Loading up your graveyard to play some undercosted threats has been a great recipe for success in Modern in decks like Death’s Shadow. With today’s deck, you even get another 1-mana threat that can win the game on its own in short order.
Delver of Secrets is one of the best creatures ever printed, and yet it’s a common. A 1-mana 1/1 is nothing to write home about, but a 3/2 flying creature is one you’d spend 4 mana for. It’s been tough to get Delver to work in Modern without cards that stack the top of your library, but that’s not the case in formats like Legacy, Vintage, and… Pauper. Pauper lets you play the full playset of Brainstorms, as well as Ponder to help make sure that there is always a spell for your Insectile and the ability to draw through your deck quickly.
With lots of cheap card draw spells and outlets to put additional cards into your graveyard, Gurmag Angler is an undercosted and oversized monster. A 1 mana, a 5/5 is one of the biggest creatures you can find in the format, and if you can get it into play in the first few turns while leaving up counter mana, you’ll close out the game in a hurry.
Because you can only play 4 Anglers, Sultai Scavenger gets the nod. Evasion is awesome, and even though the Scavenger is vulnerable to Lightning Bolt, it’s still a quick and cheap clock. This is a nice mix of Delver #5 and Angler #5.
Mental Note and Thought Scour are sick ways to enable delve. You’re getting three cards into the graveyard for a single mana, it replaces itself, and it’s yet another spell to help trigger Delver. The combination with Delver goes deeper, as you can now get an effective scry after looking at the top card of your library with its trigger. If it’s another land you don’t want to draw, Scour it away and draw a fresh card.
Putting these cards into your graveyard turns Ghastly Demise into an incredible removal spell. Getting a few cards into your graveyard means any nonblack creature isn’t long for this world.
Chainer’s Edict provides additional removal with the upside of being flashed back after you cast it or milled it with Thought Scour. Snuff Out provides some free removal, while Doom Blade does its thing. Agony Warp is a solid removal spell with some great combat implications to pull off 2-for-1s.
You also have tons of card draw to go with the mill spells. Deep Analysis provides extra value post Note/Scour, while Gush and Hieroglyphic Illumination provide effectively two different options for casting cost to draw some extra cards.
Counterspell is a broken Magic card. An unconditional counter for such a cheap cost is one of Magic’s best weapons in history. You also get Deprive for the same effect at a slightly higher cost, but in a deck that doesn’t need a bunch of lands in play, it’s still strong. Dispel is the cheapest counter you have available to win counter wars or stop removal spells.
With so many spells that cost a single mana, you get to play a crazy low land count to make everything work. You get access to both Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse to provide additional delve fuel, as well as critical color fixing. With so many creatures that hit hard for a single mana to accompany 1-d 2 mana interaction, U/B Delve gets to play a great aggro control role in the Pauper metagame.