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By: IYankemDDS, Jeff Nowacki
Aug 27 2018 12:00pm
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 Hello!  Today I am taking a break from draft recaps and I want to talk about a standard deck that I have been playing: Mono-Black Zombies.  I started playing this deck as a variant of the FNM Challenge.  I looked at the decklists from all of the Planeswalker Decks, and Liliana's seemed the closest to something playable.  I ended up buying the deck, and then some cards to make it more competitive.  The cards from the Planeswalker deck are really not that important, but it was a good starting point.  Today I will talk more about what the standard deck looks like.  Here is what my take on Standard Zombies looks like.


One of the appeals of Monoblack Zombies is that the manabase is really easy.  You never have to worry about getting all of your colors, because you are only running one!  All you need to do is draw some early Swamps and you are off to the races.  The Ifnir Deadlands are in there in case you need to remove a blocker, and the Scavenger Grounds will protect against graveyard shenanigans.  You actually would prefer to keep your own graveyard stocked, but sometimes you will need to clear things out, especially against The Scarab God.


With this deck, you want to get pressure as quickly as possible.  That generally means curving out, so an opening hand with at least one 1-drop is really important.  If I have a choice between Dread Wanderer and Diregraf Ghoul, I prefer to play the Ghoul first.  The reason is that you would rather have a Red player cast Magma Spray on the Ghoul than Dread Wanderer.  Fatal Push is good against aggressive decks (Mono Red, for example).  If I am lucky enough to draw three of my 1-drop creatures by turn two, I am likely to play all three of those to be ready for a big attack on Turn 3.  If you're not fortunate enough to draw that many 1-drops, then you can play one of your 2-drops.


Both of these cards are great options on Turn 2.  Graveyard Marshal has the Zombie synergy and he can also turn creatures from your graveyard into 2/2 Zombies.  Scrapheap Scrounger does not have the Zombie synergy, but you can bring him back, provided you have another creature in your graveyard.  Marshall is also great on Turn 5 or later because you can play him and a Zombie on the same turn.


Turn 3 is where the fun starts!  Ideally, you have some Zombies on the board at this point.  This is where you play a lord to buff the Zombies and get in for a big attack.  If you need to kill something on the other side of the table, giving your Zombies deathtouch with Death Baron might be the better play.  If not, being able to give all of your Zombies menace can be really strong, so you might want to play Lord of the Accursed.  

4- and 5-Drops

Your creatures top out at 3 mana, but that doesn't mean that you can't have plays in the mid-game.  A Turn 4 Vraska's Contempt can get a blocker ouf of the way.  Because it exiles, this card is really important against opposing Scarab Gods.  On Turn 5, you want to play Liliana's Mastery, which serves as both a hard-to-remove lord and and creature because you get two Zombies, both of which are minimum 3/3s.  If you don't have these cards in the midgame, you can play a couple of early drops and keep the pressure on.


The sideboard is packed with some anti-Control cards that you can bring in.  You can bring in Duress and Doomfall against Esper decks.  Even if your opponent has Settle the Wreckage mana up, you can Duress before a Turn 4 attack and get it out of their hand, or at least see if they have it.  If you need to deal with a Planeswalker, Sorcerous Spyglass is great to bring in.  Gonti, Lord of Luxury also works well in this deck because you can end up playing some of their own cards against them.  While the wrath effects aren't good for you, a The Scarab God or Torrential Gearhulk is.

You've also got a set of Gifted Aetherborn that you can bring in against aggressive decks.  If you need some extra removal, you can bring in a couple of extra Cast Downs.  Lastly, I bring a couple of copies of Liliana's Defeat.  I have found this card to be a good answer for an opposing Nicol Bolas, the Ravager.  While you are still down a card, killing the dragon for one mana can allow you to keep attacking.

This is a great deck against other decks that are slow to get started.  I have had great success with Zombies against the Blue Outcome deck.  The Midrange matchup is a bit more challenging.  I have had a fair amount of success against the Grixis Deck, but have had a hard time against Green decks.  Lastly, the Control matchup has been hit or miss.  Once you side in Duress and Doomfall, you have a chance to take away their answers.  If they stumble on mana early, you can finish them off before they get set up.  If they are able to answer your attacks and get set up, it's hard to come back.

I have had a good time with this deck so far!  If you want a deck with a stable manabase and like fast and powerful attacking, think about giving it a shot!