Deck analysis #9: Zombies

28/05/2018

Hello Spellweavers!

I am Rinriet, a Spellweaver regular with three Masters Championship titles. I welcome you back to my article series, where I analyze a deck every week.

For an extensive list of competitive decks, you can check out my What is META? article.

This week we’ll talk about a solid aggro deck that floods the board with high HP creatures: Zombies.

The main purpose of this deck is to finish off the opponent as quickly as possible. To do that, the deck relies on swarming the board with cheap Zombies that are sturdy and withstand most spell removal, and removing the possible defenders with your own spells.

  • Why should you try this deck?

- It is a reliable aggro deck that destroys the most common control decks and overall performs well.

- It is affordable and easy to play.

- It has room for variants to adapt to the META or your liking.

  • What are the deck’s weaknesses?

- Decks that focus on early healing and trading well can maintain their life high and clear your creatures with ease.

- Cards that remove your graveyard can completely negate your sticking power.

  • Deck List

Hero: 1x Nefaros, Aspiring Necromant

4x Zombie Legionnaire
4x Abhorrent Ghoul
4x Infected Survivor
2x Insatiable Ghoul
2x Duke Harsford
4x Undead Necromancer
4x Succubus
4x Noxious Fumes
4x Word of Pain
4x Consume Spirit
4x Tombs of the Damned
2x Suffocate
15x Corruption Shrine
2x Mausoleum of the Damned
1x Sanctum of the Void
  • How to play the deck?

- For your starting hand you need a decent curve. That means a lot of cheap zombies. If you don’t have a play for your first two turns, consider drawing a new hand. Against decks like Rage Rush, don’t underestimate Noxious Fumes and Word of Pain.

- Level order is simple: three black ones. Go up one level each time you need to play a creature that requires it. You can also level up if you need a better Word of Pain, Consume Spirit or get an extra zombie with Duke Harsford.

- The game plan is simple: play zombies, click green button. Your opponent plays creatures? Remove them with spells. Your zombies get killed? Play Duke. Your opponent has 3 life? Succubus knows the way.

- Your hero skill makes your sturdy zombies a great trading tool. Speed can go down to 0, so if your opponent has a 1-speed creature, you can deny his blocking ability.

- Most of the time you will let your Abhorrent Ghoul deal 3 damage to you. If you don’t, it will be just an expensive Zombie Legionnaire. Of course, if you would put yourself in Fireball range (for example), let Ghoul be a 2/2.

- Insatiable Ghoul is a strong card but can it remove the zombies from your graveyard and thus weaken your Duke Harsford effect. Be careful.

- Try to play your Tombs of the Damned as soon as you can. The slow infinite value adds up and will win you a lot of games.

- Duke Harsford is arguably the most difficult card to understand in the game.

· First, it brings back zombies to the field, but they are weakened. Its impact can be huge (you usually can get 3 extra zombies for free).

· Second, it denies any creature with a Weakness Emblem from dying. This means that your zombies won’t go back to your graveyard after being brought back with Duke. But you can use the effect for your own good. For example, if a Mescatian Phoenix with a Weakness Emblem from Word of Pain gets killed, it won’t come back to life. Instead, if would go back to the deck from Harsford’s effect.

· Third, when you have 3 levels, Duke can self-resurrect. You need the three levels to actually do that!

  • Alternative card choices

- Plague Vermin: Adding a few of those improves the curve and can be a pain for some decks that rely in trading with your creatures. It also comboes well with Flesh Sculptor.

- Flesh Sculptor: If you fear mass removal such as Holy Radiance or Unstable Reactor, this is a good card for you. But be wary, if Duke is on the field, your creatures with a weakness emblem won’t die, so they won’t summon an extra zombie.

- Rotting Remains: An alternative for a better curve that works well with Sculptor.

- Zombie Giant: Great Duke target, fits well in the curve, trades very well and usually forces the enemy to spend removal on him.

- Undead Hydra: You usually won’t play this card, but if a match goes long, a Duke bringing back a Hydra or two can be devastating. It can remove its own Weakness Emblem too, which is not to be ignored. And it is usually the best target if you are playing Midnight Cravings.

- Necromantic Cult: Against other aggro decks this card can snowball very well. It is also a good combo with Duke because it can remove his own Weakness Emblem.

- Pandemonium of Darkness: Serves as an extra Succubus effect as a finisher. it can also break a Johrails Silencer if needed. Playing 1-2 copies in the deck instead of basic shrines won’t harm you.

- Hands from Beyond: Some hard match-ups like Soldiers can improve with this card. It allows insane trades for all of your zombies and makes your hero power more effective. It also helps a lot in dealing lethal damage.

- Midnight Cravings: Don’t underestimate this card. It helps in two areas where the deck is lacking: swift damage and direct removal for high speed creatures like Descendant of Divinity. The two best targets for this card are Undead Necromancer: it can kill any creature and gives Deadly to all the zombies for a turn; and Undead Hydra: a 6/6 Swift Unstoppable creature is no joke.

 

  • What are the common matchups?

The favorable match-ups are control ones, for example WD control, One Turn Heal, or WR control.

With a nice curve, zombies have too much HP for those deck to remove, and deal damage very quickly. The sticking power of Duke and some face damage can end a match against these control deck before they even get really going.

The unfavorable match-ups are midrange decks like Hermelion Priests, Alexa Valor, or Polar Bears. Soldiers can be hard too.

Cards like Exorcism, Dwarven Mortar or Holy Radiance destroy your creatures. Soldiers and some of the Order midrange decks use Steelnor Innkeeper, that will deny your Duke’s effect and therefore reduce your power a lot.

I hope you liked the guide! If anyone has a suggestion or comment, feel free to send me a forum message, add me in-game, or talk on the game’s discord.