Cook’s Kitchen: Delving Into Providence- SCG Standard Open Top 4 With UW Delver

A couple Thursday nights ago I went to the local gaming store for some Legacy. I’ve been playing a different deck every week and decided to play with T.E.S. to get some of the rust out. Unfortunately, not enough people showed up for an event. Which has been a trend due to warmer weather, in months prior the Syracuse events were anywhere between 15-24 people. I sent out a text message to a few people on opinions on my current Delver list below, I knew it was time to cut Feeling of Dread. It was good when I top 8’d in Baltimore but has been lacking recently.


Stupid Old UW Delver



4 Delver of Secrets

4 Snapcaster Mage

3 Invisible Stalker


Legendary Creatures:

3 Geist of Saint Traft



4 Mana Leak

4 Ponder

4 Thought Scour

3 Gitaxian Probe

4 Vapor Snag

2 Feeling of Dread

1 Gut Shot



2 Runechanter’s Pike

2 Sword of War and Peace


Basic Land:

9 Island



4 Glacial Fortress

4 Seachrome Coast

3 Moorland Haunt



3 Celestial Purge

2 Oblivion Ring

2 Timely Reinforcements

2 Flashfreeze

2 Negate

2 Phantasmal Image

2 Ratchet Bomb


Alex Artese was the first person to respond telling me to cut a couple Thoughtscour for the forth Probe and a Timely Reinforcements. At first I was very skeptical of a main deck Timely, but the more and more I thought about it the more it made sense. Usually with the release of new sets people tend to play more aggressive decks like Red Deck Wins or RG Aggro. I figured it was worth a shot. The slot was either going to be a maindeck Phantasmal Image or the Timely – I believe I made the right choice. Doug Mckay then sat down with me to work on the sideboard. I decided to cut the Flash Freezes due to Cavern of Souls being in all of the ramp decks. I decided to add a few Mental Missteps to the sideboard for the mirror match. I also added a miser’s Corrosive Gale for Esper Spirits which has been a popular deck, although, I never played against it even though there was plenty of it. Eventually I came up with the list below:


Awesome New UW Delver



Delver of Secrets

Snapcaster Mage

Invisible Stalker


Legendary Creatures:

Geist of Saint Traft



Mana Leak


Thought Scour

Gitaxian Probe

Vapor Snag

Gut Shot

1 Timely Reinforcements



Runechanter’s Pike

Sword of War and Peace


Basic Land:

9 Island



Glacial Fortress

Seachrome Coast

Moorland Haunt



Celestial Purge

Oblivion Ring

Timely Reinforcements

1 Corrosive Gale

2 Mental Misstep


Phantasmal Image

Ratchet Bomb

I spent all day Friday checking the clock at work hoping it would be five o’clock already. Eventually it was time to clock out then rush out the door, I arrived home with just enough time to get things ready before the car was outside. I dashed for the car, popped the trunk, greeted Brian Coghan, Nick Patnode, Si-Ning-Li, and Andre Segarra we were then on our way to Providence!


The car wasn’t even off my street before Dre and I began talking about How I Met Your Mother. He has recently began the series and doesn’t yet have the hatred for Robin that I do. I began to explain my hatred for her to him with a few examples:

• She’s Canadian.

• Her real name is Jacoba Smolders (Really?).

• Her character isn’t funny, at all.

• She often refers to herself as the hottest girl in the room, let’s face it, she’s attractive, but definitely not the hottest girl in the room.

• Season 2 was entirely useless – an entire season Ted & Robin date and we know she’s not the mother.

• She slept with Ted’s best friend (Barney).

• She then dates said best friend down the road and almost ruins his character.

• It’s tough to think of male characters in the show besides Marshall that she hasn’t slept with or tried to sleep with.

• She then later messes with Ted again then rejects him.


She’s the worst. All of this hatred lead to a list of the top 10 worst things ever, which included Robin Schebatsky at the top, followed by things like Cancer, the Phillies, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Nickelback.

