The leaves are changing, Labor Day weekend plans are made, and football is back on. This can only mean one thing…..yep! New cards and a Standard rotation!
Theros and its Greek Mythology flavor will be here at the end of September, giving us a few more weeks to play Innistrad block and M13 in Standard. That means there are only a couple more FNM’s and StarCityGames.com events in which to do Thragtusk + Restoration Angel shenanigans, make indestructible and hasty Falkenrath Aristocrats, double our spells with Snapcaster Mage, and easily access three colors thanks to lands like Woodland Cemetery and Dragonskull Summit.
But we’re forgetting a major player in the past two years of Standard Magic: our old friend Delver of Secrets!
Oh yeah, that card’s still in Standard isn’t it?
Now Delver of Secrets was pretty annoying when it first came out, mostly because of it’s insane tempo-generating power when connected with Snapcaster Mage, Geist of Saint Traft, and Scars of Mirrodin cards like Vapor Snag, Gut Shot, and Gitaxian Probe. Most of us have forgotten about the little blue menace since all the midrange fatty creatures have outclassed him. Who cares about a little 3/2 flyer when you’ve got a 5/3 that gains you 5 life and leaves behind a 3/3?
But a couple weeks ago in Japan, the blue-white Delver deck of old found itself in a Grand Prix top 8. The list is here, second in the order. It plays pretty much the same cards that the archetype included way back when it was dominating the format, with just a few modern changes. Vapor Snag is gone, so Unsummon is in for similar results. Essence Scatter is the new Mana Leak in a creature-populated metagame, and Quicken serves as that extra cantrip without the bonus of seeing your opponent’s hand that Gitaxian Probe had. The deck plays the same way it did before, albeit a little more fair without the free Phyrexian mana spells and by not dealing an extra damage per Unsummon like Vapor Snag did.
I decided to have a little fun this past weekend at a Standard $1K event at Tap ‘N Atk games, a great local games store in Harrisburg, PA (it was also celebrating its first year anniversary, congrats guys!), so I ran the UW delver list. I added a third Tidebinder Mage and traded the two Righteous Blow for two Dispel, since I expected more control and green-red midrange decks.
How did this last-minute deck change work for me? Remarkably better than I expected!