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Thread: Pitch Delver

  1. #1
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    Pitch Delver

    One of the funniest decks that ever appeared on these Forums (for me at least) was Pitch World . Pitch world was designed to just pitch random cards with the help five-color cards and then win with multiple Blazing Shoal Beats. That was a long time ago in 2011 at the latest. Since then we've had many more pitch cards printed and some of them are great. The best pitch cards are actually only in three colors - Blue, Black and Green. Looking at only these three colors I feel like it is possible to design a Pitch deck that doesn't need to use Blazing Shoal (and can run lands). Since the deck will be running so many Pitch cards which are instants and sorceries, I feel like it is best fit for a Delver Deck. While the blue spell requirement for pitching fills up pretty easily, the remaining green and black pitch requirement is harder to grasp - luckily there are a couple great and cheap black and green spells that could be pitched for the black and green cards and be useful on their own.

    Here is the first draft of Pitch Delver


    4 Delver of Secrets
    4 Putrid Leech
    4 Hexdrinker

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Daze
    4 Force of Negation
    4 Abrupt Decay
    4 Assassin's Trophy
    4 Unmask
    2 Force of Despair
    2 Force of Vigor

    16 Lands


    The Pitch Cards are all pretty explanatory, the real question is whether you need so much of them. From quick play testing, the Unmask and Blue forces are great against combo, and the Black Force works like a great kill spell to round out the Decay/Trophy. Green Force is awkward in the MD, but when it's used its scary effective.

    So building blocks moving forward:

    • Hex Drinker is a decent card, but one may be tempted to use Nimble Mongoose or Goyf instead - however, since this deck is pitching so many cards it doesn't really fill up the graveyard enough for Mongoose or Gofy to be great.
    • We are playing a ridiculous amount of pitch cards, and like Pitch World before us the main issue is CA. Most of what we run is a 2 for 1 and this deck is desperate for some type of Card Advantage (not necessarily Card Quality like the rest of the cantrip suite). Cards like BOB are ineffective since our average CMC is so high. Not sure how to address this.
    • Fine Tuning - this is a general concept in that I am not sure the deck needs to run 4 of Force of Negation and 4 Daze, or even 4 Hex Drinker - or 4 Trophy and 4 Decay, or can't get away with running 15 lands, etc. The current list is a rough draft and I'm sure cards can be cut down to three of's or 2 of's and make room for other cards.
    • Another issue that this deck has had in quick testing is zerg rush decks - it has plenty of spot removal and Force of Despair is great at battling against decks like elves and empty the warren type decks that dump a huge amount of stuff on the same turn, but it struggles against decks that generate threat after threat turn after turn.

    Hope this is a fun idea that we can explore together

  2. #2
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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Since your threats are mostly 1 drops, maybe Chart a course to help make up for card disadvantage? Also can just get rid of the pitch spells that are dead in that particular matchup. Could also try Sylvan Library
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    Re: Pitch Delver

    +4 Ponder
    -2 Force of Vigor (sideboard)
    -1 Force of Negation
    -1 Assassin's Trophy

    Also once you have lands you need to ask yourself how often Thoughtseize beats Unmask. The other pitch deck partly makes up for the 2-for-1s by not needing lands (lands are another source of card disadvantage required to cast spells). With both lands and pitch cards you run out of cards fast, and because you have lands you could often pay the full cost for a spell.. especially if the effect only costs 1 mana like Thoughtseize.

    The best interaction with pitch cards here is Hexdrinker. You can use all your mana to level up while you cast spells for free. Otherwise you will be casting spells for free with unused mana open.... Cantrips help mitigate that.

  4. #4
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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    +4 Ponder
    -2 Force of Vigor (sideboard)
    -1 Force of Negation
    -1 Assassin's Trophy

    Also once you have lands you need to ask yourself how often Thoughtseize beats Unmask. The other pitch deck partly makes up for the 2-for-1s by not needing lands (lands are another source of card disadvantage required to cast spells). With both lands and pitch cards you run out of cards fast, and because you have lands you could often pay the full cost for a spell.. especially if the effect only costs 1 mana like Thoughtseize.

    The best interaction with pitch cards here is Hexdrinker. You can use all your mana to level up while you cast spells for free. Otherwise you will be casting spells for free with unused mana open.... Cantrips help mitigate that.
    Those are great points! My worry though is that removing Trophy would make the Black and Green card count each below 18 cards which seems too low for pitching.

    Other Notes:

    • Sylvan Library is also a good suggestion by Megadeus, and may replace Force of Vigor in the main.
    • My friend suggested leaning into the putrid leech life loss by running Death's Shadow?

