[Old School Brawl] Boris Devilboon takes his Zombies to Swamptown.

Recently, I went into some detail about building an Old School MTG 93/94 Grixis (R/B/U) Zombie deck on our Twitch.  Unfortunately, the Old School MTG 93/94 Zombies are more flavorful than they are plentiful.  Therefore, Zombie Tribal is more of a subtheme in Old School Brawl.  Since Zombie Master grants Swampwalk, the Zombie subtheme naturally fits into the Swampwalk theme.  Without further ado, let’s moan and drag our legs on down to Swamptown.



We already did an article on a what I would call a Sol’Kanar cBrawl, or competitive tournament-worthy Old School MTG 93/94 Brawl, deck.  It was basically just Grixis good stuff.  However, this Zombie deck is more of a tribal theme deck.  Sure, Sol’kanar the Swamp King would make sense here because he grants us access to a blue zombie, Drowned, some cheeky Blue spells, and because Sol’kanar himself has Swampwalk.  However, he can be easily cut to make the deck less susceptible to color screw or to fit the Zombie subtheme into other color combinations.  It’s really up to how flavorful you want to be.

On his face, Boris Devilboon is just a worse Serpent Generator/Master of the Hunt, which are already worse at efficiently generating quality tokens than The Hive.  So why even use Boris Devilboon as the Commander?

  1. He guarantees that you have access to at least ONE Zombie, himself, for whatever that’s worth.
  2. He is an unassuming Commander.  He just quietly generates an army of Minor Demons while the other players are slogging at one another.
  3. Minor Demon is a very uncommon token type, so you can go wild making custom tokens for your goofball Zombie deck.
  4. I have demonstrably proven that he has the same goatee as Guy Fieri.
  5. Every time you play him, you can go “BORRRRRRR-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES



Zombie Master is a Lord and a combo enabler.  You want to find it, play it, and protect it asap.  The artist, Jeff Menges, is also somewhat of a local celebrity with New England Old School, so getting a signed version to #swag out your deck is relatively easy to accomplish.

Scathe Zombies is probably the meat and potatotes of the deck and its functional reprint, Headless Horseman, actually works in our favor in a singleton format.  Plus, the flavor of Headless Horseman is unparalleled.  As the game progresses, drop The Legend of Sleepy Hollow references with reckless abandon.


Khabál Ghoul is lowkey the best card in the deck. It just kinda sits around while it gets going, but it usually ends up giving you, at the worst, a third Scathe Zombies.  This is a mandatory pickup for this deck, and the price tag is a steep as it is an Arabian Nights card, but you only need to pick up one to play Brawl.  And no, it’s not one mana.  It’s three mana.


Scavenging Ghoul is another masterpiece by Jeff Menges, but is basically just an overpriced Scathe Zombies when Zombie Master is in play.

Frankenstein’s Monster is… interesting.  If you decide to build Grixis, Jund, or Esper Reanimator, Frankenstein’s Monster helps facilitate a “Graveyard Matters” theme deck that has a Zombie “Plan B” subtheme.  Please enjoy the courtesy Oracle Text.  Y I K E S.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but a [0][B][B] Frankenstein’s Monster can safely ETB as a 0/1.  Also be aware that you can get him into your graveyard from your hand, and avoid Black Vise damage, if you can’t exile creatures in the amount you paid for [X].



What the Hell???  The Fallen, in addition to being one of the creepiest pieces of art in the game, can also be pretty frickin’ sweet in a multiplayer setting.  If you get them out early enough, and ping each player for one, they can deal some serious global damage without even attacking.

Cyclopean Mummy has an inexplicable drawback and Murk Dwellers… exist?

Finally, Walking Dead and the aforementioned Drudge Skeletons Drowned are optional, because Zombie Master only really bestows Swampwalk upon them.  They already regenerate for [B].




Bog Wraith has got to be good if its functional reprint, Moor Fiend, was a solid sideboard option during the Black Summer of 1996, right?  If not, it’s thematic and another piece of Jeff Menges swag.

Marsh Goblins could bridge the gap between a Goblin Tribal deck with a Zombie and/or Swampwalk subtheme.  Maybe keep them on the Zombie side of the table, though, because apparently other Goblins are too classy for the ones that hail from marshes and bogs.  Also, don’t forget that the “counts as both a black card and a red card” text was errata’d away, so your Purelaced Marsh Goblins aren’t three colors.  Finally, Lost Soul is just cheap and flavorful.


Both Cyclopean Tomb and Evil Presence see play in my version of Jund Land Destruction, so maybe try a Rakdos Zombie tribal subtheme could be used as the win condition in a Land Destruction deck.

If you go the Blue route, with Sol’kanar, definitely don’t sleep on Magical Hack and Phantasmal Terrain, which can turn your opponents’ non-Swamp lands into Swamps.  Protip: if your opponent is playing Black and is mana screwed from their Swamps, instead of changing one of their lands into a Swamp, use Magical Hack to change what type of landwalking your biggest creature has!  Ex. You can change Zombie Master to grant Plainswalk to all Zombies.



So there you have it, a Commander and fifteen or so cards to kickstart your Old School Brawl MTG 93/94 Zombie deck!  Also, the deck is mostly black, so be sure to consider cards like Bad Moon and Hellfire.  Are you interested in playing some Old SChool Brawl?  Please consider joining our Discord to challenge me via webcam.  There are also tons of people who are always down to jam a game of 93/94 over webcam on the OLDSCHOOL 93-94 ONLINE TOURNAMENTS Facebook group!


We also urge you to follow along on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Patreon so that you don’t miss anything.  At the very least, please take a moment to subscribe to our Twitch Affiliated channel for free with your Amazon/Twitch Prime account.  It’s a great way to support our blog and it costs you absolutely nothing!

Finally, as always, you should follow every Old School MTG resource that you can, such as the fine people over at Wak-Wak, Eternal Central, Magnus de Laval’s Blogspot, DFB’s WordPress, and the Beasts of the Bay Area.



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10 Comments on “[Old School Brawl] Boris Devilboon takes his Zombies to Swamptown.

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