UR Delver used to be my deck of choice before the gush/probe restriction.
Now that Mentor is restricted, I'll probably go back to it.
I'd like to discuss the options for building the deck.

The creature suite
4 delvers and 4 pyromancers would be a given.
Some options for additional critters :

  • 1-2 snapcasters for the mid-late game
  • 2-4 harsh mentors

The engine
4 preordain and the restricted draw/cantrips would be a given
Additional options - not including them would leave more room for creatures / counterspells / mana denial :

  • 1-2 dack fayden
  • 1-2 jace VP

The mana denial
Optional, better if numerous :

  • 1-4 wastelands
  • 1-3 null rods

Maindeck hate

  • 0-2 smash to smithering

Possible splashes

  • White : opens up maindeck swords / stony silence and side containment priest / RiP / stony silence
  • Green : mostly for ancient grudge
  • Black : mostly for discard (therapy, thoughtseize), yet much less potent without probe

Let's spark the discussion 🙂

4 Pyromancers feels like 1 too many for sure, maybe even 2 too many.

2 JVP is manditory.

I loved Snapcaster Mage back in RUG Delver years ago.

I also really loved Vendilion Clique.

Wasteland is garbage. It puts you so far behind.

I would play 4 pyromancers and 1-3 wasteland/Strip. I think for this deck to be good tempo should really be an important part of the meta game. That configuration sets you up to play a strong tempo game.
Abrade is worth looking at IMO.
White also opens up mentor as a one of.

last edited by John Cox

I definitely think playing the full "dack-delve" engine is one direction o take the deck. It benefits as well from snapcaster. Being rather mana intensive, it excludes playing wastelands and maybe null rods.

Though I still think going full tempo (with no 3-drops, wastelands, more burn/smash to smithereens) should be an option.
Why do you think wasteland puts you necessarily behind ?

Hello there,
there are many options how a Delver deck can look like but unlike other decks it is often usually a predator deck of some kind even though it has often more linear plan than other decks. You can either go for a very streamlined version or more fluid version that can play a control role. Splashing black usually makes you more control than then tempo.

The creature suite is not really that given. While you will most likely play 4 Delver of Secrets (it's usually 4 or 0), 4 Pyromancers doesn't need to be the case. I was often boarding out 1-2 Young Pyromancers in many games and it is to be seen if that might not be happening now as well. Note that without Gush this creature is kind of worse. So it depends on how many spells you can put in the deck and meaningfully use them.

Snapcaster Mage becomes very playable now but in order to get the most value out of this deck I'd still stick to a certain number of JVP. Since the deck is not that fast though now, maybe running Snapcaster Mage may be correct. I doubt it though. (so far I just board them out almost all the time...). I put Snapcaster Mages in because I want to have around 10 creatures that can swing. So if I won't find a better replacement I'll stick with this card.

The engine should be restricted spells + Preordain. You will need more though than just this and it is still to be seen what it may be. So far I tried all kind of tutors instead because I couldn't find anything better. The best card is actually Night's Whisper but is black which also a slightly different approach to how to play the deck. The cards I play now are 2 Spell Pierce, 1 Pyroblast, 1 Fragmentize, 1 Merchant Scroll, 1 Mystical Tutor. I'm still undecided about the two tutors. The other cards are doing their job well.

I wouldn't think Dack Fayden is necessary. At least not now before the metagame settles. It wasn't usually good even before. If you want a three drop Snapcaster Mage is better.

Mana Denial should feature Null Rod effect. Wasteland is a question. During the Shops/Mentor era it was actually good to play 4 Wastelands since that helped a lot, not only against Shops but also against other decks and even Mentor (if it wasn't the UW version). Some versions were very light on lands though so hitting occasional Tundra was good enough to win the game sooner.

Main deck hate is about to be seen. I'd run an enchantment/artifact hate main deck, otherwise I wouldn't bother. But a card like Smash to Smithereens might be ok though since it can deal 3 damage...(I run Fragmentize, but wouldn't run let's say Shatter....um or well a good artifact removal in those colors...that is)

As for Wasteland, if you play that as additional lands (spell slot) it is ok. Otherwise it can really put you behind. I tried to avoid running Wasteland as much as I could because I always needed every single blue mana I could produce to play cantrips and cheap countermagic. Wasteland was always messing with that plan. When the metagame changed a lot, wastelands became more of a necessity (see walking ballista and lands like workshop). I wouldn't say that wasteland is bad and I wouldn't say that wasteland is good either. It will depend on the decks that will emerge. By default I'd rather play without the card in my deck and I have 15ish lands available to me with a single strip mine being the additional land (15th land).

The same goes to Harsh Mentor, this card in diverse metagame is not good. Against some decks you need 4, against many you'd rather see anything else than a 2/2 that occasionally hits an opponent for 2 (fetchland usually). I did not think about how the deck should look like now though, so not sure what I'd play instead. Most probably some combination of JVP and Snapcaster Mage (I feel 1 would be the right number). I started with 3 Snapcaster Mages and that's certainly a number you don't want to run. Anyway Snappy is better than Harsh Mentor.

I play white because I expect Oath decks to be played so I rather have my Containment Priests ready (RIP and Stony Silence that is more difficult to get rid of...). Also play PTE to deal with some things like Blightsteel Colossus or Marit Lage.

Just build the deck and play with it. There are several different approaches but I would fall back on the Delver decks from when P9C started.

(By the way Abrade performed better than I expected, I like it more than Smash to Smithereens, but my deck was rather build against Shops by default)

I'm currently trying this. From there I will try to tweak it to suit my needs and the metagame.

last edited by stsung

Thank you for your insights !

@stsung : splashing white, would you play a singleton mentor maindeck ? I feel like I would only like to fetch a tundra for a side silver bullet, and that without the full moxen, it would be harder to protect. I'd love your advice there.

@didor Honestly I tried Mentor in all kind of decks from Landstill to Delver and in the Delver deck it didn't feel right. I often didn't have mana for it and I also hardly trigger Pyromancer triggers. Mentor is a card you usually want to win the game, but you will also have troubles casting it.

I run Mox Pearl though so that makes it a bit easier for me but in my original build running 15 lands Mentor was problematic. If you are running 4 Wastelands it may not be such a problem and might be a nice addition but from the 3 leagues I played in and faced many of the UR Delver decks...those decks are actually more aggressive than mine and really beatdown and attack resources. Those decks don't have time for casting Mentor often. In my version (see screenshot above) the card is actually more playable even though it may not seem like it at first sight.

There are many different directions to take Delver. You can play it as a more spell-based controlling deck or you can play it more like UR(x) hatebears, with or without burn.

For example, in straight UR you can play cards like Harsh Mentor, Eidolon, or Scab-Clan Berserker. These effects play nice with burn and Price of Progress for quickly closing out the game.

In the past I have splashed white to play Stony Silence, Containment Priest, and other nonsense http://mtgtop8.com/event?e=12172&d=269857&f=VI while that deck later got eclipsed by UWr Mentor, it may be viable post restriction (or maybe not, as the Gush restriction really hurts the deck)

There are also reasons to splash green or black and builds for those but I'll leave those as an exercise for the reader.

One reason to not play Delver is that Walking Ballista basically owns most of your threat suite (Delver/YP especially). Between that and the prevalence of Outcome decks I think all Delver decks need to seriously look at Null Rod/Stony in their builds.

I wrote a guide to building and playing UR Delver if you guys wanna check it out: http://sylvanstudies.com/2017/11/01/vintage-ur-aggro/

Also have you guys tried Chart a Course? By no means is it a deck breaking card, but it’s honestly not bad, and it helps solve some issues we have late game. I feel like it’s worth trying in some builds, especially Aggro focused ones.

last edited by zebotc

I do love Chart a Course! You recommend Grafdigger's Cage, that's a card I don't like right now since oath can usually cast their creatures.
Great primer though, and always great to see more vintage content!

@stsung said in UR Delver:

The same goes to Harsh Mentor, this card in diverse metagame is not good. Against some decks you need 4, against many you'd rather see anything else than a 2/2 that occasionally hits an opponent for 2 (fetchland usually).

I think you're right that Harsh Mentor gets worse the more diverse the meta. OTOH, in a meta full of Ravagers and Ballistae, Harsh Mentor can really shine. Every time a player sacs an artifact to pump Ravager, every time a counter is removed from a Ballista to ping someone or something, every time a counter gets added to a Hangarback Walker, every time a Factory gets animated (or pumped), is a good opportunity for a Mentor to do 2 damage to that player. A single Harsh Mentor can severely disrupt a Ravager deck and multiples can be totally deadly.

On the gripping hand, Oath decks, Landstill decks, Two-Card Monte, PO decks, and just about everything else is not going to tremble in fear at a 2/2 that has little to no effect on them. If there were ever a time for maindeck Harsh Mentor to shine, the current prevalence of Ravagers should be it. (But it probably isn't.) Sideboard may be different. If this deck wants Mentors at all, think more about sideboard.

My 2 cents.

Yeah Chart a Course just feels really good to play sometimes. Especially in awkward spots where we run out of relevant spells to cast, but still have a bunch of stuff on board.
Thank you!

@zebotc said in UR Delver:

I wrote a guide to building and playing UR Delver if you guys wanna check it out: http://sylvanstudies.com/2017/11/01/vintage-ur-aggro/

Also have you guys tried Chart a Course? By no means is it a deck breaking card, but it’s honestly not bad, and it helps solve some issues we have late game. I feel like it’s worth trying in some builds, especially Aggro focused ones.

I have been playing Chart in my Legacy UR Delver build. It's pretty good. I haven't tested yet in Vintage (in fact I have barely played any vintage for the past couple of months). One guy I know says it's very good and has 4 in his build.

A four of seems like a lot, but since cards like Brainstorm and Probe are restricted (and mental misstep is in the format too), it makes sense. Although I feel like three to two is a good starting number.

Come to think of it, Chart a Course might actually better in Vintage than in Legacy because of Mistep and the restricted list.

last edited by zebotc

I'll test chart a course as well, it seems a nice potential addition.

A question for you guys : I already have an ancestral & a time walk, I'm thinking about which piece of power to buy next - keeping in mind I almost exclusively play UR aggro.
Would you go for a Ruby ? A library of alexandria (not power, but nearly the same to me) ? Or wait 2 or 3 month until you can afford a sapphire ?

@didor I would save up for a Sapphire.

@didor I'd get the Sapphire first, then Lotus, then Library, then Ruby.

zeb I am skeptical too but I'm just relaying what I was told. I play 3 in legacy rn.

medsteve's Power 9 Power Rankings for Delver

Time Walk
(other moxen for splash colors)

Thank you for your advice ! I'll start with sapphire, though will probably never be able to afford the lotus.

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