Amonkhet has arrived in Standard, and despite the expected dominance of Mardu Vehicles in Week 1, there were plenty of interesting decks in the Top 64 of last weekend’s Open in Atlanta. The first one I want to share with you has a perfectly inconspicuous name, Sultai Delirium.
I’m sure anyone scrolling past it expects to see a typical B/G Delirium list splashing for some counterspells, and we see some of those with three copies of Dispel in the sideboard, but really this is a different kind of Delirium deck from what we’re used to seeing.
Yes, there’s the standard fare of Traverse the Ulvenwald, Vessel of Nascency, and Ishkanah, Grafwidow. But rather than a near-control deck looking to play long, grindy games of Magic, we see the supporting cast turns it into something more aggressive.
Instead of Walking Ballista, we have Heart of Kiran. That’s already an upgrade in terms of aggression. but we need cards that are good at crewing it and black and green aren’t great colors for that. Tireless Tracker is an easy include and another good early threat, but you’ll have to work for your crew past that.
Rogue Refiner comes off the splash, another fine creature. And Channeler Initiate is a sneaky card that can crew Heart of Kiran either once its counters are exhausted or for a one-shot with its trigger on the stack, when it momentarily has three power. These creatures aren’t expressly aggressive and they can all play defense, but they apply significant pressure for anyone who tries to turtle up for a long game, expecting a typical Delirium deck.
And then we turn to the planeswalkers. Liliana, Death’s Majesty would be unsurprising in a typical B/G Delirium deck, but it’s especially good here, since you have plenty of good creatures to recur and it has lots of loyalty to crew Heart of Kiran. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar is the strange inclusion, but again, given what this deck is trying to accomplish, it makes perfect sense. The card can grind a long game if need be or get aggressive with +1/+1 counters and Heart of Kiran crews.
None of the individual card choices here are shocking or underpowered. But taken together, they represent a reimagining of B/G Delirium into something more versatile and thus harder to effectively plan against.