Grixis Fevered Zombies with Brandon Montoya

Posted in GRAND PRIX DENVER 2016 on December 4, 2016

By Hallie Santo

Brandon Montoya's Grixis Fevered Zombies

Brandon Montoya had a fever, and the only cure was more Zombies.

The Denver-based grinder had been fascinated by Fevered Visions for a while. He qualified for Pro Tour Kaladesh by finishing in the Top 4 of a Regional Pro Tour Qualifier with a U/R Fevered Visions burn deck, but soon found himself losing ground.

“The aggressive decks were going way underneath me, and the Aetherworks Marvel deck was going too big,” he says. “So I started looking into other builds.”

Montoya started with aggressive B/R Madness decks, but found that he ran out of gas too soon and too often. The allure of Fevered Visions’ card advantage engine was too strong, so he challenged himself to build a mana base that could support a Fevered Visions/Zombie Madness hybrid. Spirebluff Canal came along at just the right time: the blue-red land provided the mana-fixing Montoya needed, and made it more likely that he’d have an untapped red source on turn one.

Montoya explained the importance of red mana as he outlined his game plan. Ideally, he’d like to cast Insolent Neonate or Lightning Axe on the first turn of the game, either of which provide a discard outlet. If he discards a copy of Haunted Dead and has a black source on turn two, he can activate the Zombie’s ability and discard two cards. If those cards happen to be two copies of Prized Amalgam, he’ll have three Zombies and a Spirit token on the battlefield – a total of nine power – by the end of his turn. This may sound like an improbable best case scenario, but Montoya’s games have been fairly consistent in Denver this weekend.

“I have lived that dream in this tournament a couple times,” he attests. “And even if it happens on turn three, it’s still very good.”

In the event that things don’t go according to plan, Montoya can always fall back on Fevered Visions.

“If I draw Fevered Visions I feel like I just win,” he says. “The card punishes opponents who have bad spell-to-land ratios, and the damage is always relevant.”

Montoya is a bit leery of aggressive decks like Mardu Vehicles, which can nearly empty their hands by the mid-game and use Fevered Visions to their own advantage. He’s more confident against slower midrange decks, and specifically tuned his build to combat the rash of B/G Delirium and W/U Flash decks. He also feels he has the upper hand against over-the-top Emrakul decks that utilize Aetherworks Marvel. Adding blue to B/R Madness’s mana base didn’t just allow Montoya to slot in Fevered Visions – he also has access to Negate and Ceremonious Rejection out of the sideboard, plus a powerful Eldrazi of his own in Elder Deep-Fiend.

If you like Zombies, emerging Eldrazi, and drawing cards, this deck is everything you could ever dream of. Montoya is 11-3 at the time of this writing, and while he’s disappointed to be out of Top 8 contention, he’s still proud to be representing his hometown and having a good time in the process.

“I’m mostly a Limited player, and this is the most fun I’ve had playing Standard in a long time,” he says.

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