Epic: Zombie OTK

Requires Tyrants expansion.

You cannot typically perform an OTK (one turn kill) in Epic, from full health. Dealing 30 damage in one turn, is very difficult; or even dealing very close to it like 25 after some health is lost. It can be done and usually relies on attacking while using some sort of sure-fire boost like Battle Cry or Deadly Raid on a massive token field. This deck shares only one real thing in common with that approach: tokens. In this deck, we are going to use pure #00ccff;">burn to kill someone in as close to one turn as possible. How? First, we need to establish two #00ccff;">engines: draw and zombie production. If you get a Drinker of Blood early in the game, the draw engine is less important. Here’s how it works: draw Drinker of Blood and some sort of board wipe, preferrably a silver-costed wipe so you can do this without giving the opponent two responses. A gold will have to wait until their turn, which is 2 responses (one on yours, one on theirs) so silvers like Hands From Below will not provoke a response. A 0-response solution would be Wither or Flash Fire. Due to the attacking rules that give attackers priority to play first, Spike Trap and Hands From Below operate without provoking any response.

Okay, now that you have your weenie board wipe and Drinker and your zombies are all out (including opponent zombies or both players having weak other champions depending on your possible #00ccff;">out), now the magic begins. Nuke. Win. Drinker of Blood will make each opponent lose[es] two life and you gain two life for each champion that breaks at this time. If you’re responseless at the time, you auto-win.

This means, it cannot be stopped by The Gudgeon because it does not target, is not useless in multiplayer since everyone loses the life, and cannot be punished even when it fails to force a loss of all the remaining life because you will gain all that ridiculous amount of life for yourself. So even if you fail to get all 30 or 28 or whatever the situation, even if you do 18-20, you’re getting that much and they’re losing that much. Such a gap usually leaves opponents unable to defeat you before you do something minor and win. Don’t forget that one of your outs is Flash Fire which will do 2 more damage on top of that. Special note here: even though some cards in this deck give zombies to the opponent, which is technically usable by our Drinker of Blood OTK gambit, the decklist notes will not count them as usable since you never know what an opponent will do with it once it’s theirs.

Here are a list of play flow tips that should help you:

  • If you don’t have Drinker of Blood, mulligan aggressively. 5 cards if no Drinker and no Flash Fire (best finisher). 4 if one of them. Mulligan 5 gives a 42% chance of opening a Drinker, with one being in the next 9 cards on average if you fail
  • Set up zombies slowly early on, so as not to provoke a board wipe
  • Do not attack with early zombies for the same reason (plus you don’t want them dying off)
  • You will have way more silver board wipe wincons than you know what to do with. Don’t be afraid to waste a few Hands From Below for extra tokens
  • Make sure you always respond with Plentiful Dead before your intended response! You need multiple activations of this
  • Don’t pay attention to life costs as you will gain the life back, but don’t uselessly spam Plentiful Dead or you’ll die
  • Make sure to use Necrovirus as early as possible to set up zombie “extensions” (where you get more than you visibly had available later)
  • Use The Gudgeon not just to draw a ton but to stop discard control from ruining your Plentiful Deads and Necrovirus

Legend for deck keypoints:

  • OPP – Counts as playable on the opponent’s turn. This is essential to keeping good rhythm and affecting game play every single turn. Doesn’t count re-usable.
  • DRW – Draws at least 2 cards, or is a draw engine. Required to keep playing cards every turn including on the opponent’s turn, especially if you’re board wiping.
  • TKN – Produces zombie tokens.
  • RMV – Any type of removal whether spot or board wipe, including weenie removal since our deck profits here.
  • MVP – Don’t squander these as they’re your best cards. (ACE for Events)

Zombie Counter: For tracking average zombies per card at the end.

