Another weekend of local Magic is done, and I’m happy to report that my experiment into a Delver Special was very successful in Saturday Standard at GG(actually the last ‘normal’ Saturday Standard, as it is moving to Friday nights and triple ISD draft will be Saturday most weeks). Our brand new EDH league went very, very well overall, though I did very, very poorly. A hastily built Kaalia of the Vast with lots of power but built like a (literal) house of cards was not the path to the top of the leaderboards, currently dominated by Chase Cosgrove and Joe Hempton, who both ran thematic creature decks and ran over multiple opponents with tokens and other fun stuff. Still, it’s just the first week, and the payout schedule is so level that anyone could jump in and contend for the title over the next two months.
Standard remains a very fun and interesting environment at GG. Most people run aggressive decks, but there is a healthy smattering of true control decks and decks like mine that can’t really control someone, but cripple them enough to win with dorks. This is what I 4-0’d with, beating U/G Tempo(maybe my best matchup), U/W control, U/W Humans, and U/B Control. I base at least a portion of my success on playing an Island lover every round.
- 4 Galvanic Blast
- 2 Vapor Snag
- 3 Brimstone Volley
- 4 Desperate Ravings
- 3 Dissipate
- 4 Mana Leak
- 2 Cackling Counterpart
- 4 Snapcaster Mage
- 4 Mayor of Avabruck
- 4 Delver of Secrets
- 2 Daybreak Ranger
- 4 Copperline Gorge
- 4 Sulfur Falls
- 3 Hinterland Harbor
- 1 Rootbound Crag
- 4 Mountain
- 8 Island
I don’t want to talk about the sideboard. I’ll just say, think about what you jam in there in relation to what your deck does, since I didn’t last week and my board plan sucked every round.
Yes, Cackling Counterpart, that great rare you drafted last week, and probably won with. The reasoning behind it is a melding of several small bonuses, the cutest of which is copying a flipped creature, which makes a token of the flipped card that cannot flip back under any circumstances(it is NOT a flip card, and non-flip cards can never transform). Slightly more important is it’s ability to flashback in a game that goes longer than the deck is usually comfortable with, and makes hitting a spell with Desperate Ravings a little less painful. Copying Snapcaster Mage with it is just awesome as well, giving the deck a slightly bigger gas tank. It serves as a strange counterspell for removal, leaving the same creature in play, and let me cut a few Dissipates, which had an awful habit of clogging up my hand at the worst times. The most important reason for inclusion was inspired by watching someone(Travis Woo maybe?) playing his version of RUG on MTGO a few weeks back. It was the first time I had ever seen the deck, and I was quite impressed with it’s ability to balance aggression and control elements. What was awful though, was the building up of creatures in his hand when he already had a threat against some aggressive deck, and couldn’t play another because he had to hold up counterspell mana. That’s all well and good, but when the opponent either did nothing or played something of no importance, the turn felt very wasted. When this occurs, it is usually so early in the game it’s impossible to tell whether the RUG player should have sat on mana or not. Perhaps Gitaxian Probe might make an appearance in the next version, but that’s another article. Counterpart allows the RUG player to add pressure to the board when an opponent does not play a spell that requires attention, and can greatly shorten a clock.
Imagine a scenario against W/G where you played and led with Delver, while they play a Pilgrim. You whiff with Delver, and pass after a second land. You counter Mirran Crusader on their turn(they played Township as well). On your three, you flip Delver, revealing Dissipate and bash, passing after playing a land. Your hand contains one land, Dissipate, Desperate Ravings, and Mayor. Not a great scenario really. You don’t have much in the tank, and not a ton of pressure after whiffing the first time on flipping. Here, you have to pass, since a Hero of Bladehold pretty much leaves you topdecking for one of the two Vapor Snags, and you have no idea what your opponent has in his hand. You also have to protect against the chance of Oblivion Ring on your only real threat. Now imagine having a Counterpart instead of the Mayor, or the Ravings. Suddenly, it’s hard to lose this game if you opponent plays anything less than Hero of Bladehold, which is still a must counter. If they O Ring, you copy your Insect and keep the clock up, saving Dissipate for a real threat. If they cast a threat like Crusader that you don’t care much about, you now have TWO Delvers, and a three turn clock with counter backup.
How could you NOT want to play this card?
The only other card I want to briefly mention is Ponder. I hate Ponder. The only way I’d actually like Ponder is if I was playing some combo deck, and even then it is the runt of the litter compared to anything else players use for card selection without fetchlands. In a deck like this, you simply do NOT have the mana to blow on messing with the top of your deck. If you really need Ponder to flip Delver, you probably shouldn’t be playing Delver in the first place. Place your faith in the magic gods; your Delver will flip eventually, and that has to be good enough.
That’s about all for today. I’d like to write about EDH, but it’s somewhat of a daunting topic, since coverage is so tough to recall accurately, and deckbuilding decisions are just plain confusing at times. Maybe if I get that Wort, the Raidmother deck I’ve been thinking about together.
Besides, there are Dragons to slay. I’ve let them roam free too often the past few days.