Angry Angry Zombies

Posted in From the Lab on June 10, 2013

By Mike Cannon

Mike Cannon started writing From the Lab at the end of 2012 after two years with GatheringMagic. He is an ardent casual player and loves finding uses for bad cards.

Greetings, laboratorians! Modern Masters has hit the shelves, and cards we haven't seen in years have become much more available. Today, I'll be looking at a pair of decks that take advantage of some of these cards.

The first card I'll be looking at is Bridge from Below. Not only has the card been reprinted, it has some awesome new art as well. The card has a history of abuse in dredge decks, and as luck would have it, Modern Masters contains quite a few cards with dredge as well. Although Bridge from Below is traditionally used with cards like Narcomoeba and Dread Return, I have something a little different in mind.

Bridge from Below | Art by Daarken

Hell's Caretaker can sacrifice a creature (including itself) at any time, including during your upkeep, to return a creature from your graveyard to the battlefield. If you have another copy of Hell's Caretaker in your graveyard, you could return that. Unfortunately, you won't be able to activate it the turn it enters the battlefield under your control. Unless...

Unless you can give it haste! If you can do that, the two Hell's Caretakers can return each other indefinitely. With Bridge from Below in your graveyard, that gives you an unlimited number of Zombie tokens. Oh yeah, and the Zombies can have haste too depending how you provide haste to your army.

Bridge from Below

Life from the Loam, Greater Mossdog, and Stinkweed Imp all help you get Bridge from Below and Hell's Caretaker in your graveyard. I'll also include Buried Alive, which can put Hell's Caretaker and Anger in your graveyard as well as a Stinkweed Imp to help dredge.

Putrid Imp and Oona's Prowler allow you to discard cards at any time, making it easy to get Bridge from Below and Anger in your graveyard in case you draw them. They can also be used to put your dredge cards back into your graveyard, allowing you to dredge turn after turn.

Morgue Theft allows you to return one Hell's Caretaker to your hand to get things started. That way you don't have to worry about drawing one, which leaves you free to spend your draws filling up your graveyard. Although it's a bit expensive, the ability to cast it from your graveyard is invaluable in this deck.

Lignify allows you to deal with problem creatures without killing them, keeping you from triggering Bridge from Below's exile ability. A 0/4 is no threat, and since this deck plans on attacking with an arbitrarily large horde of Zombies, the blocker really isn't relevant either.

Finally, a few cycling lands give you the option of playing the land, or if you don't need it, cycling it. That gives you the choice to draw a card or use the dredge ability of a card in your graveyard.

Anger Bridge

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Ach! Hans, Run! It's the Reveillark!

Reveillark has a long history of being used in combo decks, and often quite complex ones. The most common shenanigans involved Body Double and Karmic Guide, but I'll be taking advantage of Saffi Eriksdotter. You can sacrifice Saffi targeting Reveillark, then sacrifice the Elemental to make your opponent mill four cards with Altar of Dementia or to give Devouring Swarm +1/+1 until end of turn. Reveillark's ability when it leaves the battlefield can return Saffi, and Saffi's ability will return Reveillark to the battlefield. Now you're back where you started and you have two potential engines: either you can make your opponent to mill his or her entire library via the Altar of Dementia, or you can attack with an infinitely large Devouring Swarm.

Saffi Eriksdotter

In case neither of these options work for one reason or another, I'll also include Death Cultist. Since Reveillark can get back two creatures with every iteration, you can return the Cultist to the battlefield causing your opponent to lose an arbitrarily large amount of life while you gain that much life.

Eladamri's Call and Worldly Tutor can easily and cheaply search for the combo pieces, making the deck far more consistent. Congregation at Dawn is especially good, allowing you to search for Reveillark, Saffi Eriksdotter, and Devouring Swarm in one go. Although it will take a few turns to draw and cast them, it does guarantee you'll get the combo put together, putting your opponent on a definite clock.

