Eldritch Moon is chock full of powerful cards, several of which are making ripples in Modern. [casthaven]Emrakul, the Promised End[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Spell Queller[/casthaven] are obviously bonkers, but nothing has me quite excited as the big, mean ol’ devil horror.

Bedlam Reveler

[casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven] is absolutely nuts! It’s [casthaven]Treasure Cruise[/casthaven] stapled onto a solid body! I know that it’s seeing Standard play and was a cool one-of in Luis Alfonso’s awesome-looking Modern Grixis deck this past weekend, but I think it’s ceiling is much, much higher.

When [casthaven]Treasure Cruise[/casthaven] was legal, UR Delver was oppressively good in Modern. You could throw away cards and then rebuild for the low cost of U. Sloppy play was not only forgiven by the deck, but often rewarded. [casthaven]Treasure Cruise[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Dig Through Time[/casthaven] were banned for good reason, and while Bedlam Reveler isn’t quite as strong, the fact that it’s comparable warrants experimentation.

Predatory Advantage

Let’s go over the pros and cons of [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven]. This will give us a sense of what kind of decks can best utilize it.


  • The ceiling is enormously high. When you get maximum value (discarding nothing or for value), it’s a four-for-one for two mana. [casthaven]Treasure Cruise[/casthaven] that gives you a 3/4 prowess! That’s a level of value you don’t see in Modern.
  • [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven]s chain extremely well. Once a [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven] costs two, all of your [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven]s cost two.
  • The body is resilient to removal. It dodges [casthaven]Lightning Bolt[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Abrupt Decay[/casthaven], can beat [casthaven]Dismember[/casthaven], and provides value up front with the draw-three.
  • A 3/4 prowess is large compared to a lot of threats in Modern, and if you’re chaining cantrips, it can dwarf a [casthaven]Tarmogoyf[/casthaven].

Sounds good, right? There are certainly costs and downsides to contracting the services of this devil. Let’s talk about them.

Ambition's Cost


  • Unlike [casthaven]Treasure Cruise[/casthaven], [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven] only becomes cheaper with spells. The loss of fetchlands producing double mana is big, and forces you to contort your deck much more to use it.
  • Unlike [casthaven]Treasure Cruise[/casthaven], it always costs at least two mana.
  • Costing double red is a big deal, since many of the best ways to fill your graveyard are blue cantrips.
  • [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven] doesn’t draw three cards, it gives you a fresh hand of three cards. If you’re unable to dump your hand, you’re not getting as much or any card advantage. You could even be losing card advantage.
  • You don’t want to be stuck with spells in hand when you’re casting Bedlam Reveler. This means it plays poorly with countermagic.
  • While chaining Bedlam Revelers is great, having multiple copies in your hand is terrible. One will discard the other.
  • Graveyard hate wrecks the fun. Sure, you can hard cast a reveler for eight mana, but most games are decided before then.
  • It has no evasion. This isn’t damning (see [casthaven]Tarmogoyf[/casthaven] for more details), but you’ll be relying on spells or supplemental cards to clear a path.

Spell Contortion

In summary, Bedlam Reveler has a high ceiling, but comes with steep deckbuilding restrictions. You need to play a ton of spells, be able to quickly get them into the graveyard, and heavily prefer proactive spells and cantrips to reactive ones. Fortunately, not only does such a deck exist in Modern, it was the tier one [casthaven]Treasure Cruise[/casthaven] deck: blue-red Delver.

I present to you my brainchild:

Modern UR Horror Delver

Land (20)
Scalding Tarn
Misty Rainforest
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Sulfur Falls
Cascade Bluffs

Creatures (13)
Delver of Secrets
Thing in the Ice
Snapcaster Mage
Bedlam Reveler

Spells (27)
Gitaxian Probe
Lightning Bolt
Serum Visions
Thought Scour
Forked Bolt
Gut Shot
Mutagenic Growth
Sideboard (14)
Ancient Grudge
Young Pyromancer
Spell Pierce
Blood Moon

This is about 80% of a stock Delver list, but contorted to accomodate [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven]. That means no copies of [casthaven]Mana Leak[/casthaven], [casthaven]Spell Pierce[/casthaven], or [casthaven]Spell Snare[/casthaven]. It still plays [casthaven]Remand[/casthaven], because of how powerful it is with [casthaven]Delver of Secrets[/casthaven] and because the deck wants some amount of disruption on turn two and some interaction game one against combo.

The deck plays four copies of [casthaven]Manamorphose[/casthaven], a card generally reserved for storm decks. However, it excels at quickly filling your graveyard for [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven] or flipping a [casthaven]Thing in the Ice[/casthaven].

And yes, there’s [casthaven]Thing in the Ice[/casthaven], currently replacing [casthaven]Young Pyromancer[/casthaven] in the main. It’s an experiment ([casthaven]Young Pyromancer[/casthaven] is an excellent magic card and at its best in a deck like this), but I’ve been quite impressed by [casthaven]Thing in the Ice[/casthaven] against all creature-based decks (which Modern seems to be full of these days). While an 0/4 is a fine blocker when you’re dying to aggro, a flipped Thing in the Ice (which the deck is very good at doing on turn three) can demolish anything from Merfolk or Zooicide to Affinity or Infect. It can even bounce an [casthaven]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/casthaven] cheated in by [casthaven]Nahiri, the Harbinger[/casthaven].

It’s very likely a slower clock than [casthaven]Young Pyromancer[/casthaven], but it can single-handedly destroy entire archetypes and contort your opponent’s plays. Oh, and it doesn’t bounce [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven] or [casthaven]Spellskite[/casthaven], but it can bounce your [casthaven]Snapcaster Mage[/casthaven]. For all these reasons, I’m trying out [casthaven]Thing in the Ice[/casthaven] in the main, with Pyromancer in board for combo decks.

Hatching Plans

The deck is still in flux, having only been tested on Magic Online thus far. Hopefully I’ll manage to swing by the SCG Open this weekend and give it a real test drive. Until then, there are a series of questions I’m still seeking answers to for the deck:

  • Is [casthaven]Young Pyromancer[/casthaven] just better than [casthaven]Thing in the Ice[/casthaven]? Should there be something like a 3-2 split in the maindeck?
  • Should the deck play more [casthaven]Snapcaster Mage[/casthaven]s? It’s kind of a nonbo with [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven], but the spell count is quite high.
  • Should the deck play [casthaven]Faithless Looting[/casthaven]? Card disadvantage might not matter when powering out a quick [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven].
  • Should we play two copies of [casthaven]Visions from Beyond[/casthaven] instead of [casthaven]Gut Shot[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Mutagenic Growth[/casthaven]? It’s a bad cantrip, but this deck is very, very good at filling its graveyard.
  • Is this deck just a worse version of storm? Perhaps the stronger option is to jam [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven] into storm, rather than the other way around.

Overeager Apprentice

It’s rare that a new card comes along that excites me so much, but [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven] has all the hallmarks of an abusable Magic card: an enormously high ceiling on its power level, a relatively easy deckbuilding requirement, and an easy shell to slot it into. Here’s hoping to enjoy some tournament success with Horror Delver, and hopefully a few of you folks can enjoy the same, too.

And as always, thanks for reading.

—Zachary Barash


Zachary Barash is a New York-based game designer. Playing since 1994, he loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). His favorite contemporary Magic design is [casthaven]Explore[/casthaven], because it’s a [casthaven]Time Walk[/casthaven] cast for minimal value.

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