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Leaning Death's shadow here as well. You can also include other "free" spells such as dismember/snuff out to supplement the theme.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by thefreakaccident View Post
    Leaning Death's shadow here as well. You can also include other "free" spells such as dismember/snuff out to supplement the theme.
    If leaning into Death's Shadow then Dismember is an obvious inclusion. The issue is that it takes up the same spots as FOD and the Green Black kill spells.

    Keep in mind that in terms of deckbuilding constraints this deck has many:
    • At least 28 Instants or Sorcieries (Delver)
    • At least 9 Islands (For Daze)
    • At least 15 Lands (To cast 2 mana spells on turn 2)
    • At least 18 Blue Cards (For FOW/FON)
    • At least 18 Black Cards (For Unmask/FOD)
    • At least 18 Green Cards, Post Board (For FOV)

    This gets a bit easier if we're moving some of the green cards into the SB since their primary purpose is to support FOV.

    In fact we can do something like this (working off of FTWs work) and also in recognition that Sylvan Library goes great with Death's Shadow:

    +4 Death's Shadow
    +3 Thoughtsieze
    +3 Sylvan Library
    +2 Snuff Out/Dismember
    +2 Ponder
    -2 Putrid Leach (sideboard)
    -2 Hex Drinker (sideboard)
    -2 Force of Vigor (sideboard)
    -2 Unmask
    -2 Assassin's Trophy (sideboard)
    -2 Abrupt Decay (sideboard)
    -2 Force of Negation

    Moving all removed Green cards to the SB so far, since we need 18 green post-board to support FOV. This can later be fine-tuned, since many of those SBed green cards are terrible SB material and only exist to allow you to cast FOV.
    Last edited by Cire; 07-16-2019 at 05:48 PM.

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Re: black and green counts. If you cut 1-2 BG slots down from 18 and add 4 cantrips, overall I doubt you having a net reduction in chance to have a card to pitch. FoW needs at least 18 because you need it available on turn 0 before you can cantrip (or you may need to pitch the cantrip instead of dig). Vigor and Despair are midgame cards, you have some opportunity to sculpt your hand first.

    Cantrips just improve consistency of having the right solutions and right cards to pitch, as well as fixing your mana on a greedy 15-16 lands and supporting Delver. Cantrips are so good here that you probably don't want to go below 4 Brainstorm + 4 Ponder, even moreso than other Delver decks. Better to find room elsewhere.

    Force of Despair may be better in the SB. Most of the time it can only hit one creature, in which case Snuff Out is better. Board in Despair vs decks like Elves or Goblins where they will play multiple creatures in a turn (or even vs YP or Mentor, to hit the tokens too).

    Hexdrinker seems really good for a pitch deck, giving you value for not using your lands on spells.

    If you go the Death's Shadow route, pretty soon it just morphs into BUG Shadow


    //Creatures: 12
    4 Delver of Secrets
    4 Death's Shadow
    2 Hexdrinker
    2 Snapcaster Mage

    //Spells: 29
    4 Force of Will
    3 Force of Negation
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Abrupt Decay
    3 Assassin's Trophy
    2 Snuff Out
    1 Dismember

    //Enchantments: 3
    3 Sylvan Library

    //Lands: 16
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 Misty Rainforest
    2 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Watery Grave
    1 Breeding Pool
    1 Overgrown Tomb
    1 Underground Sea
    1 Tropical Island
    1 Island
    1 Swamp

    //Sideboard: 15
    2 Force of Vigor
    2 Force of Despair
    2 Unmask
    3 Surgical Extraction
    2 Hexdrinker
    1 Grafdigger's Cage
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Spell Pierce

  8. #8
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    Re: Pitch Delver

    @ FTW: whoah, I really like your remake of the concept and keeping the blue forces in. I'm going to play around with it and let you know how it turns out.

  9. #9

    Re: Pitch Delver

    I ran into a guy at legacy this week who was playing mono blue, lots of pitch cards and then narset/days undoing to refill. We're already in the colors to do a similar thing with leovold, though at that point it's moving more towards midrange and less towards delver since we'd want to be casting 3 drops.

    An interesting angle to consider for the card-advantage problem though.

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by Zavec View Post
    I ran into a guy at legacy this week who was playing mono blue, lots of pitch cards and then narset/days undoing to refill. We're already in the colors to do a similar thing with leovold, though at that point it's moving more towards midrange and less towards delver since we'd want to be casting 3 drops.

