Having won the last TSO, I had to really bring my A game and make sure I played a good deck for this event. In the week leading up to this tournament, I was planning on running Pitch Long with Landstill as my second option. Why Long? Well, Iím kind of a combo junkie, and everyone thinks combo is dead, but it was either testing really well, or really shitty, so I wasnít confident in playing it. While I was at work on Friday, Soly texted me and suggested I play RUG Delver. Against my better judgement, I took his advice and sleeved it up the night before the tourney without any experience with the deck.
Hereís a link to Solyís RUG Delver primer on Eternal Central: http://www.eternal-central.com/?p=3076
He suggested I add Annul to the list to help fight Oath, so I cut 1 Flusterstorm and 1 Steel Sabotage to make room for 2. I also added another Cage to the side since there was a lot of Dredge last time. Hereís the list I played:
First -- Sam Krohlow -- RUG Delver
4x Delver of Secrets
2x Snapcaster Mage
2x Vendillion Clique
4x Force of Will
1x Ancestral Recall
1x Mystical Tutor
4x Lightning Bolt
1x Ancient Grudge
1x Time Walk
2x Spell Snare
2x Mental Misstep
1x Steel Sabotage
1x Black Lotus
1x Mox Sapphire
1x Mox Emerald
1x Mox Ruby
3x Scalding Tarn
3x Misty Rainforest
3x Tropical Island
3x Volcanic Island
4x Grafdigger's Cage
3x Nature's Claim
2x Tormod's Crypt
1x Red Elemental Blast
1x Ancient Grudge
2x Ingot Chewer
I rode up to Sandusky from Columbus with Nat and Alec, so at least I didnít get a speeding ticket this time. We stopped for breakfast and to meet up with everyone before the tourney, and then it was game on.
Round 1-Paul Blakeley playing Affinity
Trogdon supplied and registered Paul with an unknown deck, so he didnít know what he was playing until he saw his opening 7.
Game 1: He won the die roll and pooped out pretty much his whole hand turn one, which included lotus, recall, and a cranial plating. I didnít have a Force for the plating. I got a delver out and had a few lightning bolts to slow down his attack. I got his life total down to 6 in increments of 3 before I was overrun by steel overseer. I brought in the claims, chewers, and the grudge.
Game 2: I think he mulled to 5 and I started with a recall that got me a delver and a bolt. I bolted a vault skirge with a plating on it and Delver flew in a couple times to get him down to 13. I Snapcastered the bolt to his face, then threw two more bolts at him on my turn while delver finished the job.
Game 3: He got out 2 Vault Skirges early along with a signal pest. There was some Ravager shenanigans, too, but in the end I had 2 really big Goyfs and a bolt to finish him off in turns.
Matches: 1-0, Games: 2-1
Round 2: Alec Capas playing BUG Fish
Game 1: I expected to be playing against some sort of red shops, but on his first turn he played 2 Birds of Paradise...unexpected. I got out a goyf and took his life total from 20 to 16, 10, 4, 0 while he played 3 wastelands and a strip. I think I just brought in the REBs.
Game 2: He Thoughtseized on his first turn to see my Force, Snare, Walk, and 4 lands. He took Force. I drew into a goyf, but he matched it with his own goyf alongside a Bob. He vamped and I cliqued him during his draw step after he drew his tutored recall. He let it resolve and then recalled in response to the ability. Mistake. he drew into a daze, but it didnít matter now. He didnít have anything relevant in hand, so I let him keep it. I bolted his Bob and then Clique took him from 13 to 0.
Matches: 2-0, Games: 4-1
Round 3: Duane Haddix playing Forgemaster MUD
Game 1: Ancient Tomb dealt him 6 points of damage throughout the game, Delver and a Bolt did the rest. At one point, he resolved a Forgemaster and I topdeck my maindeck Ancient Grudge to answer it on my turn. Without that, Iím not so confidant that I would have won this game. He doesnít play wastes, so I just bring in my 6 hate cards.
Game 2: I have a decent hand with a delver and some counters. I keep ahead of him and get out a clique to get rid of the duplicant that he just drew and then counter the myr battlesphere he tries to play. I either counter or destroy what he plays and get in enough damage for the win.
Matches: 3-0, Games: 6-1
Round 4: William Rosa playing Jace Vault
We are the only 3-0ís and ID.
