B/G Delirium Guide

Feature Article from Craig Wescoe
Craig Wescoe
8/5/2016 11:02:00 AM
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This week I'm going to discuss B/G Delirium, the deck several of my teammates and I are playing at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.

B/G Delirium by Craig Wescoe
Main Deck
Sideboard
1 Emrakul, the Promised End
4 Grim Flayer
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
2 Mindwrack Demon
4 Sylvan Advocate
3 Tireless Tracker
1 Woodland Bellower
Creatures [16]
3 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
Planeswalkers [4]
4 Grasp of Darkness
2 Murder
4 Oath of Nissa
2 Ruinous Path
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald
1 Ultimate Price
Spells [17]
4 Evolving Wilds
5 Forest (295)
4 Hissing Quagmire
4 Llanowar Wastes
6 Swamp (289)
Lands [23]
Deck Total [60]


1 Dead Weight
1 Den Protector
1 Duress
1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
4 Languish
1 Ruinous Path
3 Transgress the Mind
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

The premise of this deck is to pressure the opponent while setting up delirium. Once delirium is reached, several of the cards become much more powerful. Traverse the Ulvenwald becomes Eladamri's Call, Grim Flayer doubles in size, Ishkanah, Grafwidow spawns babies, and we get closer to Emrakul, the Promised End territory.

Prior to Eldritch Moon, B/G Delirium did not have sufficient enablers or payoff cards. That changed in a big way with the new set. Grim Flayer is a delirium-enabler and a delirium payoff all rolled into a great two-drop. Getting it through in combat is the focus of the deck's early game plan, which is why we have so many cheap removal spells. The other great way to get it through in combat is Liliana, the Last Hope.

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 Liliana, the Last Hope
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Liliana, the Last Hope is the premier follow-up to a second-turn Grim Flayer because it Shrinks just about any potential blocker in the format low enough to where blocking is an unreasonable proposition. The -2/-1 effect remains throughout the opponent's turn, so Liliana, the Last Hope is safe from any counter-attack and is therefore in great shape to repeat the process again the following turn. If the opponent plays another blocker, then we just use any removal spell to kill it since our removal is so versatile and able to point and click to kill just about any possible early blocker.

Aside from Grim Flayer, we also have a pair of Mindwrack Demon to help achieve delirium. Like Grim Flayer, they are not only an enabler but also a payoff card, acting as an undercosted 4/5 flying trampler for just four mana with the upside of putting four cards in our graveyard and no drawback. The demon's body is large enough to survive Languish or Grasp of Darkness, and flying is great at blocking Spell Quellers, Archangel Avacyn, or pretty much any other non-Emrakul, the Promised End flier in the format. It also hits hard when attacking.

Tireless Tracker is an on-curve threat that allows the deck to reload through removal spells and eventually overtake the opponent through card advantage. Woodland Bellower serves a similar role but a little later in the game. It's powerful enough to run as a tutor target for Traverse the Ulvenwald against Bant Company or any of the midrange decks. Finding a 4/5 Sylvan Advocate on turn 6 is my favorite line against Languish decks because both bodies survive Languish and rumble in hard.

Ishkanah, Grafwidow is another important tutor target for Traverse the Ulvenwald, especially against any type of swarm or flier deck. It's rare that we ever actually activate the ability, but the option of having the opponent lose four life for seven mana can sometimes also come up.

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The late game windmill slam win condition of the deck is Emrakul, the Promised End. We have enough creatures to really leave an opponent devastated after resolving Emrakul, the Promised End. We can have them attack all their creatures into our creatures, use all their removal spells on their own creatures, make advantageous decisions with their Planeswalkers, and fail to find whenever searching their library. The most-feared draw step in the history of Magic is the draw step the opponent takes for you after getting Emrakul'd. Didn't want to drain all your own Sorin's loyalty to kill your best creature? Sorry, not sorry about that!

Grim Flayer and Sylvan Advocate are the tag-team duo that applies a tremendous amount of pressure throughout the course of the game. They each become four-power two-drop creatures without much effort, and do decent grizzly bear work early. They allow us to turn the corner quickly against aggressive decks too.

