Time to eat some crow.

Zombies were never on my radar as a serious thing because the deck has casual written all over it. Zombies were a brief thing during Innistrad thanks to Gravecrawler and Geralf's Messenger, but could never be taken seriously while Thragtusk and Delver of Secrets and Sphinx's Revelation existed. Amonkhet's zombies seemed like another example of the long history of casual player wish-fulfillment: something fresh, new, and tribal. It was helpful that word on the street was that the deck had an edge on Mardu Vehicles. I ignored this because many decks have claimed an edge on Mardu Vehicles before, and they were all incorrect.

Mono-Black Zombies won Pro Tour Amonkhet. Zombies have existed since Alpha's Zombie Master, but Pro Tour Amonkhet marks the first time they were relevant. Good for them for hitting it big before the quarter-century mark. Now let's hit the Top 10 sellers.

For the most part, this week's top 10 separates into two buckets: cards from the New Perspectives combo deck, and cards from the zombies deck. I'll get into both groups, but there are a couple cards to cover first.

#9: Aetherworks Marvel

Aetherworks Marvel, powerful as it is, would be utterly inoffensive if it wasn't for the mythic Eldrazi that have accompanied its stay in Standard. Emrakul, the Promised End is banned, and given the broad prevalence of Aetherworks Marvel decks at Pro Tour Amonkhet, it won't be shocking if Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger joins the banlist in a month. Watching players roll the dice on Aetherworks Marvel ad infinitum was fun for a weekend, but it is sure to lose its novelty quickly, just like getting Mindslavered by Emrakul, the Promised End was. Good riddance.

#7: Dispossess

Clear back in Champions of Kamigawa, there was this card called Cranial Extraction. On paper, Champions of Kamigawa Block Constructed was all about Umezawa's Jitte — it's the most powerful card in the block — but in practice, the format revolved around Sensei's Divining Top. Thanks to abundant mana ramp in cards like Sakura-Tribe Elder and Kodama's Reach that also shuffled the deck, expensive, fat legends that could close games in a couple turns, and Gifts Ungiven, Kamigawa Block Constructed decks revolved around landing an early Sensei's Divining Top, filtering draws and ramping, and setting up a Gifts Ungiven.

Cranial Extraction was the fly in the ointment. Winning the die roll in the control mirror meant you got to Cranial Extraction for Gifts Ungiven or even their Cranial Extractions; the first player to resolve a Cranial Extraction carried an overwhelming advantage; they were able to loop Extractions and keep recasting them. Control decks traditionally don't carry many win-conditions, so it didn't take a ton of Cranial Extractions to render an opposing control deck moot.

It goes without saying that an environment like this is really only possible in Block Constructed. Cranial Extraction was a non-factor in Standard the entire time it was legal. Lobotomy has won a Pro Tour, but those days are long gone.

R&D's affinity for the effect is still very much alive and well, though, and Dispossess is its latest side-effect (Dispossess's antithesis exists in Standard as Lost Legacy). The card sees play in sideboards as a way to rid Aetherworks Marvel decks of their copies of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

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If you start that clip at 1:24, you can watch a game in which Christian Calcano resolves two copies of Lost Legacy, a superior card to Dispossess, against an Aetherworks Marvel deck, exiling all of Martin Muller's copies of Chandra, Flamecaller and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Calcano loses the game. The game is worth watching if only because it perfectly showcases why Cranial Extraction-type cards have been ineffective in Standard for the better part of a decade.

The Aetherworks Marvel deck wants nothing more than to hit an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger off an Aetherworks Marvel activation, and Gerry Thompson didn't even board in Lost Legacy to try and exile Watanabe's Ulamogs in the finals of the Pro Tour. He (correctly) determined that Lost Legacy and its effect is worse than another piece of pressure and played the finals accordingly, and now he has a PT trophy for his troubles.

Dispossess and cards of its ilk aren't bad in the common sense. They are a trap. In a game that is becoming more and more about analyzing what's happening on the board and how best to impact it, Cranial Extraction-type effects, even though they sure do have a lot of words on them, are just not good enough, and have been demonstrably bad, even against decks with few unique win-conditions. I'm not saying never run it, but if you adopt the heuristic that these cards are bad, you'll be right far more often than you're wrong.

#10: Vizier of Tumbling Sands

#3: New Perspectives

#2: Shadow of the Grave

Just watch this first game between Martin Juza and Hall-of-Famer Masashi Oiso:

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The deck looks very impressive in its game one win, using Vizier of Tumbling Sands to untap a Weirding Wood-enchanted land, Shefet Monitor to ramp, and Shadow of the Grave to rebuy Shefet Monitors, eventually floating enough mana to cast Approach of the Second Sun, cycle to the copy left in the deck, and cast it again. It was the only time it was seen on the weekend, but it's a cute deck capable of beating anything without a Negate in it. And it's certainly fun.

#8: Lord of the Accursed

#6: Diregraf Colossus

#5: Dread Wanderer

#4: Dark Salvation

#1: Liliana's Mastery

Zombies won the Pro Tour. Here's the winning list:

If you're wondering why these cards sold so well, that deck is why.

Jon Corpora
pronounced Ca-pora