Gods Unchained - Death Meta Report (March 2022)

Welcome back, mortals!

Mortal Judgment is out, and it's already causing quite a ruckus! As mentioned in previous reports, I won't be covering any of the new cards, specifically, but I will point out important relationships between them and older cards. For example, Death Anubians was pre-nerfed on arrival after the PTR, but it appears to still be a top meta deck that revitalized older cards. I'll have a few comments for them later on.

Another reason I don't want to dig into the new set too much is that the meta is moving too quickly to reliably call out in this kind of post. The next wave of meta reports will be more dynamic in that regard, but just consider how War is doing right now. It struggled so much during the previous Weekend Ranked that it didn't even show up at first! If this were the War meta report, I'd be hard pressed to sort that out in this kind of post.

So, I want to remind you that these stats are being pulled from mythic matches over a 30-day stretch of time. This long view can be used to highlight trends and point out general attitudes by the playerbase as a whole. We're focusing on the top/bottom 10 cards for each set, but eventually we'll move to the top/bot 25 cards for the entire Domain across sets. That's when a more up-to-date analysis of the meta will come into effect.

With that in mind, @jungleboy1 and I present you the March 2022 breakdown for the Death Domain!

CORE — Top 10 MOST Played Cards

1st[C] Blight Bomb87.20% Play Rate3,426 matches41.40% Win Rate$0.12
2nd[R] Wicked Fae67.20% Play Rate2,642 matches41.60% Win Rate$0.31
3rd[C] Ray of Disintegration63.00% Play Rate2,475 matches38.80% Win Rate$0.13
4th[R] Vampiric Skull46.80% Play Rate1,840 matches39.80% Win Rate$0.30
5th[E] Fickle Cambion39.30% Play Rate1,543 matches36.20% Win Rate$0.94
6th[R] Void Banshee37.20% Play Rate1,462 matches41.90% Win Rate$0.31
7th[C] Vrock23.20% Play Rate912 matches41.70% Win Rate$0.11
8th[E] Void Flash21.50% Play Rate845 matches35.30% Win Rate$0.52
9th[E] Faithbreaker16.70% Play Rate657 matches37.40% Win Rate$5.05
10th[R] Living Container15.70% Play Rate617 matches39.70% Win Rate$0.32

At first glance, this appears like a decklist for Zombie Death with a few stragglers that migrated from Board Wipe Death. Every creature is a Nether, every spell is a source of removal, and the most popular card is a Death staple.

Nearly all of these are likely to Homer Simpson back into the hedges come next report unless they can find a home in one variation of Death Anubians or another. The most common options I've seen are Aggro Death and an Aggro/Control hybrid, but a few players are finding some success with the old Board Wipe Death (just not against Anubians).

Note: We goofed when pulling the numbers for matches played with Core cards, so they're for a 3-day time span while the rest is the usual 30-day snapshot. The numbers will appear weird, but the overall card rankings are legit. Whoops!

1st — Blight Bomb

87.20% Play Rate3,426 matches87.20% Win Rate$0.12

As one of the most efficient removal spells in the game, I'm surprised this isn't 100% at mythic levels of play. Even with all the other options Death has for murdering things, we're in the middle of an Aggro-flooded meta. This is the easiest 2x auto include you can make right now, and I'd be happy to tell you why you're wrong if you disagree ;P

2nd — Wicked Fae

67.20% Play Rate2,642 matches67.20% Win Rate$0.31

A hyper-efficient deploy that provides 3/3 stats for 2 mana (already a bargain!) but with the added possibility of destroying a weakened creature. Both summons are Nethers, so they plug directly into Zombie decks as early deploys.

She doesn't see more play because Death has several distinct archetypes that come with their own removal sources. The new Anubians theme, for example, has Curse of Greed (Destroy creature with <4 cost) and Vengeful Surrepite (Destroy enemy creature with <3 cost) in addition to the usual removal staples. Meanwhile, Board Wipe Death relies on AoE Sleep/Burn to get the job done.

3rd — Ray of Disintegration

63.00% Play Rate2,475 matches63.00% Win Rate$0.13

Being able to destroy anything without Ward while also triggering Frenzy (and Fickle Cambion or Faithbreaker!) is why this removal spell is so popular. It's yet another efficient bundle of effects in a highly optimized Domain. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll see as much of this in the short-term thanks to Death Anubians' in-theme removal sources.

4th — Vampiric Skull

46.80% Play Rate1,840 matches46.80% Win Rate$0.30

6 mana for 9/9 stats when retrieving Fickle Cambion (a top choice) is bonkers. The raw stats provided by this in just about any situation is hard to beat. Since you're most likely to find this in Zombie Death, another popular target is Cursed Obelisks for when Death's opponent manages to push it off the board.

This will get repetitive, but this is also likely to take a backseat to Death Anubians given Zombie Death is simply slower than many of the new themes Mortal Judgment enabled. Also note that the win rates begin to slump at this point because—even before Death Anubians—pre-nerf Aggro Light was making life difficult for Zombie Death.

5th — Fickle Cambion

39.30% Play Rate1,543 matches39.30% Win Rate$0.94

A central card for a number of Death themes, it's commonly found in Zombie Death thanks to the self-damaging options Death can carry on the backs of endless Leech. Unfortunately, Aggro Light had no problem removing this from the board (Wrong Path) while the new Death Anubians has expanded their early-game removal threat range to include 3-cost creatures (Curse of Greed).

I've seen some truly staggering stat growth when Death gets perfect draws, but the process was too slow for the previous meta and is now vulnerable to its latest iteration.

6th — Void Banshee

37.20% Play RateN matches37.20% Win Rate$0.31

Another favorite for Zombie Death, but it struggled with the abundance of cheap removal top Aggro decks were running. This means Death shot itself in the foot and accomplished little on the board. I would've argued that this Banshee was just waiting for Aggro decks to be toned down a bit, but Mortal Judgment introduced a number of counters that slower archetypes can easily adopt as "Control" parts without committing to their intended themes.

For example, Control Death is combining the damage engine for Anubians (Priestess of Takhat, Raving Necromancer) with multiple removal sources (like Curse of Greed), backing it with the ramp aspects of Board Wipe Death (Fanatic of Khnum, Runed Asp), and tying it off with the usual finisher (Demogorgon). It plays like an Aggro/Control hybrid that successfully shuts down both of its component archetypes via highly efficient removal.

7th — Vrock

23.20% Play RateN matches23.20% Win Rate$0.11

Normally, giving the opponent free cards is bad for business. Death shrugs off this downside by having stronger overall cards they can utilize. It doesn't really matter what Death's opponent draws if Death is looking for a hard board wipe (Apocalypse Now), board flood (the new Land of the Dead), or whatever else tends to outclass similarly costed cards.

