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Thread: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

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    Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    I haven't written a tournament report in a while, but a few requests to write one up for GP Denver and the fact that I kept some decent notes means I can hopefully give a decent recollection of the events that transpired on January 5/6, 2013.

    About a month and a half ago I decided to attend GP Denver and combine it with a week of snowboarding with some friends in Colorado. The only other interested party from the Northern VA Legacy group was Dave Price, and we wound up having a blast on the trip with a bunch of other non-magic playing folks (aka "normals"). We both decided on BUG Delver with Deathrite Shamans, as a few of us had been having a lot of success with it, including a top 8 and a finals appearance by Alix Hatfield and myself with a nearly identical list at SCG: Baltimore.

    Here is what we decided to sleeve up:

    4 Delver of Secrets
    4 Deathrite Shaman
    4 Tarmogoyf
    2 Tombstalker

    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    1 Sylvan Library

    4 Force of Will
    4 Daze
    4 Hymn to Tourach
    4 Abrupt Decay
    1 Dismember

    4 Wasteland
    4 Verdant Catacombs
    3 Polluted Delta
    2 Misty Rainforest
    4 Underground Sea
    1 Tropical Island
    2 Bayou

    Board:
    2 Krosan Grip
    1 Creeping Tar Pit
    4 Sinkhole
    1 Life from the Loam
    2 Disfigure
    1 Darkblast
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    2 Blue Elemental Blast (was expecting more burn/burning wish combo than usual at this tournament)
    1 Tormod's Crypt (miser's crypt for dredge, giving you 5 cards you want to open on in the matchup...probably not worth it)

    Dave decided to play the 3rd stalker over the library in the main. I'm not sure which is correct, and it seems more like a judgement call based on how much stoneblade/miracles is expected.

    Sinkhole was the card most people asked about, and this was included as a way to fight stoneblade decks. During testing against Esper we noticed that trying to play their game by bringing in Jaces and other midrange cards wasn't very effective, because they were still way better going long. I thought K. Grip would mitigate their long game, but Snapcaster and Lingering souls really do a good job of defending Jace, and without burn it was hard to play the Jace game. Sinkhole turns Supreme Verdict, Jace, Lingering Souls, and Snapcaster mages into liabilities. Life from the Loam supplementing the sinkholes also means you can keep the LD going into the mid/late game, and combined with Hymn you really have a devastating disruption package against control decks. Go ahead and fetch basic lands...many a stoneblade opponent color screwed themselves by letting me use sinkhole to snipe a color, or showed me supreme verdict/lingering souls trapped in their hands after the match. Nice standard deck...

    Anyway, moving right along, I came to this tournament with 0 byes and didn't have time to grind. Although it's funny, every time I have 3 byes at a GP I usually do poorly, which happened to Dave as well. Maybe I'm on to something...
    (note: I am not, in fact, on to something. Having byes is way better.)

    Turns out there would be 8 rounds on day 1, not 9. Hey, that's kind of like a bye, right?
    *If you were one of my opponents and I get your name wrong, I apologize in advance. Some of the names were jotted down in a hurry

    Round 1, table 24: Cameron Henry, BWG Junk:

    For my first round I wind up playing against Junk. In game 1 I am just able to land creatures and save abrupt decay/counter magic for knights. Eventually I have something like 15 power on the table and he is drawing dead. Game 2 is a bit more of a grind, but I manage to just focus on killing the threats that matter and ignoring the rest, using countermagic to gain tempo and kill with fliers in the mid game. Hymn was pretty key here as he played a bit of acceleration, meaning I could snipe mostly gas when I hymned him, letting my removal stay plentiful. My opponent was a super nice guy and we discussed some of his sideboarding after the match.

    Games: 2 - 0, Matches: 1 - 0


    Round 2, table 251: John Irwin, Dream Halls combo

    I don't remember a whole lot about this match other than in game 1 I played a threat and had minimal disruption for his combo, but somehow stopped it with a single FOW as he didn't really draw protection. In game 2 I bring in sinkholes for the dead cards and wind up stopping his first go off. He tries to rebuild and makes a lot of land drops. He would have gotten me this game if he had drawn a non-land on his last turn, as he had dream halls and conflux in hand, with enough land to hard cast dream halls. Sometimes you get lucky.

