|(Subtype for creature/tribal cards)|
1.8% 7.8% 72.7% 2.2% 0.4% 3.9% 2.7% 1.4% 0.2% 4.7% 2% 0.2%as of Modern Horizons 2
Storyline[edit | edit source]
Zombies are normally simply animated and have little to no connection with the soul of the deceased, though some especially powerful necromancers know how to bind the dead to their bodies to create smart zombies.
Alara[edit | edit source]
Esperian zombies[edit | edit source]
In the Shard of Alara called Esper, there exist beings who enter undeath by replacing most or all of their natural flesh with etherium, becoming undead abominations known as aether-liches. An aether-lich houses their soul in an etherium phylactery known as an Immortal Coil.
Grixian zombies[edit | edit source]
In Grixis, necromancers create zombies to do their bidding or to prolong their own life. One of the major powers of the Shard, Sedris, is a zombie himself. These damned oftentimes aren't distinguishable from the real living.
Amonkhet[edit | edit source]
Amonkhet is saturated in dark energies that cause every living creature to rise again as undead after their death, referred to as the Curse of Wandering. The Curse of Wandering only affects flesh and ends when the undead has become skeletal. The resulting zombies are focused in black and white, though some Eternals can be found in blue and red.
Abominations[edit | edit source]
Zombies outside the central city Naktamun and its protective shield become vicious abominations. Since the people of Amonkhet believe that the soul will exist as long as the body does, the state of rot these creatures are in is seen as a slow fading out of existence.
Mummies[edit | edit source]
White Zombies (embalmed and mummified creatures) are referred to as Anointed. They comprise of all the dead within Naktamun that have not passed the five trials. They are used for manual labor, raising children, and similar tasks, leaving the living to concentrate fully on achieving a more blessed afterlife. Their fate is seen as acceptable to the horror of becoming an abomination, even though their eventual afterlife will not be as glorious as the one of the Worthy.
The creation of mummies is an automated process, with embalming facilities underground processing the bodies of the slain by removing the internal organs and sealing them in wraps. While every corpse is reanimated in Amonkhet, mummies are made White aligned due to the preservation of their corpses as well as the use of cartouches. A vizier, the last one being Temmet, controlled the mummies. With the fall of Naktamun and the embalming rituals, the masterless mummies attempted to continue their directives.
Eternals[edit | edit source]
The mostly blue, black, or red (or, in the case of Rhonas and Oketra, green and white respectively) Zombies of Amonkhet are eternalized creatures, known as Eternals, are the conclusion of those who pass the trials and are slain by Hazoret. They form Bolas' lethal undead fighting force, the Dreadhorde, that has transcended their mortal capabilities. They are embalmed in layers of lazotep, a valuable blue mineral, that preserves their lifeforce as well as deeds in life. The Eternals are elite soldiers with all the skill and prowess of living soldiers, but none of the disadvantages that arise in living beings, such as emotions, hesitation, or disloyalty - and not being "living beings" lets them be deployed across planes, given a means of transportation. Bolas has personally crafted all of Amonkhet to create just such an army. The five virtues of anointed in the trials are twisted into Tactical Thought, Adaptability, Resilience, Ruthlessness and Fanaticism, virtues more to Bolas liking. Before the Hour of Devastation, they were stored in Bolas's great necropolis.
Not only winners of the Trials were transformed into eternals. Several of the dangerous fauna of Amonkhet, such as hippos, manticores, crocodiles, and even demons were also eternalized and served in the Dreadhorde.
God-Eternals[edit | edit source]
As Oketra was slain, mummies began to embalm her corpse. The purpose of this was revealed in War of the Spark, where the Dreadhorde was joined by the monstrous abominations that were once the Gods. They are coated in massive quantities of lazotep, allowing them to enter Ravnica and cause chaos there.
Dominaria[edit | edit source]
Liches[edit | edit source]
Liches are beings who have stored their life force in an object called a phylactery so that their mortal body will endure upwards of millennia in undeath.
