1. I'm very intrigued by this format. It's a total change of pace from the usual game and it will suit some in my playgroup to cooperate against an 'AI.' One of the things I'm missing though, is a reason to attack. Your own combat will be rather nonexcistant, since the zombies have no lifetotal, not a lot of blockers and thus, a huge chunk of strategy is missing. One solution I could think of is have the zombies as an extra hazzard in a regular game or something.

    • Marius,

      "For each point of damage done to the Horde, the Horde mills one card off the top of their deck."

      So attacking is incentive by milling the Zombie Horde's deck, which is actually pretty flavorful in that it depletes the Hordes affectiveness in continuing attacks. 🙂

    • There would be reasons to attack of your attacking does something, such as Dimir Cutpurse. Also, since damaging the horde mills cards, that would be a good way to win.

    • There would be reasons to attack of your attacking does something, such as Dimir Cutpurse. Also, since damaging the horde mills cards, that would be a good way to win.

  2. Good job Pete! I look forward to the future of this. I've been tossing around different roles for the Survivor decks… Weapon/role typing like a Shotgun (think board wipes?), Sniper (burn/pingers?), and even housing your own beast with a deck that ramps into a fatty. I think that cooperative roles would be fun, because I doubt any one of those decks would be able to beat the Horde on its own.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. This looks awesome.

    Because my friends will immediately try these things:
    * How does the Horde deal with Moat, Ensnaring Bridge, etc.? Caltrops and a Barbed Foliage? Seems like those cards would be auto-wins.
    * Drain Power for infinite mana seems like it could do some neat stuff. 🙂

    • Yeah – it sucks that there are some cards that ruin the game. Moat, Ensnaring Bridge. Platinum Empiron (For the most part). There could be some awesome fix to these cards, but basically my answer is just to ban those cards. There are banned list for Commander, so it's not unheard of.

  4. As much of a blast as this seems to be, Elesh Norn is the freaking Zombie Slayer extreme. Kills all but 7 cards out of the deck without assistance. I know there's ways to kill her in the deck, but jeez that seems to make the fight easier. :

  5. This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it out, and I like how playing with Commander decks makes the fact that the Zombies have only two toughness less of an issue.

  6. To anyone who brings up that “card X” kills the deck, just don’t play with those cards. This is about as casual as it gets, you aren’t even facing off against another person, so any “gaming” of the format should be left at the door. Build the “survivor” decks in a way that actually challenges you as a player. If it doesn’t sound fun to you, no problem, it ain’t your thing.

    That said, I do think some kind of “infection” system would be fun in this and make it even more challenging. Players would need to block in order to keep from being overrun, but what if when any creatures of the “survivor team” team died, they “reanimated” and were shuffled into the Horde deck? Then when they died again, they were gone for good?

    Or something like, for every 10 damage dealt to the survivors, each player surrendered one of their creatures to the Horde side?

    I like the idea of restricting what the players can do more while simultaneously raising the stakes. Old school survival horror on hard mode :P.

    • I totally dig having people die off one by one. Seems more flavorful and representative to what actually (presumably) happens in a Zombie apocalypse. You can't really have different life totals for each player, because the Zombie's can't decide who to attack. You could randomize it, but that's usually a last resort and I'm sure there is a better solution to that.

      • Great idea. Sounds like crazy fun.

        How about have a player randomly removed from the game each time total life points reach 15*(n-1)?
        These would give the following thresholds for player death:

        If that is too harsh, maybe a different multiplier could be used. 10 would return 30-20-10-0. Might work.

  7. I haven't played it yet, so I don't know if it needs it, but you could have a stack of Zombie tokens on the side and when a survivor's creature dies, you could exile it instead of placing it in the graveyard and put a zombie token into play on the horde's side.

    Would you suggest flipping a coin to see if the Zombie's would attack a Planeswalker on the board?

    Thanks for the awesome idea!

    • interesting suggestion – definitely flavorful. My hope is that playgroups make change and add rules that make it more fun.

      The way I've been playing is that the zombies just ignore planeswalkers. One track mind!

