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Running the Gauntlet – RUG Delver vs. Zoo

Yesterday, I got to battle against the boogeyman that is Dredge, and today I faced another classic foe. Now that Legacy is (mostly) back to being a “fair” format, Wild Nacatl and the rest of the gang are something you can reasonably expect to face, usually at the hands of Pat Cox. Once again, I was playing Delver, using this list:

[deck]4 Ponder
3 Daze
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Dismember
4 Tropical Island
4 Brainstorm
3 Misty Rainforest
1 Fire Ice
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Wasteland
3 Scalding Tarn
4 Snapcaster Mage
1 Life from the Loam
1 Volcanic Island
4 Stifle
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Force of Will
3 Volcanic Island
3 Spell Snare
Sideboard
3 Spell Pierce
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Hydroblast
1 Surgical Extraction
2 Krosan Grip
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Pyroblast[/deck]

Pat was using his classic Zoo list, though I don’t know the exact composition. As you can see in the video, it had all the usual suspects, up to and including Stoneforge Mystic for various Swords ([card sword of body and mind]Body and Mind[/card] as well as [card sword of fire and ice]Fire and Ice[/card]). Here are the games:

Channel LSV: Legacy Gauntlet – RUG Tempo vs. Zoo


Preboard

Rewatching these, I’m pretty annoyed at myself. I definitely threw a game, where I declined to [card]Dismember[/card] [card]Kird Ape[/card] and attack with Goyf, then ended up Dismembering on his turn anyway. That four damage cost me the game, and ultimately the match. Regardless of that mistake, game one didn’t seem all that great. As I said during the video, half of my cards are dead in the mid to late game ([card]Daze[/card], [card]Force of Will[/card], [card]Stifle[/card]), while all of his are live all of the time. My best shot seemed to be to try and beat down with a quick Delver or Goyf, or manascrew him with [card]Stifle[/card]/[card]Wasteland[/card]. That did work in the first game, but once he started keeping real hands (and fetching basics), the land death plan didn’t go so well. The attrition plan didn’t either, because of why I mentioned earlier: we would trade a bunch of cards, maybe 2 for 1’ing me off Force in the process, and eventually I’d draw [card]Daze[/card] and [card]Stifle[/card] while he drew Nacatl and [card]Lightning Bolt[/card].

Sideboarding

Out

[draft]4 stifle[/draft]

In

[draft]Hydroblast
ancient grudge
thrun, the last troll
threads of disloyalty[/draft]

At various points, I tried bringing in a [card]Krosan Grip[/card] as well, but I’m less in love with that now, looking back. Putting in one might be ok, but it just doesn’t fit all that well with how I want the games to go.

Postboard

Not only was game one bad, his sideboard cards made a mockery of mine. I brought in [card threads of disloyalty]Threads[/card]; he brought in [card]Pyroblast[/card]. I did get a [card]Hydroblast[/card], but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t packing at least 3 [card]Pyroblast[/card]s, and they are better against me than [card]Hydroblast[/card] is against him. Thrun did seem quite good, and I think I’d like another in the board, but the rest was pretty mediocre. Once again, we were playing very similar decks, mine with perhaps more control over the amount of land it draws, but his with a total lack of dead draws in the late game. Unsurprisingly, things didn’t go well here, either. I guess if I had won the game where I punted, I would have been up 2-1, but that doesn’t matter as much as the impression I got of how the matchup goes…which is “poorly”.

I’m really not loving this Delver deck. It seems to need to be the beatdown in all of its matchups, but is half a control deck and half an aggro deck. I guess it’s the same thing as Canadian Thresh, which I always thought was just horrible, so it isn’t a surprise that I don’t like it. I’m the first to admit that my personal biases do make some decks better or worse in my hands, and this type of strategy has always seemed bad to me. Give me a beatdown deck or give me a control deck, but don’t give me a mix; Fish is the last thing I want to play. That being said, this is definitely a winning deck, so either I’m playing it horribly wrong, which is possible, or the decks I’m playing against just aren’t representative of tournament Legacy right now. In a field of true randomness, I can see the Delver deck being a good choice, but against Dredge and Zoo and Stoneforge, I haven’t been impressed so far. The last deck I’m going to battle against is an unconventional choice, a maverick if you will, and hopefully it goes a little better.

LSV

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