Otarian zombies[edit | edit source]
Zombies were disturbingly common on Otaria thanks to the Cabal. These included zombified Beasts, Birds, Cats, Centaurs, Dragons, Dwarves, Giants, Goblins and Wurms. As the Mirari exerted its powerful influence over the races of Otaria, the zombies began growing additional deformed appendages (and in some cases, extra heads).
Revenants[edit | edit source]
Eldraine[edit | edit source]
Lich lords[edit | edit source]
Innistrad[edit | edit source]
Innistrad is a plane partially infested with Zombies. Zombies, or unhallowed, come in two variants. On one hand, there are the common shambling corpses associated with the color black, called ghouls. Reanimated by necromancers and ghoulcallers they go about making more zombies, killing the living and devouring their flesh. Even gameplaywise these Zombies are slow but overwhelming if the opponent cannot contain them, typically being powerful creatures for their cost and difficult to permanently kill (either through the undying mechanic or occasionally the ability to be recast such as on Gravecrawler) but with some kind disadvantage (coming into play tapped, unable to block, etc.).
The second variety is in the vein of Frankenstein's Monster, the failed experiments of insane mages who attempted to toy with life itself, associated with the color blue. These are called skaabs, and their creators are called skaberen. A common mechanic for them is the requirement to have creature cards in the graveyard removed, such as corpses as the base for these medical abominations. These creatures are typically mighty, but they can be difficult to get into play because they need dead bodies first. This can be provided by self-milling that the mad scientists enable, such as on Deranged Assistant.
The massive Ghoultree, Magic's first mono-green Zombie, also hails from Innistrad.
Kaldheim[edit | edit source]
The Viking zombies of Kaldheim are called the Draugr. They originate in the realm of Karfell. The draugr are an ancient race of undead lords and their subjects, animated by their pathological lust for wealth and power. The draugr jealously guard their vaults against intruders who come to Karfell seeking the ancient treasures and powerful magic items the draugr have stockpiled. Occasionally, the undead venture forth in their strange stone ships to raid other realms and bring back yet more wealth to add to their overflowing vaults.
Generations ago, King Narfi betrayed his people and led the god of death to transform all Karfell's nobles and their subjects into undead. They retain some or all memories and intelligence they had in life, and in death, they are motivated by the same desire for wealth and power that drove them before. The ancient nobles remember the time when the elves possessed godlike power, and they witnessed the huge battle that led to the downfall of the elves and the rise of the Skoti. Their undead subjects retain fewer memories of their existence and now mindlessly serve their lords. The draugr maintain the noble houses and strict class hierarchy that was established when Karfell was a living kingdom. The warrior class, known as the Dead Marn, patrol in half-remembered echoes of their old sentry routes, while draugr jarls stir only every few months to attend council meetings with King Narfi. When a Doomskar brings Karfell into contact with another realm, the Dead Marn prefer to launch raids on other realms by sea, but occasionally march to war in silent ranks of undead warriors.
Mirrodin[edit | edit source]
In the plane of Mirrodin, zombies are known as the nim, and inhabit the Mephidross Swamp. The Nim are people that have become zombified by the necrogen puffed out of the smokestacks of the Mephidross Swamp. In turn, the Nim vent necrogen gas themselves, as well.
Ravnica[edit | edit source]
Golgari Swarm[edit | edit source]
The Golgari uses ritualistic magic to make zombies, which can deliberately be made to be mindless deadwalkers for labor purposes or letting them keep their full faculties and abilities, like their Guildmasters Svogthir and Jarad, who were zombies themselves. Their zombies are usually imbued with plants, insects or fungi, giving them the largest contingent of green zombies. The Erstwhile once were an important soldier faction in Ravnica. They were laid to rest in coffins in Umerilek, Mausoleum of the Erstwhile. They returned as Zombie Attendants of Vraska.
Cult of Rakdos[edit | edit source]
They are usually made as mindless deadwalkers and servants. Unlike the Golgari's these ones have their bodies altered with spikes, metal teeth, and other torturing implants to make them more deadly.
