The Quest to Beat B/G and U/W

Grand Prix Warsaw’s metagame saw a field of 30% Black-Green Delirium and 30% Blue-White Flash on Day 2.

This is Mono-Black Devotion vs. Mono-Blue Devotion all over again—except both decks are much harder and more enjoyable to play.

After the Pro Tour, U/W was the clear best deck, and as soon as the next big tournament came around, the best answer to U/W was Black-Green Delirium, because of how good Ishkanah is against them. The B/G deck tore up Grand Prix Providence, mostly because all the U/W lists were not prepared for it.

Then Spell Shrivel and Revolutionary Rebuff became staples, which made the matchup close to 50/50. B/G players would say that they had a great matchup, and U/W players would say they had a good matchup.

I think the matchup is skill intensive. If one player is much better than the other, he’ll win playing either side. If both are good, it’ll be 50/50, and if both are bad, B/G will win. That’s simply because U/W is hard to play and hard to play against.

I’ve mostly been playing decks with Ishkanah at this point and very little Blue-White, so I’m going to tell you how big Spider strategies and other non-green decks fare against the two major archetypes, but I unfortunately can’t offer much insight on the Blue-White mirror as I’ve barely played it.

B/G Delirium Mirrors

Between aggressive Grim Flayer, Tireless Tracker, and Mindwrack Demon starts, and Transgress the Mind, Pick the Brain, and the Emrakul game, it’s hard to have a plan that will always work.

I tried Hedron Archive because I thought trying to turbo an Emrakul would do it, but Transgress and Pick the Brain destroyed that plan.

I recommend not deviating too much in your main deck because that’ll make your deck too clunky for other matchups—but there are some sideboard cards you can play.

Ob Nixilis Reignited is one of the best cards after sideboard. It can be used to kill a creature that’s part of their aggressive plan, it draws you cards to recover from Pick the Brain or Transgress the Mind, and if it has 6+ loyalty, you can set it up so that it kills an Emrakul even after it took your turn.

This one will not get you back into a game in which you’re getting aggro’d out, but it does take care of Traverse the Ulvenwald and Emrakul, two of the key cards in the matchup. Often, players hold Traverse to protect the Emrakul they would fetch, and Pick the Brain punishes that really hard.

It is also just a great sideboard card to have against any deck people will bring against you. In fact, it is your best option if you want to level the following approach.

Going Over the Top of B/G Delirium

I’ve found that it’s pretty easy to design a deck that’s going to have a good matchup here. Go big, have the ability to control the possible early aggression, and make sure your deck can’t sabotage itself under a Mindslaver.

This card, plus Void Shatter and Glimmer of Genius, does the trick. Include hard removal like Harnessed Lightning and Stasis Snare, and you will outclass Black-Green.

Jeskai Control

Carlos Romao’s list from the Pro Tour is a good starting point.

This sounds uncompetitive, but it’s the perfect example of going big. Just drown your opponent in card advantage.

I don’t have a list for you yet, but I’ve seen some pretty crazy Cloudblazer and Drowner of Hope action completely trash Black-Green.

The reason delirium did so poorly at the Pro Tour was due to Aetherworks Marvel’s popularity.

Logan Nettles, also known as Jaberwocki on Magic Online, proved to the world that the powerful 4-mana artifact was still playable in a sea of Spell Quellers.

R/G Marvel

As I’m writing this, Jaberwocki went undefeated in 29 Magic Online Leagues (he’s won 145 matches), I don’t know if he was playing that deck the whole time and how many times he lost, but seriously, 29 Magic Online Leagues is about as many as I played in my entire life—there’s only 24 hours in a day. Let that sink in.

I’ve played a good amount with his deck at this point—nowhere near 29 Leagues—so I don’t know if I’m even allowed to change a single card, but I did alter the sideboard—check out my video later this week.

Aetherworks Marvel is a card that completely destroys delirium—as long as you’re casting expensive cards with it, of course. This deck doesn’t do that as well as the Temur Pro Tour version of Marvel, but still enough to be a huge favorite against any slow non-blue strategies.

Taking out some of the all-in pieces in favor of Ishkanah, Chandra, and Harnessed Lightning makes your U/W matchup actually winnable. Not great, but winnable.

All these go-big options are nice, but without thorough testing and tweaking, they’re all dogs to U/W Flash.

Going Under U/W Flash

One way to beat counterspells is to play cards that cost less than the counterspells. Cast two cards a turn, and be aggressive.

It also happens to be good against Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

R/W Vehicles

As I said earlier, I’ve mostly spent my time trying different decks that beat B/G Delirium and tweaking them until I decide they can’t beat U/W, but if I were to go the other way around—beat U/W and try to tweak until I beat B/G, I would lean toward a deck like the one above.

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