Hola chicos y chicas! There seems to be quite a bit of interest in reading about my take on Blue-Red Delver. So today, I bring you four more matchups that you can expect in any Legacy tournament and therefore need to plan for. If you missed them, check out part one and two. In the end I’ll go over miscellaneous tips for success with the deck.

The Death and Taxes Matchup

Or Mono White Control as some call it

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Mother of Runes
Aether Vial
Stoneforge Mystic

Fellow Snapcardster magician Thomas Enevoldsen‘s weapon of choice got a much needed boost when Deathrite ShamanDeathrite Shaman got banned. It regained its positive matchups against fair blue decks that it used to be favored against. Its gameplan is disruptive and universal while the tuning of flex slots depends a lot on the metagame.
You typically win the games where you DazeDaze their two-drop and press the gas pedal with hasty creatures backed up by burn spells for the win. The hard games are when you have to beat Aether VialAether Vial, multiple Swords to PlowsharesSwords to Plowshares and/or active Mother of RunesMother of Runes. Those should be killed on sight at any cost. True-Name NemesisTrue-Name Nemesis adds another angle of attack that they have no reactive answer for in the main deck, but if you don’t run ProgenitusProgenitus‘ little Merfolk sibling, all you can do is force through as much damage as possible and hope it’s enough before they connect with an equipped creature.
Sideboarded games are very positive for the Delver side of the table because I get to bring in a playset of Smash to SmithereensSmash to Smithereens alongside sweepers and True-Name NemesisTrue-Name Nemesis. Watch out for that awkward interaction between Nemesis and Rough // TumbleRough // Tumble.

Sideboard against Death and Taxes

Sideboard Out (8)
Force of WillForce of Will
Vapor SnagVapor Snag
DazeDaze
Sideboard In (8)
Smash to SmithereensSmash to Smithereens
True-Name NemesisTrue-Name Nemesis
Rough // TumbleRough // Tumble

The Storm Matchup

ANT or Ad Nauseam Tendrils

Dark Ritual
Past in Flames
Tendrils of Agony
Ad Nauseam

Storm is another deck that gained popularity after Deathrite ShamanDeathrite Shaman‘s demise because their graveyard is left alone for game one. That makes Past in FlamesPast in Flames a reliable way to win, no matter your life total.
The winning plan is to pressure them as much as possible and to give them as few turns as possible to find a winning combination of cards. Assuming I already attack their life total, I found that when I draw double Force of WillForce of Will and another blue card like Delver of SecretsDelver of Secrets or a cantrip, I like to hold on to that card and be DuressDuress-proof.
After sideboard we get to improve with multiple copies of FlusterstormFlusterstorm. Use them on discard spells and business spells only unless you just need to buy a turn to win the game. In that case you should consider to use it on a Dark RitualDark Ritual. We also get Surgical ExtractionSurgical Extraction and a couple of sweepers to hedge against Empty the WarrensEmpty the Warrens, which on paper is a great plan against us. A fast clock will negate Ad NauseamAd Nauseam and Surgical ExtractionSurgical Extraction will answer their plan B in Past in FlamesPast in Flames.

Sidboard against Storm

Sideboard Out (7)
Stormchaser MageStormchaser Mage
Vapor SnagVapor Snag
Chain LightningChain Lightning
Sideboard In (7)
FlusterstormFlusterstorm
Surgical ExtractionSurgical Extraction
Rough // TumbleRough // Tumble

The Elves Matchup

Invasion of the angry green mob

Glimpse of Nature
Llanowar Elves
Craterhoof Behemoth
Natural Order

A very flexible deck with a lot of good game plans depending on their draws. That will make the games very challenging and different from match to match. The short version is that you need to hope that your disruption lines up well against them. Force of WillForce of Will is great against Natural OrderNatural Order and less impressive against Green Sun’s ZenithGreen Sun’s Zenith. Kill their mana creatures to hinder their critical mass and prevent a hardcast Craterhoof BehemothCraterhoof Behemoth while you keep the pressure on with attacks. Keep in mind that they will frequently sandbag a Gaea’s CradleGaea’s Cradle and win the game out of nowhere.
The sideboard doesn’t offer that much except for the two sweepers which are great against them. It’s not unusual that you kill off 4-5 critters and win the game easily after that. But on the other hand they can also kill you on their second or third turn. DazeDaze is very low impact unless you get extremely lucky, so I add FlusterstormFlusterstorm as a fine counter for Glimpse of NatureGlimpse of Nature and Natural OrderNatural Order.

