MTG – Building a Black and White Zombie-Bleed Deck

MTG – Building a Black and White Zombie-Bleed Deck

Key cards in making an amazing Bleed deck using zombies and some other fun cards. Your opponent will be unable to stop their loss of life while your life remains constant…

Zombie decks focus on overwhelming an opponent with cards like Undead Warchief and Soulless One. Incredibly effective, but not the sort of deck we’re building today. This article will tell you exactly what you need to put together and incredibly powerful black and white zombie deck. It doesn’t focus 100% on zombie creatures, but they are incredibly important to the strategy of this deck. What does this deck do? Read on and find out how powerful this deck really is!

(A special thanks to Mike1229 for inspiring this deck!)

The Imporant Stuff!

These four cards (Shepherd Of Rot, Tainted Sigil, Sanguine Bond, and Children Of Korlis) are the most important part of this deck. Your goal is to take out chunks of your opponent’s life while using a couple of Tainted Sigil and/or Children Of Korlis to get your life back. Tainted Sigil is the better of the two without a doubt, but Children Of Korlis is still needed. With Sanguine Bond in play, you should be able to win within  three turns if you’ve played your cards right. You should have four of each of these cards without a doubt!

Of course, these are just the cards that will win you the game without question. However, this deck is capable of winning without these cards. They’re just the keystones. A good deck can win even with its most powerful cards removed/disabled. This deck can do that. If you simply sit back and don’t attack, this deck will shrink your opponent’s life to zero. However, let’s talk more about making the cards above more powerful and effective in this deck.

Zombie Cards To Die For!

An important part of making Shepherd Of Rot useful is having zombie creatures in your deck! Can’t have a zombie deck with only four of the same zombie now can we? Now, this deck is mostly defensive, so these zombies don’t have to be the most powerful zombies in the world. Rather, they just need to be able to do one of to things: be difficult to destroy or provide some kind of ability when they are destroyed. We’ll take a look at these zombies one by one.

Liked it
Matthew, posted this comment on Sep 24th, 2009

this deck sucks yo

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Sep 25th, 2009

sorry you don’t like it. i’ve tried it out and its won a fair amount of the time, so i disagree

Good Sir, posted this comment on Oct 9th, 2009

Have you considered Necromancer’s Covenant? Would you suggest putting it in?
Also, would spirit link gain you life if put on shepherd of rot?

Thanks a bunch,
I am in the process of forming this deck.

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Oct 9th, 2009

Thanks for the praise! As for Necromancer’s Covenant, i do have one in my deck actually. It’s a good card, though I didn’t mention it in the article. I’d use only one of these though, as it costs a lot of mana and you should be able to win without it. If you want to take a more offensive route then go for it. It’s really up to you and what you want your deck to do.

also, Spirit Link will not make Shepherd of Rot gain you life because Shepherd Of Rot isn’t dealing damage. However, if you want some other cool cards to put into a deck like this, i suggest Heroes Remembered (takes ten turns, but you can play it on the first) or using some vampires and Blood Tribute (though I don’t like using vampires too much. it changes the entire deck!)

well, i hope my response helped and i’m glad to see someone making use of my deck idea!

Casual Player, posted this comment on Oct 14th, 2009

Is this deck tourney legal?
I am a casual player thinking about going to tourneys and such, and this deck intrigued me. I was wondering if I could use this deck for those tourneys. I understand there are different formats, which would this one go under?
And what cards would be not be able to be used for each format?
Finally, how well would this deck perform in tournament conditions?

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Oct 14th, 2009

This deck is tournament legal in type I. However, most likely the type of tournament in your area will be type II, or standard.

