BUGing out at local tournament

Most mondays, our LGC hosts short, monday-night tournaments, either drafts with three rounds of swiss or various constructed formats with four rounds of swiss. This monday, it was time for everyone’s favorite format, Legacy. Our local scene is quite small, but hosts hardcore players of the format, playing mostly tier 1-2 decks with a competitive mindset, though some pet decks show up occasionally. I chose to play this deck for the occasion:

 

4 Polluted Deltadeathriteshaman.hq
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
4 Underground Sea
2 Bayou
1 Tropical Island

4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Tarmogoyf
2 True-Name Nemesis

4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Daze
3 Force of Will
3 Hymn to Tourach
4 Abrupt Decay
2 Disfigure
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Sylvan Library

Sideboard:
3 Spell Pierce
2 Golgari Charm
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Force of Will
1 Disfigure
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Dismember
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Pithing Needle
1 Null Rod
1 Creeping Tar Pit

 

In general, I call the deck Team America for nostalgia reasons, although it has few relations to the original deck in terms of playstyle and game plan. I feel BUG Delver is actually a pretty bad and a pretty non-descriptive name for the deck, the deck is quite bad at being a “Delver” deck in the same way as RUG Delver or UWR Delver, Delver of Secrets is a pretty bad creature in the deck, and the most important creature to the deck is by far Deathrite Shaman. Deathrite Shaman should always come down before Delver of Secrets against an unknown opponent, only against really fast combo decks where you need a quick clock, Delver of Secret outshines Deathrite Shaman.

Let me just briefly comment on some of the card choices. The metagame hosts all variants of decks, but with a slight skew towards the fairer side. There’s an abundance of Delver decks, but rather few of the very unfair decks with little interactions. As such, I felt that Force of Will was a weaker card than in some other Legacy metagames, and also that I wanted some more removal. The maindeck Disfigure might seem like a strange choice, but it is one of the best bad cards available to the deck, and when I don’t run a couple in the maindeck, I run a couple in the sideboard. The sideboard itself is quite standard, but if I was to play the deck again today I would cut something for Krosan Grip, most likely Creeping Tar Pit. Creeping Tar Pit was, along with Surgical Extraction, the cards I didn’t bring in in any game over the course of the tournament.

Present at the tournament were, among other things, Reanimator, Elves, Miracles, Tezzerator, Affinity and BW Blade, meaning a quite open field, but with many creatures weak to Disfigure.

 

Round 1 vs. Bye

I have a nack for getting the first-round bye in these short tournaments, which on paper is a great thing, since it’s such an advantage over the other players. That said, I was there to play Magic and not to watch others play Magic, so getting the bye isn’t always so great. The entry fee was almost free, and first prize was a Jace, the Living Guildpact, and I’m already doing well in the yearly standings, so the free win didn’t matter that much. I got to scout the other decks though, which is always nice.

1-0 (2-0)

 

Round 2 vs. Rw Imperial Painterimperialrecruiter.hq

Speaking of pet decks. Imperial Painter is one of those decks that would surely have a more solid presence in the metagame if Imperial Recruiter wasn’t so expensive. The match-up is supposed to be a horrible one, according to other BUG pilots, but I’ve found it quite manageable as long as they don’t get a very early (turn one or two at the latest) Blood Moon down. In game one, I was on the play and led with a Delver of Secrets, which flipped immediately and flew over his Painter’s Servant which was cast off of an Ancient Tomb. On turn two, he casts an Imperial Painter for a Jaya Ballard, Task Mage meaning I’m a 100% sure he already has a Magus of the Moon in hand. He swings with the Painter’s Servant and I Abrupt Decay it anyway, to prevent a blowout on the following turn in case he had the Grindstone. I have a second copy of Abrupt Decay for his Magus of the Moon on the following turn and since Ancient Tomb kept taking huge chunks from his life total, my Tarmogoyf on the following turn closes the game shortly.

Sideboarding: -1 Liliana of the Veil, -1 Sylvan Library, -2 Hymn to Tourach, +1 Force of Will, +1 Dismember, +1 Vendilion Clique, +1 Pithing Needle

I didn’t want Spell Pierce, since I want to use my mana to play Abrupt Decay etc. I didn’t take in the third Disfigure since they’re not that great in the match-up, they do kill Magus of the Moon, but they don’t kill Painter’s Servant. Magus of the Moon is a very important card, however, so I chose to leave in the two. Hymn to Tourach is a great card against decks with no way to create card-advantage, but on the draw they are very slow. Meanwhile, the “targeted discard” of Vendilion Clique can mess with his Imperial Recruiters and I saw an Enlightened Tutor when he playtested the deck before the tournament, so I wanted something for that. It also kills an attacking Painter’s Servant out of nowhere and is a quick clock.

In game two, I mulligan to six, keeping a pretty mediocre hand with a Force of Will but no other blue card, Tarmogoyf, Pithing Needle, two fetches and a Wasteland, and I chose to keep that, since he went down to five. And then to four. He plays a fetch land, fetches a Mountain and passes. I cast Pithing Needle naming Grindstone and pass back. He plays a Sensei’s Divining Top, tops and pass back. I draw and cast a Deathrite Shaman. He draws, tops and passes. I draw a blue card (Brainstorm?), cast Tarmogoyf and pass. He untaps, draws and plays a land, draws with the top and windmillslam Blood Moon. I Force of Will and the game is over.

