Innistrad: Midnight Hunt will be released soon and I was given a preview courtesy of Wizards of the Coast and I’m here to talk about it.
My preview card for today is a reprint for a card that’s quite special to me, since I have played it for many years and it also was an important piece of the deck that gave me my first GP win.
Some cards are played in Standard. Others straight jump to the oldest formats because they are better suited for that kind of battles. This reprint has been played widely in almost every competitive format where it has been legal.
Welcome to the new 《Delver of Secrets》!
Delver in Various Formats
Here’s my BUG Delver decklist from GP Paris 2014, my first international victory:
Teaming with 《Deathrite Shaman》, the one drops were the most important part of this deck. After all, if they are good enough, creatures that cost one mana can snowball a game by themselves if they are supported correctly as we’ve seen in 《Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer》.
《Delver of Secrets》 has been a staple in Legacy for already a few years and I nowadays Izzet delver is likely the best deck in the format. It also saw some play in Modern as well even though now we rarely see it on competitive decklists.
This reprint doesn’t change its legality in those formats since it was already legal there, so it won’t have an impact on that regard. However, it brings back this powerful blue creature to Standard.
Will it be playable? I think so!
UW Delver was around 2012 Standard and it was one of the best if not the best deck in Standard. Here’s a sample decklist:
UW Delver used cheap powerful creatures along with cantrips and tempo spells to be similar to the more powerful versions of the bigger formats.
Backed with 《Snapcaster Mage》, 《Geist of Saint Traft》 and 《Restoration Angel》, this deck was able to either win on the early game applying pressure or grind planning for a long game using the blue manipulation spells. It also had a low land count so it could reliably draw spells on the late game.
Delver and Cantrips
One key aspect of all the Delver decks are cantrips, since they let us have a critical mass of spells to flip 《Delver of Secrets》 while helping to play that low law count I just mentioned. 2012 Standard had the powerful 《Ponder》, but Innistrad: Midnight Hunt has already previewed another powerful cantrip in form of 《Consider》:
I think 《Consider》 and 《Delver of Secrets》 will play well together, even though it is very possible that the powerful wizard would need another 1 mana cantrip to be as good as it was before.
The color I think will pair better with 《Delver of Secrets》 is red. 《Delver of Secrets》 works well with cheap removal spells but it works wonders with 《Expressive Iteration》 which is something we have already seen in Legacy.
《Expressive Iteration》 helps with our spell count and more importantly, it plays very well with cheap cards that affect the battlefield, since the 《Expressive Iteration》 itself will effectively cost us time/mana. Playing 《Expressive Iteration》 on turn 3 and getting a free 《Delver of Secrets》 out of it is a powerful play in a Standard format.
《Expressive Iteration》 actually plays very well with any 1 mana spell since it makes it harder to “miss” on an Iteration, where missing means you don’t get an extra card out of it. I talked extensively about this in my article about 《Expressive Iteration》.
《Delver of Secrets》 also wants to be played in deck that plays cheap spells that interact with our opponents. This means not only 《Expressive Iteration》 and Delver play well together, they also go well together on a deckbuilding level, since they want to be played along with the same kind of cards.
Along with 《Delver of Secrets》 we also have been previewed on this date two creatures that I could be played with Delver.
I think these 3 creatures combined are good enough to be the backbone of a potential UR deck that wants to play a high density of spells and a low land count.
Take this UR deck from 2016 that Pedro Carvalho used to 9-1 a Pro Tour with.
《Flame Channeler》 looks quite strong to me in theory and fits into the Izzet plan of playing many burn spells as a way to interact with the opponent.
《Shock》 is a playable card in Standard, but 《Play with Fire》 will interact favorably with both 《Thermo-Alchemist》 and 《Delver of Secrets》, often turning this spell into something halfway between a 《Shock》 and a 《Magma Jet》 for the price of just a 《Shock》.
There are still more new cards to discover in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt but I think there are enough pieces available to make a solid Izzet 《Delver of Secrets》 deck.
As always in Standard, Delver’s viability will depend on what the metagame looks like after the rotation, but I’d love to see this small creature to be a competitive strategy.
Thanks for reading!