This week I'm going to try playing Caleb Durward's U/B Tezzeret deck that he played to a first place finish at SCG Legacy Open: Cincinnati this past weekend. I'm going to start with a version that is extremely close to his original and possibly modify it from there.
Darkslick Shores compared to Polluted Delta is very close. Darkslick Shores doesn't cost a life and can't be Stifled. Polluted Delta never comes into play tapped, can find basics, and lets you shuffle with Jace. Because of the Signets and Talismans, I don't think Blood Moon or Choke is particularly good against this deck, so I think it's basically just the life and Stifle issue compared to the value of the shuffle and risk of coming into play tapped. For me, it's the shuffle that makes me want to play Polluted Delta because I'm playing Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Theoretically, the value of thinning goes up a little with Tezzeret, but I'm not really worried about that. I think the Stifle issue is mitigated by the fact that Stifle is really going to be pretty good against you no matter what.
Thoughtseize just seems much better to me than Duress. Against most of the decks where you want a discard spell, the life doesn't matter very much and being able to take something like Griselbrand or Emrakul is very important. It also lets you bring in discard against midrange creature decks if you want. I'm giving up utility against burn, but I think that's worth it.
As for cutting Cursed Totem for Meekstone, to be honest, it was influenced by the fact that I don't own a Cursed Totem on Magic Online. I knew that I wanted access to Meekstone in a Tezzeret deck with Trinket Mage. While it does turn off my 5/5s and Wurmcoil Engines that try to attack, it's still easy to win with planeswalkers, and Meekstone is just so powerful against RUG Delver. Cursed Totem is good, but it's best in places where the deck is already strong and is little less valuable because it costs two instead of one, so I can't search for it. If I had one, I'd probably play it, but I don't think it changes much.
So the deck I'm playing is:
That was brutal. Game 2 looked really good, but he had the two counters. My sideboarding out the Force of Will was definitely wrong, and I should have known that after seeing the Terastodon. I need to respect Natural Order as more of a combo card than I do. Also, I think Force of Will is better in this deck than I was giving it credit for. It plays really well with all the planeswalkers.
In game 3, I was just shocked by how much countermagic he had, and then I played scared with the Tezzeret. I think I should have thought "he has to be out now" rather than "he just always has it" and played Tezzeret into Daze there. I'm not completely sure. Both are defensible, and I definitely got punished as much as possible for my line, particularly since I flooded out from there.
This sideboard is just complete overkill for Elves. That's not to say the sideboard is wrong because the cards have applications in other places, but it's extremely difficult to lose a post-sideboard game with this configuration, even without the Cursed Totem.
Game 1 I think I learned a valuable lesson from that Aven Mindcensor. Also, Thalia's pretty good against this deck game 1, which is part of why Dread of Night is in the sideboard even if it might not have looked that impressive there. Game 3 was just one of those things that happens in Magic. I'm pretty sure that matchup is good overall.
Played horribly and didn't get punished in game 1. I felt like I was a little low on hate and the hand I kept was a little weak in game 2, but again, he just didn't really do anything in that game. I'm not sure if he should have tried his luck with six cards or played differently, but that felt much more like his deck was underperforming than a solid indication about the matchup.
As for my thoughts on the list going forward, Solemn Simulacrum, Wurmcoil Engine, and Karn felt pretty arbitrary. I guess the idea is that you want something to do with all the colorless mana late game since the deck has six lands that tap for two and six Signets/Talismans, but it's not clear based on the matches I played that those are the right things to be doing. I'm not sure what would be better.
I felt like a couple Dazes might be nice since I'm trying to resolve planeswalkers early enough that Daze is likely to help force it through. The deck definitely felt powerful and I like what it's doing in the early game, but I'm just not sure it has the right late game. Part of me kind of wants to just cut that stuff and play more Relic of Progenitus. I'm a little worried that that's too much air, but seven planeswalkers is probably enough late game by itself, at least I'd hope so.
Thanks for watching,