The Spindown: Magic's 10 best zombies

In the spirit of Halloween, Magic Untapped took a look at the various zombie creatures from all across Magic: The Gathering.  In the end, we came up with ten that we feel are the cream of the putrid crop.

Did your favorite zombie creatures make our list?

Check out the video below to find out!

Video transcript:

Welcome back to the Spindown on Magic Untapped.

In honor of Halloween later this month, we’ve decided to count down the ten best Zombie cards in Magic: The Gathering, starting with…

10) Murderous Rider

          The essence of functional utility, Murderous Rider is both a creature and a kill spell.  Able to destroy a target creature or planeswalker at instant speed with its “Swift End” adventure ability, the card can also be played as a 2/3 creature with lifelink that, upon death, goes back into your library to possibly be drawn again.

9) Nekusar, the Mindrazer

          A legit scary commander, this legendary creature has the ability to punish card draw.  As such, it combos well with cards like Wheel of FortuneWindfall, and Dark Deal, dealing a nice amount of damage against all opponents each time.

8) Diregraf Colossus

          A tremendous enabler for zombie tribal builds, this 2/2 for 2B is a must-kill threat for your opponents.  Not only does it often come into play larger than a 2/2 thanks to its ETB ability putting who knows how many +1/+1 counters upon it, but it brings with it its own army by way of 2/2 zombie creature tokens.

7) Dreadhorde Arcanist

          Sure, a 1/3 trampler doesn’t seem all that impressive, but that’s not the point here.  Dreadhorde Arcanist can be a hefty combo enabler, thanks to its ability that allows you to cast spells equal to or less than its power for free from your graveyard.  Plus, with pump spells and other ways to increase its power, there’s quite a lot you can do with it.

6) Vengeful Pharaoh

          A 5/4 deathtoucher for 2BBB, the card’s real power comes not from the battlefield.  Rather, its strength comes from the graveyard, as whenever combat damage is dealt to you or a planeswalker you control and this card is in the ‘yard, it destroys whatever dealt that damage and returns itself to the top of your library to be drawn the next turn.  Simply put, the card is a pain in the butt.

5) Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

          The second high-costed zombie in a row on this list, Mikaeus is a 5/5 for 3BBB that can serve as both a commander and as a deckbuilding piece.  The ability to give non-humans undying can be formidable on its own, but that also means it combos great with cards like Devoted Druid for infinite mana or Triskelion for infinite damage, among other options.  In the right circumstance, Mikaeus simply says “I win.”

4) Lord of the Accursed

          The best Zombie lord printed so far, this 2/3 for 2B gives a +1/+1 boon to all your other zombies and can also give all of your zombies menace (the Lord included).  Sure, it might not be the first zombie lord (that honor goes to the woefully underwhelming Zombie Master from 1993), but it is, by and large, the best.

3) Gray Merchant of Asphodel

          “Gary,” as the card is known, is a game winner on its own.  A critical inclusion in black devotion strategies, the card provides an immediate way to deal direct damage to each opponent while you gain life equal to that damage.  Plus, seeing as this ability is an enter-the-battlefield trigger, Gary has tremendous synergy with recursion and blinking strategies.

2) Geralf’s Messenger

          They say “don’t blame the messenger.”  Well, when the messenger is this good, why would you?  A 3/2 with undying for BBB, Geralf’s Messenger drains two life from your opponent not once, but twice!  Plus, it works great with recursion, providing even more value.  It’s a great aggro inclusion and a fantastic combo enabler.


          Before we reveal our number one card, a few honorable mentions that were considered for this list:

  • Cryptbreaker, a 1/1 for B that acts as a discard outlet, card draw, and creature token generator;
  • Carrion Feeder, also a 1/1 for B, this card is a great sacrifice engine that can become quite the offensive threat over time, and;
  • Undead Warchief, a 1/1 for 2BB, it’s technically a 3/2 thanks to it giving all zombies (including itself) +2/+1. The card also discounts zombie spells by one colorless mana.

1) Gravecrawler

          It costs one black mana to cast, it’s a 2/1, and you can cast it from your graveyard so long as you control a zombie.  Sure, it can’t block, but who cares.  It’s simple, effective, and keeps coming back.  What’s not to like?

So, there you have it.  Magic: The Gathering’s best zombies ever printed to date.

Oh, and here’s a joke for you.

What’s a zombie’s favorite mode of transportation?  TRAIIIINS!!!!

You get it?  Trains?  Rhymes with brains?

You know what?  Fine.  Forget the joke.  It was a groaner anyway.

Here’s a better idea:

Let’s go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all this to blow over.

Thanks for watching.

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Barry White

Barry White is a longtime Magic: The Gathering player, having started in 1994 shortly before the release of 'Fallen Empires.' After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno, he went on to a 15-year journalism career as a writer, reporter, and videographer for three different ABC affiliate newsrooms.