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Thread: UR Delver at Mox Boarding House 1K - Top 4

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    UR Delver at Mox Boarding House 1K - Top 4

    Mox Boarding House 1K in Seattle, WA -- November 16, 2019

    I continue to tweak my UR Delver list. For this event, I again favored Leylines in the sideboard, although I might be moving back to Grafdigger's Cages soon.

    4 Delver of Secrets
    4 Young Pyromancer
    4 True-Name Nemesis
    4 Brazen Borrower
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Preordain
    4 Force of Will
    3 Daze
    1 Price of Progress
    4 Lightning Bolt

    4 Volcanic Island
    3 Island
    1 Mountain
    4 Scalding Tarn
    2 Flooded Strand
    2 Prismatic Vista
    4 Wasteland

    Sideboard:

    1 Surgical Extraction
    1 Grafdigger's Cage
    4 Leyline of the Void
    2 Exquisite Firecraft
    1 Price of Progress
    1 Abrade
    1 Null Rod
    2 Venser, Shaper Savant
    2 Mind Harness

    This was a poorly timed event, coming on the heels of several large Legacy events, so it drew 37 players instead of the usual 50-plus. It would have been wiser to schedule the 1K before the Puget Sound Battleground 4K. That way people could have used the 1K as a dry run for the 4K, and it would have seemed like an important lead-up event rather than an afterthought.

    Round 1: Tom Galstian. Tom is usually on Turbo Depths, so I felt a twinge of regret for cutting my two copies of Karakas in exchange for two copies of Mind Harness. I knew my Brazen Borrowers would have to carry me in this match. Importantly, I won the die roll. I kept a hand with Delver, Wasteland, and cantrips. Tom proved to be on Turbo Depths, starting with Mox Diamond, pitching Dark Depths, and playing Thespian's Stage and Elvish Reclaimer. My Delver took three turns to flip, but I was able to set up a Borrower to bounce Marit Lage. From Tom's reaction, he wasn't expecting it. I later bounced his second Marit Lage and cleaned up with the Delver before he could muster a third attempt.

    Game 2 Tom kept a one-lander with double Elvish Reclaimer and a Sylvan Safekeeper and didn't draw into a second land until it was way too late. I Dazed his second Reclaimer and had two True-Names and a Delver on the board when he conceded.

    Round 2: Geoff Thompson. Geoff was one of the people I had scouted after my Round 1 match, so I knew he was on Hogaak Depths. This is not a favorable matchup, especially preboard. My best hope is that I face a fast Marit Lage hand that I can ambush with a Borrower and then win in the air before Hogaak shows up.

    Game 1 Geoff quickly ripped apart my hand with Thoughtseizes, and I thought I was doomed, but he played a pair of Stitcher's Suppliers, didn't flip over anything threatening, and bricked on all of his draws after that.

    Game 2 I mulled to six and opened on Leyline of the Void, which took Geoff by surprise, and the game became a race between my Delver and his team of Satyr Wayfinder and Stitcher's Supplier. All my cantrips missed in this game, and I should have Forced his second Satyr Wayfinder on Turn 5. I was holding the Force for a Crop Rotation to avoid an end-of-turn Marit Lage, so I let Geoff spin the wheel and it blew up in my face. He hit Dark Depths. I had outs, but my cantrips failed to find them. On the turn before Marit Lage attacked for lethal, I drew a Mind Harness, which had taken the place of Karakas, so that stung.

    Game 3 I again began on Leyline of the Void, but this time Geoff had an answer for it, and he correctly blew it up with Force of Vigor on my first upkeep to play around a potential Daze and Spell Pierce. I lacked a Force of Will, so I couldn't defend it, and the game got uglier from there. Geoff had a Turn 1 Satyr Wayfinder off Mox Diamond, finding a Wasteland. I had only a Volcanic Island for colored mana, so that got blown up the next turn. I had a Wasteland to keep Stage-Depths from consummating their unholy union, but I couldn't do anything else. I eventually drew lands and was able to cast a Young Pyromancer, but by that time, Geoff had two Stitcher's Suppliers and two Vampire Hexmages. We had an interesting sequence where I cast a Ponder and he fired off Crop Rotation in response and I responded by shooting one of the Hexmages with a Lightning Bolt so that he wouldn't be able to overload the Wasteland with two Hexmage activations. Unfortunately, he had Hogaak after that, and when the turn came back to me, I immediately drew a Grafdigger's Cage. I was in a futile blocking situation where I had to give up my whole team in order to survive at 1 life, and this resulted in not killing the Hogaak, so I had no real way out. Should've just won Game 2 ...

