Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Zombie Decks in Magic
Zombies represent black's premiere theme, offering a strategy that works well in both standard and commander. While individual zombies tend to be weak, they often arrive en masse, can boost each other, and are easily recovered from the graveyard.
Most zombie decks stick with a mono-black theme, but some mix in blue or white. But no matter what colors you choose, which cards most empower your undead army? These are the ten best zombie supports in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Undead Augur
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2
Augur specifically requires two black mana, but in single-colored decks, it shouldn't be a problem. He's got respectable 2/2 stats, both the zombie and wizard subtypes, and whenever he or another zombie you control dies, you lose one life and draw a card.
This offers a cheaper and safer alternative to "Graveborn Muse", sacrificing some life to ensure your hand never runs out.
9. Grave Titan
If not a zombie support per se, Grave Titan's an incredibly competitive card who blends with the theme despite not being a zombie himself. While he needs a big sum of six mana, this giant rewards you with a fierce 6/6 with deathtouch.
And he's great at swarming tokens; whenever Titan enters the field or attacks, you create two tapped 2/2 zombie tokens, giving you extra bodies and empowering zombie-based effects.
8. Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Before we get to Liliana's loyalty abilities, we should discuss her passive effect, which has you draw a card whenever one of your creatures dies, another great way to maintain card advantage.
Her +1 effect creates a 2/2 zombie token, -4 has each player sacrifice two creatures (you can even do this if you don't control any), and ultimate -9 forces all opponents to choose one permanent of every type they control and sacrifice the rest.
Simply put, these are three strong abilities that mix well with Liliana's passive. And if you want a slightly cheaper planeswalker, "Liliana, Death's Majesty" and "Liliana, Untouched by Death" also offer impressive undead boosts.
7. Death Baron
Another zombie wizard, Death Baron possesses multiple useful subtypes, though his stats are a mediocre 2/2. However, he grants your other zombies and skeletons +1/+1 and deathtouch, turning even a lowly 2/2 token into a lethal 3/3 insta-kill.
The fact that skeletons get the bonus too opens up new possibilities for your deck, potentially letting you mix in creatures like "Augur of Skulls". And since Baron isn't legendary, you can control multiple copies, each of which will empower the other.
6. Unholy Grotto
Grotto only provides colorless mana, but most black cards have some leeway in their casting costs anyway, so it's rarely an issue. And instead of tapping Grotto for mana, you can instead exhaust it and pay one black to put a zombie from your graveyard on top of your deck, letting you quickly redraw defeated monsters.
This also offers a minor anti-mill tactic, helping prevent your deck from running out (which can be a potential weakness of zombie themes).
5. Soulless One
Individual zombies don't often become particularly strong, but Soulless One grants an enormous body to swing for massive damage. His power and toughness are equal to the number of zombies on the field and in the graveyard.
Counting himself, that's at least one, and Soulless can easily enter double digits, especially since the effect also tallies enemy units.
4. Lord of the Accursed
Accursed carries respectable 2/3 stats and grants your other zombies a +1/+1 boost. Additionally, by spending two mana and tapping him, you can give all zombies menace for the turn, meaning each can only be blocked by two or more creatures. That's a great way to reduce opposing blockers once you've amassed your horde.
A staple in my own zombie decks, Accursed is also much cheaper than most of today's cards (who often run more than five bucks), costing less than two dollars!
3. Lord of the Undead
Like many of today's supporters, Undead gives other zombies an appreciated +1/+1 boost, though his stats are a measly 2/2. But he can also tap and spend two mana to return a zombie from your graveyard to your hand, an excellent way to recover lost units. These are powerful benefits, but bear in mind that opposing zombies also get the +1/+1.
2. Zombie Master
Master's stats are a solid 2/3, and he automatically grants other zombies swampwalk (making them unblockable against opponents who control a swamp) and lets them regenerate by spending a black mana. Both are great effects, with the regeneration being one of few defensive abilities available to the subtype.
Again, keep in mind these traits also benefit opposing zombies, but you can gimmick the swampwalk effect by using the land "Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth". This makes all lands swamps in addition to their other types, essentially providing you an unblockable zombie army!
1. Undead Warchief
Warchief provides two excellent zombie boosts in one potent package, and now only your creatures will benefit. Your zombie spells cost one less mana, and once fielded, they gain +2/+1.
The latter effect empowers Warchief himself, turning his pathetic 1/1 stats into a workable 3/2, but more importantly, it morphs your moderate 2/2 zombie tokens into bulky 4/3 warriors. Throw in the casting discount and you've got arguably the best zombie support to date.
Zombie Token Supports in Magic
Today we've examined many powerful undead supports, and don't miss out on spells that amass zombie tokens and offer them various benefits (like "Dreadhorde Invasion").
Zombies offer a versatile theme with various color-pairing options and hundreds of members to choose from, and I highly recommend them to any black-faction players. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of walking dead, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill