Deck spotlight: Team America

I spent a few lines talking about one of the decks I’ve played for the past year or so, but I wanted to give it some more room to exaplain some of my card choices and my views on how to properly play it. For reference, here’s my list:

 

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
4 Abrupt Decay
3 Hymn to Tourach
2 Disfigure
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Sylvan Library

 

Starting with the lands, they’re the bog-standard of Team America (or BUG-standard, rather) 20, 9 fetchlands, 4 Wastelands and 7 duals in the proper distribution. I play 20 lands, though I’ve tried 19 lands historically as well, because the deck wants to be able to generate UU, BB and GB while still having Islands in play for Daze, and 19 lands sometimes kept me from playing a follow-up True-Name Nemesis after a Hymn to Tourach.

In the creature base, I’ve chosen to play True-Name Nemesis over Tombstalker; although the cards basically fill the same role they are good against very different decks. I missed Nimble Mongoose when switching from RUG Delver to Team America, and having a Hexproof creature is great against Miracles, an otherwise pretty rough match-up. It also makes me feel like a bad-guy when I cast it, which I enjoy.

When it comes to the other spells, I’ve chosen to play “only” three Force of Wills because I play in a mostly fair metagame and Force of Will is often one of the weakest cards in the deck, and a bad topdeck at that. Hymn to Tourach has also seen its numbers cut to three, because it is also a very bad topdeck late game, and even if I want to see multiples in some match-ups, I’m often satisfied with just casting one of them before casting a threat in the first three or four turns. With the free’d up slots, I’ve added a couple of Disfigures, again because of the fairer metagame, and Disfigure is such a neat little spell since it kills everything relevant I want to kill – like Stoneforge Mystic, Deathrite Shaman, Delver of Secrets, Dark Confidant and so son. Lastly, Liliana of the Veil is a great card in some match-ups, such as Miracles, but is often a Cruel Edict for 1BB against other decks. Sylvan Library is awesome in grindy match-ups as well, not only Miracles, but any matches where I have to draw into more threats. It’s redudant in multiples, more-so than Liliana, which is why I only play the one.

Out of the maindeck cards, the ones most often boarded out are Force of Will, Disfigure and Sylvan Library. Needless to say, this does not mean they’re the worst in the deck by any stretch of the definition, but they are perhaps the most situational cards in there.

The sideboard is ever-changing, as should everyone’s sideboards be, but there are a few mainstays in it that I really like. First up is again more spotremoval, Disfigure and Dismember primarily. I play one of each right now in my metagame, and if you neglect to have any in the maindeck, I’d recommend at least 2-3 in the sideboard in just about any metagame. Spell Pierce is one of those cards that’s inherently stronger in RUG Delver, since RUG tends to play more re-actively and have mana untapped in the opponent’s turn, along with Stifle to keep Spell Pierce relevant for more turns of the game. That said, Spell Pierce is a great card againskrosangrip.hqt many combo decks, and a decent one against some slower control or midrange builds as well.

I’d play at least one or two answers to a resolved Batterskull, and split them between Maelstrom Pulse and Krosan Grip. Maelstrom Pulse is more flexible, but Krosan Grip is great against many other targets, like Counterbalance, Rest in Peace etc. Maelstrom Pulse’s difficult mana cost and Sorcery speed means it’s sometimes difficult and clumsy to resolve against decks with lots of countermagic. Some graveyard hate is also needed, Grafdigger’s Cage being the premiere spell because it also shuts down Elves to some extent. Golgari Charm is the last mandatory card, being great hate against Elves and Death and Taxes, while still answering True-Name Nemesis well enough. The last slots are up to preference, but I’ve played Thoughtseize, Submerge, Pithing Needle, Vendilion Clique et al to some success.

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