Sideboard against Elves

Sideboard Out (6)
Vapor SnagVapor Snag
DazeDaze
Sideboard In (6)
Rough // TumbleRough // Tumble
FlusterstormFlusterstorm
True-Name NemesisTrue-Name Nemesis

The Mono Red Prison Matchup

The Chalice + Blood Moon deck

Goblin Rabblemaster
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Chalice of the Void
Blood Moon

Chalice of the VoidChalice of the Void and Blood MoonBlood Moon have been put in the same deck for many years in Legacy. But finally the deck actually has good threats available instead of bad cards like Arc-SloggerArc-Slogger. Goblin RabblemasterGoblin Rabblemaster, Legion WarbossLegion Warboss and Chandra, Torch of DefianceChandra, Torch of Defiance offer a relatively fast clock for cheap. That’s often enough to finish the game after you semi-locked the opponent out of the game. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to exploit this deck from Blue-Red Delver‘s perspective. Chalice of the VoidChalice of the Void will win the game a lot of the time game one if it resolves.
Using Fetchlands to get a basic Island will let you cast all spells in your deck even under Blood MoonBlood Moon. So with hands without Force of WillForce of Will or DazeDaze it can be a winning line to play like this on turn one instead of a red one-drop. They have Fiery ConfluenceFiery Confluence as a sweeper, so you need to play carefully with your prowess creatures. Do you play your BrainstormBrainstorm and Lightning BoltLightning Bolt on your own turn to force through damage? Or do you keep them up during the opponent’s turn to “counter” Fiery ConfluenceFiery Confluence? DazeDaze helps this scenario immensly, so keep in mind that DazeDaze doesn’t have to actually counter anything to be relevant.
Conveniently, Rough // TumbleRough // Tumble deals nicely with Rabblemaster, Warboss and their friends while it leaves your board unaffected.

Sideboard against Mono Red Prison

Sideboard Out (6)
Vapor SnagVapor Snag
Chain LightningChain Lightning
Sideboard In (6)
Smash to SmithereensSmash to Smithereens
Rough // TumbleRough // Tumble

Optimize Brainstorm

Your virtual card advantage

Matchup Brainstorm by Chris Rahn
Brainstorm by Chris Rahn

In a low curve deck with very few lands like this one, it is very important for your win percentage to optimize your BrainstormBrainstorm. In other decks like Grixis Control and Miracles, you need to develop your mana to be able to do multiple things each turn, but Blue-Red Delver is different. If you keep lands in hand and uncracked fetches on the battlefield, that will help you optimize a potential topdecked BrainstormBrainstorm, which will let you draw more gas. While this deck doesn’t have any actual card advantage, your low mana curve and number of lands in combination with BrainstormBrainstorm is your virtual card advantage.

Some advice on lands

In this deck they play a bigger role than you think

Matchup Volcanic Island by Noah Bradley
Volcanic Island by Noah Bradley

On the play I don’t worry too much about WastelandWasteland, but on the draw I can see an argument to fetch for basics, so you have an untouchable manabase. Keep in mind that some hands can’t afford to fetch basics because you might need to play Monastery SwiftspearMonastery Swiftspear and Lightning BoltLightning Bolt on turn two if you face a matchup where your opponent plays a creature on turn one. Fetching the right lands is a big deal, so practice that a lot and take notes to evaluate later.
Even with a one-lander I like to play out my one-drop on turn one, even if I could dig for land number two. If you play it safe, you will miss out on important damage that could’ve helped you win the game. You would rather lose to a random WastelandWasteland, which is very bad tempo for the opponent if you have another land and just played a creature, than lose to your own slow start.

Some advice on certain spells

You need to make unconventional plays sometimes

Matchup Preordain by Svetlin Velinov
Preordain by Svetlin Velinov
PreordainPreordain first over PonderPonder if you don’t have a fetchland available. Exceptions can be made if it’s super important to flip a Delver of SecretsDelver of Secrets because PonderPonder is better at that.
Force of WillForce of Will on a removal spell is a fine play that you need to do from time to time. Your creatures are your repeated source of damage and are very valuable. The same scenario applies for double DazeDaze.
Against Grixis Control, Eldrazi and other matchups that are weak to Price of ProgressPrice of Progress, fetch out as many Volcanic IslandVolcanic Islands as possible in game one. That way they might not suspect Price of ProgressPrice of Progress and you can catch them off-guard in game two or three. It’s very hard to track how effective this strategy is, but I think it makes a difference.

I’m sure I missed a bunch of little things, but as always don’t be shy about reaching out on Twitter if you have any questions. Have a good one!

This article was written by Andreas Petersen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com

Andreas Petersen

Author Andreas Petersen

Andreas is probably better known as "ecobaronen" on MTGO. After 2nd place of Team Trios #GPMadrid playing Modern he's heading to his second Pro Tour in Minneapolis this year. Andreas has an opinion about every constructed format except Standard.

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