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By: pierakor, Fabian
Jan 15 2015 1:00pm
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Hi there, my name is pierakor and if you play Pauper or Modern PREs (player run events) you probably know me or at least played me before. I'm a 22 years old computer science student who streams PREs three times a week on twitch.tv/pierakor. I started playing MTGO November 2012 after a several year long hiatus from paper Magic. Being on a tight budget I first got into Pauper and to some degree Modern by playing really cheap fringe decks. One of these deck I'd like to show you today:

UW TurboFog
My budget Pauper list from around July 2013
Creatures
0 cards

Other Spells
4 Arcane Denial
4 Dawn Charm
4 Ethereal Haze
4 Holy Day
4 Jace's Erasure
4 See Beyond
4 Words of Wisdom
3 Muddle the Mixture
3 Vision Skeins
2 Compulsive Research
2 Preordain
38 cards
Lands
6 Island
4 Azorius Chancery
4 Plains
4 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Lonely Sandbar
1 Secluded Steppe
22 cards

Jace's Erasure

 

This was the first deck I bought and built on MTGO and it has gone through many changes over the years. The deck wins by milling your opponent with Jace's Erasure. Once your opponent has lethal damage on the board the game looks something like this: draw, land, go, fog, draw spell, draw spell, rinse, repeat. The deck is and has always been very good against creature based decks like Hexproof Auras or White Weenie. The decks you really don't want to play against are Burn and counter heavy decks like Delver. Let's have a closer look at the different cards in this deck.

Card choices

The core

The only card you really have to play is Jace's Erasure and even that could be replaced with Curse of the Bloody Tome. There are some cards which are in the core because they are just so good at drawing cards or preventing damage but in theory it would be entirely possible to replace them with other cards which are slightly worse. Usually you want your deck to look something like this:

Draw spells

Treasure Cruise          Brainstorm          Words of Wisdom

The best draw spell in the format right now is probably Treasure Cruise and it really shines in this deck. You're going through so many draw spells and fogs, you'll be able to cast Ancestral Recall pretty often. If you ever find yourself in a tight spot you can mill yourself with Jace's Erasure to make Treasure Cruise cheaper, which is relevant more often than you'd think.

Brainstorm is in my opinion the best draw spell on 1cmc. The draw three effect is a nice synergy with your Jace's Erasure, which will result in more cards milled than any other 1cmc draw spell. Combining Brainstorm with shuffling effects is just amazing and allows you to basically shuffle away two dead cards after the draw three. Usually if you lack a shuffling effect Brainstorm can be pretty bad but in this deck there is one more way to get rid of the dead cards: milling them with Jace's Erasure. Brainstorm basically turns into "draw 3, discard 2" which is also relevant more often than you'd think, especially when you are desperately looking for a fog or counter.

Now Words of Wisdom you probably won't play in any other deck ever but here it's okay. Actually it's pretty amazing since you don't really care about your opponent drawing an extra card. Sometimes you can use this in your opponents end step to force them to discard a card. Against Burn and counter heavy decks this card can backfire for sure but it's still way too good at drawing cards for yourself to not play it in my opinion.

Accumulated Knowledge          Vision Skeins          Compulsive Research

If you resolve the whole playset of Accumulated Knowledge you should draw ten cards total which means each Accumulated Knowledge draws on average 2.5 cards. This makes it better than Words of Wisdom, or does it? I don't think so to be honest but I know there are people who disagree and play this card with good results. There are a couple of things I don't like about it, like the first draw being the weakest. At the beginning of the game you have less mana and every draw is important so you don't miss your land drops or find important spells as soon as possible. Later in the game you can sometimes cast three draw spells in a single turn so having access to a huge Accumulated Knowledge does not necessarily seem so important then. Another problem is having it exiled either by graveyard hate or delve. You really don't want to exile it yourself so casting Cruise is going to become more difficult. If you play Accumulated Knowledge and Cruise you will be very weak to graveyard hate which more and more decks are playing in this meta.

Vision Skeins is a worse Words of Wisdom. I used to think the cards my opponent is drawing are not really important but now I know better. This card will just completely destroy you in your bad matchups by giving your opponent more counter, more burn or more enchantment hate. I still think it's good enough to play it as a 1 or 2-of but you should really board it out against Burn and counter heavy decks.

I used to include Compulsive Research in my lists and I liked it a lot. It was great during the later stages of the game when you have excess lands and need to draw deep to find the fog. Sadly this card is just way worse than Treasure Cruise right now.

Oona's Grace          Deep Analysis          Gush

Oona's Grace is another way to deal with mana flood in the late stages of the game but I never really liked it. The casting cost is too high and I don't find myself flooding enough to include this. I used to think Compulsive Research is better than this and now I think both are worse than Cruise.

I've never tried Deep Analysis myself because I think it's just too expensive. A casting cost of 4 cmc is too high because you really want to cast draw spells in the first few turns to hit land drops, find fogs and Jace's Erasure. Combine that with sorcery speed and a flashback which you might not be able to use against 50% of your opponents because you are scared of dying to Galvanic Blast or Lightning Bolt. Life really is a precious resource for you if you're playing this deck and it is not uncommon to go down to 1-5 life before you stabilize and control the game.

Drawing cards for free is nice and Gush can save you in a tight spot when you really need to find a fog and you are almost tapped out. However you really don't want to return Islands to your hand until the very very late stages of the game because more lands means more draws each turn. The casting cost of five is just too high to resolve this without returning lands which means the card is pretty bad at almost any stage except the last few turns before you win. I don't think this card has a place in the deck right now.

Ponder          Preordain

Both of these are just worse than Brainstorm and you really don't want to play more than four cantrips. Your draw spells needs to generate actual card advantage or you won't be able to sustain the constant fogging. Brainstorm is good enough to be included despite this but Ponder and Preordain are not.

 Fogs

Moment's Peace          Dawn Charm          Riot Control

Moment's Peace is probably the best fog you will find and a very strong reason to play green. The flashback makes a huge difference, basically increasing your amount of fogs played by 33% from 12 to 16. In this deck an extra fog effect can be compared to a Time Walk, really.

I am a huge fan of charms because they give you options and Dawn Charm is no exception. Sadly we only have two relevant modes but they are very good. The first mode is your basic fog but the third mode can counter some of the strongest cards against us. Wrench Mind, Curse of the Pierced Heart,  Corrupt and many more spells are good targets for Dawn Charm.

It took me a long time to realize how good Riot Control is but now it's one of my favourite fogs. First of all it does not only prevent combat damage but all damage done to you. Against Burn your fogs usually turn into dead cards but this fog can be used in response to a burn spell to prevent its damage. The lifegain is surprisingly relevant. Often I find myself at a very low life total and worried about dying to Lightning Bolt or Galvanic Blast but then a Riot Control brings me back into double digits. Against decks that are purely based on small creatures Riot Control can sometimes be counted as one and a half fogs because the lifegain enables you to take a full swing later on. The slightly higher cmc is not really a problem as long as your other fogs are 2cmc.

Respite          Tangle          Lull

Respite is closest to Riot Control and you have to ask yourself whether you want the cheaper spell or the stronger spell. I think Riot Control is better just because of the Burn matchup.

Tangle looks like Moment's Peace #2 at first but it really isn't as good. Once your opponent has seen this card they will only attack with enough creatures for lethal damage and usually they have so many creatures that Tangle won't really be an upgrade to any other fog.

As said before your fogs pretty much turn into dead cards against Burn. The cycling helps there but I don't think Lull can be compared to Riot Control or Dawn Charm which are way more useful against Burn. I don't believe the cycling is relevant in any other matchup.

Fog          Holy Day          Ethereal Haze
 
The only thing these cards have going for them is the cheap cmc but usually you'd rather pay more and have something extra on top of your Fog effect.
 
Counter

Muddle the Mixture          Arcane Denial

Muddle the Mixture is an amazing card in this deck doubling as a tutor for almost any card you could want and a decent counter. The most important cards you can tutor for are Jace's Erasure and Moment's Peace.

First of all it's important to have a hard counter that can hit everything because there is sometimes going to be some creature, enchantment or artifact you really want to counter. Some of the targets for Arcane Denial include Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Ulamog's Crusher, Reality Acid, Curse of the Bloody Tome, Disciple of the Vault and many more. Arcane Denial can be compared to Words of Wisdom and Vision Skeins because all three of these cards are amazing if you don't care about your opponent drawing cards. If your opponent is playing counter or burn though you really don't want to give them any more card draws and this counter should be replaced.

Negate          Counterspell          Dispel

One of my favourite counters right now is Negate. Arcane Denial can take care of the creatures we are scared of but we really need some more counters for the opponents burn and counter spells.

The one and only Counterspell. I used to play it but too often double blue turned out to be a problem so I replaced it with other counters. 

Dispel is the best counter to have in a counter war and counter wars can be a huge problem for this deck. If your opponent manages to win a counter war and counter your fog you probably lose the game.

Hindering Light          Daze          Prohibit

I used to play Hindering Light because it's very good against MBC, land destruction and enchantment hate but I found too often it was a dead card not hitting anything. It is also somewhat hard to cast at times.

Daze is a 30$ card. We don't play this card.

I've been debating giving Prohibit a try. It seems okay but I don't think you really ever want to pay the kicker. It's already hitting almost everything you care about anyway.

Utilities and other cards

Circle of Protection: Red          Circle of Protection: Blue          Circle of Protection: Black

In my opinion the only Circle of Protection that's actually playable is COP:Red. It's an invaluable card against burn and should definitely be included in the sideboard. Like so many great answers it has 2cmc and can be transmuted for with Muddle the Mixture.

Rest for the Weary          Quiet Disrepair          Pristine Talisman

You might think that cards that do nothing but lifegain are bad and generally that's true but these cards can be quite important in this deck. Especially in the burn matchup but also against any deck that plays Lightning Bolt in addition to creatures.

Oblivion Ring          Journey to Nowhere

Sometimes you want to remove stuff. The only reasonable target for Journey to Nowhere is Ulamog's Crusher and you just don't see that card often enough these days. Oblivion Ring however also hits Curse of the Bloody Tome and Curse of the Pierced Heart which are very real problems and have to be dealt with.

Keep Watch

A barely playable win more card that is only consistently good against White Weenie or Elves.

The deck list

So now that we've looked at all the relevant cards we have to make a decision about what colours to play. I used to play UW mainly because I  love Dawn Charm and Circle of Protection: Red. Both these cards make the deck way better against all kinds of decks using burn spells. The obvious argument for UG is Moment's Peace the best fog of all. Without Moment's Peace you will sometimes lose games against decks like White Weenie or Elves just because you ran out of fogs to play or couldn't find one in time. I decided to go Bant to have the advantages of both white and green.

This is my current deck list. As I told you in the core section there are only very few cards that are truly set in stone and it is entirely possible to change stuff around as long as you keep enough draw spells and enough fog effects in the deck. I changed very recently from Quiet Disrepair to Pristine Talisman which has been working out very well so far. The Relics in the sideboard are also a new addition and have not really been tested yet, I do believe they will be valuable though.

Side boarding

Let's talk about what spells can really disrupt us. As far as I am concerned there are four things that can absolutely destroy us.

Flaring Pain        Ray of Revelation        Curse of the Bloody Tome        Counterspell

The most obvious spell that is very strong against us is Flaring Pain. There are several ways to deal with it depending very heavily on the deck you're facing. Against Burn you should use your lifegain effects to get a high life total. When you are at 20+ life you don't need to worry about Flaring Pain. Against decks that have a lethal board presence you absolutely need to counter Flaring Pain. This can be quite tough however because usually they end up casting Flaring Pain two or even three times in the same turn using the flashback. I think the answer might be Relic of Progenitus to exile their graveyard as soon as Flaring Pain is milled.

Ray of Revelation is another spell with flashback that's a huge problem for us because we absolutely depend on having Jace's Erasure on the battlefield to win. Often times it's impossible to win after two Erasures have been destroyed because we would end up emptying our own library first. Sadly Relic does not really help against Ray of Revelation and the only answer we have is to counter it. Luckily most decks play different enchantment hate like Gleeful Sabotage which is somewhat easier to deal with.

Curse of the Bloody Tome is a card I underestimated for a long time until I lost to it repeatedly. It's almost impossible to race it because we are eating through our own library at an insane speed. Try to counter it whenever possible, using Dawn Charm if necessary. Depending on your metagame it might also be a good idea to include a single Ray of Revelation in your own sideboard as a way to deal with the Curse.

Counterspell is not really a problem by itself. The real problem is the amount of counter you will face against some decks like Delver. Your opponent will wait until they have a lethal board presence and a hand full of counters. It's very tough to get a fog through every single turn against these decks and sadly there is no real solution. Playing more counters than they do is not really possible because we do need a critical mass of fogs and draw spells. I've been thinking about Circle of Protection: Blue, lifegain and fogging every now and then. This approach should work if they have only very few creatures on the board but it is far from ideal. 

Let's have a look at the sideboarding plans for the most important matchups.

vs Burn

-1 Treasure Cruise
-2 Arcane Denial
-1 Vision Skeins
-2 Words of Wisdom
-4 Moment's Peace

+2 Pristine Talisman
+1 Rest for the Weary
+2 Circle of Protection: Red
+2 Negate
+1 Muddle the Mixture
+2 Dispel 

vs Delver

-1 Vision Skeins
-2 Arcane Denial
-2 Pristine Talisman
-1 Treasure Cruise
-1 Words of Wisdom

+4 Dispel
+3 Negate

vs Familiar Storm

-2 Pristine Talisman
-4 Riot Control

+2 Relic of Progenitus
+2 Dispel
+1 Arcane Denial
+1 Negate

vs Affinity

-1 Vision Skeins
+1 Arcane Denial

vs Stompy

-1 Pristine Talisman
+1 Keep Watch

vs Hexproof

-2 Pristine Talisman
+2 Relic of Progenitus if you think they have Flaring Pain otherwise +1 Arcane Denial, +1 Muddle the Mixture

VODs

I recorded my last two PCT runs with this deck. Sadly I ended up facing the same decks again and again (Burn, Affinity, Stompy, Hexproof). You can check out the whole VOD or the individual matches.

Pauper Classic Tuesdays 6.35

Round 1 vs Burn (playnet)
Round 2 vs Affinity (burnboybingham)
Round 3 vs deluxeicoff (stompy)
Top 8 vs deluxeicoff (stompy)
Top 4 vs Affinity (najay1)
Finals vs Burn (JogandoPelado)

Pauper Classic Tuesdays 6.33

Round 1 vs Burn (DDCTyler)
Round 2 vs Hexchant (longtimegone)
Round 3 vs We must stop Zoltan the destroyer!! (ScionOfJustice aka my biggest rival in gatherling) 
Top 8 vs Hexchant (longtimegone)

This wraps up my article about BantFog. If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them in the comments. If you'd like to reach me I am pierakor on MTGO and you can also find me on twitch.tv and of course youtube.

22 Comments

Since I wrote this article I by pierakor at Thu, 01/15/2015 - 14:42
pierakor's picture

Since I wrote this article I played another PCT and finished 2nd after losing to Mystical Teachings control piloted by obZen. You can find the VOD on my youtube, there are some new matchups in there (MBC, WW and the Teachings control). I am currently 31-13 with the deck and thinking about playing a daily or two.

I'll subscribe to your by Joe Fiorini at Thu, 01/15/2015 - 16:30
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I'll subscribe to your channel.

I've been meaning to ask you some questions about making videos. I've gotten some work done on my own.

Nice job on the article man. I'm getting into legacy and pauper as of late. I have delver in every format :)

Just PM me on MTGO and I'll by pierakor at Thu, 01/15/2015 - 19:04
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Just PM me on MTGO and I'll gladly help you out.

Awesome job with the article. by benne433 at Thu, 01/15/2015 - 15:43
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Awesome job with the article. I would definitely recommend pierakor to anybody who is looking for a twitch stream to follow. He does an awesome job of explaining his lines and is very knowledgeable of his decks.

Good job on the article . You by JMason at Thu, 01/15/2015 - 19:55
JMason's picture

Good job on the article . You pretty much nailed it.