Matches: 3-0-1, Games: 6-1
Round 5: CJ Moritz playing MUD
Since there are 17 people in the tournament, itís 5 rounds with a cut to top 4, so we have to play.
Game 1: He names Lotus with a Revoker and deals and gets in a few times, but his Tomb + my Delver = 20. Brought in my butt load of hate.
Game 2: His Revoker and Factory get me down to 1 and my Clique got him to 8 before I had to chump block to stabilize. He plays a Crypt so that he has enough mana for Razormane Masticore, but I have a counter for it. He rolled a couple odds and his Crypt brought him to 2 life. He gets out a big guy and I topdeck a bolt for the win.
Matches: 4-0-1, Games: 8-1
Iím in 1st place going into top 4 along with Nat, Trogdon, and William Rosa. We all want to split, but William doesnít...just like last time. He wonít agree to an even split because he believes that his deck and mine are clearly better than the other two, so it looks like weíre playing.
Semi-Finals: Mark Trogdon playing Welder Poop
Game 1: I start with Black Lotus into Vendilion Clique, which by the way is really good. He has two welders in hand and I think I bottomed a Lodestone. He plays Welder and Faithless Looting on his turn and bins a Lodestone. He gets out the Lodestone on his next turn and I get out a Goyf and a Delver. I bounce his Lodestone and quickly close out the game. The hate comes in.
Game 2: He opens with a Revoker on Black Lotus and a Pithing Needle on Misty Rainforest. I have neither of those in my hand, so Iím fine with that. I get out a Delver and Natureís Claim something he played, I think a Lodestone. My hand is full of hate this game. I even Brainstorm away Mystical Tutor because I donít need it. Delver swings a few times and goyf joins the party to help finish the job.
Matches: 5-0-1, Games: 10-1
Nat beat William, so he ended up getting less money than he would have if we would have split. Nat and I then agree to split with me getting 1st place. We each get 120, itís now time for the post-tourney meal, and there is much high fiving.
Now, what about the deck? Looking back, Iím extremely glad that I chose to play RUG Delver. Iím not just saying this because I won, but because I really like how the deck played. I hate playing against shops, and Iíve never felt like I was in a good position against the deck. RUG Delver changes that completely. I played against 3 shop decks throughout the tourney and have never felt better about the matchup. I would say that that is probably one of the biggest reasons to play this deck. I also like how the deck doesnít care about most hate cards. Phyrexian Revoker and Pithing Needle do almost nothing against you.
Now some card choices:
Annul was added at the last minute to help fight Oath, which was completely irrelevant since nobody played it. The bounce effect of Steel Sabotage would have been much better, but the Oath matchup is definitely a concern.
As for the creatures, I donít think I would change anything. Delver is an auto 4-of. Snapcaster is good, but more than 2 would probably clog things up too much. Same with Goyf. He is amazing at closing out games and putting on some serious pressure, but if you wanted to, 4 would probably be fine, though. The number of Cliqueís could possibly change, though. Itís really good, but with more than two, I feel that the legend rule would become a problem.
Play 4 Lightning Bolts. The only thing that I wish it could kill is Forgemaster. I would almost consider adding a Fire/Ice in addition to these.
The manabase is great, donít think Iíd make any major changes.
Mystical Tutor is definitely a card that might not be necessary. I didnít cast it once throughout the tourney. I still feel that itís good, but mainly for the reason that it allows you to tutor for utility and answers. I would never tutor for ancestral with it.
The counters were pretty solid, but if you need space for something, those are probably the flexible slots.
Now on to Gush. Personally, I really liked it in the deck. It gives you something to do with your mana after you hit 3 lands. It also adds to your blue count to help out with Force, which is a little relevant. If I werenít playing Gush, I would probably be playing Wastes, which at times I wish I had in the deck. I havenít tested Wasteland at all, but it just might be worth trying to squeeze into the deck.
The artifact hate in the side is pretty solid, I probably wouldnít change it at all. I didnít play against Dredge at all, so I canít really say how the grave hate worked. I think Cage is pretty good in the side since it also helps against Oath. I never had to play against Oath, but I can see it being a little problematic. There should probably be something else to help the Oath matchup, but thereís really not a whole lot of great options.
All in all, I really like how the deck played and plan on playing it again, mainly because of how good the Shops matchup is while still having a good shot against the rest of the field.
Great event and it was nice to see everyone again. Until next time,