Thraximundar: Zombie tribal

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After pulling Rooftop Storm and Endless Ranks of the Dead at the Innistrad prerelease, I decided to redo an old Thraximundar deck I had tried months ago.  The first build sucked!  This time around, I had a decent collection of Zombie cards that I thought could help make the deck playable, if not win-able.  The deck has gone through a couple revisions, and the list I have settled on for now has proven to be pretty fun.  However, because of my The Mimeoplasm deck, I have a permanent target tattooed on my face in my playgroup.  Unless there is a major threat on the board, everyone goes for me first.  I'm not a sore loser or anything like that, but the build isn't really that quick to get going, and when I'm face to face with turn four Kaalia of the Vast on my left and Rafiq of the Many on my right, I tend to lose fairly quickly.

I'll start with a decklist, then I'll go into card choices.  We'll see what happens after that.


Lands: 40
(Please note:  I have added a few cards to the deck without altering the land yet.  This current list isn't fully accurate.)
Akoum Refuge
Arid Mesa
Bojuka Bog
Buried Ruin
Command Tower
Crumbling Necropolis
Dragonskull Summit
Drowned Catacomb
Evolving Wilds
Gargoyle Castle
Halimar Depths
4 Island
Jwar Isle Refuge
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
4 Mountain
Rupture Spire
Scalding Tarn
9 Swamp
Tectonic Edge
Temple of the False God
Terramorphic Expanse
Verdant Catacombs
Vivid Crag
Vivid Creek
Vivid Marsh

Creatures: 30
Alloy Myr
Artisan of Kozilek
Bogardan Hellkite
Cemetery Reaper
Chancellor of the Spires
Death Baron
Deathbringer Thoctar
Evil Twin
Fleshbag Marauder
Grave Titan
Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
Ingot Chewer
Iron Myr
It That Betrays
Leaden Myr
Lich Lord of Unx
Mnemonic Wall
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Shepherd of Rot
Silver Myr
Solemn Simulacrum
Unbreathing Horde
Vengeful Dead
Wrexial, the Risen Deep

Other spells:29
Act of Treason
Barter in Blood
Call to the Grave
Coat of Arms
Consuming Vapors
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Endless Ranks of the Dead
Fact or Fiction
Grave Pact
Leyline of Anticipation
Lightning Greaves
Liliana Vess
Mark of Mutiny
Mimic Vat
Nim Deathmantle
Oblivion Stone
Past in Flames
Rise from the Grave
Rite of Replication
Rooftop Storm
Slave of Bolas
Sol Ring
Syphon Flesh
Traitorous Blood
Traitorous Instinct
Unscythe, Killer of Kings
Warstorm Surge

Card choices:
I tried to make this as tribal as possible.  As it turns out, blue and red don't have very much to offer in the Zombie department.  My first draft had very few non-Zombie cards.  I scrapped that idea.  In my current list, almost half of my creatures are Zombies.  Whether or not that makes this an "official" Zombie tribal deck, I don't care.  Some of those creatures help make Zombie tokens, plus I have plenty of other spells that make Zombie tokens too: Grave Titan, for example, is an obvious inclusion in a Zombie deck; Endless Ranks of the Dead is good in theory, but the few games I got it out I was only netting one or two tokens a turn; Syphon Flesh is good creature control, and benifits me; Unscythe, Killer of Kings has proven very useful, but I was in a game once with that and Leyline of the Void out, and I got very frusterated, so I removed the Leyline.

Other cards that care about Zombies are Call to the Grave, Nim Deathmantle (makes a creature into a Zombie), Rise from the Grave (see Nim Deathmantle), and Rooftop Storm.

Sacrificing effects:
Due to Thrax's ability, my very first take on the deck included as many opponents-sacrificing-creatures effects as I possibly could.  Guess what?  It didn't fare well for me.  I was given some good advice by someone at my gamestore: "Don't be a slave to your theme."  I took that advice to heart and have done much better for myself since.  I still wanted to include some, though, especially since it's good creature control.  Artisan of Kozilek and It That Betrays both have annihilator, not to mention that It That Betrays also has a cool ability that works great alongside ThraxFleshbag Marauder is simple yet effective.  Sheoldred, Whispering One pulls double duty here, getting rid of opposing creatures while bringing back my own (she has very good interactions with Fleshbag Marauder).  Call to the Grave is amazing in this deck.  Grave Pact makes my opponents think twice about attacking my 2/2 army.  Barter in Blood and Consuming Vapors are just your average sacrificing cards.

Recurring effects:
I like being able to play things from graveyards, both my own and my opponents.  I overlooked Chancellor of the Spires when I first got it; I only had one, making its first ability pretty much obsolete.  Also, it's expensive.  But after looking at it again while building this deck--and playing it once in a game where I actually had it in my opening hand--I have found it to be amazing.  Wrexial, the Risen Deep also takes advantage of spells opponents cast.  Gravedigger returns my creatures, while Mnemonic Wall returns my instants and sorceries.  What?  Oh, hello again, SheoldredMimic Vat is a great tool for any Commander deck.  Rise from the Grave can snag any creature from any graveyard.  A new addition to the deck is Past in Flames; being able to flashback things from my graveyard is a huge asset.

