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Deck of the Day – Legacy Grixis Delver

On the surface, some Legacy archetypes are remarkably similar to Modern decks. The general strategies bear a resemblance, although the power level supporting them is dramatically higher in Legacy. In a Storm deck, you’re still looking at fast mana and card selection, but your Pyretic Rituals become Dark Rituals and your Serum Visions become Ponders. The same is true of Legacy Infect—you get the same creature suite, but pair Invigorate with them instead of Might of Old Krosa.

Legacy Delver is no different. Delver of Secrets was once a weapon of choice for Standard players, all the way up to a Vintage staple. The more support you have in your instants and sorceries, the better Delver will be. Modern has plenty of excellent tools, but they don’t come close to the power level of Legacy.

The same is true of Young Pyromancer. A strong choice from Standard to Vintage, Pyromancer lets you chain cheap spells to create an army of tokens.

The addition of black as a third color gives the Delver deck some reach. Deathrite Shaman is not a Delver staple, but as a creature that can accelerate, finish an opponent off, gain life, and shut down Reanimator and Dredge all while fixing your colors, Deathrite does a lot. Sneaking a green mana source into your deck via a dual land isn’t a big loss in a format with great mana.

The other big gain from black attacks from a different angle (or Angler). Gurmag Angler is quite the threat and easily staves off popular removal spells in Lightning Bolt and Abrupt Decay while often being larger than Tarmogoyf. The ability to cast the Angler for a single mana makes it a great tempo play and a quick clock.

Cabal Therapy is simply awesome and one of my favorite cards ever printed. The Vintage-playable combination with Young Pyromancer allows you to look at your opponent’s hand before taking the card you really want by simply sacrificing an Elemental token (and creating another in its place).

Gitaxian Probe really shines in this deck. It flips Delver, creates a free token off of Young Pyromancer, and turns Cabal Therapy from a good card to a broken card. Alongside 4 copies of Ponder and the best draw spell in all of Legacy, Brainstorm, Delver can rip through its deck quickly. Brainstorm is especially powerful in a deck where you can put your Delver trigger on the stack during your upkeep when it’s important to flip, cast your Brainstorm, and guarantee that you will have a 3/2 flyer (Ponder can also do this the turn before you flip). Other times, Brainstorm and Ponder go from being broken to simply excellent, as fetchlands help to make sure you’re only seeing the highest card quality every turn.

 

Force of Will and Daze set this tempo deck apart, letting you play a threat on turns 1 or 2 while keeping up disruption. Most Legacy decks are tight on mana, so Daze will commonly be a hard counter. Force of Will’s card disadvantage is a small price to pay when it’s stopping your opponent’s only meaningful threat. Putting lands back into your hand with Daze is often a positive in a deck with 4 copies of Brainstorm, as you only need 2 lands in play to operate, so you’re happy to shuffle some away. Getting tokens from Young Pyromancer is icing on the cake.

Delver decks also all get to play Lightning Bolt. It’s a great card. Trust me.

Grixis Delver is one of the many ways to build a variety of Delver decks available in Legacy, but I do feel it’s the best. I like having access to hand disruption and a powerful threat in Gurmag Angler that straight UR, Temur, and Jeskai don’t have. Delver has been a powerful strategy across all formats since the release of Innistrad, and that won’t be changing in Eternal formats anytime soon!

Grixis Delver

Alexander Hayne, Top 4 at GP Prague

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