Monday, 25 July 2016 19:10

Standard Sultai Zombies

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Hello everyone. So Eldritch Moon hit the shelves last Friday. This set consists of lotta interesting cards to brew around, as well as cards that we can use to bring back old mechanics from the previous sets. Today I will show you all a Sultai Zombie deck that I made last weekends.

As much as I like playing Midrange decks, I like brewing new decks, especially when a new set comes out. Personally, I think homebrewing is one of the fun part of Magic. Not to say netdecking is not fun, but the feeling of beating people's meta deck with a homebrew is just so awesome!

Instead of highlighting cards from Eldritch Moon, I'm actually going to talk about a card from Shadows over Innistrad.

This card has already seen play in Modern Dredge deck, but not in Standard yet. I guess its not because its not Standard playable, its just that the Green, White and Blue decks are too overpowered in the meta. However, I'm gonna give this card a second chance so I came out with a new zombie deck. I called it zombie deck not because it consists of Zombie type creatures, its because there are a few combos that can bring back dead creatures into play.


The Core Creatures

There are two pairs of "combo" in this deck, first one being the old-good megamorph duo Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor. Main reason why this combo doesn't seen play anymore is mostly because Collected Company decks have alot better 3 drops to play than these 2 creatures. The second pair of "combo" is Haunted Dead and Prized Amalgam. Basically you can discard Prized Amalgams to activate Haunted Dead's ability to return it from the graveyard into play, and then Prized Amalgams will trigger and return to the battlefield after that. Do bear in mind that the Den Protector-Deathmist Raptor combo also brings along Prized Amalgams from the graveyard into play.


The Game Plan

The general idea of this deck, is to disrupt your opponent with cards like Distended Mindbender and Collective Brutality while putting Amalgams, Haunted Dead and Deathmist Raptors into graveyard, then put a bunch of creatures (hopefully from the graveyard) into play to start beating down.

There are a bunch of ways to fill up your graveyard with cards:

Collective Brutality is one of the best card from EMN that enables graveyard strategies. It allows you to discard the "zombies" as additional cost to Escalate the spell. In this way, the Escalate cost is essentially free because we will be able to bring back the creatures into battlefield anyway.

Grapple with the Past is a new Grisly Salvage excepts it is able to return a card that is already in the graveyard before it resolves. Gather the Pack is another card that does-milling but the reason I put Gripple over Gather the Pack is because, firstly, Instant Speed over Sorcery Speed. Secondly, I cannot return a land with Gather the Pack while Grapple with the Past can; this allows me to cut down my lands to 23 and still able to curve up smoothly. Whenever we are going to miss land drop, just use Grapple to dig for a land.

As mentioned earlier, Haunted Dead is a way to discard our "zombie" cards like Prized Amalgams, Deathmist Raptors and our extra Haunted Deads to keep the loop going. However, we need to put at least one Haunted Dead into graveyard before we can use it as a discard outlet. So, the first thing we want to do every game, is actually to put Haunted Deads into the graveyard. Its pretty similar to Modern Dredge deck where we want to discard a Golgari-Grave Troll or a Life from the Loam to a Faithless Looting so that we can get the engine running.
So, we've came out with the core spells to make this strategy work:
4 Den Protector
4 Deathmist Raptor
4 Prized Amalgam
4 Haunted Dead
4 Grapple with the Past
4 Collective Brutality

There are only 24 cards, what else do we need? I think we need more good creatures.

Hangarback Walker is a creature that can be jammed into almost any deck. Unfortunately, its not a combo with the new Emerge mechanic but its good on its own.

Distended Mindbender is a new addition to black decks. It's a sac-outlet, which also provides a very good hand disruption effect. This card acts as a backup plan in case we cannot throw a Haunted Dead into the graveyard. If we sacrifice Haunted Dead to pay for the Emerge cost of Distended Mindbender, we only need 1BB to cast Mindbender. Assume we cast Haunted Dead on turn 4 and Mindbender on turn 5, we still have 2 mana open to activate Haunted Dead's ability.

Reality Smasher is the best 5 drop I can think of to put in a deck that plays 2 sets of painlands. This card is underplayed because Reflector Mage can just bounce it for free, gaining the tempo advantage. However, there's a new card from EMN - Spell Queller. Having Smashers allows us to play around Spell Quellers which is important because there are at least two decks out there that will run playset of Spell Quellers maindeck.

Ishkanah, the brood mother. This card is very very good against Spirit deck when we resolve it with Delirium. For 5 mana, we put 4 bodies with a total of 6 power and 11 toughness into play. Each of those creatures have Reach which means they can hold back opposing Spirits. In this deck, I'm putting them in the sideboard because they are not part of the "zombie" plan.

After adding these creatures and a few removal spells, we finally have the decklist (the sideboard is just a random draft as I still don't know what deck to prepare against yet):

Sultai Zombies

4 Hangarback Walker
4 Deathmist Raptor
4 Den Protector
4 Prized Amalgam
4 Haunted Dead
4 Reality Smasher
2 Distended Mindbender

4 Grapple with the Past
4 Collective Brutality
1 Murder
2 Ultimate Price

2 Lumbering Falls
1 Westvale Abbey
4 Hissing Quagmire
4 Yavimaya Coast
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Swamp
4 Forest

2 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
2 Negate
2 Dead Weight
2 Flaying Tendrills
1 Ultimate Price
2 Ruinous Path
1 Ever After
3 Duress


Wrapping Up

I've tried this Sultai aggro deck abit, its quite satisfying when I get to pull off some little combos inside the deck. Besides this deck, I do make alot of homebrews over time, but I seldom post them here, let me know if you guys like to see more brews so that I can write more on those? Do make use of the comment section, as we would like to know what you all think. Alright, that's all for today, thanks for reading and I'll see you all next time!

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