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[M:TG] Help new player understand why these 2 top decks work and are good!

Wytefang

Retired User
Still very new to M:TG and I'm wondering if someone would be so kind as to clearly, yet in a detailed fashion, explain to me why the decks I'm going to list below are 1) good decks, and 2) why and how they work?

(IMPORTANT - I'm new to the game. That means you'll have to avoid using weird slang or jargon unless you define what it means. If you just toss out the names of cards to explain your points, I'll probably lack the understanding or familiarity with those cards, needed to understand your points.)

1. Wolf Run Ramp ?

2. UW Delver ? (I have the Delver dude but fail to see how he makes for a good deck?)

Again, very new so please try to be clear and not too referential of previous decks or card types or card combos I'd not understand (unless you care to take the time to explain them so I can understand you better!). THANKS!! :)
 

Qetu

Chelonia Movet Sum
Validated User
If you don't know the cards, you can't understand magic decks.

Wolf Run Ramp: This kind of deck [archetype] plays mana accelerators in one way or another, ramping up to cast a huge series of spells to dominate the opponent.

UW Delver: This kind of deck plays cheap creatures in the first turns, then throws the opponent off their stopgap plan with spells.
 

AliasiSudonomo

Trying to be a bird
Validated User
First off, I suggest getting cozy with gatherer.wizards.com. Go ahead. We'll wait.

Secondly, for a little more detail:

Spoiler: Show

3 Acidic Slime
1 Birds of Paradise
2 Primeval Titan
4 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
4 Viridian Emissary
4 Wurmcoil Engine
Creatures [19]
1 Garruk Relentless
Planeswalkers [1]
1 Batterskull
1 Devil's Play
4 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Mortarpod
4 Rampant Growth
3 Slagstorm
Spells [14]
4 Copperline Gorge
7 Forest
4 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Kessig Wolf Run
5 Mountain
4 Rootbound Crag


This is a version of the deck that finished in the top 8 at Grand Prix Brisbane 2011. The point of the deck is to accelerate a lot of mana out (in this case, primarily Birds, Simulacrums, and Primeval Titans to fetch the Wolf Runs) and then attack. With a Wolf Run out and plenty of mana, EVERY CREATURE YOU HAVE IS A THREAT. I'm caps-ing that because it's a big deal. It's especially true when running Inkmoth Nexuses; with infect you are effectively doubling the damage you hit the opponent with. It's isn't that difficult for a Wolf Run deck to bring an opponent from zero to ten poison counters that way, although it's not necessarily the preferred win. You'll note that the deck is running only one Birds of Paradise, yet it can expect to bring it out quite consistently thanks to Green Sun's Zenith.

Spoiler: Show
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Geist of Saint Traft
4 Lord of the Unreal
4 Phantasmal Bear
3 Phantasmal Image
4 Snapcaster Mage
Creatures [21]
4 Gitaxian Probe
3 Gut Shot
4 Mana Leak
4 Ponder
4 Vapor Snag
Spells [19]
4 Glacial Fortress
9 Island
3 Moorland Haunt
4 Seachrome Coast


This version of Delver finished 1st in the Starcity Invitational in Charlotte NC. Delver is simply the modern twist on a "Fish" deck using the most utterly efficent beaters in the format. You describe Delver of Secrets as 'not a big deal'. a 3/2 flyer for one blue mana is CRAZY GOOD. Ponder means that he will be transforming. However, while the deck may be named after Delver he is merely one of many. Phantasmal Bear, Image, Geist - these are all relatively inexpensive creatures, mana-wise, that can be very strong. In addition, Phantasmal Image allows you to copy the largest thing the opponent has, or kill off an opposing Legendary creature. The spells are fairly minor solutions but you don't need anything big and splashy with this deck as you intend to win before splashy stuff can come out to begin with.

Note that while the cards and individual actions in the deck may be unique to the environment, the strategies are actually quite similar to past decks.
 

Yo! Master

"Delicious"
RPGnet Member
Validated User
*takes a look at variants of said 2 deck (mind you i'm not an active M:tG player so this might be completely wrong but at the other hand giving an outside perspective might be helpful in this particular case)*


Wolf Run Ramp

Generate a lot of mana fast (ahead of the usual mana curve), i.e. what's called "ramp", leading to being able to play your big Creatures & other big spells, which are used to clear the board (lot of damage dealing in there) & kill-off the other player, often using 'Kessig Wolf Run' & its pumping ability (it's trample enabling also letting you pass the damage through any opposition they might offer).

