It’s a funny thing, getting to a point in your Magic life where you just don’t care about the weekly tournaments anymore. I used to live and thrive on them, playing almost every single night in a tournament somewhere around the valley. Over the past few months, as I’ve started traveling to bigger tournaments more, and I’ve been working on writing articles and making videos, I’ve been attending them less and less. I’ve found that my priorities have shifted. I prepare for the bigger tournaments that are coming up, I study and watch the shifting metagame, but…I have less of a desire to actually play in these smaller FNM-style tournaments.
There are several reasons for this, one of which is that I end up…I don’t know how to describe this…feeling bad, for playing the deck that I play. When I was playing Game Day, I was playing UWR Tempo before it was popular, and I absolutely crushed everybody in my path to take down the victory. The players around me didn’t look at me in awe, amazed at some mystical Magic powers that I have, or anything silly like that. Instead, I was seen as a bad guy, for playing counterspells and Geist of Saint Traft.
I didn’t know what to do. I shouldn’t let them get to me, I realize we’re all playing the game the way we want to play it, but I also care about my image, and I want people to have a good mental image of me. I don’t want to be seen as a douchebag, just because of the deck I choose to play. I even felt bad when I sat down in front of some 14 year old kid, at his first FNM, and absolutely crushed him, playing cards he didn’t even understand. He walked away looking dejected, and although I was trying to be as nice and as friendly as possible, my deck was gave no room for error. I wanted to be able to have more fun at FNM, and worry less about being shown as some sort of mean person, for playing a powerful deck.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts last week, contemplating my dilemma, and wondering what I was going to do, when I heard Jonathan Medina talk about a deck he had been trolling people with online, a Zombies infinite combo deck, and I instantly knew that it was a fun, not too unfair deck, and was perfect for the medium of an FNM. I picked up the cards, made some tweaks and took it for a spin.
4 Diregraf Captain
4 Veilborn Ghoul
4 Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
2 Rakdos Keyrune
4 Rooftop Storm
1 Izzet Charm
2 Forbidden Alchemy
2 Pillar of Flame
2 Rolling Temblor
2 Sever the Bloodline
4 Blood Crypt
2 Dragonskull Summit
4 Drowned Catacomb
1 Evolving Wilds
4 Steam Vents
4 Sulfur Falls
2 Cyclonic Rift
2 Appetite for Brains
1 Rolling Temblor
2 Slaughter Games
2 Rakdos’s Return
1 Zombie Appocalypse
The deck works by assembling an infinite combo, using Rooftop Storm, Grimgrin, Gravecrawler and Diregraf Captain. Yup, only four cards……
It was at this point of the deck construction, when I realized I was playing a combo that relied on me drawing 4 specific cards, that I thought to myself “WTF am I doing? I could be playing Geist of Saint Traft and Thundermaw Hellkite!”
Anywho, so you assemble these four cards in your hand, six lands in play, and your opponent has tapped out for their piddly Thragtusk. You start by casting Rooftop Storm, which allows you to cast the rest of your Zombies for free. Then you slam down Grimgrin, Captain, and Gravecrawler. You sacrifice Gravecrawler to Grimgrin, causing your opponent to lose one life. You bring Gravecrawler back from the graveyard (for free), then sacrifice him again, they lose another life. Over and over and over and over….until they are dead!
I like this deck because the combo takes a long time to assemble, it doesn’t feel unfair, and every time I actually got it against my FNM opponent, they just laughed and we went to the next game. They recognize that the combo is tough to put together, and the deck didn’t feel overpowering the whole game, allowing for a much more enjoyable experience.
The thing that surprised me the most about the whole experience, was that the deck actually performed very well! I only lost one match the whole night, to a friend of mine who was playing UWR Tempo. We went to a close game 3, where I had the combo in hand and a dispel, but didn’t have the seventh mana to be able to cast Rooftop Storm with Dispel back up. He put me to a position where it was “now or never,” I cast Storm, and…he had the counterspell. Oh well.
The deck is very fun to play, overall. It’s certainly not perfect, and it has tweaks that could probably make it stronger, but I really enjoyed playing it. It was a nice refresher from the constant overpowering of UWR. I even played against an opponent who cast Slaughter Games, targeting my Rooftop Storm, so I just turned into a beatdown deck, and it was highly efficient.
p.s. The deck runs Veilborn Ghoul, which is sweet for Faithless Looting. I had one turn 4 where I cast Faithless Looting, discarded two Veilborn Ghouls, played a swamp, got them back, cast Looting again from the graveyard, discarded my two Ghouls again, then the next turn played another swamp, and got them back again. It was…..dirty
Overall, if you are looking for a really fun, yet still somewhat competitive deck, I would look no further than Zombo!