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Sideboarding with Legacy Sultai Delver

Legacy is a format with an infinite number of decks, and the most popular decks struggle to reach even a 7% threshold, so it’s impossible to cover them all.

Today I’ll cover the most popular decks, based on the GP Bologna Day 2 metagame which you can find here.

Andrea Mengucci – 8th GP Bologna 1 December 2019

4 Delver of Secrets/Insectile Aberration
2 Gurmag Angler
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Oko, Thief of Crowns
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
4 Daze
4 Fatal Push
2 Force of Negation
4 Force of Will
4 Ponder
4 Thoughtseize
1 Bayou
1 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
2 Tropical Island
4 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland

Sideboard
2 Baleful Strix
1 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Brazen Borrower/Petty Theft
1 Crop Rotation
1 Karakas
2 Liliana, the Last Hope
2 Plague Engineer
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Sylvan Library
1 Veil of Summer

 

If you’re curious about my card choices, than go ahead and read Part 1 of my Sultai Delver guide.

Vs UR/Grixis Delver

On the Play:

Out

Force of WillForce of WillForce of WillForce of WillForce of NegationForce of NegationThoughtseizeThoughtseizeDelver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration

In

Baleful StrixBaleful StrixPlague EngineerPlague EngineerLiliana, the Last HopeLiliana, the Last HopeBrazen Borrower // Petty TheftBlue Elemental BlastSylvan Library

On the Draw:

Out

Delver of Secrets // Insectile AberrationDelver of Secrets // Insectile AberrationDelver of Secrets // Insectile AberrationDelver of Secrets // Insectile AberrationForce of NegationForce of NegationThoughtseizeThoughtseize

In

Baleful StrixBaleful StrixPlague EngineerPlague EngineerLiliana, the Last HopeLiliana, the Last HopeBrazen Borrower // Petty TheftBlue Elemental Blast

This is the matchup I practiced the most, and the deck I was expecting to be the most popular, and I was right.

UR and Grixis Delver are the best Delver decks when on the play, especially the Ewlandon version with Stifle, because they can push their advantage further and further, and can finish the game off with Lightning Bolt, whereas if Sultai Delver gets stopped there’s no way to deal the final 3-6 damage.

The main thing to understand in this matchup, and what I try to explain every time I play a Daze mirror on a Legacy VEEDEO, is how to play around that card. Don’t tap out if you are holding a Force of Will, so that you’re able to counter your opponent’s threat around Daze.

It’s not mandatory to cast Ponder on turn 1, and not mandatory to use the mana efficiently every turn, which is why it’s so hard. Daze mirror matches play around the normal economy of Magic games, and become basically a different sub-game.

I played versus Delver 4 times at the GP and won all 4 matches 2-0. Zen also won all his mirror matches. I believe my sideboard plan and my deck selection was the reason.

Some people wonder why I keep 4 Force of Will in the Delver mirror, and I do that only on the draw because I need to be able to counter Dreadhorde Arcanist or Young Pyromancer on turn 2 without being set back a turn. You just can’t Daze on their turn 2, you need to progress your game and being able to play Fatal Push (around Daze) or Abrupt Decay on their Delver of Secrets on your turn 2.

Against Grixis Delver in round 14 I managed to beat Delver of Secrets > Dreadhorde Arcanist thanks to turn 2 Force of Will followed by Fatal Push, all while playing around Daze and Wasteland, and then proceeded to win the game with my midrange threats in Plague Engineer and Baleful Strix.

Once you’re out of the woods in the first turns it’s ok to play your Force of Will into their Pyroblast or hold it to shuffle away with Brainstorm. Force of Will isn’t good if the game goes long, but it’s needed to not get overrun when being on the draw.

Vs Sultai Delver

In:

Baleful StrixBaleful StrixPlague EngineerPlague EngineerLiliana, the Last HopeLiliana, the Last HopeSylvan LibraryBrazen Borrower // Petty TheftVeil of Summer

 

On the Play:

Out

Force of WillForce of WillForce of WillForce of WillForce of NegationForce of NegationThoughtseizeThoughtseizeThoughtseize

On the Draw:

Out

Delver of Secrets // Insectile AberrationDelver of Secrets // Insectile AberrationDelver of Secrets // Insectile AberrationDelver of Secrets // Insectile AberrationForce of NegationForce of NegationThoughtseizeThoughtseizeThoughtseize

I won’t talk too long about this matchup, as it’s very similar to what I’ve said earlier. Just keep in mind Veil of Summer and try not to run a Thoughtseize or an Abrupt Decay into it too easily. Sometimes it’s safer to cast Brazen Borrower than play Petty Theft if you feel they might be holding Veil of Summer.