You don't mention what it's like playing the deck, or playing against the deck from a fun pov. Having the one plan to win can become boring. You're also very dependent on drawing exactly the right cards, and often can have no out when the opp draws an answer. Opponents can be hostile out of frustration. Clearly none of this is relevant if you're selecting a deck for a tournament, but even then it won't be for everybody.

Well I do not agree that it's by pierakor at Thu, 01/15/2015 - 22:15
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Well I do not agree that it's not fun to play. I tried out other decks (UB reanimator and hexproof) and I just like playing this deck way more. The other decks seem boring to me.

I do not really understand what you mean with having to draw exactly the right cards. When I used to play UW TurboFog I would sometimes lose because I wasn't able to find a fog and that can still happen but Moment's Peace and Treasure Cruise have made this deck very very consistent.

You are absolutely correct about people complaining but I do not mind that at all.

Nice deck. Seen it in action. by bdgp009 at Thu, 01/15/2015 - 20:15
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Nice deck. Seen it in action. If I can play next PCT I'll be ready with that flaring pain thing. Did not know the card till now. LOL

Dont you think that a couple by Fantom at Sun, 01/18/2015 - 11:29
Fantom's picture

Dont you think that a couple of hydroblast in the side could help the burn match up? It can counters any dangerous spell or destroy a curse. And can be use to counter/destroy atog or fling in the affy match up.

I was thinking about this since i realice burn its one of the two most dificult matchs (the other its delver), so why dont use the best counter/removal against red? If we have red mana, we sure use pyroblast against delver...

I'm hypnotized by your by Joe Fiorini at Sun, 01/18/2015 - 20:39
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I'm hypnotized by your animated GIF.

It's definitely playable. by pierakor at Sun, 01/18/2015 - 23:14
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It's definitely playable. However... Since I started to play Pristine Talisman and even before that through Quiet Disprepair I've been doing very well against burn. Game 1 they are favoured but it's very possible to win by using Riot Control, Dawn Charm and Pristine Talisman effectively.

After boarding we are already a huge favourite mostly due to COP:Red and Pristine Talisman + Rest for the Weary. So the question is why do you want to put more stuff for burn into the SB when the current SB is doing the job just fine?

Hydroblast won't replace COP:Red or Rest for the Weary. So it has to replace something else like Dispel/Negate which will hurt our other matchups.

Summary: Current SB is already good enough against burn, adding hydroblast won't make the burn matchup better just the other matchups worse.

Seems very accurate. Today i by Fantom at Thu, 01/22/2015 - 01:34
Fantom's picture

Seems very accurate. Today i was playing against some friends. In the affy match up my opponent boarded pyroblast, dispel and leave no trace, making the game very difficult. He hade too many ways to deal with mi jace's backuped with counters... I didin't know how to board against that strategy...

Also, how do you board against monob, especially, against discard effects?

Maybe -words of wisdom +negate?

See ya around

I play a different list now by pierakor at Thu, 01/22/2015 - 02:38
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I play a different list now but with this list I would board
-1 Visions Skeins
-1 See beyond
+1 Arcane Denial (for gary, corrupt, augur of bolas, wrench mind)
+1 Keep Watch (amazing top deck when your hand is near empty and he has 3+ creatures)

Against the affinity with hate:
It really depends on the opponents deck but there is always a good way to deal with them. If your opponent has too much hate and it's just impossible to get Jace's Erasure to stay on the abttlefield you have to change the way you play. One way that seems counter intuitive is to NOT play Jace's Erasure for a very long time. Wait until you have 10+ mana and your hand looks somewhat like this: 2 Jace, 1-2 counter, 2-3 good draw spells, 1 fog (maybe in GY). Then you play both Jace and as many draw spells as possible in response to his enchantment hate. This way you play around the enchantment hate by maximizing the mill you get in one turn. If the problem is not the ench hate but counterspell stopping your Jace you do something similiar. Wait for a hand full of jace and counter and flood your opponent.

I liked your strategy against by Fantom at Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:52
Fantom's picture

I liked your strategy against a over-hated sb, i could use the same strategy against a similar scenario.

