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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Mar 17 2021 1:00pm

Today I want to talk about Zombies. Mono black decks are a popular choice among Pauper players for one reason or another and while there are many ways to build the archetype, I feel that Zombies do not get enough love.

The list we will talk about today was piloted by the player Tarte to a 5-0 finish in a league. I found it when checking out the 5-0 dump from 2/24/2021. You have card draw, reach/burn and card advantage, honestly what more could you ask for? Well, you would probably gladly ask for a winning lottery ticket, but for now, we will just discuss this sweet list.

Carnophage – While there is a ton of value to this deck, at its core, it is an aggro deck. Carnophage is not the best creature of all time, but being a 2 power, 1 drop creature helps a lot.

Carrion Feeder – This creature is a favorite among many Pauper players. From sacrifice decks, to token decks, to  Tortured Existence and beyond, Carrion Feeder doesn’t look like much at first, but it can grow very quickly and you do have some combos in this deck.

Festering Mummy – In the past, Festering Goblin would have been in this deck. In today’s Pauper meta however, we have access to a better creature in Festering Mummy. Instead of giving -1/-1 till the end of turn, you now give a counter instead.

Butcher Ghoul – a 1/1 for 2 is not all that impressive, but this one has Undying. This means that it takes 2 removal spells to deal with and it becomes better after it dies for the first time. It also combos with Carrion Feeder as it can give 2 counters.

Just want to point out a cool interaction. When you have Carrion Feeder, Festering Mummy and Butcher Ghoul on the battlefield. If you sacrifice Butcher to your Carrion Feeder, you can then sacrifice your Mummy, give your Butcher the -1/-1 counter, which will cancel out the +1/+1 counter and then you can sacrifice the Butcher 2 more times.

Lazotep Reaver – This is a really good 2 drop because it gives you 2 creatures for the price of one. The best part is that the token is also a Zombie.

Shepherd of Rot – Here is one of your reach creatures in the deck. While yes, it does also hit your life total (make sure you always keep that in mind), since you are an aggro deck, you should always be ahead of your opponents life total. You can finish games extremely quickly thanks to this creature.

Fleshbag Marauder – With creatures like Butcher Ghoul and Lazotep Reaver, it is pretty easy to always get an upside from casting a Fleshbag Marauder. Having 3 power helps a lot with the clock as well.

Gempalm Polluter – This is your other reach creature. You don’t usually cast this creature, you Cycle it to deal damage and draw a bit deeper into the deck. It does the job well. The good thing about Polluter and Shepherd is that they deal loss of life, so cards such as Prismatic Stands and Circle of Protection: Black don’t stop them.

Defile – Easily the best removal spell for this archetype. For only 1 mana, it will pretty much clear the way of anything you need it to early or later in the game.

Ghoulcaller's Chant – Really good card advantage spell. It should always return 2 creatures from the graveyard. I am disappointed to only see 3 copies, but I suppose you need to make cuts somewhere.

Village Rites – Having access to card draw and being able to keep the snowball effect going is always a good thing to have in an aggro deck.

The manabase is nothing special as it is 4 copies of Barren Moor and 16 Swamps. You don’t want any more come into play tapped lands because it will slow you down too much and you are not looking to play the long game, you want the game over with as quickly as possible. Barren Moor is mostly here to help you play a 56 card deck, which is why it is good.

The Sideboard

Shepherd of Rot – Against non-aggro decks where you aren’t going to be taking much damage or none at all in the early game, having a fourth copy of Shepherd is a great way to end games quickly.

Duress – Always a great card to have access to for combo and control matches.

Geth's Verdict – Really good Hexproof hate. Being an instant and draining 1 life is a lot more crucial to your game plan than having access to Chainer’s Edict. You should never get to 7 mana anyway because that would mean the game has gone on too long. I personally would like to see a third copy. Be careful though as this is not a guaranteed plan against Hexproof.

Nihil Spellbomb – Graveyard hate is pretty much a must have these days and this one is pretty good because it has the potential to draw a card. I do think there is an argument to be made for Faerie Macabre because it is free graveyard hate and it is much harder for your opponent to play around.

Snuff Out – Having access to more removal is always a good thing. Snuff Out being free is pretty huge when you are trying to curve out, just make sure you watch your life total. Siding out Shepherd for Snuff Out in fast paced aggro matchups is something I personally would be doing, but that is my opinion.

Suffocating Fumes – Having access to a board wipe is always a good thing to have. This one is great because it is an instant and can be cycled away for a new card if need be.

Unexpected Fangs – Use this on a huge Carrion Feeder and red decks will have a really hard time winning the game.

Verdict and Conclusions

I think this deck is really cool and a blast to play. It can be a nice change of pace from the usual mono black archetypes that are out there. It’s also great deck to introduce your friends to Pauper with because it is fairly simple while also having lots of tricks to learn from.
I don’t have much else to add with this one, so let’s just get right to the big question. Do I think you should play this deck? I think for the leagues and for introducing friends to the format, yes I think this deck is perfectly fine.

For the challenges, I am less confident. This deck does powerful things, don’t get me wrong, but you do need to get a little luckier with this archetype in my opinion, as all your cards rely on each other to do things.

The more established archetypes such as Tron and Izzet Faeries have lots of individual powerful cards that are good on their own. With this archetype, your creatures are weak by themselves, but work very well together. The problem is that, one well timed removal spell or counterspell could be enough to create a domino effect you can’t come back from.

You can kind of compare this archetype to the Slivers archetype. Slivers are weak on their own, but snowball very quickly when you put all your different Slivers together. The big difference is that the Sliver archetypes tend to have a good amount of card advantage to keep the ball rolling. This archetype has some good cards such as Ghoulcaller's Chant and Village Rites, but they can only do so much.

With all this being said of course, do remember my words are not gospel and should be taken with a grain of salt. I will always encourage you to try the deck I am talking about. Do remember that results will vary and to always practice a lot.

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!