B/R Zombies by Zan Syed at SCG Richmond

Creatures (23)
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Cryptbreaker
1 Distended Mindbender
4 Haunted Dead
3 Insolent Neonate
4 Prized Amalgam
3 Voldaren Pariah

Non-Creature Spells (15)
2 Key to the City
4 Fatal Push
4 Fiery Temper
2 Lightning Axe
3 Cathartic Reunion

Lands (22)
5 Mountain
9 Swamp
4 Foreboding Ruins
4 Smoldering Marsh

Sideboard (15)
1 Distended Mindbender
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Collective Brutality
2 Lost Legacy
2 Release the Gremlins
4 Transgress the Mind


In Kaladesh Standard, one of the decks that appealed to me but I never had the guts to pick it up was B/R Zombies. Outside of the various Vehicles decks, B/R Zombies took advantage of Smuggler’s Copter the most. It was a fantastic aggressive threat that also fueled the various madness and graveyard cards that the deck wanted to take advantage of. During the draws where the deck had one of more Smuggler’s Copter, the deck’s power was immediately apparent, and it was hard to compete with its card advantage and resilience.


However, the draws without Smuggler’s Copter could get a little awkward, and the deck needed more pieces to come together for the same card advantage and resilience to be shown. When Smuggler’s Copter was shown the door, many people (myself included) believed that B/R Zombies would not survive into Aether Revolt Standard, simply because the absence of Smuggler’s Copter hit the deck hard. However, Zan Syed thought otherwise, and brought the deck to SCG Richmond this past weekend. He battled through 15 rounds on January 28 and 29 and ended up just short of top 8 in 13th place.

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The deck operates on a very unique access. A portion of the deck exists to facilitate various graveyard synergies and madness cards. These cards also make more creatures, draw cards, or kill opposing creatures. The best of these is Cryptbreaker, as it’s a powerful 1 mana creature than can take over a game on its own, and becomes the most powerful card in the deck when it’s paired with madness and graveyard-synergy cards. Another portion of the deck is dedicated to gaining card advantage from the graveyard. These cards allow the deck to have incredible damage potential and an extremely potent long-game. The most powerful of these are Haunted Dead, Prized Amalgam, and Scrapheap Scrounger.

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In this format, the suite of removal cards that this deck has is particularly well-positioned against the B/G Delirium decks and the 4-Color Copycat decks. The long-term resilience of this deck also makes it an excellent choice against the dominant Jeskai Copycat decks and the various control strategies that have been popping up. Voldaren Pariah is also a particularly powerful card in this format, as individual creatures are more powerful and worth more now than they were in Kaladesh Standard. As it was in Kaladesh Standard, B/R Zombies’ biggest weakness is itself. On sheer power level alone, it is easily one of the top decks in the format, but its draws are inconsistent. A hand filled with Haunted Dead and Prized Amalgam with no way to discard them can often find Zombies in a seemingly unwinnable position by turn 3 or 4. Additionally, cards like Insolent Neonate and Cathartic Reunion don’t do much unless they are paired with one or more of those powerful graveyard cards. So, if you want to play this deck, jam a lot of games with it so you know what kind of hands yield what kind of games, and which hands you should mulligan.

B/R Zombies could be ready for a grand comeback at Pro Tour Aether Revolt this weekend, and beyond. Here are the changes I would make going forward:


-1 Fatal Push

+1 Lightning Axe


-1 Transgress the Mind

+1 Distended Mindbender

This is day 31 of Spellsnare.com’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 30 here, where we featured a control deck that put up excellent results at SCG Richmond. 

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