How to Play Archives of the Realm's Knight of the Living Dead Deck

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Chase du Pont

Chances are, if you’ve been to a major Sorcery: Contested Realm event in the United States, you may have met Dave, a.k.a “Rude” from Archives of the Realm. Having attended well over 20 events since the release of Beta in November, Rude has become a regular fixture at Sorcery events, helping to champion the positive and supportive community that Sorcery has become known for.

When you travel to so many events, you get to play a lot of Sorcery. But tournaments are often not just about the main event, there are pick-up games before and often even after events!

With this in mind, Rude likes to travel with extra decks that provide a fun and thematically rich experience, while still being able to play against the range of decks you might encounter around an organized event.

Today, he’s here to share his insights into one of his favorite flavorful decks… Knight of the Living Dead.

Knight of the Living Dead

You can view Rude’s full deck list on Sorcery TCG's official deck-building site here: Knight of the Living Dead

Deck Inspiration: What inspired you to create this deck? What theme or concept behind this deck makes it stand out?

One of the things that I love about TCGs is the ability to create an almost infinite number of decks with different intended purposes, ranging from purely competitive to wacky theme decks. For Knight of the Living Dead, I wanted to create a deck that was both fun and functional that I could use to play some light games with in between more intense tournament matches.

I have really enjoyed playing decks in other games that had a focus on cemetery mechanics and wanted to try to replicate that in Sorcery. In addition to focusing on my desired mechanic, I wanted to have a heavy emphasis on the theme of the deck, with the early game being focused on building up an army of mortals which gradually turns into the forces of the monstrous undead as the game progresses and the battles play out. Finally, I wanted a fun name for the deck that could capture the emphasis on both the mortals and undead, and landed on Knight of the Living Dead which also pays homage to one of the most iconic zombie films of all time!

Key Card Choices: Tell us about some of the key cards in this deck and why you included them. How do they synergize with your deck's strategy?

I love creating decks with lots of different potential combos, and this one is no exception! This deck is very minion-heavyv, and uses the Avatar of Earth to put lots of combat pressure on your opponent. Having a Royal Bodyguard near your Avatar allows you to fully utilize it to also clear enemy minions, as you can prevent the Avatar from taking damage from the defending unit.

The mortal minions in the deck, including the ever-important Foot Soldier tokens, serve a critical role that is both thematically and mechanically sound. Massing your mortal armies early in the game gives you a solid base to use to sacrifice for Moon Clan Werewolf and to bring Scourge Zombies back from the cemetery, and they can also be used to put pressure on your opponent by attacking sites!

Two of the cards that play a critical role in this deck are the Bone Rabble and Scourge Zombies, which not only fit the theme of the deck but also directly support the focus on trying to maximize cemetery mechanics. No matter how many times they get sent to the cemetery, they just keep coming back for more! This pairs well with the Squirming Mass whose power can increase quite quickly as you cycle the Rabble and Zombies between the battlefield and your cemetery, gaining even more power when mortal minions die to bring the Zombies back to the battlefield.

Playstyle Tips: What's the recommended playstyle for this deck? Are there any specific strategies or combos that players should be aware of when using it?

At its core, this deck is meant to be played pretty aggressively with lots of attacking and sacrificing of mortal minions to cycle the Zombies and Rabbles. Once out on the battlefield Bone Rabble and Scourge Zombies should also be used aggressively as both attackers and defenders, especially if you have a Squirming Mass nearby which can absorb their power when they transition to the cemetery.

The Moon Clan Werewolf is a strong 3-power minion that can be summoned on turn 1 if you start with an ordinary village as your first site, giving you an early medium-power minion to put pressure on your opponent. Alternatively, if used later in the game with a Squirming mass nearby and Scourge Zombies in the cemetery, a well-timed Werewolf can boost the power of the Squirming Mass while also returning the Zombies from the cemetery at the same time effectively giving you two minions for 0 mana.

If unable to start the cemetery cycle, the deck still functions well as a standard mortal minion deck with cards like House Arn Bannermen and Crusade pairing well with Vanguard Knights and Border Militia. Late-game minions such as King of the Realm and Midland Army can swing the tides of war in your favor boosting your board presence and adding power to your minions. Are pesky Root Spiders stopping your minions in their tracks? Use a Mudflow to force them to the surface where they can face the wrath of your steel!

Once your opponent is on Death’s Door, there are several options to deal the final Death Blow. Lightning Bolt provides a low mana cost option, with Craterize providing a higher mana cost option with a larger area of effect. If you have units with line of sight to their Avatar you can also use Grapple Shot to clinch the win!

Matchup Insights: How does your deck perform against popular archetypes in the game? Are there any particular matchups where it excels or struggles?

As the goal of the deck was to create something with a strong theme that was both fun and functional, it is best suited for games outside of a competitive tournament setting. It plays particularly well against other decks that have a heavy emphasis on Earth, which allows the Avatar of Earth to gain substantial power to put the hurt on your opponent with strong attacks. It also plays well against other decks that are minion-heavy, the Squirming Mass can have its power boosted very quickly if it’s absorbing both your minions and your enemies! Those Grey Wolves are a lot less daunting when they boost your Squirming Mass in power after they are removed from the battlefield!

The deck may have some challenges against Deathspeaker, which can potentially banish minions from your cemetery if they have the correct threshold, really limiting the effectiveness of Bone Rabble and Scourge Zombies. Water-heavy decks that utilize Atlantean Fate also pose a bit of a challenge, as they can reduce your Earth threshold and decrease your ability to use spells like Earthquake and Bury effectively. Additionally, Scourge Zombies' triggered ability doesn’t work if a mortal minion dies on a water site, further limiting its utility against Water decks. Against these types of decks, it's important to try to put the pressure on your opponent as quickly as possible!

Connect with the Community

If you enjoy Rude's deck, he'd love to hear about your experiences with it! You can connect with Sorcery community members, like Rude, on the Official Sorcery Discord as well in Sorcery community spaces like the Sorcery: Contested Realm Facebook group!

And, of course, to hear more about Rude's adventures at Sorcery events and Sorcery: Contested Realm coverage, be sure to check out his YouTube channel: Archives of the Realm

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