The removal package was carefully chosen based on what we expect the metagame to consist of. Grasp of Darkness is excellent against any early creature and can take care of Archangel Avacyn, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Spell Queller, and most other threats. It only costs two mana too, so it is a slam-dunk four-of. Beyond Grasp of Darkness, we hedged a bit in order to have a variety of answers that we can prioritize differently depending on the matchup. For instance, Ruinous Path is a clunky three-mana sorcery-speed removal spell against Bant Company, so we want to use that any time we can in that matchup, but it's our best removal spell against W/G Tokens since it's the only one that can directly take out a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar – their best card in the matchup.

Murder is the opposite of Ruinous Path. Against Bant Company it's our best removal spell since it kills anything at instant speed, including Spell Queller or a 4/5 Sylvan Advocate later in the game, but against W/G Tokens it is our worst since Grasp of Darkness and Ultimate Price kill all the same things for one less mana and, unlike Ruinous Path, Murder cannot kill Planeswalkers. We sideboard to adjust which removal spells we want for each matchup. We don't run any discard spells maindeck, but in some matchups we bring in discard over some removal spells in order to proactively strip their threat before it hits play.

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The engines of the deck are Oath of Nissa and Traverse the Ulvenwald. They each smooth out our draws and find us the lands we need early, or they find us creatures later on. It's kind of like playing Ponder and Demonic Tutor. Between Traverse the Ulvenwald finding any creature in our deck and Liliana, the Last Hope being able to get it back from the graveyard, we can consistently find and use any creature in our deck multiple times throughout the course of a game. This makes our bullet targets that much more impactful.

Sideboard Guide

Mono-White Humans

+4 Languish
+1 Dead Weight
+1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower
+2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

-1 Emrakul, the Promised End
-1 Woodland Bellower
-1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
-2 Grim Flayer
-3 Tireless Tracker

This matchup is all about resolving Languish. We can sometimes win without it, but it's really lights out after that card resolves. Ishkanah, Grafwidow is our second-best card, protecting us from a wide swarm or from a Gryff's Boon. Besides those two bombs, we're basically just trying to block and use removal spells as quickly and efficiently as possible to preserve our life total long enough for us to win with more powerful cards later in the game.

Bant Company

+1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
+3 Transgress the Mind
+1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower
+4 Languish (on the draw)

-1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
-2 Ruinous Path
-1 Oath of Nissa
-1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope (on the draw)
-2 Grim Flayer (on the draw)

When on the play, we want to connect with Grim Flayer on turn three. It's hard for them to come back from turn-two Grim Flayer into turn-three Liliana, the Last Hope. On the draw things can get a little trickier. Remember that a Languish under a Spell Queller is perfectly fine as long as you save a removal spell that can later kill the Spell Queller so you can resolve the Languish to wipe their board. We are the aggressive tempo deck on the play and the control deck on the draw. The Grim Flayer plan doesn't work on the draw since they get to cast Reflector Mage on it before we have a chance to attack with it, which is why we go the Languish route instead.

W/G Tokens

+1 Ruinous Path
+1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
+1 Den Protector
+2 Transgress the Mind
+1 Duress
+2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

-1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
-1 Ultimate Price
-1 Woodland Bellower
-1 Grasp of Darkness
-1 Oath of Nissa
-1 Liliana, the Last Hope
-1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
-1 Murder

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is their best card against us. Get rid of that Planeswalker any way possible. Besides that card, ours match up well against theirs. Liliana eats Nissa's Plant Token each turn and can also eat Thopter Tokens after Grasp of Darkness takes out a Hangarback Walker. Our two-drop creatures and Mindwrack Demons can efficiently pressure their Planeswalkers. The fact that Mindwrack Demon and Grim Flayer have trample makes chump blocking not an option. After board we bring in hand disruption to proactive take out their threats.

