A Guide to Black-Green Delirium

by Martin Dang on 30 November 2016, Wednesday

Martin Dang

A Guide to Black-Green Delirium

Standard Showndown and Grand Prix Madrid are upon us and let's talk about deck choices. Since Pro Tour Kaladesh, the Standard scene has been dominated by three decks. Mardu Vehicles, White-Blue Flash and Black-Green Delirium. My deck choice at the moment is Black-Green Delirium. I have chosen this deck as I believe it has favorable matchups against the other two major decks. I often feel like I have an edge in the mirror matches, because people tend to handle it wrongly.

Traverse the Ulvenwald Grapple with the Past Vessel of Nascency

Another thing I like about the deck is that you hardly ever have to mulligan because of Traverse the Ulvenwald, Grapple with the Past and Vessel of Nascency which makes the deck consistent.

First things first, here is the decklist I'm playing which I think fits the current metagame the best:

Black-Green Delirium is a midrange deck with a strong lategame thanks to Emrakul, the Promised End. Versatile cards like Grapple with the Past and Traverse the Ulvenwald helps make the deck so consistent and that's good for your early game land drops or to dig for late game finishers.

Tireless Tracker Liliana, the Last Hope

Generally, the game plan is to slow down your opponent with removal and hand disruption and then winning with card advantage created by Tireless Tracker, Liliana, the Last Hope or through something with a powerful impact like Emrakul, the Promised End or Liliana, the Last Hope's ultimate ability.

Delirium is the keyword here and it is important to have it. Seeing that the maindeck already contains the best cards to take advantage of this, there aren't a lot of room for changes here. The sideboard is a different story though. It changes a little almost everytime I pick up the deck for another tournament.

Currently White-Blue Flash is the most popular deck on Magic Online. For this reason I've tuned the deck to better combat those decks. In the maindeck, I've shaved Mindwrack Demons down to two copies, as they're too vulnerable to Reflector Mages, and Plummets have been added in the sideboard.


Against White-Blue Flash

This matchup is difficult, but slightly favorable when played correctly.

Ishkanah, Grafwidow Spell Queller

You objective is to resolve Ishkanah, Grafwidow as soon as possible, to buy time for generating card advantage and searching for Emrakul, the Promised End. Use your life as a resource as they aren't very aggressive. Also, don't play into Spell Quellers.

In: +3 Natural State, +2 Plummet, +1 Transgress the Mind, +2 To the Slaughter

Out: -4 Grim Flayer, -1 Dead Weight, -2 Liliana, the Last Hope, -1 Mindwrack Demon
Our two main concerns are Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Smuggler's Copter

To the Slaughter Natural State

We bring in To the Slaughter to deal with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Transgress the Mind is great as it provides information and take Gideons before turn 4. As for Smuggler's Copter, Natural State doubles up as removal against Stasis Snare while Plummet also takes down Archangel Avacyn, Spell Queller and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship.

Mindwrack Demon

It may seem weird to keep in one Mindwrack Demon, but I believe it is good and you'll need delirium for that crucial Ishkanah, Grafwidow. However, you don't want to be stuck with two in your hand when the first one gets hit by Reflector Mage. Reflector Mages is also the reason we sideboard out Grim Flayers.

Liliana, the Last Hope is too vunerable against basically anything in White-Blue Flash, but I keep single one so she can buy back a creature late game and additionally take out the occasional Selfless Spirit.


Against Vehicles

This matchup is also favorable in my opinion. Again getting down an Ishkanah, Grafwidow is key here, but you have plenty of removal and two Mindwrack Demons to slow your opponent down.

In: +3 Natural State, +2 To the Slaughter, +1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, +1 Dead Weight

Out: -1 Liliana, the Last Hope, -2 Tireless Tracker, -2 Vessel Nascency, -2 Transgress the Mind

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

As mentioned earlier, Natural State are good against Smuggler's Copter and Cultivator Caravan and To the Slaughter help against creatures. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet are good for dealing with pesky Scrapheap Scroungers and they help you gain some life back so you're out of burn range. Also, if you get to untap, your many removal spells will generate you some Zombie blockers

Tireless Tracker, Vessel of Nascency and Transgress the Mind are all too slow for this matchup and we take out one Liliana, the Last Hope since you don't want to draw too many of her early game, where she will have a hard time surviving.



Mirror Match

To me the mirror match is mainly about two things: Liliana, the Last Hope and Emrakul, the Promised End.

Emrakul, the Promised End Liliana, the Last Hope

If you're on the play and can resolve an early Liliana, it will be really hard for him to kill it, if only you have a bit of backup. Getting Liliana's ulimate is very important in this matchup. There is nothing in the deck to deal with that many zombies and even if he resolves Emrakul after you Liliana ultimate, the emblem it will just generate even more zombies.

If neither player gets to ultimate their Liliana, it comes down to Emrakul. The deck easily messes up, if your opponent takes control of your turn. Cards like Grapple with the Past, Vessel of Nascency, Traverse the Ulvenwald, Evolving Wilds and Pilgrim's Eye, can now safely be considered blanks, and will be played without doing anything.

In: +1 Emrakul, the Promised End, +1 Transgress the Mind, +2 To the Slaughter, +1 Liliana, +1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

Out: -4 Grasp of Darkness, -1 Dead Weight, -1 Murder

We add an extra Emrakul, the Promised End, so we have a back up, should the first one get hit by Trangress the Mind. Two copies of To the Slaughter helps us deal with opposiing Lilianas while Ob Nixilis Reignited is for attrition.

Grim Flayer Grasp of Darkness

Some people sideboard out Grim Flayer instead of Grasp of Darkness, I prefer to side out the Grasp of Darkness. Grim Flayers are very good early game. If they haven't drawn removal it can sometimes win the game by itself, and it can also prevent him from playing an early Liliana, giving you the opportunity to play the first one.


Red-Green Aetherworks Marvel

Aetherworks Marvel

This is not a good matchup for us. Our removal is useless and there not enough hand disruption to effectively stop his game plan. Luckily for us, the Red-Green Aetherworks Marvel decks are inconsistent, so sometimes we win just by him not drawing the combo pieces.

In: +1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited, +2 To the Slaughter, +1 Transgress the Mind, +1 Pick the Brain, +1 Emrakul, the Promised End

Out: -1 Dead Weight, -4 Grasp of Darkness, -1 Murder

We sideboard all the useless removals out and add the disruption we have in our sideboard. As mentioned in the start of this article, I believe Black-Green Delirium to be well positioned against the current popular decks. However, if the metagame were to shift into a more combo oriented direction, I would seriously reconsider my deck choice. It's nearly impossible to beat e.g. Aetherworks Marvel, but luckily the White-Blue Flash are currently keeping them at bay.

If aggro becomes more popular, I'd stick to my choice, but I'd put the third Mindwrack Demon back. Anyway, these are my two cents this time round and I wish you all the best in your Standard Showdowns and upcoming Grand Prix, especially Grand Prix Madrid if you're attending!

Martin Dang

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