  8. This looks really neat. Here are a few more cards you might consider Syphon Flesh, Zombie Mob (Putting tokens into the hordes graveyard), Brain Gorgers, Gloomdrifter (Again, presuming tokens in the yard), Infectious Horror, Marauding Knight, Phage the Untouchable (Now a Zombie!), Rank and File, Rotting Legion, Rotting Rats/Grixis Slavedriver (With the idea that Unearth happens the turn after they die, which is how I assume Army of the Damned works, but maybe you just immediately recast it?), Tresserhorn Skyknight, Waning Wurm, Necrogen Mists, Death Pits of Rath, Death Pit Offering (nice reset, considerably ups the ante), and finally Zzzyxas's Abyss (It always comes last)

    Infectious Host also doesn't work for me because of the "target player" bit, the zombie deck should just hit all of the players all of the time.

    As for reset buttons, Planar Cleansing might be a nice one. It's a little more painful for the non-Zombie players, has a nice flavor impact by being white, and it gives Zombies an out to super frustrating permanents like Caltrops or Ensnaring Bridge.

  9. Yeah I remember playing this with you and Forrest and someone else awhile back. And I remember my rock edh was a little to well suited for this because I run around 11 sweepers and multiple ways to deal 40+ in one turn around turn 6

  10. Eldrazi Horde:
    55x Eldrazi Spawn
    4x All Is Dust
    2x Corpsehatch (Destroy the largest non-Eldrazi creature)
    2x Rapacious One
    2x Broodwarden
    2x Kozilek's Predator
    2x Dread Drone
    2x Essence Feed
    2x Artisan of Kozilek
    2x Emrakul's Hatcher
    2x Hand of Emrakul
    2x Nest Invader
    2x Pathrazer of Ulamog
    2x Skittering Invasion
    2x Ulamog's Crusher
    1x Eldrazi Monument (The eldrazi deck must and can only sacrifice Spawn tokens)
    1x Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
    1x Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
    1x It That Betrays
    1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

    Additional Rules for the Eldrazi deck:
    – Eldrazi spawn do not attack unless they have power greater than 0.
    – Eldrazi spawn must block exactly one unblocked creature if able.
    – When a mythic Eldrazi is put into the graveyard, only shuffle Eldrazi spawn back into its library.
    – Emrakul is always the bottom card of the horde deck.

    Sliver Horde
    55 Metalic Sliver
    5 Venser's Sliver
    3 Planar Clensing
    4 Sinew Sliver
    4 Muscle Sliver
    1 Plated Sliver
    1 Blade Sliver
    1 Sidewinder Sliver
    1 Spined Sliver
    1 Crystalline Sliver
    1 Frenzy Sliver
    1 Ghostflame Sliver
    1 Talon Sliver
    1 Two-Headed Sliver
    1 Winged Sliver
    1 Frenetic Sliver (Whenever a sliver would die from a spell, flip the coin.)
    1 Horned Sliver
    1 Shadow Sliver
    1 Bonesplitter Sliver
    1 Fungus Sliver
    1 Root Sliver
    1 Shifting Sliver
    1 Toxin Sliver
    1 Vampiric Sliver
    1 Watcher Sliver
    1 Brood Sliver
    1 Lymph Sliver
    1 Might Sliver
    1 Spitting Sliver
    1 Battering Sliver
    1 Fury Sliver
    1 Virulent Sliver
    1 Sliver Legion

    Additional Rules for the Slivers:
    – Keep flipping until you hit a non-artifact spell.
    – Sliver Legion is always the bottom card of the horde deck.

    Rats Horde:
    100x Plague Rats (Way cheaper than getting that many Relentless, but w/e)

    Additional Rules for the Rats:
    – Starting at turn 3, flip 1 Rat. Next turn, flip twice as many rats as the previous turn.

  11. @Infectious Host: it doesn't matter which player is targeted, communal life after all.

    This idea is really good to test as a goldfish, if it is too easy, play with the 100 card stack. It gives constant pressure. I'd brainstorm other tribes but it would depend on your personal preferences. I have a soft spot for elementals. Especially after Lorwyn gave us so many diverse options and tokens

  12. Almost forgot. Soldier swarm with Elspeths. Roll die to determine her activations. Think of the tension if she nukes the world. Handle the gain life from 2.0 as adding tokens to the bottom of the deck.

  13. This is awesome! It's like Magic: the Board Game. I can see Horde being a new alternative that can keep Commander nice and fresh. I think the weaker your Commander deck the better. It's probably a lot more fun fighting with your back against the wall trying to play yourselves out of getting eaten alive.

