Hello again friends! Here at my Pauper Flophouse of fun I bring you a variety of sweet Pauper decks and give them some quick and dirty brawls in the leagues. Hopefully showing off what the decks can do, having some sweet games and making suggestions on how to make things even better. Let’s go!
Ah Delver of Secrets. For my money, over the course of Pauper history, no other deck has been as consistently good as Mono-Blue Delver. A cheap, fast clock being backed by Daze and Counterspell is always going to be pretty good even when the environment is hostile to it. (and everyone usually has to be hostile to it to stand a chance)
Rather than play the full stock list of Mono-Blue Delver, this build has an even greater aggro slant. Recommended to me by aggro connoisseur and fellow Scottish WMC top-8 wizard Chris Davie, I added Phantasmal Bears and cut Spire Golem for a sleeker beatdown machine.
Of course, there are reasons why Spire Golem is generally considered a staple. 4 toughness is a lot, it avoids Pyroblast and generally rules the air. Whenever you have 4 lands in play or more, it’s an excellent rate.
However, with da Bears, you also get to sidestep clunky hands where you have 2 Spire Golem and be unable to cast them. Every card in the deck from Daze to Vapor Snag to Ninja of the Deep Hours get better with a board presence, and a 2/2 for 1 fits the bill. One of the main reasons Delver decks sometimes lose is that your first threat gets killed immediately, and you don’t have enough creatures for back up. Bear gives you more things to play in a timely manner.
Bear also gives you extra *great* draws, where you make multiple 1 drops on the play and follow up with Daze and Counterspell. It is nice to have games where you get to take it easy sometimes, you know?
Trimming down on the most expensive card in the deck also means we get to play fewer lands. With all the Pondering and Gitaxian Probe we have room for now, 15 is a number I’ve been pretty much happy with all the time. It isn’t *that* much fewer than 17, but I definitely felt like I was getting flooded more often in ‘stock’ Delver.
Anyway, here’s a league featuring matches against a wide variety of opponents. If you see only one match this series, see match one… (but please watch all of them, they don’t all end the same way)
Oh, and here is the decklist is written form, for those that prefer it that way. 🙂
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Phantasmal Bear
4 Faerie Miscreant
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Gitaxian Probe
3 Vapor Snag
3 Gut Shot
1 Coral Net
1 Curse of Chains
2 Stormbound Geist
So, the deck seemed great, as I expected really. The worst record I’ve had with it over multiple leagues has been 4-1, and it certainly wasn’t the deck’s fault this time.
The effect lowering the curve and playing more Daze has is enormous. While playing the deck, you almost never get hands that are actively bad. You almost never get flooded or screwed, while actively being able to punish opponents who do even slightly. The game where I Gitaxian Probe‘d my opponent, saw 4 removal spells and a Counterspell also shows how powerful the deck can be even through fierce resistance and the advantage of having a mono-colour mana base in one fell swoop.
If you pick up this deck, here are a smattering of thoughts you might want to consider:
- For all I like Phantasmal Bear, you have to sideboard it out every time against Stompy and Elves. Why? Quirion Ranger can target it essentially for free.
- Don’t be afraid to board out Faerie Miscreant against decks like Drake that will be boarding in a bunch of Electrickery. While it makes Spellstutter Sprite a bit worse, it limits your draws where you get blown out by the card and Phantasmal Bear means you still have enough one drops.
- To beat Drake, you can’t let the game go on too long. Once they start chaining Compulsive Researches and Mulldrifters together, it’s too late: they will have enough removal to kill all your threats. This is why cards like Relic of Progenitus that target Archaeomancer are too slow and don’t fit the plan. If you do want something specific for them, consider Psychic Barrier as a 1 or 2 of, but you are already set up about as well as you can be against them.
- This deck doesn’t have a Bonesplitter because it can’t be equipped by the Bear. Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget if you are converting the normal version to this.
- Gut Shot is a great card vs. enemy Delvers and Elves, but I wouldn’t want to play a miser red source for it. Drawing a Swiftwater Cliffs or similar is such a disaster when all you want is an untapped Island.
- Decklist provider Chris recommends trying some Porcelain Legionnaire, possibly over a Spellstutter. I could consider it over a Snap perhaps, but Spellstutter is so good in a format where everyone is jamming 1 mana spells.
- As aggressive as this version is, you can still quite easily take the control role against burn. Try to save a Hydroblast for Curse of the Pierced Heart or Thermo-Alchemist and throw creatures under the Keldon Marauder bus.
- Stompy with sufficient amounts of Aerial Volley and Scattershot Archer seems like a tough match up for this build. Gut Shot is okaaaay against them since sometimes you can get ’em and kill a vital Quirion Ranger, but I wouldn’t go overboard.
- I wouldn’t be opposed to doubling down on more Daze-type effects and building a version with actual Force Spike. That type of effect does have diminishing returns, but on the other hand, after being Daze‘d twice, are they REALLY going to play around a Force Spike? Sometimes it’s not about winning, it’s about sending a message.
- DON’T concede the match when you are a game up. This is a poor strategy.
So that’s this slightly unusual version of Delver. I had intended to do something a bit more sweet this week, but none of the brews were quite up to par in time. Next week though… join me then to see me sink or swim. (note: sorry Merfolk fans, that’s not a hint)
Stephen ‘Jecht’ Murray, over and out.