After putting up some good results with Abzan Delirium on MtGO this past week, which you can read about here, I was excited to see how the Pro Tour would shape up and what decks would come out on top. Maybe someone would even be brining some delirium to the top tables? Ohhh…
When it came down to it, Pro Tour Amonkhet was mostly a 3 deck metagame. Mardu Vehicles, Marvel variants, and Zombies were the big three and mostly made up the entirety of the metagame. Mardu overall underperformed while Mono-Black Zombies looked great and did well. B/W seemed a little less impressive and didn’t put up quite the results Mono-Black did. For the most part, the most successful Marvel variants were Temur versions; spell-heavy or Chandra, Flamecaller-packed.
While I’m obviously disappointed Delirium decks failed to show up, I’m doing my best to not get too attached to the deck. Doing well with a deck and then clinging onto it even after it’s passed its prime is a big weakness in my game and one I need to overcome. I have a tendency to overvalue experience and familiarity with a deck, and often justify playing what I know over what I don’t. So if you’re looking to sleeve up Standard this weekend, what do I advocate for?
Flamecaller Marvel by Martin Müller at Pro Tour Amonkhet – 4th
Team Genesis’s take on Aetherworks Marvel chocked full of Chandra, Flamecaller looked mighty impressive in the hands of Martin Muller and had the stats to back it up. Roman covered some statistics in his article this week, and you can see it had one of the most impressive records at the PT. My rationale for opting for the Genesis take on the deck over the more spell-based version Yuuya Watanabe and others did well with is two fold.
1. Maximizing playable energy producers.
I actually built the Sultai version of Marvel (the one William Jensen and Reid Duke did fairly well with at the PT) because the Delirium package looked sweet to me as well as the Glint-Sleeve Siphoner sideboard plan. The first thing I immediately noticed was how difficult it was to get to 6 energy. I kept finding myself with totally serviceable hands that just couldn’t generate enough energy. 2 lands, an Attune with Aether, a Rogue Refiner, a Fatal Push, a Vessel of Nascency, and even my key card Aetherworks Marvel.
I’d snap this off and curve out all while killing a threat and dropping a turn 4 Aetherworks Marvel, but I’d then sit there with 4 energy while I drew Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Ishkanah, Grafwidow. I really missed Whirler Virtuoso and the full 4 copies of Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot. The deck felt like 60% of a Delirium deck and 40% of a Marvel deck. I don’t have the skill Huey or Duke has, so let’s just leverage how busted Aetherworks Marvel is and ensure we can cast it and immediately activate it with a big pile energy lying around.
2. Chandra, Flamecaller is great now thanks to the Pro Tour
It’s no surprise to you that Mono-Black Zombies took down the event in the hands of Gerry Thompson. People love to default to the PT winning list, and packing a whole lot of Chandra, Flamecaller has got to make that matchup better. While she may not be as busted as casting a free Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, a turn 4 Chandra still does plenty to mop up opposing zombies. The utility she provides in also being a threat or a card advantage engine (when you’ve drawn 10 mana creatures and are despite to discard them for fresh cards) makes her inclusion an all around slam dunk. If you’re playing Temur Marvel, play 4 Chandra, Flamecaller.
I’ll be moving my Sultai cards into Temur ones tonight on MtGO, and I’ll be making some slight changes to Muller’s list. Mardu’s numbers seem to be on the decline while Zombies are on the uptick, so I’d be looking to swap those 2 mainboard Aether Meltdown for 2 Magma Spray. I know I just preached maximizing on energy producers, but Meltdown was the worst rate and looks a little poor against Zombie’s pump affects and static abilities. Diregraf Colossus still triggers to make tokens, Wayward Servant still triggers to drain, and Cryptbreaker’s token making and card drawing ability all persist through an Aether Meltdown, so let’s cut those bad boys and get some answers in!
It’s for the same reason that I’d also look swapping a sideboard Confiscation Coup for an additional Magma Spray. Zombies has a significant amount of annoying creatures we want to permanently exile and hosing ’em down with lava is the best way to do so. Slinging magma means we can save our Harnessed Lighting for an annoying Lord of the Accursed.
Those are the only small changes I’ll be making as I dive into the world of spinning the wheel and hoping to get lucky. 4 mana Ulamog here I come!
Side Note about Abzan Delirium
Some folks reached out to me about Abzan Delirium and what updates I’d make to the deck to in this post PT world. Honestly, I’ve gotten to a point where I think Mardu is slightly favorable, but Zombies and Marvel are poor but winnable match ups. Hence my dropping the deck. Both matchups are rough game 1 and get significantly better post-board however, so you’ve got a shot.
Descend upon the Sinful is incredibly powerful against Zombies and it’s not impossible to win the game on the spot if you cast the 6 mana sweeper. Liliana, the Last Hope is great on the play and does a solid job picking off Dread Wanderer, Cryptbreaker, and Metallic Mimic. We have the tools, but it’s an uphill fight. Finding room for one to two copies of Declaration in Stone is probably the first step in helping the Zombies matchup. Marvel is rough game 1 as well, but sometimes they lose to themselves by spinning and missing. Angel of Sanctions and Cast Out give us outs to beating a resolved Aetherworks Marvel or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, so it’s not completely hopeless.
The main issue is we’re not fast enough to put pressure on them. Post-board that same problem occurs but we have the discard to hopefully slow them down further. If you’re sticking with the graveyard junk deck, make sure you have a strong board plan and know how to win those postboard games, you’re gonna need to!
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