Modern is a funny place to be playing Delver of Secrets. Between the sheer amount of removal, the lack of Brainstorm and Ponder, and he’s a little harder to protect without Daze and Force of Will. That said 3/2 flyers for one blue mana are pretty amazing went they can do their thing.

Lets start with a deck list.

UR Delver

LANDS (20)
Misty Rainforest
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Breeding Pool

Delver of Secrets
Snapcaster Mage
Spellstutter Sprite
Vendilion Clique
Grim Lavamancer

Lightning Bolt
Serum Visions
Gitaxian Probe
Vapor Snag
Spell Pierce
Spell Snare
Pillar of Flame

Spell Pierce
Grim Lavamancer
Ancient Grudge
Magma Spray
Blood Moon
Vendalken Shackles
Sword of Fire and Ice
Echoing Truth

A lot of versions of this deck play Young Pyromancer over Spellstutter Sprite. Honestly there’s an argument for each one. I like countering Lightning Bolt, it’s a meta call. The maindeck is basically a tempo deck. Play an evasive threat, protect it stop your opponent from killing you before you kill him. Delver of Secrets 101, right?

The sideboard is really what punishes people. Modern is a format of nonbasic lands. Two Blood Moon can end games before they begin. Especially if you cast Vapor Snag at the right time. Magma Spray for Kitchen Finks, Grim Lavamancer for those Merfolk Decks, Negate and Spell Pierce for spell heavy combo decks. Shackles can brick other UR decks and out right ends games against anyone playing Splinter Twin. One miser’s Echoing Truth for what ails ya. Electrickery is as good in the mirror as it is vs Affinity, and speaking of Affinity, there’s a Breeding Pool in the Main for our Ancient Grudges. Hibernation does work vs Infect and Jund as well as rogue Bant decks.

UR Delver was merely the flavor of the dog days of summer. Then as more and more meta’s shifted to Jund and UWR Control after worlds, folks started dropping Blood Moons on fools. Playing a mana base that can support Blood Moon is pretty slick in this format. No longer are the 4 color combo decks as cute as they used to be. Let’s go over the match-ups and sideboarding.


Blue Tron is at a distinct disadvantage in this fight. Having no access to board sweeps and overall being the clunkier of the Tron decks, UR’s tempo plays are going to greatly out class it. That said if they manage to assemble Tron, and resolve a Karn things can turn around very quickly. Save your Vapor Snags for their Wurmcoil Engines and just keep aiming for the face. If you’re playing the G/R version save those Spell Pierces for Karn and Firespout. Basically you’re plan is much more direct than anything they have going. Stick to smashing face and playing cards on their end step. It’ll be a straight forward win.

Sideboard: -2 Pillar of Flame, -4 Lightning Bolt, +2 Blood Moon, +2 Ancient Grudge, +1 Negate, +1 Echoing Truth

UWR Control

Between its overwhelming mass of removal that hits everything in your deck and Supreme Verdict (which you can’t counter) this is a tough one. Early pressure is paramount. Your Bolts are going to their face, as your Snapcaster Mages should be backing up that plan. Save your counter magic for post Wrath. Normally playing a threat after a verdict with the means to protect it can seal the deal. Post board you need to keep your bolts no matter how tempting it is to remove them. Trust me you’ll want that reach. If you resolve a Sword of Fire and Ice and can snap it in against this deck a few hits is likely to put the game in your pocket. Protect the sword, Spellstutter Sprites become threats.

Sideboard: -2 Pillar of Flame, -1 Grim Lavamancer, +1 Sword of Fire and Ice, +2 Blood Moon


This is the match up where those Spellstutter Sprites become amazing. They counter Bob the stop Goyf, Lightning Bolt, Terminate. It’s a deck full of two drops. I’m pretty sure that this deck was built to punish Jund. No Doubt this is a race. Aim Bolts at your opponent’s face, be willing to take a little damage and delay the important threats. If they kill your Delver and you have another threat, especially a flash creature, let them waste the mana. Remand is amazing early and terrible late game here.

Sideboard: -2 Remand, +2 Blood Moon

Birthing Pod

Your removal is really important here. Instant speed kill is your best chance against this combo. Yes this deck casts creatures. No you should not remove your spell pierces. Chord of Calling is a serious card and you will get blown out if you aren’t careful. Pillar of Flame helps deal with Kitchen Finks and gets rid of that annoying Deathrite Shaman. Here’s another great match for Blood Moon, though don’t get greedy with you Ancient Grudge unless you have access to more that 2 Islands. Against Kiki Pod, save your bolts for Kiki himself they like to one just one. If you can kill him they’re just a bad creature deck, that’s been focusing on the wrong plan for a few turns.

Sideboarding: -2 Spell Snare, -2 Remand, +2 Blood Moon, +2 Magma Spray


Your deck is basically all removal. The main thing you have to worry about is Arcbound Ravager. He makes your removal awkward and is a real pain to kill. Thankfully you run Vapor Snag. This is a race sure sure. Winning the die roll is a big part of this game. Steel Overseer is also a real problem, you need to kill him before he activates. Snapcaster Mage does so much work in this match. Blocking out of nowhere, and getting mileage from your graveyard is pretty excellent. Ancient Grudge is an All-Star post board, and Electrickery can be a total blow out. Remand is out and pretty much laughable.

Sideboard: -4 Remand, -2 Vendillion Clique, -2 Pillar of Flame, +2 Electrockery, +2 Ancient Grudge, +1 Grim Lavamancer, +1 Echoing Truth, +2 Magma Spray


Today’s Twin decks are more tempo based style combo decks than they used to be. That said they are still quite fragile. You have plenty of disruption and with your sideboard you add more. If this deck gets more popular I could see a case for switching the sideboard to include Rakdos Charm. That’s cute but sometimes cute does the trick. Save one more mana than you need and a removal spell and they just sit there with a dumb look on their face. It’s true this deck can win with creatures but that’s a hard plan to take against you.

Sideboard: -4 Remand, -2 Pillar of Flames, +2 Electrickery, +2 Magma Spray, +1 Sword of Fire and Ice, +1 Negate

I took this out to Montasy on Thursday for a chance a lackluster prize support and some reps before the GP. And piloted it to a solid 3-0 taking no game losses and even winning a mull to 5. The deck played just like you’d think. Spell Snare and Vapor Snag‘s were the MVPs of the day. Blood Moon came in twice during board and was a blow out in the second round against UWR tempo, ensuring that my opponent was just unable to cast Path to Exile, Restoration Angel and Lightning Helix that were all sitting in his hand as I sat a 3 life for several turns.

I know I say this each week but this deck has me very excited for Richmond. If the Banned list changes the format though who knows what could happen.

My prediction is that we will see an end to the days of Deathrite Shaman Midrange and Birthing Pod Combo, as well as Snapcaster Mage Value. I think Wild Nacatl is a likely candidate for unbanning and I’m strongly opposed to the idea of Bitter Blossom or Jace, The Mind Sculptor becoming legal in this format. That’s 6 predictions tune in next week to see what changes. And hit me up on Twitter @durdlemagus to share your predictions about the up coming Banned and Restricted changes, don’t forget Legacy and Standard as well.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

Zac started playing during Fallen Empires. He began taking the game seriously during Alliances. Stasis, Titiania’s Song, then a long love affair with Mono Blue Control, finally settling on Replenish before taking a 12 year break. Now that he’s back he’s been favoring control and combo decks. Constantly, on the prowl for a new deck Zac often looks at the Meta in Modern and Legacy formats.

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