This was particularly effective in Board Wipe Death, but that theme is currently struggling against Aggro Death/Light. Death has an abundance of on-deploy creatures that frustrate BWD's plans while Light has the hard counter Radiant Dawn to shrug off Sleep. This makes the downside of Vrock harder to ignore.

8th — Void Flash

21.50% Play RateN matches21.50% Win Rate$0.52

Whether trading a free 1/1 Zombie for something or intentionally triggering important Afterlife effects, Death has multiple archetypes that can run this removal. It's higher cost, however, is what contributes to it's lower popularity.

With Mortal Judgment introducing Aggro counters via Curse of Greed and several pseudo-removal creatures, a 4-cost removal spell that need's a sacrifice is much harder to justify without a specific (successful) theme supporting it.

9th — Faithbreaker

16.70% Play RateN matches16.70% Win Rate$5.05

Most often seen in Zombie Death, it slowly faded into the background when it became apparent that Aggro decks were making it much harder to keep enough creatures on the board to properly boost this on-deploy. Whereas swinging with 3-4 Zombies provided a 4/7 or 5/8 for just 5 mana, it's now more likely that this enters play over-costed. This adds a window of vulnerability, so Zombie Death has been relying on Fickle Cambion for earlier pressure.

One thing I'm very curious to see is whether or not this will find a home in a Death Anubians variant. While definitely not an Anubian, Anubians often have enough cards in hand that this could be held until a turn where most of Death's board survived the round. Deploying this before triggering multiple Anubian death pings would result in a truly monstrous deploy. Fingers crossed that someone will make it happen ;P

10th — Living Container

15.70% Play RateN matches15.70% Win Rate$0.32

As a facilitator for a number of interesting combos, this can protect an important deploy, heal a creature weakened after an attack (5/6 Decaying Rhino drops to 5/1), or provide synergistic fodder for Void Flash (or any other sacrifice effect).

Unfortunately, Aggro Light's rise to dominance brought with it Light's Levy which denies the Afterlife effect thanks to Transform. Death would kill off a valuable creature on purpose only for Light to make it stay dead. I'm also not too optimistic that Mortal Judgment will be friendly to this former combo enabler.

CORE — Bottom 10 LEAST Played Cards

21st[R] Malissian Avenger0.70% Play Rate27 matches18.50% Win Rate$0.27
22nd[C] Sand Scorpion0.60% Play Rate25 matches40.00% Win Rate$0.07
23rd[R] Bag of... Cats0.60% Play Rate24 matches33.30% Win Rate$0.45
24th[R] Nightveiled Impsqueezer0.60% Play Rate24 matches37.50% Win Rate$0.37
25th[R] Infernal Footsoldier0.50% Play Rate16 matches57.90% Win Rate$0.25
26th[R] Mire Bloodworm0.30% Play Rate13 matches23.10% Win Rate$0.25
27th[C] Netherwarp0.20% Play Rate7 matches57.10% Win Rate$0.07
28th[L] Animon, Pustulant Impslough0.20% Play Rate6 matches33.30% Win Rate$2.25
29th[C] Raving Necromancer0.20% Play Rate6 matches16.70% Win Rate$0.17
30th[C] Phylactery0.10% Play Rate4 matches50.00% Win Rate$0.09

With the exception of Raving Necromancer, a Death Anubians theme enabler, this list is unlikely to shift much with the newest meta. There are a number of cards on this list that aren't bad, but they come across as budget filler for newer players working their way towards mythic.

Note: As with the top 10, the number of matches played only reflects a 3-day snapshot. This caused a couple cards to have inflated win rates, but their overall ranked is correct for the intended period of time.

21st — Malissian Avenger

0.70% Play Rate27 matches18.50% Win Rate$0.27

For the same mana, you get Helian Elite (10/12 Frontline/Protected). Mutually assured destruction through Afterlife sounds nice, but a Helian Elite doesn't need to die to kill things. Even Achillean Dedicant (6/7 Blitz/Protected/Ward) would probably provide more consistent results.

Instead, this strikes me as a candidate for Casino Death, a decklist that tries to RNG expensive creatures from the top of their deck into their Void (Contagious Ghoul) to later summon to the board (Sarcophagus) for early-game shenanigans. Alternatively, Death can trigger Afterlife effects from the Void (Canopic Hoarder, Sand Scorpion) for an alternative removal source.

22nd — Sand Scorpion

0.60% Play Rate25 matches40.00% Win Rate$0.07

I just explained how this can be used for Void abuse, and one particularly interesting combination is to trigger Pallbearer's Afterlife to summon another random creature with Afterlife from your Void. This is more or less an extension of Casino Death which, again, is trying to RNG beefcakes in and out of the Void.

Unfortunately, the inclusion of Deadly creates a use conflict that makes the mana timing for this deploy a little awkward. By 5 mana, Death has already worked through several other combo timings (Sarcophagus at 2 mana, Pallbearer at 3, etc.). At this mana, power plays like Corpse Explosion, Faithbreaker or Netherswarm Lord are all ready to go, so this scorpion is essentially restricted to the Anubian theme—a theme that suddenly has an abundance of better options.

23rd — Bag of... Cats

0.60% Play Rate24 matches33.30% Win Rate$0.45

There was an attempt at an Impling theme through Nightveiled Impsqueezer and various Impling generation sources, but it doesn't really go anywhere. 1/1 Zombies have Leech, so they're strictly better minion fodder at present. They also have Necroscepter which provides the same effect (with extras!) indefinitely. Imps need something to do or they're going to continue collecting dust.

24th — Nightveiled Impsqueezer

0.60% Play Rate24 matches37.50% Win Rate$0.37

Speaking of, this kit is appealing at 2 mana for a 3/2 with 3 on-deploy face damage, but it lacks a 1-cost Impling source. The earliest alternative is Wicked Fae, so the optimal play is to wait until after she's played to trigger the Roar. There's not much else to do with this, however, as Death has multiple 2-cost alternatives for every popular theme that push this out of deck lists.

25th — Infernal Footsoldier

0.50% Play Rate16 matches57.90% Win Rate$0.25

I do think this is a decent early-game deploy, as the Burn can eventually deal with Backline/Order deploys like All-Seeing Spire or Cursed Obelisks. So, it plays like a backup option when lacking the appropriate removal. Death has removal in excess, however, which is probably why this backup isn't needed in most decks at mythic levels of play.

26th — Mire Bloodworm

0.30% Play Rate13 matches23.10% Win Rate$0.25

A former favorite, possibly due to the Burn, but now it rarely sees play. Without tribal synergy to let it gain stat boosts, the "damage it deals" is likely limited to 1 for a reactive form of Regen 1. For the same cost, Death has options like Fickle Cambion that hit the ground running and add a more immediate threat to the board.