    Games: 4 - 0, Matches: 2 - 0


    Round 3, table 54: Joey S., BUG Cascade

    I didn't get a chance to test very much vs the midrange BUG decks, but Dave did and found that you just need to tempo them out and have multiple threats by the time they can land a planeswalker. Our plan included boarding out all the Hymns (as powerful as it is it isn't tempo) for Sinkholes, as well as bringing in Life from the Loam, Tarpit, and Disfigure to handle shamans and keep the LD going. Game 1 I think I just play threats until he runs out of answers, and just have too many guys in play by the time he gets a cascade into ancestral visions. Game 2 he grinds me down to dust and my hand just isn't fast enough. I think he kills me with 2 shardless agents this game. Game 3 was much like the first, with him resolving multiple card advantage spells but me putting lots of pressure down. He dies with a full grip.

    Games: 6 - 1, Matches: 3 - 0


    Round 4, table 75: Ben Friedman, Esper Stoneblade

    I finally get paired against Stoneblade, and the hours testing against it pay off. Game 1 Ben swords' my deathrite shaman, but I get to Hymn him and wasteland him before sticking a delver that eventually gets answered, and a Tombstalker that doesn't. Stoneforge didn't come down as Hymn nabbed it early, but I had plenty of countermagic backup throughout the game. Game 2 I bring in all the LD and just keep firing disruption at him, reload off of a sylvan library, until I finally just put a bunch of pressure down with plenty of cards in hand. These games were very lopsided, which made me even more confidant about the matchup. I did win the die roll though, and that helps a ton in game 1. Ben was pretty cool about my above average draws and we discuss the matchup a bit afterwards.

    Games: 8 - 1, Matches: 4 - 0


    Round 5, table 41: Robert Greene, Painter combo

    Robert and I have played in the past, but I still don't realize what he is on until he goes turn 1 grindstone. I remember drawing multiple abrupt decays this game and letting him resolve one half of the combo so that I can concentrate on just stopping painter. Hymn really helped here. Game 2 I draw a ton of abrupt decays and a Krosan grip in the early game, and simply play a single deathrite shaman so that I can leave mana up to blow up his toys. The shaman goes practically all the way, but is joined by a delver at some point.

    Games: 10 - 1, Matches: 5 - 0


    Round 6, table 3: Matt Nass, NO Elves

    I had no idea what Matt was going to be on this tournament, but was not terribly surprised to see a turn 1 nettle sentinel. This game involves a straight race, with me trying to keep him off of his combo with a couple of force of wills, and getting an early delver and midgame tombstalker. The life totals are very close and I have him at 11 with a Stalker, Insectile Aberation, and unflipped Delver of Secrets on my side when he passes. I am at 1 and reveal...Hymn to Tourach for delver, and swing for the win. Game 2 he gets me with natural order -> Craterhoof and I die to drayd arbor, craterhoof behemoth, and a couple of other elves who got really big, really fast. Game 3 was kind of a shit show, as I keep this hand: Fetch, Fetch, Fetch, Fetch, Brainstorm, Deathrite, Tombstalker. The brainstorm makes this a keep as I have turn 1 deathrite into turn 2 cash in lands for disruption, but I topdeck a land and then brainstorm into 3 more. Needless to say I did not get there that game.

    Games: 11 - 3, Matches: 5 - 1


    Round 7, table 34: Matt Scott, Esper Stoneblade

    Matt is a great guy and I have played him before in the past. He is also a very good player on Esper Stoneblade and I buckle in for what is probably going to be a fight. Game 1 was kind of hilarious though. I play a deathrite shaman, he answers it, then I play another one and a delver. Eventually he answers all my threats except that one Deathrite, who is pinging him down. I stick a library after he goes stoneforge -> batterskull and get an abrupt decay. I wait until he attacks with batterskull and decay the token. Then he goes stoneforge -> jitte and passes. I keep pinging him with deathrite, then find decay + force to go with the daze in my hand off of library, and pass. He vials in the jitte eot, and equips it to a lingering souls token he had from before. I wait until he attacks and decay the jitte. Deathrite pings him from 4 to 2, then I untap and kill him. I have no idea how that deathrite survived for so long, but I guess he used all of his gas on my other threats and deathrite made sure snapcaster wasn't an out. Game 2 I just bring in sinkholes and loam, Grips, Jitte, and tarpit, cutting force of will, dismember, triming abrupt decays and a delver and make sure he stays on turn 2 for the rest of the game.

    Games: 13 - 3, Matches: 6 - 1


    Round 8, table 19: Derek Reda (sp?), 4 color Deathrite Blade

    So now I'm a lock for day 2 and feeling pretty good, but I came to win, and focus up for the last match of the day. Derek is on 4 color deathrite stoneblade, and has a very interesting list. I think these decks are kind of greedy in the manabase, but I do see the benefits you can get from the risk. Game 1 is a matter of me being able to protect a delver of secrets with hymn and wastelands, and answering his threats with abrupt decays. I manage to tempo him out pretty effectively. Game 2 I bring in the esper stoneblade package of LD, tarpit and grips, and am able to keep the disruption flowing. I am not able to stop stoneforge mystic, but have him tight on mana. He had resolved a lingering souls, and I have a flipped delver. His stoneforge had found a batterskull but he vials in a sword of feast and famine, equips to a souls token, and tries to smash me for 3 to untap and do bad things. I K. Grip the sword and block the token with delver, which puts him way behind and I just bash in with Tombstalker and Delver to kill him. If he had dropped the batterskull he still would have lost to the grip, so I think his play was definitely correct as it was the higher value of the 2. It was just unfortunate for him that I was able to sandbag the grip around discard until it was too late.

    Games: 15 - 3, Matches: 7 - 1

    Ok, so now I'm feeling great, going X-1 on Day 1 without byes, and Dave and I go out to UNO for some much needed sustenance. I'm very happy that UNO has gluten free pizza, as those of you who know me know that I am a diet Nazi a lot of the time and really don't react well to wheat. I have to maintain my figure somehow .

    DAY 2:...Judgement Day, I guess? Listen, shut up.

    I get a good amount of sleep despite having crazy lucid dreams and waking up without being fully conscious, thinking that my coat on the chair is some random person smiling at me and seeing a tall faceless thing coming out of the wall that was just the light fixture. Pro tip for UNO: gluten-free doesn't mean acid-full. Stop putting narcotics in your dough.


    Round 9, table 16: Chase Hansen, Reanimator

    Chase is a man with gonads the size of grapefruit, as he decided he would say "eat a dick" to Deathrite Shaman and play Reanimator. To be fair, the matchup from my side is still as scary as ever, and I still think this deck has some legs due to the sheer power level and stupidity of the creatures Wizards decides to print for no reason other than cheating into play. Game 1 I stick turn 1 deathrite (must be?) and realize he is on Reanimator. I make sure to leave a green up at all times except for turn 2 where I hymn him, and he dazes forgetting that I can pay with deathrite. This makes him fall way behind, but he is still able to stock his yard with Elesh Norn and 2 Griselbrands. He is out of cards and I decide to commit a bit more to the board with a second deathrite to kill him faster, but that gives him a window to topdeck animate dead and wipe my team of 2 deathrites and an insect. I have the abrupt decay for his animate dead, but decide to just play Tombstalker and kill him instead as he is at 3. Game 2 I don't have a lot of action and he is able to reanimate a Gin Gitaxis, after which I play a tarmogoyf and smugly discard the 3 lands that were in my hand. Hah! Take that, my hand sucked! Now I'll just...lose, crap. On to game 3. I land an early delver and he is mana screwed, and my delver flips a sinkhole which gets forced. He is too far behind and I just ride my threat while drawing blue cards and throwing $100 bills into the crowd like Jack Nicholson in Batman.

