GB Delirium Primer

Lukas Blohon

Lukas Blohon

Hi!

Looking for a good Standard deck for the upcoming GP Warsaw and GP Santiago? How to sideboard with it? Or perhaps you just want to know how to beat it? Read on, I might have some answers for you.

Last week I played and won the Magic Online Championship playoff, qualifying me for the Magic Online Championship in spring of 2017. I played BG Delirium and I think it is one of the best decks in the current Standard format and I have a complete primer about the deck for you, from the decklist we played at the PT to the one I used to win MOCS.

Let’s start with our PT decklist and an explanation of the cards we used.


Lukas Blohon – GB Delirium
Pro Tour: Kaladesh

4《Hissing Quagmire》
8《Swamp》
4《Blooming Marsh》
6《Forest》
1《Evolving Wilds》

-Lands (23)-

1《Emrakul, the Promised End》
3《Ishkanah, Grafwidow》
2《Pilgrim's Eye》
1《Noxious Gearhulk》
4《Grim Flayer》
3《Mindwrack Demon》
1《Tireless Tracker》
1《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》

-Creatures (16)-
1《Dead Weight》
4《Traverse the Ulvenwald》
4《Grasp of Darkness》
4《Grapple with the Past》
2《Vessel of Nascency》
3《Liliana, the Last Hope》
1《Ruinous Path》
2《Murder》

-Spells (21)-
1《Natural State》
1《Gnarlwood Dryad》
2《Appetite for the Unnatural》
2《Flaying Tendrils》
3《Transgress the Mind》
2《Pick the Brain》
1《Tireless Tracker》
1《Emrakul, the Promised End》
1《To the Slaughter》
1《Distended Mindbender》

-Sideboard (15)-
hareruya



We expected a lot of people to play 《Smuggler's Copter》 aggro and tried to build this deck to have as good a matchup with it as possible while maintaining fine matchup against most other decks.

Cards we played

Mindwrack Demon

Mindwrack Demon



《Mindwrack Demon》 is great delirium enabler, while providing a good body to block most creatures in aggressive decks. He is hard to kill with usual burn spells out of aggro decks 《Fiery Temper》 《Harnessed Lightning》 , blocks Copter while helping you fill your graveyard. An important thing to note about him is that against aggressive decks you want to reliably hit your delirium so you can cast Ishkanah on turn 5, but you rarely have time to do it with cards like 《Vessel of Nascency》 and 《Grim Flayer》.

He does that while not wasting any time and presenting 4/5 wall that is hard to attack through unless they have 《Declaration in Stone》, 《Stasis Snare》 or 《Unlicensed Disintegration》, which weren’t played in many copies maindeck at that time (except for Disintegration in RB). Demon also fills role of glue that ties your deck together. Sometimes you have clunky draws with multiple Traverse, Ishkanah and few removal spells and you need to hit delirium, so you need some card that does that pretty much by itself (Demon,Vessel), or you have draft deck with 《Lay of the Land》, 《Thraben Purebloods》 and removal spells.

2 Pilgrim’s Eye, 1 Dead Weight & 1 Ruinous Path

Pilgrim's EyePilgrim's EyeDead WeightRuinous Path



Having Emrakul and being reliant on delirium makes you build your deck a bit differently. We came to realization that you would like to have minimum of 3 artifacts and 3 enchantments to be able to hit delirium reliably and have Emrakul cost 6-7 mana. Second 《Pilgrim's Eye》, 《Dead Weight》 and 《Ruinous Path》 (5th sorcery) are not great and I would prefer to play real (read better) cards, but you need to make some concessions to play powerful delirium cards. We tried lot of cards in the 3rd artifact slot (1 《Pilgrim's Eye》, 1 《Noxious Gearhulk》 are good in the deck) like 《Filigree Familiar》, 《Cultivator's Caravan》, 《Verdurous Gearhulk》, more 《Noxious Gearhulk》‘s, but in the end everything was way worse than a second 《Pilgrim's Eye》.

Just a quick note on 《Filigree Familiar》, which might seem like a fine card, but when you realize that against slower decks you pay three mana and card(he is not really dying) for a 2/2 that gains two life, you know you need to cut it. 《Dead Weight》 was best of those, mostly because it is great card against Mardu and the closest to a real card. 《Ruinous Path》 is bad now because it doesn’t kill vehicles and 《To the Slaughter》 would be better card if not for the need of another sorcery. I realize it is also not great against vehicles (sometimes it gets 《Fleetwheel Cruiser》), but at least it has upside of trading one for one with Gideon or creating two for one.

2 Vessel of Nascency, 4 Grapple with the Past

Vessel of NascencyVessel of NascencyGrapple with the Past
Grapple with the PastGrapple with the PastGrapple with the Past



Some teams played 4 Vessel and 2 Grapple, but I believe our numbers are correct in current metagame, although I can see playing more Vessels, because it is such a great delirium enabler. I would not cut Grapple though.

1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 1 Tireless Tracker

Kalitas, Traitor of GhetTireless Tracker



Powerful tutor targets. One thing to note is, that Kalitas is way better against aggressive decks than it was before, because they have lot of ground creatures that just can’t attack into it. In previous Standard you needed some removal spells to make him work, but nowadays turn 4 Kalitas might be just enough against some of the weaker draws.

Cards we did not play

Sylvan Advocate

Sylvan Advocate



What used to be the premier green two drop, reason to play green, is now a creature that is not played in most green decks. Reason is that it doesn’t interact favorably against most one drops (3/2 and 2/3 for W and R respectively), does nothing against Copter and games are faster so it’s lategame upside doesn’t matter all that often. It gets better with 《Verdurous Gearhulk》 though.

Verdurous Gearhulk

Verdurous Gearhulk



Although great card, doesn’t fit in controlish shell of GB delirium. While good as a curve topper in more aggressive version, I prefer having my deck built around the other powerful green fivedrop, Ishkanah. I believe GB Delirium has better lategame than most decks, so I don’t see reason to play aggressive that doesn’t do much when you are behind in here.

4th Liliana, the Last Hope

Liliana, the Last Hope



Having another planeswalker for Emrakul/Delirium would be great, but drawing multiples is clunky(something that already happens with this deck, so you want to minimize that).

This is the decklist I used to win MOCS:


Lukas Blohon – GB Delirium
MOCS 1st Place

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

-Lands (23)-

1《Emrakul, the Promised End》
3《Ishkanah, Grafwidow》
1《Pilgrim's Eye》
1《Noxious Gearhulk》
4《Grim Flayer》
3《Tireless Tracker》
1《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》

-Creatures (14)-
1《Dead Weight》
4《Traverse the Ulvenwald》
4《Grasp of Darkness》
4《Grapple with the Past》
2《Murder》
2《Vessel of Nascency》
3《Liliana, the Last Hope》
2《Transgress the Mind》
1《Sinister Concoction》

-Spells (23)-
1《Natural State》
2《Appetite for the Unnatural》
2《Flaying Tendrils》
2《Transgress the Mind》
2《Pick the Brain》
1《Tooth Collector》
1《Emrakul, the Promised End》
2《To the Slaughter》
1《Nissa, Vital Force》
1《Gnarlwood Dryad》

-Sideboard (15)-
hareruya



Why I made these changes

NO Mindwrack Demon

Mindwrack Demon



We talked about positives of the Demon, but there are also some negatives. So why did I cut them?
Mainly because of the new standard menace, UW Flash. They have so many good answers for him in 《Reflector Mage》, 《Stasis Snare》, 《Declaration in Stone》 and 《Spell Queller》 (4 cc sorcery speed card is not great against it). Other reason was that I expected less Mardu Vehicles (or similar Copter aggro decks, but this one is the most prelevant), so I did not need this flying wall that enables delirium. Lastly, Demon is not at its best in lategame. He is just a 4/5 flyer that might help you a bit towards Emrakul, but that is not enough in a midrange deck where games go longer than expected before (less expected aggro as I mentioned). You need something like 《Tireless Tracker》, that just snowballs out of control given enough time.

3 Tireless Tracker

Tireless TrackerTireless TrackerTireless Tracker



With the metagame slowing down a bit, the King of value is back. Tracker is such a powerful card that is so hard to deal with favorably (pretty much impossible, best way to fight it is to not give your opponent enough time to crack clues). And in this deck you have multiple ways to bring it back and tutors to find them. The problem with cutting Demons and replacing them with Trackers means, that it is way harder to get delirium and cast a fast Emrakul. Tracker helps you to make your land drops for Emrakul, so that is not that big of a deal, but delirium is. If you don’t draw any card that makes delirium by itself (Vessel, Demon and to some extent Grapple) you need to do it naturally by having different card types that go into graveyard. Luckily, there is a card that helps a lot with it, while also being great combo with Tracker.

4 Evolving Wilds

Evolving WildsEvolving WildsEvolving WildsEvolving Wilds



It is pretty hard to get land into graveyard, because you usually want to take it from the Grapple in the early game, and only other way to do it is 《Vessel of Nascency》. Obviously, playing 4 《Evolving Wilds》 does come at some cost, and that is having 3 more tapped lands, but I think it is well worth it right now.

1 Sinister Concoction

Sinister Concoction



As mentioned earlier, it is harder to get delirium with this version, so you need to play something suboptimal to help with it. With Wilds and Trackers slowing the deck down and giving us way better lategame, we can afford to two for one ourselves with this card, while also helping with delirium by adding an Enchantment and two more cards in the graveyard.

2 Transgress the Mind

Transgress the MindTransgress the Mind



Sorcery number 5+6 and great card against UW Flash. That was enough for me to move them maindeck.

1 Pilgrim’s Eye

Pilgrim's Eye



While it might not make much sense to remove one Artifact when already having problems with delirium, there are only so many cards that don’t affect board you can play. I am talking about Tracker here. He is great at generating value, but 3/2 on turn 4 is not doing much, and you generally don’t want it to die. So I trimmed down Eye and played more cheaper cards (Transgress, Concoction).

Sideboard changes

Distended Mindbender

Distended Mindbender



I cut it because it is too clunky in my opinion. You don’t have many cheap creatures to emerge him, and sacrificing 《Grim Flayer》 or 《Tireless Tracker》 is not a great deal against controling decks. And having your sideboard card sitting in your hand doing nothing is not a place where I want to be. I added 4th Transgress instead for the slower decks and mainly for UW Flash.

Tooth Collector

Tooth Collector



Idea I stole from Gabriel Nassif’s aggro delirium. Against aggressive decks, it is similar to Liliana, but it doesn’t die on attack, can kill multiple creatures right away or just kill one and trade for another one. It is tutorable and reusable.

Gnarlwood Dryad

Gnarlwood Dryad



Used to be 《Dead Weight》, but it has similar applications with one exception. It is great answer to 《Bristling Hydra》 out of RG energy, card you otherwise have big problems with. Also tutorable and reusable, which gets me to another point. Creatures are SO good in this deck, you can find and use them multiple times. It reminds me of sideboard spells with 《Snapcaster Mage》.

Emrakul, the Promised End

Emrakul, the Promised End



Mainly here for mirror. Unless one player snowballs early with 《Grim Flayer》, planeswalker or Tracker, someone will stabilize and only thing that matters after that is Emrakul. With one you risk that it might get hit by 《Transgress the Mind》 and the second one also greatly increases the chance of you seeing it, because whenever you mill it’s pretty easy to bring it back with Liliana or Grapple. It is also good against controls decks, because they have ways to exile the first one (《Void Shatter》, 《Summary Dismissal》), so having second one helps.

Nissa, Vital Force

Nissa, Vital Force



Just another angle of attack against slower decks and planeswalkers.