Za Warudo
Silver 0: 18

3 Plentiful Dead – Constant source of free zombies you don’t realize will be incredibly necessary. Since you can play it before your gold, then play a gold, then do the same thing on your opponent’s turn, it’s easy to manufacture 4 per round per copy of this card. So this will count as +4 zombies. TKN

3 Wither – Second-easiest way to start the OTK in the deck and best of all, it still gets all zombies regardless of whose you target first. ACE RMV

3 Hands From Below – Used when your own zombies attack in a mass group to kill them all (or demons/wolves given by your opponent) while Drinker is on the field. Can alternatively be used to just get 2 extra zombies when needed if you have a different out. +2 Zombies. TKN RMV

3 Arcane Research – Used to fish very deeply for Drinker of Blood. Even if you fail, that can be around 5 cards deeper than you were. Totally invaluable for this deck and always at least replaces itself. Be careful of your greyboxes in the discard. Run Spike Trap instead if you have more trouble getting finishers (you probably won’t). Because of the intense amount of digging, it’s listed as DRW despite not giving a +1, please remember this! The DRW is for Drinker anyway. OPP DRW

3 Muse – Draw engine. Cheeky 2 damage in the air which can reduce the amount of zombies required to OTK by 1 each time (with some risk). DRW

3 Flash Fire – Primary and easiest way to perform the OTK in the deck. ACE OPP DRW RMV

Gold 1: 42

Removal: 12
3 Hurricane – Reminder do not play this on an opponent’s turn immediately after dropping Drinker. You won’t need to anyway but this is mostly to field clear weird stuff your opponent drops. OPP DRW RMV

3 Transform – Works really well for giving you yet another token to kill to Drinker as well as spot removal for anything that’s unbreakable or unbanishable (the former of which this deck is weak to). OPP DRW RMV

3 Zombie Apocalypse – A real horrorshow. +X Zombies. OPP DRW TKN RMV

3 Necrovirus – This spot removal puts 2 new zombies on the field and makes 3 more the moment you play an ally. Counts as +4 zombies total (1 goes to the opponent). OPP TKN RMV

Zombie Army: 9
3 Zealous Necromancer – Always good to have ambush draw, plus you can slow-roll a zombie army when your opponent’s stuff dies. +4 Zombies on average in testing. OPP DRW TKN

3 Reap or Sow – Always take the zombies. You should have plenty of board wipes otherwise. This is best used as OPP, especially if Necrovirus is in the discard, as that creates huge armies quickly. +4 Zombies. OPP TKN RMV

3 The Risen – Unlike a typical zombie deck or spammy evil token deck, it’s not used for swinging with some zombies. Mostly it’s used to build an army on OPP so you can surprise OTK on your turn. Use as needed however. +3 Zombies. OPP DRW TKN

Utility: 21

3 Drinker of Blood – Make sure this will either kill or permanently cripple an opponent when finally dropped. It’s too precious to squander. Look for creative and weird ways to extend your damage as hard as possible (Flash Fire, Muse, opponent’s weaklings, etc.) Draw until you get this as it’s required to win. Be clever and sneaky about what you’re doing, so you don’t provoke an enemy board wipe. I can usually get away with 4-6 zombie tokens completely right before I spend my gold on my opponent’s turn before I play Drinker, and yet still end up extending my zombie generation between that time period to an OTK. MVP

3 The Gudgeon – Precious discard protection. Precious draw. Ping every turn to reduce our zombie army requirements by 1 each time it attacks. DRW

3 Final Task – This is just for emergencies to bring back a dead Drinker. By that point late in the game, with all your draw engine, you’ll have one just fine (and it can swing in the air with unbreakable, which extends the damage that turn). Also used to grab draw engines. OPP DRW

3 Winter Fairy – Draw engine and strong Turn 1 play. OPP DRW

3 Thoughtplucker – Draw engine and hand control. OPP DRW

3 Crystal Golem – Minor draw, some needed OPP and fills the Sage slot better than anything else. OPP DRW

3 Battle Cry – (If lack of champions bothers you, run Triceratops, Jungle Queen, or Sea Hydra instead.) Used as an alternate out for your zombie army when you have to swing early. Almost always just used to defend and draw 2 on an opponent’s turn, though. Remember that with an all-breakthrough field you want to swing as a group for maximum damage and minimum responses. OPP DRW


Key Point stats

Keypoint totals:

  • OPP – 42 total cards. 70% of the deck works well on the opponent’s turn.
  • TKN – 21 total cards. 35% of the deck is used to generate tokens for your finisher.
  • DRW – 42 total cards. 70% of the deck can give net hand advantage after it’s played. Arcane Research is for digging.
  • RMV – 24 total cards. 40% of the deck can be used as removal.

