bryantgeist

Cook’s Kitchen –U/W Delver

Up until recently I’ve been playing UR Delver and after that, Red Deck Wins in standard. I was happy playing UR Delver until I became jealous of UW Illusion’s mana base. It was then that I became tired of getting color screwed. As much as I love Arc Trail, I couldn’t play UR any longer. I cut the blue cards from UR Delver then ran Red Deck Wins – Another deck I could play Arc Trail in. I played Red Deck Wins in two events going 5-0 and 4-1.

I stopped playing Red Deck Wins for a reason unrelated to the deck’s performance. What happened was I saw Charles Gindy’s UW Delver deck.
Creatures:

Delver of Secrets

Invisible Stalker

Merfolk Looter

Snapcaster Mage

 

Legendary Creatures:

Geist of Saint Traft

 

Instants/Sorceries:

Gut Shot

Mana Leak

Midnight Haunting

Vapor Snag

Gitaxian Probe

Ponder

 

Artifacts:

Runechanter’s Pike

Sword of War and Peace

 

Basic Lands:

9 Island

1 Plains

 

Non-Basic Lands

Glacial Fortress

Moorland Haunt

Seachrome Coast
Sideboard:

Ratchet Bomb

Phantasmal Image

Oblivion Ring

Celestial Purge

Dissipate

Divine Offering

Gut Shot

Negate

Timely Reinforcements

 

UW Delver solved all of the problems I had with UR Delver. The first and most important issue was the mana base problems I was having. With very few white cards in the deck the deck can afford to play fewer lands that produce white without mana problems. Almost every land in the deck produces blue and eight of them still make white mana, meaning that color issues don’t happen too frequently. In fact, the mana base is pretty much directly taken from UW Illusions. The most appealing thing about this deck is that it’s not Illusions. Acknowledging how good a deck Illusions is, I don’t like it.

 

I don’t like Phantasmal Bear or Lord of the Unreal at all. They’re both easily answerable threats without one another. I understand the synergistic standpoint of running them, however, I always seem to notice the terrible late game top decks rather than the explosive turn four or five kills. The problem with the “illusion” clause is that almost all of the playable removal in the format targets. It’s also the same problem I had with UR Delver. My creatures seemed to always die to Gut Shot, Arc Trail, or get bounced with Vapor Snag. Aside from the mana issues, that’s what drove me to playing Red Deck Wins.  There, I didn’t need creatures in order to win the game. While they were nice if they stuck, I could simply Brimstone Volley and/or Shrine of Burning Rage my opponents away – It really makes me miss my Goblin Guide version of Red Deck Wins. Then came along Geist of Saint Traft followed by Invisible Stalker!

 

 

These two creatures solved the problem I was having with my threats being answered easily. With the most popular removal in the format being Vapor Snag, Gut Shot, and Dismember Geist of Saint Traft and Invisible Stalker don’t die very often. The cards that do see play that kill them would be Ratchet Bomb, Black Sun’s Zenith, Slagstorm, Day of Judgment, and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. None of these cards are automatic four-of’s in any Standard deck. Although, they all do see some play as one or two-of’s in control or ramp decks. This makes these two creatures very overpowered in the current metagame.

 

To abuse these two creatures UW Delver plays equipment to maximize their value. Runechanter’s Pike creates a very fast clock with Invisible Stalker. With the high number of instants and sorcerys in UW Delver an equipped Invisible Stalker is often a three turn clock. The other advantage of Pike that’s often overlooked is that Pike gives Geist of Saint Traft first strike. While Giest of Saint Traft is a quick and effective clock, it’s easily stopped by a 2/2 with no abilities. Having equipment attached to Geist allows repeated attacks while no longer being worried about the smaller creatures due to first strike from the Runechanter’s Pike or the +2/+2 and protection from colors from Sword of War and Peace.

 

Aside from Hexproof, what I really enjoy about playing the deck is that it’s very similar to what I was already playing – UR Delver. I still get to play the blue package that consists of Ponder, Probe, Mana Leak, Gut Shot, Vapor Snag, Snapcaster Mage, and Delver of Secrets. There are new toys to go with the cards from UR Delver, but it brings a new and fun twist to a pre-existing archetype. Since I began playing this deck three weeks ago I’ve only lost to two things – the mirror match and UW Humans. Luckily, the following weekend at Star City Games Andrej Selivra made a pretty large splash with a slightly different list than Charles Gindy’s original list.