27th — Netherwarp

0.20% Play Rate7 matches57.10% Win Rate$0.07

I used to see this played as budget removal that doubled as creature enhancement. The problem is its cost: 4 mana for +2/+2 or a terrible form of removal is wasteful. Death can be more direct with its removal, and +2/+2 is now strictly inferior to Monsterize (set a friendly creature's stats to 4/3), a new addition from the CSR.

28th — Animon, Pustulant Impslough

0.20% Play Rate6 matches33.30% Win Rate$2.25

4 mana for 3/3 stats on the turn its played isn't very good. As a 2/2, it's incredibly vulnerable, so the slow generation of Implings is unlikely to last very long. This is horribly over-costed for what it does, and unless Implings gained something like Volatile Imp's Afterlife on base, this isn't seeing play anytime soon.

29th — Raving Necromancer

0.20% Play Rate6 matches16.70% Win Rate$0.17

While previously lacking Anubians worth supporting, this will easily sail into the top 10 most popular cards for Death once the numbers are in for Mortal Judgment. I already see it played on a consistent basis, as Death Anubians is built around its effect.

30th — Phylactery

0.10% Play Rate4 matches50.00% Win Rate$0.09

Why pay more for the delayed (counterable!) effect of Void summoning when you can pay less with Raise Dead to do it immediately? Sure, this relic can technically provide two Ability uses, but the delay and extra cost just aren't worth it. Death has more important things to do than wait around on what many alternatives do immediately.

GENESIS — Top 10 MOST Played Cards

1st[R] Half Life18.80% Play Rate12,323 matches53.10% Win Rate$16.99
2nd[C] Reap17.80% Play Rate11,621 matches52.40% Win Rate$2.78
3rd[R] Fanatic of Khnum17.70% Play Rate11,578 matches53.20% Win Rate$10.96
4th[E] Apocalypse Now15.60% Play Rate10,224 matches55.00% Win Rate$247.85
5th[C] Burrowing Scarab15.30% Play Rate9,983 matches51.90% Win Rate$2.47
6th[R] Siren of the Grave15.00% Play Rate9,803 matches52.20% Win Rate$9.51
7th[R] Canopic Hoarder14.60% Play Rate9,542 matches52.10% Win Rate$13.87
8th[E] Sulphuric Rain12.80% Play Rate8,396 matches53.80% Win Rate$75.75
9th[R] Ragnarok12.80% Play Rate8,369 matches48.70% Win Rate$17.08
10th[R] Untold Greed8.00% Play Rate5,261 matches45.40% Win Rate$20.11

Continuing the theme from the Core set, these top picks all align with the (formerly) top Board Wipe Death and Zombie Death decks. While a couple have carried over to the variety of Anubian decks blossoming in Weekend Ranked, most of these are niche. This is because they both demand a high premium and rely upon other expensive cards to be competitive.

1st — Half Life

18.80% Play Rate12,323 matches53.10% Win Rate$16.99

While most directly associated with Siren of the Grave for AoE sleep, the flexiblity of pulling other creatures likes Fanatic of Khnum (mana ramp) back onto the board make it a strong focal point for building various Death combos around. It's likely to take a backseat to new Mortal Judgment cards, however, as Reach into the Black (also 3 mana) and Land of the Dead have a lower "cost of entry" and support a stronger theme.

BWD/Sleep Death is still a strong deck, but it's struggling against Death Anubians. Put simply, a budget-friendly Death alternative is pushing the previous King of the (Death) Hill out of the limelight for the time being. That will make this form of Void abuse less appealing going forward.

2nd — Reap

17.80% Play Rate11,621 matches52.40% Win Rate$2.78

Normally, Death removal at this power level has some form of drawback (self-damage) or restriction (<N cost), so having neither and a positive side-effect helps explain why this sees play. This form of removal was also common to BWD decks, but I have seen it pop up in other themes including Death Anubians. I don't expect it'll maintain its current popularity, as newer early-game removal sources in Mortal Judgment paired with the ability to ram Anubians into things is admittedly quite effective.

3rd — Fanatic of Khnum

17.70% Play Rate11,578 matches53.20% Win Rate$10.96

With all the removal Death has available at higher mana costs, quickly ramping up to them is a popular strategy. This Anubian has remained a staple of BWD decks despite gaining competition from the Core set equivalent Runed Asp (2/3 vs 3/2). Even though BWD is losing "market share" to Death Anubians, the easy adoption into any Anubians theme is likely to preserve (or increase!) this creature's appeal. I'd expect the same to be true for Runed Asp.

4th — Apocalypse Now

15.60% Play Rate10,224 matches55.00% Win Rate$247.85

Back-to-back board wipe handles both Warded creatures and pesky Afterlife triggers. For that reason, this has always been a strong spell for Death regardless of the meta. Given how important early-game dominance is for the new Death Anubians deck, I wouldn't be surprised if this has gained additional popularity as a backstop for when Anubians fails to secure board control going into the late-game.

5th — Burrowing Scarab

15.30% Play Rate9,983 matches51.90% Win Rate$2.47

As an Anubian, I have no doubt that its card draw Afterlife trigger carried over into Death Anubians. It provided BWD with a way to quickly find important control pieces, and it gains synergy in Anubians through the double death pings from Raving Necromancer and Priestess of Takhat.

6th — Siren of the Grave

15.00% Play Rate9,803 matches52.20% Win Rate$9.51

You will not see a successful BWD deck that doesn't run a pair of these, as the AoE sleep is part of what allows the deck to maneuver its way to a late-game victory. Without a tribe, I don't think there's (currently) any other reason to run this.

7th — Canopic Hoarder

14.60% Play Rate9,542 matches52.10% Win Rate$13.87

Another BWD staple, this Anubian triggers Siren of the Grave and/or other BWD-related Anubians, as needed. Despite being Anubian, I don't anticipate this successfully migrating to Death Anubians, as the high cost relative to other Anubian Void taxis is counterintuitive to Death's shift towards Aggro.

8th — Sulphuric Rain

12.80% Play Rate8,396 matches53.80% Win Rate$75.75

If everything is too busy sleeping to smell the smoke, this delayed AoE removal both ensures a docile board state for BWD while tacking on additional benefits for Death's Afterlife effects such as draws, mana ramp and AoE sleep. For just 1 mana, this is insane value for a deck well-equiped to benefit from it.

Unfortunately, this is another spell I expect to fade while the meta is working through its Aggro phase. There are just too many soft-to-hard counters to BWD's sleep and general board wipery floating around in top meta decks right now.

9th — Ragnarok

12.80% Play Rate8,369 matches48.70% Win Rate$17.08

Now, here's a stumper: After everything I just explained about Sulphuric Rain, why would this slight variation make the jump to Death Anubians? Whereas BWD doesn't mind splashing card draw all over the place, Death Anubians cares less about draws (it has an entire Void to pilfer!) and more about the face damage and faster Burn rate. Anubians has a tendency to repeatedly max out its health, so the self damage is almost non-existant.

