Hey all, it’s finally time for some of those Modern UR Delver results I promised a few weeks back. Sit right back, and I’ll tell you a tale of psuedo-mirrors, bedlam, brutality, and pontiffs.
Thursday night Modern at Mox Mania is casual but competitive, which is why I enjoy it so much. A few friends of mine had made it down that night as well, to play Legacy, so I chatted with them about Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Birthing Pod for a bit before pairings went up.
Round 1: Vs. ???
Saying what the match-up was ruins the narrative arc here, so you’ll have to bear with me for a second.
I proceeded to deliver a beatdown. My opponent played Red and Blue lands, as well as Serum Visions, Gitaxian Probe, Thought Scour, and Bolts. But no creatures. I figured that there was no way I was playing the actual mirror, and so I put my opponent on the UR Blitz deck that’s become popular lately, which is full of Kiln Fiends and Things in the Ice.
I sideboarded in a lot my Spell vs. Spell counterspells, like Dispel and Negate, and also brought in Engineered Explosives. I believe I took out some number of Turn//Burns and possibly Roasts (figuring Explosives did the same thing but better).
On turn two, he fetched out a Watery Grave.
Turns out I was playing against Grixis Delver all along! My opponent was already up on cards on that game, thanks to not mulliganing, and he eventually stuck a Gurmag Angler that I couldn’t deal with. I put up a fight, but not as much of one as I could’ve if I’d known what was going on. Explosives, in particular, ended up doing pretty much nothing, and definitely would’ve been better as a Roast or Turn//Burn.
For Game 3, I pulled out Explosives and Negate, and brought in my Blood Moons. I was torn on whether or not to bring in Revelers, but eventually decided not to, which was probably a mistake. This match-up’s almost the same as something like Jund, which is what the Revelers are supposed to be there for.
Game 3 was a bit closer, and really fun to play. My opponent and I tangoed with a flurry of Snapcasters, counterspells, and removals for a while. Eventually, though, my opponent played a Tasigur that I could not find an answer for, and I drew Blood Moon about 11 turns too late.
The worst thing about drawing that Blood Moon was that if it had shown up anywhere from turns 1 to 6, it probably would’ve ended the game on the spot. My opponent didn’t play around it all. His first four lands were Spirebluff Canal, Watery Grave, Steam Vents, Watery Grave. And he had the option to fetch a basic Swamp.
But if I wanted justice, I wouldn’t play Magic. This set of games was super fun, and my loss was probably decided by my own sideboarding more than anything.
Result: L (0-1)
Round 2: Vs. Jund
I am about a million percent lifetime vs. Jund with my UR Delver deck, so when I saw that my opponent was going to be playing Tarmogoyfs and Dark Confidants, I was actually kind of excited. On the other hand, most of those matches have come down to me getting incredibly lucky, so…there’s that.
My opponent led with a discard spell and had to read Turn//Burn for a minute, which pleased me. I don’t remember exactly what else was in my hand, but I do remember that I had a Young Pyromancer as my only threat, and was surprised my opponent didn’t take it. It turned out that his hand was pretty reactive, which is probably why he let the Pyromancer stick around.
I landed a first Pyromancer, and then a second one that I had drawn. My opponent did eventually remove both of them, but they got to make a couple tokens first. I was able to Bolt all of my opponent’s small threats, like Dark Confidant and Scavenging Ooze, away, and save my Turn//Burn for an eventual Tarmogoyf, which is exactly how I drew it up.
Game 1 went to the good guys, and in sideboarding I brought in both the Blood Moons and the Bedlam Revelers, taking out a couple of Mana Leaks and Delvers.
My opponent started playing around Blood Moon immediately in Game 2, so when I saw one with Serum Visions, I scryed it to the bottom.We ended up going card for card for awhile, but eventually a Young Pyromancer stuck around long enough to create a few Elementals. That Pyromancer eventually died, and it looked like my opponent might be able to get back into the game via Raging Ravine, but then I drew my first Bedlam Reveler.
I cast the Reveler for two mana, discarded nothing, and drew three cards: another Pyromancer, a Roast, and the second Reveler. I buried my opponent from there, emptying my hand one more time and then casting the second Reveler to draw another three cards. It almost felt like Treasure Cruise.