Dreadhorde[edit | edit source]
Phyrexia[edit | edit source]
While, Phyrexian Scuta has the creature type "zombie" while actually being a Phyrexian, zombies of Phyrexian origin do exist. Cards like Metathran Zombie and Vodalian Zombie represent creatures that were killed by a Phyrexian tingler. The tingler is a nasty device that resembles a spiny centipede-like insect. One end of the tingler is fashioned with small hooks used both for movement and for carrying out its main function, which is to zombify enemy troops in the midst of battle, turning them against their allies.
The tingler zombifies by crawling into its victim's mouth and using its hooks to literally rip out their spinal cord, effectively killing them. It will then crawl down their mouth and into the cavity once occupied by the spine and replace the spinal cord, controlling their body. This process is short and leaves the corpse mostly intact, as opposed to the long process by which Phyrexian soldiers usually are created.
Tarkir[edit | edit source]
The Gurmug Swamps of Tarkir are riddled with the sibsig, the wandering zombie hordes of the Sultai—an amalgam of fallen soldiers from the other clans of Tarkir. The bodies of the sibsig zombies are kept well preserved through powerful necromancy, while the rest of the undead army is left to rot.
Theros[edit | edit source]
In Theros, the Noston, or Returned, are undead that escaped the plane's Underworld, governed by the god Erebos. To escape the Underworld, one must lose one's own identity, and as such the Returned not only have no faces beyond a few holes but also have lost their memories, both of their past lives and the capacity of holding long-term memories in themselves. As such, while they are sapient and feel emotions, their existences are nothing but shadow-play, being unable to connect with other living beings and form an actual identity, forever in a state of negative emotions and empty routines.
The Returned wear golden masks: clay masks are used in Theros to frame the faces of the dead, so the elimination of these masks is a symbolic act for the return to the world of the living. Gold is the most common material in the infernal realm, so the Noston use it to craft new masks, that serve as flimsy, hollow identities. They value gold very little beyond their masks but use currency based on the broken fragments of the clay masks, which have immense symbolic value. When not wandering alone and rejecting civilization, the Returned go to cities called necropolises, two of which being of particular importance: the neutral Asphodel, where the Noston simply embrace their fate, and the aggressive Odunos, where the undead give in to violent emotions and perform raids on the living.
Unfortunately, Returned can’t build relationships due to their faulty long-term memories. Some may become non-threatening merchants or storytellers, but most become mindless slaves to dark overlords or more intelligent Returned. In rare cases, a powerful soul may become a Kakomanteis – capable of blood magic – or a Palamnite – a soul full of rage, desperate to cause suffering. In some awful cases, they may become Pseudammas – remembering that they were parents and thus kidnap mortal children but have lost all concept of caring for living beings.
Eidolons[edit | edit source]
In the process of severing the physical body from the "soul," an eidolon is created. An eidolon is the spectral embodiment of the lost identity, but without its body, it has no agency. Unlike the Returned, it has no sense of what it lost. The Returned and its severed eidolon are never reunited, nor are they aware of one another's existence.
Zendikar[edit | edit source]
Whenever a Zendikar vampire fully drains the blood of a living creature without destroying the husk, that creature does not become a vampire. Instead, it becomes a null, a faceless zombie that is stronger and much faster than typical zombies. If nulls are left without orders, they will hunt and kill living things that they can find.
Notable Zombies[edit | edit source]
- Balthor the Defiled
- Bladewing the Risen
- Boris Devilboon
- Dralnu, Lich Lord
- Frankenstein's Monster
- Haakon, Stromgald Scourge
- Josu Vess
- Korlash, Heir to Blackblade
- Lord of Tresserhorn
- Grimgrin, Geralf's General 
- Mikaeus Cecani, reanimated by Liliana Vess.
- Dierk, Geistmage.
- Mirrodin/New Phyrexia
- Lichlord Skavius Slan.
- Sidisi (new time line).
Creature type[edit | edit source]
In Magic: The Gathering, zombies are one of three creature types that sometime functions as a race (Mournful Zombie) and sometimes it functions as a class (Vodalian Zombie), sharing this trait with Spirit and Illusion. The default race for zombies is therefore human, which was never mentioned in the type line, until the embalm mechanic created Human Zombie tokens. In the case of other races, the original race is always mentioned in the type line.