Here’s a link to the list of which cards are legal and which one aren’t:
To give you a summary of what’s usable in type II (which is what I assume your local tournament format is), here are the legal sets: Lorwyn, Morningtide, Shadowmoor, Eventide, Shards of Alara, Conflux, Alara Reborn, MTG 2010, Zendikar, and Worldwake. All these sets are legal right now, if I’m not mistaken. Every card from those sets is legal. Every card outside of those sets (that isn’t a reprint) is illegal.
As to this decks performance in a type I tournament, it would get destroyed. Type I is an incredibly fast and competitive format where you’ll often run into people who have things like the Moxes and are packing infinite combos all over the place. This deck is very fun and works really well in casual and perhaps would even do alright in Legacy (more restrictive version of vintage). I’ve played it against Vintage decks and won, but not all the time. It depends on what you’re playing I suppose. This is a good deck, but not capable of going against a deck with the capability to deal infinite damage or something like that.
I hope this answers your questions. I hope you still feel like using this deck though. It’s a lot of fun to play with! However, it may not be cut out for tournaments. Also, good luck in the tournament once you get a deck together!

this deck is badass, posted this comment on Nov 12th, 2009

Seems like a pretty awesome deck to me
I plan to get these cards and attempt to merge it with my existing zombie deck

nicmilli, posted this comment on Dec 22nd, 2009

What do you think about graveborn muse for drawing more cards? It seems like running out of cards in your hand might be a problem, what with the skirk ridge exhumer taking cards out (which is a great move…I’ve put this deck together and I definitely throw down cards that aren’t too useful into 1/1 festering gobs)…but muse does hurt you every upkeep, and might force you to burn through some children of korlis…I’m just trying to cut out some cards like necrologia and plunge…muse is cheaper than necrologia and isn’t a one-shot deal…also counts as a zombie! Anyways, really excited to get the deck all put together…thanks for posting it!

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 23rd, 2009

If you are looking to draw more cards, perhaps add a Necropotence. it will cost your about four dollars, but it’s an amazing card. it is restricted, so if you’re playing by the official rules and not casual house rules then it might not be for you.
What i reccomend the most for drawing cards is Pain’s Reward. You and an opponent bid life. the winner loses that much and then draws four cards. It only costs three mana to play it. It’s great because you can outbid your opponent and then use a Children of Korlis or Tainted Sigil to get your life back, or you can bait your opponent into bidding high and then taking their life to a level where you can easily kill them with what you have in play or in your hand.
Also, for tight situations, i feel that putting a death wish in this deck (just one) is useful. You can get any card you own and put it into your hand at the cost of half your life rounded up. Just use the usual stuff to gain back your life and you’ve got that situational card that will save your butt. You can get some amazing cards that really screw over an opponent. Maybe something like conversion if you’re playing red or Perish if you’re playing green? Either way, Death Wish is an amazing card that can be quite helpful
I hope that this has been helpful and you can speed up your deck to victory! thanks for reading!

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 23rd, 2009

Ha, I just realized I didn’t answer the question about graveborn muse. I think it’s a good card to use indeed. I don’t use one in mine because I don’t have one and I use several Pain’s Reward instead. Just make sure you save an Unmake or something else to get rid of Graveborn Muse if it gets to the point where she starts hurting you.

jon, posted this comment on Dec 29th, 2009

Ok i just want to say im a big fan of this deck. It looks solid and i plan on getting four of each of these cards.Good job, but do you think i should throw in a these cards : “demonic tutor” or “demon horn.”Also as a combo with “putrid warrior” do you think it would be good to throw in a couple “Needbite Traps.”

rick, posted this comment on Dec 29th, 2009

Do you think lifelink creatures should be added. and what about the following cards
soul warden
sun’s bounty
polluted bonds

if you think any of these should be please explain why or whynot and if so if they should be add or replace an exsiting card in the deck. thanks

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 30th, 2009

Jon: Needlebite Trap would certinaly be a decent addition as long as you’re running four Putrid Warriors, though I’m not sure what I’d change around for a few.
Demonic Tutor is always welcome in a black deck. I didn’t include it in the article because it’s just one of those cards you don’t even think about adding. There are two things all black decks need: Swamps and Demonic Tutor. As for Demon’s Horn, I’d steer clear of that. It can be a bad draw if you’re in trouble and since this isn’t just a black deck, some of the spells may do nothing for you at all. Demon Horn isn’t a bad card, but I feel it will slow the deck or underperform most of the time. I’d avoid that one, but feel free to try it out and see how it works. If it turns out to be a good move then let me know!

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 30th, 2009

Rick: Alright, you asked for it! This may be a lengthy response so get out your reading glasses! Also, I had to leave this in several comments because it’s so long so keep reading down!
Soul Warden: This is probably the trickiest card you mentioned. I really love Soul Warden and it’s an amazing white card. The good thing is that it will always gain you life if a creature shows up and also it makes a nice target for opponents to waste their spells on. However, the downside is this: You and your opponent will have played most of your creatures before you play Sanguine Bond. This won’t always be the case, but most of the time it will be. Essentially, Soul Warden will be good because it will gain you some life, but it won’t do very much loss of life in the long run with Sanguine Bond. It could be worth looking into though, so maybe take out some Soul Link/Spirit Link or Peacekeeper for a few. Like I said, this one is tough, but the rest I can be a little more direct about.
Death Greeter: I’d say no to Death Greeter. I’ve always favored Soul Warden more because it doesn’t require you to meet any conditions other than a creature to come into existence. Death Greeter means that either your creatures or your opponent’s creatures must die in order for it to be helpful. You’ll gain life here and there, but overall you won’t get nearly as much as Soul Warden would provide. Death Greeter can be helpful later in the game while Soul Warden is less helpful, but it’s not worth it. Plus, even though there are kill spells in this deck, there is also Unmake, which means you don’t get anything from using that. I’d just say no to Death Greeter.

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 30th, 2009


Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 30th, 2009

RICK: for whatever reason i’m disabled from leaving long comments, so get ready for a bunch of short ones

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 30th, 2009

Sun’s Bounty: Sorry, but this one is another no. Although I like the thought of a recurring four life to gain, I feel that it won’t be recovered enough times to matter in the long run. It is also a card that will take time to be useful. If you want to get life frequently, then I suggest using something like Wall of Reverence ( It’s a little more pricey, but consistent

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 30th, 2009

Also, if you’re into playing the waiting game, use Heroes Remembered instead of Sun’s Bounty. ( It takes ten turn, but that should kill them if you have Sanguine Bond in play. If you put Heroes Remembered in, once again I’d say to take out Spirit Link or Peacekeeper, as they are cards that aren’t as necessary to the deck.

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 30th, 2009

Polluted Bonds: This one is another no from me. This is three reasons. First, this card costs five mana and you’d need more than one for it to be effective. There are already several cards in the deck with higher mana costs like this and I question how it would effect the speed and playability of the deck. Second, for this card to be effective with Sanguine Bond you need to put them out quickly or very near to one another. And finally, I’ve played against cards like this and they’re only affective with land destruction a lot of the time. This is due to the fact that many decks only need X land to work. Once you hit that number then you don’t need to play more lands, so you won’t. This card becomes a dead draw and a poor play. Not a bad card, just not right for this deck. I’d recommend Bloodchief Ascension instead. ( You should be able to get the counter on it fairly easily. Also, it gains life much more frequently and easily than Polluted Bonds. Also, it’s four mana cheaper. I’d say Bloodchief Ascension is a much better play. Take out the same cards as I mentioned before, as those are the weakest in this deck. Also, Agent of Masks or Subversion could be good choices, as Bloodchief Ascension will cause more damage and is much cheaper.
I hope this has helped and let me know how your deck does!

Armada219, posted this comment on Dec 30th, 2009

my freinds have been talking and we want to make sweet love to this deck. but would it be better to take out Vengeful dead and put in undead warchief

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Dec 31st, 2009

That’s a pretty good idea. I’d say Undead Warchief is a good card to switch in for Vengeful Dead

Jon, posted this comment on Jan 5th, 2010

what do you think about these
cemetary reaper <—– tokens will help sheperd
death baron
lord of the undead
- how should tainted sigil and children of korlis be used, aggressivly or as a last resort … and how many zombies should be out before you start using sheperd of rot..

Good Sir, posted this comment on Jan 5th, 2010

Don\’t forget, it is a bleed deck and not a zombie deck. If you are using the boosting zombies for protection, you may want to consider necrotic sliver.

(1bw,2/2, tap 3, sacrifice this creature: destroy target permanent)

About the reaper, you have to exile a creature in a graveyard, which causes you to add more destruction. If you are using death barron for protection, you may want to consider souls of the faultless, which aids the flow the deck much better.

