Deck Tech: U/B Poison with Gene Richtsmeier
Gene Richtsmeier's poison deck is a mean machine.
Gene’s metagame read had him expecting plenty of Delver and Wolf Run Ramp, which led to this choice. “It has a really good Wolf Run matchup,” Gene said. “I like Phyrexian Crusader—he’s really good right now. Against a lot of decks, the pro: white comes into play quite a bit. There are certain Delver builds the deck auto-beats.” The Esper Spirits and Humans builds certainly struggle against the 2/2 for three, leaning heavily on Vapor Snag to build a game.
The deck is also relatively strong against many of the control archetypes growing popular. “I’m playing so many draw spells that I’m actually outdrawing the control decks, with cards like Forbidden Alchemy to synergize with Runechanter’s Pike,” he explained. “The deck does a lot of damage—people don’t know the deck and just have a confused look when you play Blighted Agent. Then you play Runechanter’s Pike and win.”
In fact, that’s how a lot of games go. “I win so many games in one swing.”
The disruption package available to black gets a lot better once you involve blue. “I like the Snapcaster/Despise interaction,” Gene said. “I’ve won a lot of games with just Snapcaster Mage and Mutagenic Growth getting a ton of damage in, too. They have to deal 20—I only have to deal 10!” Of course, a combat-centric deck is going to struggle against one of Delver’s most obnoxious spells. “Vapor Snag can be really bad for the deck—you have to work through it,” Gene admitted.
His sideboard contains a variety of options for tuning the main, mostly switching out spells while keeping the core creatures in place. “There are times when Virulent Wound isn’t good, so I like to swap it for Vapor Snag,” Gene said. “Then there are times when you need hard removal, which is why I split between Go for the Throat and Doom Blade.” Like many decks of its kind, this one is also sideboarding Swords. “The extra Swords come in against decks like Zombies. When you have a Sword hooked up with a Crusader… there’s not too much anyone can do about it.”