Grand Creature Type Update[edit | edit source]
In the Grand Creature Type Update the following creature types were changed into Zombie:
- Fallen (The Fallen)
- Ghoul (for example (Ashen Ghoul)
- Horseman (Headless Horseman)
- Monster (Frankenstein's Monster)
- Mummy (Cyclopean Mummy)
- Murk-Dweller (Murk Dwellers)
- Necrosavant (Necrosavant; also a Giant)
- Tombspawn (Tombstone Stairwell)
- Walking-Dead (Walking Dead)
- Wight (Dread Wight)
Tokens[edit | edit source]
|Token Name||Color||Type Line||P/T||Text Box||Source||Printings|
|Zombie||Black||Creature — Zombie||2/2||
|Black||Enchantment Creature — Zombie||2/2|
|Black||Creature — Zombie||X/X|
|Blue||Creature — Zombie||X/X|
|Tombspawn||Black||Creature — Zombie||2/2||Haste|
|Walker||Black||Creature — Zombie||2/2|
|Zombie Army||Black||Creature — Zombie Army||0/0||
|Zombie Berserker||Black||Creature — Zombie Berserker||2/2|
|Zombie Giant||Black||Creature — Zombie Giant||5/5|
|Festering Goblin||Black||Creature — Zombie Goblin||1/1||When Festering Goblin dies, target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.|
|Zombie Horror||Black||Creature — Zombie Horror||X/X|
|Zombie Knight||Black||Creature — Zombie Knight||2/2||Menace|
|Zombie Warrior||Black||Creature — Zombie Warrior||4/4|
|Zombie Wizard||Blue/Black||Creature — Zombie Wizard||1/1|
|Phyrexian Zombie||Black||Creature — Phyrexian Zombie||2/2|
|Angel of Sanctions||White||Creature — Zombie Angel||3/4||Flying
Whenever Angel of Sanctions enters the battlefield, you may exile target nonland permanent an opponent controls until Angel of Sanctions leaves the battlefield.
|Anointer Priest||White||Creature — Zombie Human Cleric||1/3||Whenever a creature token enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 1 life.|
|Aven Initiate||White||Creature — Zombie Bird Warrior||3/2||Flying|
|Aven Wind Guide||White||Creature — Zombie Bird Warrior||2/3||Flying, vigilance
Creature tokens you control have flying and vigilance.
|Glyph Keeper||White||Creature — Zombie Sphinx||5/3||Flying
Whenever Glyph Keeper becomes the target of a spell or ability for the first time each turn, counter that spell or ability.
|Heart-Piercer Manticore||White||Creature — Zombie Manticore||4/3||When Heart-Piercer Manticore enters the battlefield, you may sacrifice another creature. When you do, Heart-Piercer Manticore deals damage equal to that creature's power to target creature or player.|
|Honored Hydra||White||Creature — Zombie Snake Hydra||6/6||Trample|
|Labyrinth Guardian||White||Creature — Zombie Illusion Warrior||2/3||Whenever Labyrinth Guardian becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice it.|
|Oketra's Attendant||White||Creature — Zombie Bird Soldier||3/3||Flying|
|Sacred Cat||White||Creature — Zombie Cat||1/1||Lifelink|
|Tah-Crop Skirmisher||White||Creature — Zombie Naga Warrior||2/1|
|Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun||White||Legendary Creature — Zombie Human Cleric||2/2||At the beginning of combat on your turn, target creature token you control gets +1/+1 until end of turn and can't be blocked this turn.|
|Trueheart Duelist||White||Creature — Zombie Human Warrior||2/2||Trueheart Duelist can block an additional creature each combat.|
|Unwavering Initiate||White||Creature — Zombie Human Warrior||3/2||Vigilance|
|Vizier of Many Faces||White||Creature — Zombie Shapeshifter Cleric||0/0||You may have Vizier of Many Faces enter the battlefield as any creature on the battlefield, except it has no mana cost, it's white and it's a Zombie in addition to its other types.|
|Adorned Pouncer||Black||Creature — Zombie Cat||4/4||Double strike|
|Champion of Wits||Black||Creature — Zombie Naga Wizard||4/4||When Champion of Wits enters the battlefield, you may draw cards equal to its power. If you do, discard two cards.|
|Dreamstealer||Black||Creature — Zombie Human Wizard||4/4||Menace
When Dreamstealer deals combat damage to a player, that player discards that many cards.