Also, boosting zombies that you are considering are mostly 1bb, and so you would need more swamps in the deck. This would contort mana balance. Also, this would make the deck much slower unless you are running dark rituals, which can only go so far.

I usually use the shepherds of rot when i have two zombies out. Bleed them early so that they think twice about taking damage from dash hopes, souls of the faultless, or attacking i.e. gain life lost with sanguine bond late game.

Nevertheless, you are idea of getting boosting zombies can be better for the offensive and defensive when play soldier decks and such.

Armada219, posted this comment on Jan 14th, 2010

ok . now i want this deck to be as good as possible . and of all people you should know how to make it that way. the top section is great but the bottom part is kinda sketchy to me on what to put in what is the exsact setup you have for this deck..
? lands
? putrid warrior
? dashhopes and so on..

and if you have vendicate in there please exclude dont have money to buy just put what you would replace with

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Jan 15th, 2010

for land I use things like Terramorphic Expanse and a few random rare dual lands I’ve gotten over the years. Usually mana isn’t much of a problem as long as you run Terramorphic Expanse or Esper Panoramas. Tainted Field is another amazing card you can use and it isn’t too expensive either

I think putrid warrior is really quite amazing in this deck. i wouldn’t take it out. there are a lot of things you can do with it and it’s an all around nice card.

Dash Hopes has actually been slowly phased out of my deck. My original deck had way too many cards in it so i just took out the Dash Hopes because there was enough life loss. Kill spells or spells that destroy permanents replace them fairly well

Finally, I am not running Vindicates… yet. I will one day, but for now I’m using Unmake and Mortify. However, if you want the destroy a permanent effect for incredibly cheap (money-wise), then maybe some Necrotic Slivers? They work well as creatures and then can be that deadly destruction spell when you need them to be. I hope this helps.

armada219, posted this comment on Jan 15th, 2010

i mean like specificly like for my zombie deck is

2x cabal coffers

4xcemetery reapers
4xdeath baron
4x undead warcheif
4xlord of the undead
4xfestering zombies
4xsoulless one
2x corspe haverster
2xnoxious ghoul
4xzombie master


Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Jan 16th, 2010

well, this article is more for guidelines than a copy and paste sort of thing, but i can give you my current deck list. These cards were the original root and it has actually changed quite a bit from this. i actually moved away from the zombies a bit. i think it needs to be redone again, but i’ll just put out what is currently, as of January 15th, 2010, my version of this deck.

Land: 8 Swamp
5 Plains
4 Tainted Field
1 Fetid Heath
1 Leechridden Swamp
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Godless Shrine
1 New Benalia
2 Orzhov Basillica

Creatures: 4 Sheperd Of Rot
4 Children oF Korlis
3 Putrid Warrior
1 Maddening Imp
2 Souls Of The Faultless
2 Tidehollow Sculler
1 Agent Of Masks

Other Spells: 2 Unmake
1 Ghostly Prison
3 Sanguine Bond
1 Necrologia
3 Mortify
2 Recumbent Bliss
1 Pillory Of The Sleepless
2 Batwing Brume
2 Deathgrasp
2 Hide/Seek,
4 Tainted Sigil
1 Spoils Of The Vault
1 Death Wish
1 Plunge Into Darkness
2 Pain’s Reward
1 Dark Ritual
1 Heroes Remembered
1 Angel’s Grace

Like I said, I need to rework it. There are a lot of one ofs and some cards aren’t doing much, but you get the idea. Can I do this with the cards I’ve listed in this article? Probably, but not right now. If you really want me to then I suppose I could start on it sometimes this month, but for now this quick fix of my actual deck (still a work in progress) will have to do. Thanks for reading though

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Jan 16th, 2010

As one last thought, this deck can be either really offensive, really defensive, or something else althogether. The pieces in this article allow you to take it anyway you want it to. Don’t feel the need to try to fit it all in because then it might not be too good. Just do what fits you as a player and the game enviroment you’ll be playing the deck in

armada219, posted this comment on Jan 16th, 2010

Thanks …. sorry to bother you so much but ive just seen decks like this do so good(this is by far the best of them) and i do plan on remaking the deck to my conditions, dont feel like im going to copy and take credit for the deck. yes if you could reformat the deck it would be great but its no big deal if you dont feel like it.. .so take your time if you decide to. im not in a rush.

