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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jun 27 2022 12:30pm
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Ah yes, the original boogeyman of the Pauper format, to some players they call it old faithful, yes the famous deck itself, Delver Blue. Wizards have banned Daze, Gush, Gitaxian Probe (unban it you cowards) and gave us access to both red blasts in the format. This still is not enough to keep Delver down.

The reason why I haven’t spoken about Mono Blue Delver is because it had not really changed all that much over the years except for maybe a few tech cards. However, it has been so long that today I wanted to see what Delver players are working with and see if there is anything new.


The list we will be looking at today was part of the 5-0 dump from 6/8/2022 and was piloted by the player Vihespanhol. Alright, let’s see if Delver is the boogeyman or the deck we use to beat the boogeyman. Yes I am ashamed of myself right now. Let’s rock!

Delver of Secrets – The namesake of the deck. Although there are only 3, this is the card you always want to play on turn 1 in my opinion, but the later the game goes, the less valuable it becomes. For 1 mana, you usually get a 3 power creature with flying that you can ride to victory all by itself. Just do not be like me and actually blind flip it more often than not.

Faerie Miscreant – The first copy of this creature isn’t all that special except it is a faerie to help with Spellstutter Sprite. However, while you have a Miscreant on the battlefield, every copy after the first will draw a card. This allows you to be aggressive while keeping the gas flowing.

Faerie Seer – A great one drop for blue decks like this. Although it isn’t a very big creature, it allows you to Scry 2 when it hits play and that is huge when playing a blue deck, especially one with Delver.

Spellstutter Sprite – The best creature in the deck in my opinion and if I could play 5, I would personally in a heartbeat.

Moon-Circuit Hacker – One of the new toys for this archetype. Hacker is great as it draws cards when it hits your opponent. Just as important however, it has Ninjustu. This means that the first attack is fairly free and that means you just straight up draw a card, but the best part is its ability costs only 1 mana. Ninjutsu is amazing in this archetype as all of your faeries are great to return. You can also Ninjutsu a Hacker with another Hacker so that you always draw the card and don’t have to discard.

Ninja of the Deep Hours – One of the end gamer cards of the deck. I like that there is only 3 in this archetype. It can be hard to get Ninja through after the first combat and it costs 4 mana to play if you are casting it normally.

Spire Golem – The Golem as been around forever and long ago before Delver was printed, Spire Golem was the main win condition for mono blue decks as its stats were really good for the little mana cost. In today’s meta however, The Golem is still good, but not as powerful as it used to be. I do wish there was a third copy though.

Counterspell – Never play less than 4 of these.

Preordain – This is the only 1 mana cantrip in the deck. Brainstorm helps flip Delver, but you have no shuffle effects so Brainstorm doesn’t really help you draw cards. Ponder is able to see a card deeper, but Preordain has the potential to put cards you don’t need to the bottom and keep them there so you don’t draw them again. In my opinion, Preordain is the best.

Dispel – A great silver bullet for any situation that calls for it.

Snap – This is great in this deck. It can bounce your Sprite to be used again or it can help you gain some tempo over your opponent.

Of One Mind – I love seeing this over cantrips. This will usually cost only 2 mana and dig 2 cards deep. Being able to keep the gas flowing is what this deck wants most.

Mutagenic Growth – At first glance this might not look like much, but it is a free spell that can help you when blocking, trying to win the game or save a creature from damage based removal. I can see cutting 1 for a Bonesplitter in the main deck, but I would play at least 2.

The manabase is just straight up 18 Island. No gimmick or tech lands, just basic lands. I would never touch this mana base as you never want lands coming into play tapped or don’t produce blue. That is just my opinion.

The Sideboard

Annul – This is great against both Affinity and Bogles. While Steel Sabotage is a better card overall for Affinity and Curfew helps a bit more against Bogles, Annul meets right in the middle and I think that is just fine.

Bind the Monster – A great way to deal with creatures and it only costs 1 mana. Yes it does deal you damage, but paying only 1 mana instead of 2 for something like Curse of Chains is huge because it helps you play more spells in a turn.

Blue Elemental Blast – No one likes to lose to the red menace.

Bonesplitter – I think this is good against everything but that is just my way of playing Delver Blue. I personally would not have this in the sideboard but that is just my opinion.

Dispel – A second copy of Dispel can help a lot against other blue decks, burn decks and just about anything with an abundance of instants.

Echoing Truth – A great bounce spell. Especially good against Tokens, Elves and other things of that nature.

Gut Shot – A free removal spell against other Faerie decks, Elves, Goblins and a whole lot of strategies you will run into.

Stormbound Geist – A very annoying creature that can be a win condition on its own. This takes 2 removal spells to deal with and gets better after the first.

Verdict and Conclusion

I am happy to say that Delver Blue isn’t the menace or boogeyman it once was. I believe the new boogeyman of Pauper is Affinity and in my opinion, this is not the archetype you call upon to go after it, but Delver Blue is still pretty darn good.

In the Pauper format currently, a lot of Midrange has popped up and this makes Spellstutter Sprite a little less powerful than it used to be. The format has also become a bit more aggressive and slightly faster, which means its harder for Delver Blue to be ahead in the early game. The biggest strength of this deck in my opinion has always been that you can have an aggro start and keep the cards flowing. With the little land count you have, you should see plenty more spells than lands. Funny enough, this list doesn’t even play 4 Delver and that does not surprise me at all.

The deck hasn’t really changed all that much. You do have Moon-Circuit Hacker to rock with and it is a really good card, but it isn’t powerful enough to just buy you wins. Bind the Monster is a great replacement for cards like Curse of Chains, but it can’t do everything. In the end, Delver Blue is kind of just the same. Honestly that is fine with me because it means most players can pick up where they left off and new players can try out the old school way of playing Blue Delver/Faeries.

Do I think you should play this deck? For leagues I think this deck is perfectly fine and very powerful. For challenges it is a bit tricky. I think Delver Blue doesn’t have enough “stuff” in my opinion to be good every weekend. Do not get me wrong, I think Delver Blue is very powerful, but I think unlike its Dimir and Izzet siblings, Delver Blue needs a bit more of a specific weekend to thrive.

As far as which one I would play? I personally like Izzet. I like playing with Skred and I like having access to cards like Swirling Sandstorm and Pyroblast as well. Overall Izzet and Dimir are a bit more interesting to me but you shouldn’t let that stop you playing good old Delver Blue.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to Gatherling.com on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!