How I Sideboard

Before we get to sideboarding, one thing I would change in the sideboard right now is extra 《Natural State》 instead of one 《Appetite for the Unnatural》, because there is less Marvel and expensive artifacts, and 《Natural State》 is so much better against Mardu and UW.

vs. UW Flash

I believe this matchup is bit better for you, but they have two extremely good cards against you. First is 《Smuggler's Copter》, which is even better in their deck than in aggressive decks, because they can protect it with counterspells and 《Spell Queller》. Also they have more powerful cards in their deck, not just one drops, so looting is way stronger here. Second one is 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》. This card is just absurdly powerful and there will be lot of games when they play it on turn 4 and you just lose. Best card against it is 《Transgress the Mind》 and that is why I have 2 maindeck. Ishkanah is pretty good against Gideon, but needs some help. Other than those two cards, most of your cards interact favorably against theirs.

You have Liliana for 《Selfless Spirit》, 《Grasp of Darkness》 for 《Archangel Avacyn》, things to do at instant speed against 《Spell Queller》 (Grapple, removals, cracking clues) and most important is 《Ishkanah, Grafwidow》. It blanks lot of their cards when it resolves and they mostly have just Avacyn and Gideon to get through. Moving forward, I think UW flash can be build so it has good matchup against BG, but for now I think we have the edge.

In



Transgress the MindTransgress the MindTo the Slaughter
To the SlaughterNatural StateNatural State



Out


Dead WeightGrim FlayerGrim Flayer
Grim FlayerGrim FlayerKalitas, Traitor of Ghet



Answers for Gideon and Copter, that is all you need. I can see boarding in 《Appetite for the Unnatural》 too if they have lot of 《Stasis Snare》, instead of one Vessel.

vs. Mardu Vehicles

This is a good matchup, although it got bit worse with addition of tapped lands and Trackers instead of Demons. Make sure to not keep loose hands and plan carefully to have Ishkanah with delirium as soon as possible. There is not much else to say about the matchup.

In



Natural StateNatural StateTooth CollectorGnarlwood Dryad
Flaying TendrilsFlaying TendrilsTo the SlaughterTo the Slaughter

Out


Emrakul, the Promised EndTransgress the MindTransgress the MindVessel of Nascency
Vessel of NascencyTireless TrackerTireless TrackerGrapple with the Past



Side in 《Appetite for the Unnatural》 if you see lot of vehicles. 《To the Slaughter》 is only for Gideon, so If they don’t have any keep them in sb.

vs. RB Aggro

In



Natural StateNatural StateTooth CollectorGnarlwood Dryad
Flaying TendrilsFlaying TendrilsAppetite for the Unnatural

Out


Emrakul, the Promised EndTransgress the MindTransgress the MindVessel of Nascency
Vessel of NascencyTireless TrackerTireless Tracker



Same as Mardu Vehicles, but add in 《Appetite for the Unnatural》 and leave in Grapple for 2 《To the Slaughter》.

vs. GB Delirium

I don’t like 《Grim Flayer》 in the mirror very much, especially on draw. It is great on turn two, but gets brickwalled fairly easily and is a bad draw later in the game. I know other people like to keep them, so I can see being wrong on this one, but so far having Grasp instead worked well for me. With 2 Emrakul and multiple Trackers, you should be favored in the lategame, so make everything you can to get there. If this version becomes standard, then it might be better to do something differently or have more cards for the mirror. Remember to use Traverse (to get Emrakul or Gearhulk), Liliana and Grapple before you get hit by Emrakul and they can waste them. If the ground stalls, Emrakul is the only thing that matters, keep that in mind and prepare for them topdecking Emrakul as best you can and you will do fine.

In



Transgress the MindTransgress the MindTo the Slaughter
To the SlaughterNissa, Vital ForceEmrakul, the Promised End

Out


Grim FlayerGrim FlayerGrim Flayer
Grim FlayerDead WeightKalitas, Traitor of Ghet



《Sinister Concoction》 is not great, but I like having it, especially on draw against 《Grim Flayer》. On play I might have 《Pick the Brain》, especially against versions with more planeswalkers (or both of them, cut a Grasp then). This is it. I think it is one of the best decks in Standard until people start playing Marvel or other decks specifically aiming to beat Delirium. I hope you learned something about Delirium, whether you want to play it or beat it.

As usual, if you have any questions that I did not answer here, let me know on twitter @LukasBlohon. Good luck in future tournaments!

Lukas Blohon


Twitter

Facebook

Related Articles