This is my 50th article on YGOPRODeck! To celebrate this golden occasion, I will reminisce about the very first deck I picked up for the game.
Many are aware of Structure Deck: Zombie Horde and its impact on the budget community. Zombie Horde is one of the best structure decks ever released for returning players to attempt their locals again (me included). This structure retains the terrifying essence and appeal of Zombies, has great immortality as playable cards for the long future, and even has its little zombified lore for players to immerse within! Zombies truly have everything, and they just will not stop coming. So here is my general overview of the first structure I picked up returning to the game many years back.
Please check this link out for a general card list of what's in this wonderful structure! Most of the cards are reprints of existing Zombie cards, but I will talk about the newer stuff introduced in here.
The World of Zombies
Quite obviously, this structure deck is centered around the use of Zombies. Specifically, the presence of Zombie World on the field will transform all monsters everywhere, field and graveyard into Zombies.
- All monsters on the field and in the GYs become Zombie monsters. Neither player can Tribute Summon monsters, except Zombie monsters.
This is a good thing for you! Zombies excel with graveyard manipulation. And a bad thing for your opponent! They might have benefits being another tribe, but we are all Zombies now. With Zombie World activated in a game, this structure deck will begin to show its worth.
But transforming everyone and everything into zombies simply isn't enough. So let me introduce the key members of the Zombie troupe, straight from the structure deck.
A Structure Deck is nothing without a boss monster. So Zombie Horde here has given us not one, but two new powerful Zombies to unleash! First in line is Doomking Balerdroch.
Level 8 ATK/ 2800 DEF/ 2000
- During the Standby Phase, if a face-up card is in a Field Zone and this card is in your GY: You can Special Summon this card in Defense Position. (You can only use this effect of "Doomking Balerdroch" once per turn.)
- Once per Chain, when a Zombie monster, except "Doomking Balerdroch", activates its effect (except during the Damage Step) (Quick Effect): You can apply 1 of these effects (but you cannot apply that same effect of "Doomking Balerdroch" again this turn):
- ● Negate that effect.
● Banish 1 monster from the field or GY.
Balerdroch is a mouthful of effects for good reason. It does everything you need! If Balerdroch is in the graveyard, it can resurrect itself every turn, so as long as you control a field card (ideally Zombie World). But he won’t just sit there after being revived. Once per turn, when a Zombie monster’s effect is activated, it can either negate that effect or banish a monster on the field or in the grave. That's already two disruptions in one monster! And this effect extends even further to your opponent as Zombie World transforms them all into Zombies. For these reasons, Balerdroch is considered the boss monster of the structure. To play this deck would naturally mean to include it and Zombie World in your strategies.
In order to supplement the summoning of Balerdroch, you can either choose to summon it through the effect of Glow-Up Bloom, or place it in the graveyard through effects of Foolish Burial and Uni-Zombie. However, do not forget it needs a field card to resurrect! So Underworld Banshee, a ghastly spirit from the same set, can banish herself to directly place a Zombie World from your deck. Balerdroch is now ready for revival!
The other boss monster within the same structure is Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon.
Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon
Level 7 ATK/ 2800 DEF/ 2000
- Gains 100 ATK/DEF for each Zombie monster on the field and in the GYs.
- When another Zombie monster is destroyed by battle: You can Special Summon 1 Zombie monster from either GY to your field.
- You can only use this effect of "Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon" once per turn.
The longer a game drags on, the more monsters are in the GY. Therefore, Zombie Necro Dragon is a great monster to swing the late game back in your favor, by resurrecting fallen monsters to your side every turn.
The addition of Zombie Necro Dragon also adds a small Synchro element into the Zombie package. This is supplemented by Tatsunecro's ability, as well as key figures within the deck like the tuner Uni-Zombie and Glow-Up Bloom.
Not only does this deck revives and adds playable support to the existing lovable zombie theme, it also grants them two different ways to use Zombies! Dominate the field with Zombie World under the reign of Doomking Balerdroch, or accel beyond with the potential of Synchro Summoning? Let's see how other players have experimented with this over the years!
Zombie Deck Lists
Doomking Balerdroch and Zombie World
This is a very simple list focusing on Doomking Balerdroch and Zombie World.
In order to summon the high leveled Balerdroch onto the field, you can either summon it through Glow-Up Bloom, or by dropping him in the Graveyard, as it can self-resurrect next turn. Once on board though, Balerdroch can repeatedly banish and negate your opponent to oblivion.
To support this strategy, the deck is filled with cards to support the summoning of Balerdroch: Glow-Up Bloom as the main piece, Crystron Halqifibrax to summon it from deck, Uni-Zombie to mill Glow-Up Bloom; half the deck is dedicated to this effect. Most handtraps (quick effects played from the hand to respond to an opponent's actions) are Zombies too, like Ash Blossom and Ghost Belle. This allows you to control the timing of Balerdroch's effects as well.
Zombie World is the other key factor of this deck. Changing all monsters into Zombies can be extremely devastating for certain decks, like Swordsoul with an emphasis on Wyrm materials, or Cyber Dragons completely relying on Machines. Because now everything is Zombies under Zombie World, this also helps trigger the requirements for your Balerdroch. Or you can use Super Polymerization to fuse two of your opponent's now-Zombie monsters into the great Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon! Rivalry of Warlords is in the list for good reason: If your opponent's monsters are forcefully turned into Zombies, they cannot summon any other cards from outside the field unless they are Zombies too, which your opponent is unlikely to have. This means Rivalry of Warlords and Zombie World face-up on the field creates a lock - where your opponent can no longer summon any more monsters while you continue summoning more Zombies onto the field!
