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Budget Tribal Cards: Zombies and Vampires

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Welcome back everyone for another week of budget Magic! We are continuing with our discussion of tribal cards to keep an eye on in the near future. We're going to be looking at zombies and vampires more this time around. Like the previous article, I'm going to give a list of cards to consider that we aren't going to be able to dive into today.

  1. Adorned Pouncer - using Eternalize ability.
  2. Ghastly Remains
  3. Bladestitched Skaab - foil option outside of Diregraf Captain.
  4. Cabal Interrogator - use ability to disrupt opponent's plays.
  5. Compelling Deterrence - use in any Dimir (blue/black) or Esper (blue/black/white) zombie build in Pioneer format.
  6. Howl of the Night Pack - Commander Werewolf decks.
  7. Skalla Wolf
  8. Silverfur Partisan
  9. Garruk Relentless - use in werewolf Commander decks.
  10. Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats

Dark Impostor
First on our list is Dark Impostor. The price currently comes in at $0.71 for non-foils, $2.83 for foils, and $0.75 for Commander 2017 non-foils (mtgstocks.com). In Commander, it can be used in decks outside of a vampire tribal. The ability alone lets you sit back and get rid of threats once the mana becomes available. Getting to six mana is an easy task in Commander, after all. The +1/+1 counter it gets is nice, but gaining all abilities of the creatures it exiles is the real icing on the cake. Imagine exiling Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Gaining Flying, protection from colored spells, and annihilator 6 would be insane! That is a very real possibility, and countless others like that exist in the format. The fact Dark Imposter's foil is under $3.00 is surprising to me; but, with the current trend in vampires going up in value, I also wouldn't be surprised if this starts creeping up.

Undead Augur
Next up is Undead Augur. The price currently sits at $0.41 for non-foils, and $2.61 for foils (mtgstocks.com). This thing should be in every zombie deck; we always want card advantage to be able to keep slinging those undead buddies of ours onto the board. Most zombie decks have graveyard recursion, and this is where Undead Augur comes into play. Every time we decide to sacrifice a zombie we get a card and lose one life. Then something like Wayward Servant gives us one life while also pinging our opponents for one. Having both sets up a nice little value engine. Include a card like Open the Graves to add insult to injury, as we could sacrifice a non-token zombie, get a 2/2 zombie token, gain one life when the token enters, and draw a card at essentially no cost to our creature base. I have used Undead Augur in Commander, and it has done quite well. Foils will not stay cheap for long unless it gets a reprint. If you have some cheap trade to rid of, it is time to upgrade to this guy!

Bishop of Rebirth
Bishop of Rebirth is our next hidden gem for both Commander and Pioneer. The current price tag is $0.51 for non-foils, $0.84 for foils, $1.67 for prerelease foils, and $0.62 for launch party and release event foils (mtgstocks.com). This card does work for any weenie-style brew in the mid to late game. Personally, I would use this in Selesnya (White/Green) or Abzan (White/Green/Black) in Pioneer. Ramping into this to get it out by turn four or potentially three would be huge! We could use deathtouch creatures as walls if need be to block potential big threats and get them back to repeat the process. One thing to note is it is not a legendary creature, so we can have multiples on the board. It also works great with a similarly underrated recursion card, Immortal Servitude, and a bunch of three mana value or less creatures, so we could have a slew of creatures if we mill ourselves or acquire creatures in our graveyard post combat.

Bishop of the Bloodstained
Bishop of the Bloodstained is next on our list. This one comes in at a price of $0.25 for non-foils, and $0.50 for foil copies (mtgstocks.com). I'd say this is more for Commander, but it does have late game potential in Pioneer vampires. In Commander, this could take down a single threat, pending the number of vampires we have out on the board. We can use an enchantment like Legion's Initiative to flicker all our vampires, and that would trigger Bishop of the Bloodstained an additional time. It is a very good complimentary budget piece to your build while you're gathering the more expensive pieces. In Pioneer, we can do a similar thing by using recursion cards to bring it back. This way we can use the ability, sacrifice it, and bring it back to do it again! If you have the change lying around, I would consider picking up a playset of foils.

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker
The last one on the board for today is Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker. The price comes in at $1.00 for non-foils, $3.27 for foils, and $1.12 for the Ravnica tool kits non-foils (mtgstocks.com). This is a staple in almost every mill styled Commander deck and should be used as a disruptive piece in other Esper (Black/Blue) builds outside of mill themed decks. It is everything control players want out of a card. If you're playing against a deck that is more aggressive and has less than the usual number of lands in it, this card could be problematic for them. In constructed formats, people tend underestimate the power of a great utility card, and this checks all of the boxes. You have yourself a 2/4 flier, so it is out of bolt range. If you play your cards right (no pun intended) you can mill your opponent out as a secondary win condition! I absolutely love cards like this that underutilized and have more power than the masses give it credit for. Don't sleep on this one and grab foils on the cheap!

That's all for today, everyone, and I hope you come back for next week's article!

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