Path to Exile is one of the most powerful removal spells ever printed, and with its printing in Modern Masters, it will be much easier to pick up a few copies if you don't already have them. Getting rid of any creature permanently for only one mana is a bargain, even if your opponent does get to search up a land.

Congregation at Dawn

Abrupt Decay is a more recent removal spell that's already making a splash in older formats. It can destroy any permanent that costs three or less, from creatures to enchantments to Planeswalkers. As long as it's cheap, Abrupt Decay will get rid of it for you.

Saffi's Bird Thing

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Grave Battle

Our two competitors have entered the arena, and now it's time to see who the real Master of Modern is. Will the Zombie horde trample over Reveillark's nest, or will Saffi save the day? Let's find out!

Game 1

Anger Bridge took a mulligan and started off with a Barren Moor, and Saffi's Bird paid 2 life for an untapped Overgrown Tomb before casting Worldly Tutor searching up Reveillark. The Zombies played Tranquil Thicket, and Saffi's Bird played a Godless Shrine. Anger Bridge cast Buried Alive, putting Anger, Hell's Caretaker, and Stinkweed Imp in the graveyard.

Saffi's Bird cast Congregation at Dawn, grabbing Saffi, Devouring Swarm, and Death Cultist. Anger Bridge sacrificed Verdant Catacombs for a Blood Crypt, then cast Life from the Loam to return the Catacombs. Saffi Eriksdotter hit the battlefield, and Anger Bridge dredged six, hitting two Bridge from Below. Saffi's Bird cast Devouring Swarm, and Anger Bridge dredged three to return Life from the Loam to hand. Morgue Theft returned Hell's Caretaker, and Saffi's Bird cast Death Cultist.

Death Cultist
Devouring Swarm

The Zombies cast Buried Alive, getting Hell's Caretaker, Stinkweed Imp, and Greater Mossdog before it then cast Life from the Loam and returned three lands. Saffi's Bird found a fifth land, however, and cast Reveillark to combo off for an infinitely large Devouring Swarm as well as infinite life loss.

Game 2

Each side started off with a couple lands, until Saffi's Bird cast Eladamri's Call to search up Reveillark on the second turn. Anger Bridge used a Verdant Catacombs and then returned it with Life from the Loam. A second Eladamri's Call found Saffi Eriksdotter, and the Zombies dredged three to return Life from the Loam, hitting Anger and another Life from the Loam. A cycled Barren Moor dredged up the other Life from the Loam, and Anger Bridge cast it to return two Barren Moors and a fetchland.

Eladamri's Call
Verdant Catacombs

Barren Moor was cycled away again, returning Life from the Loam, but not dredging up much of anything. Saffi Eriksdotter hit the battlefield, and a Life from the Loam returned some cycling lands. A cycled Barren Moor returned Life from the Loam, which was cast again. During the cleanup step, Anger Bridge discarded Greater Mossdog, Stinkweed Imp, Anger, and Bridge from Below to get back down to seven cards.

Saffi's Bird cast Devouring Swarm, and Stinkweed Imp dredged five, and a trio of cycling lands dredge up a total of eleven more cards. Life from the Loam returned the cycling lands, and three Stinkweed Imps went back to the graveyard during cleanup. Saffi's Bird passed the turn, and Anger Bridge flashed back Morgue Theft to return Hell's Caretaker.

Life from the Loam
Stinkweed Imp

Saffi passed the turn with no play again, and Anger Bridge cast Hell's Caretaker. Before the Caretaker could make it to the upkeep, however, Reveillark hit the battlefield, and an infinitely large Devouring Swarm attacked for the win.

Leaving the Battlefield

I hope you are all having fun with Modern Masters. The set looks to be a blast for Limited, and I know I'll have played at least one draft and a Sealed Event or two by the time you read this. In fact, I'll be headed down to Grand Prix Las Vegas in a few weeks to play even more Modern Masters! Until next time, may you be able to prove your own mastery. See ya!

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