I struggled with what to call this one because it has components that are indicative of several different archetypes. The Vessel of Nascencys and Traverse the Ulvenwalds are delirium staples; Elder Deep-Fiend and Kozilek’s Return suggest an emerge theme; and the counterspells and Torrential Gearhulks make it looks like a control deck. I ended up siding with delirium, but in reality this deck is a jack of all trades.
That ultimately makes it a midrange deck in a strategic sense, and as much as I loathe such decks, it’s one with a lot of good tools. There’s a lot of card advantage for a deck that isn’t playing cards like Glimmer of Genius or Pull from Tomorrow, instead opting to get its resources while affecting the battlefield, which I like.
Torrential Gearhulk and Tireless Tracker are obviously very powerful, and the latter is particularly egregious in how it snowballs in card advantage. Rogue Refiner looks a little out of place outside of a dedicated energy strategy, but the card plays an important role here in enabling Aether Hub, which is critical for making the wonky, four-color manabase work.
With all that card advantage, the removal suite is geared toward beating aggro decks with the Magma Sprays and Kozilek’s Returns supporting the automatic set of Terminates…sorry, Harnessed Lightnings.
The one issue that can arise with that much removal is an inability to close out games. The deck has several heavy hitters, but if one or two of them get answered or if you fail to answer a high-toughness blocker it may be hard to break through. That’s where Elder Deep-Fiend comes in, ending ground stalls or tempo-ing out opponents who fall behind with a well-timed Time Walk or two.
When you have this many pieces trying to operate coherently, sequencing is going to be very important, as will having an intimate understanding of the various matchups and sideboard strategies you can employ. But with that mastery, you have a deck that is filled with powerful cards that will keep every single one of your opponents off balance, even if they’ve seen your deck before.