Deck of the Day: Abzan Delirium (Standard)

G/B Delirium had long been one of the best decks in Standard, but the addition of Aetherworks Marvel and Felidar Guardian to the format didn’t do it any favors. Still, making sure that you can stay quick enough to pressure Marvel decks with some added answers might be all you need to revive the archetype.

Any G/B Delirium deck that wants even a hint of aggression starts with Grim Flayer. Getting on the board early is already important, but Grim Flayer adds the ability to turn on delirium, create a huge creature, and help fix your draw steps. Without help from removal spells or planeswalkers, it can be tough to make an early Flayer work, but these decks shine in that arena.

Gnarlwood Dryad hasn’t seen nearly as much play, but it’s an early threat that always trades up. If you’re able to turn on delirium early, a 1-mana 3/3 creature is an efficient rate, and deathtouch is always great.

Tireless Tracker is an efficient way to get ahead in the middle stages of the game. Being rewarded for hitting land drops is nice, but getting a bigger creature and extra card for every land drop is not your average reward. Trackers have to be dealt with immediately, and will often create value the turn they’re cast.

Ishkanah, Grafwidow is one of the biggest payoffs for reaching delirium, and gives you all the more reason to make sure you have it by turn 5. Against aggro decks, a wall of four creatures spanning 6 power and 11 toughness that can all block flyers is nearly impossible to break through. Even on offense, an Ishkanah represents a minimum of 6 damage per turn, and that’s before the reach of activating a 4-or-more-point loss of life.

Traverse the Ulvenwald has become a Modern staple in decks that can easily achieve delirium, such as Death’s Shadow, and it’s likely your most important card. Fixing your mana early is critical, and being able to play a lower land count helps to maximize your draw steps later in the game. Traverse’s flexibility in letting you play fewer copies of utility creatures, fewer finishers like Ishkanah that would get stuck in your hand early, and in finding additional creatures on curve is a fantastic tool.

Speaking of utility creatures, you have access to Manglehorn, Noxious Gearhulk, and then Herald of Anguish at the top of the curve. Manglehorn can knock out Heart of Kiran or Aetherworks Marvel, and making Marvel enter the battlefield tapped can be the difference between winning and losing. Gearhulk is a great way to gain life while also taking down your opponent’s best creature, and it’s an artifact for delirium as a nice bonus. Herald of Anguish isn’t one you see often, especially in a deck with so few artifacts, but it combines nicely with Clue tokens from Tireless Tracker and is really hard to deal with in a Fatal Push and Grasp of Darkness world.

Splashing white gives you access to Cast Out. This is an excellent card against Marvel specifically, as you can exile the powerful artifact or an Ulamog if you’re on the unfortunate side of that equation. It cycles for just 1 mana, and it’s an easy way to get an enchantment into your graveyard on the cheap.

A playset of Fatal Push gives you a great tempo play, and you have a ton of ways to turn on revolt. You’re playing a playset of Renegade Maps to drop your land count all the way down to 19 (thanks to Traverse, as well), and that plus Evolving Wilds plus Clues gives you lots of revolt enablers.

Dissenter’s Deliverance is easy to add to main decks as a 1-mana cycler that has upside. Killing Gearhulks, Marvels, Vehicles, Metallic Mimics, and more makes this a versatile spell.

Liliana, the Last Hope is the most powerful planeswalker for a delirium deck—all the abilities are useful in a cheap package. Your list rounds out with 3 copies of Transgress the Mind as there are way too many targets to hit in all of the most popular archetypes right now, and nabbing a Gideon or Marvel turns losses into wins.

Abzan Delirium plays some unusual cards to great effect. The synergies, early delirium, and power level are all there to make a great deck in Standard.

Abzan Delirium

MATSUKASA10, Top 4 at the MTGO PTQ



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