As the car ride continued we talked a lot about Magic theory, levels of play skill, personal expectations, and etc. We made a stop or two for terrible fast food on the thruway along with energy drinks. We eventually arrived at our location around 11:30pm and it was pretty evident that we were all exhausted. We ordered some cheap pizzas as we played some EDH Omnath vs. Godo and cube drafted until it was pretty late. As we were getting ready for bed a group of dudes checked into the room next to us and were pretty noisy as we were trying to crash. Andre wanted to pull the angry black man card on them to get them to shut up, by the time he went out there all he saw was a room key hanging in the door. Nick Patnode convinced him to take it and put it under Ning’s pillow while he slept.


6AM rolls around and we’re awoken by the assholes next door (really?). Less than four hours of sleep. I get out of bed and they’re pulling away in a car, I couldn’t sleep so I just decided to get ready for the day. Everyone began waking up slowly one after another until Ning woke up. As we were preparing to leave Nick asked Ning, “Why did you take that key last night?”


“What I didn’t take any keys”


“Um, yeah you did, I don’t know if you were sleep walking or not but you took them.”


The lie continued and the four of us convinced Ning that he stole someone else’s hotel keys. Arriving at the convention center was exciting, although, very awkward. Poor planning by the convention center to have a cheerleading competition the same weekend as a nerd tournament. When arriving to the floor for the event, it was different than the room for the Grand Prix. It was smaller, but way nicer.


I filled out my deck sheet while convincing Ning to play the same seventy-five cards. After that I busted out Godo once again to take on Ning’s Omnath and Patnode’s Kaalia! We played a bunch of games where Omnath was slightly behind due to the land destruction from the other decks. Before we knew it the pairings for round one were up!


Round One: Samuel Thrift with RG Wolfrun


Game One: I mulligan to five on the play. I keep a hand of Seachrome, Island, Glacial Fortress, Invisible Stalker, and Ponder. I play Coast into Ponder, looking at Delver, Probe, Sword of War and Peace. I stack them for the Delver flip on turn three.  His turn one was Mountain, go, and this changed my game plan to Invisible Stalker. My turn three was Sword, turn four equip and attack. Sam’s turn four was an Inferno Titan. I do the math and I was going to win the race because of the main deck Timely Reinforcements in my hand. Until his main deck Naturalize kills the sword. Alright.


Sideboarding: -3 Thoughtscour, -1 Runechanter’s Pike, +2 Oblivion Ring +2 Celestial Purge


Game Two: Turn one Delver of Secrets, turn two Delver of Secrets, Ponder, turn three flip revealing Mana Leak. With the Mana Leak in hand he never was able to resolve a spell that game.


Game Three: I mulliganed once again and kept a hand of Seachrome Coast, Seachrome Coast, Geist of Saint Traft, Mana Leak, Delver of Secrets, and Sword of War and Peace. Sam begins with a turn one Birds of Paradise, I follow up with a Seachrome Coast and a Delver of Secrets. He casts a Green Sun Zenith for two and attacks me with a Tangleroot Geist. Delver flips revealing Gut Shot, I kill his Bird, then attack. Sam misses his land drop and casts a Rampant Growth I counter it with Mana Leak, he attacks and passes. I draw a land to cast Geist. Sam never plays another land or spell.




Round Two: Elliot Wolchesky with Tempered Steel


Game One: I played three spells the entire game. Turn one Ponder, Turn two Invisible Stalker, turn three Sword of War and Peace. Get there.


Sideboarding:-3 Thoughtscour, -2 Gitaxian Probe, -2 Runechanter’s Pike, +2 Oblivion Ring, +1 Timely Reinforcements, +2 Mental Misstep, +2 Ratchet Bomb


Game Two: I began the game with two early Delver of Secrets, followed by an Invisible Stalker. I then played a couple of Vapor Snags on some Phyrexian creatures to turn the snags into Lightning Bolts. In response to the second Snag, one of the Delvers became exiled. Elliot then played a Tempered Steel which I could not counter or remove. I played a Snapcaster to block and bounce to buy time to even out the race. I drew a Ponder into a second Snapcaster flashing back the second Vapor Snag to secure the win for my Delver and Invisible Stalker.