    An interesting angle to consider for the card-advantage problem though.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    Definitely thought about Leovold since he's in the colors - but the biggest advantage of pitch cards is the need to run less lands which Leovold sort of requires being 3 mana. Currently, test FTW's list at first impressions are really good. Honestly, this isn't a new deck and is instead Death Shadow with a splash for green and more pitch spells. Not sure that it is an innovation or better than UB death shadow decks, as I don't have much experience, in the genre.

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by Cire View Post
    Definitely thought about Leovold since he's in the colors - but the biggest advantage of pitch cards is the need to run less lands which Leovold sort of requires being 3 mana. Currently, test FTW's list at first impressions are really good. Honestly, this isn't a new deck and is instead Death Shadow with a splash for green and more pitch spells. Not sure that it is an innovation or better than UB death shadow decks, as I don't have much experience, in the genre.

    How are the 4 ADs + 3 Assassin's Trophy in your testing?

    The more I think about it, seems like overkill. I wonder if the deck would be a better Death's Shadow deck with -3 Trophy -1 Library +4 Daze and then just cut the 2 green pitch spells in the SB. There are already enough black cards to support the SB black pitch spells, the green count is exclusively for those Force of Vigors, and they may not even be necessary with so many maindeck answers to enchantments and artifacts (counters, discard, 4 Decay).

    Or maybe -3 Trophy -2 Hexdrinker +4 Daze +1 Leovold. Maybe 1 3-drop could work.

    How does it compare to UB Shadow? No Street Wraiths (bad card just to enable Shadow). More pitch spells for tempo. Sylvan Library to both recoup cards from pitch spells and control life total for Shadow (I'd rather pay 4 life to draw a card than 2 life to cycle Street Wraith). Decays to answer permanents UB normally struggles with. More fragile manabase though.

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    How are the 4 ADs + 3 Assassin's Trophy in your testing?

    The more I think about it, seems like overkill. I wonder if the deck would be a better Death's Shadow deck with -3 Trophy -1 Library +4 Daze and then just cut the 2 green pitch spells in the SB. There are already enough black cards to support the SB black pitch spells, the green count is exclusively for those Force of Vigors, and they may not even be necessary with so many maindeck answers to enchantments and artifacts (counters, discard, 4 Decay).

    Or maybe -3 Trophy -2 Hexdrinker +4 Daze +1 Leovold. Maybe 1 3-drop could work.

    How does it compare to UB Shadow? No Street Wraiths (bad card just to enable Shadow). More pitch spells for tempo. Sylvan Library to both recoup cards from pitch spells and control life total for Shadow (I'd rather pay 4 life to draw a card than 2 life to cycle Street Wraith). Decays to answer permanents UB normally struggles with. More fragile manabase though.
    RE ADs and ATs - 7 total is a bit much - I feel the magic number is 6. However, whenever I board in FOV it is a complete gem (even with counters, discard, decay - with a deck with so little pure card advantage the redundancy is a plus. In effect this deck prioritizes card quality over advantage and banks on the idea that quality in the short to mid term can win before card advantage buries it) and I am loath to remove it from the SB, and that makes me want to keep a 18 green count between the board and sideboard. Additionally, in terms of splashing green for JUST FOV, I don't think that is true - AD and AT are great spot answers for everything and hexdrinker is actually great.

    RE comparing this to UB shadow, no idea - I have never played UB shadow so can't tell if this is better or worse even at the same things. I can only compare this to delver decks and I feel the amount of answers to everything in this one leaves me better prepared against a wider variety of decks.

    Another note - I've been having trouble against Wrenn and Six + Wasteland decks (Lands, and various delver/mid range builds that run Wrenn). We have plenty of answers - but again the issue is that we can only answer one to three things a game. Decks that run lots of cheap threats that must counter (wrenn and six and dreadhorde ect) are hard. The same goes for D&T - almost everything feels like a must counter or must kill and with no CA, we stop 3 things and then we either have enough board presence to win or we die.

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by Cire View Post
    Additionally, in terms of splashing green for JUST FOV
    I didn't mean that the green splash was just for FOV. I meant the constraint of 18ish green cards was just for FOV (which is only a SB card). Otherwise you wouldn't need so much green in UBg Shadow, so you could cut down on some numbers to free up space for other tools.

    I think Daze would be really good here and give more 1-for-1 answers against decks like Wrenn and Six and D&T. The easiest way I could see to add more 1-for-1 interaction like Daze was to cut down on the green count. Then again, AD and AT are both great answers too.. just worse tempo.

    With D&T you can board into Dread of Night to regain some CA. Against Lands/Wrenn ideally you want to bring in some card that answers multiple of their cards at once or slows them down for a few turns (e.g. Relic of Progenitus), because you're right we can't hope to grind them out.