W/B Angels

+3 Transgress the Mind
+1 Den Protector
+1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower
+1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

-2 Grasp of Darkness
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope
-1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
-1 Oath of Nissa

This matchup is an attrition fight and we just want to draw cards and kill everything, which is exactly what they want to do too. We bring in efficient discard spells and better ways to kill their large creatures. Liliana, the Last Hope is okay but not great because their creatures are mostly too large to make the -2/-1 effect potent enough.

Goggles Burn

+3 Transgress the Mind
+1 Duress
+1 Den Protector
+1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
+1 Ruinous Path

-2 Murder
-1 Ultimate Price
-4 Grasp of Darkness

Most of these lists only run Goblin Dark-Dwellers and/or Bedlam Reveler as their creatures, so we want to trim down considerably on our creature removal. Ruinous Path can kill any of their creatures or their Chandra, Flamecaller, so we want to leave those in, but most other removal spells can come out. Instead we would rather have discard spells to take their Pyromancer's Goggles or any other card in their deck.

Control

+3 Transgress the Mind
+1 Duress
+1 Den Protector
+1 Ruinous Path
+1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower

-1 Ultimate Price
-3 Grasp of Darkness
-1 Oath of Nissa
-1 Mindwrack Demon
-1 Traverse the Ulvenwald

Against Esper, Sultai, or any other form of control, we want to shave some removal in favor of discard spells. Den Protector is a sort of catchall card that we can find with Traverse the Ulvenwald and get back with Liliana, the Last Hope to use again.

R/G Ramp

+2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
+3 Transgress the Mind
+1 Den Protector
+1 Duress
+1 Ruinous Path

-1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope
-4 Grasp of Darkness
-1 Ultimate Price

In this matchup we mostly just want to board out some of our terrible cards that don't interact well at all against any of their cards. Fortunately we have enough powerful sideboard cards to replace them with. If you really want to hate out this deck (and the next one), go with either Pick the Brain or Infinite Obliteration. Transgress the Mind is the more versatile option though.

Dredge

+3 Transgress the Mind
+2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
+1 Den Protector
+1 Ruinous Path

-1 Ultimate Price
-2 Mindwrack Demon
-1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
-1 Woodland Bellower
-1 Grasp of Darkness
-1 Forest

This deck is starting to be a thing. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is great against it. Just make your Kalitas , Traitor of Ghet into a 5/6 as soon as possible so it's out of Kozilek's Return flashback range and watch all their creatures get exiled while you get Zombie Tokens. Transgress the Mind is also good in this matchup.

B/G Delirium

+1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower
+1 Ruinous Path
+3 Transgress the Mind
+1 Duress
+1 Den Protector
+1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow (on the draw)

-4 Grasp of Darkness
-1 Mindwrack Demon
-1 Oath of Nissa
-1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
-1 Grim Flayer (on the draw)

Whether you're playing against this version or the more controlling version, you want to bring in discard spells and late-game creatures that can gain board advantage and card advantage. You might want to leave in Grasp of Darkness against them if they are running Grim Flayer. Otherwise, bin it.

W/U Spirits

+4 Languish

+1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow

+1 Dead Weight

+3 Transgress the Mind

-2 Ruinous Path
-1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
-1 Woodland Bellower
-2 Tireless Tracker
-1 Ultimate Price
-1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
-1 Oath of Nissa

This matchup can be tricky on the draw, but resolving Languish is still the focus of the matchup. Run it into Spell Queller, but have a plan in mind for how to deal with the Spell Queller. Transgress the Mind takes Spell Queller but not Clash of Wills or Negate. Duress takes Clash of Wills and Negate but not Spell Queller. Both take Ojutai's Command. If you see Negates and Clashes, bring in the Duress too. Otherwise just bring in Transgress since you know they'll at least have Spell Queller for it. This will clear the way to resolve Languish.

I can't remember the last time I registered a deck for the Pro Tour without a basic Plains in it, but I promised myself I would play whatever deck performed the best in our testing and this is the deck that did the best for us. Tune in to the coverage to see how it works out for me!

Craig Wescoe
@Nacatls4Life




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