Is BG Delirium Outdated? Not at all.

Lukas Blohon

Lukas Blohon

Hi!

As you probably know, I won GP Amsterdam while not playing the best deck in Standard, Marvel.I played BG Delirium that Shaun Mclaren designed and play to a GP top 8 14 days ago. Want to know how I got to play the deck, what changes we made and what card are important in which matchups? Read on!

After not being able to come to Copenhagen for a modern GP, the next one was Amsterdam. When I started testing for it I knew I don’t want to play Marvel, but will if there is no better option for me.

I played Marvel at PT to 6-4 result (losing 4 times to Mardu), MOCS quarterly the week after for 4-4 (losing to Mardu few more times) so I was wondering what I am doing wrong when I am losing the supposedly good matchup over and over when everyone else is winning it.

Anointed ProcessionAngel of SanctionsDynavolt TowerElectrostatic Pummeler

I didn’t figure it out and I started losing to other decks too, so I really didn’t want to play it for the third time. I tried a lot of things.

Sam Black’s tokens, various decks with Angel of Sanctions (I believe that will be very good at some point, but now it has to compete with Archangel Avacyn), Gideon’s Intervention, U/R Control, Temur Tower with Longtusk Cubs and Tireless Trackers in sideboard, RG Energy, BG Energy, Esper Aggro and of course various versions of Marvel.

On Monday before the GP I was pretty happy with BG Energy and could see myself playing it, but wanted to try BG Delirium too. After few leagues with it, I came to those conclusions.

Longtusk CubGlint-Sleeve SiphonerGrim Flayer

I really liked that Energy has more good two drops (《Longtusk Cub》 and 《Glint-Sleeve Siphoner》) compared to Delirium (Grim Flayer) and you are more aggressive so you are better against Marvel.

Greenbelt RampagerBristling Hydra

The problem was that lot of cards were underperforming (《Greenbelt Rampager》, 《Bristling Hydra》), Delirium has better sideboard options (you can sideboard into more controlling deck, whereas with energy you are stuck in being aggressive) and your cards get much weaker in the lategame, which is not a case with Delirium. After talking to Thomas Hendricks and Ivan Floch, they both agreed that Delirium might be good, so we all started testing it.

After playing few leagues, going mostly 4-1, I was very happy with it and never looked back. Now we needed to find the best version and figure out how to sideboard, because no one was really sure.

For reference, let’s start with list that Shaun McLaren piloted to Grand Prix Montreal 2017 top 8.


Shaun McLaren – Black-Green Delirium
Grand Prix Montreal 2017(6th)

7 《Forest》
4 《Swamp》
3 《Evolving Wilds》
4 《Blooming Marsh》
4 《Hissing Quagmire》

-Lands (22)-

4 《Walking Ballista》
4 《Grim Flayer》
4 《Winding Constrictor》
3 《Tireless Tracker》
2 《Rishkar, Peema Renegade》
1 《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》
1 《Verdurous Gearhulk》

-Creatures (19)-
4 《Traverse the Ulvenwald》
3 《Fatal Push》
4 《Dissenter's Deliverance》
2 《Never // Return》
4 《Nissa, Voice of Zendikar》
2 《Liliana, the Last Hope》

-Spells (19)-
4 《Transgress the Mind》
2 《Never // Return》
2 《Dispossess》
2 《Yahenni's Expertise》
2 《Ob Nixilis Reignited》
1 《Tireless Tracker》
1 《Gonti, Lord of Luxury》
1 《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》

-Sideboard (15)-
hareruya


Let me start by saying that his list was very good and after trying it for a while there were not many changes we needed to make. This is what me and Thomas Hendricks decided to play after few days of testing and lot of theorizing.


Lukas Blohon – Black-Green Delirium
Grand Prix Amsterdam 2017(1st)

6 《Forest》
5 《Swamp》
3 《Evolving Wilds》
4 《Blooming Marsh》
4 《Hissing Quagmire》

-Lands (22)-

4 《Walking Ballista》
4 《Grim Flayer》
4 《Winding Constrictor》
4 《Tireless Tracker》
2 《Rishkar, Peema Renegade》
2 《Verdurous Gearhulk》

-Creatures (20)-
4 《Fatal Push》
4 《Traverse the Ulvenwald》
4 《Dissenter's Deliverance》
2 《Never // Return》
3 《Nissa, Voice of Zendikar》
1 《Liliana, the Last Hope》

-Spells (18)-
4 《Transgress the Mind》
2 《Gonti, Lord of Luxury》
2 《Grasp of Darkness》
2 《Dispossess》
2 《Ob Nixilis Reignited》
1 《Ishkanah, Grafwidow》
1 《Never // Return》
1 《Liliana, the Last Hope》

-Sideboard (15)-
hareruya


Ivan had -1《Verdurous Gearhulk》、+1《Nissa, Voice of Zendikar》in maindeck and -1《Transgress the Mind》、+1《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》in sideboard.

If you compare our (I will refer to mine and Thomases version when I say that) and Shaun’s version, there are only few differences, so let me explain why we did those.

4th 《Fatal Push》

Fatal Push

《Fatal Push》 is one of your best cards in lot of matchups, and while not great, you can usually find a target for it against Marvel, especially if they play 《Servant of the Conduit》. It is at it’s worst against UR Control, but we didn’t expect many of those.

Lot of people started playing Energy Aggro decks on Magic Online (RG, BG, URG) and Push is at it’s best there. Also, this deck has very good lategame, so it is important to have time to use all your value cards, and one mana removal spell that usually trades up is one of the best ways to do it.

4th《Tireless Tracker》

Tireless Tracker

This is just such a good card in any midrange deck and while I understand Shaun had only 3 main (he wanted to be more aggressive with 4th Nissa, I assume), we wanted our deck to flood less and be more consistent, so we opted for the 4th one main.

0《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》 in whole deck

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

I love Kalitas, but unfortunately I don’t think it is very good now. It is great when it survives, but there are so many cards that match up well against it. 《Fatal Push》, 《Harnessed Lightning》 and 《Glorybringer》 are the most important ones that punish you hard for paying 4 mana for a creature that doesn’t affect the board right away.

3《Nissa, Voice of Zendikar》

Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

Nissa + 《Winding Constrictor》is the most powerful thing your deck can be doing. 5 mana for a 4/5, planeswalker and 2 +1/+1 to your whole team is just so good. I can see why people play 4, but it is not great in some matchups (especially against flyers), without Constrictor or against pressure and drawing two is just bad.

For all those reasons we cut one and replaced it with second 《Verdurous Gearhulk》, which is somehow similar that it is absurd with Constrictor, but better by itself and we would rather draw one of each than two Nissa.

2《Verdurous Gearhulk》

Verdurous Gearhulk

I already covered this in the last paragraph, so just few more things 2 Gearhulks have going for them. When we had one we quickly realized that drawing it naturally is very good, but you can’t really play more because it is still a 5 mana card and you can’t get stuck with multiples in hand.

《Verdurous Gearhulk》is very good against all those Energy decks that started appearing on Magic Online. They have mostly ground creatures that can get pretty big (《Longtusk Cub》, 《Bristling Hydra》), but Gearhulk goes over the top and makes it very hard for them to attack you on ground.

1《Liliana, the Last Hope》

Liliana, the Last Hope

Game one you want to be as aggressive as possible and Liliana doesn’t really fit that plan. It is great against some matchups (Zombies, Mardu), so we still wanted the other one in sideboard, but we wanted to have the deck as streamlined as possible in the first game. You can usually make some use of it if you draw one, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for playing 0 and 2 in sb, because it is bad against the best deck, Marvel.

6《Forest》, 5《Swamp》

ForestSwamp

Thomas quickly realized that he needed double black often and was stuck with multiple Forests, so he made this change. After adding 2《Grasp of Darkness》to the sideboard, it wasn’t hard to convince me to do the same.

Your deck becomes bit less consistend, because you have to mulligan more hands with Traverse and only black mana, but I think 17 green sources is enough.

Sideboard

2《Grasp of Darkness》

Grasp of Darkness

The best card in the sideboard. Again, so many energy decks just want to overwhelm you with their good cheap creatures like 《Longtusk Cub》, 《Voltaic Brawler》 or 《Glint-Sleeve Siphoner》, so you need to answer those right away, because they can’t compete with you in longer games.

《Glorybringer》is on of the best cards in the format against you, because your removal lines up so poorly against it, but Grasp can turn that t5 Dragon killing a creature into huge tempo swing in your favor. I would consider playing 3rd.

2《Gonti, Lord of Luxury》

Gonti, Lord of Luxury

Good card in any slower matchup, with upside of being great trump to 《Bristling Hydra》, card that can be hard to deal with otherwise

1《Ishkanah, Grafwidow》

Ishkanah, Grafwidow

Good against Mardu (especially those blue versions with 《Spell Queller》 that people play now) and RG/Temur Energy (tuning our deck to have improve the matchup against those was our goal, as you can see)

0《Yahenni's Expertise》

Yahenni's Expertise

Only good against Zombies and monowhite/WR Humans, but we didn’t expect many people to play those decks so we cut it. If people start playing it again, you should go back to 2 Expertise.

0《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

Very good one of in sideboard, because of how powerful and how hard it is to answer. Other than 《Harnessed Lightning》 it is pretty much just artifact removal that can get rid o fit, so it is great trump in BG mirrors and against Mardu.

Problem is that we already added few 5 drops (Gearhulk and Ishkanah) and you want to have 4 at most in your deck at any time, so in the end we decided against it. Another small reason is that adding creature like Ishkanah adds virtually 5 copies because of Traverse, when adding one noncreature, you might not even see it in most games.

Sideboarding

Temur Marvel

Aetherworks MarvelUlamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

I believe this matchup to be very close, depending a lot on their version and how they sideboard. First game is pure race between you killing them and them resolving 《Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger》, whether from Marvel or by hardcast. BG can have really fast draws, mostly starting with unanswered 《Grim Flayer》 or 《Winding Constrictor》, backed up by 《Dissenter's Deliverance》.

I think you are favourite in those games, because they really need to hit Ulamog on first spin, otherwise it might be too late or you can just destroy Marvel. Unfortunately our deck has some clunky draws that are not that agressive, which give them enough time to assemble their combo.

After sideboard it gets better and you are able to contain their Marvel plan better. They have lot of other stuff going so even when you 《Dispossess》 their Marvel (Tracker, Glimmer, small Chandra etc) you can lose to those value cards backed up by removal very easily.

I believe you are advantaged in those grindy games, so you should make your priority to take care of Marvel and win the fair game with your superior synergies.

Keep in mind that as usual, nothing is set in stone and you should adjust your sideboarding to your opponents version and his sideboard plans.

Generally I will do something like this on play.

VS Temur Marvel


Out

Fatal Push Fatal Push Fatal Push Fatal Push
Dissenter's Deliverance Walking Ballista Walking Ballista Walking Ballista
Liliana, the Last Hope


In

Transgress the Mind Transgress the Mind Transgress the Mind Transgress the Mind
Never // Return Grasp of Darkness Dispossess Dispossess
Ob Nixilis Reignited

On draw I will not sideboard《Ob Nixilis Reignited》and keep 《Dissenter's Deliverance》.

RG Pummeler

Electrostatic PummelerVoltaic Brawler

This matchup is all about surviving, you will win lategame eventually.Try to do everything you can so you can keep pace with them, should that mean something like playing 《Walking Ballista》for 0 so your《Grim Flayer》has delirium and can trade for《Voltaic Brawler》.

Card advantage doesn’t really matter, because eventually your more powerful cards will win the game, while they draw pump spells that don’t do much (if you are careful). Because of that, your best cards are 《Fatal Push》 and 《Winding Constrictor》.

Rhonas the IndomitableGlorybringer

Former because it trades up and gives you some much needed tempo advantage, latter because they don’t have enough removal, so it often survives, you can do busted things and overwhelm them. Their best cards are 《Rhonas the Indomitable》 and 《Glorybringer》. You don’t have many answers for those, so you might need to race them in some games.

Uncaged FuryFling

《Bristling Hydra》can be annyoing, but《Verdurous Gearhulk》or Constrictor with something usually makes big enough board so they can’t attack. Be careful, some play 《Uncaged Fury》and/or《Fling》as one ofs. I died in one league to 《Fling》when I was sure I can’t lose, by blocking with one creature too few. Don’t let this happen to you!

VS RG Pummeler


Out

Dissenter's Deliverance Dissenter's Deliverance Dissenter's Deliverance Dissenter's Deliverance
Tireless Tracker Liliana, the Last Hope


In

Grasp of Darkness Grasp of Darkness Gonti, Lord of Luxury Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Never // Return Ishkanah, Grafwidow

Mirror

Winding ConstrictorGrim Flayer

Either one player snowballs with 《Grim Flayer》or《Winding Constrictor》, or you get to a stalemate where player with more《Tireless Tracker》wins. 《Ob Nixilis Reignited》is great because it functions as removal but also a win condition that is hard to deal with.

《Gonti, Lord of Luxury》is very similar. I am not sure if you want Ishkanah, but I think Gearhulk is better and you don’t want that many 5 drops. Liliana can also be good in some games, but so far I didn’t like it. I would do something like this

VS Mirror


Out

Dissenter's Deliverance Dissenter's Deliverance Dissenter's Deliverance Dissenter's Deliverance
Liliana, the Last Hope Walking Ballista Walking Ballista


In

Grasp of Darkness Grasp of Darkness Gonti, Lord of Luxury Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Never // Return Ob Nixilis Reignited Ob Nixilis Reignited

UR Control

DisallowTorrential GearhulkHarnessed Lightning

Game one is pretty miserable, because you have 4 Fatal Push that don’t do anything apart from killing 《Wandering Fumarole》in super late game. Best advice is that you should take risks and make them have it.

If you don’t have《Dissenter's Deliverance》 but are not in a good shape against Gearhulk anyways, I recommend to attack into 6 open mana anyways, because it is not getting much better and you give them time to chain their card draw spells.

Important thing to note that they really want to cast their card draw with 4 mana up, so you should time your threats with that in mind. I generally tend to not play around 《Censor》, unless there is a good reason for it, like if it is planeswalker that they don’t have many answers for once it resolves.

After sideboard you improve a lot more than them, but they get some good win conditions like 《Thing in the Ice》and 《Glorybringer》, so you need extra removal for those.

I also think that 《Winding Constrictor》 is bad against UR, because they can ignore it and deal with your other cards that have synergy with it. And it takes a long time for a 2/3 to kill them, not even mentioning it gets blocked by Thing. I keep in one just in case I need to tutor for it, but it might be just wrong and having extra Ballista is better.

VS UR Control


Out

Fatal Push Fatal Push Fatal Push Fatal Push
Verdurous Gearhulk Verdurous Gearhulk Rishkar, Peema Renegade Rishkar, Peema Renegade
Winding Constrictor Winding Constrictor Winding Constrictor
Walking Ballista Walking Ballista


In

Transgress the Mind Transgress the Mind Transgress the Mind Transgress the Mind
Grasp of Darkness Grasp of Darkness Gonti, Lord of Luxury Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Ishkanah, Grafwidow Never // Return Ob Nixilis Reignited Ob Nixilis Reignited
Liliana, the Last Hope

I hope your learned something about BG Delirium and wish you luck in future tournaments.

Thanks for reading,

Lukas Blohon

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