    Games: 17 - 4, Matches: 8 - 1


    Round 10, table 8: Kalvin Baldry, RUG Delver

    I finally play against RUG, but unfortunately do not open a hand with Deathrite. It doesn't matter much though as he sticks an early pair of delvers while I wasteland him after he misses a land drop. I eventually decay a delver and stick a tombstalker, then a delver of my own. I start attacking with the insect while he is mana screwed, and hymn lightning bolts out of his hand. He has to block eventually and Stalker eats him alive. Game 2 is an interesting affair with me killing his guys and eventually sticking a goyf to his board of mongoose, delver, after which he wastes my bayou. I start dropping fetchlands and pulling ahead and eventually play a tarmogoyf off of a trop, hold priority and daze the goyf, returning the trop to my hand and paying 1 for it, effectively shutting off submerge. I win from there, and he shows me the submerges he had in his hand.

    Games: 19 - 4, Matches: 9 - 1


    Round 11, table 4: Donnie Peck, Esper Stoneblade

    Ah, another stoneblade opponent, and Donnie winds up making top 8 later on. Game 1 I tempo him out and have just enough pressure to close the game before he can stabalize off of a Jace. Game 2 was unfortunate, as I mull to 5 but still almost pull it out. He eventually gets a Jace I can't answer and wins. Game 3 was even more unfortunate, as I draw half of my lands and just don't have enough action to do anything relevant after turn 3. Sometimes that happens. Donnie certainly played well though and made sure I didn't recover from the stumble.

    Games: 20 - 6, Matches: 9 - 2


    Round 12, table 7: Luke, didn't write last name, Dream Halls combo

    This round was rather unfortunate as Luke mulligans, and then presents a 59 card deck. The judge is called and he receives a game loss, but the lost card was fortunately just a basic island. Could have been a lot worse for him, for sure. Despite the mulligan and game loss, Luke smashes my hand of mostly creatures by comboing off and I start getting worried that I'll lose despite my "good luck" (I don't actually like it when this happens as I am very competitive and want to play on a level field with my opponents, but part of you will always have a sigh of relief when money is on the line...hey, we're only human). Game "2" I sideboard my sinkholes in and try to start finding disruption after I play a delver of secrets. My only action is a single force of will, and luke is able to force show and tell through it with a force of his own. However, he puts a progenitus into play and I put a Tombstalker into play, letting me win the race as he had also taken damage from an ancient tomb. I swing, he swings back and plays an inkmoth nexus. This is where I punt potentially as I draw wasteland, and he is at 3. I waste his tomb as I have a daze in hand but should have just hit the nexus and swung for the win. He activates and blocks stalker, then slaughter pacts the insect. Still, he dies to the pact trigger anyway, but I feel that I misplayed by going for the tomb as that left him with the removal spell out. If it was something like echoing truth I would have lost. Can't play sloppy like that and expect to win, but it worked out for me.
    Luke was a very tight player and I liked his list alot. It sucked that he had to lose like he did, as our game 3 probably would have been epic.

    Games: 21 - 7, Matches: 10 - 2


    Round 13, Table 5: Johnathan Salem (?), Esper blade w/ Geist of St Traft

    John and I talk a bit about snowboarding before the round begins and how stoked we both were to be doing so well at a GP. Then I tighten up my attitude and get to gaming. Game 1 went smoothly for me as I curve deathrite into disruption into threats, and leave him with little to no outs pretty quickly. My deathrite shuts down any snapcaster shenanigans by activating on his removal while he was at 2 or less mana before he untaps. Game 2 he gets me with a Geist that I simply cannot find an answer for, as he plows my goyf before I can turn the tides. Game 3 he thoughtseizes me, sees sinkhole and has to take it, after which I curve out into library. He seizes me again this game and takes a threat, although I am actually happy he does this instead of committing to the board because he helps me kill him. Deathrite and Delver make quick work of his life total after the thoughtseizes. He could have jammed an early Geist, but I think I still would have won that race and might of had the daze for it anyway.

    Games: 23 - 8, Matches: 11 - 2

    Ok, one more round and then I top 8! I try not to think about it and just get ready to play some magic.

