Today I’m going to talk about a great archetype in the Legacy Metagame that I personally love.
After the last changes in the B&R announcement (we’ve already talked about what changes it made in the Modern Format), we are finally able to bring back this blue-red Delver deck on stage as it was almost unplayable during the “Oko Era”.
Let’s talk about some of the reasons why this deck has the potential to be one of the new tiers of the format.
First of all, Arcum’s Astrolabe is no longer available in control decks that tried to avoid land denial/destruction, so cards like Stifle and Wasteland can be really good to keep this control strategies in check.
A lot of decks like Jund, Stryfo Pile, Aggro Loam and Grixis Midrange will be forced to play many more dual lands to have access to all their colors, and that makes Price of Progress a good way to punish them, which fits well in a tempo strategy that also includes Lightning Bolt. We could win the game without even need to attack once.
Furthermore, Price of Progress is also a great way to address the not-so-joyful Lands matchup.
Last but not least, the Bolt-your-face strategy is newly available thanks to the ban of Oko, that was too good at preserving life total.
Let’s see the list I’m currently playing!
Here you are some of the new additions that this deck got during the period of time when it saw less play:
Ethereal Forager: this is a cheap threat that can be deployed early in the game, and if we succeed in protecting it, we can get insane value from it, as we’ll be able to play cards that we exiled from our graveyard while casting it. Casting a Ponder twice against a control deck or a Lightning Bolt against Death&Taxes can be game-changing!
Hullbreacher: a great card against blue decks, that take advantage from a lot of cantrips, and it is also good against combo decks like Show&Tell because it has Flash and lets us play our threat at the end of our opponent’s turn or in response to their Brainstorm.
Fall from Favor: a very versatile card, we can use it to stop an opponent’s Marit Lage or to get card advantage in control matchups.
As I’ve previously anticipated, the strategy of the deck is to deploy a cheap threat on the board to attack our opponent’s life total while defending it with Force of Will and Daze, and then finish the game with Lightning Bolts and Price of Progress.
The deck is capable of functioning on a very low-land count which is not possible for most of the decks in the format and we try to take advantage of this, stalling the game on a virtual turn 2 or 3 stifling the opponent’s fetchland and destroying their duals with Wasteland.
Blue-Red Delver is capable to adapt its plan to a lot of different situations and is as versatile as it can be challenging to play, especially in post board games.
Before I start talking about sideboarding, keep in mind that a lot of decisions may change if you’re going to be on the play or on the draw: Stifles and Dazes are really great to have on the play, while is good to have some copies of Force of Will in grindy matchups if you’re on the draw.
This is how I like to side in and out against some of the other best decks:
Forked Bolt is better than Lightning Bolt against Baleful Strixes.
Force of Will is really weak against Pyroblast, but you can consider keeping 2 if you’re on the draw to counter some big threats like planeswalkers or other annoying permanents.
Grixis Control and Miracles are tough to fight, but these matchups lead to extremely fun games that in my opinion are the main reason to play the format: every choice matters, and games are always interesting.
Be ready to change your play pattern as the most important thing about the match up is to understand when you have to be aggressive and when you have to slow down.
This is a pretty balanced matchup. Our red spells are really important, we have to try to play always against a vialed-in Mother of Runes because it could be pretty rough if we let her go unchecked.
Always fetch for basics first since Wasteland, Rishadan Port and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben could suffocate us.
Lands can be beaten pretty easily, we have all the tools to do so: Nemesis is pretty good cause it doesn’t die to Punishing Fire; Force of Negation is very strong against Life from the Loam and Punishing Fire itself and Price of Progress is our weapon to finish the game.
Eldrazi has stop seeing play while Oko, Thief of Crowns was legal, but I think it will come back as a viable deck pretty soon. The matchup is not easy but Price of Progress and Wasteland can steal some games!
It is pretty important to win the die roll against Elves. You should mulligan until you draw some early threats, especially Delver of Secrets.
Show and Tell and combo decks in general are not really difficult to beat, but we have to be prepared to face Boseiju, Who Shelters All.
Don’t waste your Wastelands on dual lands if it’s not necessary and don’t be afraid to use your Dazes on cantrips because you might not have the chance to use them against the combo because they have a lot of lands that add 2 mana to their pool and Lotus Petals.
Mirror can be really challenging, and we have to use our resources with parsimony.
Remember that there is no hurry while you play the mirror: sometimes not casting your Delver on your first turn to keep one mana open in order to Stifle your opponent’s fetchland will be a stronger option to win the game.
The deck is really fun to play and you can also decide to tweak the list for a more aggressive setup (if that what suits you the most) by including cards such as Monastery Swiftspear and Chain Lightning in your deck.
Sprite Dragon is another really good card that has started to see play recently.
If you want to play a Prowess version of the deck you should cut Wastelands and Stifles because you will have to be more proactive and also you will need more mana each turn.
I will keep testing this deck in Legacy as it has a lot of potential and I think it rewards the player that makes good decisions during the game and in addition it has reasonable matchups against the whole field.
That’s it for today, I wish you to have a great time playtesting the deck and playing the Legacy Format in general and I will see you at the next article, always here on 95mtg.com!