Daily Deck Tech Hunt: The Undead Now Via(la)ble in Modern?


Every weekday ahead of the set's release, Insight is taking a quick look at a deck featuring new cards from the upcoming Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Today we're checking if a few new cards are enough to bring back a tribe long considered dead. Modern Zombies may be viable now, and they're definitely vialable!

champion - adversary

This might sound silly, but Zombies are somewhat similar to Merfolk. They can and do grab some wins under the radar but are ultimately just too underwhelming to make an impact. Their main problem is simply the low power level. We didn't get any good Zombies in ages, save for eventually Undead Augur, while the power creep elsewhere crept on.

Fortunately, Champion of the Perished seems to ring in a welcome change. Although a nice homage to Humans, the Champion's effect might work even better among the undead. Humans are good at establishing small threats while disrupting the opponent, but Zombies are generally bigger and actually have card draw. In addition, they can go wider than Humans and should be better at racking up numbers.

champion of the perished tainted adversary

Speaking of numbers, Tainted Adversary is another great new asset. Although way too slow for Modern at first sight, its buffed multikicker effect works great with Aether Vial. If you have a turn one Vial, a turn three Adversary gives you a 3/4 deathtouch creature with two more 2/2 Zombies to boot. That's not to mention that the black Champion gets three counters this way!

The decayed Zombies aren't long for this world, but they'll help flood the board, support various team efforts, and can be put to other tasks more nefarious than attacking. We can even sacrifice them after we've attacked with them but before they sacrifice themselves. Finally, note how you're getting all this value with just Tainted Adversary. You're creating board presence while keeping gas in your hand.

Even if the board gets wiped, there are recursive threats, as well as Diregraf Colossus, and now Ghoulcaller's Harvest. I think this is a heavily overlooked card—it can create board advantage for just two mana. Ideally, it will create five or more Zombies and attack for lethal damage in the late game!

ghoulcaller's harvest collected company

This is one reason why, despite existing Orzhov, Dimir, and Rakdos versions, I would like to try and create a new Golgari brew. Zombies always struggled with two drops, but they now have a big threat, a big spell, and a lot of staying power. Collected Company is not the least of what plays into this. Bladestitched Skaab does seem good for Dimir, but I think you're better off with the explosive power that Golgari may be able to offer. Here's what I'm talking about:

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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DerRote(15.09.2021 08:07)

I see. Have you thought about stitchers supplier? He is good for finding gravecrawler, pumps Diregraf colossus and makes the ghoul callers harvest even better. I would love to see Lilianas Standard Barrier maybe as a one of. Most of the zombies are not supposed to live very long, so the barrier becomes great. I can’t wait to see zombies in modern. I hope there will be some matches to watch.

DerRote(14.09.2021 18:12)

I think dimir zombies is much better. A lot of small interactions often bring you ahead. Geralf, Soul diviner and plague belcher is very good in combination. The new zombie champion even fits perfectly in the +1/+1 counter theme for the soul diviner as well. I don’t think tainted adversary will see modern play. The problem here is quite similar to relentless dead ( to be good it needs a lot of mana)

ElonThragtusk(15.09.2021 03:13)

I tried pushing Golgari because I've never seen it before, it just never seemed viable, now it might be, even without the Vial ;) (and because I found Ghoulcaller's Harvest sooo cool, I'd love to see it in Modern)
From a more competitive standpoint, I feel like white offers some really good options, but yes, blue just about might trump all other secondary colors now because of the Skaab alone.
Honestly, I wouldn't even have considered the Adversary without the Vial. Even with it, it seems very high-risk, high-reward, but that's exactly why I gave it a shot anyway. That said, whether it sees any play or not, I won't be (that) surprised

Shrapnel(13.09.2021 21:31)

No love for Geralf's Messenger? All your sources make black mana.
If the manabase could support Darkmoss Bridge, I'd love to throw Phylactery Lich (Uncle Phyl) in there as well, but it's probably to risky to put the counter on Vial.

ElonThragtusk(15.09.2021 03:00)

This time around, I just felt more like showcasing new cards, so I initially thought there was no place for the Messenger, but I'd actually say you're right, as it's not as slow with the Vial version of the deck. About Uncle Phyl, I'd never do such a thing with Prismatic Ending around, it's just too much of a pain, and (strictly) tapped lands look too slow in here for me :(