    Round 14, Table 5: Bryan H., Bant

    Game 1 involves me casting a deathrite, him casting a noble hierarch, then me abrupt decaying hierarch and wasting his land. I then waste him again, and hymn him. Then I hymn him again the next turn and he is left with 1 card in hand and a land in play. Winning from here was elementary. Game 2 was a bit more of a fight, but I get darkblast going early and he is having trouble getting any action going. I have a tarmogoyf in play and then he plays elspeth, making a guy. I darkblast the guy then disfigure his dryad arbor and kill Elspeth. Tombstalker joins my team and I just win from there. I think leaving elspeth in was a mistake as it only really matters when he is going into beatdown mode, only stops tarmogoyf, and is a double white 4 drop. As a control deck I think I would want more countermagic or other early interaction. At any rate my hand was awesome and I probably would have gotten there anyway.

    Well, now I'm pretty sure I made top 8 but don't celebrate prematurely. They announce the top 8 and I'm in 5th! Scratch one goal off the list, finally top 8'd a grand prix.

    The top 8 match against John Ravitz's Jund is covered online, but I'll recap. Game 1 I win the hymn war and commit a ton of guys to the board to kill him. Games 2 and 3 I just don't have much removal for his deathrites and lavamancers and lose. In game 2 I make a mistake with life from the loam, not casting it and wasting him instead after he revealed a land from confidant. He then wastes me back and I lose on the spot. I thought I could get waste lock going but I needed to kill confidant asap, and topdeck decay after being on 1 land. To be fair I was already way behind but I think that was a clear mistake. Game 3 I have the sinkhole hand but he counterfeits it with deathrite and not missing a land drop. If I had a removal spell I would have been in it, but unfortunately I did not.


    So that was my Grand Prix. The deck is insanely powerful. I think some people see the list as being a bit schizophrenic, and want to try to use deathrite to cast higher casting cost bombs, but the deck is all about doing multiple things early and killing quickly. I certainly punished the durdly control BUG version and stoneblade for their higher CC cards just by being faster. As for changes, Submerge is probably going back in if Jund keeps on seeing play.

    Thanks for reading!
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  2. #2
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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    You look too young.
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    Strange as it may seem, this deck seems like the best place for Ruhan of the Fomori. A 7/7 with the right equipment will end games nightmarishly quick, and it comes with the perk of being blue to pitch to Force of Will if you draw into extra copies. And it wouldn't be too hard to protect him in counter-heavy build.
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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by RaNDoMxGeSTuReS View Post
    You look too young.
    Sorry about that...next time, I will let the Nazi chick choose my grail.
    they haunt minds...

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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Great report, congrats on the finish! It's always awesome to see people do well with their creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by nitewolf9 View Post
    I start pulling ahead and eventually play a tarmogoyf off of a trop, hold priority and daze the goyf, returning the trop to my hand and paying 1 for it, effectively shutting off submerge. I win from there, and he shows me the submerges he had in his hand.
    This play is just so excellent. Makes me want to try out tempo instead of combo for the first time.
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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Congrats on your top 8!

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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Sublime. It is fascinating to see a deck evolve along with its developer, and yet still return to a classic, tried and true card like Sinkhole. Congrats on the finish!

  7. #7

    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Awesome show, great job. You're my hero Dan.

    I think I'm back on the BUG train after reading this.

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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Good job Dan, it was nice to finally meet you.

    The Junk player in Round 1 was atrocious. This is not to take anything away from you, but watching that game, I thought you made few play mistakes compared to Mr. Derdlepants who made many. Congratulations on your tight play, good sir.

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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Congrats on the awesome finish, Dan.

    Was very happy to see your name in Top 8.
    Delver enthusiast and avid practitioner of blind flipsmanship.

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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Why don't you tell everyone what Zombie Knight Price had you running over Sinkhole in that slot for Esper Blade just days before the GP?

    And the reason Dan looks so young, that "Nazi Diet" he refers to, is he eats only Jewish fetuses. Difficult to maintain, especially on the road. But just look at the results!
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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Was it Stromgald Crusader or Marauding Knight? I've actually considered both of those at one time...

