Who likes Magic? Who likes candy? It has been far too long since I have done one of these articles, and it seems like it's needed now more than ever. Delver keeps ripping up the format, but only because people let it. Let's get into it!
Gerry got it correct last week in Nashville. It's a hard pill to swallow since I was right there with him talking about this deck. I did play a list very similar to this, except I was running Sword of War and Peace instead of the Feast and Famines that ended up doing a ton of work.
This list of Delver is by far the best one in the format right now since there are very few ways to attack it. The best answer to this deck would be U/B Control, but that deck has no real way to fight any of the other decks in the format. It is very difficult to go into an event and only have a couple good matchups.
The reason Delver is so good is because not only do the best players play this deck, but no one is out there innovating against it. Restoration Angel does give this deck another element, but it also opens it up to getting beaten by decks that can punish it for investing all of its mana into this four-drop. Doom Blade has never been better, yet no one is playing it. Sad times.
I would not be playing any other version of Delver right now. You could argue that you want a good mirror match, but this version even has Ratchet Bomb to help fight the token menaces. Lingering Souls is one of the best cards against this version, but I don't think it is good enough to play cards like Drogskol Captain or Intangible Virtue.
Cedric Phillips recently wrote an article about how this deck has no chance of beating the Delver list that Gerry put on the map. I agree that the matchup was very good for the deck last week, but that is only because we were prepared for what they were going to do. Ramp players have to do something different now and change their strategy.
You can no longer take out your Beast Withins or any number of Kessig Wolf Run. These cards help fight the Clone/Sphinx strategy in a way that lets you have the biggest creatures in play. Beast Within is actually one of the strongest cards in this matchup now since cards like Restoration Angel, Consecrated Sphinx, and Sword of Feast and Famine are the cards that Delver is going to lean on to win the game.
This deck is a great choice after you get past the Delver matchup. Inferno Titan is a very scary card to cast since it will sometimes just turn around and attack you, but it is so important to have since you need more than four Titans to beat the other green and red-based decks. There are many Birds of Paradises in the format, and Inferno Titan goes a long way into slowing those decks down long enough to attack with him.
Huntmaster of the Fells was once one of the most powerful cards to play against Delver, but all of this has changed since Restoration Angel got onto the scene. Good Delver players will be able to hold on a Gitaxian Probe for the Huntmaster turn and just play Restoration Angel on the next turn, completely neutering any impact the Huntmaster is trying to have on the game. This makes Thrun, the Last Troll a much better card to be playing right now. Not only does it brick wall Geist of Saint Traft, but it can easily attack into four mana, making it the only four-drop to play in this slot.
I feel that this deck is about to do some serious damage in upcoming events.
#3 Solar Flare
Solar Flare, if built correctly, could be a dominating force in Standard right now. Not only does this deck run some of the most powerful cards, but it also has one of the best early games against the Delver menace. All of the removal spells in this list are designed to give you the best chance of beating the creature decks in the format.
There is nothing cute about this list. It is just playing the best cards the color combination has access to and even a second Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite to make sure you put the creature decks in the ground. There is not much control running around, which would give a deck like this trouble, making this a great choice to play in events. Just make sure you have your Doom Blades ready for some Angels!
#4 Birthing Pod
- 1 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 3 Blade Splicer
- 1 Borderland Ranger
- 1 Fiend Hunter
- 3 Huntmaster of the Fells
- 1 Inferno Titan
- 4 Restoration Angel
- 4 Strangleroot Geist
- 2 Zealous Conscripts
- 1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
- 1 Thrun, the Last Troll
I am not going to sit here and say this is the best version of a Birthing Pod deck since this is one of the most difficult decks to build. What I am going to say is that this deck, if built correctly, is a force to be reckoned with. The biggest problem Pod decks had in the past was doing powerful things when Birthing Pod was not in play.
This changes when you add Bonfire of the Damned and Gavony Township to the mix. Both of these cards are very powerful and can swing games rather easily. Bonfire of the Damned should be in any deck that is using mana guys, and this is a perfect home for the card. I am not sure if it needs to be maindeck, but I do know it has to be somewhere in the 75.
- 3 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 4 Diregraf Ghoul
- 4 Falkenrath Aristocrat
- 4 Geralf's Messenger
- 4 Gravecrawler
- 3 Highborn Ghoul
This is the list that Gerry used in one of our playtest videos that will be out next week. Zombies is actually one of the more powerful decks, but no one really touches it. The biggest problem is that too many people build around Diregraf Captain. It is a Lord, but that is not what the deck needs. This deck already is playing very powerful cards and should just concentrate on killing an opponent rather than having the biggest creatures.
The most powerful thing about this deck is when it gets an early start. This is the one thing holding this deck back since there are very few two-drops for the deck and the ones it has to play are not on par with the rest of the format. The deck does have, however, some of the best one-, three-, and four-drops in the game.
Gerry and I found that this deck needed a few more two-drops. Do not cut Bonfire of the Damned for these slots, since this deck really loves a Marsh Casualty type of effect which helps get damage through in the midgame.
This is by far the best aggressive deck in the format and should be considered over Boros and G/R Agro.
One of the more surprising decks to come out of the last couple weeks is Mono-Green Infect. This deck was not taken seriously by the Magic Online community, but the pilots running this deck have all had good results. This deck is based around Wild Defiance / Livewire Lash being able to one-hit an opponent while using cards like Mental Misstep, Apostle's Blessing, and Gut Shot to be able to get the damage through.
The most important cards in the deck are Wild Defiance and Livewire Lash. These cards are the only way to deal an insane amount of damage in a single swing as well as turn Gut Shot into infect damage. When these cards are not present the deck must rely on grinding an opponent out, which is not the easiest thing to do.
Mental Misstep lines up favorably against the removal most people will have for your cards. Vapor Snag is a serious issue for this deck, making this a perfect card to maindeck. Give this deck respect when you play against it, because Infect is one of the most broken mechanics the game has ever seen and this deck is by far the best version utilizing it.
#7 W/B Tokens
W/B Tokens has had a bad rap ever since Lingering Souls was printed. The deck was hated before it found its way to the battlefield with everyone playing Ratchet Bomb, Corrosive Gale, or Slagstorm. All of these cards have been finding their way out of decklists since the new versions of Delver don't really have anything good for a Ratchet Bomb to take care of. Delver is also very weak to a deck like this, making it one that can sneak in and take a victory.
Champion of the Parish is one of the odd cards in this deck, but it's also much needed. It may not have synergy with Intangible Virtue, but having as many nut draws as possible is important when trying to win the game with damage while not having any card smoothing.
The most interesting card in this list has to be Angel's Tomb in the sideboard. This card has not seen any play since it was printed, but this seems like a perfect home for this card. It is very easy to activate it, and it dodges all of the removal the format has for it. I look forward to seeing this deck start climbing the ranks and find its way into a first place that it deserves.
#8 Dungrove Ramp
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 1 Borderland Ranger
- 4 Dungrove Elder
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 2 Primeval Titan
- 1 Viridian Corrupter
- 3 Thrun, the Last Troll
The last deck on today's list is one Gerry, Todd and I have been working on. Dungrove Ramp might end up having a better matchup against Delver than the original Ramp lists because of the power of shroud. Dungrove Elder is a very powerful Magic card when Day of Judgment is not a commonly played card.
The most interesting thing about this list is the lack of utility lands in the maindeck. Inkmoth Nexus is not a card that this deck will normally kill with, but it can also hinder how big a Dungrove can potentially be. This makes it a very difficult decision to only sideboard the card, but I feel its home is best there. Mono-green decks always have a tough time having good cards in their sideboard, which makes sideboarding utility lands an easy solution.
Bonfire of the Damned is unbelievable in this deck. All of the threats in this deck have a difficult time getting damage in, as well as this deck puts a ton of mana on the board fast. This makes Bonfire of the Damned a perfect spell to cast against almost every deck in the format. You can even just fireball out a control player since most are not running maindeck countermagic anyway.
The only problem I have with this deck is that the options you have are limited. I would much rather just play the less powerful Delver deck and have many more options while playing Magic than rely on the top of my deck to do most of the work. I do think this deck is very good and should be played in this metagame.
I hope you guys enjoyed this week's Magic Candy. People may call Delver the next Caw-Blade, but that does not mean you just have to surrender. Get out there with some of these decklists and put a beating on the players thinking they are invincible behind their Restoration Angels!