Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The top decks of Pauper: Delver

In this series we will walk you through the top decks of Pauper as played on Magic Online.

We will be using this tier page as the basis or our walkthrough:

The first tier one deck we will discuss is Delver. As there are no naming conventions in Pauper, deck can be known under many names. This particular deck is also known as Faeries, DelverBlue, MUC (which is entirely wrong as that refers to another deck) or Mono Blue Tempo. We will be using the naming conventions as established by and MagicGatheringStrat, thus this deck is called Delver.

About the deck
Delver is your typical blue aggro-control deck that plays a threat and then protects it, much like Faeries in Modern. This means that Delver has the role of the format policeman who keeps the broken combo decks in check. When broken combo decks have ruled the format, like Grapeshot storm did at the end of 2012 and Temporal Fissure storm did this summer, Delver rules the world. Aggro-Control is always the solution to combo and Delver is often the #1 deck in the meta due to this fact.

Delver likes playing against most decks. With the right hand, you will always have game against anything. First turn Delver into second turn Faeries, then a ninja backed up by counterspells and you are close to unbeatable.

The decks that will give Delver problems are decks with lots of cheap removal (such a black or blue-black control decks) or many cheap flyers (such as White Weenie).

The Delver mirror is an insanely boring affair where Spire Golem and card draw rules the world. This means that Delver will have problems with more control-oriented mono blue decks (such as MOno Blue Control, MUC) that behave like Delver decks already sideboarded for the mirror. Or, as someone said yesterday; Pauper, the format where a 2/4 flyer is like Progenitus. Spire Golem is quite a good card in Pauper.

When good players come to Pauper from other formats, they tend to pick up this deck, which might influence its results (which are stellar).

Overall this is an extremely good deck and if you want to play Pauper with any success, you have to know how to beat Delver.

Two different tastes of Delver
Often named after the two players that made them popular, we can separate Delver decks into XMimX Delver (more aggressive) and Mezzel Delver (more controlling). THe XMimX version tries to run on 16 lands and attack violently. The Mezzel version is more controlling and has real card draw spells. Both versions play very similarly though.

Typical deck lists
These are the two latest lists from the Delver masters themselves.

XMimX, 4-0, Pauper Daily Event on Magic Online October 7th, 2013

2 Bonesplitter
4 Cloud of Faeries
2 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Counterspell
2 Daze
4 Delver of Secrets
1 Deprive
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Gush
16 Island
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
3 Snap
4 Spellstutter Sprite
3 Spire Golem

3 Coral Net
3 Curse of Chains
1 Deprive
1 Dispel
2 Frostburn Weird
3 Hydroblast
2 Serrated Arrows

Mezzel, 3-1, Pauper Daily Event, October 5th, 2013

4 Brainstorm
4 Cloud of Faeries
4 Counterspell
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Deprive
2 Exclude
3 Frostburn Weird
2 Gush
17 Island
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
2 Quicksand
4 Snap
4 Spellstutter Sprite
3 Spire Golem

4 Annul
4 Coral Net
4 Hydroblast
3 Piracy Charm

Delver Resources
These are great places to check out if you want to learn more about the deck.

I interview Chris Weaver about his Mezzel-style Delver deck in depth:

Great interview with Newplan about all things Delver:

XMiMX posts on Pauper Revolution on Facebook (a Polish Pauper Community):

This is an article about a tournament I won with Delver, including a video of every match:

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