Modern - Hazy with a Chance for Zombies

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Combo Jank

Introduction

I was piddling around on the Gatherer the other day and ran across [[Endless Ranks of the Dead]] and remembered the Time Spiral enchantment [[Paradox Haze]] and thought, "Hmmm... this would be an interesting mechanic."

As of now this is only a prototype and theorycraft build. It could go through a number of changes through discussion and suggestions. The ultimate goal of this is to overwhelm the opponent by an excessive amount of zombies on the board, an actual Zombie Horde, or by life lose through the use of The Scarab God's first ability.

All intensive purposes this would be limited to casual play, unless I could invest in more expensive cards like [[Aether Vial]], [[Cavern of Souls]], [[Liliana, the Last Hope]] and fetchlands like [[Bloodstained Mire]], [[Flooded Strand]] and [[Polluted Delta]] that could push it into a competitive deck if possible. Doubtful, but we'll see.

What's in the Name?

Do you recall the book/movie named Cloudy with a Chance for Meatballs? What about the movie The Fog? What if you combined them both into a feature, someone creating a device that exponentially created zombies in a fog? You'd probably call it: Hazy with a Chance for Zombies!

Featured Cards

{{Paradox Haze}} {{Endless Ranks of the Dead}} {{The Scarab God}} {{Graveborn Muse}} {{Venser's Journal}} {{Cryptbreaker}} {{Mutavault}}

  • Paradox Haze is the real star here. It starts the interaction between the four other cards that are featured here. Running four copies give the potential to have five Upkeep steps before you begin your draw step and first main phase.
  • Endless Ranks of the Dead, The Scarab God and Graveborn Muse need some help before they can really get started. A handful of zombie creature cards are available to cast to start producing hordes of zombies.
  • Venser's Journal is a backstop for the Graveborn Muse's ability preventing that card from killing you by the exponential triggers it creates.
  • Cryptbreaker is the starting point of this overall mechanic to build a small army of zombie tokens, through paying and a discard, to help trigger The Scarab God and Graveborn Muse.
  • Mutavault is every creature type, so for 1 it counts as a zombie.


The math behind this can get complicated, so here is an example we can reference to to properly calculate everything. We have THREE Paradox Haze's and ONE of Endless Ranks of the Dead, Graveborn Muse, The Scarab God and a Cryptbreaker on the battlefield, you have FIVE cards in hand and TWO life. Since everything happens simultaneously it will be on the stack, so the board status will not be altered until the second upkeep triggers and so on. The order I list it in per upkeep isn't relevant.

  • Normal upkeep: [[Endless Ranks of the Dead]] produce 1 zombie token giving you THREE zombies(the original two on the battlefield are [[Cryptbreaker]] and [[Graveborn Muse]]) on the battlefield, [[The Scarab God]] causes an opponent to lose 2 life and you scry 2 that was the number before the 3rd zombie token was created, [[Graveborn Muse]] has you draw 2 cards and lose 2 life because it happened before the 3rd zombie token was created giving you 0 life left and [[Venser's Journal]] has you gain 5 life for cards in your hand before the TWO drawn from [[Graveborn Muse]] giving you a total of 5 life before your next upkeep.
  • First Paradox Haze upkeep: [[Endless Ranks of the Dead]] produce 1 zombie token giving you FOUR zombies on the battlefield, [[The Scarab God]] causes an opponent to lose 3 life and you scry 3, [[Graveborn Muse]] has you draw 3 cards and lose 3 life bringing you to 2 life and [[Venser's Journal]] has you gain 7 life for cards in your hand from the TWO cards from the last upkeep giving you a total of 9 life before your next upkeep.
  • Second Paradox Haze upkeep: [[Endless Ranks of the Dead]] produce 2 zombie tokens giving you SIX zombies on the battlefield, [[The Scarab God]] causes an opponent to lose 4 life and you scry 4, [[Graveborn Muse]] has you draw 4 cards and lose 4 life bringing you to 5 life and [[Venser's Journa]]l has you gain 10 life for cards in your hand from the THREE cards from the last upkeep giving you a total of 15 life before your next upkeep.
  • Third Paradox Haze upkeep: [[Endless Ranks of the Dead]] produce 3 zombie tokens giving you NINE zombies on the battlefield, [[The Scarab God]] causes an opponent to lose 6 life and you scry 6, [[Graveborn Muse]] has you draw 6 cards and lose 6 life bringing you to 9 life and [[Venser's Journa]]l has you gain 14 life for cards in your hand from the FOUR cards from the last upkeep giving you a total of 23 life before you start your draw step.

There are only a handful of cards that are capable of stopping these chain of events on your turn: [[Time Stop]] , [[Glorious End]] , [[Back to Nature]] , [[Echoing Calm]] , [[Fracturing Gust]] , [[Patrician's Scorn]] , [[Spring Cleaning]] and [[Tempest of Light]] . If you have two lands untapped and one being an Island you can counter it with a [[Rune Snag]] or a [[Syncopate]] for 1.

