The Season One Invitational at SCGCon in Roanoke, Virginia marked an underwhelming end to an otherwise great season for me on the SCG Tour. After a respectable 3-1 start in Standard and a dismal 1-3 in Modern, I failed to make day two of competition. I still walked away with two more SCG points, keeping me in top 16 of the leaderboard and locking up two byes for all the opens in season two.

Though the Invitational didn’t go my way, there were a couple of Legacy events for me to play in and lick my wounds: the Play for Power on Saturday and the Team Eternal Showdown featuring Legacy, Vintage, and Old School. I hadn’t played a match of Legacy since before War of the Spark dropped, so I was a bit out of touch with the format and obviously didn’t have a list for the new format. Fortunately, Peter van der Ham (a very accomplished Legacy player) posted a league-winning Izzet Delver list, which provided a solid shell for me to work with.

I really liked the core of Peter’s build, and I had heard rumblings that Dreadhorde Arcanist was the new kid on the block. So I decided right away that I would start with Peter’s list and only make a few changes based on my personal preferences with these decks and what I thought the metagame would look like.

Peter’s inclusion of the full twelve single-mana cantrips stood out to me. Some of you may know how low I’ve always been on Preordain in Legacy delver decks, but Arcanist has led me to a full 180. Now that we have Arcanist in addition to our old friend Young Pyromancer, it’s incredibly important to have a cantrip to pair with your two drop by turn three. Also, the split of True-Name Nemesis and Grim Lavamancer in the main deck doesn’t happen as often as it should. And two copies of Spell Pierce feels perfect because Arcanist favors more proactive spells.

I started with some tweaks to the manabase. I hate getting Wastelanded out of a game, so the first change I made was cutting the third Volcanic Island for the third basic Island. As a result of that change, I switched the Misty Rainforest to Wooded Foothills to make it a bit easier to find the basic Mountain without ever having to expose myself to Wasteland.

Next were changes I wanted to make to the sideboard, which actually resulted in a change to the main deck as well. I’ve never been a big fan of Vapor Snag in any of these decks; and with Dark Depths decks dropping in popularity, I don’t want to have such a narrow effect. Normally, I play Dead // Gone as a more versatile substitute for Vapor Snag (Peter actually had both) as it can be brought in against Depths decks and the Delver mirrors. But with Dreadhorde Aracanist being the new premier threat in Delver mirrors, I don’t want to board in a removal spell that doesn’t tag the powerful zombie wizard. To fit another removal spell for Arcanist, I moved the main deck Abrade to the board in favor of an additional Chain Lightning. That card helps a bit more against the combo and control decks game one by being able to go upstairs.

The other two changes were fairly minor. I cut the second Tormod’s Crypt for the third Pyroblast because blue decks are always more popular than graveyard decks in paper. And I swapped the Blood Moon for Back to Basics, which I think is a much better hate card versus Lands and Eldrazi Post and can also be brought in against the many Grixis decks. It’s worth noting that I would not play Back to Basics if you stay on the stock manabase of three Volcanic Island and nine blue fetches.

After making those changes, this was the list I registered in both events.

Legacy Izzet Delver

Creatures (13)
Delver of Secrets
Dreadhorde Arcanist
Young Pyromancer
Grim Lavamancer
True-Name Nemesis

Spells (28)
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Chain Lightning
Spell Pierce
Lands (19)
Scalding Tarn
Polluted Delta
Flooded Strand
Wooded Foothills
Volcanic Island

Sideboard (15)
Surgical Extraction
Narset, Parter of Veils
True-Name Nemesis
Blazing Volley
Null Rod
Back to Basics
Tormod’s Crypt

I finished 11th in the Play for Power, and my team won the Team Eternal Showdown. My combined record across both events was 13-3; and let me tell you, Dreadhorde Arcanist is the real deal. I was extremely impressed with how strong the main deck felt, and the list as a whole felt very close to perfect.

Moving forward I would cut Narset, Parter of Veils and Blazing Volley for two new Modern Horizons cards, Force of Negation and Magmatic Sinkhole. My three losses in the event were to Storm, Sneak and Show, and one of the three matches I played against Death and Taxes. Each of these new cards should help fill some holes the deck has moving forward.

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