After the match I went to watch Ning’s match against Jason Ellis. Where Ning barely pulled out a victory in a tight game three. Jason mentioned how it’s wrong to leave in Mana Leak in the mirror which I don’t agree with. I think Mana Leak is fine because otherwise there’s only two Phantasmal Images and your own Geists to deal with theirs. The match-up is heavily defined by Geist a majority of the time. Jason was playing a list without equipment, in fact, he was playing the list Todd Anderson suggested. Which makes the deck have less “must-counters” allowing the Leaks to be used more efficiently. I finally started using the twitter pairings at this point then went to sit in my seat.

Round Three: Erik Manooshism with W/B/r Renanimator


Game One: This was a long game with plenty of Nihil Spellbombs and mass removal to kill my creatures before an Elesh Norn secured the game for Erik. I only had one card in hand (a Mana Leak) and he had six available mana to recast Elesh Norn if I did happen to draw Vapor Snag and Snapcaster or a second Leak.


Sideboarding: -2 Gut Shot, -1 Timely Reinforcements, -1 Runechanter’s Pike, +2 Oblivion Ring, +2 Negate


Game Two: I came out swinging with early Delvers and Stalkers, playing into the Day I knew he had from Probe. I then played a turn five Geist with Mana Leak and Negate in hand. Erik drew and cast Lilliana. I cast Negate because he had mana to pay for Leak. I then drew a Snapcaster which allowed for enough protection for Geist to finish the job.


Game Three: This was a long drawn out game where I drew three Mana Leaks, all four Snapcasters, both Negates, and was actively using two Moorland Haunts per turn to grind Erik out. He wasn’t too thrilled about being stuck on six lands with two Elesh Norns. However, I was sitting on an Oblivion Ring and the third Leak in hand.




Round Four: Chris Cornwell-Shiel with Red Deck Wins


Game One: Chris mulliganed to five while showing me what he was playing. I began the game with a classic turn one Delver of Secrets, he played a Mountain and passed. My hand at this point in time had two Mana Leaks, a couple of lands, and a Geist. I flipped and swung. Chris played a Furnace Scamp. I played a Geist, and Chris played a second Scamp. I swung team, Chris double blocked, and I Gut Shot one of the Scamps. There he conceded.


Sideboarding: -3 Thoughtscour, -1 Runechanter’s Pike, -4 Gitaxian Probe, +3 Celestial Purge, +1 Timely Reinforcements, +2 Mental Misstep, +2 Negate.


Game Two: Chris mulliganed a bunch again, I had a turn three Timely Reinforcements, turn four Sword of War and Peace, turn five equip a token and attack. From this point, I dropped a Geist then equipped the following turn. My entire hand was counter spells and Snapcaster Mages. Chris concedes.




Round Five: John LaFreniere with Naya Pod


Game One: John began the game with a turn one Avacyn’s Pilgrim off of a Cavern of Souls naming Humans. The Pilgrim shortly after ate a Gut Shot on my turn, which came down alongside a Delver of Secrets. John played a Bird then passes. I attacked for one, played a land and passed. John played a Sunpetal Grove tapped his lands to cast a Blade Splicer to which I respond with Mana Leak. A judge was quickly called. The judge explained to John you must announce every time you use the Cavern mana for the second ability to be in effect, unless it’s the only land to produce the colors required. The Splicer hit the graveyard. I played a Sword of War and Peace and attacked with my now flipped Delver. On his turn, John slammed a Hero of Bladehold. I equipped my Delver and attacked, then cast Vapor Snag on his Hero. The game was pretty much over at this point, John packed it up, unhappy with himself.


Sideboarding:-3 Thoughtscour, -2 Gitaxian Probe,  +2 Mental Misstep, +2 Ratchet Bomb, +1 Timely Reinforcements


Game Two: This wasn’t much of a game. John played a mana creature both turns one and two to only see Gut Shot, Snapcaster Mage, Gut Shot killing the second creature. He never had another mana source while I beat him down.