You can easily activate Zombie World through the use of Underworld Banshee.
Zombie World also has an additional effect; neither players can Tribute Summon (except Zombie Monsters). This may seem redundant at first, but it also heavily affects tribute summon-reliant decks such as Floowandereeze and True Draco!
With these two cards working together, the Zombie strategy is clear: Zombify all the cards, then use your Balerdroch to lay the continuous smackdown on your opponent! Throughout every iteration, this strategy has been the core focus of this deck.
I may not be able to cover every single intricate details and interaction of this deck, but here are some videos that will!
(You can easily find more of these if you search the term "Zombie Horde" - this has been regarded as the best way to play this structure deck)
Cimoooooooo here has gone into great depth about what this structure deck is all about, and how you can make a great deck out of only 3 of these! You can also get a better sense of what this deck is about from Upper Tofu's introductory video.
Zombies are great for one thing - endless resurrection. So what can we do with never-ending bodies? Use them to make even stronger monsters - Synchro Monsters!
This version of the deck will aim to summon strong reliable synchro monsters through the deck's ability to swarm the field through their effects. Mezuki is the deck's greatest monster, banishing itself to summon ANY Zombie from the grave. This naturally includes your stronger zombies like Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon Lord and Skeletal Dragon Felgrand! Although not natural Zombies, the PUNK engine is used here to summon Chaos Ruler, in order to lay more Zombies from your deck into the grave. They are also excellent synchro supporters.
With a good combination of cards, you can perform multiple Synchro summons within the same turn. If not, you are guaranteed plenty in the upcoming turns, and every turns after. The zombies just keep on coming! Your eventual end boards should be multiple Synchro monsters standing menacingly against your opponents.
In fact, Zombie Synchro was the best way to play way in the olden days of Yugioh!
You can learn more about this long undead technique with these following links.
Yacine656's Zombie Combos
YGOLite's Zombie replay video
Why Should You Zombify?
By now you may have noticed, all variations of this deck either include Balerdroch and Zombie World, a heavy synchro element, or both mashed together. This sort of deck building may be accompanied by the many various archetypes out there, since Zombies are so flexible in nature. As long as you understand that your eventual gameplan is to establish a powerful Zombie board, you can actually include many things to support this strategy! Like a Danger! engine to draw into important cards, a PUNK engine to mill relevant Zombies, or even relying on Albaz and Branded Fusion to support your deck. You can add anything to these Zombies.
Surprisingly, the other way around holds true too. You can add Zombies to anything. What does this mean?
A current common addition to particular decks is the addition of Underworld Banshee and Zombie World to other decks. As Zombie World prevents several popular strategies from functioning, like Floowandereeze needing to Tribute Summon, or Swordsoul needing Wyrm monsters, being able to activate Zombie World against these particular decks will instantly cripple their game plan. Even better if your deck is able to directly mill Underworld Banshee, such as Virtual World's Beatrice, or Albaz's Branded Fusion.
Zombies such as Uni-Zombie and Mezuki are popular in synchro variants as well! Take for example, Jesse Kotton's 60 cards Zombie Zoodiac. Zombies are particularly useful in swarming the board from the Graveyard, so they are the perfect fuel to continuously produce high leveled synchro monsters, like the list shown above.
All in all, Zombies are already everywhere. They can be played, with other engines supporting itself, or it can be played alongside other strategies. This impressively large utility is one of the many reasons why this structure deck was touted to be one of the best structures of all time.
But I hate Zombies! How do I counter them?
Hopefully I have converted you into a fellow zombie! But if you are still standing tall and alive, and want to increase your chances at surviving this outbreak, here are things you should look out for.
Traditionally and currently, Zombies are a graveyard reliant deck. They live, die, and re-live by the grave. So stopping access to the graveyard, or messing with their resting place is the answer. You could develop cards like Necrovalley or Abyss Dweller to deny the Graveyard, or drop a timely D.D. Crow or Ghost Belle on particular revivals. Of course, there are many different Zombie archetypes in existence. But this should hold true for all of them; you just need to identify where exactly their weakest chain is.
So how good was the structure deck for Zombies?
Almost all Zombie-focused decks now include Balerdroch in their lists, so I would say, pretty good!
Zombies has had always decent success at top level events. Take for example, when this structure topped a YOT only one week after its debut! Afterwards, many people found success with Balerdroch, or just Uni-Zombie. Recently, they even received new support from Dimension Force! The horde just keeps on growing.
There are constantly developing strategies for Zombies, and players are fine-tuning this pet deck as much as possible every time. Konami has also constantly added new Zombie archetypes, like the trap-heavy Eldlich and the summon-heavy Mayakashi. My fellow zombie fanatics will get to constantly refresh their love of the fleshless beings.
As my competitive journey started with Balerdroch, I must admit bias for Zombies. I hope my article gives you a deeper insight into the appeal! Many people have also documented their blessings for this structure and touted it as a great product to enter the game. Zombie is also an eternally evolving archetype, so you can always upgrade and remix your deck as you please. If you happen to find this ancient structure in your stores, don't sleep on it! Get infected and join the Zombie Horde today!
Still not convinced? Let these videos and reviews do the talking!
MorphingYGO's 1st place Zombie Profile (May 2022)
Dzeeff's analysis of the deck one year later (2019)
CrushCard's Zombie video (2021)
Pojo breakdown of Zombies (2019)