Cloning effects:
Clone, Cryptoplasm and Evil Twin are all creatures that can either copy other creatures that have useful abilities.  They are also good at getting rid of problem Commanders in a pinch.  Rite of Replication is a good spell, especially with the nine mana to kick it almost always being available.

I am well aware that mana Myr are unorthodox.  I am also aware that there are much better mana fixing artifacts out there.  Unfortunately, I am not in possetion of the good ones.  Once I have the time and the spare cash, I will definately invest in the appropriate Signets; until then, the Myr will suffice.

Red cards:
I felt that the deck was severly lacking in red cards.  It may sound silly, but the way I see it, with a tri-color Commander, I want all three colors available reliably.  Besides Past in Flames, I couldn't really think of any other decent red cards to include in the deck.  Banefire would have been in there, but it's on loan to my roommate.  I almost threw in Earthquake, but my Zombie tokens are fragile.  I finally settled on red cards that steal other creatures, albeit for only a turn, such as Act of Treason and friends (you can refer to the decklist for the other ones).  They have proved very useful when I am required to sacrifice a creature I control.  They have also saved my life multiple times when paired with Leyline of AnticipationSlave of Bolas is by far the best card in this group, and I will be sad to part with it, but I'm not horribly attached to the rest of them if I get other, better recommendations.

The rest of the cards in the list that haven't been mentioned here are in because of their all-around usefulness.  If I haven't mentioned it by name yet, it doesn't mean that I don't like it.

Onto deck performance: Fair.  Like I said before, I'm not in it to win it, all the time at least.  It's pretty fun when it gets going.  The biggest problem I have is that it seems to start out very slow.  I can't compete with cheaper, powerful Commanders.  Flyers are a bit annoying, too, but there's not much I can do about that.  Another thing that really gets to me, though, is that I have zero enchantment removal.  I am running Oblivion Stone, but that's really about it.  My things get Oblivion Ringed a lot, and my Rafiq opponent runs Asceticism and that green creature that prevents his things from being sacrificed from Rise of the Eldrazi (I can't think of that creature's name right now, sorry), and that combo really effed up one of my games.  If only he hadn't stolen my Oblivion Stone, the bastard.  Anyway, I need some enchantment removal.  Any other tips that people may have would also come in very handy.

Rules Advisor

You could also run disk and Spine of Ish Sah if you wanted. Yes, they're rather mana intensive, but if you need more "screw you enchantment" effects, they'll do it nicely. Additionally, both disk and ostone are less symetrical if you've been ringed and interact nicely with the spine. Will it still hurt? certainly. But by tripling your odds of getting any removal you've at least got better odds.

Additonally, there's always Grixis Charm if you only need a turn. You're in blue so you could run counters, and you can always take control of things. Ascetisicm can be stolen, after all. Obviously Damnation/Decree of Pain will get you past a board full of creatures if you're finding yourself arriving late to the party, and so forth.

Time Stretch and Cruel Command are my natural go-tos for any deck that's in-color which has any chance of getting the mana up. Blatant Thievery will only increase the amount of hate you feel and will frequently come down too late, but it's a great rebound card if you're int trouble, as well as turning the board state around if you need some love/time before you feel safe dropping Thrax.

Additional tech:
Avarice Totem when you've got 10 mana up can let you double-tap the triggers, although you've gotta be carefull not to do it when they've got 5 mana up themselves. Give them something useless, just be carefull that you don't fizzle the effect if its Asceticism you're dealing with.

Black Sun's Zenith will clear boards fairly quickly, as will Contagion Engine. Granted, they may also have a hard-counter to that... but that's always true.

edit: Oh, and remember... it's not like you need to buy yourself more than 3 swings worth of an opening, although I'm sure you've already noticed that. Worst case scenario just give him shadow or something. 
76783093 wrote:
Luckily, we have stop-having-fun guys to remind us that having anything more than 60 cards in your deck is tantamount to being a rapist and anyone considering it should be strung up by their ****.
Okay, so I'm going to make some changes to my deck later tonight.  What's a good number of counter spells to use?

Rules Advisor

If you were getting one or two tokens a turn, then Endless Ranks of the Dead was doing it's job.  The whole point of that enchantment, in my eyes, is to sit there looking like a useless do-nothing until suddenly it has that turn where it spits out 12 tokens and everyone at the table realizes it's too late to stop it anymore.  I have a 5-color zombie tribal deck that won it's debut game simply because nobody could asnwer that card in time.

That all said, replace your general with Karona, False God and go 5-color tribal.  It's so much fun and you get to run stupid cards like Necromancer's Covenant.  But maybe that's just me.

Also, I'm glad someone else has figured out that Chancellor of the Spires is an amazing EDH card.  The first ability is totally irrelevant in my book, the part that matters is being a 5/7 flyer that nets you a free spell.  It's even better when your opponent plays Rite of Replication...
what about Plague Wind?
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