Last week, I took a look at GW Tokens and how I’d build the deck post-rotation. Today I’ll go deep on B/G/x Delirium.
The last Standard event was Worlds, where 3 competitors registered a B/Gx shell. Let’s use their deck lists as our starting point.
As always, when updating an existing archetype, you have to take a look at what rotates out first, then at what could be the best additions from Kaladesh.
What is Leaving
Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Nissa was the queen of midrange—helpful for hitting land drops and huge in the late game, being a great planeswalker that cost you only 3 mana. Unfortunately, she is leaving us, and Pilgrim’s Eye or Filigree Familiar aren’t remotely close to the same level.
Languish is another important card that is now gone from black midrange and control decks, and there is no such effect in Kaladesh, so we are going to miss having a sweeper this versatile, with Flaying Tendrils and Rising Miasma filling in as best as they can.
If you are red, though, you still have some toys to play with in the form of Nahiri’s Wrath, Radiant Flames, and Kozilek’s Return. This loss will certainly hurt, but maybe the format will shape around low-toughtness creatures and its loss will be less painful.
Blooming Marsh is what we have now, and it’s much worse in these kinds of control decks. The games go long and taplands are problematic. Losing life with Llanowar Wastes isn’t as big a problem for this deck as not hitting your 6th land untapped.
Galvanic Bombardment is the closest thing we have now. It’s slightly worse, but not by much. Consider that in a deck with Grapple with the Past and Vessel of Nascency milling other copies, Galvanic Bombardment can even be better.
This card was a powerhouse a year ago, but fell off the scene month by month. You can see above that it was played in a couple of decks as a 1-of, so considering that, it’s not a big loss. Den Protector was huge in control decks, being that you could chain them and that it was a 2/1 that easily pressured planeswalkers. I’ll miss it.
This is the only good Gearhulk for a controlling strategy like this, and it is a very good one. A 5/4 menace is a solid body—the card advantage is huge and the life gain is relevant in a control deck that often never gains life. You probably want to play just one to get back with Liliana, the Last Hope or Grapple with the Past.
Demon of Dark Schemes
This card is very close to Noxious Gearhulk. Much like Dragonlord Silumgar, its strength depends on the removal being played. If this card sticks on the battlefield, it will almost certainly win you the game. If not, to be good it needs to create card advantage once it enters the battlefield, which is not guaranteed in every matchup. It has to be said that Kaladesh looks like a set that wants to abuse tokens, and G/W Tokens is a thing, so Demon of Dark Schemes could be big.
Nissa, Vital Force
Nissa, Vital Force is an underrated planeswalker from what I’ve seen so far. It’s a good planeswalker for a slow deck in a slow format. Her ultimate is fast and it changes the pace of the game, making it impossible to lose against control decks. It will be mostly a sideboard card, but I can also see it being played main deck in some B/G Control builds.
This little Fox will be great in conjunction with Pilgrim’s Eye to emerge Distended Mindbender, to reduce Emrakul, the Promise End’s mana cost, give you an extra card, and gain you a bunch of life. It’s a lot of things for a 2/2 for 3!
On the other hand, the extra land is often more relevant in strategies like this, mostly because Pilgrim’s Eye give you card advantage once it centers the battlefield—Filigree Familiar will do it only once it’s dying. It will definitely need to be tested, but I’m not really sold on this yet.
Above I laid out why I think fastlands are worse than Llanowar Wastes in this archetype. It will definitely be a Modern staple, but here it’s a downgrade.
I wanted to take a look at an Eldritch Moon card, Nahiri’s Wrath, that is now going to be much better once Dromoka’s Command is out of the picture. Discarding a 6-drop and 2 lands will be good enough to take down 2 creatures and 2 planeswalkers. Of course, watch out for counterspells or Spell Queller to not get blown out.
Now let’s take all of this brainstorming and start with Lukas Blohon’s deck list to see what we can replace easily, and what might need more work. As always, I’m open to any advice you might have in the comments.