos that include Grimgrin, Corpse-Born + Rooftop Storm, let's talk about the beautiful sac outlet + mana gen artifact that is Phyrexian Altar. All you need is our good buddy Gravecrawler and you're good to go - Sac Gravecrawler to Phyrexian Altar, use produced mana to infinitely rinse and repeat with Diregraf Captain/Plague Belcher/Vengeful Dead on the field. Death! The same shenanigans apply to the aforementioned trigger cards as well (Diregraf Colossus & Noxious Ghoul - Bontu's Monument & Kindred Discovery/Vanquisher's Banner will work as well, but it should be noted that Gravecrawler requires another zombie under your control to cast him from the graveyard).

    So those are the core win conditions, but that's not all! Let's go over a few other cute little maneuvers packed into the deck...

  • Ashnod's Altar + Nim Deathmantle + Grave Titan: Oh look, a trick that doesn't involve Gravecrawler. Grave Titan hits the table and churns out two 2/2 zombies. Equip Grave Titan with Nim Deathmantle and sacrifice Grave Titan + one of the zombie tokens to Ashnod's Altar. With the Altar produced mana, net another two 2/2 zoms by utilizing Nim Deathmantle's ability to bring it + Grave Titan back to the battlefield. That brings us up to three 2/2 token zombie pals...See how this works? Yes you do! Keep on going!
  • Gray Merchant of Asphodel + Rite of Replication: This one makes me laugh - Kick Rite of Replication on our beloved Gary for a total of 60 damage to each opponent (the 60 damage is from Gary + his tokens alone, the devotion to from other permanents usually takes the damage total higher than that). The obtuse amount of life you gain is probably irrelevant by that point.
  • Cloudstone Curio + Rooftop Storm + any other non-token creature. Yeah. Just awful. This bounce party combo pairs nicely with ETB all stars such as Gary, Geralf's Messenger, Noxious Ghoul or even Sidisi, Undead Vizier.

  • And that's that! You may have noticed one notable combo enabling card ommission: Triskelion. I'm not saying I won't add Triscuit at some point for some greasy Mike & Trike bullshit, but for now I'm happy with the performance and theme of the deck without him/her/it.

    Combos and Synergies
    Now that you've read some of the evil shenanigans this deck can pull off, you've probably noted that most of these combos require 3 or 4 cards. As I'm sure you're aware, 3 to 4 card combos aren't exactly easy to assemble in a 100 card singleton format. With that in mind, a few tutor options are definitely an asset. Here's what I've opted for:

  • Demonic Tutor: Simply the best tutor in the game.
  • Diabolic Intent: A conditional Demonic Tutor, but that's ok! Word on the street is that Gravecrawler is cool with being sac'd.
  • Entomb: AKA Gravecrawler tutor.
  • Expedition Map: You'll notice Cabal Coffers in here. That's all very well and good except I'm not running very many swamps. Expedition Map is handy for a lot of reasons, but usually I'll be looking for Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to pair up with Coffers. If both are already out, a second Coffers courtesy of Vesuva doesn't hurt.
  • Mystical Tutor: Yes, I've cast this to search for another tutor. Cyclonic Rift is another crowd favourite.
  • Sidisi, Undead Vizier: A zombie that tutors to your hand as an ETB effect? GET IN THE DECK AND NEVER LEAVE. Gravecrawler, sacrifice yourself to this superior, exploiting zombie right now. Bonus points for being able to recur this tutor on a stick from the graveyard.
  • Vampiric Tutor: Remember when I said Demonic Tutor was the best tutor in the game? Well that was a dirty lie! Tutoring at instant speed for at the end of your opponent's turn for a mere 2 life is just nuts.

  • Tutors

    With all of the sacrificing & death going on, having a variety of recursion options is crucial. My zombies don't stay in the graveyard for long...

  • Academy Ruins
  • Havengul Lich
  • Lord of the Undead
  • Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
  • Patriarch's Bidding
  • Reanimate
  • Relentless Dead
  • Rise of the Dark Realms
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One
  • Unholy Grotto
  • Volrath's Stronghold
  • Yawgmoth's Will

  • Recursion

    Let's face the facts. Once opponents know the specific combo pieces of this deck they will stop at nothing to ensure they disrupt your plan. That's when I have to try to win the hard way with a good 'ol zombie invasion. Who better to lead the zombie charge than our fearless leader himself, Mr. Corpse-Born!

    Now having said that, something annoying about Grimgrin is that not only does he enter the battlefield tapped, the son of a bitch even refuses to untap during upkeep! I've thrown in some handy tools to get around that lameness: Amulet of Vigor, Minamo, School at Water's Edge and Grimgrin's close pal the Fatestitcher.

    If I find myself unable to untap Grimgrin using the 3 cards above, it's then time to go down the sacrificial route. Thankfully zombies have a tonne of token support and Grimgrin has no qualms about killing his lesser token brethren off for the cause. Here's a list of token generators I've included:

  • Cemetery Reaper
  • Diregraf Colossus
  • Endless Ranks of the Dead
  • Ghoulcaller Gisa
  • Grave Titan
  • Lich Lord of Unx
  • Rite of Replication
  • Tormod, the Desecrator

  • Token Horde
    Once in a while I'll find myself in a situation where the combos have been thwarted and Grimgrin has been offed so many times during the game that I simply can't cast him anymore due to pesky commander tax (Command Beacon can sometimes save the day). That's when I resort to plan B - Form an overwhelming wave of zombies utilizing the above token generators and have their mighty undead lords lead the way:

  • Cemetery Reaper
  • Death Baron
  • Diregraf Captain
  • Lord of the Accursed
  • Lord of the Undead
  • Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
  • Undead Warchief
  • Zombie Master

  • Zombie Lords
    The rest of the deck simply exists to make my opponent's lives more difficult:

  • Damnation: Because Damnation.
  • Dictate of Erebos & Grave Pact: These cards are evil in most decks but they're especially horrible here considering all the zombie tokens that will be hitting the graveyard (yes, tokens do hit the yard). Also, if I happen to have either of these out alongside Gravecrawler + Phyrexian Altar, opponent creatures are going to have a bad time.
  • Fallen Shinobi: A freakin' zombie ninja?! YES. His ability is RNG city but how can we not, he's too fun.
  • Feed the Swarm: Cheap enchantment removal for ? Hooray!
  • Finale of Eternity: At worst you're taking out 3 threats. At best you're removing 3 threats and reanimating your entire zombie fleet. A big fat splashy spell that I've included for some EDH funsies.
  • Geth, Lord of the Vault: A formiddable general in his own right, Mr. Geth is simply in here to strike fear into the hearts of all who dare oppose the horde.
  • Graveborn Muse: Use all that life as a resource and draw some cards. If it starts to get scary, just sac her to Grimmy or Ashnod's Altar/Phyrexian Altar.
  • Liliana, Dreadhorde General: Oh my, look at all of the spicy things she can do - card draw, token generation + removal. Dreadhorde General indeed.
  • Murderous Rider: Sometimes you just need to kill a pesky creature or planeswalker outright. Not a bad little sticky lifelink zombie to add to the mix either!
  • The Scarab God: Life damage, topdeck AND opponent graveyard manipulation, token generation, notoriously difficult to remove. What a creature!
  • Arcane Signet, Dimir Signet, Herald's Horn, Sol Ring, Talisman of Dominance & Urza's Incubator: Accelerate the game plan.

  • Damnation

    I've been tinkering with this deck since Innistrad was released and it's still a blast to pilot. If you enjoy tribal creature based decks with a healthy dose of evil, Grimgrin is your guy.

    Suggestions and comments welcome.



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    Top Ranked
    Date added 7 years
    Last updated 4 days

    This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

    Rarity (main - side)

    13 - 0 Mythic Rares

    53 - 0 Rares

    20 - 0 Uncommons

    6 - 0 Commons

    Cards 100
    Avg. CMC 3.50
    Tokens 2/2 Zombie, Copy Clone, 1/1 Zombie Wizard
    Folders Commander / EDH, jkjjhh, Watch, Zombie EDH, Zombies, stuff I like that is cheap, Potential EDH Builds, New Commander, Ur zombie, EDH, See all 40
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    Revision 71 See all

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    -1 Risen Executioner main