Going by the 2001 World Champion winner variant, the dual-Land's use is obvious, i'd like to think, in a R/G deck. 'Kessig Wolf Run' does what's mentioned above (3x because searchable with the 'Primeval Titan', even if a lynchpin to the deck, & what to keep in mind with it is that you can use it on any of your attacking Creatures, after you see how defenders & combat tricks play out), 'Inkmoth Nexus' is used for the its ability to turn into a flying creature (i.e. difficult to block) with Infect (which pump it through 'Kessig Wolf Run' 1 - 2 hits are enough to just kill your opponent even if they block), 'Birds of Paradise' is more mana fixing, i.e. getting the colors you need when you need them, (plus another candidate for flying pumping if needed), 'Thrun' is a Creature your opponent will have a hugely hard time getting rid off, both 'Titans' are both fatties for beatdown but also the 'Primeval' one ramping-up your mana-acceleration even more & the' Inferno' does cleans up your opponent's side of the board from Creatures and/or do direct damage to them for added pressure (they both are 4x because you want them 100% & ASAP), 'Solemn Simulacrum' is even more mana (& card-draw if it gets killed), 'Devil Play' is a direct damage finisher (as you can pump all your huge mana through it to kill your opponent when getting close), 'Galvanic Blast' for cheap Creature-kill, 'Green Sun's Zenith' equates to 'Thrun' without being a dead card due to 'Thrun' being Legendary & for the 'Birds or Paradise' (or pick some other Creature if needed), 'Slagstorm' is a board-sweeper for Creatures (& since your own are fatties not particularly affecting them, & 'Sphere of the Suns' yet more mana-acceleration.

The sideboard includes means to deal with Artifacts, counter-heavy Blue decks, & answers to other threats (like added redundancy for your own deck, defenders, etc.)


U/W Delver

A turbo-fast aggressive deck, playing a very cheap Creatures that still carry a big punch, along with other cheap spells, especially ones that cost Phyrexian mana (after all, don't forget that it doesn't matter that if at the end of the game you yourself are at 1 Life if you still have won - & with this fast a deck your opponent won't be able to take advantage of the Life losses you cause yourself). 'Delver of Secrets' is the star of the deck because it's basically a 3/2 Flying Creature for 1 mana, which is crazy by itself (the bit of 'luck' involved in him flipping is minimized by how the rest of the deck is set-up, i.e. tons of Instants). 'Snapcast Mage' plus cheap utility Instants also very much helps with the flow of the deck & stalling threats.

Going by the version found here, the 'Delver' is a very aggressive card that will start putting heavy pressure in your opponent immediately (meaning they will have to kill it, if you don't counter their efforts to do so), 'Geist of St. Taft' is similarly a very aggressive card that can swing for 6 (4 of that hard to block) while costing only 3 mana & hard to get rid of (the 3x copies are there because being just 2 Toughness while needing to attack your opponent will try to exchange it with one of their own creatures on the defense, so despite being Legendary it won't stick around for long), 'Phantasmal Bear' is yet another very aggressive card despite its drawback, 'Snapcaster Mage' allows you to get more mileage from all the spells you have already played (which when it comes down to it means the equivalent of if you had drawn the whole of your Graveyard for that turn, some big card advantage & one you can tailor to the situation at hand by picking the answer to the problem at hand, 'Gytaxian Probe' is a 'free' (both in mana & draw) look into your opponent's hand (to know how to play) plus deck-thinning never hurt anyone, 'Dissipate' & 'Mana Leak' for messing with your opponent's strategies (always easy after you have seen their hand), 'Midnight Haunting' adds more evasive Creatures on your side (& not being a Creature itself keeps your count for 'Delver' low), 'Sword of War & Peace' is a finisher (as you yourself play a very fast deck good chance your opponent will still be stuck with plenty of cards when you him them for the added damage those will cause & as a bonus you might get some life back yourself for your Phyrexian mana cards), 'Gut Shot' is a 'free' creature removal & while being Red you don't care as it isn't like you'll ever cast it normally (1 damage might look small but plenty of good support Creatures at 1 Toughness at the moment, if i remember correctly - & takes away early defenders for your own attacks), 'Vapor Snag' delays your opponent yet more while removing defenders & stalling big Creatures you can't get rid off that find their way into play quickly (like from a certain mana-ramp deck above ;), the dual-Lands are again a given, 'Moorland Hall' generates yet more evasive creatures, 'Ponder' is a big multi-tool: helping with your draws, more deck thinning, & more importantly: guaranteeing the 'Delver' changes.

