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Zombie Renaissance

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Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:36 am    Post subject: Zombie Renaissance Reply with quote

Zombie Renaissance
By: Scopeless
(Last Modified: 3/23/2012 9:30am CST)

// Lands
9 [M12] Swamp (2)
2 [DKA] Evolving Wilds
3 [DKA] Grim Backwoods
4 [ISD] Woodland Cemetery
4 [M12] Forest (4)
1 [MBS] Island (2)
1 [ISD] Shimmering Grotto

// Creatures
4 [DKA] Gravecrawler
4 [ISD] Diregraf Ghoul
4 [DKA] Geralf's Messenger
1 [M12] Grave Titan
4 [MBS] Viridian Emissary
1 [M12] Reassembling Skeleton
1 [M12] Primeval Titan
1 [SOM] Sylvok Replica

// Spells
3 [MBS] Mortarpod
1 [ISD] Creeping Renaissance
3 [ISD] Mulch
1 [ISD] Sever the Bloodline
3 [MBS] Black Sun's Zenith
2 [ISD] Garruk Relentless/Garruk, the Veil-Cursed
3 [DKA] Tracker's Instincts
1 [DKA] Increasing Ambition

// Sideboard
SB: 2 [ISD] Liliana of the Veil
SB: 2 [NPH] Beast Within
SB: 3 [ISD] Gnaw to the Bone
SB: 1 [MBS] Sword of Feast and Famine
SB: 1 [SOM] Sylvok Replica
SB: 2 [SOM] Ratchet Bomb
SB: 2 [DKA] Sever the Bloodline
SB: 2 [NPH] Surgical Extraction

The idea was arrived at after testing an earlier B/g zombie build. I found that Mulch was generally better than Altar's Reap if the deck is structured right. Using Mulch, load your graveyard with zombies and shamans. All the while, you are swinging for 2 or 4 with some weenie zombies. You will eventually draw or put Creeping Renaissance in your graveyard. By turn 7, you will probably be putting 4-5 zombies back in your hand from the yard. Opponents usually scoop after I successfully cast Renaissance.

Why not Army of the Damned or Zombie Apocalypse? Well, those spells allow your opponent to untap and cast one board sweeper and you're back at square-one. Creeping Renaissance, on the other hand, allows you to RECAST your creatures as you see fit. This forces your opponent to have multiple answers in a row for a few turns, and most people usually run out of answers by then. Renaissance is also cheaper. Having a lot of Mulched lands and Viridian Shamans also allows you to consistently get to Renaissance mana. If you never get to Renaissance it's not a problem, since this is still a zombie aggro deck at heart that is potentially adding more Gravecrawlers to the graveyard, too.

Things I have tried:

- Snapcaster Mage (with U splash): Most of my graveyard-bound spells have flashback, so I found myself not getting a lot of use out of him.

- Birthing Pod: One of the hardest cards to cut, but I didn't feel like having the Pod creature-base to support inclusion. I did test as a one-of at one point and I am still considering that status.

- Altar's Reap: I finally cut it because it was situational and I'd prefer to fill my graveyard faster. (I had it as a two-of for a while).

- Birds of Paradise: I know GunsAndDope knocked me in the other thread for not including them, but I'd rather play a swamp or an evolving wilds turn one. Each of those moves does not lends it self to a turn one Birds. If I drew it late game, it was more annoying than helpful. I just found myself liking Shamans and Mulches more.

- Increasing Ambition: Sometimes won games, but I'd rather have 2x Creeping Renaissance than 1x and a 1x Ambition. (Now included)

But, I'm open to new suggestions! Is the blue splash worth it (Diregraf Captain is nuts and we all know Forbidden Alchemy is nuts as well)? Should I splash a different color that has spells to fill my yard? Am I missing something obvious in black or green? Pre-board I seem to have the most trouble against g/w tokens if they go fast enough.

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Re-added a tiny U splash.

Last edited by scopeless on Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:34 am; edited 6 times in total
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Joined: 08 Jan 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive played 6 games with this, with the only changes being Creeping Renaissance taken by birthing pod.

The pod kept churning viridian into Geralf's but thats about all that would do for me. I personally think Creeping Renaissance is a little pricey...
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Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Engrishskill wrote:
I would've guessed that both the costly spells mentioned(Army and Apocalypse) didn't get used because they are terrible in standard right now.

I don't understand what the Emissaries are really doing for this deck though.

@Engrishskill: Quicker mana, sac fodder, and there are no good 2-CMC zombies. Would you rather me replace that with something else, or you just wanted to say you don't like it with no replacement suggestion?

@Twilli: Thank for giving it a test drive! Renaissance is pricey, but it is supposed to be the late-game finisher. One Mulch is usually enough to get me the mana I need to cast it by turn 7. And as for Pod, that's the reason I got rid of it. It really only gets you geralf's without the Pod creature base. And with the Pod base, it losing focus of being a zombie deck and becomes a Pod deck with zombies in it.

One thing I added on recently was 2x Liliana. Is that a mistake? I usually have extra land or gravecrawlers to discard and I found myself losing to hexproof creatures without her. Should I just cut her for more wraths/removal to solve the same problem?
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Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Posts: 159

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ever have trouble getting the BBB for Geralf or even double black?

