Budget Zombie Combo Vs Andrea Mengucci's Murktide In Modern - Surprising Results

Genoslugcs April 28, 2023 3 min
Budget Zombie Combo Vs Andrea Mengucci's Murktide In Modern - Surprising Results

Gameplay Video By Cardmarket - Magic

I hear quite a lot about Magic: The Gathering being pay-to-win - Meaning that the more money you put into a deck, the higher your chances of winning will be. While this is true to some extent, you can undoubtedly win with a focused budget deck that you know like the back of your hand. Over on the Cardmarket YouTube channel, they have a series devoted to pitting budget (110 USD or less) decks against the best decks in Modern.

The most recent episode (which can be seen above) features a $96 (prices come from Cardmarket) Zombie aggro/combo build going up against Andrea Mengucci playing his pet deck, Izzet Murktide - Which comes in at around $1,400. They play three very close games, and the budget deck comes up just short of a win, which is still impressive when you consider that Andrea is one of the best players in the world.


So, today I would like to showcase the Zombie list and how it plays. As well as give Cardmarket's series a shoutout and give everyone a chance to watch Mengu playing his signature deck in paper. Let's start with the deck list; then, I'll break down the cards and the combo afterward.

Zombie Aggro/Combo

Main 60 cards (15 distinct)
Creature (26)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (12)
Land (22)
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)

By Tho Beck

The Deck

If you're familiar with Modern Zombie tribal, most of the list probably looks pretty standard - But I'll go over the basics for those who aren't familiar with the archetype.

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These are the cards that I would consider to be the constants of the deck. Carrion Feederimage, Gravecrawlerimage, and Champion of the Perishedimage allow the deck to commit to the board early with reliant threats which grow over time. There are also many sacrifice synergies between them.

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Carrion Feederimage is a sac outlet that you can sacrifice Gravecrawlerimage to, which gives you a +1/+1 counter. Then, Gravecrawler can be cast from the graveyard allowing you to generate a lot of value - Especially when paired with things like Undead Augurimage. These synergies allow the deck to have an explosive early game and a solid, value-based mid/late game as well.

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Most of the other threats in the deck also revolve around your ability to sacrifice things. Nantuko Huskimage, for example, is another free sac outlet that you can grow into a formidable attacker by ditching Gravecrawlerimages or Zombie tokens to. Headless Riderimage generates additional value once the engine starts firing and can produce quite a few bodies. And Plague Belcherimage is very aggressively stated and gives you two -1/-1 counters to play around with.

The Combo

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There's also an infinite combo present in the deck that I'll go over. It goes infinite thanks to the ability Thran Vigilimage and how it interacts with Putrid Goblinimage. Anytime Putrid Goblin dies, if it didn't have a -1/-1 counter on it, you return it to the battlefield with one. The way this usually works is the first time it dies, it doesn't have the counter, so it comes back to play with one - The next time it dies, it does have the counter, so it stays dead.

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Here's where Thran Vigilimage comes in - With it in play, you'll put a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control whenever a creature leaves your graveyard. The combo is as follows:

  • Sacrifice Putrid Goblinimage to Carrion Feederimage and the Carrion Feeder gets a +1/+1 counter
  • Putrid Goblinimage triggers and returns to the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter on it
  • Thran Vigilimage triggers when the Putrid Goblin enters the battlefield from the graveyard. You put the +1/+1 counter from Vigil onto the Goblin, which negates the -1/-1 counter
  • Considering Putrid Goblinimage no longer has a -1/-1 counter, you can repeat this process any number of times and have an infinitely large Carrion Feederimage for your efforts. You'll also generate infinite tokens if you have a Headless Riderimage in play.


Overall, this deck is a focused, fun, fresh take on Modern Zombie tribal that can clearly hold its own against the most powerful decks in the format. Granted, it didn't win against Mengu and Izzet Murktide, but I would say it more than performed, given the price difference between the two decks. If you're looking for a relatively cheap deck to just into Modern with, you could do much worse than this.


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