    Round 3 I was paired against Tavis Levchak. Tavis came into Legacy with Goblins years ago but then completed his goal of Lands, so he's been on Lands consistently since then. He tends to favor Burning Wish versions, but he had something different today. Game 1 I aggressively Forced his Mox Diamond when it became apparent he didn't have an Exploration or a Manabond, and we traded Wastelands back and forth. I destroyed two Thespian's Stages, knowing he couldn't save them with Crop Roation, and he had the third consecutive Stage, but I was able to beat him down with a Delver and a Young Pyromancer before he could combo.

    Game 2 was extremely strange. Tavis started with Misty Rainforest, go. I ran out a Delver. He fetched a Tropical Island and led with an Exploration. I now realize that he was trying to bait out a Daze, having a Tabernacle in hand, which would have killed my Delver when the turn went back to me. I didn't have countermagic, so Exploration resolved, and Tavis played out Rishadan Port and a Tabernacle. I had plenty of lands. He got Loam online and Rotated away the Tabernacle for Waterlogged Grove to Spell Pierce something (I think a Brainstorm), which was not on my radar at all. On Turn 5, he cast Choke, trapping both of us, and when I went for Price of Progress, he countered it with a Flusterstorm, which blew my mind. His dredges turned over two copies of Sphere of Resistance, and I marveled at this combination of cards that I'd never seen together before. Apparently, they're part of a new David Long build (https://blog.cardsphere.com/the-eter...ionships-2019/) that I hadn't heard about. Ulimately, a lone Delver went all the way this game, which was surreal.

    By this time, I'd been able to scout about two-thirds of the room. RUG Delver, which was well-represented last weekend at Puget Sound Battleground, was not as prevalent here. The most common elements were Dark Depths and Wrenn and Six, both of which seemed to be finding spots in decks that don't traditionally play them. I saw a wide variation in lists in general, with only RUG Delver, ANT, 4c Snow, and Turbo Depths seeming like stock lists.

    Round 4: Jason Wong. Jason was on a blue-based 4c list that had a Crop Rotation package for Stage + Depths and a few other things. I had an aggressive hand on the play Game 1 and quickly took chunks out of his life total with a Delver, a Bolt, a Borrower, and a Price of Progress. Jason momentarily stabilized at 1 after a Toxic Deluge took out my Borrower and Delver, but a Preordain found a True-Name for me, and we were off to Game 2.

    Game 2 I Forced a Crop Rotation, unsure of what tools Jason had beyond Stage + Depths, and he won the counterwar, finding a Tabernacle. I had plenty of lands, so Tabernacle proved to be merely a speed bump. Jason had to Force a Price of Progress, pitching an Oko, and later ran out a Snapcaster on Ponder, then let it die to his own Tabernacle, so he was clearly in trouble, and he was never able to take control of the board.

    Round 5 I was paired against Tyler Marklyn, who I knew was on Mill. He has had success with it before, making the finals of a 1K two years ago (https://www.mtgtop8.com/event?e=18376&d=314083&f=LE), a feat that garnered some attention (https://www.channelfireball.com/all-...s/legacy-mill/).

    Tyler had just been on camera, but we still were picked for the feature match, so this is on video. You can watch it here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/509256393

    Our match starts at 03:54:25.

    Round 6 I was hoping to draw into the Top 8, but I was paired down, so I would have to play. I was paired against the top-ranked 9-pointer, Case Kiyonaga, who is a perennial Top 8 contender. In scouting earlier, I had incorrectly concluded that he was on 4c Snow, when in fact he was on a new build of BUG Delver. We traded some Delvers, and I had to Force of Will Case's Fatal Push on my third Delver, since I had set it up to flip, but it was later outclassed by a pair of Vantress Gargoyles.

