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Much Abrew: Zomb-ristocrat Massacre (Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Decayed Zombies aren't great creatures. They can't attack more than once. They can't block at all. So, why are we playing a deck built around decayed Zombies? They make amazing sacrifice fodder! Our plan today is simple: use things like Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia and Tainted Adversary to make a bunch of decayed Zombie tokens and then sacrifice them for value to things like Deadly Dispute, Eaten Alive, and Skullport Merchant. Eventually, we'll find The Meathook Massacre and drain our opponent out of the game with our sacrifice synergies. How good is decay in a deck built around it? Is Aristocrats back in Standard thanks to cheap token production and some Zombie synergies? Let's find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: Zomb-ristocrat Massacre

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  • First off, record-wise, the deck killed it. We ended with a perfect 5-0. While it wasn't always pretty or fast, the deck is amazing at grinding out value and eventually winning.
  • Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia and Tainted Adversary are the engines of the deck, especially Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia. The ability to make a 2/2 decayed Zombie each turn for free as long as we don't already have a decayed creature is incredibly powerful, in conjunction with sacrifice effects. We can use cards like Village Rites, Deadly Dispute, Eaten Alive, and Skullport Merchant to sacrifice the Zombie each turn for removal or card draw, essentially for free, since we'll get it back at the end of our turn anyway. Tainted Adversary doesn't offer as much repeatable value as Jadar does, but it can add multiple decayed Zombies to the battlefield if we have enough mana to use its pseudo-multikicker enters-the-battlefield ability. Plus, as a 2/3 deathtouch for two, it isn't a horrible creature on its own. These cards make the rest of the deck work, and we want to see them in our opening hand as often as possible.
  • While we aren't a Zombie tribal deck, we do have Champion of the Perished in the one-drop slot because it works incredibly well with both Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia's and Tainted Adversary's ability to put multiple Zombies onto the battlefield. Assuming Champion of the Perished doesn't get hit by removal, it quickly grows into the biggest creature on the battlefield.
  • Outside of janking the opponent out with a huge Champion of the Perished, The Meathook Massacre is the easiest way for our deck to actually win the game. On the battlefield, it's almost a Blood Artist, allowing us to drain our opponent whenever one of our creatures dies, and our creatures die a lot in Zomb-ristocrat Massacre! While we don't usually get 20 damage out of The Meathook Massacre, the incidental draining it provides adds up and, combined with our random creatures, eventually gets our opponent's life total to zero. Plus, The Meathook Massacre is a pretty solid sweeper if we need it to be. We often can manipulate the board state into a position where at least one of our creatures will survive (like a big Champion of the Perished). And even if we end up sweeping away our entire board, we can always use Agadeem's Awakening or Malakir Rebirth to get our important synergies pieces back into play.
  • As backup finishers, we have Ebondeath, Dracolich and Lolth, Spider Queen. Ebondeath, Dracolich is especially absurd in our deck since we're constantly sacrificing creatures, which in turn allows us to cast Ebondeath from our graveyard. We can also use Village Rites, Deadly Dispute, and Skullport Merchant to sacrifice Ebondeath, Dracolich and protect it from exile-based removal since it's really easy for our deck to cast it from the graveyard again in the future. A 5/2 flyer is a solid clock, especially considering the drain we get from The Meathook Massacre. The only reason we aren't playing more than two copies of Ebondeath is that it's legendary. We almost always want to draw one, but drawing a second copy doesn't offer much value. 
  • You probably noticed that we're playing Clearwater Pathway and Shipwreck Marsh even though our main deck is mono-black, just so we can play Negate in our sideboard. This is mostly because of Alrund's Epiphany. Our deck isn't fast enough to win before an opponent can start chaining together extra-turn spells most of the time, and thanks to foretell, we can't count on Duress to take it from our opponent's hand. While it's awkward to have to splash blue in a mono-black deck, I think it's worthwhile. We wouldn't have beat the control deck without the counter and likely wouldn't have beat the Skeletal Swarming deck either. 
  • So, should you play Zomb-ristocrat Massacre in Standard? I think the answer is an easy yes. It's one of my current favorite decks for Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard, and it feels pretty competitive too! The deck has a ton of sweet synergies and can grind for days. If you're a fan of Aristocrats-style sacrifice decks, Zombies, or even just The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this might be the perfect Standard deck for you!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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