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Five essential MTG zombies for Commander

Want more Magic: The Gathering zombies in your Commander deck? Here are the best zombie MTG cards that’ll get your deck-building braiiiiins going.

Wizards of the Coast art of Liliana Vess surrounded by MTG zombies

MTG zombies are a beloved creature type in the trading card game. They’re popular amongst beginners and veterans alike due to their resilient nature and tendency to return to the battlefield – even after your opponent’s best efforts to keep them down. Some of the best MTG zombies have been printed in the past few years, including what could be the best MTG zombie Commander the format has ever seen.

There are over 500 cards with the zombie creature type, so how do you choose which ones to include in your MTG Commander deck? This guide will help you choose which shambling servants to raise on the battlefield and which to lay to rest. Here you’ll find some evergreen creatures that can slot into any zombie strategy, as well as the strongest zombie to lead as your Commander.

If you’re looking for something a little fresher than the humble MTG zombie, take a look at what’s coming up in the MTG 2023 release schedule. We can also point you to the latest MTG Arena codes and the best MTG Arena decks.

These are the best MTG zombies for Commander:

  • Gravecrawler
  • Lord of the Accursed
  • Grey Merchant of Asphodel
  • Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver

MTG zombies card, Gravecrawler, on a blue background


Gravecrawler is the ideal turn-one play. It’s an aggressive creature you can start attacking your opponents with in the early turns. It can’t block, so you want to be dealing damage with it every turn and forcing your opponent to block.

In the best-case scenario, you get to trade Gravecrawler with one of their early-turn mana producers. In the worst-case scenario, it dies and you get to recast it as soon as you have a second zombie in play.

Aside from great early-turn aggression, Gravecrawler is a key part of several infinite combos you can even close out the game with. Pair this with a Phyrexian Altar and another zombie in play, and you’re off to the races.

MTG zombies card, Champion of the Perished, on a blue background

Champion of the Perished

Champion of the Perished is another card you’d love to see in your opening hand. Recently printed in the 2021 set Innistrad: Midnight Hunt (and very reminiscent of Champion of the Parish from the original Innistrad), Champion of the Perished grows with the game, with each other zombie that enters the battlefield placing a +1/+1 counter on it. It’s a threat your opponent can’t ignore for too long.

MTG zombies card, Lord of the Accursed, on a blue background

Lord of the Accursed

There are plenty of MTG zombie lords to choose from, but we’re going to have to give a special mention to Lord of the Accursed. This card provides the ‘lord’ effect by giving all other zombies you control +1/+1 and makes your unbreathing army that little bit more powerful.

What sets this card apart from other zombie lords is its ability to give all zombies Menace until the end of the turn. This evasive keyword will help your creatures break through your opponent’s blockers and go for the throat. Notably, this ability says ‘all zombies’, meaning if there’s another zombie deck at the table, you can activate this ability on that player’s turn and forge an undead alliance against the table.

MTG zombies card, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, on a blue background

Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Next on the list, we’ve got the Gray Merchant of Asphodel. This card is a game-ender utilising the mechanic ‘Devotion’. Devotion means counting up each colour pip (in the case of black, the skull symbols at the top right-hand side of our permanents) and adding up the total. This would be our ‘total devotion to black’.

When Gray Merchant of Asphodel enters the battlefield, all of our opponents lose life equal to that devotion and we gain all that life back. If your opponent’s life totals are low enough, you could kill a player outright.

MTG zombies card, Wilhelt the Rotcleaver, on a blue background

Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver

Finally, we’re going to need a Commander to lead these risen recruits into battle. Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver represents perhaps the most powerful Commander for your zombie deck.

Wilhelt turns all of our zombies into decayed zombie tokens when they die. This means we can sacrifice and block with our own creatures and they get replaced with another creature. Wilhelt also brings us an outlet to sacrifice the zombies we don’t need and turn them into card draw.

A Commander that keeps our battlefield full of creatures and our hand full of cards? Zombie players are spoiled.