Max, posted this comment on Feb 1st, 2010

Hi thanks for the inspirational article~ my friend and I are developing a sanguine bond/sigil/children deck and wants to pilot it into extended GP, We are taking out zombie entirely and added both white and black nonbudget control elements. Thoughtseize, extirpate, bitterblossom, wrath, damnation… We also used ad nauseam as a way to refill hand, it works really well with those children.
What would u add If there is no budget limitation but Extended set limitation. Suggestions?

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Feb 1st, 2010

Hmmm… That\’s a tough one for me since I don\’t actually play extended. I\’m a big casual player so i often overlook those cards like Extirpate because they aren\’t used in the games I play.

I\’m a big fan of Choice Of Damnations though that may not work for you guys. Haunting echoes is pretty good… Since you took out the zombies, I assume you mean you took out the zombie mechanic, not all zombie cards, because I feel that Tidehollow Sculler is a pretty cool card to use.

In the end it\’s up to you guys. I\’m sorry I can\’t be more help on this, but since i only play casual vintage and in a standard tournament here and there i can\’t really reccommend a lot. Thanks for reading though and I hope that you can get your deck rolling!

Oh, one last though. Maybe Temporal Extortion? It\’s pretty color intensive, but you could get it to work. you\’ll get an extra turn for sure if you have sanguine bond and children out.

Simas, posted this comment on Oct 25th, 2010

Hi, I’ve been looking at this deck for a while and I decided to try to build it. I know it’s been a while since you last checked here, but, if you had the time, I would really appreciate if you posted your final version of this deck…

Also, what do you think about Underworld Dreams and
Goldenglow Moth?…

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Oct 25th, 2010

Underworld Dreams is a little mana intensive costing BBB and Goldenglow moth is… well, it’s actually ok.
As to my final deck, it’s still being played around with. I have a lot of other decks that soak up my good cards. Anyway, here’s what my deck currently looks like.

4x Plains
7x Swamp
4x Tainted Field
3x Marsh Flats
2x Cave Of Koilos
1x Godless Shrine
1x Fetid Heath
3x Sanguine Bond
1x Spoils Of The Vauult
2x Unmake
4x Shepherd Of Rot
2x Tidehollow Sculler
4x Tainted Sigil
1x Angel’s Grace
2x Death’s Grasp
1x Death Wish
2x Souls Of The Faultless
2x Batwing Brume
2x Pain’s Reward
1x Plunge Into Darkness
1x Necrologia
1x Ghostly Prison
2x Hide/Seek
3x Putrid Warrior
4x Children Of Korlis
3x Mortify
1x Heroes Remembered

Once I get a chance, I’m planning on subbing out the Heroe’s Remembered for something more reliable. Also, one day I’ll put Vindicate in for the Mortify or Unmake. There are probably some stronger versions of some of the stuff in this deck out there now too. I haven’t really paid too close attention though. I hope this list helps out. It’s a little more tightened up from my last deck list I posted

jaden145, posted this comment on Feb 19th, 2011

wow I knew that i kept missing something for my zombies but i think that you should add racdos the defiler into it it has saved me alot

Aerin, posted this comment on Feb 28th, 2011

do you think it would be a good idea to add circle of protection: black just in case shepherd is dealing you enough damage to kill you ? that problem has come up quite a few times for me. Ill have a tainted, or a children, but if you die from shepherd, they cant help.
also, maybe a safe passage ?

Drakdrium13, posted this comment on Mar 1st, 2011

@ Aerin, although you can run into trouble with the shepherd, Circle Of Protection will not prevent it from killing you, as it causes loss of life rather than damage (and loss of life can’t be prevented). It’s part of what makes the shepherd so call, but you do need to be careful sometimes. As for safe passage, it all depends on the direction you take the deck. personally, i wouldn’t use it in mine, but i could see a more aggressive zombie deck using it, or even one that’s based more on creatures than spells. it’s your call. I’d say try it out and see how much it impacts your games. thanks for reading!

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