Thursday, April 17, 2014

Deck Flashback: Delver Blue

Today I want to start a new blog series called Deck Flashback. Essentially, in these posts, I will be looking back to successful Standard Pauper decks of the past, breaking down what made them work, and discussing how those concepts might be applied in the current metagame.

The release of Innistrad brought one of the most powerful Blue Commons to be printed in recent time: Delver of Secrets. The chance to get a 3/2 Flyer that effectively has Haste on Turn 2 or 3 is too good to pass up, even if there's no guarantee it will ever be more than a 1/1 for 1. Delver saw play in just about every deck that ran Blue, and was the backbone for several successful deck archetypes.

One of those archetypes was an aggressive mono-Blue deck that was usually referred to simply as Delver Blue. Here's a sample decklist, taken from MPDC 18.01:

Delver Blue
FlxEx MPDC 18.01 Top 4
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Phantasmal Bear
4 Stitched Drake
4 Welkin Tern
16 cards

Other Spells
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Mana Leak
4 Ponder
4 Psychic Barrier
4 Thought Scour
4 Vapor Snag
2 Negate
2 Turn Aside
1 Silent Departure
29 cards
15 Island
15 cards

Delver of Secrets

I believe three elements made this deck so successful:
  • It was the epitome of Aggro-Control; drop a quick creature, protect it with counter-magic, and ride it all the way to victory.
  • The high number of spells compared to either Lands or Creatures all but guaranteed that Delver would flip within 2-3 turns at most, and often right-away.
  • It had a very low Land count, thanks to a very low mana curve, playing only a single color, and including 12 cantrips. This meant it rarely wanted more than three Lands in play, and typically drew very well.
Sadly, nearly all of these cards have rotated out of Standard, with very little in the way of analogs to take their place. So why did I take the time to look at it?

Last time, I talked about Hidden Strings and its use in an aggressive Azorius build. While the build that took the trophy for MPDC 24.07 is quite strong, I found myself wondering if one could retool the list to an Aggro-Control archetype. Naturally, the first place to start is to look at other successful Aggro-Control decklists and see what made them tick.

Next time, I hope to apply some of these insights into just such a decklist. But until then, I'd love to hear your thoughts about Delver Blue and how it might be a springboard for a successful Aggro-Control archetype that takes advantage of Hidden Strings. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. See you next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment