Howdy, my name is Jeremy Frye and I’m the Legacy player from the recent GP Santa Clara winning team. I’m here to talk about a deck that is near and dear to my heart: Grixis Delver. I’ve been playing this deck for a few years and have tried more cards than I’d like to admit so I’m going to go over my card choices for the event and how I think it might change in the future.
First things first, my GP Santa Clara list:
- 1 Abrade
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Daze
- 4 Force of Will
- 4 Lightning Bolt
- 1 Spell Pierce
- 2 Cabal Therapy
- 4 Gitaxian Probe
- 4 Ponder
- 1 Badlands
- 4 Polluted Delta
- 4 Scalding Tarn
- 1 Tropical Island
- 2 Underground Sea
- 2 Volcanic Island
- 4 Wasteland
- 1 Grim Lavamancer
- 1 Snapcaster Mage
- 1 Abrade
- 1 Ancient Grudge
- 1 Diabolic Edict
- 1 Flusterstorm
- 2 Pyroblast
- 3 Surgical Extraction
- 2 Umezawa's Jitte
- 1 Cabal Therapy
- 1 Marsh Casualties
Before I discuss what’s different about this list, I’d like to go over what cards I consider core to the Grixis Delver strategy:
Stated simply I think there are 5 spell and 1 land flex spots mainboard, and 7 flex spots sideboard. As for how I chose to modify these, the first thing I did was play 1 True-Name Nemesis main deck. I’ve flip-flopped a lot on this spot, playing a Vendilion Clique in the past as well as no 3 drop creature before, but for this tournament I felt like I would have to play against a lot of lands and control type strategies in the later rounds. These are the matchups where True-Name Nemesis shines, while if I was expecting a more combo heavy metagame, I would have perhaps gone back to my tried and true Vendilion Clique.
The other 4 spell slots go to whichever various disruptive cards you choose to play which can very well be a meta call. I went with 1 Abrade, 1 Spell Pierce, and 2 Cabal Therapy. The Abrade was a new addition (previously a dismember for me) which I added to give an out to artifacts main deck, primarily Chalice of the Void. Spell Pierce is the best 1 mana counterspell to play in the main deck so I always want to make sure I have at least one in the list. Cabal Therapy is a “combo” with Young Pyromancer as well as Gitaxian Probe and has a lot of strength in many matchups. I feel like every Grixis Delver list needs at least 2 in the 75 although whether you run them main board or sideboard is meta dependant. The ability of them to swing a lot of games with turn 1 Gitaxian Probe into Cabal Therapy the best card is powerful enough for me to run the main. If I didn’t I would most likely add a 2nd Spell Pierce and another removal spell (Forked Bolt) or Cantrip (Preordain).
Finally, the land flex spot I chose to run was Badlands for 2 reasons: I want a 3rd black source in the mana base because of my double black spell in the sideboard and when I have a Underground Sea and a Volcanic Island in play, I love having a land to fetch that prevents my opponents from Wastelanding me off a color.
Moving on to the sideboard, this is much more open ended. You could make an argument for countless cards to play in these slots so I’ll just begin by giving you the reasons for mine.
1 Grim Lavamancer: I feel like you always want a way to deal consistent damage in the creature matchups. I’ve seen Izzet Staticaster played in this kind of slot before, but I value the 1 vs. 3 mana cost, and 2 vs. 1 damage to be of higher value than hitting all creatures with the same name.
1 Snapcaster Mage: For this slot I just wanted a way to draw more hate cards in different matchups without running more of that one specific card. Snapcaster was a way to have another Surgical Extraction in the matchups where they matter, another Pyroblast in the matchups where they matter, etc.
1 Abrade: As I played more with Abrade main deck, I learned that it was the perfect card to have in a lot of matchups. Take lands for example. Most of the time I found them to board in Tireless Tracker and various hate artifacts against you post board. Guess which card deals with both of them? Boom baby!
2 Umezawa’s Jitte: These two spots were similar concessions to creature matchups like the Grim Lavamancer was. Those matchups are typically difficult for Delver, so I wanted a card that could just slam the door if you got it online. Following that logic there wasn’t a game in the tournament I lost after I played and equipped a Jitte.
1 Cabal Therapy: I’ve already sung the praises of Cabal Therapy a few paragraphs back. There’s another one here in the sideboard for more of the same reasons. Sometimes it’s so good you want 3.
1 Marsh Casualties: This was my odd choice for this tournament. It allows you to have a semi one-sided board wipe in certain creature matchups (can you tell I was really worried about those?) but it also serves the alternate purpose of dealing with an opposing True-Name Nemesis cleanly.
If I were to play another tournament going forward knowing what I know now I would make a few changes to the list. Main deck, I would change the Badlands into an Underground Sea. While it’s a very close decision in my eyes, it’s Wasteland protection did not come up as many times I wanted it to be a blue producing land. I would also change 1 of the 2 Cabal Therapies to a 2nd Spell Pierce. In a lot of the matchups I played I would have prefered the Spell Pierce since you do not always know what to name with the Therapies game 1.
As for the Sideboard, I would only change the Marsh Casualties to a 2nd Diabolic Edict. It was a bit of a failed experiment and as I found myself staring down the barrel of many many Marite Lieges this tournament, another Edict would have been very helpful.
That’s all I have to say for today. Thanks for reading and feel free to hit me up anytime at an event or on social media. May the Delver flips be forever in your favor.
By Jeremy Frye at 19 Jan 2018, 02:45 AM