Round Six: Max Tietze with UW Delver


Game One: Mulligan. I opened up a pretty good hand with Stalker, Ponder, Mana Leak, 2 lands, and a Vapor Snag. I cast Ponder into a Runechanter’s Pike which eventually resolved, turning the my Stalker vs. his Delver race around. Runechanter’s Pike got there.


Sideboarding: -1 Invisible Stalker, -2 Thoughtscour, -1 Gitaxian Probe , +2 Phantasmal Image, +2 Mental Misstep


Game Two: I kept a questionable one land-er with a Probe and a Ponder (which happens to find a second land but not a third). While digging for a third Max resolved a Geist and crushed me over the next few turns.


Game Three: Mulligan. I Probed Max very early and saw that he was sitting on Steel Sabotage and Divine Offering. This caused me to shuffle away artifacts with Ponders for the rest of the game. It essentially created a “mulligan-to-five” situation for Max. I later found out he drew a third piece of artifact hate. He was respecting the Mana Leaks he knew I had in my hand from his Probes. But I drew Images to play around his carefully planned Geists before playing my own. I sat on my Timely Reinforcements the entire game because I was ahead. But I eventually wore him down with Haunts and Geist.




Round Seven: Feature match vs. Jake Gagnon with UW Delver


We were originally supposed to be on camera, however, the SCG crew decided that we were not large enough names for the audience’s viewing pleasure.


Game One: I had two unflipped Delvers and a Sword War and Peace to Jake’s Geist. I suited up a Delver only, to have it tapped down by the other Geist (Dungeon). I then get destroyed by his miser’s Mutagenic Growth on Geist of Saint Traft.


Sideboarding: -1 Invisible Stalker, -2 Thoughtscour, -1 Gitaxian Probe , +2 Phantasmal Image, +2 Mental Misstep


Game Two: Mulligans man, mulligans. I started with a very weak five and got blown out.


I guess it was a good thing this didn’t take place on camera.




Round Eight: Jason Ellis with UW Delver


Game One: Game one was all about the main deck Timely Reinforcements. It bought me enough time to recover but I eventually hit a land pocket and lost the game. Rough beats.


Sideboarding: -1 Invisible Stalker, -2 Thoughtscour, -1 Gitaxian Probe , +2 Phantasmal Image, +2 Mental Misstep


Game Two: I showed no respect for Mana Leak the entire round, I know he boarded them out and didn’t have equipment either. We were in a Geist war for a while but I drew both Images and got my own Geist to stick due to Mana Leaking a Snapcaster Mage. Even though I had a Geist I began losing at this point to his double Delvers. I drew consecutively, Mana Leak, Snapcaster, and Vapor Snag. I played the Snapcaster to Snag and bounce then on my turn I had to draw Snag or Gut Shot or I lost. I drew the Snag to bounce his blocker then Mana Leak the Snapcaster in his hand. He wasn’t too thrilled.


Sideboarding: -1 Mana Leak, +1 Timely Reinforcements


Game Three: Jason played a turn one Delver which I killed with Gut Shot. He played another that didn’t flip on his turn, which set me up for a turn three Timely Reinforcements. This actually won me the round because a Soldier carrying a Pike was more than enough to get the job done against Geist and a Delver.




Round Nine: Donald Brown with UW Delver


I looked at the breakers and if I drew there was a chance I wouldn’t make it with my 63.4% breakers. I was forced to play it out while my opponent insisted I was safe to draw in.


Game One: My list doesn’t interact with Geist of Saint Traft + Spectral Flight game one.


Sideboarding: -1 Invisible Stalker, -2 Thoughtscour, -1 Gitaxian Probe , +2 Phantasmal Image, +2 Mental Misstep


Game Two: I took control very early with Mental Misstep, Snapcaster, Misstep on his Delvers then slowly beat him down with two Snapcasters until he was forced to play out his hand into the Mana Leaks he allowed me to draw while not playing spells.


