(Modern) Deck Spotlight – Temur Delver

by MrShy


 

Hello readers and welcome back. Firstly, let me apologize for being away for so long. Real Life ™ has been quite a pain recently and so brewing sweet modern decks has had to wait a little…however! I have come back to you with a beaut. As much as a good chef’s work is never complete, a good writer always has something to say and I’ve been saving this one up for a few weeks.

Shortly after the blue delve cards were banned in Modern, a lot of people started to reach outward and look at other delve cards, to see if similar power laid therein. Tasigur had already began to see a good amount of play by then and Gurmag Angler was going the same way. These were obvious progressions as surrounding black cards had made the color good enough to play anyway and the decks that wanted the black cards wanted quality threat-density.

dig hooting tasi treasure

Another archetype that has always cried out for quality threat-density are the Delver of Secrets lists. In quiet corners, people started to brew what have become known as “Curious George decks” – Delver lists, with a green splash for Tarmogoyf (obviously) and the new additions of Hooting Mandrills and Curiosity (get it?). Coupled with Disrupting Shoal, this framework lead to some reasonable success, with an SCG Open being spiked by the deck and with some similar lists making deep runs into tournaments around Europe. My first glimpse of this was watching Caleb Durwood stream the deck and take down an 8-man with it.

Since I first saw these decks, I felt like they were on to something but felt that the excitement of Mandrills was distracting people from what actually makes the green splash good. The main incentives, in my head, are Tarmogoyf (again, obviously) and sideboard cards. I started to formulate some ideas for what I would like to play in a similar deck and came up with the following list:

MrShy’s Temur Delver V 1.0

Land – 22
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Steam Vents
2 Breeding Pool
1 Stomping Ground
2 Sulfur Falls
2 Island
1 Mountain
1 Forest
1 Desolate Lighthouse

Instants/Sorceries – 21
4 Serum Visions
4 Disrupting Shoal
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Vapor Snag
3 Mana Leak
1 Electrolyze
1 Roast
1 Become Immense
1 Spell Snare

Creatures – 17
2 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Young Pyromancer
3 Snapcaster Mage

Sideboard – 15
3 Molten Rain
2 Stubborn Denial
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Rending Volley
1 Shatterstorm
1 Creeping Corrosion
1 Unravel the Aether
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Monastery Siege
1 Savage Knuckleblade

Initial Modifications

This first list is clearly a little rough and I could very quickly see a few oversights that need to be addressed. Firstly, this isn’t a 22 land deck – it’s not remotely interested in hitting a 4th land in most games and is more than happy to run off of three, so we can drop a couple. The Mountain is superfluous in the extreme so that should go. I believe that the second Breeding Pool is also more than we need, for such a light splash.

disrupting shoal electro

Next, we need some more cantrips and we are incentivised to work the Graveyard a little, so I feel like we can add a second Electrolyze to diversify our removal suite a little further and a Thought Scour to give us an extra cantrip which promotes our game plan of smashing them in the head with Tarmogoyf, whilst drawing cards. Additionally, an extra Electrolyze gives us another 3-drop to pitch to Shoal. Can’t be a bad thing, right? So now the list looks like this:

MrShy’s Temur Delver V 2.0

Land – 20
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Steam Vents
1 Breeding Pool
1 Stomping Ground
2 Sulfur Falls
2 Island
1 Forest
1 Desolate Lighthouse

Instants/Sorceries – 23
4 Serum Visions
4 Disrupting Shoal
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Vapor Snag
3 Mana Leak
2 Electrolyze
1 Roast
1 Become Immense
1 Spell Snare
1 Thought Scour

Creatures – 17
2 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Young Pyromancer
3 Snapcaster Mage

So now we’ve done a little refinement, lets talk about what we’re doing well…

For a start, we have 22 cards to pitch to Shoal (if we don’t count redundant copies of Shoal), ranging from 1-3 mana. This deals with a lot of the major things we need to worry about. Annoyingly, we can’t really load up on any blue 4’s to counter Splinter Twin, whilst we’re tapped out, both on grounds of there not being any we want to play (don’t you dare suggest Cryptic Command for this deck) and us not really being a deck that will often have 4 lands in play to cast them if we’re not pitching them.

Next, our removal suite should be able to handle the bulk of the format: We might struggle with decks that play multiple playsets of 4+ toughness creatures and could consider additional sideboard Roasts for this, but the Delvers, Snapcasters, GW Hatebears etc of the format won’t be having a good time around us. Grixis Control seems to be our hardest matchup, followed by Abzan Midrange (owing to our lack of sweepers and weakness to x/5’s).