The sideboard has more counters, more removal of various types, another Illusion (one to key-off your opponent playing big Creatures), & more token generation.


The above are not the only variants of these decks, with all sorts of card mixes existing, but they all keep the general gist & both decks play into long-existing M:tG archetypes.


P.S. How did i do for a non-player? :)
 
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Wytefang

Retired User
Wow, some fast responses.

A few replies:

1. @Qetu - Yes, I'm fully aware that I'll need to know the cards. My point was just in trying to keep folks from being like every other overly experienced M:TG expert when explaining this stuff. You dudes may not realize it, because you're on the inside looking out, but when you talk about strategies and decks, it's nearly impossible to follow you. Sorry but that's the way many of us noobs see it. I realize that it's probably just too much of a pain in the butt to change but it does make it tricky for newcomers to learn stuff about the game quickly and more easily. :( Either way, I DO appreciate your explanations. Thanks!

2. Huge thanks, also, to Alias and Yo! Master. I appreciate it, guys! :)
 

Yo! Master

"Delicious"
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Wow, some fast responses.

A few replies:

1. @Qetu - Yes, I'm fully aware that I'll need to know the cards. My point was just in trying to keep folks from being like every other overly experienced M:TG expert when explaining this stuff. You dudes may not realize it, because you're on the inside looking out, but when you talk about strategies and decks, it's nearly impossible to follow you. Sorry but that's the way many of us noobs see it. I realize that it's probably just too much of a pain in the butt to change but it does make it tricky for newcomers to learn stuff about the game quickly and more easily. :( Either way, I DO appreciate your explanations. Thanks!

2. Huge thanks, also, to Alias and Yo! Master. I appreciate it, guys! :)
My advice is that the best way to understand how a deck works is to play it.

Go ahead, make proxies of one of them & start playing around (particularly now that you know the general gist).

:)
 

Qetu

Chelonia Movet Sum
Validated User
The thing is, those decks do not exist in a vacuum. I cannot explain WHY are they top decks without referencing previous decks, ad nauseam.

Learn at your own pace. We oldies get much more out of this game thanks to our previous knowledge. You will get there.
 

Wytefang

Retired User
The thing is, those decks do not exist in a vacuum. I cannot explain WHY are they top decks without referencing previous decks, ad nauseam.

Learn at your own pace. We oldies get much more out of this game thanks to our previous knowledge. You will get there.
Makes sense! Thanks! :)
 

LowBeyonder

Bad Advice & Dune Quotes
RPGnet Member
Validated User
People beat me to the detail breakdown of the decks (curse you, west coast time zone!), so I'll take a high-altitude look at some particular points.

Wolf Run Ramp relies primarily on the idea of "inevitability" -- the longer the game goes, the better a position WRR is in, because Kessig Wolf Run makes its threats bigger and it will draw more Inkmoth Nexuses. The fact that its kill is land-based is pretty important: lands are very hard to interact with (destroy or otherwise manipulate) for the opponent, mostly because land destruction tends to be very inefficient in modern Magic.

Delver decks are primarily "tempo" based, which is (and this is a huge simplification, because tempo is one of the most argued-over terms of MtG theory) the idea of trading cards for time. It looks to establish an early threat, then trade its cheap disruptive cards to keep the opponent from reacting and set them back multiple turns in a row while their small, efficient creatures inflict damage. Moorland Haunt gives it a secondary threat in the form of inevitability: when its creatures die, Moorland Haunt gives them a backup plan to keep creating a stream of creatures without "costing a card", letting them continue to use the cards in their hand to disrupt.

A tempo deck like Delver is different from an all-in aggro deck. Aggro decks look to trade cards for damage. They aren't looking to disrupt your plans, they want to deploy as many threats as possible, hit you as hard as possible, before you have enough resources to defend yourself.

(Control archetypes, which are slow decks that want to trade cards for more cards, answer your threats as efficiently as possible, and eventually establish a soft lock and win, are suffering right now, because historically tempo decks like Delver are heavily favored against control decks.)
 

Qetu

Chelonia Movet Sum
Validated User
Well, Moorland Haunt is more REACH than INEVITABILITY. But those are relatively new terms in the magic lingo. A card gives you REACH (not the ability) when it allows you to finish your opponent when your strategy has been dealt with.
 
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