10th — Untold Greed

8.00% Play Rate5,261 matches45.40% Win Rate$20.11

Previously an occasional backup for triggering BWD's Afterlife effects, its popularity slumped thanks to Aggro decks providing ample opportunities for ramming Death's creatures into. That said, Death Anubians seems to have adopted this overlooked draw source thanks to its low cost and ability to trigger a variety of Anubian deaths (Catacomb Curator!) for the added synergy of face damage when Priestess of Takhat and/or Raving Necromancer are on the board.

GENESIS — Bottom 10 LEAST Played Cards

21st[E] Faustian Pact0.20% Play Rate154 matches41.60% Win Rate$11.72
22nd[R] Unnatural Binding0.20% Play Rate152 matches35.50% Win Rate$1.43
23rd[L] Dread Queen Persephone0.20% Play Rate139 matches46.80% Win Rate$44.25
24th[R] Reborn Pharaoh0.20% Play Rate110 matches21.80% Win Rate$2.50
25th[L] Avatar of Death0.10% Play Rate97 matches30.90% Win Rate$71.95
26th[R] Nethergram0.10% Play Rate72 matches45.80% Win Rate$1.02
27th[C] Omnipresence0.10% Play Rate63 matches20.60% Win Rate$0.32
28th[L] Hades, Underworld Lord0.00% Play Rate28 matches39.30% Win Rate$37.37
29th[E] Fusing Fleshspawn0.00% Play Rate15 matches13.30% Win Rate$14.04
30th[C] Eternal Servant0.00% Play Rate0 matches0.00% Win Rate$0.43

This list is filled with broken dreams and sadness, as most of these cards have cool mechanics that were locked in before they were properly costed or weighed against existing alternatives. TO add insult to injury, a couple are now strictly worse than newer cards that are functionally the same.

21st — Faustian Pact

0.20% Play Rate154 matches41.60% Win Rate$11.72

Walking through the mechanics of this spell, several problems present themselves:

  1. When in a game would Death want to use this?
  2. What is worth fishing for in Death's deck?
  3. Why would Death use this over its alternatives?

For the first two questions, Death can only use this at 6+ mana when its options can be definitive enough to be worthwhile:

  • 3 mana — Reach into the Black can secure enough face damage for a win for Death Anubians.
  • 4 mana — Dust to Dust is a recovery option, but Death must take control of the game with this maneuver.
  • 5 mana — Corpse Explosion or Over the Line are situational, as they don't fit into Death's strongest meta decks.
  • 6 mana — Land of the Dead or On Her Command fit Death Anubians while Blackblood Blast is an emergency option.

Going by the current meta shift, this spell is most likely to be useful at 6 mana (Reach into the Black) or 9 mana (Land of the Dead/On Her Command) for Death Anubian power plays. The remaining options cater to decks struggling in the current meta. This tells me that Death Anubians might benefit from a single include of this as a backstop against RNG, but it requires giving up one of the many tools Anubians already has at its disposal.

22nd — Unnatural Binding

0.20% Play Rate152 matches35.50% Win Rate$1.43

This pseudo-removal requires Death's opponent to continue attacking to gain its full value, but many better (more immediate) options exist for both the removal and direct damage halves of the spell. Mortal Judgment introduced several more, so I fully expect this one to remain in the grave.

23rd — Dread Queen Persephone

0.20% Play Rate139 matches46.80% Win Rate$44.25

IF she survives a full round, Persephone is tailor-made for Casino Death but fails to provide consistent value due to the forced discard that can dump something good for something worse. So long as you continue to draw creatures (and keep her alive), however, previously discarded creatures can eventually find their way to the board.

That said, why wait until 6 mana to start pulling slots when Casino Death has Void gambling starting at 3 mana? This strikes me as little more than a luxury include for Casino Death for those looking to spice things up with RNG madness. It also is burdened by a cost (a creature in hand) that other forms of Void summoning don't have.

24th — Reborn Pharaoh

0.20% Play Rate110 matches21.80% Win Rate$2.50

The CSR introduced Malissian Magistrate, an Anubian that completely outclasses this in every way. 3/3 vs 3/2, a targeted Roar vs. RNG, and return to board vs. return to hand. There's no longer a reason to run this, and even it's replacement isn't seeing much play.

25th — Avatar of Death

0.10% Play Rate97 matches30.90% Win Rate$71.95

6 mana for a 6/6 that ramps from self-damage (the Afterlife is nice), or 6 mana for Faithbreaker (5-cost 1/4) and a use of the Soul Burn God power that takes Faithbreaker straight to a 3/6. If Death already has a few creatures on the board swinging for face damage, Faithbreaker can quickly catch up to (and surpass) the (tribeless) Avatar's stats.

There's a point to be made for per-point-of-damage stat growth vs. per-instance-of-damage stat growth, but speed is what the current Meta is all about. For 1 less mana, Faithbreaker is able to hit the board with comparable stats than can continue to ramp up without requiring masochistic tendencies.

26th — Nethergram

0.10% Play Rate72 matches45.80% Win Rate$1.02

7 many for anywhere from 3 to 9 mana seems great when it works out, but nobody wants to burn 4 extra mana to get a trio of 1-cost creatures even if they do get +1/+1. Death Anubians does it better with Reach into the Black, so this spell probably only has a home in Casino Death decks that specifically avoid low-cost creatures. Even then, I can't see anyone justifying running more than a single copy.

27th — Omnipresence

0.10% Play Rate63 matches20.60% Win Rate$0.32

More RNG for Casino Death! To reiterate, Death tries to shove high-cost creatures into the Void for interactions such as this Roar. Imagine topdecking the new Beached Colossus (8-cost 14/11) into the Void before summoning a version that can attack on turn 2! This chaotic gimmick forms the basis for all Casino decks, but the metrics make it quite clear that the overall consistently just isn't there.

28th — Hades, Underworld Lord

0.00% Play Rate28 matches39.30% Win Rate$37.37

Without Backline or Ward, this admittedly cool mechanic is very vulnerable to removal (and attacks). By 8 mana, most Domains have access to direct removal, the one exception being Nature (and possibly War). This makes Hades most valuable as a power turn facilitator by allowing Death to smash creatures together to clear the board in the hopes that the RNG Void replacements are ready to go.

This puts a restriction on deck slots, as Hades is more likely to be successful for deck lists running groups of creatures at specific mana points. I can see a Control deck being (somewhat) effective in certain match-ups if it stacks creatures on mana values that don't have control spells. This still leaves Death to determine a win condition based on Afterlife triggers given that the goal is to do "something" to win when Hades hits the board.

