Hello & welcome to this weekly deck tech! This week we’re shambling into EDH for a very spooky deck: Gisa & Geralf.
Since I talked about Merfolk, Goblins, Humans & Elves already, the only major tribe missing was Zombies; while there is some zombie decks floating around in Modern & Standard, they are often subpar and so different from each other that doing a deck tech about them would feel weird. EDH on the other hand is where zombies thrive, where they can roam free and use their full potential. The new addition of Gisa & Geralf with Eldritch Moon just gave zombies the commander they needed & deserved. Let’s jump right into it.
Let’s start big and cut straight to the chase: Lords. Zombies have access to plenty of good lords to pump them up & give them really nice utility. Cards like Metallic Mimic, Cemetery Reaper, Undead Warchief, Lord of the Undead, Zombie Master, Death Baron, Mikaeus the Unhallowed, Risen Executioner, Door of Destinies, Coat of Arms, Urza’s Incubator, Obelisk of Urd & Graf Harvest. With those cards your zombies will be bigger, badder & meaner.
Now that you’ve got some Lords to pump up your nice little decaying buddies, you need more ways to generate as many zombies as possible, as quickly as possible. Zombies are extremely good at overwhelming a board via tokens. You’ve got plenty to choose from, with cards like Diregraf Colossus, Army of the Damned, Ghoulcaller Gisa, Grave Titan, Stitcher Geralf, Noosegraf Mob, Rite of Replication, Undead Alchemist, Liliana’s Reaver, Havengul Runebinder, Kalitas Traitor of Ghet, Empty the Pits, Dark Salvation, Dread Summons, From Under the Floorboards & Moan of the Unhallowed. Just try to swarm your opponent with some 2/2s (that tend to be bigger, but whatever) and unless they have board wipes, there’s not much they can do about it.
A good thing with Black decks is that most of the time if you don’t need something on the spot you can just discard it to get something else & just bring it back later if needed. You have a few nice cards that play with a discard synergy like Crypt Breaker, Forgotten Creation (which I always forget exists…), Ancient Excavation, Geralf’s Masterpiece, Advanced Stitchwing, & Grimoire of the Dead (which can be an amazing game ender); or cards that feed your graveyard straight from the library like Corpse Connoisseur, Entomb, Buried Alive, Geralf’s Mindcrusher, Epiphany at the Drownyard, Fact or Fiction & Forbidden Alchemy. Just fuel your graveyard while getting some card advantage.
Since you’re already fueling your graveyard with zombies from your hand library, why not use the ones on the field as well? Keep the tokens & the lords, get rid of the rest! Or you can also get rid of your tokens, it’s all up to you. You have some great cards that benefit from sacrificing cards; stuff like Grimgrin Corpse-Born, Sidisi Undead Vizier, Corpse Harvester, Corpse Augur, Scourge of Nel Toth, Stronghold Assassin, Nantuko Husk, Carrion Feeder, Eliminate the Competition, Grave Pact & Dictate of Erebos. Just sacrifice those zombies and be rewarded by great value and a lot of pain in your opponent’s eyes.
Bring Out Your Dead
So now that your graveyard is filled with goodies and the board filled with more goodies, what are you going to do? Just bring back the sleeping zombies from your graveyard to join the party! You have so many options (we’ve seen Grimoire of the Dead just a second ago) with cards like Gravecrawler, Prized Amalgam, Relentless Dead, Havengul Lich, Magus of the Will, Yawgmoth’s Will, Geth Lord of the Vault, Gravespawn Sovereign, Phyrexian Delver, Possessed Scaab, Fatestitcher, Sheoldread Whispering One, Gravedigger, Ghoulraiser, Cruel Revival, Victimize, Living Death, Living End, Ever After, Dread Return, Rise from the Dark Realms, Ghoulcaller’s Chant, Dread Slaver, Rise from the Grave, Cemetery Recruitment, Patriarch’s Bidding, Reanimate, Beacon of the Unrest, Nim Deathmantle, Whip of Erebos & Animate Dead. Use your graveyard as another resource! Oh, and try getting some huge zombies while the graveyards are full, like Soulless One, Unbreathing Horde, Liliana’s Elite & Wight of Precinct Six.
There is no way around it, you need to deal with cards. Every deck needs some removal and this one is no different. Here are some good options to consider: Fleshbag Marauder, Yahenni’s Expertise, Fatal Push, Noxious Ghoul, Custodi Lich, Skinrender, Vengeful Pharaoh, Cyclonic Rift, Sudden Spoiling, Doom Blade, Hero’s Downfall, Decree of Pain, Tragic Slip, Life’s Finale, Damnation, Call to the Grave & Black Sun’s Zenith. To be honest you have access to way more but it’s really up to personal preferences.
Slow Zombies, Fast Mana
Little know fact, black has access to quite a bit of mana acceleration; you just have to know where to look! You can play stuff like any mana rocks, Ashnod’s Altar, Phyrexian Altar, Sol Ring, Cabal Coffers, Nykthos Shrine to Nyx, Phyrexian Tower, Magus of the Coffers, Crypt Ghast & Songs of the Damned. Ramp up and swarm your opponents with zombies!
Weirdly enough, zombies have a tendency to drain life out of your opponents. Odd, yet very reliable win condition! Cards like Lich Lord of Unx, Vengeful Dead, Shepherd of Rot, Geralf’s Messenger, Gempalm Polluter, Raging Dead (not really draining, but it deals quite a chunk of damage), Exsanguinate & Foul-Tongue Shriek. It’s not a lot, but just with a few of these cards you can finish off a game quite easily.
Dawn of the Dead
Now that we’ve seen the pillars of the deck, let’s see how to take this overboard & really make sure that the zombies take control of everything. Obviously Rooftop Storm is pretty much a game ender, but other cards like Liliana the Last Hope, Liliana of the Dark Realms, Liliana Vess & Liliana Heretical Healer are all amazing cards that will help close the game. You have also access to amazing card advantage to really take the game away from people like Phyrexian Arena, Necropotence & Graveborn Muse.
That’s it for this week! I hope you guys enjoyed this deck tech as much as I did. If I missed anything let me know. I’ll see you guys next week for a Standard deck tech.
I love Dok Mi to pieces. It is not often you see a kdrama heroine that isn’t a positive and perky person even when drowning in debt because of family or some other tragic setback. Dok Mi is cynical and self aware. She never pretends to be anything else. Her past trauma led her to create a way of living apart from others that she is comfortable with. She takes care of herself first. Although it’s not healthy to isolate yourself, she managed to find a way to survive and I love her for that.
Destiny hopped up on the kitchen counter next to you and
watched as you finished making Roman’s lunch. Her only reason for being there
was to simply remind you that you, unlike Roman Godfrey, were a good person.
“All I’m saying is that this boy does not deserve you.”
Destiny muttered as she munched on a piece of lettuce.