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Decknology: Bitten by the BUG

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

Editor’s Note: Decknology is a weekly series with two Standard decks you can sleeve up tonight for Friday Night Magic. We hope to feature some Tier 1 decks and some spicy brews, but need your help! For a chance to be featured, submit your decklist with accompanying article (about 1,000 words) to editor@legitmtg.com. For best results, focus on what makes your 75 stand out from the crowd. Previously on Decknology: UB Vampires and Monoblack Artifacts; Hellrider and Quirion Dryad; Naya Beats and RG Aggro.

BUG Tezzeret Superfriends by Scott Peitzer

Scott Peitzer has been playing Magic on and off since 1993, although he has only been playing it competitively for a few years. He enjoys brewing for Standard, Modern, Legacy, Vintage and Commander, and is the mastermind behind the Booze Cube. Scott lives in Minneapolis with his wife and dog. You can follow him on Twitter at @theboozecube.

Sometimes, I want to win quickly and efficiently. Other times, I want to slowly grind my opponent’s soul into a fine powder while establishing overwhelming board control. This is the second kind of deck.

It has maindeck hate artifacts like Torpor Orb and Grafdigger’s Cage that are never dead because you can always turn them into 5/5s. It can slow aggressive strategies down to a crawl by gumming up the board with walls and tokens or keeping creatures tapped with Tamiyo, Moon Sage. Between cards like Liliana of the Veil, Black Sun’s Zenith, Beast Within and Ratchet Bomb, the maindeck is capable of answering almost any threat.

What makes this deck particularly powerful, however, is the way it takes advantage of proliferate. Proliferating loyalty counters on planeswalkers is a pseudo-Time Walk, like getting an extra +1 activation (without the ability). Proliferating with multiple planeswalkers on the battlefield is just absurd. And proliferate also supports the Black Sun’s Zeniths and Ratchet Bombs. Be prepared to do things like:

  • Increase Liliana’s loyalty without having to discard;
  • Ultimate Tezzeret the turn that you play him;
  • Increase Garruk’s loyalty on his front side so that he can fight multiple creatures without flipping;
  • Ultimate Tamiyo several turns faster; or
  • Activate Karn’s -3 ability twice in a row without killing him.


Wall of Tanglecord: It’s a two-drop artifact that can block almost everything in the format without batting an eye. As long as you have a green source open, this card will block flipped Delvers all day long.
Spellskite: Vapor Snag, Oblivion Ring, Apostle’s Blessing, etc. It blocks well with a 0/4 body, but can still be profitably turned into a 5/5 since it doesn’t have defender.
Vessel of Endless Rest: Better than Pristine Talisman at this slot because it fixes colors. The ETB trigger can tuck a Gravecrawler, Lingering Souls or Snapcaster target. You can also just stick a Ponder or Beast Within under your library.
Beast Within: I prefer flexibility in my maindeck removal, and the token is usually pretty easy to deal with.
Ratchet Bomb: Obviously good against tokens, but it can also take out higher CMC problems with support from Contagion Clasp.
Contagion Clasp: Straight-up removal vs x/1s, a potential beatstick with Tezz, and a powerful engine with multiple planeswalkers.
Garruk, Relentless: Removal and gums up the board with tokens (which can also go on the offense). Occasionally tutors for a Wurmcoil finisher or a Wall of Tanglecord to survive. His token generation also works well with Trading Post.
[Inkmoth Nexus]: Not in here. While occasionally a two-turn clock with Tezz, there’s very limited space for colorless lands in this deck, and being able to rebuy artifacts with Buried Ruin is far more important.


Phyrexian Metamorph: Mostly to kill legendary creatures and can be recurred with Trading Post. It’s not in the main because, aside from Batterskull or Wurmcoil Engine, there’s no artifact I really want to copy.
Appetite for Brains: A criminally underplayed card that is great against ramp and control. Especially good against Frites and Solar Flare, since exiling an Unburial Rites from hand is basically a 2-for-1.
Witchbane Orb: Answers Bonfire of the Damned, Liliana’s edict and ultimate abilities, Geralf’s Messenger, and anything else that targets you. Incidentally good against Curse of Death’s Hold.
Torpor Orb and Grafdigger’s Cage: In the matchups where they’re good, they’re really good.
Karn Liberated: There for control matchups
Doom Blade: Over Go for the Throat to be able to kill Inkmoth Nexus, and Zombies is already one of this deck’s best matchups.
Curse of Death’s Hold: Tokens, Delver, and anything with Inkmoth Nexus.

Against aggro decks, your main priority will generally be keeping your opponent’s board  under control so that you can protect Tezzeret to ultimate for a significant amount of life. Most of the time, this will require clogging up the board with walls, wolf tokens or 5/5 artifacts until you can clear it with a Black Sun’s Zenith or Ratchet Bomb. Against control decks, you generally want to use Garruk to bait their counterspells in order to resolve Tezzeret, Batterskull or Trading Post. Against Zombies or Pod, you just want to resolve your hate artifacts as soon as possible.

This is a fun deck to play. Its biggest weakness is that it can be incredibly slow — you will go to time a lot. If you can’t clear the board to attack, you may have to use Tezzeret’s ultimate more than once. Fortunately, Contagion Clasp really helps with this, since you can proliferate to quickly rebuild his loyalty.

— Scott Peitzer

BUG Delver by Rudy Briksza

Rudy Briksza is an up and comer from New Jersey. He started playing in M12 and started playing competitively after New Phyrexia was released. He enjoys long walks on the beach and brewing sweet decks with Gravitational Shift and Vampire Nighthawk.

There is a certain color combination I love above all others. And every once in awhile I sit down and brew a BUG deck to playtest or bring to FNMs. This deck however, has actually done its fair share of crushing. Although it might not be considered a rogue brew, it probably isn’t like anything you’ve seen before.

So what makes this deck awesome? For starters, you get to play with Quirion Dryad. That card is sick, but in a world of Vapor Snags it can seem kind of sluggish. We want to be able to protect it, and Dryad gets better when you play it alongside a variety of spells that are cheap and efficient. For this reason we can make Talrand, Sky Summoner be an effective card while protecting it with cards like Mana Leak or Mental Misstep.

But the real draw to black is premium spot removal in Doom Blade effects and access to proactive cards like Duress and Despise. Delver decks have a bad habit of losing to a bunch of good creatures or powerful spells (read planeswalkers). Duress and [card‘Despise[/card] allows us to protect our threats without always having to leave up mana or counter everything. This deck gets very aggressive very quickly and using discard allows us to achieve that goal.

The deck’s biggest weakness is the inability to gain life. You’re not as soft to Sword of War and Peace as in traditional Delver, but you have to use your life total as less of a resource. Having Swamps in the deck allows us to pay for Dismember and not rely on Phyrexian mana as much. One of the key points to this deck is using its removal efficiently. It is quite easy to run through all your removal and be left with creatures and threats you can’t deal with. You can be a tempo deck, but this build allows you to play a controlling game with Talrand.

This deck attacks from a different angle in the current format but also allows you to have fun. Sometimes you flip a Delver and win. Sure, that happens. And sometimes your Naya opponent plays Turn 2 Blade Splicer using Cavern of Souls into Turn 3 Restoration Angel into Turn 4 Bonfire of the Damned for three. Now that Delver flip doesn’t seem so good does it? That’s why in the sideboard, I suggest playing an extra Swamp alongside two Deathmarks and more removal spells.

I would highly recommend giving this deck a spin. It is a fun and interesting deck which can attack from several angles and leave your opponents both in awe and confusion. Plus you get to play my favorite set of colors, and that’s always a bonus.

— Rudy Briksza

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