29th — Fusing Fleshspawn

0.00% Play Rate15 matches13.30% Win Rate$14.04

As a completely arbitrary example, Death can open a game with a 3-strength deploy like Beam Sentry (deals 1 face damage) or Ghost Marauder to setup a 3/4 Fleshspawn. The only available counter is Nature's Canopy Barrage, Magic's Starshard Bolt, or a pair of 1-cost Blitz creatures. A turn later, and the new 2-cost Pact Fiend (6/1) allows for 3/7, but this kind of card economy doesn't suit Death.

So, rather than preemptively sacrificing creatures, it makes more sense to trigger Afterlife effects or sacrifice creatures weakened by favorable trades. That said, there's a surprising lack of decently strong Afterlife creatures for Death to take advantage of. It's more realistic that Fleshspawn will be 3/3 to 3/5 for 1 (not a bad deal!), but the current Afterlife decks for Death have better ways (Anubians) to synergize (face damage) with creature deaths (1-cost creature churn).

30th — Eternal Servant

0.00% Play Rate0 matches0.00% Win Rate$0.43

I understand the purpose of this card, but every obliterate creature except Stygian Collector (4-cost 7/4) has a lower cost than this theme enabler. That makes building a deck around this mechanic somewhat backwards, as the benefits arrive too late to negate the downside of self-inflicted card disadvantage.

TRIAL OF THE GODS — Top 10 MOST Played Cards

1st[L] Neferu, Champion of Death21.60% Play Rate14,114 matches52.70% Win Rate$141.69
2nd[C] Undead Chimera10.80% Play Rate7,078 matches46.10% Win Rate$1.34
3rd[R] Deathwatch Curate9.10% Play Rate5,947 matches49.00% Win Rate$4.32
4th[L] Hippacria's Monster5.70% Play Rate3,694 matches51.80% Win Rate$40.71
5th[L] Neferu's Khopesh5.70% Play Rate3,688 matches51.20% Win Rate$28.38
6th[E] Return to the Cave5.50% Play Rate3,598 matches51.00% Win Rate$7.01
7th[C] Nether's Advocate5.10% Play Rate3,354 matches45.10% Win Rate$1.30
8th[R] Necronomics4.80% Play Rate3,140 matches41.50% Win Rate$10.24
9th[C] Soul Shatter3.50% Play Rate2,257 matches43.10% Win Rate$0.92
10th[C] Soul Charlatan3.40% Play Rate2,224 matches46.60% Win Rate$0.94

While I'm not as familiar with Death's TotG cards thank to their low play rates, I can honestly say that even for how low they currently are, most of these probably disappeared from Death deck lists after Mortal Judgment. There are a few exceptions I'll cover (especially when reaching the bottom 10), but overall, this set is typically quite niche. Certain cards occasionally flare up in popularity when new themes become possible, but they're largely irrelevant to the meta on the whole.

1st — Neferu, Champion of Death

21.60% Play Rate14,114 matches52.70% Win Rate$141.69

A long time favorite of Control decks, this continues to see play even in the new Death Anubians thanks to the inherent tribal synergy and late-game value it provides. There are a number of effects based on dropping Death's health to 15, and there are plenty of ways Death can achieve this. This makes for a fairly reliable Afterlife trigger than can be abused for repeated re-use (deploy > sacrifice spell > deploy) when her cost gets low enough.

2nd — Undead Chimera

10.80% Play Rate7,078 matches46.10% Win Rate$1.34

Speaking of health reduction, this is a prime example of damaging both Gods in order to achieve whatever follow-up Death has chosen. The higher cost relative to its stats prevents it from seeing much play, however, because alternatives like Decaying Rhino (5/6) are available for the same mana. I do think this could see an uptick in popularity if a self-damage theme is fleshed out more properly.

3rd — Deathwatch Curate

9.10% Play Rate5,947 matches49.00% Win Rate$4.32

For 5 mana, a 5/6 body is top marks for any creature. Guild Enforcer is only a 3/5 with Armor 1 for the same mana, but it does come with Frontline. The built-in healing provides extra value, but Decaying Rhino (again) bodies this Anubian right off a cliff with its lower cost. Death also has an abundance of healing, so neither half of this creature's package is earning it a spot in deck lists.

I can't argue with this being run as a basic cost-efficient deploy, but Death is capable of piling value onto things in ways that snowball into better overall value. For this reason, the low play rate is likely explained by some players running a "pure" meta deck based on raw value rather than locking into a specific theme or deck list that relies on the component parts to be successful.

4th — Hippacria's Monster

5.70% Play Rate3,694 matches51.80% Win Rate$40.71

While certain Death decks commonly drive games to 9 mana, the new (common) Cloud-Born Aether Drake starts as a 13/13 with Ward while Hippacria needs enough creatures adding up to that in the Void before it's worth deploying. This creates awkward tension for Death, as a deck ramping mana is likely filled with Control to secure the path to 9 mana or is a Control Anubians hybrid that doesn't need a 9-cost backstop.

5th — Neferu's Khopesh

5.70% Play Rate3,688 matches51.20% Win Rate$28.38

There are many ways to utilize this relic, but let's focus on why it doesn't fit the current meta:

  • Zombie Death has its own relic that generates Zombies directly.
  • Board Wipe Death pulls exactly what it wants through targeted Void abuse.
  • Death Anubians pulls multiple creatures at once without a need for specificity.

This means the current meta decks don't need another way of getting creatures on the board.

6th — Return to the Cave

5.50% Play Rate3,598 matches51.00% Win Rate$7.01

The entire point of this spell is to quickly move Death out of range of losing when a game drags out to single-digit life totals. With that in mind, Death's options for healing have expanded to the point that this spell really isn't needed anymore. Anubians and Zombies, for example, both provide consistent healing through Leech/Steal.

7th — Nether's Advocate

5.10% Play Rate3,354 matches45.10% Win Rate$1.30

Experimental Outcome is a vanilla 2-cost 3/2 Nether that brings this creature's total value to a 4/3 for 2 mana. Much like Deathwatch Curate, this screams stat efficiency. The problem lies in the individual vulnerability of the parts and their conflicting tribes. This begins as a >1-cost Anubian that summons a Nether outside of its usual theme.

Once again, this could find a home in a deck focused on stat efficiency, but that lends itself to Midrange which isn't faring well against the current meta's Aggro decks. With so much synergy crammed into Death's themes, Midrange needs either moar efficiency or an effective theme to prop it up.

8th — Necronomics

4.80% Play Rate3,140 matches41.50% Win Rate$10.24

Flipping 1 mana into 5 is a steal in any situation, even if Death pays life for it. In a deck primed with healing sources, Death can enjoy the free mana without suffering much of the downside. Unfortunately, by the time Death has unlocked 5 mana, its top decks are unlikely to need more mana so much as more cards. Death Anubians might not even need either as it's often just waiting for board space to dump more Anubians on the the board.

9th — Soul Shatter

3.50% Play Rate2,257 matches43.10% Win Rate$0.92

The new Curse of Greed is not only strictly better, it stacks an Empower effect on top to make this spell entirely obsolete. Unless Death really hates early-game deploys, there's no reason to run this outdated source of removal.

10th — Soul Charlatan

3.40% Play Rate2,224 matches46.60% Win Rate$0.94

If this survives long enough to get running, the Ability starts spreading Nether's Advocate's Afterlife around. 3 mana for a (delayed) 6/6 that can continue pumping out stats is excellent value, but it continues the problem of mixing >1-cost Anubians with Nethers. Raw stat value isn't winning games for Death, so this false short without some kind of strategy to build on.

TRIAL OF THE GODS — Bottom 10 LEAST Played Cards

11th[R] Neferu's Will3.20% Play Rate2,090 matches3.20% Win Rate$5.27
12th[R] Skull Scepter2.50% Play Rate1,627 matches2.50% Win Rate$7.66
13th[R] Cruel Overseer1.90% Play Rate1,269 matches1.90% Win Rate$2.41
14th[R] Trial of the Underworld1.10% Play Rate736 matches1.10% Win Rate$1.74
15th[C] Priestess of Takhat0.80% Play Rate519 matches0.80% Win Rate$4.09
16th[E] Ataraxia0.60% Play Rate407 matches0.60% Win Rate$2.89
17th[L] Diones, Spectral Sceptic0.40% Play Rate252 matches0.40% Win Rate$11.97
18th[C] Blessing of Death0.20% Play Rate143 matches0.20% Win Rate$0.55
19th[C] Forbidden Experiment0.20% Play Rate139 matches0.20% Win Rate$0.42
20th[R] Guardian of the Underworld0.20% Play Rate136 matches0.20% Win Rate$1.02

These metrics are well deserved, but Priestess of Takhat and Skull Scepter have been adopted by Death Anubians to great effect. A common theme holding Deaths' TotG cards back is a lack of continuity between cards. Several creatures can summon a 3/2 Experimental Outcome, but the theme ends there. These stunted gimmicks don't contribute to a larger strategy, so the lack of appeal is understandable.

11th — Neferu's Will

3.20% Play Rate2,090 matches3.20% Win Rate$5.27

The maximum value for this spell is +10/+10 on a full board. Even with a Frontline blocker, Overkill helps ensure that some amount of damage is likely to spill over and possibly produce a win outright. Corpse Explosion is technically a better value at 18 face damage for a full board, but it requires Nethers and Frenzy while leaving an empty board behind.

I'm honestly surprised that at least one copy doesn't see more play, as this provides an alternative to Corpse Explosion for Aggro Death decks wanting to go wide. They wouldn't be restricted to Nethers, and a 10+/10+ creature is hard to ignore in the mid-game.

12th — Skull Scepter

2.50% Play Rate1,627 matches2.50% Win Rate$7.66

While previously not worth running given the one deck most likely to use it (Zombie Death) already had an in-theme relic, this found a home in Death Anubians. The synergy is straight-forward, and the upside for a measly 2 mana far outweighs the downside of being countered by relic removal. The effect is also immediate, so face damage can be generated before Death's opponent can respond.

13th — Cruel Overseer

1.90% Play Rate1,269 matches1.90% Win Rate$2.41

It's got decent stats for 3 mana, can generate endless 1/1's, and is a Nether. All of this sounds good on paper, but the "15 health" theme lacks a proper win condition to build around. For the same mana, Anubians has Reach into the Black, Zombies has Fickle Cambion or Necroscepter, and
Board Wipe Death is dropping Vrock or cycling Sleep with Half Life on Siren of the Grave.

14th — Trial of the Underworld

1.10% Play Rate736 matches1.10% Win Rate$1.74

Maximum value requires a void filled with late-game deploys, something likely to happen only if Death's mid-to-late-game has fallen apart. 8 mana can also be spent on End Times for a guaranteed 6/6 and board control, and it's like both players will be hurting for creatures. Wiping the slate clean before dropping a 6/6 might be all that's needed to lock in the win, and it doesn't require filling a deck with 5-8 mana creatures to be effective.

15th — Priestess of Takhat

0.80% Play Rate519 matches0.80% Win Rate$4.09

Previously abandoned by Death, the Anubian revitalization carried this and Raving Necromancer to the top of most meta deck lists. The value is straightforward, as Death Anubians is built upon this highly effective damage engine.

16th — Ataraxia

0.60% Play Rate407 matches0.60% Win Rate$2.89

With how Death decks are currently shaping up on the meta, this spell is more likely to help the opponent. Death can secure board control and repeatedly heal back to full life. This makes the pair of Anubian Afterlife mana ramps significantly better alternatives that also plug into Death's various themes.

17th — Diones, Spectral Sceptic

0.40% Play Rate252 matches0.40% Win Rate$11.97

Once again, this isn't a win condition, and Death has many ways to draw cards that aren't contingent upon self-damage. There's no tribe to synergize with, and the Roar prevents repeated use by Void abuse.

18th — Blessing of Death

0.20% Play Rate143 matches0.20% Win Rate$0.55

I spent a lot of time railing on Favor generators in other Domains given how few follow-ups exist for Favor. For the exact same reasons—the lack of a win condition—Death doesn't really benefit from generating Favor.

19th — Forbidden Experiment

0.20% Play Rate139 matches0.20% Win Rate$0.42

While I haven't been a fan of the Anubian creatures spitting out 3/2 Nethers, there are Nethers with Afterlife effects that synergy with a spell destroying its target rather than Transforming it like the new Monsterize spell (Transforms to a 4/3).

Should Death gain a non-Anubian Afterlife theme built on Nethers, I expect to see this make its way back into decks. Until then, Death has better options that provide more appealing options like mana ramp or card draw.

20th — Guardian of the Underworld

0.20% Play Rate136 matches0.20% Win Rate$1.02

The stats are amazing, but why bash yourself in the face when hard removal is available for much less mana? Light can send this to the bottom of the deck, Death can destroy it, Magic can Transform it, and only Aggro decks are likely to lack a strong answer. That said, Aggro is so effective in the current meta that Death can expect to fill the opponent's Void with creatures that will pump the Roar's self-damage to the point that this isn't worth running.

This could be bonkers if pulled to the board in the early-game by Casino Death, but that's multiple layers of RNG that prevent this possibility from a serious consideration.