|Earthshaker Khenra||Black||Creature — Zombie Jackal Warrior||4/4||Haste
When Earthshaker Khenra enters the battlefield, target creature with power less than or equal to Earthshaker Khenra's power can't block this turn.
|Proven Combatant||Black||Creature — Zombie Human Warrior||4/4|
|Resilient Khenra||Black||Creature — Zombie Jackal Wizard||4/4||When Resilient Khenra enters the battlefield, you may have target creature get +X/+X until end of turn, where X is Resilient Khenra's power.|
|Sinuous Striker||Black||Creature — Zombie Naga Warrior||4/4||: Sinuous Striker gets +1/-1 until end of turn.|
|Steadfast Sentinel||Black||Creature — Zombie Human Cleric||4/4||Vigilance|
|Sunscourge Champion||Black||Creature — Zombie Human Wizard||4/4||When Sunscourge Champion enters the battlefield, you gain life equal to its power.|
|Timeless Dragon||Black||Creature — Zombie Dragon||4/4||Flying
|Timeless Witness||Black||Creature — Zombie Human Shaman||4/4||When Timeless Witness enters the battlefield, return target card from your graveyard to your hand.|
Manlands[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Zombie Apocalypse is a sorcery that returns all Zombie creature cards from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped, then destroys all Humans.
- Due to regulations in China, alternate art often needs to be produced for cards depicting the undead. An example is the Seventh Edition Scathe Zombies.
- Although not identified as zombies, the three corrupted gods of Amonkhet are stated to be undead and very similar to the Eternals, being coated in lazotep instead of gold like the five gods. In the War of the Spark the four slain gods return as zombies and have similar return mechanics to those of the corrupted gods, leaving the question of whereas they are also zombies but simply not typed as such.
References[edit | edit source]
- Mark Rosewater (October 22, 2018). "Are the iconic/characteristic races considered a 1 on the Beeble Scale?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (March 15, 2015). "Characteristic and iconic creatures for each color?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Doug Beyer (December 8, 2008). "The Flavor of Zones". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- A Planeswalker's Guide to Alara
- Dave Humpherys (April 4, 2017). "Developing Amonkhet". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (April 3, 2017). "Amonkhet Down to Business, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Art of Amonkhet [Sponsored] (Video). loadingreadyrun. YouTube (June 23, 2017).
- Ken Troop (July 12, 2017). "Hour of Eternity". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Plane Shift: Amonkhet (PDF)
- Magic Arcana (March 5, 2003). "Style Guide - Zombies". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Kate Elliott (2019), Throne of Eldraine: The Wildered Quest, Penguin Random House
- Mark Rosewater (September 5, 2011). "C'mon Innistrad, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley (October 10, 2011). "So Many Zombies". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Creative Team (October 19, 2011). "A Planeswalker's Guide to Innistrad: Nephalia and the Undead". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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- Jeremy Cranford (February 3, 2004). "Creating Mirrodin: Swamps and Zombies". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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- Magic Arcana (May 19, 2004). "Sketches: Nim Grotesque". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Alison Luhrs (May 31, 2017). "Pride of the Kraul". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Trick Jarrett (December 5, 2013). "The Returned". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards RPG Team (2020), D&D Mythic Odysseys of Theros, Wizards of the Coast
- Magic Creative Team (October 21, 2009). "A planeswalker's Guide to Zendikar: Guul Draz and Vampires". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jenna Helland (January 16, 2012). "Preview Article: Mikaeus, the Unhallowed". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley (November 28, 2011). "Who Is Grimgrin?". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (January, 2008). "Ask Wizards - January, 2008". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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- Mark Rosewater (September 12, 2015). "Why zombie human doesn't exist?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
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- Mark Rosewater (March 3, 2003). "I cc: Dead People". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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- Magic Arcana (November 14, 2005). "Alternate Chinese Art in Ravnica, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.