Commander Spotlight: Vulturous Zombie

We heartily greet thee back to the real Guild-Themed Commander picks this week. Our previous article was clearly an April Fools’ joke, having nothing to do with the guilds or the Commander format in general (the gag being that Assembly Hall in EDH is no more than a nine mana investment to shuffle your deck). But we are back, and after those hijinks, we’re in a more somber mood.

Luckily we’ve returned with arguably the most somber guild on the plane: the Golgari. Even their house band, “The Regurgitationists”, aren’t all that lively. It’s understandable, really. The Golgari have a very important job on Ravnica as keepers of the plane’s agriculture. Their focus is on the life cycle. It’s just that, by doing so, they want to end yours and continue theirs. The Golgari’s desire for power is insatiable and unending, much as the circle of existence they represent. Their philosophy is that life and death are part of the same process, and that it’s entirely necessary. They destroy so they can come back stronger.

You try being jovial with killing and reanimating compost all the time.

It should be no surprise, then, that their representative here should be something embodies those Golgari ideals of growth through destruction. And does it ever.

Today we have: Vulturous Zombie

Name: Vulturous Zombie

Edition: Ravnica / MTG: Commander

Rarity: Rare

Focus: +1/+1 Counters

Highlights: Vulturous Zombie doesn’t have a lot of subtext to it. To be fair, that’s not really the Golgari way. Sure, their mechanics and tactics aren’t always the most straight-forward compared to other guilds, but their overall ideology is simple. And Vulturous Zombie is at the heart of it.

Also, how cool is the idea of a flying plant zombie, honestly? We know that Grave Bramble was a nod to Popcap’s Plants v Zombies game, but the Golgari have been running around with the plant zombie combination since 2005. This particular one just happens to have wings.

Vulturous Zombie is perfect for the EDH setting, so it should be no surprise it ended up reprinted in the Commander precons. Its ability to get counters whenever anything  hits an opponent’s graveyard is monumental in a format known for board wipes and many players. This flying rot monster often gets big in a hurry.

There are multiple avenues that one can use with it. From giving it simple stuff like lifelink, deathtouch (both?), or trample, to things that reap benefits from doing combat damage, you can have a sizeable threat on the board from those alone. Of course, we also love the idea of pairing him with a certain Ulvenwald Tracker.

But if that isn’t enough, consider providing Vulturous Zombie with effects that benefit from things dying, or just things hitting the graveyard, period. Discard and sac mechanics (both?) are just as beneficial to you as clearing out parts of the board. You can also work with boosting its +1/+1 counters if you prefer to go that route, as green has a knack for that we hear. Whether it’s adding more, or just doubling them, you will really expedite this creature’s growth process.

Whatever the path you choose, remember: people inherently don’t trust the Golgari. So don’t be surprised if players won’t want to let you keep this airborne train once it gets moving. Be prepared for people to destroy it, remove it – or steal it. Much like any good Golgari mage, if you expend yourself too fast, it could come back to bite you. Literally.

Now that we’ve played in all this dirt, we’re off to wash our hands. Stay tuned for the next guild-based Commander card. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.

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