I was happy to witness the slaughter taking place in the feature match area in Round 6 yesterday, when Marc Tobiasch gave Richard Carr what could only be described as a thorough thrashing. The following photo shows Tobiasch's board on turn five ...
Unfortunately for Carr, he had brought Black-Green Delirium, a deck that was uniquely well equipped to offer almost no resistance, to roll over and die basically. Not that Carr didn't try. He even gained 20 life across two games by hitting Metalwork Colossus with Noxious Gearhulk. Yet he stood no chance, as the games ended with a pair of Elder Deep-Fiends doing their thing. It was utter carnage.
I was intrigued. Was the matchup always this bad for Black-Green Delirium? "Not really, no," said Tobiasch. "Usually, it's worse." Tobiasch didn't want to put a percentage to the matchup. "But you lose against Black-Green Delirium very ... very ... rarely."
The Silver-Level pro had one previous Grand Prix Top 8 to his name and had built quite a reputation as a deckbuilder. Among other things, just two weeks ago as part of the German team, he piloted his own curious take on Jeskai Ascendancy to a ninth-place finish at the World Magic Cup.
His deck this weekend, built around Metalwork Colossus, wasn't exactly new however. In fact, Tobiasch himself had played an earlier iteration at Pro Tour Kaladesh, and others did too. "Most people likely only saw the green-blue version that Team EUreka had at the Pro Tour," said Tobiasch. "I didn't like it. They didn't even like it in the end."
Tobiasch followed a decidedly different route. With its base colors of blue and red, his deck had access to Herald of Kozilek and allowed for a more speedy build-up because of it. "It isn't rare for you to get multiple Colossi onto the battlefield by turn four. There are lots of ways how you can accomplish that: a 2-mana artifact, followed by Cultivator's Caravan, followed by Hedron Archive and another 2-mana artifact, for example. But something like Glint-Nest Crane on turn two, Herald of Kozilek on turn three, Archive and a pair of Caravans on turn four works just as well," said Tobiasch.
"Other times, you'll activate Inventor's Fair on turn five to get Metalwork Colossus, trigger a couple Sanctum of Ugin ... That's about the least you can expect. At the Pro Tour I still ran into a few problems with mana flood, but I got a grip on that by now."
Changes to the deck weren't the only reason why Tobiasch considered Metalwork Colossus to be a good choice again. "The metagame changed. A more defined metagame in general makes things easier. It's not just about Black-Green Delirium, although the popularity of the deck obviously helps.
"Delirium has no other out than Emrakul, the Promised End. All the other cards are largely irrelevant. Ishkanah, Grafwidow, for instance, is a huge roadblock against most decks. Not for this one. Emrakul is a problem because they can run Metalwork Colossus into it and then sacrifice all your artifacts to its ability. But I have Elder Deep-Fiend to cut off their mana and a full four Thought-Knot Seer after sideboarding. They sometimes get a one-turn window where they have a chance to cast Emrakul, but that's about it and they need to have close to a perfect draw to use it.
"The matchup against White-Blue Flash is fifty-fifty overall, maybe slightly favored. Skysovereign, Consul Flagship is awesome against them. Archangel Avacyn is a problem at times. That's why I bring in Tears of Valakut.
"Aggressive decks are more difficult, at least in game one. But the 2/4 body of Herald of Kozilek is surprisingly strong here, as is Spatial Contortion, especially in combination with the Herald. Players rarely expect you to be able to do something with just one mana or just colorless mana. In one game, for example, I didn't have a fourth land but had cast Herald and Hedron Archive. My opponent attacked with Toolcraft Exemplar, 4/3 thanks to Depala, Pilot Exemplar. He was quite surprised when I blocked and took out Depala before damage."
The matchup against Aetherworks Marvel Tobiasch described with a somewhat sheepish "okay" with regards to the first game, then pointed to the three Ceremonious Rejection in his sideboard. He was quite happy with his fifteen in general and the mana base which allowed him to have Tears of Valakut, Fragmentize, Transgress the Mind, and Ceremonious Rejection in there. "Corrupted Crossroads helps with Transgress the Mind, Aether Hub, Prophetic Prism, and Cultivator's Caravan help with all of them."
Tobiasch's final words to me were that the deck was criminally underrated. "Too many people just don't know about it."
Well, we're doing our best to change that at least.