2-0 (4-0)

 

Round 3 vs. Affinityetchedchampion.hq

Game one is a bit of a grind where he empties his hand resulting in two Ornithopters and a Cranial Plating. I Abrupt Decay the Cranial Plating as the Ornithopters fly in, and cast a Deathrite Shaman in my following turn, and the turn after that I Hymn to Tourach his last two cards, a Mox Opal and a Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. He lands a Master of Etherium a couple of turns later, who’s a 6/6. My Tarmogoyf is by then a 6/7, but as he attacks the following turn I notice his Inkmoth Nexus and decide not to block and take the damage, going to 6. The following turn, I Disfigure his Master of Etherium before blocking with Tarmogoyf and there’s nothing he can do about that. A couple of turns later he taps most of his lands for an Etched Champion, leaving only Inkmoth Nexus untapped. I Daze, he pays for it with Inkmoth Nexus, I Daze again and he pays for it with Ornothipter + Springleaf Drum, which I didn’t see under the card. Complete facepalm. I’m able to present lethal on the board with two Deathrite Shamans while he has two Etched Champions in play, but he could draw numerous outs, either another Cranial Plating, or a Tezzeret, of which he has three left of each in his deck. He draws his card and doesn’t look two excited, but goes “I wonder if it’s enough” after a couple of seconds. He casts an Arcbound Ravager, one of his other outs, sacrifices most of his other artifacts to put four +1/+1 counters on one of his two Etched Champions while still retaining Metalcraft, hitting me for 8, exactly lethal even with me removing a creature with Deathrite Shaman.

Sideboarding: -1 Daze, -3 Force of Will, -1 Sylvan Library, +1 Disfigure, +1 Dismember, +1 Maelstrom Pulse, +1 Pithing Needle, +1 Null Rod

I wanted fewer card-disadvantage countermagic, and a lot of the match-up is about board presence, meaning Daze isn’t always that great either. Pithing Needle was solely to shut down Cranial Plating.

Games two and three were very similar. I managed to draw Null Rod in my opening hand in game two, and I drew it on turn one of the third game. Null Rod completely shuts down his entire manabase, sans the Inkmoth Nexi, and completely ruins his chances of playing fair Magic. I won both games quite quickly on the backs of a couple of enoromous Tarmogoyfs.

3-0 (6-1)

 

Round 4 vs. BW Bladelilianaoftheveil.hq

His deck is almost specifically designed to beat Delver decks, and I was happy to win the first game. I lost the roll for playing first, which matters a lot since, aside from Wasteland and Swords to Plowshares on my Deathrite Shaman plays at least 3 Vindicate (!) to mess with my mana. Further, his decklist is more or less the short hand of “What you can’t let resolve if you play BUG Delver, RUG Delver or UWR Delver”, i.e. Liliana of the Veil, Batterskull, Dark Confidant, Hymn to Tourach, Elspeth, Knight Errant, along with Lingering Souls to mess with my tempo plan, and two maindeck (!) Zealous Persecution to pump his spirits and kill my unflipped Delver of Secrets and True-Name Nemesis. We’re the only ones left on 3-0, meaning this is effectively the finals.

In game one I mull to six and keep a hand with double Tarmogoyf, Abrup Decay and three lands. He mulligans to six and opens with Inquisition of Kozilek and takes the Abrupt Decay. A couple of turns into the game we Hymn to Tourach each other and I luckily grab his newly-fetched Batterskull as one of the two cards in his three-card hand, which eventually sealed the deal. One game-breaking mistake which he admitted to after the match was that with me having Liliana of the Veil with just one coutner on it against his Deathrite and three lands in play, he elected to attack my Liliana before casting his own Liliana post-combat. Since he was tapped out, I was able to Daze it, continuing the grind. Eventually, we have empty hands but some lands on the board, he’s at 18 with a Deathrite Shaman in play, I’m at 8 with no creatures in play. I Ponder and look at True-Name Nemesis, Polluted Delta, Wasteland. Grabbing True-Name Nemesis would lose me the game, my plan is to find an answer to his Deathrite Shaman and win the topdeck war with my cantrips. I shuffle and after he cuts my deck, I draw the Disfigure. I kill the Deathrite Shaman, go to 6 from his activation, and pass the turn. He draws a land. I draw a Tarmogoyf and slam it, but he draws a Vindicate to kill it, and not netting me any life like Swords to Plowshares would (how rude!). Eventually, after more turns of topdecking, I’m able to land a True-Name Nemesis and follow it up with a Deathrite Shaman. He can’t find an out, and dies to my two threats.

Sideboarding: -4 Daze, +1 Vendilion Clique, +1 Disfigure, +1 Dismember, +1 Maelstrom Pulse

Game two is a lot less grindy and a lot less exciting for me as he begins again and draws a solid seven while I go to six and keep a fairly slow and, like in game one. He lands an early Deathrite Shaman which I can’t answer, so he’s able to destroy my lands and not lose any tempo from playing Wastelands over regular lands. I have a shot at the win since he’s taken a lot of damage from Dark Confidant, sitting at only 6 life with my active Deathrite Shaman and two lands in play. If he flips Elspeth, Knight-Errant (Batterskull was already in hand) with Dark Confidant, I win, but he has lethal, so otherwise I lose. He doesn’t, and we go to game three.

Sideboarding: -3 Force of Will, +3 Daze

Even though the games can get grindy, Daze is great on the play, and it can also in theory save an important land from a Vindicate later on.

Game three is also grindy, but I’m able to pull ahead when I Abrupt Decay his Stoneforge Mystic end-of-turn and land a Sylvan Library on my turn. The Sylvan Library takes me to 5, but I have all the aggro in the world in the match, and he’s never able to recover.

4-0 (8-2)

 

In total, three wins against three very different decks and a bye meant a solid victory to the good team this monday evening. I lost in the finals of last week’s tournament (the M15 draft detailed below), so a pinch of revenge was just what I needed. The maindeck of the deck is pretty perfect for the expected metagame, Disfigure was damn good all night, and the only thing I missed from the sideboard was another more reliable answer to Batterskull in the form of Krosan Grip.

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