Sideboard Mirror Tech...GRAVE BRAMBLE <_<
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Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MTGmanLA wrote:
Ever have trouble getting the BBB for Geralf or even double black?

Sideboard Mirror Tech...GRAVE BRAMBLE <_<

I've had geralf trouble only once or twice, but with every land producing B except for 6 and 4 Evolving Wilds, it's very rare. Not to mention turn two Mulch almost always nets black mana.

After testing I decided to go +1 Liliana, -1 Gnaw to the Bone, -1 Viridian Shaman, +1 Reassembling Skeleton.

And lol @ the mirror tech.
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Joined: 29 Jan 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zombie Apoc > Creeping Renaissance????

the apoc brings yours zombies back to play not hand at only 1 more mana
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Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SkunkySativa wrote:
Zombie Apoc > Creeping Renaissance????

the apoc brings yours zombies back to play not hand at only 1 more mana

Zombie Apocalypse also sets-up your creatures very nicely to get wrathed. It also can't be cast from the graveyard. I tried it and it doesn't work as well. Renaissance allows you to resend your creatures in waves, forcing multiple answers from a probably already answer-exhausted opponent.

One thing I have changed though, is dropping blue...I gave in to some of the advice in this thread. It just wasn't worth the blue in the end. Replaced with another Gnaw, another Diregraf Ghoul, and another Cemetery Reaper. Even though the captain won games and Forbidden helped, I cut them for consistency. I think I was too attached to blue from a time when I ran Snapcaster Mage in this deck during testing.
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Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DoomBr1nger wrote:
Tracker's Instincts seems way better as a CA engine here, even if you have to work on your manabase a bit, adding Shimmering Grotto could help

Thanks for the props on the deck idea. I was trying to add tracker's for a while but that was when I was running Altar's Reap. Since I dropped reap, trackers fits in very nicely. I also changed to 2x Garruk the Relentless. Mortapod + DT Wolves is killer, as is using his -3 finisher. He also works better to fetch creatures like Birthing Pod does, but with all of his bonuses.

Here's the latest build...

-2 [DKA] Evolving Wilds
+1 [MBS] Island
+1 [ISD] Shimmering Grotto
-1 [M12] Cemetery Reaper
+1 [MBS] Viridian Emissary
+1 [MBS] Mortapod
-1 [ISD] Mulch
+1 [ISD] Sever the Bloodline
-1 [MBS] Black Sun's Zenith
-3 [ISD] Liliana of the Veil (+2 in SB)
+2 [DKA] Tracker's Instincts
+2 [ISD] Garruk Relentless
-1 [ISD] Altar's Reap
SB: -1 [NPH] Phyrexian Obliderator
SB: -1 [MBS] Glissa, the Traitor
SB: -1 [NPH] Geth's Verdict
SB: -1 [ISD] Spider Spawning
SB: -1 [NPH] Dismember
SB: +1 [SOM] Sylvok Replica
SB: +2 [ISD] Curse of Death's Hold

I decided against adding any "real" blue cards for the time being and instead I'm just using island and shimmering grotto for FB mana.

I retested Increasing Ambition for a while, but I still ended up just wanting another Creeping Renaissance. Since the tweaks (thanks again for reminding me about Tracker's Instincts, Doombr1nger!), this deck has been jaw-droppingly good. My former toughest match-up, Planeswalker Tokens (what's that deck called?) now is often too low on health to set-up a proper defense. My SB curses and ratchet bombs also help in g2 and g3. I liked Liliana, but she usually only did well against control and I already do quite well against control. Replacing her with Garruk added that extra consitency I've been needing since he's removal, a tutor, and a win condition. Sever the Bloodline is too tech against many MD cards to not include more of, so I +1.

Updating in first post...
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Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


-1 [M12] Buried Ruin
-2 [M12] Cemetery Reaper
-1 [ISD] Creeping Renaissance
-2 [ISD] Sever the Bloodline (+2 SB)
+1 [DKA] Grim Backwoods
+1 [DKA] Tracker's Instincts
+1 [MBS] Black Sun's Zenith
+1 [DKA] Increasing Ambition
+1 [M12] Primeval Titan
+1 [SOM] Sylvok Replica
SB: -2 [ISD] Curse of Death's Hold
SB: -1 [SOM] Sylvok Replica
SB: +1 [ISD] Gnaw to the Bone

I noticed I almost always have artifacts and enchantments I wish I could kill. Some people are now maindecking Curse of Death's Hold. I decided I wanted a one-of creature I could search using Garruk (or grab with Renaissance). I dropped the Reapers in favor of Sylvok Replica and Primeval Titan.

With the extra bomb and Tracker's Instincts, I decided I don't care as much about drawing Creeping Renaissance all the time. Increasing Ambition finally has a place. The change has led to some post-tutoring victories and stunned opponents. Sometimes I use it find my one-ofs like Sever the Bloodline. Long story short, the extra milling and creature draw has led this card to be inclusion-worthy.

You were right about BSZ, so I cut Severs and put them in the SB. I then upped the Tracker's Instinct count. Lastly, I added +1 Grim Backwoods and cut the Buried Ruin (no longer Glissa SB). I found drawing more was more effective than getting a Mortapod from the grave.

And...that's the deck. I think it finally got whittled down to the necessities. Obviously, if the meta shifts, I'll have to tweak, but I honestly can't see too many more changes.

Thanks for the help!
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