Zombies (Potentially) Rising

So Shadows over Innistrad is getting spoiled and to no one’s surprise, Zombies are making an appearance.

Today I want to go over the stuff that’s not printed as a Zombie but has been given errata to make it a Zombie. This is important for tribal abilities, but more importantly, it’s a chance to pick up a card on the cheap before people realize it’s a Zombie. Beat the rush!

I also want to review some of my favorite Zombie enablers. We saw new Allies raise the price of older cards, and we should get a similar effect here.

Ashen Ghoul – A classic “It keeps coming back!” card, this may not be strong, but it is resilient. Plus, it’s from Ice Age, giving it a laughably low supply.

Coffin Queen – Yes, she’s a Zombie now. She’s amazing if you have a sacrifice outlet handy.

Eastern Paladin &Western Paladin – Total badasses in my Balthor the Defiled deck. You’re never lacking for targets, even if it’s creatures only and not permanents as the original was.

Gloomdrifter – One of the true joys of writing weekly is the chance to discover new things. I didn’t know about this card at all and it is exactly what I love. Zombies reanimate well, and when your Patriarch’s Bidding brings this back it becomes delightfully uneven.

Kabal Ghoul – Old School hasn’t caused this price to go crazy yet but it’s a good card to speculate on due to tiny supply.

Lord of the Undead – It’s already pretty expensive but you should know it’s a Zombie too.

Lord of Tresserhorn – I love this card, I do. It has a ridiculous amount of baggage, though, but I will give full credit to anyone with the intestinal fortitude to run this as a Commander over Thraximundar or Nekusar.

Marauding Knight – There will be games where this is quite dull and others where your opponents die very quickly.

Necrosavant– It is big and brings itself back relatively easily. What’s not to love?

Nightscape Battlemage andNightscape Master – These are Zombies with often-relevant abilities, especially the Master. Repeatable bounce is ridiculously useful and applies to both your creatures and theirs.

Plaguebearer – Exodus rare, amazing ability, fragile but capable of dominating a game, especially where tokens are involved.

Rathi Assassin – It’s a lot of fun to have an assassin effect on the field, primarily because you never get attacked for it. This one can even search up other random mercenaries you have.

Stronghold Assassin – In a well-built Zombie deck, sacrificing creatures is not a drawback. Go forth and wreak havoc.

The Fallen – Worth including just for the amazingly creepy art. Plus, 93/94 might really make the original Dark versions spike eventually.

Tsabo’s Assassin – It’s a brick of text, I know, but basically it says “Tap: Bury a creature that’s the most common color.” The fact that it can’t do a thing about colorless creatures is starting to become a drawback, though.

Boris Devilboon – It’s a red card, but it’s a zombie, and good token makers are surprisingly hard to come by in 93/94. It’s already up to $5 though, so it would need a major effort to climb significantly higher.
The following cards aren’t Zombies, but they are excellent accessories for the tribe and represent good candidates for growth.

Call to the Grave – It’s got two printings, and that’s a strike against it, but it’s got excellent potential. It’s also one of the most deliciously one-sided effects you can have.

Deadapult – This card is why I have such trouble ignoring the red part of the Zombie tribe. It’s cheap, effective, and exactly what you want to be doing. Plus, it has one of the greatest names in Magic history.

Deathmark Prelate – Zombies and Clerics have a very on-off relationship. Rotlung Reanimator and this card work so well together, feeding off of shambling masses that want to come back over and over again.

Dread Summons – Depending on the people you play against, this might be one of the most efficient cards in terms of mana spent and power gained. If you are in a four-player game, and you hit half the time, each mana in X is going to get you four power. The only thing close to that is Entreat the Angels when on a Miracle draw. In addition, this is a mill card and we all know how people love to mill.

Empty the Pits – It’s got a big starting price but if you like instant-speed tokens, here you are.

Endless Ranks of the Dead – It’s snuck up to the $3 range and they even brought the art back for Relentless Dead. This is really the definition of a casual card, as it’s so incredibly slow in a 60-card format. In kitchen table games, though, it’s the card people are going to keep glancing at nervously until the game is over.

Ghoulcaller Gisa – She’s already seen a small spike and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she’s put into Standard during this block. If she is, the price will spike hard on foils and drop for non-foils. I’m salivating at the thought of using her plus Relentless Dead.

Grave Betrayal – It’s expensive at seven mana but suddenly, no one wants to make a move at all, because you’ll be the beneficiary. This is one of the cards that will get you killed, but you’ll play it with a grin. If you’re able to wrath after landing this, it’s one of the best feelings you can have.

Grave Titan – I don’t know who decreed that the giant whose belly is full of zombies isn’t a zombie, but I hope that person suffers eternal torment at the hands of Vorthoses like me who just yell, “LOOK AT THE ART!!” over and over again.

Havengul Runebinder – Generally speaking, you hate to exile creatures out of your own graveyard, value or not. The effect is undeniably powerful, though, and something you have to at least consider. There’s always Riftsweeper to return the cards back.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet – Not a Zombie himself but one of the greatest ways to both hose a graveyard strategy AND get full value all at the same time.

Lim-dul the Necromancer – Seven mana is a lot for a mere 4/4 but the abilities are worth the wait. Most tellingly, he can’t regenerate himself, though. Unsurprisingly, this is a lot of mana before you even get to use one of the abilities, but it’s another card that will just take over a game.

Necromancer’s Covenant – There’s this card, and one Soldier Zombie for BW, and that’s all the support white gives black’s signature tribe. If this lands, it’s powerful, but not impossible to overcome.

Necromantic Selection – Who doesn’t love a wrath with upside? You can just wait on this until you get something sweet out there, at which point you steal the best creature for yourself.

Overseer of the Damned – First of all, this doesn’t work with Kalitas. The creatures have to die for this to trigger and Kalitas has a clause that replaces death. Nice to have a backup, though.

Rooftop Storm – This is it. The holy grail for a tribal deck. Dump your hand after playing this, and do it again as needed. It’s fifty cents now and it could be six times that when the Zombies go wild.

Stitcher Geralf – He hasn’t seen the same price rise that his sister Gisa has, and maybe it’s just a matter of time. This is another card that could easily be in Standard.

Tombstone Stairwell – Reserve list alert! With the right enabler, this card is a house. My personal preference is Vengeful Dead, but Noxious Ghoul is another card that ensures the triumph of the mindless horde.

Unholy Grotto – Volrath’s Stronghold is more universal and more expensive, but given the chance and the right deck, this is just as good. The foils are at a truly reasonable price, too.


There’s a chance I missed your favorite Zombie enabler. Comment away, let me know what cards make your Thraximundar/Grimgrin/whoever deck sing!

5 thoughts on “Zombies (Potentially) Rising”

  1. Ashen Ghoul was also reprinted in the Coldsnap theme decks if you’re looking for a copy with the correct creature type.

  2. Tribal White Zombies Shell:
    Daxos the Returned
    Putrid Warrior
    Stillmoon Cavalier
    Tidehollow Sculler
    Necromancer’s Covenant

  3. I played Tresserhorn as my first Commander deck.
    The gist was to cast him, sacing 0cost critters and other manadorks as fast as possible. Stifle is possible!

    Then swing to the face with unblockable/infect or doublestrike.
    Which was the easy part. Getting him out was the hard when 3 colors and limited to a budget.

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