Trevor Holmes Plays MTGO Ep. 6: Grixis Delver!

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Hey guys! Welcome to Episode 6 of our Modern Nexus Video Series, where we pick a sweet list and run it through some matches on Magic Online. This week we have the old standby, Grixis Delver! Grixis Delver has been slowly falling off the radar in Modern, and while I’m not necessarily sad to see it go (I love Grixis Control which has a tough matchup against Delver) I figured it would be quite responsible of me to dig in and find out why. Besides, clocking some poor souls for 3 in the air starting on turn 2 sounds pretty fun anyways. Let’s get to it!

Deck Tech

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

So, while our results were fairly middle of the road, I think there are still a lot we can learn from the series. First, I think our assumptions were generally correct, that Delver’s main issue comes out of an inherent inconsistency that is based primarily on how often we can get our Delver’s to flip. As we saw many times, when Delver of Secrets doesn’t flip (or when our opponent can kill it) we become this awkward deck filled with tempo-generating spells with no way to apply pressure. In addition, having to take a relevant amount of damage every game just to play our spells puts us at a huge disadvantage against fast decks like Naya Company, Burn and Affinity. At its core, Grixis Delver is a strong, powerful deck based on powerful interactions, and the deck is highly customizable and can be adapted to beat most metagames. Unfortunately, the deck just seems a little too inconsistent for me, which I think explains why we see this deck falling in popularity. Until WoTC gives us another Treasure Cruise in Modern, I think it’s safe to say that Delver will hover around Tier 1.5 while so many aggressive decks remain at the top of the hill. Let me know what you think in the comments and tell me what you’d like to see me play next week!

Trevor Holmes

The_Architect on MTGO

twitch.tv/Architect_Gaming

twitter.com/7he4rchitect

Trevor started playing Magic in 2011. He plays primarily online and studies Architecture at UNCC. Recent paper Magic accomplishments include a 2015 Regional PTQ win qualifying for Pro Tour: Magic Origins and a Day Two performance at GP Charlotte. He also streams weekdays at twitch.tv/Architect_Gaming! Follow him at twitter.com/7he4rchitect and architectgaming.wordpress.com!

9 thoughts on “Trevor Holmes Plays MTGO Ep. 6: Grixis Delver!

  1. I feel you went a bit creatureheavy in this deck. But i have another suggestion.

    Isn’t there a way to abuse Delver the way the FlipJayce is abuse in Standard right now? I mean, playing a Standarddeck, that plans on bringing back the Delver over and over again. That way you could play less creatures and more Spells. Ojutais Command and Delver just look awesome on Paper.

    1. in my experiences with the deck, Jace is sub optimal in delver because its is not proactive enough, and does not synergize well with the cheap counterspells you run to stay ahead. now, jace is extremely good, and honestly that likely means delver is not the best place to be right now as grixis, and instead a more grindy midrange deck may be ideal.

  2. Some of the reasons I stopped playing Grixis Delver was based on the same issues you touch on; Delver doesn’t flip consistently and more often than not the game grinds on. Games without delver are very different from games with delver and some cards simply become dead when that happens. Giving up the tempo cards and converting it into a midrange control fits that sort of game plan much better.

    I’ve gone over to Temur Delver greatly inspired by the list from Ashtonkutcher and been very happy since. If you ever decide to do a followup on the delver archetype, I’d suggest taking Temur Delver for a spin.

  3. No basic mountain, 2 basic swamps, only one Kommand, and going with a heavier creature build all seem suboptimal to me. Bring back your beaters, especially in conjunction with snap, helps push through in the late game. I like 2 Kommand, 13 creature, 3 island 1 mountain 1 swamp for basics. I think at least 1 dispel should be in the main, since it stops so many good spells and protects your creatures so well. There’s very little sorcery-speed spot removal at the moment. Even though young pyromancer is a great card, I think you could afford to shave that to get the spell count higher for delver.

  4. As a Grixis Control play, I love playing vs Grixis Delver. I feel it’s the same deck but just slightly more aggro, which pretty much fits in the definition of a good match up for the slightly slower deck. Definitely had some good experiences in the match up so far.

  5. love you articles/videos. can you please post the decklist in the text of the article in the future? It’s nice for a number reasons:
    • let’s readers look at the list if you click on the article at work or on their phone (i.e. in situation where one needs to watch the video later)
    • let’s readers quickly scan the list to see if they want to watch the video
    • let’s readers build/test/tweek the list themselves much easier

    thanks again for all the great content!

  6. After watching the deck tech, (and as someone whos had a good deal of recent success with grixis delver lately) i think many of the changes you made from stock grixis lists are sub optimal, and my theory is that your were trying to make the deck more like grixis midrange/ control because that is what you are more comfortable with. by increasing your threat density and land count, you dropped almost 5% on delver flipping, which is huge for delvers role in this matchup. listening to you talk about the deck, i also think you put to much stress on protecting delver in general. in my opinion, delver is not there to be the namesake, game winning card of this deck, like it is in legacy. youve lost to much. the other guy still has access to solid 1 mana removal, but you no longer have daze and FoW to protect against those tempo plays. delver is more of a role player in modern because of how he forces your opponent to play. he eats the removal spells and forces them into tapping out early in order to handle him, which allows you to slam a delve threat. tasigur and gurmag angler are by far the most powerful threats you run. in my experience, 4/5 times you win the game it will be on the back of those cards, and their recursion through kolaghans command. once you stop worrying about delver and young pyromancer and start focusing on playing the game around deploying your delve threats as quickly and safely as possible, i think the logical changes in the decklist will lead to a better performing build.

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