Once upon a time I had a Brago deck. This Brago deck was full of fun ETB shenanigans. It either drew all the cards or didn't, killed all the things or rolled over to die, and chipped away at opponent's life totals with a bunch of value creatures. It was the definition of slow and grindy.
I took apart Brago and my Teferi decks and instead chose to build Aminatou from the remaining pieces. She can blink anything, doesn't require a combat step, and has a delightfully convoluted combo that actually does win on the spot after the game has ground to a halt via Felidar Guardian + Oath of Teferi/The Chain Veil activation + Planeswalker/ETB ability that wins. It plays a bunch of fun synergies and has a ton of Super-Friends options. Probably the most broken card in the deck is Teferi, Temporal Archmage with Aminatou's -1.
Truth. If I were to make this list more competitive, I would definitely include more counter-magic. As it stands, the list is meant to be more thematic and tribally. I would probably run somewhere between 6-8 counterspells in the list and tighten up the creature list to be more efficient.
Certainly. I do think that there are competitive combo applications for Varina and Lab Man is definitely one of the cleanest win conditions for that kind of strategy. But since Varina Windfalls based on attacking creatures, I feel like it's hard to take advantage of her triggered ability properly. The difficulty, as I see it, is that for Varina's ability to be truly effective we either need a way to consistently dump our yard (the traditional Cephalid Breakfast comes to mind) in one fell swoop so that we can use Varina's trigger on a single attack step and win or find enough ways to create a Zombie board to consistently cycle through the deck and take extra turns to crunch through the deck and win with Lab Man's trigger.
Of these kind of strategies, I think the Cephalid Breakfast combo is probably the most consistent way to dump our 'yard in one fell swoop. A Reanimator strategy would probably be the most effective way to do so with a Buried Alive package and Victimize to get both pieces of Cephalid Breakfast into play. From there, with your deck in the yard, you can flashback Dread Return to put Lab Man into play and then attack with Varina and win. I just don't know if there's any other consistent way to completely mill your deck in one turn to then win with Lab Man.
I've been on this style Bxx zombie for a long time mostly Grimgrin tho. I think I need to add another sac outlet in here and I love the idea of anointed procession. I'm interested to see what the white cards add. So far in my limited test outside the commander, it doesn't seem like much but I am happy for stoneforge, enlightened tutor and mirror entity.
The deck has a few main game plans. My favorite is rooftop storm and gravecrawler shenanigans with any of the pingers or consuming aberration. I was always hesitant on that card but if it can mill out people actually pretty quickly and doesn't rely on damage which is rarely necessary but sometimes. Rooftop storm and gravecrawler are always an all stars. always. Storm Makes havengul lich and lilana absolutely insane with sac outlets like grimgrin. I guess something funny along those veins is repeat self mill with stitcher's supplier and something like lab man but that's too cute/unreliable for me. Another card I'm high on is undead alchemist. That card gets out of hand VERY fast. Most people underestimate the milling but it can be real deal. It's cute the ability also triggers off other sorts of milling like aberration triggers or lich lord of unx.
Game plans I strive for in order:
1) combo kill with rooftop and pingers
2) mill some bozos out
3) make a million idiots and attack
4) cast strong cards and kill nerds the old fashioned way
I'm not sure c18 adds much else for me. Pretty underwhelming set as a whole The only problem I have with this deck is it has a literal million decisions to make. It is by far one of the most complicated decks I've made. Don't let the zombie meme fool you, zombies ain't simple
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Modern: BG eldrazi midrange BWG Abzan value evolution BUG BUG Midrange
Yeah, the choices for Esper Zombies is nearly endless. Looking at your list, I think to myself "Oh, I should definitely run that card!" I then look at my own list and I say "What the hell do I cut?" I like the idea of pingers killing people with Gravecrawler.
Rooftop Storm is a pretty duh card. I NEED to find room for that card somewhere in my main list because it's just too good. Especially if you have an Arcane Adaptation out. I tried to minimize the non-Zombie creatures to what I thought were the most effective ones, but I could easily replace them for all Zombies and keep the theme of pure Zombie tribal going.
Tough choices here. I personally love the Commander 18 set as it addresses a whole bunch of glaring issues (dedicated [mana[UR[/mana] artifact commander, a GWU encahntress Commander, etc.) while also printing some very, very awesome cards. The Aminatou list that's on the main page is probably one of the most exciting C18 decklists so far, and Varina will find its place.
I've tweaked the main decklist to try and increase the creature count so that Varina's ability is maximized. This decklist will never be super-competitive, but that's totally ok by me. It's meant to be a total battle-cruiser deck that ideally creates a massive Horde of Zombies, gain a TON of life when they attack, and create some recursion engines that are nearly unbeatable.
I also want to write a short story for Varina, as I think her vorthos is pretty cool. It's sad we don't have the official story, but her design looks really alien-like to me. She's taking off her mask and interacting with some sort of laser schematic. To me, that indicates that she interacts with non-Lich/non-Zombie people (hence the mask) and that she's doing something nefarious (her location is some sort of dungeon/lair-like place). My thought is that Varina somehow made herself a Lich queen and is going out amongst other nations and peoples, collecting data and information, so that she can create a plan to rule the world or subjugate everyone under her control. Or something.
I changed the thread to the Esper Superfriends list that I've been running instead of Varina. I tried her out and had a ton of fun, but I wanted to do Aminatou since my dismantled Brago deck looked so sad.
Updated my list to the current configuration that I run. This is a really, really fun deck to play since it's very powerful without feeling broken. It plays a lot like my Teferi Chain Veil list but without the negative political reputation.
The cleanest kill card for the deck is Kaya, Ghost Assassin, but I've also been able to kill my opponents via the Mind Sculptor Ultimate, the Nixilis Ultimate, and being able to loop the Timebender Ultimate and attack with some creatures. To not deck myself, I borrow the current Standard Teferi, Hero of Dominaria trick of tucking himself back into my library repeatedly so that I always have a library while looping infinite turns.