While these days I’m known to be a Delver aficionado, my Legacy career started with Stoneforge Mystic. It’s one of my favorite creatures, let alone cards, of all time. It held its position among the top of Legacy in Stoneblade decks for many years but, recently, blue midrange decks have moved away from my old standby. However, very recently we’ve begun to see a bit of an uptick in blue Stoneforge Mystic decks in Legacy events.
Today I’m excited to cover a deck that combines two of my favorite Legacy creatures, Delverblade, which was piloted to a top 4 finish by Davy2892 in a recent Legacy Challenge. Historically, this approach has received some negative responses because on paper it looks a bit disjointed. However, I think there are a lot of benefits to building your deck like this so without further adieu, let’s jump right in.
Legacy UW Delverblade by Davy2892
This is an aggro-control deck that seeks to apply pressure early but be able to transition effectively into the late game if your early advances are disrupted. Stoneforge Mystic allows you choose which path you’re going down with either Kaldra Compleat or Umezawa’s Jitte and is overall a threat that demands an answer. This deck has a ton of removal spells and disruption, which means it can keep up with other creature decks. In addition, it has access to a lot of different deck building options so it can be tuned to your liking, which is a great feature in a format like Legacy.
The major reason to include white in your aggressive deck, Stoneforge Mystic is an incredible creature. It is almost always a two-for-one for your opponent since you can always Brainstorm the Equipment away even if the Stoneforge dies. If you get to untap with it, putting a living weapon into play will prove very problematic for your opponents, especially since Kaldra Compleat is so resilient. On top of this, not being a blue creature is very relevant right now as players turn towards Pyroblast to answer Murktide Regent.
Kaldra has become the default Equipment over Batterskull and for good reason. Kaldra applies significantly more pressure and is way more difficult for decks to deal with. In a more defensive deck, Batterskull still may be better but here, Kaldra is perfect. As for Umezawa’s Jitte, it’s still one of the best Equipment in the game and there are some decks that just can’t beat it. It’s gotten worse against Delver decks, which is a knock against it, but it still provides a ton of utility and has the ability to easily take over the game.
Many Stoneforge decks in the past opted against Delver and tried to assume a slower role. Having a card like Delver in your deck provides a significant number of advantages though, which is why I have always been a fan.
For starters, having early pressure backed up by disruption is a tried and true way to keep combo decks at bay. On top of that, playing Equipment in your deck makes you want more bodies that can effectively attack, and Delver is an excellent body to equip a Jitte to.
Despite having Delver though, this deck isn’t necessarily trying to end games quickly, which is a by-product of replacing Lightning Bolt with Swords to Plowshares (more on that later). Frequently, Delver will actually act as a blocker for opposing Delver as you assume a more defensive role. Using Delver as opposed to more control-oriented cards, such as Teferi and Narset, does mean that the deck won’t have the same late-game capabilities as other UW decks but pressure means a lot in Legacy, so Delver is a nice inclusion.
True-Name Nemesis has been a staple of Stoneforge decks since its printing. It’s arguably the most resilient creature in Legacy and, outside of the relative popularity of Pyroblast (which can counter it), there aren’t that many ways to answer a True-Name Nemesis right now.
It does have two big downsides though: it can’t stabilize the board against Delver anymore and it’s still somewhat slow and doesn’t help you go over the top of cards like Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. Both of these do make it a bit less reliable than it used to be. Still, there are a lot of decks that simply can’t deal with it and pairing it with a Jitte will make it nigh-impossible for some opponents to overcome your plan.
This deck has a decent amount of cheap spells to flashback, so Snapcaster Mage is a nice one-of here. It’s still a bit clunky at times and doesn’t have the full range of card options to flash back but having some extreme removal or cantrips that can also wear a Jitte is pretty nice.
From any other white deck, this removal suite wouldn’t raise an eyebrow right now. However, including Swords to Plowshares in a deck that is trying to attack with a 3/2 flying as early as turn two has been a point of contention in the past. While I understand that perspective, I don’t see the two cards as necessarily working against a common goal.
In essence, Swords to Plowshares and Delver of Secrets are both extremely efficient cards. Combining them to develop a board and manage your opponent’s still puts opponents in a bind, even if you give them a bit more life to work with (which does give them some extra time to deal with the Delver). As I mentioned earlier, this deck isn’t trying to end the game quickly (unlike other Delver decks). Thus, having the insurance of being able to answer a problematic creature with certainty outweighs the downsides.
Prismatic Ending, on the other hand, is incredible in this deck. It’s the removal spell this deck always wanted and provides you with an excellent catch-all. Killing Murktide Regent is too important right now though, so leaning into Swords is better in this metagame.
