One of the most popular strategies in Magic, especially in Commander, are Typal ones. Thanks to a combination of the decks building themselves, and support being rather powerful for some creature types, its common to find a typal deck in someone’s roster when sitting down for a game of Commander.
According to EDHREC, Zombies are one of the most popular typal archetypes in Commander, and i’ts not difficult to understand why. These creatures hit hard and are disturbingly resilient. Knocking down a board of Zombies once may be easy. How about two or three times?
For players interested in exploring the Zombie archetype in Commander, you may be wondering what some of the best Zombies are that money can buy. To answer that question, here are the top 5 most expensive Zombie cards… with a catch.
We will not be including Zombies that appear on the Reserved List in this list. If this weren’t the case, this list of Zombies would be taken up with cards that have scarcity behind their prices instead of power. That could be interesting information, but it’s not particularly useful for your Commander deck.
That said, since this information could be interesting, we would be remiss to not include it. Here are some of the most expensive Zombies that appear on the Reserved List. Prices for this list will be derived from TCGplayer market averages:
- Khabal Ghoul $250 (but selling for much less)
- Boris Devilboon $37
- Frankenstein’s Monster $10
Relentless Dead is probably the best Zombie typal card on this list. As long as you keep mana open, it will be really difficult to remove Relentless Dead completely. Putting the creature back into your hand for just one mana allows you to continually deploy the card until you have enough mana to resurrect something more interesting.
Like some other slots on this list, Relentless Dead can create a rather sticky board alongside Rot Hulk. Rot Hulk can resurrect Relentless Dead on entry and, if you have seven mana when Relentless Dead dies, you can pay it to resurrect Rot Hulk.
Relentless Dead only has one printing from the Shadows Over Innistrad set. At the time of writing, Relentless Dead is rather cheap in comparison to what it used to be, retailing for just $9. Should some new Zombie support come out, this card will likely climb in price, albeit temporarily.
Balthor the Defiled
Zombies are all about returning from the dead, and Balthor the Defiled takes that to another level. Not only do you get to reanimate all of your black and red creatures, everyone does.
This makes Balthor a bit awkward since it only has a mono black color identity. That said, the mass reanimation effect is definitely on-brand for the Zombie archetype and may have more utility than you think.
Because Balthor resurrects everyone’s grave, this card could be used as an interesting political piece. Maybe you resurrect another player’s grave so they can deal with the bigger threat. Maybe you want to set up your grave to resurrect it a bit, and the allure of an opponent getting some creatures back allow you to strike a deal.
As far as price goes, Balthor, the Defiled only has two printings from Secret Lair and Judgement, which is likely where some of its secondary market price comes from. $12 is what you can expect to part with to purchase this card in near mint condition. If lightly played cards don’t bother you, money can be saved.
Coffin Queen offers a bizarre reanimation effect that is pretty fragile. All your opponent needs to do to remove it is kill your Coffin Queen. Considering its a 1/1, this is not a difficult feat.
On the plus side, Coffin Queen can do a lot of work alongside sacrifice outlets. Since this card can continuously reanimate one creature at a time, having a way to utilize the effect multiple times can be quite powerful. Combined with Rot Hulk, for example, Coffin Queen can resurrect a lot more than just one creature. Conversely, a Rot Hulk reanimating Coffin Queen can make it quite difficult to take your board apart.
Coffin Queen goes for about $11.50 at the time-being according to TCGplayer market averages. That said, the card can commonly be found selling for as little as $6.
Lord of the Undead
Lord of the Undead offers some incredibly powerful utility for just three mana. The creature both acts as a Lord for your Zombies and as recursion, making sure you always have something to do. The abilities may seem simple, but it means your opponents will need to prioritize removing the Lord of the Undead, or else all the Zombies they’ve slayed so far will find their ways back to your battlefield.
Unlike our #1 pick, Lord of the Undead has a variety of different printings and, therefore, a variety of different prices. The most expensive of these is more than our #1 pick, but the cheapest skirts just under it at about $13.
Magic’s most expensive Zombie may not be one that many players are familiar with, but the ability is sure worth the pricetag.
Rot Hulk does its best work in multiplayer formats. Capable of resurrecting an army of Zombies on entry, this creature can create an entire board on its own. This is exactly the type of seven mana haymaker you want in a Zombie deck. Since Rot Hulk’s trigger occurs on entry, reanimating this Hulk early-on can be devastating.
All in all, the majority of this Hulk’s $14 price tag comes from its scarcity. Rot Hulk only has one printing, and its not from a core set. It was, instead, printed as an exclusive card to the Magic Game Night board-game style product.