In a format of more than 30 or 40 competitive archetypes, there’s only one that’s strong enough and well-rounded enough to take on all of the rest. Many decks can be great choices if you’re able to hit the metagame just right and dodge your bad matchups. But Izzet Delver is the only one that I can confidently say will always be a good choice. It’s the deck to beat and, in my opinion, the deck to play in Legacy right now.
Putting a label on the Delver strategy is difficult, and that’s a testament to how well-rounded it is. Delver decks are really their own animal which cannot be entirely categorized as “aggressive,” “controlling” or “midrange.” It’s part of what makes them so difficult to combat.
Competitive Legacy doesn’t really have pure aggro decks. The format is too fast for simply attacking with creatures to be a viable strategy. Instead, you have heavily disruptive creature decks that exist somewhere in the gray area between aggro and midrange. The best ones are usually the Delver decks, which are built around the same pair of one-drop creatures.
Delver decks are the best way to be aggressive in Legacy for two basic reasons. The first is that Dragon’s Rage Channeler and Delver of Secrets are simply a cut above the other one-drops available in the format. Consider that Wild Nacatl was the best aggressive creature in Magic for many years, and Insectile Aberration and Channeler offer comparable stats and flying and other intangibles, all while asking less of your colored mana.
The second reason is that blue and red are generally the best colors in Legacy right now, and specifically the best colors for an aggressive shell. Think about the best, most iconic, most successful cards in Legacy. Right at the top of the list will be Brainstorm, Ponder, Daze, Force of Will, Lightning Bolt, Pyroblast and Expressive Iteration. If many of the best cards in the format are blue and red instants and sorceries anyway, then Channeler, Delver and Murktide Regent couldn’t be more natural fits. You can even pitch Delver and Murktide to Force of Will!
Before getting into the specifics of Izzet Delver, you might also be interested in checking out my old guide to the Legacy format in general. You can find it here:
You can also find my original Deck Guide on Izzet Delver here: