It looks like Mono-Black Zombies is once again a real player in Standard. Core Set 2019 really provided a number of tools for the Zombies deck. There are now powerful plays at every slot in the curve, and this is a deck that is all about curving out. In many ways the deck is similar to Mono-Red Aggro with its blistering fast starts, but it has more to do later in the game. Graveyard Marshal is one of the clear standout additions to utilize creatures that have already been removed from play, giving the deck power in the long game.
The list I am playing is pretty streamlined, which is very typical of tribal aggressive strategies.
The creatures are actually all four-ofs, which may seem a little unusual. However, I do believe these are the best plays at the one, two, and three-mana slots for the deck. This is the key, as the deck really wants to get onto the board early with its creatures. There certainly are other options at different slots like Scrapheap Scrounger as a two-drop, but I believe the deck wants to be as synergistic as possible, and Scrapheap Scrounger does not work well alongside Graveyard Marshal.
There is the option of splashing white into this deck as well for additional Zombies like Wayward Servant. I'm not sure there is enough of an incentive to do this though, as it does require a sacrifice to the mana base. Based on the games we played and my experience with the deck so far, this could easily be a major player in Standard moving forward. The control matchups feel pretty easy, as the early threats run away with games. After sideboard, having access to four Duress to back up the early plays is also really nice.
In fact, the only match we lost in this set of matches was to essentially the mirror, so I don't think we can count that against the deck too much. Red decks and God-Pharaoh's Gift can be a challenge though those are matchups that do get better after sideboard. In any matchup this deck can still win with a great curve even if the opponent is advantaged later in the game. The most important thing is hitting your third lard drop, and pretty much all of your one-land hands are mulligans.
Zombies is the best tribal deck in Standard again. While Core Set 2019 wasn't advertised as being tribally themed, clearly there are some major themes in terms of tribes, and Zombies is the big winner!
Thanks for reading,