Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Creature Class Critique #25: Undead, Part 2

Christopher's Creature Class Critique #25: Undead, Part II

There are so many Undead that I've had to break it up into the Limited and Dagger Isle Undead and the Drifter's and Necropolis Park Undead. This worked well because the first two sets are so much easier to find. Now let's mix in the "play 'em if you got 'em" cards.

This critique covers Drifters Nexus and Necropolis Park, if you can find them. Obviously, from its name, you can guess that NP was full of Undead -- and you'd be right. There was only one Undead in Drifters Nexus: "Buzz", Vampire Mosquito. He's also a Bug, but whether or not he qualifies as a "Vampire" is an unanswered question (but he sure acts like one and my "house" rule is that he is). DN also has Carrag the Black, a Wizard that kicks serious butt in an Undead deck, particularly near the end.

Common Threads

Bribery: Four by Gold, three by Babes (plus Carrag). None by Beer. I guess the Undead have lost their tastebuds. Nubian Slave Girls can be sacrified for discarded Gold.

Channeling: Five creatures accept channeling, but the largest of these is only Vitality 6. None of them channel. The Priest of Sethos prevents stones from being spent for channeling (though it doesn't prevent channeling outright).

Flying: Just the Mosquito. Fan Bearer sends fliers back to the Creature Pen. Combine her with Ice Storms for maximum hilarity.

Size: No Large, 17 Medium, and two Small (including a Saurian, believe it or not).

Off-Color bonus: Ones and zeroes mostly, except for the Priestess of Isis, who is Vitality 12 with OCB 3.

Ranged attacks: Slim Jab is a 1-pointer that's only usable against externals, but when played, your opponent discards a double-bordered card. Great when your opponent plays Fairies. Or Undead. (Slim Jab makes a great "sidebar" card.)

Terrain bonuses: None. Not counting the Necropolis Park stronghold, which "saves" killed Undead. It's basically a "permanent" Howl of the Dead spell.

Commands: Nine! Choose wisely. You can prevent Spells, stop channeling with Power Stones, change your Creature Class, change your opponent's Mortal's creature class ("There goes your Pirate bonus, Nick."), discard all double-bordered cards, empty text boxes, swap Spells and steal your opponent's command Spell or Item. I think I got them all.

Immunity: None. Mummy and Plague Walker have fear-based attacks, but neither explicitly states that they are immune to them, too (like, e.g., Sun Spirits and Fire Walkers).

Power Stones: Buzz can cost you a Stone and several of the command abilities cost a Stone to use.

Other: Just about every Undead creature has a special ability of some sort. This is what makes up for the lack of immunity, terrain bonuses, ranged attacks, etc. It also makes it more confusing to put a dedicated deck together (other than "pile on the Undead and go out and kick butt!" -- not that there's anything wrong with that.)

I hope I covered everything.

A Quick Rundown of Cards

As stated in Part 1: Not gonna happen.

Other "Theme" Cards

Carrag the Black: He's Vitality 5, but his text box gives him a +1 Vitality boost for every Undead in the discard pile. You can get him up in the 10-15 range pretty quickly, without too much harm to your position in the game. Particularly when using Dead Cats (which if they get killed, your surviving creatures get a Vitality bonus.)

You Can't See Me, I'm a Vampire: When played on an Undead creature in primaries, both cards become Unchallenged Cards. This can be used to save your Undead creature or by your opponent to save his. Neutral card, but you already know that you have Undead, he probably doesn't, so it can work in your favor more often.

Chant of the Osirans: Played after Up-Cards are revealed, if opponent's Up-card is an Undead, it goes to the discard pile, along with the next 4 cards in his draw deck. Another Up-Card is then drawn. This is something to be careful of, but, again, the card is useless against all but Undead decks. Not to mention the fact that Undead in your discard pile only helps Carrag.

Other Cards

See Part I (Critique #24) for more. They all apply here, too.

Ice Storm: mentioned above -- combine it with Fan Bearer to destroy little flyers and send big ones home.

Jambo Slick, Smuggler: This Wanderer from DN will get back your Bribery cards (all of them, not just Gold). Works well with Nubian Slave Girls.

Cuthbert the Resurrector: Undead have a tendency to stay around, thanks to things like Howl of the Dead, the NP Stronghold, and even Holy Grail. But should they actually go to the discard pile (perhaps by way of Chant of the Osirans), this will pull one back.

Bruno Smashmouth, Union Boss: This Misc. Human from DN has been mentioned by me before. After you play Bruno, if any of your creatures's classes match your opponent's class, your opponent's primary attacker goes to the Creature Pen. So? So combine this with Chief Lector Priest of Sethos and turn all of your Undead into whatever your opponent is playing. All that will be left are his command card and his first primary (played opposite Bruno). Beating Bruno doesn't help him, your opponent has to bribe or destroy Bruno or he'll likely lose his shield.

St. Ballantine's Evocation: A variant of Bruno, above, you can hold onto Ballantine in case of emergency and turn any of your Undead into a Knight and then blow up your opponent's biggest creature. No Warwick's Conversion needed.


You're on your own here. There are just too many possibilities. It depends on the Undead and Guardian you pick. You can siphon off stones with your Vampires and Shadrunes. You can chop down their flyers. You can give bonus channeling above the usual limits. Use Arms of the Earth if your opponent favors big creatures and shields with few creatures. Ice Storms & Fan Bearers, Chief Lector Bruno. Endless possibilities.

Secondary Classes

Undead can stand on their own well and don't need a secondary class. That's true enough without the cards from Drifters Nexus and Necropolis Park, which only add to the kickass nature of the Undead.


Sun Spirits: They kick Undead butt from here to the MidRealms. Not much you can do about it. You don't want to carry about 10-point Captains with you to smack them down. Best you can do is send them away using the Bruno combo or go for mutual destruction. Only two Undead (Eternal Witch Lord and Black Unicorn) can survive if you channel enough to them.

Final Comments

I can't make too many comments, but Undead decks are brutal and Necropolis Park only adds to their lethality.

C. J. Burke
Keeper of the Flame

Rouge Scepter: Hand Magic Item, Up 15
Play during primary match-ups. Your primary match-up Creature gets +10 versus Undead. It Undead opponent loses, it is destroyed.

(Yes, I deliberately spelled it "Rouge" instead of "Rogue".)

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