Standard Decknology: Delirium’s not Dead Yet

Throughout my short sabbatical of releasing content, I have still remained active in my Standard League that I am running on Xmage. In this league, I allow the players to swap the decks they play each week. Due to some circumstances beyond my control (Declaration In Stone not working on the platform) I struggled for a few weeks to find a deck that was good against the variety of the metagame. In a recent Erich Froehlich Deck of the Day article on CFB, he covered a 4 Color Delirium list that I found to be very intriguing.  So I queued it up as my deck for the league, and have been crushing with it. You will find the list below.

4 Aether Hub
4 Blooming Marsh
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Evolving Wilds
2 Forest
2 Island
1 Mountain
2 Swamp
2 Catacomb Sifter
1 Distended Mindbender
1 Elder Deep-Fiend
3 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
1 Noxious Gearhulk
4 Rogue Refiner
1 Torrential Gearhulk
2 Walking Ballista
1 World Breaker
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald
4 Fatal Push
4 Grapple with the Past
4 Kozilek's Return
2 To the Slaughter
1 Prophetic Prism
2 Sinister Concoction

Sideboard
1 Noxious Gearhulk
1 Torrential Gearhulk
1 Appetite for the Unnatural
1 Dampening Pulse
2 Negate
2 Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 Release the Gremlins
4 Transgress the Mind
1 Unlicensed Disintegration

It seems that the popularity of Delirium decks went down after the banning of Emrakul, The Promised End in Standard and I was really excited to see this list pop up.  As soon as I read the article I felt that there were some seriously fun things I could be doing in my matches. The entire point of playing is to have fun… No.. Win… But if I can have fun and win, this is really winning.

During my league matches, I consistently had Delirium super early in the game and found myself way ahead. Often times, I would cast Traverse the Ulvenwald Turn 1, Grapple with the Past Turn 2, and cast Walking Ballista with X=0 to give myself Delirium on Turn 3. The Ballista for 0 is super cute, and a great way to get a revolt trigger, and hit Delirium early. Even more effective is the act of playing the Ballista for some value of X, using the counters to ping the opponent and then benefiting from the Revolt trigger or the 2 for 1 special on Delirium.

Another thing I noticed while playing this list was that it felt to me like a Modern deck with its variety of threats, and most cards only having 1 or 2 copies in the main deck. I was slightly weary of this and normally do not like this as a deckbuilding strategy in Standard, but with almost guaranteed Delirium for Traverse, it is pretty much a tutor every time you need it to be. There is a wide variety of big fatties at the top end of the curve that all have differing uses, and it is nice to have the option to find exactly what you need.  The inclusion of 4 Grapple With the Past in this list allowed me to bring back the important creatures in my particular matchup and made it really hard for Control Decks to have all the answers to my threats.

One of the highlights of my league performance thus far was casting 5 copies of Ishkanah, Grafwidow. This definitely felt like cheating.  At one point, I had 3 in hand at once and laughed as he sighed every time I cast one. Although this was definitely the exception, and not the rule when it comes to this deck, it showed me the diversity of such a brew.

I enjoyed playing this deck immensely and if you are tired of playing Heart of Kiran, Winding Constrictor, or Saheeli in the current Standard metagame, give this list a spin.  It is super strong and every game plays out differently.  Although I find this to be really interesting, it makes it harder to give play advice without seeing particular board states.  Feel free to comment if you have a chance to test it out. If there is enough interest, I will do some match by match analysis of this deck.

Be kind, Have fun, and Don’t Forget to Smile!

-Strictly

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