December 9, 2016

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Test Drive – Standard Black Red Zombies

Hello all and welcome to another weekly edition of the Test Drive! Last week I tried out the Black Green Delirium Standard deck which turned out to be quite successful. Today, I’m going to be going to Test Drive a Black Red Zombies deck which focuses on utilizing your graveyard and overwhelming the battlefield with lots of creatures. This deck also throws in a lot of removal which helps you clear the way to bash in for lots of damage. Most players think of Black and Red together as a guaranteed aggro strategy, where this deck can play more of a mid-range game with the ability to clear your opponents board of creatures thanks to cards like Voldaren Pariah.

So, let’s have a look at the version of Black Red Zombies that I put through the Test Drive treatment.

Black Red Zombies

Creatures: (24)
Scrapheap Scrounger
Bomat Courier
Cryptbreaker
Prized Amalgam
Haunted Dead
Voldaren Pariah

Spells: (13)
Smuggler’s Copter
Fiery Temper
Unlicensed Disintegration
Lightning Axe

Lands: (23)
Mountain
Smoldering Marsh
Foreboding Ruins
10 Swamp

Sideboard: (15)
Call the Bloodline
Bloodhall Priest
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Weaver of Lightning
Key to the City
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Collective Brutality

After playing with this deck, here are some of the things I’ve learned that you can use to help you maximize this deck.

When playing this deck, the most land you want to have in play is four. Ideally you want to have only one mana source that can’t me tapped for black mana (Mountain), as you need a lot of black mana to cast Voldaren Pariah for its Madness cost. All of your other lands you should keep in your hand so that you are able to discard them to Haunted Dead’s ability. If you get stuck with two Mountain’s early you could have difficulty playing out your hand optimally.

There are 12 creatures in your deck that you don’t want to cast from your hand. Prized Amalgam, Haunted Dead, and Voldaren Pariah are best when not cast for its full casting cost from your hand. Prized Amalgam you can’t even cast period. Be careful that your opening hand isn’t full of just these creatures without a way of discarding them.

The two cards that are key to your discard strategy are Smuggler’s Copter and Cryptbreaker. Without other discard outlets like Insolent Neonate and Cathartic Reunion, being able to get either of these two cards online is very important. Ideally you want to activate Smuggler’s Copter’s attack trigger as often as possible as it will allow you to get card advantage and allow you get Prized Amalgam and Haunted Dead into your graveyard. Having the free discard without having to pay mana makes it easier to cast Voldaren Pariah and Fiery Temper for their Madness cost.

Bomat Courier is a neat way to get card advantage while discarding a lot of cards at once. If you can get out an early Bomat Courier, you will be able to get two to three cards exiled under it. While waiting for the right time to sacrifice Bomat Courier you can use it Crew Smuggler’s Copter making it more useful in the mid to late game.

Try and keep your Prized Amalgam’s in your hand until you need to discard them to Haunted Dead. This will allow you to surprise your opponent and overwhelm them in the following turns. There are times when you want it in your graveyard when you also have a Scrapheap Scrounger there.

Try and make blocks and attacks that will kill your Haunted Dead once you’ve got it in play. Haunted Dead is often more valuable in your graveyard than in your hand or on the battlefield. This will allow you to get value out of the extra lands in your hand and allow you to get more 1/1 Spirit tokens onto the battlefield as well.

There are a lot of variations of this deck that have seen play in today’s Standard metagame, but I believe based on the games that I’ve played with it, that this is one of the better builds. There are games that you can have a very aggressive start and win that way, but other times you can build your board and win the game with a sweep of your opponent’s board thanks to Voldaren Pariah.

Thanks for joining me on the Test Drive this week and I look forward to trying out another deck next week. With plenty of tournament results, there are plenty of decks to choose from in the coming weeks.