ghoulcaller-gisa-art how to build mono black zombies

Power level


Sami Lindqvist

Tue May 25 2021

mono blackzombiestribaltokens

Commander deck building challenge: Mono Black Zombies

Our playgroup had a deck building challenge: we chose a color for each randomly and I ended up with black. This is how I chose and built my mono-black Zombies EDH deck.

Table of contents



Ghoulcaller Gisa: Illustrated by Karla Ortiz

Ghoulcaller Gisa


My playgroup plays every week during the weekend, and we chose to have only one week time for brewing the mono-color decks so I decided to build the deck completely from cards I already own.

Choosing the deck theme

My first EDH deck was Dimir Zombies with The Scarab God as the commander. I really enjoyed playing the control focused, broad deck with the strong card advantage and passive damage triggers during the upkeep phase.

I didn't want to build another control zombie deck, so I'm building this mono black zombie deck with zombie-token theme.

Choosing the Commander

I went through all my legendary zombie cards and the legendary, zombie themed cards I own are Ghoulcaller Gisa, Josu Vess, Lich Knight, Geth, Lord of the Vault and God-Eternal Bontu. All of them are from my Dimir zombies and served some kind of bigger role. Josu Vess as a pseudo wincon, Lord of the Vault was artifact recursion and graveyard hate, God-Eternal Bontu a graveyard filler for my ETB zombies and card draw.

Of these I ended with Ghoulcaller Gisa, since her very strong activated ability gives us easily 4 or more 2/2 tokens and Josu Vess, Lich Knights kicker ability is just too much to be a viable strategy. All the other legendaries will be in the deck, and have a some kind of role to play.


My strategy is to have lots and lots of 2/2 Zombie tokens and hit my enemies with a massive horde boosted with some anthem effects. I believe Ghoulcaller Gisa is a great commander for this style, and allows us to build some graveyard synergies to help us in this. Gisas activated ability means we need some ways to protect her for point removals and if possible give haste for her.

We are going to use Gisas abilities as late as possible, and we aim to sacrifice creatures that are already targets of removals or during combat phase when defenders are declared to avoid unwanted damage.

Early Game, T1-T3

Gisa is quite expensive with CMC of 5 so early game is very ramp focused. As we only have black in use, mana ramp is completely artifact focused. Strong boosts comes from Nyx Lotus, and Worn Powerstone. If possible, I would add also Thran Dynamo and Gilded Lotus, but I don't own those cards yet. Usual suspects are Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, Mind Stone, Fellwar Stone, Commander Sphere, Thought Vessel and Charcoal Diamond.

In early turns it is important to build up defenses to avoid unnecessary damage so I added Carrion Feeder, Relentless Dead, Gravecrawler, Undead Augur and Shepherd of Rot. Dreadhorde Invasion is very strong card for starting hand in this deck.

Mid-Game, turns T3-T5

I don't see it is good idea to rush with Gisa, since it is removal prone target, and with mono black we are having hard time to protect her. During mid-game I'll setup the emblem effects and collect resources to not run out of options. Emblems are zombie-lords and a few artifacts like Vanquisher's Banner and Door of Destinies. Coat of arms is a tricky one and can be used as a political tool, so it is best to hold on to it, until the time is ready.

Strongest lord-effects are from Door of Destinies, Zombie Master, Lord of the Accursed and Undead Warchief.

Other strong synergies for mid-game are Whip of Erebos, Skullclamp and Black Market.

End Game, T5+

End game focuses on raising the horde and smacking opponents with zombies. Honorable token machines are: Grave Titan, Rise of the Dread Marn, Josu Vess, Lich Knight, Endless Ranks of the Dead and Necrotic Hex.


Winning is based on how fast and how many 2/2 you can get and have enough card draw to keep the zombies coming. This deck is aiming to stretch the game as long as possible, have blockers ready and attack with the cannon fodder.

Clear wincons are Zombie Apocalypse, Army of the Damned, Kindred Dominance, Liliana, Dreadhorde General and Liliana, Death's Majesty.

Power Level


I played a few tutorial rounds and one 3-player game. The deck struggled with card draw and I was unable to push enough pressure against others during the early late game. There was one control deck with counter spell in hand, due to this I chose not to cast Ghoulcaller Gisa until T7 or similar.

Biggest issues was definitely with the card draw so with changing a few expensive non-wincon zombies or spell to more card draw I believe the deck will be in power level 5 or maybe 6.

Full deck list coming soon!

Sami Lindqvist

Hi everybody, I'm Sami, the creator of EDH Chamber. I've played MTG from 2020 now, mostly Commander but I have a little bit of experience of pre-MH2 modern too. My goal is to build new, interesting and challenging decks. Really hope to find new out-of-color-pie commander decks like Dimir dragons!

Full Decklist

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