DIVINE ORDER — Top 10 MOST Played Cards

1st[E] Necroscepter80.60% Play Rate52,615 matches45.60% Win Rate$5.71
2nd[R] Cursed Obelisks79.70% Play Rate52,021 matches45.20% Win Rate$0.82
3rd[C] Voracious Fiend71.70% Play Rate46,791 matches44.70% Win Rate$0.04
4th[C] Decaying Rhino71.30% Play Rate46,541 matches44.80% Win Rate$0.11
5th[E] Netherswarm Lord70.50% Play Rate45,992 matches44.90% Win Rate$2.74
6th[R] Overseer of Vitality59.90% Play Rate39,072 matches46.10% Win Rate$0.10
7th[R] Corpse Explosion28.10% Play Rate18,336 matches42.10% Win Rate$0.11
8th[R] Undead Roach26.30% Play Rate17,151 matches42.10% Win Rate$0.08
9th[L] Eva, Baroness of the Dead25.70% Play Rate16,737 matches50.80% Win Rate$4.63
10th[L] Arch of Amenmose19.60% Play Rate12,795 matches44.60% Win Rate$4.85

Whereas previous sets were split between BWD and Zombie decks, Divine Order is almost exclusively about Zombies. The top two cards are staples for the theme, and the substantial play rate represents the effectiveness of the theme prior to Aggro Light stepping up to the plate. I fully expect these numbers to have slumped after the introduction of Death Anubians, so view this list as a primer on what makes an effective Zombie deck for the future.

1st — Necroscepter

80.60% Play Rate52,615 matches45.60% Win Rate$5.71

While extremely vulnerable to relic removal—something particularly popular thanks to strong Aggro relics in the current meta—an unanswered Zombie generator is capable of winning games all by itself. Personally, I view the last perk regarding Favor denial to be the most important part of this Relic, as spamming Zombies can become its own counter if Death inadvertently gifts the opponent enough Favor to pick up Sanctum counters.

2nd — Cursed Obelisks

79.70% Play Rate52,021 matches45.20% Win Rate$0.82

This Zombie Generator can be harder to deal with without direct removal, as a Backline 1/4 can actually take a hit. Deployable by turn 2, picking this over Necroscepter can be a toss-up. Knowing the match-up helps, as each will be better equipped to tackle one or the other (i.e. Magic's Starshard Bolt vs Nature's new Amazon relic removal).

3rd — Voracious Fiend

71.70% Play Rate46,791 matches44.70% Win Rate$0.04

Leech, Afterlife and stat efficiency made this a go-to early-game deploy for Death before Mortal Judgment. Leech allows for negating an opposing 2/2 if Death chooses to swing for face damage each turn, and Afterlife provides a Zombie buffer that is useful in shielding Cursed Obelisks.

4th — Decaying Rhino

71.30% Play Rate46,541 matches44.80% Win Rate$0.11

The main draw for this Nether is its raw stats connected to tribal synergy. 4 mana for a 5/6 is obscene with how easily Death can negate the drawback, and dropping this into a pile of Zombies creates a very real dilemma for most opponents. Triggering Frenzy is sometimes out of reach, but the Soul Burn God power makes this easier to ensure.

5th — Netherswarm Lord

70.50% Play Rate45,992 matches44.90% Win Rate$2.74

If Death triggers Frenzy, the immediate effect is AoE +1/+1 for Nethers and Draw 1. For 5 mana, a 3/5 body with an effect similar to Nature's Wildfire or Light's Radiant Dawn is an appealing package. This usually becomes a top priority for removal, but Zombie Death often ends the game in short order if the removal isn't ready to go. Unfortunately, Zombie Death struggles against Death's other archetypes and faster Aggro decks.

6th — Overseer of Vitality

59.90% Play Rate39,072 matches46.10% Win Rate$0.10

For a hot minute, Death realized this was an effective counter to Aggro Light's Zealous March. That realization didn't get much time to settle in, though, before Mortal Judgment flipped the table over and ate Zombie Death's lunch. As such, this late-game deploy lacks synergy with Death's new top deck and should see a drop in play rate unless it finds a home in an Anubians deck.

7th — Corpse Explosion

28.10% Play Rate18,336 matches42.10% Win Rate$0.11

While Zombie Death is capable of winning the old-fashioned way, this spell provides an additional win condition beyond the norm. The effective kill range is 1-18 life depending on the number of Nethers on the board and whether or not Death triggers Frenzy. For just 5 mana, that kind of face damage ends games when built into properly. Its popularity is declining both for predictive behaviors causing players to clear Zombies from the board (rather than going for face damage) and the vulnerability of 1/1's to AoE removal.

8th — Undead Roach

26.30% Play Rate17,151 matches42.10% Win Rate$0.08

When the Afterlife triggers, this cockroach becomes a cost-effective target for sacrifice mechanics or pseudo-removal in the form of early-game trades. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to trigger Frenzy during the opponent's turn. A savvy player will trade this off the board leaving Death with a strictly worse version of Voracious Fiend.

9th — Eva, Baroness of the Dead

25.70% Play Rate16,737 matches50.80% Win Rate$4.63

Most commonly seen in Board Wipe Death, this Baroness can effectively jam an early-game Aggro player by turning 2 or 3-cost creatures into lowly 1/1's. The Leech isn't usually a concern, as BWD is geared towards late-game victories. Unfortunately, when Aggro Light become more popular, Light's Levy became a widely-used hard counter that sidestepped the Afterlife component entirely. Play rates saw an immediate decline that has likely continued through the rise of Death Anubians.

10th — Arch of Amenmose

19.60% Play Rate12,795 matches44.60% Win Rate$4.85

I view this as a late-game luxury include for Zombie Death, but I'm confident it's chillin' on the bench thanks to the meta taking a hard right towards Aggroville. This is because Zombies—which we already know aren't faring well in the current meta—have a slower start than traditional Aggro that explodes into a potent mid-game when all of its synergies are on the board.

Put differently, by 6 mana, Zombie Death has already had an opportunity to play Netherswarm Lord, Ray of Disintegration, or even Corpse Explosion. At 6 mana, Vampiric Skull and board wipes are on the table, so Death has to wonder how effective this "win more" deploy really is. It doesn't help recover a losing board, and it's a tad to slow to secure a win like other alternatives.

DIVINE ORDER — Bottom 10 LEAST Played Cards

20th[C] Inexorable Raider3.70% Play Rate2,412 matches40.30% Win Rate$0.02
21st[C] Pan Forgemaster2.80% Play Rate1,795 matches37.20% Win Rate$0.02
22nd[E] Miasmic Forge2.30% Play Rate1,476 matches37.40% Win Rate$0.25
23rd[C] Harrowing Visions1.90% Play Rate1,209 matches40.80% Win Rate$0.02
24th[C] Desecrated Shrine1.50% Play Rate986 matches37.40% Win Rate$0.02
25th[R] The Plague0.80% Play Rate553 matches38.90% Win Rate$0.03
26th[C] Barbed Fly0.80% Play Rate528 matches32.20% Win Rate$0.02
27th[E] Deathwatch Elder0.60% Play Rate373 matches31.60% Win Rate$0.21
28th[C] Blood Armor0.50% Play Rate294 matches28.90% Win Rate$0.02
29th[R] Plague Talisman0.40% Play Rate232 matches32.30% Win Rate$0.04

This is one of those times where I can confidently say that this list represents nothing but failed ideas. I'll highlight some of the missed opportunities I can see in the card designs, but these are lacking overall in their ability to provide an immediate impact, a long-term threat, or some form of theme enabler that justifies their cost.

