After losing several key pieces, Zombies can no longer compete in Standard. However, there are plenty of good, cheap, aggressive creatures in black, highlighted by the trio of one-drops that attack for two actual or virtual damage: Dread Wanderer, Night Market Lookout, and Vicious Conquistador. This makes for some explosive starts, especially when backed up by the most efficient removal spell, Fatal Push.
Scrapheap Scrounger and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner are easy choices for two-drops, and the newly released Ruin Raider seems obvious at the three-slot, but in my experience that leads to a deck that can draw a lot of cards but doesn't have a good way to break through a stalled battlefield.
This list splashes red to incorporate some good ways of mitigating that issue. Hazoret the Fervent attacks into nearly any creature while providing some reach, which is then bolstered by Lightning Strike.
The list goes even further with some options that don't further commit you to red, notably Aethersphere Harvester, which lets you fly over the top of your opponent, win races with the lifelink, and get use out of your one-drops once they are no longer good in combat, especially Night Market Lookout.
The most surprising addition is Yahenni, Undying Partisan, which can serve to apply early pressure after an aggressive start while also giving you another creature that can attack into more developed battlefields. The only real tactical synergy with the card is via Scrapheap Scrounger, but I imagine Yahenni's real purpose is to put your opponent into difficult spots where they don't have good blocks against it, but if they want to attack and try to race, they free up a smaller creature or two to attack.
It also helps enable the otherwise highly questionable Bontu's Last Reckonings in the deck, although I still find the maindeck copy suspect. It's a high-risk, high-reward card that can sometimes steal a game, but I'd prefer something more consistent.
We've seen a lot of red-based aggro decks splash black for Scrapheap Scrounger over the last year, but with the dearth of good one-drops in red and bevy of good options for black, we could see a changing of the guard for Standard aggro decks.
- 4 Scrapheap Scrounger
- 4 Dread Wanderer
- 4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
- 4 Night Market Lookout
- 4 Vicious Conquistador
- 3 Hazoret the Fervent
- 3 Yahenni, Undying Partisan