Dimir Zombie Control
One Deck at a Time - Dimir Zombie Control
Watch me play this deck at - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTuIWeoSoR0
If you watched my EMN release party you know I dislike playing zombies. I find the tribe completely underwhelming and weak compared to what current Duels is doing. If you want to command the armies of the dead, play Deadwalkers in 2014 (which you can still do on iOS I recently learned).
I recently read a post on NGA that I mostly agree with about the traps of playing tribal decks.
Zombies don’t have the tools to make a fantastic zombie linear aggro deck. So my take on the zombies is to embrace the grindy, attrition-minded corpses and put plenty of removal around them.
EMN Dimir Zombie Control
Keep a board presence with grindy zombies and control the game with a plethora of removal.
How to Play
Use Haunted Dead to maintain an active board presence, gain card advantage with planeswalkers and Cryptbreaker, kill all their good stuff, win when you get around to it.
2x Wharf Infiltrator
1x Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
2x Prized Amalgam
3x Haunted Dead
1x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2x Distended Mindbender
3x Grasp of Darkness
2x Dark Salvation
4x Take Inventory
1x Rise from the Tides
1x Oath of Jace
2x Imprisoned in the Moon
1x Liliana, the Last Hope
1x Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
1x Ob Nixilis Reignited
2x Sunken Hollow
2x Drowned Catacomb
4x Submerged Boneyard
2x Geier Reach Sanitarium
2x Drownyard Temple
3x Evolving Wilds
To view this deck go to: https://www.magicduelshelper.com/decklist/details/b0d47f4c-edbd-4418-b9b9-43283c7021f6
Created using Magic Duels Helper: http://www.magicduelshelper.com
Twenty-six lands because I want to play two Drownyard Temples and two Sanitariums because of their synergy with Haunted Dead and other discard effects, but I still need a critical mass of black and blue mana as the deck wants doubles of both. This deck also has the luxury of discarding extra lands for other effects which keeps flooding from being too bad of an issue. I kept a hand that was size lands and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, and I won against a non-scrub.
Cryptbreaker - This is one of the zombies worth caring about. He can discard Haunted Dead on turn two to set up a turn three activation and you have a zombie out of the deal. I usually draw cards instead of attacking unless I am really far ahead on cards and board.
Dark Salvation - This card is awesome. Late in the game you get to make a lot of zombies to take over the game, but there are times you can fire this off for one mana and take out an enemy creature. Remember, it checks the number of zombies you control, not the number of zombies you created with Salvation itself.
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy - Looting is a big deal in this deck, and so is the planeswalker angle that builds up your advantage. Jace fills both jobs.
Wharf Infiltrator - I have heard mixed feelings on this card and I think it is awesome. Remember that you can pay two mana for an Eldrazi any time you discard a creature. It doesn’t have to be from the Infiltrator’s ability. You can discard Prized Amalgam or Haunted Dead to Jace, Crypt Breaker, Sanitarium or Oath of Jace and pay two mana for an Eldrazi token.
Grasp of Darkness - I keep the removal options cheap because my first consideration, my level 1 if you will, is always a white human deck. If the format was slower, I would play Fleshbag Marauder and Cruel Revival for a more zombie flavored control deck, but that mix is horrible against White Aggro. Of course, Grasp and Murder isn’t the fastest available, and if you have human problems you can run Dead Weight over Murder.
Take Inventory - The card is great for refueling in this deck. The first Take Inventory is nothing special, and it is usually discarded. The second and third copies help keep your hand stocked with removal, Rise from the Tides fuel, or more Haunted Dead activations.
Prized Amalgam - Half of the Zombies tag team that makes this deck work. When you activate Haunted Dead, you discard Prized Amalgam and something else (perhaps, ANOTHER Prized Amalgam!!!) and then Haunted Dead returns to be battlefield, triggering the Amalgam which follows Haunted Dead at end of turn. Make sure to do this main phase or attack phase, if you do it on end step you don’t get Amalgam until the following end step, which can really matter since he enters the battlefield tapped. Living the dream is turn one/two Cryptbreaker, Infiltrator or Baby Jace, turn three discard Haunted Dead, activate it discarding two Amalgams, get back nine power/toughness on end step going into turn four. Turn four Mindbender of course. You will do this so rarely it might not be worth all the typing I just did, but when you do even a bit of it you will feel really good.
Oath of Jace - I wanted to fill a spot with something that let me draw and discard, this card fits the bill and gets a little deeper than Catalog.
Imprisoned in the Moon - Our control deck doesn’t always have a board presence, sometimes you just don’t draw Haunted Dead. Sometimes you have to reach across the table and nerf that planeswalker, and Imprisoned is down for the job.
