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By: Sabi0, Kyle Lewis
Aug 16 2016 11:00am
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G/B Delirium has not had the easiest time in this post Pro Tour world we find ourselves in. While other decks, like Emerge, Ramp, and B/W Control are more or less settled, G/B players are heavily divided on how to best approach the format going forward. Some players are opting for Mindwrack Demon, others want the full delirium package we see in decks like Temur Emerge, and others still are more or less staying the course with small modifications. The following is what I'm currently packing in Standard:

My Current Delirium List:

 

 
The biggest change to my list is the addition of three To the Slaughter in the seventy-five--sheep everywhere quake in terror. Slaughter serves multiple purposes. Most subtly, it's an instant. This means in matchups like B/W control, when you want to take out Murder and Grasp of Darkness, you still have instants in for delirium. Incidentally, this card is outstanding vs B/W. The ability to take out their few creatures while also hitting planeswalkers at instant speed is huge game. This card is also a great two-for-one in the mirror, killing Nissa and Lili and serving as a way to go up on cards when you don't want to keep a lot of one-for-ones in your deck. Also very importantly, Slaughter gives you a way to deal with Emrakul at instant speed, which as our sideboarding will illustrate, is a very big deal. Now, on to the matchups.

Emerge:
 
In: 2 Dark Petition, 1 Infinite Obliteration, 1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow, 1 Ob Nixilis Reignited, 1 Pick the Brain, 1 Seasons Past, 2 To the Slaughter, 4 Transgress the Mind

Out: 3 Languish, 4 Grasp of Darkness, 4 Grim Flayer, 2 Sylvan Advocate
 
Our two drops are easy prey for Kozilek's Return and won't be able to get enough done in the early game to justify their spot. Grasp of Darkness also doesn't have enough meaningful targets for me to want to keep it in. In game one, you'll want to use your two drops to force through as much damage as you can early in hopes of it being enough--sometimes you can get there, but it's rare. 

In place of our two drops, we bring in a suite of discard spells, some high impact five-drops, better removal, and the Seasons Past package.
So equipped, you'll be better able to play a longer game. Instant speed removal gives you more game against Elder Deep-Fiend. When playing with Infinite Obliteration, you will almost always want to hit Emrakul. Knowing you can't be mind controlled is a big step in winning this matchup; be careful with how long you wait to fire this off, as getting locked out by Deep Fiend, into Emrakul feels super bad. Transgress the Mind and Pick the Brain help a lot with Emrakul as well. Even though we didn't bring in the second Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, the card is very good in this matchup and I wouldn't hesitate to tutor one up with Traverse the Ulvenwald to make emerge worse, and help shut down Grapple with the Past. Kalitas is also a huge player if you manage to hit Emrakul with a removal spell and force her back to the Blind Eternities. Ishkanah and Ob are here to help you stall and maybe mise against Emrakul, respectively. 
 
This matchup is very hard. Taken together with Ramp, this is probably our worst matchup in the format. In the (very) late game you are favored, as your cards are more cyclical you will eventually run them out of gas. Prioritize preventing Emrakul from resolving, not dying, and getting small edges on cards and you can win. Game one is hard. You can't really play around Kozilek's Return and some of your removal is poor. Try to be more aggressive than in post sideboard games and maybe you can steal a win, but don't rule out winning a long game either--Kalitas, Murder, and To the Slaughter can keep you competitive before board.
B/W Control:
 
In: 2 Dark Petition, 1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow, 1 Ob Nixilis Reignited, 1 Pick the Brain, 1 Seasons Past, 2 To the Slaughter, 4 Transgress the Mind

Out: 3 Languish, 4 Grasp of Darkness, 1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 2 Murder, 2 Sylvan Advocate

Fortunately, the Pro Tour winning control deck is a good matchup for us--arguably our best (and their worst) in the format. Our combination of pressure, disruption, card advantage, and cosmic elder gods is often too much for them to handle. Apply pressure in the early game while being mindful of Languish. Sometimes a turn three Lili can win the game with an uncontested zombie party. In the board, you take out a lot of spot removal because they are so light on creatures and they are mostly worse than yours. Instead, you bring in discard and removal that can hit walkers and creatures--the walkers being their real threats. In this matchup, Ishkanah and Ob are sticky threats that are difficult to one-for-one. Again, the Seasons Past combo provides a way to run away with the game if things get long. If you aren't familiar with this, the combo is to go Dark Petition into Seasons Past. When you cast Seasons Past, get back Dark Petition and repeat.

This matchup is quite good, apply pressure, stay up on cards, and it should be smooth sailing.

Bant Company:
Out: 2 Grim Flayer, 1 Tireless Tracker

This matchup seems close to even. We lean on Languish and get huge equity from our Ishkanah (#1 Traverse target in this matchup). You are playing the control deck here. If you can deal with their engine creatures: Nissa, the Vastwood Seer, (Duskwatch Recruiter: SOI), and Tireless Tracker while not dying, you should win. Your removal is best spent against creatures like these and Spell Queller. 