In the affy case, you stuck to your boarding plan? - Vision Skeins + Arcane denial? Or maybe - 2 see beyond + 2 dispel?

BTW, i will play your list ;)

Well I do not play Visions by pierakor at Thu, 01/22/2015 - 18:36
pierakor's picture

Well I do not play Visions Skeins in my current list.

This list I would probably always board out Visions first. It really REALLY depends always on your opponents list. Especially decks like Affinity and Teachings can play very different decks. If you think you can spare some card draw and fog you can do something like -2 Dawn Charm -1 Words -1 Visions -1 See Beyond -1 Brainstorm and bring in as many counter as possible. But only if he is slow on the board otherwise you need the fog and draw (for more fogs). Some things you just need experience and try out different things.

What to you think Fade Away by Fantom at Thu, 01/22/2015 - 23:09
Fantom's picture

What to you think Fade Away for the delver match, its like a board sweepe played it right.

Can you post your current list? Thanks

You can always find my latest by pierakor at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 03:54
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You can always find my latest list by going on my gatherling profile http://gatherling.com/profile.php?player=pierakor&mode=Lookup+Profile and click on BantFog. Right now it http://gatherling.com/deck.php?mode=view&id=27669

I want to test Fade Away but it's currently bugged online. I think Fade Away + COP:blue could be a thing, reduce their numbers and prevent damage from the remaining 3-4 creatures. People will adept though and play around it.

How Accumulated Knowledge by Fantom at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 12:42
Fantom's picture

How Accumulated Knowledge hade been working with treasure cruise? The instant speed make'em better than see beyond, plus you dont give so many cards to your opponents in the though matchs.. but im worry i have to delve'em with Treasure...

I played that list during the by pierakor at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 16:15
pierakor's picture

I played that list during the last PCT and you can watch the VOD for that. I delved them once by accident which was sad. Once I got my GY removed. I think I will test them some more but I do think they have a place in the list. I think I will go to 4 AK, 4 Words, 4 Cruise, 4 Brainstorm as draw package.

Delver by Fantom at Sat, 01/31/2015 - 20:50
Fantom's picture

We can agree that Delver its the thougher match we have, so why not invest some slots of our sideboard on it. After a lot of thinking, i was wondering to add a few copies of Scattershot Archer of Hidden Spider instead of counters.

I know it sound a bit odd, but we never gonna win the counter war, delver simply has more counter than us, maybe adding specific cards can we face delver in a better way. We can kill theirs Spelltutter or Cloud of Faeries (i like this option) or chumblock theirs flyes with the spider.

I think its almost impossible win a match against delver with the current list.

Opinions?

There are some who would by pierakor at Sun, 02/01/2015 - 09:25
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There are some who would argue that it's not a good idea to invest sideboard slots for your worst matchup if those SB slots don't turn the match around. So even if you reserve 10 slots in your SB for delver you will maybe bring it from 10-90 to 20-80? It's just not worth it when the alternative is to have sideboard cards that change 40-60 matchups to 60-40 which is a way bigger difference. So as long as delver is not a HUGE part of the meta I'd just build my SB around the matches you can actually win postboard. Counter in the SB are a general answer to many things while Scattershot Archer and Hidden Spider seem quite limited in their use. You should give it a try and test it for sure. It just seems these SB slots are going to be useless against all other decks and not enough to matter against Delver.

The problem with that line of by longtimegone at Sun, 02/01/2015 - 16:23
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The problem with that line of thinking is that Delver *is* a huge part of the meta, I don't remember the last time it wasn't one of the top 2 most played decks in the format.

It's the most played deck by pierakor at Sun, 02/01/2015 - 22:57
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It's the most played deck with 13.67% according to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ScLGLozISqVO2jz9cfZ2m0rNzdigh-0j...

So our worst matchup is the most played deck. Even worse our sideboard is inefficient against that deck too. I really wish there was a great sideboard to deal with Delver but I just don't see it. I thought about Fade Away and COP:Blue but I doubt it'll work well. I have kind of accepted the fact that the delver matchup is a lost cause. As long as we perform decent against the other 87% we're doing okay.