    I was trying to wrap my head around the Gargoyle, which is a complicated card. It didn't help that I was really hungry and beginning to lose my concentration. In essence, the Gargoyle is a flying steel Tarmogoyf that can gain or lose the abilities to attack or block. In the early game, it's a huge flying blocker, and in the midgame, it's a huge flying attacker. If you have discard, you can take away the Gargoyle's ability to block, and if you can remove cards from your graveyard or otherwise keep cards out of your graveyard, it can't kill you. This means an instant-speed draw spell, like Accumulated Knowledge, can make it into a surprise blocker and any mill spell can make it into a quick attacker.

    The ways these games played out, though, the Gargoyle always seemed good. If I was ahead in the early game, it stonewalled my Delvers, and if we were in the midgame, it was excellent at racing. None of my removal went 1-for-1 with it, whereas Case's primary removal spells -- Fatal Push, Abrupt Decay -- were adept at slaying my threats. I really missed my Pyroblasts. I may also consider Dismember in the future. Incidentally, I don't like the Gargoyle in a Wrenn and Six-heavy environment, since Wrenn can fish out lands from the graveyard, stalling the Gargoyle from becoming an attacker, and if Spell Snare is seeing more play as an answer to Wrenn and Tarmogoyf, then this card gets hit as well. It was certainly a strong threat against my deck, though.

    In Game 2, I took some beats from Case's early Delver, which had trouble flipping, and I think I resolved a True-Name or two to race a Gargoyle. I think I bounced a Gargoyle with Petty Theft, too. Case might remember this game better.

    Game 3 I had a more aggressive start than Case but had to expend a lot of resources to protect a flipped Delver. He had Tyrant's Scorn, which I Forced, but he responded with Veil of Summer, and I had to either pin my hopes on the True-Name in my hand or pitch the True-Name to my second Force to protect the Delver, which is the path I chose. Case proved unable to kill the Delver. He had a Gargoyle but needed more cards in his hand to be able to block. He had a Gurmag Angler, but I never saw him cast a Tarmogoyf in our games. I wasn't even sure he had them in the deck until I went back after the event and watched his previous camera match.

    I finally had a chance to gobble a protein bar, and I felt much better. The Top 8 was announced, but the head judge accidentally read off nine names, which led to some confusion, and Bill Li's slot was rescinded. I think Bill would've been the third X-2 to get in. The Top 8 was Josh Yandell on ANT, Thomas Abrahamson on Mono-Blue Delver, me on UR Delver, Ian McCarthy on Cloudpost splashing green, Tim Wilder on 4c Snow, Lauren Mulligan on Lands, Tyler Marklyn on Mill, and Andra Marinescu on RUG Delver.

    I was in third place, so I played against Lauren Mulligan in sixth place. Lauren had ID'd in and was on Lands, as always, but she had a different list this time. She had gone with Molten Vortexes, Field of the Dead, and a slightly different (and stronger) manabase, losing the Gambles, Groves, and Punishing Fires.

    Quarterfinals: Game 1 I made the very greedy play of pitching my Ponder to Force Lauren's Exploration. I could have pitched my True-Name, but I expected my early Delver to die, so I was banking on the True-Name being my closer. I was rewarded by drawing into land, while Lauren set up Maze of Ith to contain the Delver. I made another aggressive play of using Wasteland on the Maze of Ith, and Lauren Crop Rotated into a second Maze. My Delver had flipped up Price of Progress, so we both were playing with it in mind. Lauren had Loam active and a Blast Zone in the graveyard. Late in the game, she tried to cut me off red mana by killing my Mountain with Ghost Quarter, but I was able to win without it. I ultimately had her either way, since if she hadn't taken my basic Mountain, I would have been able to Bolt her when she was at 3 life.

