I talked about how I was thinking about playing U/R Delver in the PTQs that I planned on attending this weekend.
I spent all week working on the deck, even streaming on Wednesday and Thursday with it. I found out that Caleb Durward had even written about the deck and
was planning on playing it in a PTQ that very same weekend.
Beards, Delver of Secrets, Young Pyromancer?
What could go wrong?
Caleb’s list was a bit different from mine. He completely eschewed the soft counters for cards like Blood Moon and Batterskull to try and be more
proactive. I could see where he was coming from as I always felt like Spell Pierce and Mana Leak in general just wasn’t what we wanted to be doing against
the majority of the decks in Modern, but I felt like Spell Snare was quite underappreciated, and Remand was overrated a bit.
One of the biggest issues the deck has is a resolved Tarmogoyf. There are certainly times where we can race it with our Insectile Aberrations and a
plethora of CVM tokens, but most of the time the Tarmogoyf decks are also packing Abrupt Decay. Spell Snare gives us an efficient answer to Tarmogoyf,
among other troublesome two-mana cards like Scavenging Ooze.
If our opponent happens to sneak a Tarmogoyf into play, then we can always send it back to its home with a Vapor Snag and then a Spell Snare when it tries
to come back down. That plan isn’t 100% reliable since these same decks also have Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek, but at least it’s a plan.
I played around with a few configurations on my stream and ultimately ended up playing this bad boy at the PTQ in Glen Burnie:
I had played a bunch of games and was really happy where I ended up. The Blood Moons in the main were awesome against the Jund and Junk decks that I was
struggling with (which isn’t a good place to be right now by the way). The Batterskull had also been amazing.
I felt like I had a well thought-out sideboard, and I was prepared for the majority of the decks in the format.
In the first round I got paired against Kurt Speiss on G/R Tron. I kept a slow hand with Blood Moon in game 1; had I been on the play it probably would
have been very good, but being on the draw, I just got behind. I was able to Remand his first play after he assembled Tron on turn 3, and then I landed a
Blood Moon, but he had the Oblivion Stone at the ready.
In the second game I felt like I had everything firmly in control, and then he drew the one land that he needed to turn on Tron. This allowed him to play
two spells in one turn and pull ahead. A bit later in the game I had him locked under a Blood Moon and dead in two turns and just needed to fade a land. He
indeed drew one, which allowed him to cast the Karn Liberated that was in his hand off his now seven lands, including Eye of Ugin, which conveniently
tapped for a red mana now that it was a Basic Mountain.
That loss was pretty heartbreaking. I hadn’t gotten a chance to play too many games against Tron outside of a few random games here and there against
Mono-Blue Tron on Magic Online. I had decided to neglect the deck since I didn’t expect to see it, but that’s one of the awesome things about Modern.
Anyone can and will play whatever deck they want to.
In the second round, I was paired against a nice gentleman who told me about how big of a fan he was. He told me about how he spent the majority of the
last year in the field and would watch my videos and read my articles to learn more about Magic and to pass the time.
I tell you what, if that isn’t just the best damn feeling in the world, I don’t know what is.
It turned out this “nice guy” was on 8 Rack and completely demolished me. My Young Pyromancers were Surgically Extracted every single game, and while I was
able to land a Batterskull in game 3, his Ensnaring Bridge had me locked out of the game.
My PTQ was quickly over with a 0-2 drop. It was a pretty rough PTQ for all of us, with BBD 0-2 dropping and Stephen 1-2 dropping. Notable all-stars Joshua
Cho and Tommy Ashton also 0-2 dropped with Jarvis Yu’s freshly cut hair not bringing him much more luck than the rest of us who dropped at 1-2.
After an awesome meal at Nando’s and getting a new phone from T-Mobile (which I sorely needed) we left Glen Burnie to start heading to our next
destination: Asheville, North Carolina.
I touched on it earlier, but Modern really is great, and you can and will see so many decks that it becomes difficult to plan for the entire metagame. If
I’m going to show up with my U/R Delver deck with all my altered CVM tokens, then who’s to say that you aren’t going to have people on things like G/R
Tron, 8 Rack, or any of the other decks that are considered more fringe?
As we were leaving Glen Burnie, I asked BBD if I could use the RUG Twin deck that we had brought with in case anyone decided to switch. I had told myself
after my two crushing losses that I was going to play a deck that could just kill my opponent from now on. I wanted something that could fare in the
grindier games but could also always just “oops you’re dead” my opponent.
The list that we had together was one straight from Brad Nelson, so I had to imagine it was good right?
On the way to Asheville, we stopped through Roanoke to grab some cards, some clothes, and some trail mix from Walmart. Peanut Butter for life!