Safer Variant

{{Laboratory Maniac}} {{Torpor Orb}} {{Twilight Prophet}}

I could use [[Twilight Prophet]] in place of [[Graveborn Muse]] and mainboard [[Laboratory Maniac]] for [[Diregraf Captain]] to make it much safer to play and prevent deck suicide. That would allow me to drop Venser's Journal for extra copies of other cards. Though you'd lose on the bigger card draw and have less chances for triggers from [[Endless Ranks of the Dead]] and [[The Scarab God]], but I can pitch [[Twilight Prophet]] and [[Laboratory Maniac]] for [[Cryptbreaker]]'s ability and bring them back via [[The Scarab God]]. The sideboard card [[Unbreathing Horde]] would allow me to throw in some [[Torpor Orb]]s to counteract ETB effects.

Sideboard

Depending on circumstances.

  • [[Cabal Stronghold]] switches out for 2 [[Drowned Catacomb]] for extra black mana.
  • [[Countersquall]] switches for [[Syncopate]] / [[Compelling Deterrence]].
  • [[Void Snare]] switches for [[Vapor Snag]] / [[Syncopate]].
  • [[Midnight Banshee]] switches for [[Army of the Damned]].
  • [[Laboratory Maniac]] / [[Unbreathing Horde]] switches for [[Diregraf Captain]].

Competitive Options

{{Aether Vial}} {{Bloodstained Mire}} {{Boseiju, Who Shelters All}} {{Cavern of Souls}} {{Cyclonic Rift}} {{Flooded Strand}} {{Polluted Delta}} {{Liliana, the Last Hope}}

  • [[Cyclonic Rift]] would ultimately replace [[Compelling Deterrence]] due to its greater utility of Overload.
  • [[Aether Vial]] pairs extremely well with Paradox Haze due to its "may" ability compared to [[As Foretold]]'s. It would also free up the mana base for other spells during that turn.
  • [[Cavern of Souls]] is a catchall, even though there are only nine zombie creature cards in the deck, having them uncounterable is a really nice bonus.
  • [[Liliana, the Last Hope]] is a drop and her third ability is just almost too good not to have in this deck. Get zombies at the beginning of your upkeeps and end of your turn.
  • Fetchlands to replace a number of basic lands, but quite pricey.
  • [[Boseiju, Who Shelters All]], more uncounterable spells!

Gameplay

Early game you would relay on cards like [[Syncopate]] , [[Vapor Snag]] / [[Void Snare]] , [[Rune Snag]] (Very underrated card in my opinion.) and [[Compelling Deterrence]] until you can start building into you main cards. By mid-game you should a handful of pieces able to start triggering a second upkeep and start producing additional zombie tokens, scying, life lose and card draw. If you can survive into late game you should have multiple copies of our featured cards and triggering large amounts of creatures and card draw.

Concerns and Conclusion

The biggest problem I see in this deck is that it's going to be slow in getting setup for the big returns you will get when everything is out in play. Which is why I added a combination of return to hand and counterspell cards to buy some time, but they may end up being insufficient just by the limited number of these spells I have. However you can suicide in this deck if you don't get the right cards out early enough to counteract the life lose.

I hope to have this deck built by years end and have some proper play testing done. Feel free to use this idea if you have the income to buy the more "competitive" options I have listed above please do. We can collaborate for a money isn't an object version or / and a more budget intensive version as well.

 

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Hydrothermia
Last Updated: 28 May 2019
Created: 19 May 2019
1208 7 0

Mainboard - 60 cards (18 distinct)

Creature (11)
$0.33€0.21
$17.93€11.26
$2.93€2.32
$2.55€1.31
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (25)
$0.68€0.57
$5.35€3.88
$3.66€0.85
$0.24€0.14
$6.99€3.59
$1.30€0.69
$0.22€0.31
$0.25€0.09
Land (24)
$7.84€5.54
$9.00€7.32
$3.25€1.93
$18.36€10.16
$0.15€0.23
$0.15€0.08

Sideboard - 15 cards (6 distinct)

$1.20€0.76
$0.80€0.39
$2.80€0.74
$0.19€0.11
$0.72€0.50
$1.10€0.68

Maybeboard - 24 cards (11 distinct)

$7.38€6.55
$23.00€13.87
$5.01€2.36
$41.85€26.50
$20.89€0.00
$32.25€20.22
$26.00€14.94
$28.00€17.39
$5.68€4.72
$73.48€55.58
$178.53€0.00
Main/Sideboard Rarity Count
15 14 28 3 0
3 6 6 0 0

Mainboard - 60 cards (18 distinct)

3 Diregraf Captain
2 The Scarab God
3 Cryptbreaker
3 Graveborn Muse
3 Vapor Snag
3 Venser's Journal
4 Paradox Haze
4 Compelling Deterrence
3 Endless Ranks of the Dead
1 Army of the Damned
3 Syncopate
4 Rune Snag
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Mutavault
4 Sunken Hollow
4 Watery Grave
4 Island
4 Swamp

Sideboard - 15 cards (6 distinct)

1 Midnight Banshee
3 Unbreathing Horde
3 Laboratory Maniac
3 Void Snare
3 Countersquall
2 Cabal Stronghold

Maybeboard - 24 cards (11 distinct)

3 Twilight Prophet
3 Cyclonic Rift
2 Torpor Orb
4 Aether Vial
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Flooded Strand
1 Polluted Delta
4 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Cavern of Souls
3 Liliana, the Last Hope

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