Zombie Tribal in Standard: Back from the DEAD?

One thing Kaldheim has brought us is a chance to make any tribal deck work better through the wonderful influx of shapeshifters. I’ve been having so much fun brewing decks with Orvar, the All-Form. He makes so many things possible. One of the tribals that this set has also given us some rather good cards in is Zombie.

I’ll save Orvar for an article of his own soon. So, let’s talk about Kaldheim and zombies.

Draugr, as they are called in the ‘Cold Home’, are undead from the frozen tundra of Karfell. They bring with them a real ‘Game of Thrones’ ascetic that is both a credit to the genre and completely haunting. But the best thing is what the new Draugr/Zombie cards bring to the game and how well they interact with Orvar.

First of all, the line up.

There are others that we will show below, but three of the best performers for this deck are Draugr Necromancer, Grim Draugr and Priest of the Haunted Edge. Each has it’s own special something to ‘bring to the table’. The Priest of the Haunted Edge is great removal. You’ll have to remember to use snow lands, but the Priest can obliterate anything equal to the number of them you have in play. The Grim Draugr rams to snow lands too and gets menace which makes him a problem on the battlefield. But my real favorite of the new zombies is Draugr Necromancer.

The Necromancer makes use of all of your opponent’s dead nontoken creatures. Instead of them hitting the graveyard, they are exiled with an ‘ice counter’. You can cast these spells using the mana you have. It’s oddly satisfying to use your opponents dead creatures against them. It’s all very fitting. When battling zombies, what makes better sense than to have your dead creatures come back to haunt and hunt you? It reminds me of Athreos, Shroud-Veiled and you might be able to build these together but not in this deck. And it’s possible that they would work against each other in the long run.

Of course, let’s not forget Narfi, Betrayer King. Like the Night King of GOT, he leads the Draugr Horde. So, obviously, he’s here to ramp your zombies. And you can forget about getting rid of him. As long as you have snow lands, three will bring him from graveyard to battlefield tapped.

In Standard, there are a few zombies we’re used to playing already that work nicely in this deck. The Foulmire Knight is always a favorite of mine for deathtouch and card draw. The Murderous Rider is strong in the current meta for removal. And Gary is just great for a surprise bomb.

This brings us to Orvar. Sweet Orvar.

This card brings new life to so many tribals. And it’s no different for zombies. It works with all of your creature cards except legendaries, of course. And, if done correctly, your deck becomes a token factory. And there’s so many ways to work its magic.

First task is finding cards that we can ‘target’ to our advantage. We’re going to only talk about those in blue and black right now, for obvious reasons. Now, most of the blue ‘target cards’ are counter cards and those in black have a lot that return cards from the dead or damage or kill off only opponents. But what’s left may be quite useful.

There are actually several instants that add either power or toughness or both to a creature. They also come with extras like counters, hexproof, deathtouch, indestructible, or lifelink. Not only do you aid your creatures in either attack or defense, but Orvar will make a copy of one.

Another nice trick is to use cards that return target creatures back to your hand. Not only can you save your creatures from death, but Orvar will make a handy copy of said creature.

An extra copy card that will help you get those zombies out is Reflections of Littjara. Chose ‘Zombie’ and every nonlegendary you play will doubled.

Another great card for any tribal deck is Bloodline Pretender. It too carries that handy ‘changeling’ ability and ramps to ANY tribal. It works with Mystic Reflections as whatever you call for.

I enjoy this deck immensely and have a decent win-rate with it. And I have lots a plans for Orvar in so many tribal situations. What would you do? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on social media. Check out our facebook giveaway. Once we hit 700, we will be awarding more packs. Till then, keep raisin’ those axes and brewin’ those decks!

One thought on “Zombie Tribal in Standard: Back from the DEAD?

  1. Not gonna lie, as cool and informative as the writeup is, not having a list or deck code for easy transferring into game makes this especially tedious to give a run.


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