Bringing a tribal deck to the kitchen table isn’t anything new. If you really want to show off your creativity in your deckbuilding, you need to create an experience.

As we get closer to Halloween, that experience is going to be sheer, unrelenting terror. In the Atlanta area, zombies have to be our go-to monsters. But we can’t just throw a bunch of good zombies into a deck and call it a day. We need to truly reflect the undying, shambling, brain-devouring fear that zombies represent.

To get at the essence of a zombie plague, we need to keep in mind the following:

  1. One zombie isn’t particularly scary. It’s the horde you have to worry about.
  2. Zombies are a plague. They kill off survivors and add to their ranks.
  3. Zombies are inevitable. You may kill a few of them, but they just keep coming.

With these rules in mind, let’s get building.

START WITH THE APOCALYPSE IN MIND

Any good deck needs to know it’s end game. How is it going to win? Going back to our rules, we know our zombie deck needs to win by creating an overwhelming force of zombies. If we can also kill off our opponent’s “survivors” even better.

 
Here’s a classic combo from the old days. Fill your graveyard with zombies, and cast Patriarch’s Bidding. If Noxious Ghoul is part of your Bidding, it will come in play, see the rest of zombies, and do a pretty solid job of wiping your opponents’ boards.

The Bidding/Ghoul combo is a great way to end the game, but what are we going to do in the meantime? We need to find ways to fill the graveyard with zombies, pressure our opponents, and survive until we get to our combo.

  
These three brain-eaters make up the core of our initial pressure. Gravecralwer and Prized Amalgam combo off of each other in order to make spot removal pretty worthless against you. Cryptbreaker is everything you want, wrapped in a nice, rotting package. He dumps zombies into your graveyard, he draws to your Biddings, and he single handedly grows your horde.

TO BLUE, OR NOT TO BLUE

Before we get much further, we need to make a decision: Are we going to make this a mono-black deck, or do we want to go Black/Blue?

Mono-black brings consistency. You won’t get mana-screwed and you can get a couple sweet utility lands.

  
Mono-black cards of note: Dread Summons, Geralf’s Messenger, Zombie Apocalypse, Zombie Trailblazer, Dread Slaver, Empty the Pits, Necromancer’s Stockpile.

Blue/Black gives us some sweet tools to fill our graveyards and draw into our combos.

   
Blue/Black cards of note: Gisa and Geralf, Diregraf Captain, Compelling Deterrence, Thought Scour, Fact or Fiction, Read the Runes.

I can’t fault you for making either choice, but for this week’s deck, we are going to go UB. I just can’t pass up Diregraf Captain and Compelling Deterrence.

ROGUE TECH: ROUNDING OUT THE HORDE

We’ve got a great start, but now comes the time to really fill out the deck. Do you want to grind your opponents under a steady stream of pressure? Do you want to pull a 28 Days Later with some fast zombies? How big do you want to go?

My first inclination is to reflect the slow, plodding nature of the zombie by grinding card advantage a removal.

   
Here is your initial grindy package. Don’t worry about too many creatures surviving when you have Stronghold Assassin recycling cards like Gravecrawler and Prized Amalgam. Backed by a bit of discard, you’ll find your opponent empty handed, empty boarded, and with nothing stopping the onslaught of zombies.

No matter which way you build, I think you want Relentless Dead.

But maybe you think fast zombies are a thing. There’s nothing stopping you from boosting your team, and unleashing an endless wave of pressure.

   
While zombies tend to be pretty brain dead, there is nothing that says you can’t add a little spice to the mix. Maybe you want to go big and scary. Or really teched out with a toolbox approach. Zombies are flexible enough to cover just about anything you want to do.

Steal creatures with Gravespawn Sovereign. Take to the skies with Scourge of Nel Toth. Turn a token into the best card in your deck with Sidisi, Undead Vizier. Or break the symmetry of Patriarch’s Bidding with Withered Wretch. The choice is  yours.

STITCHING IT ALL TOGETHER

So when you take all of these rotting, festering parts. Take a look below and find out:

The Walking Dead

Creatures (31)
Cryptbreaker
Gravecrawler
Relentless Dead
Rotting Rats
Prized Amalgam
Stronghold Assassin
Diregraf Captain
Gisa and Geralf
Noxious Ghoul

Sorceries (3)
Patriarch's Bidding

Instants (4)
Compelling Deterrence

Lands (22)
Unholy Grotto
Dimir Aqueduct
Sunken Hollow
Swamp
Island

Stop on by Win Condition Games in Kennesaw to pick up anything you’re missing to ravage the city with your zombie horde. Or sound off in the comments with your favorite zombie cards and strategies.