The U/R Zombie decks didn’t get any new cards from Aether Revolt—but they may be one of the best choices going forward.
In testing for this Pro Tour, U/R Zombies was crushing all of the creature-based strategies. The problem was that Jeskai Saheeli could be a real challenge. In a sea of G/B decks trying to defeat Mardu Vehicles, U/R Zombies may be the perfect foil.
The centerpiece of the deck is its blue Zombies. Both Stitchwing Skaab and Advanced Stitchwing want to be put into your graveyard so that they can be returned later in the game. With tons of discard outlets, getting them into the there isn’t too big of an issue. Once there, they can get other critical components into your ‘yard.
For a deck that wants more of its cards in the graveyard than in hand, the card choices are going to be intriguing. Prized Amalgam is a big payoff for going to your graveyard only for Zombies to bring it back. This deck doesn’t even play black sources, so the graveyard is where you need things to go.
Kozilek’s Return is another big payoff for going to the graveyard. While 2 damage is useful, 5 damage that will kill most relevant things in Standard.
The card that makes this strategy so strong against creature decks is Elder Deep-Fiend. This is a great way to trigger Kozilek’s Return from the graveyard at instant speed, to force through damage, and to prevent your opponent from casting big threats. This will eat creatures in combat or flash in at end of turn to eat planeswalkers. The best Deep-Fiend deck is likely to be one of the best decks in the format.
Fevered Visions is losing some luster in a sea of Mardu Vehicles decks, but it’s going to shine against any slightly slower strategies. The hope is that even if your opponent is able to cast a reasonable number of spells, yours will still end up doing more and the extra cards will go to your advantage. The incidental damage can still win a game against slower decks, or at least help deal with planeswalkers.
That there isn’t a single card from a set as powerful as Aether Revolt in this 75 shouldn’t scare you away. This deck was held back dramatically by some of the banned cards, and it may have found its day in the sun!