BBD had been considering switching to RUG Twin so he had been talking with Brad about possible changes. Brad suggested a Thrun, the Last Troll and a
Vendilion Clique over the two Huntmaster of the Fells, which I liked; I made the change. The list also had a Tectonic Edge in it, and since I’m such a huge
fan of casting my spells, I swapped that for a third Sulfur Falls.
Here is the list that I used.
The deck performed amazingly. I went 6-0 and then drew the last two rounds in the swiss to make it into the Top 8. I loved almost every card in the 75,
with the Batterskull being the only card that I wish I would have had something different. Dismember overperformed, and I would probably rather have a
second Dismember over the Batterskull. A lot of games just come down to Tarmogoyf advantage, and Dismember is king there.
I also should have kept the Tectonic Edge in the deck. After playing with the deck, I don’t think that having one colorless land is going to hinder your
development very much, and having an answer to Raging Ravine is huge in the Jund matchup since it usually just turns into a grind fest where Raging Ravine
In the swiss rounds I played against U/R Delver, U/R Twin, RUG Twin, G/B Midrange, Jund, and Kiki Pod. I beat G/R Tron in the Top 8 and then lost to Jund
in the Top 4.
I had a lot of fun with the deck, and definitely plan on playing it again. I didn’t have too many spectacular moments in the tournament, but there were a
couple pretty sweet ones.
In the mirror we were in a state where we had dueling Tarmogoyfs that were 3/4s. I had a fetchland available and he had just untapped and played his fourth
land. He crashed his into mine, and I blocked as I had a Lightning Bolt and he had already used one of his Remands. He lets combat damage happen and then
casts Electrolyze, choosing to split the damage one to my Tarmogoyf and one to me. This would be enough to kill the Tarmogoyf, however, I fetched and
Lightning Bolted his Tarmogoyf, which killed it, and grew mine to a 4/5 which now survived the Electrolyze.
My opponent was visibly upset with his mistake, but I had played him previously, and he was a very good player. Everyone makes mistakes and learning how to
react when you make one is a huge step in growing as a competitive Magic player.
In the first round, I got to play against U/R Delver. In fact, I knew what he was on right as I sat down since he had excitedly had me sign his Young
Pyromancers and told me what he was playing while I was registering my deck. To be fair, he knew what I was on as well since my deck was being registered
right in front of him at the same time. He had two extremely poor draws and never saw a Young Pyromancer, and I just cast Thrun, the Last Troll on turn 4
both games and attacked him until he was dead.
In my Top 8 match against G/R Tron, I kept a hand that had some pressure and one of the combo pieces as my plan was to try and combo him as early as
possible. I flooded a bit and never drew a Splinter Twin so it became a grindy game, which really isn’t where I want to be against Tron. Thankfully, he
didn’t have much going on, even though he did have Tron on turn 3. He had an Oblivion Stone that he was sitting on for some time to protect himself from a
sandbagged combo kill, so I was just attacking with a Tarmogoyf and a Deceiver Exarch for some time. Eventually he drew into a Relic of Progenitus, and I
missed a point of damage by not playing a fetchland the turn that I attacked him and made him use the Relic to fog the Tarmogoyf.
We ended up in this gamestate where he was at four and I had a Lightning Bolt in hand (I know, right?), and he got a Wurmcoil Engine into play. I played a
Vendilion Clique on his end step to make him have to use his Oblivion Stone and saw that he had not only another Wurmcoil Engine, but also an Emrakul, the
Aeons Torn. I counted up his mana, and he was sitting on fourteen(!!) mana with another land in his hand, so I had to ship it to the bottom. He had to use
his Oblivion Stone, and I ended up getting a Thrun, the Last Troll into play. He crashed his lifelink token into my Thrun to go up to seven before passing
the turn back to me.
I drew a Serum Visions for the turn, drew Pestermite from the Visions, and saw Snapcaster Mage and Lightning Bolt on top for my decisions to scry. In the
words of esteemed streamer and Euro Heartthrob Jan “Dzyl” Van der Vegt: “DING.” I was able to tap his Wurmcoil Engine before combat, attack him to five
with my Pestermite, and I finished him off with double Lightning Bolt.
RUG Twin is a very powerful deck and rewards tight play. It also has this sweet combo kill where people always play scared and give you time to attack them
to death with Tarmogoyf. Suffice to say, I’m quite happy that WotC has decided to keep Modern around, and I’m very happy about the change of Pro Tour
Washington DC to Modern.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone for their support with my Kickstarter. It ended last week and broke $7500.00, which is quite a
bit more than my $2000.00 goal that I had initially set. Keep an eye out for images of the playmat, and I will have a “thank you” section in one of my next
couple articles for all of my fabulous backers.
This weekend is GenCon, so good luck and good health to anyone attending it, and I will see everyone at the Open Series in Washington DC next weekend!