Challenge the Stats – Varina, Lich Queen – EDHREC


(Varina, Lich Queen | Art by Igor Kieryluk)

Welcome to Challenge the Stats! This sequence is predicated on the superior EDHRECast phase the place we select ten playing cards that we predict are overplayed, underplayed, or sleepers to problem EDHREC’s knowledge for a commander. Always bear in mind, pricey reader: card selections made by you, the deckbrewer, for any cause similar to taste, funds, artwork, or enjoyable are at all times most essential and are what preserve our format distinctive and superior.

Last article, readers voted on Varina, Lich Queen. I had an fascinating request from EDHREC reader Cyberium, to problem non-Zombie Tribal Varina decks, and I used to be intrigued. I’m going to take a second to speak about how I discovered the knowledge to problem, so if that doesn’t curiosity you, be happy to skip to the record beneath.

A non-Zombie Tribal Varina deck would nonetheless use her Zombie tokens, in fact, however focus much less on casting Zombies and extra on discarding playing cards and exiling them from our graveyard. Most of the virtually 1900 Varina decks are Zombie tribal, so my first job was to search out knowledge just like the kind of deck I wished. Varina has a Zombie Tokens theme and a Discard theme, however these nonetheless seem like Zombie tribal once we see playing cards like Diregraf Colossus and Rooftop Storm exhibiting up in such excessive numbers. So that’s my first problem! If we’re searching for non-Tribal Varina knowledge, her present themes are so closely imbued with Zombie tribal that we have to do some digging.

This is a good alternative to focus on considered one of the greatest options of EDHREC: Advanced Filters. This let’s us choose and select signpost playing cards to incorporate or omit from the knowledge that we’re seeing.

I began out by having EDHREC present me decks with out Rooftop Storm. The knowledge nonetheless appeared fairly Zombie-licious, so I went a step additional and requested it to indicate me knowledge from decks that additionally didn’t embrace Diregraf Colossus. Now we have been getting someplace! However, I used to be seeing a ton of Cycling playing cards. That’s undoubtedly an incredible route, however it wasn’t precisely what I used to be searching for, so I additionally requested the superior filters to omit an indicator Cycling card, Fluctuator.

I used to be left with 287 decks that basically appeared like the type of deck I used to be going for. We nonetheless have Zombie playing cards, however they’re there for pumping our tokens, not for caring about casting Zombies. We nonetheless have some Cycling playing cards, however incidental Cycling could possibly be useful!

We’re going to problem the knowledge from all 287 Varina non-Zombie-Tribal, non-Cycling-themed Discard decks at the time of writing, and you may see how typically these playing cards are performed in parentheses (%). Here we go.


1. Dreadhorde Invasion (29%)

You can take the tribal out of the Zombie, however you possibly can’t take the …brains… out of the …brains…

Sorry, did you get a haircut?

Oh proper, Magic.

Dreadhorde Invasion typically will get overvalued as a Bitterblossom analog. It’s okay in the proper deck, maybe one that may sac’ the 1/1 Zombie for worth, however I don’t assume it’s this deck. Invasion may assist us get going early by giving us an attacker for Varina, however it’s just about a lifeless card late sport. We’re additionally going huge, not tall, so we’re not planning on hitting that second means.

2. Open the Graves (16%)

We must be fairly important of playing cards that say “nontoken creature”. This may get us just a few our bodies to assist recuperate after a board wipe, however we’ve a handful of different methods to do this. We’ll have just a few nontoken creatures, however our board will likely be largely filled with Zombie tokens. It’s costly, however I’d quite have Overseer of the Damned as board wipe safety as a result of it’s much less prone to “do nothing”.

3. Bag of Holding (9%)

We need our playing cards to get into the ‘yard, and Bag of Holding prevents that from taking place, as a substitute exiling these playing cards into the Bag. We can get them out once more later, however I believe that is counter-productive to our gameplan. The bag is better-suited to a deck that doesn’t rely so closely on playing cards being in our graveyard, and Library of Leng goes to be higher for us if we need to save a card for later. The similar goes for The Cauldron of Eternity (8%). We actually don’t need to be stopping playing cards from hitting our graveyard, even when these playing cards are situationally useful. This deck is a prepare of Zombies that picks up velocity, and we’re going to extremely worth playing cards which can be good each once we’re simply getting going or if we’re at full steam.


4. Windfall (28%)

I need to lean on some Windfall results to dump our hand into our ‘yard and find yourself web optimistic on playing cards in hand. Jace’s Archivist and Whispering Madness are different nice results for this.

5. Ghostly Pilferer (9%)

Discard retailers are nice for serving to us pitch playing cards to the ‘yard. Ghostly Pilferer is a free discard outlet which may simply draw us some playing cards, too. Nezahal, Primal Tide is one other improbable free discard outlet that may draw us playing cards.

6. Ominous Seas (7%)

Our plan is to attract boatloads of playing cards so we’ll hopefully drop tons of 8/8s onto the battlefield with this low-cost enchantment. Wait, does it even have Cycling?


(Liliana, Heretical Healer | Animation by Geoffrey Palmer)

7. Doom Whisperer

Pay life to fill the ‘yard? Heck yes. The five-drop slot is a crowded one, but since we’re gaining life with Varina, we are able to afford to lose some. Dana Roach will likely be the first to let you know that any unspent life at the finish of the sport is a wasted useful resource, and you may typically see him take eight life from Sylvan Library or Sign in Blood his life complete down to at least one Wednesday nights on

8. Sage of the Falls

Every time we make a Zombie, we get to loot. That’s superior card choice, and it helps us dump our library into our ‘yard! Also see: Murder of Crows.

9. Ob-Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted

Is this the deck to make Ob-Nix work? I preserve attempting, however he’s simply not nice. However, 52% of Wheel decks are enjoying him, and I believe the additional utility right here would possibly simply be price it. We’re working a handful of Windfall results so his static means may do some work. Beyond that, he doubles as elimination for our opponents’ creatures and card draw for us at the value of a Zombie. I’m love/hate-twisted about it nonetheless, however let’s give Ob an opportunity.

10. Dreamscape Artist

Anytime we need to discard, I’m trying out Spellshapers. Dreamscape Artist lets us flip a card in our hand right into a Harrow, Bog Witch lets us flip a card in our hand right into a Dark Ritual, and Skirk Ridge Exhumer will get out early and begins turning churning out Zombies.

Bonus Sleeper: Ill-Gotten Gains

This is a good choose from EDHREC author Joseph Megill. It’s a dangerous one, however hopefully we’ll have the ability to get extra benefit from this than our opponents. We’ll make everybody discard and return three playing cards from their graveyards to their fingers, and we all know that our ‘yard will likely be stacked with goodies.

Let’s go to a decklist!

This deck desires to turbo-discard to fill our ‘yard, then exile our personal graveyard to construct an enormous board of Zombie tokens.

I really like that we’ve many alternative win-conditions on this deck. Besides making our Zombies extra threatening with Aven Wind Guide, Wonder, Gleaming Overseer, and others, we are able to additionally win by different traces of play, similar to Psychosis Crawler, The Scarab God, Syr Konrad, the Grim, and the oft-forgotten second means on Bolas’s Citadel (additionally Thassa’s Oracle if you wish to add it). I additionally assume it is a deck that would fairly pull off the Command the Dreadhorde/The Wanderer combo, since it really works if we’ve already pitched The Wanderer to the yard.

Note: MDFCs aren’t counted in the direction of complete lands. Total land rely together with MDFCs = 40.

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
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Are there some other playing cards you’d problem for Varina? Are you tilted that I didn’t embrace Narset, Smothering Tithe, and Hullbreacher? Let me know in the feedback beneath! As at all times, you could find me on twitter @jevin_mtg or shoot me an electronic mail @ [email protected]

Don’t neglect to vote on subsequent week’s Challenge the Stats beneath!

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