Colorful Zuberas

Posted in Building on a Budget on February 4, 2005

By Nate Heiss

Since the Zuberas came out a while back, I have been itching to make a deck with them…haven't you? The problem the Zubera pose is an interesting one. Here you have a creature that is better when it is going to the graveyard than when it is in play. Not only that, they especially want to all die at the exact same time, probably via some mass removal like Wrath of God.

The most notable thing about the Zubera tribe is that there are only 20 of them, so if you want to be tribal legal, you are forced into playing every last one. That's fine, since you will want as many as possible to send to the bin. Happily, Champions provides us with two great ways of sacrificing your Zuberas all at the same time: Devouring Greed and Devouring Rage. While I don't think the deck is aggressive enough to warrant the use of Devouring Rage, the Greed certainly will make the cut.

Interestingly enough, there are two other awesome Black cards for sacrificing multiple Zubera at once: Death Pit Offering and Barter in Blood. Barter is an easy call as it is an awesome card on its own, but the Death Pit Offering once again comes through in an interesting situation to provide awesome synergy with a bunch of Zubera on the table…especially if one of them happens to be Dripping-Tongue Zubera! Just imagine how your opponent will feel after you sac your guys for multiple effects and end up with a bunch of 3/3s as the result!

The other important part of this deck is going to be the mana fixing. With all those separate colors of Zubera, some drastic measures are needed. My first instinct was to look to green for the solution, using the dynamic duo of land fetching, Kodama's Reach and Sakura-Tribe Elder. But, as is turns out, the Elder was not enough to satisfy the color requirements of the deck, so I decided to go with Fertile Ground instead, since it can give you all five colors in one shot.

The end result?

A bucketful of Zebras.

Building on a Budget: Colorful Zuberas (less than 30 Tickets)

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Death Pit Offering
The deck plays out by dropping a few Zuberas early and using them to scare off attacks. If you need to, start sacrificing them once you have 2 or 3 out via Barter, Greed, or Death Pit. You really want to use the Floating-Dream and Dripping-Tongue Zuberas to their full advantage. In general, the best Zubera to block with in single combat is Ashen-Skin, since its ability gets worse as time goes on and your opponent casts their cards. You will likely win the game through a large amount of spirit tokens through Dripping Tongue that are made large via the Offering or sacrificed via Greed. You can often Greed people out over the course of two turns with the aid of Dripping-Tongue Zuberasince it gives Spirit tokens.

Let's say you have three Zuberas in play, two of which are Dripping-Tongue. That means on your first Greed you will hit them for 8 and gain 8, netting you 6 Spirits. Thus, the second Greed will be for 14, finishing them off! Even if you only have 2 Dripping-Tongues you will get them for 14, which might be enough to finish them depending on what else has happened so far.

Tips on Playing the Deck

  • Don't be afraid to Barter away 2 Zuberas and kill two of their creatures, especially if one of them is a Floating-Dream Zubera!
  • Double blocking a 4/4 with 2 Zubera won't work if the opponent knows what they are doing, as they can just assign all the damage to one of them.
  • Although the Death Pit is a nice sacrifice outlet, go right ahead and cast if before your creatures if that's the way your curve is going. You will be happy to have your 3/4 Zuberas!
  • You might need to consider mulliganing hands that don't have at least 2 Zuberas or the ability to cast them. You really want to avoid a scenario where you must top-deck the proper mana to win.
  • If you enter a parallel universe and play against the mirror match, remember that their Zuberas can help trigger yours!

Adding More Money to the Deck

Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker
The coolest thing to add is Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker. This is the closest thing to Lifeline to be printed in a while, and it's especially awesome in this deck. Just think about all the recursion tricks! Other cool cards to add would be Patriarch's Bidding (for Spirit) and City of Brass. It also might be cool to add Mistform Ultimus or Riptide Replicator in older formats to make artificial Zuberas. They won't have any triggers on their own, but they will help pump your other ones up. Replicator plus Death Pit Offering isn't bad either.

Overall this deck is fun to play and uses one of the most amusing mechanics from Kamigawa. I think it would be especially cool in a multiplayer game where multiple people are running Zuberas to increase the mayhem.

Until next time, Zebra Unicorn!

-Nate Heiss
BuildingOnABudget and NateHeiss on Magic Online

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