20th — Inexorable Raider

3.70% Play Rate2,412 matches40.30% Win Rate$0.02

Once again, we have a tribal mashup. I don't mind the Viking component, but it has zero synergy until a 1/1 Zombie pops out later. Blessed certainly isn't a bad bonus to this deploy, but for 3 mana Zombie Death is eyeing Fickle Cambion or either of its Zombie generators. It's also competing with Cursed Hoplite, a similarly overlooked Nether imposter.

21st — Pan Forgemaster

2.80% Play Rate1,795 matches37.20% Win Rate$0.02

Even after receiving a slight buff from the CSR, the overall package is still lacking. Armor 1 is certainly appealing, but giving 1/1's Armor is unlikely to yield better results than a Decaying Rhino, for example. Too many creatures have 2 strength to notice a difference between a 1/1 and a 1/(2).

The one exception is a truly Midrange Nether deck built around stat-efficient card deploys rather than Zombie generators. There is a respectable mana curve of Nether deploys up through 7 mana, but Death needs multiple beefy creatures to survive until the Forgemaster hits the board to justify not playing a Decaying Rhino. With how popular Zombie Death has been at times, I have to imagine this possibility was already explored and refuted.

22nd — Miasmic Forge

2.30% Play Rate1,476 matches37.40% Win Rate$0.25

Once again, we have Armor being spread to Death creatures that probably don't need it. This is an extremely vulnerable deploy if Death doesn't have 1-cost blockers that survived the previous round, and it's 2 health makes it an easy target for removal. There are so many theme-related 2-cost deploys for Death to choose from that a non-existent Armor theme is unlikely to "get the people going."

23rd — Harrowing Visions

1.90% Play Rate1,209 matches40.80% Win Rate$0.02

Draw 3 for 4 mana isn't a bad shake. Even Magic can't get that cheap a deal despite being known for card advantage. Unfortunately, Death has an abundance of cheaper card draw sources that double as removal or exist as Afterlife triggers. This makes a 4-cost spell limited to card draw a risky play if Death doesn't already have control of the board.

Untold Greed, for example, trades 1 mana and a creature for Draw 2. That leaves plenty of many leftover for using one of the drawn cards. 4 mana puts a limit on what Death can reasonably fish for, whereas most Death themes have already begun to generate card advantage earlier in the match.

24th — Desecrated Shrine

1.50% Play Rate986 matches37.40% Win Rate$0.02

I'm proud to say that I ran a single copy of this in a "Masochist" Death deck to drop both players to single digits by turn 4 and secure a convincing win. What I'm not saying is I had perfect draws while my opponent didn't. A 0/4 that can't attack is vulnerable to a number of early-game counters such as Munisian Infiltrator (common to many Aggro decks). It also requires a strong follow-up to make sure it continues to generate damage undisturbed.

If Death manages to both swing for face and heal itself enough to create a life gap between opposing Gods, there's potential value here. But(!), why not just run Bombfly or Petulant Firespreader, instead? They're both Nethers (Zombie synergy!) and have enough strength to trade against early deploys. Even the spell Brimstone has appeal for its ability to trigger Frenzy and avoid card disadvantage with Draw 1.

25th — The Plague

0.80% Play Rate553 matches38.90% Win Rate$0.03

Why leave the opponent with 1/1 Zombies when there are options that wipe the board, instead? Sure, Death might want to maintain a strong board position, but how often does Death face a filled board at 7 mana?

If the goal is to gain board control when Death has creatures on the board, Overseer of Vitality feels like a stronger option for the same mana. It provides a 4 strength swing per affected creature on a 6/6 body. Alternatively, Void Drake straps an AoE Blight Bomb to a 7/7 body.

26th — Barbed Fly

0.80% Play Rate528 matches32.20% Win Rate$0.02

3 face damage on a 3/3 seems like a solid deal, but it's on a Wild body. There's zero synergy for Death's top themes, so this is limited to the "15 health" Aggro theme I've mentioned a few times. In that context, there's not enough to work with, yet, and the new Death Anubians churns creatures each turn for a similar (or greater) damage output.

27th — Deathwatch Elder

0.60% Play Rate373 matches31.60% Win Rate$0.21

Delaying the face damage to Death's next turn creates a window of vulnerability that can make the mana invested feel like a waste. If the opponent responds with removal, Death netted only the Blessed effect on a 1:1 trade. There's also the problem of needing to self-damage down to 15 health before this is worth deploying, and I don't believe it's possible for Death to achieve that and play this on-curve.

28th — Blood Armor

0.50% Play Rate294 matches28.90% Win Rate$0.02

Just, why? Armor 1 is so ineffectual that the self-damage almost makes this spell a net-loss in any situation. Perhaps Death could obtain a 1:1 trade that leaves their attacking creature alive, but the self-damage isn't useful unless Death's "15 health" theme becomes meta viable—it currently isn't.

29th — Plague Talisman

0.40% Play Rate232 matches32.30% Win Rate$0.04

There's an interesting interaction with Leech that allows this to provide Aggro pressure while healing Death in the process. Unfortunately, Leech is limited to Nether creatures (Zombies), meaning Death is giving up the relic central to Zombie Death: Necroscepter. The only exception to this problem is the spell Feast on the Dead (1-cost sacrifice a creature to give all friendly creatures Leech).

Outside of this interaction—which requires a Zombie deck list that rejects Necroscepter—the damage is just too slow for other applications. The "15 health" them is underdeveloped, and many creatures provide the same effect with less downside.


I'll be taking a short break to let Mortal Judgment work out a solid meta worth analyzing, and we'll resume with Neutral cards—something we haven't covered, yet—and shift to a condensed list of the top/bottom 25 cards per Domain, regardless of set.

Some metrics will be dropped to make room for rank history in future reports (i.e. 21st top card in this report, 7th bottom card in next report, etc.), and my focus will be entirely on how these lists relate to the current meta rather than a historical view of the past.

As always, feel free to leave and questions or comments below! This concludes our Death meta report for March of 2022, and I look forward to seeing if Death Anubians continues to reign supreme!






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It's interesting seeing so many core death cards with low win rates, lines up with my experience trying to make a Welcome/Core death deck. F2p death is probably the worst of all the gods.


Vengeful Surrepite (Destroy enemy creature with <3 cost)

=2 mana cost only, no broccoli affected alas.

Skull Scepter works well with Heirloom Death. So Faithbreaker has a reliable partner in the world of Anubians.

Sand Scorpion

They can change it to make it fit the new reality. I hope

Malissian Magistrate… ...isn't seeing much play

Despite this, I think this is a great card.

Neferu's Will

Interesting one... Probably, I should try.