I don’t think Reveler’s good enough to start in my particular main deck, especially in competition with Grim Lavamancer, but boy howdy did he do his job here.
Result: W (1-1)
Round 3: Vs. Green-Black Tron
This was a pretty typical Green-Red Tron-style deck that was playing Collective Brutalities instead of Pyroclasms. The Tron match-up is largely about using your mana really efficiently, making sure to hold up counterspells when possible, but also not being afraid to get in there and burn the opponent when you have the opportunity. If you don’t hold up counters, you die immediately. If you don’t use your burn in time, you die anyways after you run out of counters.
So that was the dynamic across all three of these games. In Game 1, I got to counter a Brutality, which my opponent wisely chose not to escalate. The game ended up being super close. On his last turn, my opponent was at 4 life. He cast an Ulamog, and exiled my two flipped Delvers. I had a Snapcaster on the board as well, and just happened to have one in hand, which I had drawn on my last turn. I played the Snapcaster and Bolted my opponent from the yard, and had exactly enough attackers to get the last point of damage in.
Game 2 played out much the same way, except my opponent ended the game at 2 life, and his Ulamog managed to actually get the job done. I had scryed a Lightning Bolt to the top of my deck, but my opponent took out my only Red land with his Ulamog, and exiled one of the two Snapcasters I had down to attack with. I didn’t manage to pull anything relevant before Worldbreaker and Karn sealed my fate.
Fortunately, Game 3 fell to the good guys. My opponent was never able to assemble Tron, and sat on a Thragtusk for fear of Mana Leak (he was right to fear it, I had it). Grim Lavamancer was my main threat for a lot of this game, which wasn’t ideal, but I played very well, attacking and holding up countermagic when necessary, throwing Turn//Burns at my opponent’s face on their end of turn, and using Grim’s burn ability when possible. I think this is probably the tightest game I played all night (though I still got pretty lucky to actually win it).
Result: W (2-1)
Round 4: Vs. Abzan Company
Here, I managed to lose two straight games where I thought I was super ahead, and I think part of it came down to overusing Grim Lavamancer. But most of it came down to Collected Company just being really good.
In Game 1, I may have over-emptied my yard killing my opponent’s creatures, as my later Snapcasters didn’t have much to target. I did burn my opponent through 3 Collected Companies, but the creatures that came off of the third one were enough to kill me. I also just didn’t get a chance to apply any early pressure, which is pretty necessary. While I killed all of my opponent’s creatures, I wasn’t ever able to actually kill him.
I felt better in Game 2. I had Magma Sprayed a Kitchen Finks and landed a Young Pyromancer that was going nuts. I stuck a Snapcaster and was prepared to attack my opponent to death on the next turn, which might’ve been overzealous considering he was already at 3 life. But it was near the end of the night, and I was going for the kill. And I couldn’t think of anything that could really stop me in that position.
I forgot about Orzhov Pontiff‘s -1/-1 ability.
My opponent wiped my board, played a Collected Company on his next turn, and proceeded to kill me from there. I also had to live with the knowledge that even a Snapcaster off the top wouldn’t have been enough, because I had exiled two Bolts with Grim Lavamancer, preferring to leave Pillar in the yard to deal with a Kitchen Finks or whatever. Which was not even close to what I should have been worried about, in retrospect.
But, these games were still super fun, and the blowout my opponent delivered was kind of hilarious. I didn’t mind losing, because it’ll teach me to remember that Orhzov Pontiff is a thing next time.
Result: L (2-2)
2 wins and 2 losses is about what I’d expect out of this deck, and honestly I think I could’ve turned either of those losses into a win with a little better play. Overall, I really liked the deck. The main deck Roasts were pretty good most of the night, killing Gurmag Anglers, Tarmogoyfs, and Walls of Roots, and Turn//Burn did it’s job as a burn spell that can sometimes kill a big, dumb creature.
Bedlam Reveler obviously pulled his weight out of the sideboard, and I wouldn’t make any changes either there or in the main deck currently. Also of note, my mana was really smooth all night, and the Spirebluff Canals were lovely to play on turn 1.
So, you’ll likely see me with this exact deck at some GP Milwaukee side events this weekend. If you notice a guy playing Turn//Burn at the side event tables, come say hi!