This is the maximum number of cantrips this deck can support. You can’t really play too much fluff in this deck since deck space is tighter than usual because the “Stoneforge package” takes up a full six slots.
Stifle is a fan-favorite card that I’m generally not a huge fan of. It’s always a bit more “gotcha” than I like in a card, and it’s a bit awkward in this deck which has a somewhat high mana curve (from a Delver deck perspective) but I can see the merits of including it. It does complement the Wasteland strategy quite nicely and right now, players are not prepared to play around it. Stifle can be a trusty strategy at breaking open Delver mirrors, which are fairly popular right now, so I can get behind including Stifle here.
Staples of the Delver archetype, including Daze in a deck with Stoneforge Mystic is awesome since the creature can so easily dominate a game by itself.
The Mana Base
Just as it was in the past, playing basic lands in your Delver deck is very powerful. Current Izzet Delver decks don’t support basics that well, which can create tension against decks like lands. This deck will almost always be able to develop a stable mana base, which allows it to play a longer game and fully take advantage of mana-heavy cards such as Umezawa’s Jitte.
Unlike most Delver decks, this deck can actually take advantage of colorless mana sources, so Wasteland is perfect for this deck.
Delver decks continue to be the best in the format, so having a one-mana answer to cards like Expressive Iteration is pretty important.
Including this in the sideboard is a nod towards decks like Sneak and Show, but there’s still a lot of utility in having a copy of Karakas around so I like the sideboard choice here.
This deck naturally wants to play a third color to support Prismatic Ending anyway. I’ll be honest, I expected to see some Pyroblasts here, but End the Festivities makes sense, too. Decks that go wide, like Elves, can actually be tricky for Stoneforge decks (because they tend to be slower and clunkier). End the Festivities helps keep those decks in check quite nicely.
It’s been a while since I have seen a sideboard Enlightened Tutor package, but when your sideboard is full of artifact and enchantment haymakers, it can be effective. It’s not my preferred use of sideboard space, but it can be effective. All of the following cards are a part of the package (as well as Umezawa’s Jitte in the main deck).
Court of Cunning has fully proved itself to be an incredible sideboard juke against slower decks. This deck is excellent at defending itself, so it’s fairly easily to maintain the monarchy and, from there, dominate the game with card advantages.
Artifact decks continue to be both popular and effective, so haymakers like these are fairly important right now.
Storm decks have greatly increased in popularity and that strategy can be challenging for Stoneforge decks, so a single Canonist to tutor for is quite nice.
While Rest in Peace is frequently too slow against decks like Reanimator, it’s awesome against a lot of decks right now, with Delver being among those. Of course, this space can be occupied by any graveyard hate, but I like turning towards Rest in Peace right now.
- It’s fairly narrow, but if your Jitte has two counters on it and you have a Stoneforge Mystic while you’re facing an Ensnaring Bridge, you can remove a counter to shrink the Stoneforge to zero power, attack and then use the other to pump the Stoneforge up (this comes up, I promise).
- Stifle has other utility beyond fetchlands, and cards like Thassa’s Oracle and Animate Dead are solid targets for it.
Out: 4 Force of Will
While Rest in Peace is good in the matchup, drawing too many of them can be really costly in games where they are able to sidestep it with Delver of Secrets. Largely, you are just going to want to trade blows with them. Blue Blast is best served answering Expressive Iteration, but it does have utility at handling cards like DRC, so if you need to use it to survive, go for it. Stifle goes a long way in this matchup early since you might just leave them too light on mana to play the game effectively.
Out: 2 Swords to Plowshares
In: 2 Court of Cunning
You could bring in Enlightened Tutor here, but since this matchup can be fairly grindy, going down a card can be costly. Since it’s getting a card that will undo the loss of cards, it may be worth it, but I think you can just use your early pressure to put them on the backfoot, which will really help manage their planeswalkers as the game goes on.
Death and Taxes
End the Festivities is a bit risky since you only have one red source, but they don’t draw Wasteland quite as often these days so I think it’s worth it. You definitely want to leave in some disruption because you need to get ahead early and defend that pressure since you can’t really play a long game against them. You do have a ton of removal spells though, which should help you stay alive and manage their problematic creatures somewhat effectively.
Honestly, this sideboard is very light on cards that are effective against Doomsday. Having Stifle in the main deck does help, so it’s not all bad, but it’s still going to be a bit of an uphill battle. I think Court of Cunning is better than Swords to Plowshares both because it’s blue but also the card advantage can matter if the early game goes well (which it has to otherwise you lose, so you have to assume you can manage that stage of the game).