Deck Tech - Jonathan Melamed's Blue-Red Fevered Visions

Posted in Event Coverage on October 30, 2016

By Neale Talbot

Jonathan Melamed had an amazing run on Day 1 of GP Santiago, starting the day without byes, he went 9-0 in the swiss rounds with a unique Blue-Red Fevered Visions build.

Melamed, @insidemtg on twitter, is a game store owner and Level 1 judge. He's had some success at the professional level, achieving a Top 16 at Pro Tour Austin in 2009, and hitting Top 8 of GP Santiago in 2013 and GP San Paolo this year.

I spoke with Melamed about his deck and how it came about.

“Pro Tour Kaladesh was mess for me,” Melamed confessed, “So I decided to play Blue-Red for the GP, as I wanted to play something I was very comfortable with. For Modern I play a lot of Blue-Red Prowess, as I really like the tempo decks.”

“My deck started more or less as the same list that Pedro Carvalho went 9-1 at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.” he continued. “Originally, Fevered Visions was not positioned very well in the metagame. It was a card that I would like to bring in against a lot of decks, so it was always in the sideboard. But in the middle of last week the field turned a little bit towards midrange. As that would mean bringing in Fevered Visions every match I thought to main-deck them instead.”

Without access to Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Melamed had moved away from synergy with Thing in the Ice to produce a more aggressive build that included Stormchaser Mages and Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Melamed spoke about the changes.

“I swapped out the Thing in the Ice as it is terrible against Ishkanah, Grafwidow, as you get one attack in and then they simply recast the spider with all the spiderlings. I wanted a 2-drop that would put significant pressure on my opponent from the start, and Stormchaser Mage is excellent for that.”

“Chandra, Torch of Defiance is insane.” Melamed explained, “She just owns the game, owns the table. We only have two, because we have great card selection between Fevered Visions and Tormenting Voice. You don't want to draw her too often in the beginning, as she costs four mana and sometimes you don't even reach four mana. Once she hits the table, she does everything you need. Kills a creature, draws cards, pressures your opponent,. When you go Turn Two creature, Turn Three Fevered Visions, Turn Four Chandra, it's a major blowout, because your opponent needs to handle all three threats right at that point.”

Melamed also had a great deal of appreciation for Collective Defiance in the new Standard format.

“It kills Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, it kills Noxious Gearhulk, it kills Archangel Avacyn, it goes to the face, it lets you discard two lands and draw into the cards you need. Sometimes you discard a Fiery Temper to draw a card and still burn your opponent. Plus it triggers Prowess, which is very important with Stormchase Mage.”

“I also really like Unsubstantiate and its flexibility, especially when the most predicted decks for the field are Green-Black Delirium and Blue-White Midrange. If you can Unsubstantiate Mindwrack Demon or Ishkanah, Grafwidow before the little spiders trigger, you effectively get a Timewalk, and you're most likely winning the game. Also, I wanted an answer to prevent the Avacyn trigger, and also be able to answer Spell Queller.

Caption: Jonathan Melamed plays Cristian Cespedes in R10 after both go 9-0 in Day 1.

Melamed then discussed his approach to sideboarding, given the very localised metagame.

“Bedlam Reveller comes in against Black Red aggro, taking out Fevered Visions, because you can't afford to give your aggro opponent a card. Instead, you spend the early turns trading burn spells for their threats, and on Turn 5 you're casting Bedlam Reveller for two mana, and you have no cards in hand anyway. I've also been bringing it in against Black-Green Delirium, in order to beat the attrition in the early game.”

“I bring in Jace, Unraveler of Secrets during the midrange and control matchups. The same scenario as Unsubstantiate - if you bounce the Mindwrack Demon your opponent usually can't usually both kill Jace and replay something in the same turn. Plus Jace will be at Three after bouncing the demon, so it doesn't die to Hissing Quagmire. After that you just draw into more and more cards.”

“I have Nahiri's Wrath for aggro decks without lots of reach, such as Green-Red Energy, or decks with lots of Planeswalkers. It answers creatures and planeswalkers all at once, and as you're drawing cards with Fevered Visions you don't mind discarding your hand.”

Jonathan Melamed's Blue-Red Fevered Visions - GP Santiago 2016

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