Intersection – 215% total, spillover (intersection) of 215%. Cards, on average have 2 of the deck’s key points on each card. Therefore each draw in this deck has a quality rating of 2.

Draw quality (+10). Reminder this is extra over the normal 100%.

Plus the above!

Please note that card quality does not mean anything objective. It’s a subjective self-measure of how well the deck does what it says it wants to. It measures synergy.

Zombie Counter: 18 total produced from unique cards

This means the average number of zombies per card is 18/20 or 0.9. That’s pretty intense. For every card you play, you get around 1 zombie. After 10 cards, you have 9 zombies on average. Though that would be assuming you were playing random cards from your hand with no goal in mind so really it ends up being far more. Essentially, a hand of 7 will have 6.3 zombies per card available to it. Adjust this on the fly to account for your particular game’s quirks, and for the value of Zombie Apocalypse in your game.

This deck is by far the strongest most consistent deck I have been able to make since I started playing Epic upon its release (over a year ago at the time of writing). That’s a very powerful statement given exactly how deep and complex Epic is as a game. Neverthless, its strong potential for non-respondable wins while working consistently and having multiple outs as well as defense makes this deck intensely hard to contend against. Even when using direct counters such as banish removal and discard control, the deck has protection and a plan. Once I come up with a weakness, I’ll be posting it here. This deck can win even when it gets a bad hand, though a bad start is always going to cripple you

It’s not even punishable. In the rare cases where the deck must go for OTK and cannot make it all the way, it’s gaining over 20 life and reducing the opponent that much too. Even in the upper teens of damage, you’re still making a gap that puts the opponent in critical condition and you way up in untouchable areas. If you think you’re not going to draw your win condition, you’re dead wrong. This deck is all gas and draw engines. Your biggest hiccup is against heavy life-gain decks but that was already covered in the part where you cripple the opponent with a less-than-full OTK. In the future, I hope to make the Wild gold choices stronger, but that will either require new insights or a new set release. I hope you all take this and stomp your local competition into the dust! Have fun.

By the way, the name comes from the stand of DIO from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, who is an all-powerful vampire that stops time to pummel you so you can’t respond. It seemed appropriate.


Alice White

Alice is the webmaster of VMundi, author, editor, mathematician, and autodidact. She has over 9 years of publishing experience writing articles for various self-run sites. Her interests include game design, economics, Game Theory, graphical design, and mathematics.

  • reply Zoey Hope ,

    Jungle Queen is the funnest replacement for the Battle cry. almost always draws a kill and it will more than likely be a banish kill. Cant let you Ambush in anything wild you know. lol.

    • Alice

      reply Alice ,

      Ended up going with the following replacements instead:
      -1 Lying in Wait
      -1 Spike Trap
      +1 Transform
      +1 Arcane Research

      Deck performs significantly batter after.

    • reply Simon ,

      Very nice combo deck, I like the idea! I’m gonna try it soon, thanks!
      Regarding all of your decklists, I thought it was an obligation to have 20 “silver” cards and 40 golds cards for constructed decks, am I mistaken?

      • reply Saimaster1 ,

        Afraid it isn’t mandatory. 20 silvers are the max amount of silvers you can run, but you’re not obligated to run silvers at all.
        Further to the point, the gameplay rules for deckbuilding have 2 gold of same alignment for every 1 silver of same alignment, meaning you can’t add 3 Muse without 2 gold sage cards being in the deck.

        • Saimaster1 ,

          Without a PLAYER of 2 gold sage cards, I meant.

          • Simon ,

            Ok, thanks for the clarification! Somehow I missed that, I will be able to adapt my decks ;-)

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