I had an unremarkable finish at Pro Tour Aether Revolt. In spite of that, I felt that the event gave me a great framework for diving into the new Standard format.
I believe the Ben Rubin designed B/G/u Delirium deck I played was a good choice for the tournament. More importantly, it has a favorable matchup against Mardu Vehicles, and is customizable for a metagame that’s sure to shift a lot in the coming weeks. (It’s worth noting that I did put up a 6-4 record in Standard, and it was mostly Booster Draft that held me back this time around). Here’s what I played:
Why Did I Choose B/G Delirium?
Our Pro Tour preparation typically features a lot of brewing with the new cards. Sometimes we strike gold and come up with a great original deck, and sometimes we have to default to playing an established deck. Pro Tour Aether Revolt was a case of the latter. I had some cool brews with good things going for them. (Many featured Tezzeret, the Schemer, and will surely make some appearances in my content here on ChannelFireball.com over the coming weeks.) But I couldn’t get them quite where I wanted for the Pro Tour, and decided to fall back on a more tried-and-true deck.
Most of my teammates on The Pantheon chose Mardu Vehicles, which proved to be a good choice. Ben Rubin, Jelger Wiegersma, and I preferred G/B Delirium.
What Mardu Vehicles can offer in explosiveness, B/G can counter in consistency. A perfect 2-color mana base with Hissing Quagmire and Traverse the Ulvenwald ensures that you’re never color-screwed, and typically draw close to the number of lands that you want.
But B/G has its nut-draws too. I can say with confidence that Winding Constrictor is one of the best cards in Standard. The games where you play it on turn 2 and it survives are typically blow-outs. Even without the Snake, Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Verdurous Gearhulk put a ton of power and toughness onto the table, and can score you some easy wins.
What’s Special About Our List?
If you’ve been reading carefully, you might be ready to call shenanigans on my comment about a “perfect 2-color mana base.” Indeed, we did end up splashing a third color for Metallic Rebuke on the sideboard. But the cost to the main deck mana base was very low since Botanical Sanctum and a singleton Aether Hub very rarely hurt you (particularly because a common turn-4 play is Tireless Tracker + tapped land). The only spot where you really pay the price is in having to devote a sideboard slot to a basic Island, which can be fetched with either Evolving Wilds or Traverse the Ulvenwald.
Metallic Rebuke was our reaction to Torrential Gearhulk decks looking good leading up to the Pro Tour. We expected Jeskai Saheeli to be popular. (It was popular, although it was not particularly successful.) We also expected a healthy number of Dynavolt-Tower-style control decks built to win blue mirrors. I found that you could get to about 50/50 against these decks by playing Tireless Trackers and Transgress the Minds. But Metallic Rebuke is a way to really punish them, as countering a Gearhulk in a close game usually spells the end for the control player.
The other unique thing about our deck list was a large number of Tireless Trackers in the main deck. It’s no secret that I love this card, but I also believe that it has an important function in the current Standard. It’s a cold-blooded control killer and is perfect against Jeskai Saheeli since it lets you beat them in a long game without tapping out on your main phase. It’s also great in B/G mirrors and plays a key role in closing out games against aggro decks once you survive the early rush. Making tons of Clues also helps you cast (and disguise) a Metallic Rebuke in your hand.
What Would I Change?
I was happy with our deck list for the Pro Tour. But the way I’d approach this weekend’s Mardu-Vehicles-dominated metagame is slightly different. Control will still be out there, but it isn’t exactly the deck to beat. The blue splash may not be necessary.
This version of B/G Delirium is well-suited to winning mirror matches and is also slightly advantaged against Mardu Vehicles. As such, it ought to be a good choice for any upcoming Standard tournaments.