Little is known of their actual origins – Geralf and Gisa are brother and sister, and are cousins to Mikaeus, the Lunarch.
They were essentially two sides of a coin – Geralf embodied the blue aspect of Innistrad’s zombies by being a mad scientist, stitching corpses together to his own ends, while Gisa was a necromancer, just animating the bodies to torment the living.
The flavor of the UB zombie tribe was the flavor of all kind of zombies. The blue aspect was that of Frankenstein – beings stitched together from corpses and given life through lightning or magic. These zombies tend to be stronger and more intelligent as the stitcher can stitch together only the best materials if they so wish. The black aspect was that of the more modern zombies – the slow, shambling zombies of Dawn of the Dead that just exist to kill the living and wipe out the living.
In fact, before the siege of Thraben, they simply played games, called the Moorland Necrowars. They waged their necromantic armies against each other to see who the better ruler of undead was. Seeing as there were no deaths (well, aside from necessity to make the zombies and skaabs) these really were practically games. Of course, any living humans in the way would be turned into more corpses for their games, and these corpses wouldn’t just be a part of these games,
Together, they agreed to take down one of the few sanctuaries for living human kind – Thraben. They created Grimgrin, a giant zombie the height of two men that easily took down the gates of Thraben himself. Their goal was to conquer the city and to kill Mikaeus, the Lunarch – so that Geralf could become the ruler of Thraben itself.
Granted, this plan failed. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben managed to rally her forces and fight back the undead overcoming the city. Sadly, Mikaeus, the Lunarch was still killed by Geralf – but the city was in no state for him to take for himself. At this point, he met Liliana Vess, who showed great interest in the corpse of the Lunarch. Being a necromancer, we can already assume where that led.
But enough of that. Let’s talk about the cards.
Stitcher Geralf is a 3/4 Legendary Human Wizard for 3UU. Solid typing, stats, and costing. 3UU is a little on the high side for a commander, but his deck doesn’t need to revolve around him. His ability is unique, but similar to Gisa’s. for 2U and tap, everyone mills 3, and then you can exile up to two creature cards milled this way to stitch together a zombie, whose power and toughness are X, where X is the total power exiled this way.
One advantage to this ability is due to the nature of the ability, you can exile Eldrazi with the ability before they are able to shuffle back into the library. Over all, Geralf is a pretty solid mill commander – I’d say he’s strictly better than Ambassador Laquatus as he hits all players (though it includes you, so it isn’t always fantastic) and he gives you a zombie theme, too.
From a flavor standpoint, I really like the fact he literally stitches the Zombie tokens together from the creatures that are milled with his ability. It captures his Frankenstein vibe really well. The only problem I have is that he is mono-blue – there are so few mono-blue zombies that a zombie tribal deck with him as a Commander isn’t very good – he works well alongside his sister, though.
Ghoulcaller Gisa was announced before her brother, and I like her a little bit more.
For 3BB, you get a 3/4 Legendary Human Wizard – same stats as her brother, she’s just black instead of blue. Her ability is also pretty decent, like her brothers. For B, tap, sacrifice a creature, you get X 2/2 black Zombie creature tokens each to the power of the sacrificed creature.
Again, I love the flavor of this card. She just wants as many zombies as possible to overwhelm humanity, rather than stitching less, stronger zombies together.
She actually works very well with her brother – he makes a huge zombie with his ability, and then Gisa breaks his huge zombie down into a ton of 2/2 zombies. I’m not exactly sure how two things stitched together give rise to a whole ton of things not stitched together, but I”m not going to complain about synergy.
Next time, I’ll be talking about their own decks – Geralf is first due to WUBRG order. Then, Gisa, and then I’ll be talking about using the two of them together in a third deck, which you can probably guess the commander of.
Until next time,
-SolemnParty (David Rowell)