  14. This is the Merfolk Horde deck i'm going to play tonight at a party. It will be loads of fun, i guess. Single Player is pretty hard, but random. 1-2 atm.

    58# Merfolk Token
    1# Vodalian Zombie
    1# Meekstone
    2# Wake Thrasher
    1# Rebuild
    1# Hollowsage
    1# Coral Merfolk
    1# True Conviction
    1# Riptide Pilferer
    1# Inundate
    2# Inkfathom Infiltrator
    2# Summon the School
    3# Merrow Reejerey
    1# Phyrexian Rebirth
    2# Lord of Atlantis
    2# Hysterical Blindness
    1# Veteran of the Depths
    1# Stonybrook Schoolmaster
    1# Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
    1# aura of silence
    1# Waterspout Weavers
    1# Isolation Cell
    1# Grand Abolisher
    1# Balance
    1# Deepchannel Mentor
    1# Rootwater Commando
    1# Grand Architect
    1# Sunken City
    1# Day of Judgment
    1# Vodalian Soldiers
    1# Wanderwine Prophets
    2# Gaea's Skyfolk
    1# Cosi's Trickster
    1# Merrow Witsniper
    1# Shoreline Raider

  15. Question, would you put the zombie creature tokens into the horde's graveyard? If so, what would you do about, say, a SoulQuake?

  16. After trying different mixes of cards, I ended up just using basic swamps and wrote things on them. Kinda made up my own stuff that would work with our playgroup. Also I put “boss cards” in. I stuck them at about 50% and 90% down in the deck. I have also thought about the zombies coming from different directions. Players have to cast creatures in specific directions as well

  17. This seems like a lot of fun! Though a couple of things occur to me.

    One, considering the horde having infinite mana, zombies that regenerate – of which there are quite a few – seem kind of sticky, so maybe the Horde should not be allowed to regenerate creatures.

    Secondly, Geth, Lord of the Vault is crazy broken for the Horde, so if there's ever some sort of ban list for this, he should be on it. (And Crawlspace should be on it for the survivors.) Grave Pact may be questionable too…we'll see. 🙂

    • Great observations! I wonder if it's time we start formalizing a recommended ban list of cards that would be silly to include in a format wanting to emulate the fun of surviving a zombie invasion.

    • Also: Anything that limits the number of attackers per turn (like Silent Arbiter) or causes creatures to enter the battlefield tapped (like Frozen Aether.)

  18. With the Scars block and the previous Mirrodin block, how come I don't see a list for a Machine Horde? All is Dust, Myr, Thopter and Golems (don't forget the 9/9 Golem from Titan Forge!)

  19. @darksyn: Don't forget Construct (the one from Stone Idol Trap), Pentavite (in case you don't have enough Thopters), also play the Terminator theme the whole time.

  20. Really amazing idea! Also i thinked like wobbles and was wondering to do a Saproling horde deck, but his ideas are great too.

  21. I love that the minute I started reading about this format, I started dreaming up an Eldrazi Horde deck, and, ouila, one was already posted here! Great minds, eh 🙂

  22. My buddy sleeved up the Zombie list and we played it out quite satisfactorily 🙂 I hope this well help us upper classmen in the apartments play Magic with the noob freshmen in the dorms 🙂
    We threw around some ideas for different hordes, drawing on comments from the various articles on the format. Squirrels, Saprolings, Goblins, and then I thought, well heck if we're in a casual format and I have this cool program called Magic Set Editor, why don't we think more outside the box?
    Halo (Covenant), Super Smash Brothers, Pokemon, or whatever the heck you want! As long as you're willing to take the time to make it work, you can use any theme you want.
    I led my playgroup to designing the Covenant deck with all made-up cards. Just gotta print them out and put em in sleeves with real cards behind them.

    • I haven't tested the Covenant Horde yet, but it looks really fun and exciting. To balance out some of the power of the Covenant, there's a Spartan 117 that enters the battlefield under a random Survivor's control, and there's a daunting threat of the Flood taking over via a planeswalker that runs itself called The Gravemind. The Flood can't attack if there are any Covenant on the field. Grunts, Kamekaze Grunts, Jackals, Elites, Brutes, Hunters, The Prophet, and the rest of the gang try to take over the Survivor's planet.

