Improving the Basic Corruption List
The initial Corruption deck, which you get by completing the first Corruption quest, goes from "solid" to "strong" with several tweaks.
Initial Zombies Deck
This deck has a bunch of solid Zombies cards. Noxious Fumes, Zombie Legionnaire, Consume Spirit, Infected Survivor, Undead Necromancer, and Tombs of the Damned are auto-includes in every zombies list. Some of the other cards in this list are good "tech" cards.
It's also a deck that showcases different corruption mechanics but doesn't have an identity. It has aggro cards (zombie legionnaire) alongside control cards (splitting headache). It becomes more consistent when it picks an identity - and if you know me, you know I'm giving it an aggro identity.
Our goal will be to build this deck, which Jotto took to #1 on the ranked ladder last week.
Enter a Draft
If you're just getting started, drafts are the best place to build your collection. Every draft gives you the equivalent of three free small packs (12 extra cards), and you choose from a pool of cards rather than relying on the luck of the draw.
Look for Rares: There's only one rare card per normal pack, so if you see any of the following rares in a draft you should grab them - and in general, if you're a new player and building a collection, grab every rare/epic/heroic you see, even if it doesn't fit the deck you're building.
How do you identify rares, epics, and heroics? Look at the bottom right-hand corner of the card art. You'll see a symbol there. Commons are grey. Uncommons are silver. Rares are gold. Epics are blue. Heroics are red. If you see a gold, blue, or red symbol (or card outline), chances are you should pick that card.
Here are the rares you're looking for in Zombies:
- Tombs of the Damned: The most important Zombie rare. Your starter deck came with one of these. You'll eventually want at least three of them, probably four.
- Succubus: Ideally you have 4x of these. You can run Necromantic Cult instead if you get one of those.
- Word of Pain: You don't have to run 4x of these, but this spell cycles and helps you control the board.
- Duke Hartsford: Nicknamed "Duke Value," because of how much value he provides in a Zombies list.
- Suffocate: A great board clear that won't hurt you, but probably will hurt your opponent.
- Masoleum of the Damned/Sanctum of the Void: Skill shrines. They aren't essential, and you can play Haunted Cemetery in their place.
After the rares you're drafting commons and uncommons, because a Zombies deck doesn't use any Epic or Heroic cards. You should look for (in order of priority):
- 2x Consume Spirit (uncommon): You already have two. You want four of them.
- 2x Undead Necromancer (uncommon): Makes all your zombies 'deadly'
- 4x Abhorrent Ghoul (common): The best Zombies two drop.
- 1x Noxious Fumes (common): Cheap removal. You already have three, and want four.
- 1x Infected Survivor (common): Not essential, since you can play Rotting Remains in this slot instead.
Craft Key Rares
If you can't get the rares you need through drafts, you can buy and open packs, accumulate shrines, and craft any cards you need. My suggested crafting order: 3x Tombs of the Damned --> 4x Succubus --> 4x Word of Pain--> 1x Sanctum of the Void --> - 2x Duke Hartsford. I wouldn't craft Suffocate or Mausoleum for this deck. Tombs, Succubus, Word of Pain, and Sanctum all see play in Mono-Corruption Control as well, so you're safe crafting them. They have versatility beyond a Zombies deck.
Don't craft any commons or uncommons. You'll get those cards quickly and crafting them is a waste of shrines.
As You Add Cards, Move Others Out
Keep your deck at 60 cards and aim for 19 or 20 shrines (I like 20 in Zombies because a missed DO can really hurt in a deck with no card draw). Move cards out in this order:
- -3 shrines: your initial deck has 23 shrines, and you want to go down to 20:
- -1 Dread Knight: it's not worth going 3 levels for Dread Knight, which isn't a great card despite the stat line
- -4 Splitting Headache: It's a control card, and we're building an aggro deck
- -2 Undead Hydra: Not worth the cost. At 5 mana, it's not good enough.
- -2 Bedeviled Fiend: Solid creature and stat line, but dies to fireball and is better suited for a Demons deck than a Zombies deck.
Once you reach the point where you've removed those 12 cards, you will have played the deck enough to make your own decisions. While I've linked to a version of Zombies for new players, there are plenty of choices you can make in a Zombies list. Plague Vermin, Rotting Remains, Insatiable Ghoul, and Mesmerizing Spirit aren't in my final version of Zombies, but they're perfectly reasonable choices to keep in your version of Zombies if you like them.