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Tribal Guide: The Book of Zombies

Sibsig Host, by Steve Prescott, Owned by Wizards of the Coast © All Rights Reserved.

After a little break for regaining my strength, and brainstorming new material to come, I am eager to jump back in the ring, and bring you guys something new. I apologize for such a delay with getting this out. Life has a way of throwing a loop at us, and delaying our goals.

Over the past few weeks, many things have changed, inside and out of the game. However, my love for Tribal has stayed strong, and will not be going anywhere any time soon. I want to see more tribal in the format, and I will do everything I must to see this happen!

This week, I will be returning to the realm of the truly terrifying, and observing the horrors that are zombies. As usual, I will be discussing all of the cards that you should absolutely use, despite your build. With this chapter, I will also be identifying one very particular strategy, quite prominent with zombies, and I will outline how this strategy works. Without further delay, let us begin Tribal Guide: The Book of Zombies.

The Commanders

When it comes to choosing your commander, there are three options. You can go mono black, Dimir, or Orzhov. In all of these cases, there are pros and cons, as is commonly seen. However, whichever you pick, will be up to you. Let us observe our best options.

Splashing in blue to our mix, Diregraf Captain serves at the shining example of a true tribal commander. My personal first choice, but it would be arrogant to ignore all other options. Drumau Corpse Trawler, giving an extra creature as it enters, permanently creates a deterrent from any creature attacking you. With several bounce options in blue, this also serves a strong strategy.

With black spells normally requiring paying life, a chance at life gain can be a blessing, hence the splash of white. Unraveling Mummy not only creates a deterrent, but a weapon for replenishing lost resources. If you have built your deck with tokens and creature flooding in mind, Wayward Servant will drain your opponents, while sustaining yourself.

Although the multicolored options are safe, mono black is still very much a solid option. Most of these being very old cards, but very effective. Most of these commanders will serve quite well, but with the exception of Soulless One, are all relatively independent of one of the key strategies and mechanics that lay beneath common zombies. We will discuss this more below.

The Rest of the 99

I will talk more about the unique strategy below, but first, here are the essential zombies that you need, without fail. If you are choosing to play mono black or Orzhov, Nightscape Familiar will not be necessary. However, with splashing blue, it is absolutely essential. There are a few cards here that I have discussed before throughout previous articles, they still apply now.

With essentials out of the way, it is now time to talk about the graveyard. More importantly, it is time to talk about how we are going to use the graveyard. Zombies have a very special knack for doing two things. They allow us to fill our graveyard, and allow us to fill our hand, from our graveyard. Now, this isn't a true reanimator deck (with the exception of a few cards), but it does let us shape our hand much easier, and get those essentials in our hand.

With the above allowing us to fill our graveyard, the below creatures will let us fill our hand from the graveyard. In regards to filling our hand, we will more likely rely on sorceries to retrieve, but creatures will allow us to fill that graveyard in the first place.

With the above being said, there are cards that will utilize the graveyard differently. Although I would rather have Gurmag Angler in my hand, the others can safely go to the graveyard, allowing me to utilize them directly from there. With abilities such as Unearth and Scavenge, utility can be gained.

Suppose we do decide to splash in color, this is where the Embalm and Eternalize mechanics from the Amonkhet block will do nicely. Now, to be fair, these mechanics tend to be a bit expensive. However, with little control as to what does go to the graveyard, a way to control what can return is helpful. The below creatures should be considered, despite not immediately not being zombies.

With all of the creatures discussed, it is now essential to see what other spells we require to support our graveyard strategy. There are several other strategies you can implement, and that is for you to do. Let us not take away from your creativity. However, it is foolish not to remove the best strategy from zombies overall.

Take a look at the included above and below spells. Everything shown has been included to support the above discussed strategy. There isn't much to say, but I will point out the ever so powerful Exhume. A brilliant card, with endless potential, must be included. There are limited chances to utilize a true reanimator strategy, but here is a chance to make it happen.

The final detail to discuss, are some special ways to break down defenses. In many cases, we don't want to lose our zombies, so vehicles will serve us best. Keep these zombies out as long as possible. However, in the event we lose critical pieces, fear not. The whole deck is meant to grab things from the graveyard. Just bring it back!


With all kinds of ways to play zombies, there are still weaknesses. Are zombies safe from graveyard hate? Of course. Are zombies powerful? Not always. However, part of the game is what you build. The other part is how you play, and how you want to play.

Share with me your zombie builds, and let me know what cards you utilize most in your game play. I look forward to seeing your brews, and am eager to bring you the next chapter soon. Prepare for the Tribal Guide, "The Book of Fighters," coming in the following weeks!



#Tribal #Black #Blue #White #Zombies


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