Vs Death and Taxes

In

Plague EngineerPlague EngineerBaleful StrixBaleful StrixBrazen Borrower // Petty TheftLiliana, the Last HopeLiliana, the Last HopeSylvan LibraryKarakas

On the Play: –

Out

Force of WillForce of WillForce of WillForce of WillForce of NegationForce of NegationDazeDazeGurmag Angler

 

On the Draw: 

Out

Force of WillForce of WillForce of NegationForce of NegationDazeDazeDazeDazeGurmag Angler

 

This matchup is much better for Sultai Delver than it’s for Grixis. Having access to Abrupt Decay is very nice, and Tarmogoyf is a large threat that needs to be answered.

Sideboarding is where the difference is made: Plague Engineer and Liliana, the Last Hope are massive and could win the game on the spot. I love having Karakas, as both an additional land to cast my three drops and as a good answer to Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.

Mirran Crusader is enemy number one of this deck, as we only have one temporary answer if opponent resolves it. We ideally want to discard it with Thoughtseize, which is massive in this matchup and the reason why I play four and zero Inquisitions of Kozilek. Discarding Batterskull after Stoneforge Mystic is a key play, and why you should hold onto Thoughtseize until they’ve played their second turn of the game – it’s key seeing if they have Stoneforge Mystic or not.

BG Depths

In:

Baleful StrixBaleful StrixBrazen Borrower // Petty TheftCrop RotationKarakasVeil of Summer

On the Play: 

Out

ThoughtseizeThoughtseizeThoughtseizeFatal PushFatal PushForce of NegationForce of Negation

On the Draw:

Out

ThoughtseizeThoughtseizeThoughtseizeThoughtseizeForce of NegationForce of Negation

I believe this to be a tough matchup – not necessarily bad, but certainly not as positive as against other combo decks, especially now that BG Depths are adding Veil of Summer to their sideboard.

Crop Rotation package it’s at its best here, but their B Plan is very efficient too.

I lost Round 6 2-0 vs BG Depths and I died Game 2 to 4 Elvish Reclaimer and one Tarmogoyf with Veil of Summer and Karakas in my hand.

My friend Lorenzo Tassone won his win and in versus this matchup, but it was a super hard match, and I do believe that BG Depths to be slightly favored in the matchup.

Vs Miracles

Out

Fatal PushFatal PushFatal PushFatal PushWastelandWastelandWasteland

In

Liliana, the Last HopeLiliana, the Last HopeBaleful StrixBaleful StrixBrazen Borrower // Petty TheftVeil of SummerSylvan Library

 

There are a plethora of different versions of this archetype, and it’s very hard to put them under the same label, although this is how I would sideboard against the GP Winner’s decklist.

The matchup is tough, although I beat it the only time I played versus it on day 1. My friend Zen lost to it twice on day 2, and once again I think we are slightly disadvantaged but have the tools to turn it around. The most powerful card in the matchup is Sylvan Library.

You want to maximize your resources and play around Terminus and Veil of Summer. Daze is important, despite it seeming bad when you board out Wasteland, and it’s not uncommon to counter their hardcast Force of Will even super late in the game.

Vs Ad Nauseam Tendrils

Out

Fatal PushFatal PushFatal PushFatal PushAbrupt DecayAbrupt DecayWastelandWasteland

In

Surgical Extraction - Buy-a-Box PromoSurgical Extraction - Buy-a-Box PromoPlague EngineerPlague EngineerVeil of SummerBaleful StrixBaleful StrixBlue Elemental Blast

Baleful Strix and Blue Elemental Blast are very mediocre and here to fill the deck with Blue cards to pitch to Force of Will.

Wasteland isn’t as bad as the other two cards we’re boarding out, but they play around it very often, and you don’t need extra mana to do much.

Our maindeck is very good against them, with Thoughtseize and 6 Forces, though once again be mindful of Veil of Summer and remember to pressure them hard. Turn 1 play Delver, not Thoughtseize. They are very likely to win the long game if you don’t put up pressure.

Sneak and Show

Out

Fatal PushFatal PushFatal PushFatal PushWasteland

In

Baleful StrixBaleful StrixBrazen Borrower // Petty TheftBlue Elemental BlastKarakas

 

I’m happy to play versus Sneak and Show with Sultai Delver. Just like versus Ad Nauseam Tendrils, our maindeck is very well equipped to beat it.

Keep in mind Blood Moon, and if you can afford it, leave mana up for Abrupt Decay or Blue Elemental Blast to kill it.

Once again Baleful Strix and Brazen Borrower are some fillers to pitch to Forces that can occasionally come in handy and be cast.

Here I play with slightly more fear than vs ANT. On turn 1 it’s reasonable to lead with Ponder or Thoughtseize over Delver if you aren’t holding any countermagic.

As I said there are tons and tons of decks to talk about, but I’ll stop here.

Sultai Delver in Legacy is my favorite deck in my favorite format, because it lets me play a Magic style that’s unique and can exploit my skills on every different level. I hope you can find the same.

Discussion

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