Game Three: I dominated this game. Donald probed me very early and saw multiple counter spells (Missteps, Leaks) lands and Snapcasters. He didn’t have any action, allowing me to dictate the game. Anything Don did I let him do, I had complete control. I had one turn where I tapped out for a Sword of War and Peace allowing him to resolve Geist, but only because I drew an Image the turn before. I ended up just activating Haunts and attacking him down with Snapcasters until he was at 0. Top 8!




First place after swiss! I saw the breakers before Top 8, if I had drawn I would’ve been 9th. We take our pictures and celebrate while we wait for the top 8 to begin. I was then the jerk who rejected a Top 8 split, I don’t care if people dislike it. Be a man and play it out.


Top 8: Brian Desimone with GW Humans


Game One: I played a turn one Ponder, Gut Shot on his creature, turn two Vapor Snag, turn three Probe into Geist of Saint Traft. Two turns later, Sword of War and Peace equipped and attacked. The game was secured at this point but lasted a few more turns.


Sideboarding: -3 Thoughtscour, -4 Gitaxian Probe, +2 Oblivion Ring, +2 Oblivion Ring, +2 Mental Misstep, +1 Timely Reinforcements


Game Two: Brian came out of the gates with a turn one Campion then a Doomed Traveler and a Pilgrim turn two. I slowed him down enough with Vapor Snags, Gutshots, and Snapcasters to stablize until I could draw a Timely Reinforcements. I eventually drew a fifth land and flashed back Timely only to have half of the room outraged thinking I had ripped the Snapcaster of the top. It was only a matter of time before I hit some lands. This bought enough time to draw a Sword of War and Peace to attack with it on a Delver for the win.




Day one completed! Kevin Jones and Rudy try to talk us into going to some Mongolian Barbeque place. I had to convince my car that Union Station Brewery was better from my prior experience in Providence I knew that it was. Hot waitresses, craft brews, and delicious Pizza and Boneless wings. Blueberry Wheat Beer with actual blueberries on the bottom was great. Ning had started to believe we were lying to him about the room key situation, so we had to persuade him again that it really happened. We then decided to drag Ning to see the Avengers, it’s his fault he saw it before the trip on the weekend of a nerd event. Foolishness.


The movie was everything I hoped it would be. It was incredibly funny and enjoyable. The Hulk is what really pushed the movie over the top, without his presence at the very end I don’t know if it would’ve been worth it. I want to see the movie again just to have a better chance at remembering all of the great one-liners. The downside of seeing the Avengers after diner was we didn’t get to bed until three when we had to be up at 6:45. I stumbled back to the convention center exhausted. It definitely showed in the top four match.


Top 4: Dustin Taylor with RG Aggro


Coverage here




Well I lost. It happens, but it’s my second SCG top 8 in a row qualifying me for all three invitationals this season. Legacy came shortly after the top 4, I was making play mistakes left and right. I haven’t played T.E.S. in awhile which was part of the problem, I was miserable. The other part was exhaustion, my body wasn’t ready to be making complex decisions for the next several hours. I decided to stay in to grind out some Planeswalker points but ended up dropping mid-way. Props to the Jupiter crew that Top 8’d – Nick Patnode, Kevin Jones, and Dave Rice. While Patnode was in top 8, the rest of the car went with Amin and his friends to Union Station and had a great time. We arrived as Patnode was losing his top 4 match.


The ride back was cold, no conversation, just people sleeping and silence. The places and lights all began to look the same after a while, I quickly followed suit and feel asleep.  When I woke up we were stopped at rest stop and I decided to take over and drive for awhile. I made it to 30-40 miles past Albany before my eyelids felt too heavy and decided to pass the wheel. It probably wasn’t safe at that point anyway. Luckily, we all made it safely back around seven in the morning. A long, enjoyable, and tiring trip. Although, while writing this I realized we never told Ning he didn’t actually steal the keys on the way home.


Sorry Ning.


Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!

Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook on MTGthesource



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