  23. so I built an artifact based deck. unfortunately it's horribly underpowered in the late game. there needs to be a way to allow it to keep up, because come turn 8-10 2 of us beat down the deck with the full 100 cards. we were both using swarm decks though.
    still, tremendous fun, I'd love to see wizzards print official hoard decks.

  24. We did this earlier and somehow we wanted to make it a lil harder so we gave the horde a general… (we Used Lim-dul the necromancer)

    What we did was we used his Casting cost as the turn countdown (suspend 7)
    and everytime we casted a General/Commander you reduce the Hordes General by 1

    kept playing but somehow we wanted to make it more Zombie extreme!
    so then we decided to add a Horde counter

    Everytime the Horde General dies he gets a Horde Counter, this made it more fun!.
    Each horde counter Bypasses the Non-token rule.

    General (with 1 Horde counter)
    -(Sorcery) >> Horde counter 1
    -(sorcery) >> stop

    This totally made everything more challenging for us and made us struggle even more

  25. Grapeshot(and its copies) targets, I am afraid those targets are random.

    how about this?

    INSECT(INFECT 1/1) X99
    Flaring Pain X1

  26. The tokens go to the horde deck's graveyard, however, only the horde deck has access to them for graveyard-based effects, such as Living Death, or Grimoire of the Dead.

  27. This is awesome 😀 Just whipped up a horde deck. I need a few more tokens and some of the rares, but this is definitely something fun to bring to the next MTG day.

  28. you would need to ban aether flash though, as it'll most likely be unfun if the horde fails to flip a bad moon and your aether flash beats the crap out of them.

    • I wonder if there are enough land animating effects to do a forest horde deck. Flips until a non-land is revealed, some sort of animate effect…off to gatherer!

      I REALLY REALLY also want to make a squirrel or thallid horde deck.

  29. I just order 54 Scathe Zombies of Revised and 4th for tokens. As for the 5/5 zombie giant, I’ll just use the 5/3 Mass of Ghoul from Future Sight.

  30. Maybe play pauper decks only? Or Noble, where you have a commander you can only cast once, only 4 un commons and the rest commons? Could be an Idea to playtest 😀

  31. Me and some friends are going to play against a human mob hoard deck… Im assuming he put together a human solder deck but its going to be fun
    We currently made decks to fight against it and each have our own roles
    Mill deck
    Creature Deck

    and maybe a burn deck to kill off the creatures on the field

  32. If a survivor uses a milling card on the horde, such as Balustrade Spy, or Mind Funeral, will the horde deck be milled of all of its cards and lose due to the fact that it has no land cards in it?
    Because Mind Funeral is a 3-cost card, so the survivors could theoretically play one on their third turn, and instantly win the game because the horde deck will not have any zombies in it.

  33. I have a couple of questions, Is the mana pool collective where we can use each others. Also what about cards where it says something along the lines of If human creature you control dies add +1/+1 to card, does their human creatures buff mine aswell in death? Thanks.

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  35. This allowed me to enjoy MTG again, after not having any friends or anyone to play with for over 15 years. I have a similar variant, but it was too complicated. This one is better. it’s now 2018, would love to hear your input on an update to this.

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  1. […] Horde Magic is a weird little format that takes the decisions out of the game for one side and presents a “zombie horde” attacking players. You arrange a deck of cards that require no decisions for the “AI” opposing player that make up roughly 40% of the deck of various “special” cards. These cards might give bonus, or wipe the board to reset. They are distributed randomly throughout the deck. Some of these cards are more powerful than others, and you wouldn’t know what you might be facing next due to their random distribution. The majority of the “AI” deck is filled with small, easy to kill token creatures. Thematically “zombies” work best, but you could also have a tribe of Elves or Slivers. Each time it is the “AI” turn, you flip token cards until you reach one of the other “special” cards. All the cards flipped up are then put into play and sent attacking the player. […]

  2. […] The decks were badly unbalanced and it didn’t go well, but with the release of Plants vs. Zombies 2 looming closer every day, I thought this would be a good time try again. My problem was that the Zombies deck was always much more powerful than the Plants deck, and the general nature of Magic’s “dueling” didn’t really capture the feel of tower defense. Luckily, I discovered a variant that seems to capture the flavor of PvZ perfectly: Horde Magic. […]

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