  14. #14

    Re: Pitch Delver

    I think you want to review Rich Shay's vintage deck Shaymora from back in 2011. It runs FoW, Commandeer and Mystic Remora to fuel the pitch counters, and Meditate.


    Creatures (5)

    1 Darksteel Colossus
    4 Old Man of the Sea
    Lands (16)

    5 Island
    2 Flooded Strand
    1 Library of Alexandria
    3 Polluted Delta
    3 Underground Sea
    2 Volcanic Island
    Spells (39)

    1 Black Lotus
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Time Vault
    1 Voltaic Key
    4 Mystic Remora
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Brainstorm
    3 Commandeer
    4 Force of Will
    4 Mana Drain
    4 Meditate
    1 Misdirection
    2 Repeal
    1 Vampiric Tutor
    1 Demonic Tutor
    1 Ponder
    1 Time Walk
    1 Tinker
    1 Yawgmoth's Will


    src: http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/v...ntage_Gro.html


    Mystic Remora could play a similar role in your deck. Also, a one or two off Commandeer could be a good idea, even if just a sideboard card, to steal an Entreat the Angels or a Teferi/Jace/Liliana of the Veil.

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    I think before developing the ideas of this deck further, I think I (or we) have to decide whether to try to make this an evolution of Death's Shadow (and perhpas move this to that thread) or lean in hard into the Pitch Idea ala Bruizar. I sort of feel the pitch heavy green splash into Death's Shadow is the right thing to do? What are your thoughts?

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Pitch heavy is more interesting by far, otherwise it's just a tweak of Death's Shadow.

    Mystic Remora and Meditate are much worse in Legacy than Vintage though. Vintage is a format where you blow your load, then if that didn't win you the game you durdle for a while. Legacy is a format where tempo is very important, and we care about tempo even more as a pitch Delver deck.

    Ancestral Visions is probably the best card for us to gain cards back with minimal investment, if the game progresses to a point where we need to answer more than 3 things.

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Mystic Remora and Meditate are much worse in Legacy than Vintage though. Vintage is a format where you blow your load, then if that didn't win you the game you durdle for a while. Legacy is a format where tempo is very important, and we care about tempo even more as a pitch Delver deck.
    I agree with this on Mystic Remora. Part of it's allure in Vintage is that many decks have a third or a quarter of their mana base are Moxes and the like and so triggering your Remora if they want to accelerate. Plus, your own ability to accelerate out and still pay the upkeep while playing other spells. Granted, here you will mostly be playing spells by pitching cards, but even so, I'm still not sure about it.
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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by H View Post
    I agree with this on Mystic Remora. Part of it's allure in Vintage is that many decks have a third or a quarter of their mana base are Moxes and the like and so triggering your Remora if they want to accelerate. Plus, your own ability to accelerate out and still pay the upkeep while playing other spells. Granted, here you will mostly be playing spells by pitching cards, but even so, I'm still not sure about it.
    Paying an upkeep of 2 or more in a deck with 4 Delver of Secrets and 0 Tolarian Academy, 0 Sol Ring, 0 Mana Crypt, 0 Mana Vault, 0 P9 seems like a bad idea.

    Legacy tempo decks are designed to operate on 2 lands. Remora does not make any sense. 3-mana Meditate is also too expensive. Ancestral Vision costs you less mana. Even though it's slow, the card disadvantage only matters if the game draws out anyway.

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    Re: Pitch Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Pitch heavy is more interesting by far, otherwise it's just a tweak of Death's Shadow.

    Mystic Remora and Meditate are much worse in Legacy than Vintage though. Vintage is a format where you blow your load, then if that didn't win you the game you durdle for a while. Legacy is a format where tempo is very important, and we care about tempo even more as a pitch Delver deck.

    Ancestral Visions is probably the best card for us to gain cards back with minimal investment, if the game progresses to a point where we need to answer more than 3 things.
    I've been thinking on this over the weekend - an interesting thing we can abuse in the pitch heavy version is perhaps shardless which misses a lot of the pitch cards so you can really narrow in on ancestral visions to replace the pitch cards?

    4 Delver
    4 Shardless Agent
    2 Death's Shadow

    4 Force of Will
    4 Force of Negation
    2 Force of Despair
    4 Snuff Out
    4 Unmask
    3 Thoughtseize
    3 Abrupt Decay

    4 Ancestral Visions
    2 Crashing Footfalls

    20 Lands

  20. #20
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    Re: Pitch Delver

    I'd still play 4 brainstorm. At times it will feel just as good as visions.
    -rob

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