Murder - Swap this to Dead Weight to be faster. Swap this to Cruel Revival if you don’t mind being slower and want more reasons to call yourself a zombie deck.
Liliana, the Last Hope - She can get back some critters. Most of the time she is keeping creatures at bay and control decks on their toes by reaching for that ultimate.
Kalitas - This guy is awesome in general. Here we have some zombies for him to eat and he is the deck’s only legit source of lifegain, so he gets a spot for sure.
Haunted Dead - This under-the-radar card is the reason I kept playing zombies at all. On the surface the rate is nothing special. If you get it out of the yard, you get a tapped 2/2 and a flying 1/1 for two mana (great) and two cards (yuck). The trick is to get value off of the discarding of Haunted Dead, and get more value off the buying back of Haunted Dead. Normally this would mean madness, and I have tried cards like Murderous Compulsion, Just the Wind, Nagging Thoughts and more, but that really didn’t get me where I wanted to go. Once I started using Distended Mindbender, Take Inventory, Drownyard Temple and Rise from the Tides, I felt I was getting somewhere. I still wish there were better discard and madness effects for the deck. If your opponent isn’t used to playing against Haunted Dead, expect them to make plenty of mistakes. Going all-out for your planeswalker only to get chump blocked by a 1/1 spirit and have their walker attacked by a 2/2 zombie and a 3/3 amalgam is not uncommon. The card takes some thinking and timing to figure out the best way to use it, so be patient with Haunted Dead and it will pay off.
Languish - Sweepers needed vs tribal decks and such.
Jace, Unraveler - Big Jace and his bro, Ob Nix, serve to get you ahead on cards and give you another way to win the game. You can’t keep recurring Haunted Dead if you don’t draw multiple cards per turn.
Ob Nixilis - Our version of zombies is pretty good at chump blocking between Haunted Dead and zombie tokens, and it isn’t unusual to chump for Ob until he ultimates. It is cool that Sanitarium makes both players draw, meaning four damage off an Ob emblem per Sanitarium activation.
Rise from the Tides - A one of to go over the top of midrangey decks that have lots of walkers and removal to get to our walkers.
Distended Mindbender - This card is sketchy and leads to sketchy keeps because we only have 2 Amalgams and 3 Haunted Deads to work with. When it works, it really works. The best plan when it is not working is to discard Mindbender to some of those discard effects.
Cards I am not playing -
Diregraff Colossus - This card has never worked out for me, and casting most zombies to make more zombies just puts more zombies in the inevitable sweeper hold.
Elder Deep Fiend - Mindbender is better for the control game, Fiend is more tempo, and we barely have enough emerge fodder for the Mindbender
Fleshbag Marauder - You can replace Grasp with this and Murder with Cruel Revival for a classic zombie removal package. I think it is too slow for current Duels, but it would be more flavorful.
Advanced Stitchwing - One more mana to activate and only a single body makes this card worse than Haunted Dead, and the cards are further apart than they look. Still, this isn’t the worst thing you could do. Perhaps I could replace the Oath of Jace with one of these and see if it holds up.
Gravedigger, Possessed Skaab - These cards are too slow for the format right now, but if you want a more flavorful build you could play them over Languish (if you don’t fear humans) and Distended Miindbender (if you don’t fear Ramp and Walkers).
From Under the Floorboards - Also too slow and pretty expensive.
Results - My win-loss ratios with the deck are close to this -
iOS - 8/10
XB1 - 9/10
I didn’t expect great results from this deck and I have been pleasantly surprised. The only tough games I played on XB1 were against UW Spirits and RB Vampires, and I was able to win both. On iOS I toppled some format giants, including Humans, Superfriends, Green/Colorless Ramp and Izzet Prowess. I do think a lot of the credit for the wins goes to misplays by my opponents who didn’t know what Haunted Dead was all about. I think my three days of playtesting overperformed, and I don’t think this is a top tier deck. Still, it may be a solid tier II, B level deck that can take some proven archetypes by surprise. The deck has a learning curve that revolves around getting the most out of your discards and Haunted Dead activations. From there it can be a blast to play.
Other directions this deck could take -
I’ve mentioned the more tribal zombie control with Fleshbag, Cruel Revival and Possessed Skaab.
I firmly believe the aggro build is a trap, and that it isn’t worth your efforts, but that doesn’t seem to stop other players from running Diregraf Colossus.
The End Credits -
Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/danno029
Twitter - https://twitter.com/danno029
Magic Duels Wiki - magicduels.wikia.com
About Duels Diaries - http://tinyurl.com/jdxz5x6
CGB’s Deckbox - http://www.magicduelshelper.com/decklist?userId=CovertGo%20Blue