Grand Prix Minneapolis was this past weekend, and I failed to make Day Two. I played UW Delver. To give you a brief summary of my tournament—well, I’ll just say: I don’t think I ever saw the back side of a [card]Delver of Secrets[/card].

I joked at the GP that the two sides of it are daytime [card]Delver of Secrets[/card], and nighttime [card]Delver of Secrets[/card]; you just keep flipping it into a different 1/1 that does nothing.

The highlight of my tournament occured when I had a [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card] equipped with [card]Sword of War and Peace[/card]. I was feeling good, like I couldn't lose—until my opponent cast [card]Eaten by Spiders[/card] and destroyed them both… that moment about sums it up.

Although I did not perform well, I still got a good feel for the format. This week I wanted to do a breakdown of the Top 8:

Christian Calcano, 1st - GP Minneapolis

[deck]Main Deck:
1 Desolate Lighthouse
12 Island
7 Mountain
3 Sulfur Falls
4 Delver of Secrets
1 Dungeon Geists
2 Invisible Stalker
1 Phantasmal Image
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Bonfire of the Damned
1 Devil's Play
1 Galvanic Blast
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Incinerate
3 Pillar of Flame
4 Ponder
2 Runechanter's Pike
4 Thought Scour
3 Vapor Snag
Sideboard:
1 Bonfire of the Damned
1 Combust
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Crush
1 Desolate Lighthouse
1 Flashfreeze
1 Frost Titan
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Gut Shot
1 Inferno Titan
1 Koth of the Hammer
2 Mana Leak
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Zealous Conscripts[/deck]

Christian Calcano is known on the tournament circuit as a grinder—one of those never-say-die-guys who plays in every single tournament. I think it’s a good thing he finally has a finish he can be proud of.

But, for the love of god, please play a 4th [card]Sulfur Falls[/card]. Seriously, how can you expect to win a tournament when you knowingly play a suboptimal decklist?

That aside, the deck looks pretty cool. It’s a lot like the Legacy decks with [card]Grim Lavamancer[/card], [card]Goblin Guide[/card], and all the cantrips and burn in the world.

His sideboard (which looks dreadful) isn't actually that bad. I ran Ben Friedman's list of Delver with two [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card] in the sideboard, and they were really effective for me. Seeing Calcano have success with a SB Sphinx, [card]Frost Titan[/card], and [card]Inferno Titan[/card]—with [card]Desolate Lighthouse[/card] to help cast them—doesn’t shock me.

As for the rest of the sideboard, I’m going to assume he playtested a ton, and that the other numbers are optimal.

Josh Utter-Leyton, Top 8 - GP Minneapolis

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Darkslick Shores
2 Evolving Wilds
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Island
2 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast
1 Swamp
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Hero of Bladehold
4 Snapcaster Mage
1 Dismember
4 Gitaxian Probe
2 Gut Shot
3 Honor of the Pure
4 Lingering Souls
3 Mana Leak
4 Ponder
4 Vapor Snag
Sideboard:
2 Celestial Purge
1 Moorland Haunt
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Phantasmal Image
2 Revoke Existence
2 Sword of Feast and Famine
2 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
2 Timely Reinforcements[/deck]

Seeing Wrapter make Top 8 of any tournament makes me happy—with the combination of this list and his play, I’m not surprised by his success. I loved [card]Lingering Souls[/card] and hated [card]Drogskol Captain[/card] when I played that version of the deck in GP Salt Lake City. It's nice to see Wrapter came to a similar conclusion.

I would prefer [card]Restoration Angel[/card]s over [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card]s; I had positive experiences with that card during the GP. But, if he considered Angel, and opted for Hero instead based on the synergy with [card]Honor of the Pure[/card], then it must be better.

I prefer three [card]Gut Shot[/card] and zero [card]Dismember[/card] based on the amount of mirror match, RG aggro, and [card]Birthing Pod[/card] decks I expected. Plus, I really just don’t like [card]Dismember[/card] all that much.

His sideboard is pretty straightforward; though honestly I prefer [card consecrated sphinx]Sphinx[/card] over [card tamiyo, the moon sage]Tomato[/card].

Brad Nelson, 2nd - GP Minneapolis

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Buried Ruin
2 Ghost Quarter
17 Island
4 Grand Architect
3 Merfolk Looter
4 Phantasmal Image
4 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Snapcaster Mage
1 Spellskite
4 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Batterskull
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Ponder
4 Vapor Snag
Sideboard:
2 Dungeon Geists
1 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Hex Parasite
2 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Mental Misstep
3 Ratchet Bomb
1 Spellskite
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Trinket Mage [/deck]

This list is something else. I don’t know that it's bad for sure, but it doesn’t look great to me.

For starters, it has four [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]s and only 12 total spells, which seems low. I admit that could be enough, once you consider that a cheap blue creature gains a lot of value when you have four [card]Grand Architect[/card]s in your deck, so you can just use them to turbo out [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]s fast.

But, I’m still skeptical of Snapcaster in this list. I heard Brad mention at some point during the weekend that he hated [card]Merfolk Looter[/card] in the deck.

I believe him, but I wouldn’t know exactly what to replace Taigo with. When you choose a one-color deck that needs a specific card, like a two-mana creature to make [card]Grand Architect[/card] better, you really limit your options.

I remember Ali Aintrazi playing [card]Grand Architect[/card] in his deck alongside [card]Thrummingbird[/card]—just because he wanted more cheap drops to make mana.

Jerret Schultz, Top 8 - GP Minneapolis

[deck]Main Deck:
2 Darkslick Shores
2 Evolving Wilds
2 Ghost Quarter
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Island
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast
1 Swamp
3 Blade Splicer
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
3 Phantasmal Image
3 Sun Titan
3 Day of Judgment
3 Dead Weight
4 Forbidden Alchemy
4 Lingering Souls
2 Oblivion Ring
3 Ponder
2 Ratchet Bomb
1 Unburial Rites
2 Gideon Jura
Sideboard:
1 Batterskull
2 Celestial Purge
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Day of Judgment
1 Karn Liberated
2 Negate
3 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Ratchet Bomb
2 Timely Reinforcements[/deck]

This is just your typical [card]Sun Titan[/card] deck. It aims to stall out the game with cheap removal like [card]Dead Weight[/card] and sweepers like [card]Day of Judgment[/card]. Eventually, it [card]Sun Titan[/card]s back [card]Phantasmal Image[/card]s—and makes piles of [card]Sun Titan[/card]s you can barely see over.

[card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card] fuels the graveyard antics like [card]Sun Titan[/card], [card]Unburial Rites[/card], and [card]Lingering Souls[/card].

One cool trick this deck is capable of is using [card]Sun Titan[/card] and [card]Dead Weight[/card] to dodge hexproof. When you cast a [card]Dead Weight[/card] you have to choose a target; but, when [card]Sun Titan[/card] puts it directly on to the battlefield, you choose a creature to enchant—a cute answer to [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card].

[card]Blade Splicer[/card] is not common in lists like this, but it works well with your [card]Phantasmal Image[/card]s, and lets you go beatdown in your draws that involve [card]Lingering Souls[/card].

Rick Stout, Top 4 - GP Minneapolis

[deck]Main Deck:
2 Cavern of Souls
3 Glacial Fortress
5 Island
2 Moorland Haunt
5 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Elite Vanguard
3 Geist of Saint Traft
1 Gideon's Lawkeeper
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Gather the Townsfolk
2 Gut Shot
1 Mass Appeal
3 Mutagenic Growth
1 Negate
4 Ponder
1 Runechanter's Pike
1 Sword of War and Peace
4 Vapor Snag
Sideboard:
3 Celestial Purge
2 Divine Offering
2 Flashfreeze
1 Mental Misstep
2 Negate
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
3 Timely Reinforcements
1 Unsummon[/deck]

I like this deck quite a bit. Even back when Sam Black was playing it, and the mana was worse without [card]Cavern of Souls[/card]. I love the fact that he’s upgraded the [card]Doomed Traveler[/card]s into [card]Elite Vanguard[/card] and [card]Gideon's Lawkeeper[/card].

I really dislike the inclusion of [card]Runechanter's Pike[/card] with zero copies of [card]Invisible Stalker[/card]. I think cards like [card]Mass Appeal[/card] and [card]Negate[/card] are too tricksy, and have very little actual value outside corner case scenarios. I would try to fit in some [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card]s to get the deck a bit closer to its original form.