Our maindeck already has company in mind to a large extent. Fewer two drops make Languish less punishing for us. Tireless Tracker is good, but something needs to go. In their place, we bring in all-star Ishkanah, Kalitas--who contributes both sustain and a lot of potential to make a big board, and Languish number four.   

This matchup is in some ways easy to play because your main concern is typically not to die. The variance of Collected Company and flash creatures are the main curveballs. Those aside, you can play a pretty normal control game, just be judicious with removal. 
 
G/W Tokens:

In: 1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 1 Languish, 2 To the Slaughter

Out: 1 Tireless Tracker, 2 Murder, 1 Gilt Leaf Winnower

This matchup is sort of similar to Company, but you have to keep their planeswalkers in check rather than their good creatures. To the Slaughter helps with this. As long as you don't get buried by their walkers, you should handedly win the late game. Be ready to grab Kalitas if Hangarback looks to be a threat. Advocate is better here than against company because there are so many ground creatures and specifically 2/2s. 
 
After board, you are looking to do the same sorts of things. They may have Tragic Arrogance, so be aware of that. They also have enchantment based removal which we have no answer for. For as impactful as that is, and as often as I see this matchup (almost never, so far) I'm okay with that. This matchup seems pretty solid for us; we are prepared for planeswalkers and Hangarback Walker and have better card advantage.
 
U/W Spirits and W Humans:
 
In: 1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 1 Languish, 2 To the Slaughter, 1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
 
These are by far the two most straightforward matchups. Both decks play out like much more extreme versions of Tokens or Company--all aggression and no staying power. We cut some of our slower creatures and removal for Languish, instant speed removal, Kalitas and Ish. If you manage to not die, the late game should be a cakewalk against these decks. Against Humans this is more difficult, as their fastest draws can be harsh. Both decks have a very hard time beating a Languish (and a harder time beating two), especially when our early game is already so strong. This may sound indelicate, but I think the Spirits deck is trash. In both matchups you just need to one-for-one whenever possible and hang on until your better cards carry you to victory. 
 
Ramp:


In: 2 Dark Petition, 1 Infinite Obliteration, 1 Ob Nixilis Reignited, 1 Pick the Brain, 2 To the Slaughter, 4 Transgress the Mind, 1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

Out: 3 Languish, 4 Grasp of Darkness, 1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower, 1 Ishkanah Grafwidow, 1 Liliana, the Last Hope,1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
 
The pure ramp decks are unique in that they run Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and World Breaker instead of Deep-Fiend. This changes the dynamic quite a bit and results in a noticeably different sideboard plan. Grinding out your opponent is less of an option; an unanswered Ulamog will devastate you out of nowhere. However, no Deep-Fiend means you will get to cast spells more often and Kozilek's Return can't come down as fast. As such, your two drops are much more important. Getting in pressure is very good; you may need to end the game in a timely fashion to stand a chance. Your discard spells have more high impact targets, which is nice, and Kalitas can shut down World Breaker loops. Ulamog, however, is a huge problem, and sometimes you might need to name it with Infinite Obliteration. To the Slaughter is your only out to Ulamog that isn't discard. This matchup might be worse than Emerge, but thankfully it gets played less. If your discard strikes true and you are able to pressure hard enough you have a sporting chance. 
 

Thermo-thing


In:1
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 1 Pick the Brain, 4 Transgress the Mind, 1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow, 2 To the Slaughter

Out: 3 Languish, 2 Runious Path, 4 Grasp of Darkness

 

I've played this matchup a few times and it can be tough. Game one is pretty miserable when you end up with removal stranded in your hand. Game two is a lot better. To the Slaughter shines again here because you can just fire it off for nothing if you're forced to. Like ramp, there is pressure on your to end the game quickly before you just get burned out. Unlike ramp, you will have little trouble controlling the board, and sometimes you can just run away with the game. There is a potential for mind games here depending on if opponent chooses to play creatures after sideboard; that's hard to predict, but worth keeping in mind as the matchup evolves.

 


 The Mirror:

In: 2 Dark Petition, 1 Infinite Obliteration, 1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 1 Ob Nixilis Reignted, 1 Pick the Brain, 1 Seasons Past, 2 To the Slaughter, 2 Transgress the Mind

Out:4 Grasp of Darkness, 2 Murder, 3 Languish, 2 Sylvan Advocate

As any Zen master, Andrei Tarkovsky or Link, the Hero of Time will tell you-- the hardest enemy to overcome is yourself. I take the Jund  approach to the mirror match and try to eliminate one-for-ones to the greatest extent possible. By using discard, extra card advantage, and more threats, you should have more opportunities to go up on cards. Winning the mirror is very much about getting more edges than your opponent. If you're able to do so, you should be able to come away with the win.

 

I would -2 Lili pretty aggressively in the mirror (within reason). You don't want to be late getting delirium and almost anything you get back will be valuable. Look to be the first person to Emrakul by not missing land drops and Traversing her up asap. Traversing for Den Protector is also at its best here--having time to loop her with Lili is very plausible.

 

This is still my favorite deck to play in Standard. It's an interesting time to be in G/B because opinions on how the deck should be built very so widely. There is a lot of tightening yet to be done--which is always a compelling thing. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in the leagues.