Creatures:

Delver of Secrets

3 Invisible Stalker

Merfolk Looter

Snapcaster Mage

 

Legendary Creatures

Geist of Saint Traft

 

Enchantments:
Oblivion Ring

Instants/Sorceries:

Mana Leak

Marrow Shards

Midnight Haunting

Vapor Snag

Gitaxian Probe

Ponder

 

Artifacts:
Sword of War and Peace

Basic Land:

7 Island

1 Plains

Non-Basic Land:

Glacial Fortress

Moorland Haunt

Seachrome Coast

Sideboard:

Batterskull

Merfolk Looter

Dissipate

Gut Shot

Mana Leak

Marrow Shards

Negate

Revoke Existence

Timely Reinforcements

 

The first change you’ll see is that Andrej isn’t playing Runechanter’s Pike, but instead, is running a full set of Sword of War and Peace. After Gindy’s success there was a lot of buzz on the Internet and people sprung up talking about running more Pyroclasm and Slagstorm in order to deal with these Hexproof menaces. Andrej came prepared to combat his opponents’ plan for him. What I find more interesting than his four sword plan is that he’s running Marrow Shards. Shards solves the problem I was having with the mirror match. A free answer to kill opposing Invisible Stalkers and Stalkers equipped with Pikes. It can even kill a Geist of Saint Traft if Snapcaster Mage is also in hand.

 

I took Andrej’s Marrow Shards idea when building my own list.

 

Creatures:

Delver of Secrets

Invisible Stalker

Snapcaster Mage

2 Porcelain Legionnaire 

Legendary Creatures:

Geist of Saint Traft
Instants:
2 Marrow Shards

Gut Shot

Mana Leak

Midnight Haunting

Vapor Snag

Gitaxian Probe

Ponder

 

Artifacts:

Runechanter’s Pike

Sword of War and Peace

Basic Land:

9 Island

Non-Basic Land:

Glacial Fortress

Moorland Haunt

Seachrome Coast

Sideboard:
3 Flashfreeze

Oblivion Ring

Celestial Purge

Dissipate

Divine Offering

Negate

Timely Reinforcements

1 Gut Shot

 

During my first week of playing UW Delver I noticed a few things small things that I didn’t care for. The first thing being that I never once wanted Merfolk Looter whenever I drew the card. The best part about Merfolk Looter was that it could be removed to Moorland Haunt after it was killed. Instead of running the small fish, I’m playing a card that Alex Artese strongly recommends – Porcelain Legionnaire.

 

Porcelain Legionnaire Solves a few of the deck’s problems. First, it’s an actual threat without equipment that can attack into an opponent with a blocker and live due to first strike. It’s important because without equipment the deck often has to spend turns attacking for one or two damage with an Invisible Stalker or Spirit token. Second, Legionnaire is able to actually block and an opponent’s creature and live due to first strike. Every creature in the deck has a toughness of two or less, it’s able to stare down larger threats while standing it’s down ground. Well, these things are kind of the same thing, but highly important!

 

3 Snapcaster Mage Honestly, it began because I only own three. I then started borrowing the forth for a couple events, I just drew Mage too often and it caused cluttered hands. Snapcaster is really a three or four mana card if the deck uses him for his maximum value. I don’t want to draw Snapcaster until then – because of this I’m staying with three. Call it a mistake if you dislike it, but it’s been working wonders for me.

 

2 Marrow Shards/1 Gut Shot- I want to kill opposing Stalkers and Giests, however, being proactive has its own merits. I’m playing the one of Gut Shot to randomly kill a turn one Champion of the Perish or Delver of Secrets or flash it back from a Snapcaster Mage to kill a Grim Lavamancer later on. It carries its own weight.

 

4th Gitaxian Probe over the basic Plains – Probe has more synergy with the deck between Delver of Secrets, Snapcaster Mage, and Runechanter’s Pike. That’s the biggest reason I’m playing it. I’ve yet to come across a situation where I’ve wanted a basic plains. The best thing I think about not running a plains is that I won’t keep hands with plains in it counting it as a land. I’d much rather have the increased potential to draw a land that produces blue to cast everything in the deck. Which is far more important than the five cards in the deck that require white mana to be cast.

 

I’m extremely happy with the list. I’m a strong believer in that I’m playing the best deck in the format at the moment and recommend that everyone else do the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re swinging with Geist with a Sword of War and Peace attached or an Invisible Stalker with a Runechanter’s Pike, the deck is a blast to play!

 

Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!

Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook on MTGthesource

BCook3289@yahoo.com