Stephen Bishop, Top 4 - GP Minneapolis

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Copperline Gorge
5 Forest
4 Glimmerpost
3 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Kessig Wolf Run
4 Mountain
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Inferno Titan
4 Primeval Titan
4 Solemn Simulacrum
3 Thrun, the Last Troll
2 Beast Within
2 Devil's Play
4 Rampant Growth
4 Slagstorm
4 Sphere of the Suns
3 Whipflare
Sideboard:
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Batterskull
2 Beast Within
3 Cavern of Souls
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Karn Liberated
2 Pillar of Flame
1 Ratchet Bomb[/deck]

This deck is awesome! I absolutely wish I had played this deck in the Grand Prix. I would cut the [card thrun, the last troll]Thruns[/card] and Devil’s Play for [card]Pillar of Flame[/card]. It's as good as [card]Galvanic Blast[/card] was in the version of the deck I played at PT Honolulu, with added utility against [card]Strangleroot Geist[/card]. Just having [card]Shock[/card]s in your deck instead of stuff like [card thrun, the last troll]Thrun[/card] makes you a lot better against the increased numbers of aggressive decks I was expecting.

Zero copies of [card]Huntmaster of the Fells[/card] is unacceptable and offensive, you should play that card. No seriously, it’s pretty good. And I would try to make room for one [card]Bonfire of the Damned[/card] in the main and one in the sideboard.

Just having access to that card gives your deck such a huge boost in power level—I think the way it's printed is a design mistake. It just doesn’t scale correctly given the difference in actual casting cost and miracle cost. I feel like any board state is salvageable when you can miracle a Bonfire in the mid- to late game. It just does so much for so little.

Taylor Laehn, Top 8 - GP Minneapolis

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Glacial Fortress
9 Island
3 Moorland Haunt
1 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Dungeon Geists
4 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Merfolk Looter
4 Snapcaster Mage
1 Dismember
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Gut Shot
4 Mana Leak
1 Mutagenic Growth
4 Ponder
3 Runechanter's Pike
3 Thought Scour
4 Vapor Snag
Sideboard:
1 Corrosive Gale
1 Dungeon Geists
2 Flashfreeze
1 Gut Shot
1 Negate
1 Oblivion Ring
2 Phantasmal Image
1 Ratchet Bomb
1 Steel Sabotage
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of War and Peace
2 Timely Reinforcements[/deck]

Looking at this deck makes me laugh. He basically took Yuuya Watanabe’s Grand Prix winning list, cut a [card]Thought Scour[/card] for a [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card], kept all the Runechanter's Pikes while cutting [card]Invisible Stalker[/card]s for [card]Merfolk Looter[/card]s.

Don’t get me wrong, I like [card]Merfolk Looter[/card], but I don’t get it in Delver decks. Yuuya built a dedicated Pike deck and the [card]Invisible Stalker[/card]s are awesome there. It’s the whole reason he ran [card]Thought Scour[/card] over [card gitaxian probe]Probe[/card]. So, just copy/pasting his list and downgrading the Stalkers seems to have worked out fine for Taylor. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t advocate this list.

Ben Friedman, Top 8 - GP Minneapolis

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Glacial Fortress
9 Island
3 Moorland Haunt
2 Plains
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Restoration Angel
4 Snapcaster Mage
1 Dismember
1 Faith's Shield
4 Gitaxian Probe
2 Gut Shot
4 Mana Leak
4 Ponder
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
2 Sword of War and Peace
1 Thought Scour
4 Vapor Snag
Sideboard:
1 Batterskull
2 Celestial Purge
2 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Day of Judgment
2 Dissipate
2 Divine Offering
2 Phantasmal Image
3 Timely Reinforcements[/deck]

I palyed these exact 75 cards in the GP and, for the most part, I liked it. I felt the deck had one land too many, and I’d probably do away with the second [card]Plains[/card]. I would chop the [card]Faith's Shield[/card] for either a [card]Mutagenic Growth[/card] or a second [card]Thought Scour[/card].

[card]Sword of War and Peace[/card] severely outperformed [card sword of feast and famine]Feast and Famine[/card], and I’d look into making that change as well. [card]Restoration Angel[/card] was an all-star, and I was really glad to have her in the deck.

The same can be said for the sideboard. I loved the plan of [card]Timely Reinforcements[/card] into [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card]—that was a smart innovation from Ben Friedman and his friends.

That wraps up my analysis of the Top 8 of Grand Prix Minneapolis. It was great to see Calcano vs Brad Nelson in the finals, since they both go to so many tournaments and haven’t had a good finish in so long. It seems like they were both due. As always, I encourage feedback and constructive criticism. I know I haven’t written in a while but I’m about to get right back into the thick of it, so I would love to hear any of your article topic suggestions.

Owen Turtenwald
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