We use Jace REALLY well: Our spells are all high-impact but are also situational, meaning we can end up with dead cards in hand and nothing to do with them. Jace, when in creature mode, allows us to loot for free (something we’re so interested in doing that we’re complicating our manabase with a Desolate Lighthouse to facilitate it), exchanging an irrelevant Vapor Snag or Disrupting Shoal for a look at the top card of our deck. Over the course of the longer games (the ones we’d normally consider ourselves to be losing) this makes a huge difference to our ability to regain velocity and get our opponent finished off.

Anyone used to playing Delver will know that these decks are designed to win by inches, not miles. There are no free wins, however the combination of Young Pyromancer going wide and Tarmogoyf going big gives us a real fighting chance in any and all matchups. Even when our Snapcaster Mages become Ambush Vipers and our Goyfs are only 3/4’s we’re still able to present a fast clock against decks that don’t quickly assemble a board presence.

Sideboard

I feel like the next thing to look at logically is the sideboard. I’ve again made a couple of clear oversights here and we need to address them. That extra Roast I mentioned earlier? As I write this, I realise that it’s probably closer to essential than recommended and so we need to find a space for that.

I also think that we need a bit more assurance against Blood Moon and it should be something that plays fluidly with our gameplan. My feeling is that Destructive Revelry is another card that is somewhat underplayed in Modern (seeing only a little sideboard play in the Burn decks) and fits our purpose perfectly.

With this in mind, after some thought, we have this:

Sideboard – 15
3 Molten Rain
2 Stubborn Denial
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Rending Volley
1 Shatterstorm
1 Unravel the Aether
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Savage Knuckleblade
1 Roast
1 Destructive Revelry

I decided to drop the Monastery Siege and the Creeping Corrosion to add our two new cards. Monastery Siege is genuinely an excellent card in Modern and I feel it’s yet to see its full potential realized, however in this deck it’s incredibly cute and is strictly tempo-negative, which is not at all acceptable for our 3-color tempo deck. Creeping Corrosion is mostly on the block because Revelry comes in for the same matchup and casts a lot easier and earlier. I don’t think the Affinity matchup is particularly bad for us anyway and over-preparing for it is likely to leave us short in places where we need to not lose to Blood Moon.

To elaborate on the rest of the sideboard decisions, I’ll take some time to discuss each one:

molten rain

Molten Rain: Killing creature-lands is a very worthwhile thing for us to be doing – setting our opponent back on mana whilst also eliminating a threat in the late game which could give us real trouble is very wise. Additionally, Tron is a very difficult matchup and having some kind of land-destruction for them is essential.

stubborn

Stubborn Denial: This one is not so obvious, but hear me out. Dispel and Spell Pierce are both cards we can all agree are playable in Delver sideboards, right? Well the text on this card, even when you don’t have Ferocious, is often effectively the same as either of those cards at the times you want to cast it. When you DO have Ferocious, this card is strictly superior, meaning that it seems worth experimenting with initially.

clique

Vendilion Clique: The anti-combo all-star. Steals a twin, steals a scapeshift, presents a fast, evasive clock. You don’t need me to tell you why Clique is excellent.

rending volley

Rending Volley: Assurance against the Twin decks is obviously very good and this deals with Pestermite, Deciever Exarch and Bounding Krasis. It also kills everything that matters in the GW Hatebears deck, is good against the Allies deck and also clips the wings on those pesky Restoration Angels. Sign me up!

shatterstorm

Shatterstorm: A wrath for Affinity and a big thorn in the side of the Lantern deck. Slow, but worth a one-of.

aether

Unravel the Aether: Deals with Keranos in the best way we can in our colors. It’s this or counter it. Has additional utility against any other artifacts or enchantments that you don’t want to deal with.

izzet

Izzet Staticaster: One-sided wrath in the Pyromancer mirrors and great against Abzan Midrange, Affinity, Collected Elves and anything else playing lots of x/1’s.

savage

Savage Knuckleblade: This is a bit of an experiment. I wanted a card that is good against the control decks, but also something to sure up Scapeshift, which I’ve had issues with in the past, playing Delver variants. This seems to do everything I want. If you untap with it, it attacks through Tarmogoyf, Gurmag Angler and Tasigur and since Lightning Bolt is the most played removal spell in the format, 4 toughness makes you fairly likely to untap with it. I could see additional copies appearing in my sideboard if it proves to be good. Potentially could come in against other Tarmogoyf decks too.

destr roast

The last of our sideboard is rounded out by Destructive Revelry and Roast, which we’ve already explained, so that brings us to a conclusion.

I’m really looking forward to jamming a few games with this and tweaking it further. I think there’s a lot of room to mess around with the list, but I genuinely feel like there’s a good deck to be found in here. I’d love to hear from some of you readers, if you’ve given this a go. It’s a deck I’m deeply interested in developing for the next Modern PPTQ season.

Hit me up on twitter @Mrshy85 and tell me if you’ve been playing with this archetype at all.

Thanks for reading and happy Delvering.

0 thoughts on “(Modern) Deck Spotlight – Temur Delver

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *