Ever heard someone use the expression Counter-Burn? Imagine if you will, an aggressive deck that has the ability to protect all its threats with counterspells while continuously assaulting the opponents with burn spells. This is that deck. The goal is to cast one of three creature spells: Delver of Secrets , Young Pyromancer, or Monastery Swiftspear, then protect them with cards such as Remand and Mana Leak as they lay waste to your opponent’s life total. Burn spells are used to remove opposing threats or to hit the opponent in the face for a quick win. Lightning Bolt, Pillar of Flame , and Electrolyze are most commonly seen. Delver decks are typically hesitant with their spell casting until they have a creature on board; once this occurs they will viciously use counterspells and burn to clear a path for attacks. If Monastery Swiftspear or Young Pyromancer are present the counters and burn will increase the efficacy of your attacks due to their ability to produce tokens or to be pumped up by noncreature spells.
Delver has three main types: Grixis (blue, red, black), Temur (green, blue, red), and Izzet (red, blue). Grixis adds black which gives you fantastic discard and threat options. Both Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek are able to remove problematic cards from the opponent’s hand such as Abrupt Decay or Anger of the Gods. Gurmag Angler and Tasigur, the Golden Fang are both able to take advantage of the many cheap instants and sorceries in the deck with Delve – granting them the ability to be cast for just 1 mana. Howver, the clearest advantage of Grixis Delver is that cards like Terminate and Kolaghan’s Command give the deck a way to continue with its momentum in the late game when other versions may fall off due to Lightning Bolt not hitting larger creatures, or all your threats being dead. Grixis Delver is typically more controlling than Izzet or Temur versions given the power of Terminate
Temur adds green which gives access to the classic green creature Tarmogoyf. Tarmogoyf is fantastic in delver because its able to dodge some of the removal that hits your other threats such as Lightning Bolt. Other possibilities include Hooting Mandrills which, like other delve threats, can take advantage of your full graveyard to be cast extremely cheaply. Finally Simic Charm is a fantastic instant that can pull out surprise wins when combined with creatures with Prowess, or simply be used to protect against removal, and Mutagenic Growth fills a similar role. Compared to Grixis, Temur tends to be more all-in favouring a larger suite of creatures and more buff spells.
Sideboarding Against This Deck
Decks that can gain substantial life or easily outclass your threats can be an issue for Delver. Be wary of Soul Sisters and their ability to hit hundreds of life while beefing up a few creatures to extraordinary sizes. Furthermore green creatures such as Scavenging Ooze and Obstinate Baloth can be both hard to remove, and a source of life gain for the opponent. As with all creature based aggro, board sweepers and multi-target removal can hurt a lot; examples of these are most often found in black (Drown in Sorrow) and red (Anger of the Gods). This is particularly the case for the faster version of the deck that packs fewer counterspells. Finally, fast combo decks can sometimes prevail if they manage to hang on for a few turns without dying, whilst also assembling their winning combo. Again, this is most often true for the faster delver deck that plays fewer spells to disrupt the opponent. The Grixis version of the deck that packs both resilient threats and solid counterspells can be tricky to specifically target with sideboard cards as it has enough flexibility to respond to solid blockers, lifegain, or board clear
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