Deck Tech: Zombie Emerge Delirium with Eliott Boussaud

Posted in GRAND PRIX WARSAW 2016 on October 30, 2016

By Tobi Henke

We're always on the lookout for interesting decks, of course, and this certainly qualified. Silver Level pro and champion of Grand Prix Prague 2015 Eliott Boussaud had brought a four-colored monstrosity to this Grand Prix, a homemade brew borrowing elements of Temur Emerge, Zombies, and Delirium which kept his opponents guessing. Would they need to prepare for an onslaught of the undead? A chain of Elder Deep-Fiends? Ishkanah, Grafwidow and Emrakul, the Promised End? Or maybe even Fevered Visions?

"All the other French guys told me that it's garbage," said Boussaud about his deck. But he was convinced otherwise. And he had the 10-2 record to prove it.

Boussaud explained that it all started with the deck he had played at the Pro Tour, what he called "Blue-Red Zombies." Despite its set of Prized Amalgams, this had been a straight two-colored affair, bearing almost no resemblance to the four-color weirdness that he now ended up with after further testing.

Eliott Boussaud's Blue-Red Zombies at Pro Tour Kaladesh

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"The thing is, I realized that the mana in this deck wasn't even that great. If you wanted to return [Stitchwing Skaab] and emerge Elder Deep-Fiend on the same turn, for example, you needed three sources of blue mana," explained Boussaud. "So it wasn't really much of a stretch to go into black for Haunted Dead."

From there, green was the next logical step. Boussaud stressed the importance of Botanical Sanctum and Blooming Marsh. "The mana base is mostly green now, for all the delirium outlets. I'm basically splashing blue for Elder Deep-Fiend, red for Kozilek's Return and Cathartic Reunion. Traverse the Ulvenwald helps a lot too."

Eliott Boussaud

Boussaud needed even less black mana, just enough to activate Haunted Dead or the odd Scrapheap Scrounger. But mana sometimes was an issue, Boussaud admitted. "I lost to Martin Jůza's Black-Green Delirium, when I just didn't draw red mana."

Usually, though, Black-Green Delirium was a great matchup, said Boussaud. He had played the deck four times on Day 1, in addition to one match against Green-White Delirium.

"All midrange decks are good matchups, basically all the decks with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. If you emerge with Kozilek's Return they get a Zombie first, then they lose everything to Kozilek's Return," Boussaud explained. "And they don't expect Fevered Visions, which is a great sideboard card against them. They don't bring in Natural State or Appetite for the Unnatural.

"White-Blue is tough but winnable. Selfless Spirit is annoying because you can't just Kozilek's Return their board. So all the decks with Selfless Spirit are tough, but my assumption was that White-Blue was on the decline," said Boussaud. "Aggressive decks are definitely not good matchups. I mean, sometimes you go Vessel of Nascency into Haunted Dead into Elder Deep-Fiend with Kozilek's Return in tow, of course. And I bring in Arborback Stomper and Radiant Flames. But I'd put the matchup at 45 percent at best.

"Control decks in general are great matchups. Fevered Visions is great against Grixis, and good against Jeskai unless the have Nahiri, the Harbinger. The Zombies allow you to pressure them without committing much to the board. Then if they take care of them, you can maybe tap them out with Elder Deep-Fiend, and resolve your bigger threats. Because they don't kill you so fast, you can just harass them with your small creatures, and maybe later even resolve Emrakul.

"The deck is a lot of fun to play," said Boussaud. "I'll definitely keep tuning it. So if it's not today [that I make Top 8], it's going to be Grand Prix Madrid!"

Eliott Boussaud's Zombie Emerge Delirium at Grand Prix Warsaw 2016

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