Kenji Tsumura recently piloted a pretty cool looking Sultai Delirium deck to a 5-0 record in an MTGO Competitive League. He leaned hard on a toolbox package that may be a good way to combat the Death’s Shadow menace.
Traverse the Ulvenwald is what makes this work. It’s already a sorcery for delirium, search for a basic without delirium, and turns into a single-mana tutor for a creature fairly quickly. Adding 1 mana to the cost of your creature for the utility this provides is already excellent, and as we’ve learned from the Death’s Shadow lists, a 2-mana 10/10 or 3-mana 7/8 Tarmogoyf is still great.
With enough ways to manufacture delirium, Tarmogoyf is just too good not to play. Equally insane early and late, you’re getting so much creature for so little cost. At the end of the day, this is a creature with no enters-the-battlefield trigger and no activated abilities—it’s just huge for 2 mana.
The only other creature to appear in this list at more than 1 copy is Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Jace smooths your draws and does an excellent job of turning on delirium. Using Traverse to find Jace never feels bad as you’re going to be flipping to flashback your Traverse immediately. This really helps to make the deck work.
Courser of Kruphix provides tons of value by cashing in extra lands off the top of your deck, it counts as an enchantment for delirium, and it gives you some extra life and a great blocker.
Glen Elendra Archmage can defeat combo decks on its own while providing insurance against tough spells. It also does a decent job attacking in the skies.
Scavenging Ooze helps fight opposing delirium, Dredge, and gains crucial life against aggro.
Shriekmaw can destroy creatures, but is also a strong threat when hardcast without evoke. Tireless Tracker is a big part of your late game, accumulating Clues for cards and value. Your closers come in the form of Grave Titan and Ishkanah, Grafwidow, both of which can provide entire armies all by themselves.
You’re playing a black deck and this is Modern, so Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek are too good not to play. This form of disruption is taking over Modern, and mulliganing against any deck packing these spells is an absolute nightmare. Playing the game with perfect information is already great, but taking away the most impactful cards against your draw is insane.
With Death’s Shadow so popular, you need to choose your removal carefully. Fatal Push is easily the best of the bunch and an incredible way to deal with both Death’s Shadow and Tarmogoyf. Abrupt Decay can deal with some other threats while being excellent against those same key creatures. Maelstrom Pulse offers insurance against planeswalkers and explosive starts out of aggro decks. It also cleans up a Lingering Souls mess. Dismember is another way to deal with a variety of larger creatures.
Mishra’s Bauble is purely here to turn on delirium while providing some value by targeting yourself before cracking a fetch or getting perfect information on the opponent. A single Liliana, the Last Hope can give you a needed planeswalker in the graveyard or she can fill up your graveyard by using her minus ability. Bringing back Eternal Witness, Ishkanah, and Grave Titan ought to put you over the top in an attrition war.
When Hall-of-Famers play sweet decks to great records, it’s always worth taking a look, and this deck seems to have all the ingredients for success.