    Game 2 was a slow and controlling game where I did very little but play lands on the early turns. I took out a Tireless Tracker with a Lightning Bolt and later played both copies of Price of Progress. I don't recall which game involved an intricate sequence where Lauren set up a Marit Lage through a Wasteland and Price of Progress. I had it covered with a Borrower, but her timing was excellent, and she would've won if I hadn't had the Borrower. Decklists should be up on mtgtop8.com in the next week or so, but Lauren tweeted her progress in the touranment and posted a pic of her deck after the event if you're a Lands aficionado or just can't wait: https://twitter.com/LaurensMulligan/...86820553269248

    Semifinals: The semifinals for my bracket were a rematch of Round 5, with the world rooting for Tyler Marklyn's Mill. This was a matchup where I dearly missed Pyroblast. Coverage starts at 06:23:45. I tried to play my fetchlands immediately to ensure that my lands wouldn't be milled (especially important for Prismatic Vista) and to reduce the number of turns for Tyler to find Archive Traps. My build was somewhat soft to Hedron Crab because it lacked Chain Lightning and Pyroblast, and Tyler was very good at drawing the Crabs. (We even had a photo-worthy moment in this match where he was about to assemble all four Crabs.)

    Game 1 was really unfortunate for me, in that I was on a Young Pyromancer hand, and it got Dazed and then Surgicaled, but I had also drawn another Pyromancer that turn, so I lost all of them. I was able to eventually stick a True-Name and ride it to victory, but only by the slimmest of margins. I thought for sure I was going to lose this game.

    Game 2 I couldn't keep all of Tyler's Crabs off the board, and a Jace's Phantasm kept my Delver at bay. When I tried to maneuver around it, one of the Delvers was Set Adrift. I cast a desperation Borrower, and Tyler Dazed it. I cracked my Prismatic Vista but found no basic in my deck. I should have consulted my graveyard before fetching to confirm I had a land to grab, but I was extremely far behind, and I don't think it would've been correct to wait to cast Borrower in order to try to play around Daze.

    Game 3 I had a borderline hand that I chose to keep, and my cantrips didn't really deliver. My True-Name got Forced, and Borrowers matched up poorly against Jace's Phantasms. Despite this, I actually had a plan to race them with some tricksy Petty Theft and Venser, supplemented by two Bolts, but a Liliana's Triumph threw a wrench in that plan, and I lost both of my Bolts to soft counters.

    Congrats to Tyler for another finals appearance with an underrespected archetype. It was a good run for me and a wild day of Legacy that kept people on their toes. There's a lot of experimentation going on right now as players digest the continued possibilities inherent in the powerhouse printings we've seen over the past six months.

  2. #2
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    Re: UR Delver at Mox Boarding House 1K - Top 4

    Congrats!

    It looks like Brazen Borrower is a huge upgrade to the deck, both letting you answer permanents UR struggles to answer and adding another clock.

    The drawback is your instant/sorcery count goes down between the extra creatures and the extra lands. 24/60 (40%) instead of 32/60 (53%). It shows. You had a harder time flipping Delvers.

    Do you think it's worth cutting some copies of the 3 drops and a land for more spells (e.g. Chain Lightning), or do you find those extra bodies add more value overall?

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    Re: UR Delver at Mox Boarding House 1K - Top 4

    Thanks. I do see it as an upgrade. I went deep the first week Brazen Borrower was released and played four in my maindeck, and it definitely performed. I knew I'd be hurting the blind-flip odds on my Delvers, but I didn't want to cut anything else. Everything had a role.

    I do adjust in sideboarding, though. For example, if I play against Miracles, I trim some Wastelands and add some instants or sorceries, so that brings the percentage up again. In other matchups, certain creatures are weaker than others, and those usually become instants or sorceries. I board out my True-Names against combo decks. Some or all of the Borrowers would come out against Storm and probably RUG Delver.

    Before Borrower was printed, I played Dreadhorde Arcanist, Chain Lightning, and Vapor Snag. I strongly prefer Borrower's utility, but if the format becomes more about mana efficiency, then I'll tinker with the numbers. Borrower definitely gives you flexibility at the expense of mana efficiency.

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