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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    I'll give you a hint: it rhymes with billmoon shavalier. And it wasn't very good.
    they haunt minds...

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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Gratz on the finish!

    How did you realize your opponent's deck was only 59 cards? Did you count it out when he started? Is this a routine thing to do for you? Or did anything set you off like him missing a card while pile shuffling?
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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Outstanding.
    ďIt's possible. But it involves... {checks archives} Nature's Revolt, Opalescence, two Unstable Shapeshifters (one of which started as a Doppelganger), a Tide, an animated land, a creature with Fading, a Silver Wyvern, some way to get a creature into play in response to stuff, some way to get a land into play in response to stuff (a different land from the animated land), and one heck of a Rube Goldberg timing diagram.Ē
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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by Julian23 View Post
    How did you realize your opponent's deck was only 59 cards? Did you count it out when he started? Is this a routine thing to do for you? Or did anything set you off like him missing a card while pile shuffling?
    He caught it himself while pile shuffling. Some people pile shuffle their opponents' decks, which isn't the worst habit, but I usually don't.
    they haunt minds...

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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by nitewolf9 View Post
    He caught it himself while pile shuffling. Some people pile shuffle their opponents' decks, which isn't the worst habit, but I usually don't.
    Tha's absolutely retarded. You wrote that he mulliganned, then presented a 59 card deck. So, he realized that it was short, and presented anyway? Makes no sense. Unless he presented, then realized it was 59 cards when he mulliganned. Which would mean that he didn't pile shuffle initially. Which is kind of suspect if he didn't, then did it after deciding to mull. All he has to do is call a judge, and either you can tell them the missing card, or they will take your deck, and compare it to your list. If you can find a replacement, fine. Otherwise you replace it with a Basic. There's no need to present, and get a loss.
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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Maybe he presented it anyway because he was like "Oh shit! Am I missing a Volcanic!!??"

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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by bilb_o View Post
    Maybe he presented it anyway because he was like "Oh shit! Am I missing a Volcanic!!??"
    And then changed his mind after sideboarding?

    To be honest, if I had realized I was missing a card before presenting, I would have quickly flipped through my deck, looking for which card I was missing. Chances are, I've got an additional copy in my binder. Especially in such an important match. If my opponent feels like calling a judge on me taking too much time (3 minutes for pregame stuff, I hear) so be it.

    The best "Oh-Shit-I'm-missing-a-card" I witnessed during a game was a 1-land Belcher forgetting to include his Taiga.
    The seven cardinal sins of Legacy:
    1. Discuss the unbanning of Land Tax Earthcraft.
    2. Argue that banning Force of Will would make the format healthier.
    3. Play Brainstorm without Fetchlands.
    4. Stifle Standstill.
    5. Think that Gaea's Blessing will make you Solidarity-proof.
    6. Pass priority after playing Infernal Tutor.
    7. Fail to playtest against Nourishing Lich (coZ iT wIlL gEt U!).

  19. #19
    His name is not unknown in these woods.
    nitewolf9's Avatar
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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    He didn't realize he was missing a card until after he muliganed and pile shuffled. Then we called a judge. I don't remember if he pile shuffled initially, or if he did and just didn't realize he was short for some reason.
    they haunt minds...

  20. #20
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    RaNDoMxGeSTuReS's Avatar
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    Re: Top 8 at GP: Denver with BUG Delver

    You had an unusually shaped backpack... care to explain?

    I think you're secretly a German model. Gift from the wife? Hitler?
    Quote Originally Posted by Koby View Post
    My love for Valakut knows no bounds. It mise well read:
    Land - Super Duper Mountain
    When you play a land, LIGHTNING BOLT!
    Quote Originally Posted by EpicLevelCommoner View Post
    Strange as it may seem, this deck seems like the best place for Ruhan of the Fomori. A 7/7 with the right equipment will end games nightmarishly quick, and it comes with the perk of being blue to pitch to Force of Will if you draw into extra copies. And it wouldn't be too hard to protect him in counter-heavy build.
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