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Thread: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

  1. #1
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    [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Hi Everyone,

    I've been working on this deck a lot lately after watching some videos of Caleb Durward piloting the deck. I think this is about as close to a pure tempo deck as modern can get. Grixis delver is still a very good deck, and doing fairly well lately. What I like about Jeskai is the ability to race, which it can do quite well. Tons of removal that can double as burn, powerful threats, and a decent control game are all part of this deck. I am also using some cards that I think are underplayed in the format which can break some matchups open. The re-printing of Opt also gives this deck a little more leverage as well, providing a decent cantrip allowing for 5+ alongside Serum Visions. Some of the cards I'm using that are not traditional are:

    1) Grim Lavamancer
    2) Forked Bolt
    3) Deprive

    Beyond those, which do see some fringe play in modern, the deck consists mostly of good, aggressive jeskai cards. Deprive's drawback is negligible, and might even open the door for Steppe Lynx, but I don't think that's as good as it looks. Most times it is actual counterspell. Forked Bolt has really great uses against affinity, elves, death and taxes, collected company decks that use mana creatures, and it can just go to the dome for 2. Lavaman provides reach, keeps the smaller dudes in check, and is easy to feed even with Snapcaster in the mix.

    I played the following list to a 4-2 finish on 9/16/17 at a local PPTQ, 57 players, I came in 14th. My matchups were 2x burn, genesis wave, Titan-shift, Elves, and Merfolk. My losses were to merfolk and genesis wave.

    4x Delver of Secrets
    3x Monastery Swiftspear
    1x Grim Lavamancer
    3x Snapcaster Mage
    2x Geist of Saint Traft
    4x Serum Visions
    4x Lightning Bolt
    4x Path to Exile
    2x Spell Snare
    1x Dispel
    1x Peek
    1x Forked Bolt
    4x Lightning Helix
    3x Remand
    3x Deprive
    2x Boros Charm
    2x Spirebluff Canal
    3x Arid Mesa
    3x Flooded Strand
    2x Scalding Tarn
    2x Steam Vents
    1x Hallowed Fountain
    1x Sacred Foundry
    2x Island
    1x Plains
    1x Mountain

    Sideboard
    2x Meddling Mage
    1x Vendilion Clique
    2x Blessed Alliance
    2x Spreading Seas
    1x Engineered Explosives
    2x Rest in Peace
    2x Stony Silence
    2x Wear/Tear
    1x Detention Sphere


    The deck is fundamentally really good, and tons of fun. I don't think Swiftspear is very good, not when trying to hold up countermagic. It is a much better card in burn where Lava Spike and Rift Bolt are constantly in the mix that make it a 2/3 without sacrificing any tempo or tapping lands needed for counterspells/removal. I think Grim Lavamancer is just way better at control and pressure. This list was also pre-Opt re-print, so that needs to get worked in at some number. I also think Geist is just a much better option as a threat that ends games faster. I am testing/proposing these changes:

    -3 Swiftspear
    -1 Peek

    +1 Geist of Saint Traft
    +1 Grim Lavamancer
    +2 Opt

    I look forward to discussion on this deck, because I think it has really great potential. It's nothing earth-shattering, or even new. I just think it is well placed in the metagame right now. A ton of other great sideboard/mainboard options also exist to shore up metagame specific issues, such as: Blood Moon, Negate, Eidelon of Rhetoric, Pyroclasm, Vryn Wingmare, Seeker of the Way, Soulfire Grandmaster, Monastery Mentor, and Pithing Needle.

    The best part of the deck is that if a board position gets out of control, it can just race. It also has early, powerful answers to cards that it can lose to with Deprive and sideboarded Meddling Mages.

    Let me know what you think, and bring on the discussion if you're interested in contributing! I'll post some video links soon that CDurward has done recently that got me into the deck.

    Link to Caleb Durward's video, differs slightly with cryptic command, boros charm, etc.

    https://youtu.be/J-sybLF_OTU
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 09-22-2017 at 05:07 PM.
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Maindeck is 59 cards, did you forget the Forked Bolt?

    4 Paths always strikes me as too many in a deck like this. You have a lot of draw/filter to hit one if you need it, but you have a shitload of burn to clear out most things. It's a dead card too often. Against a lot of decks you really don't even want to be pathing things early, making it a bad removal spell most of the time. Some decks, like merfolk or jund, love having extra mana anyway, turning on more creaturelands and the like. Obviously they'd prefer to keep their creature, but the difference between path and burn is going to be huge. Another question to ask is "if I need to cast more than one Path in a game, and burn wouldn't have done the trick, will I end up winning that game anyway?" I know there are cases where the answer is yes, but do they outweigh the number of games you lose by a few points of damage holding Paths or the games where the extra tempo from the land puts the game out of reach? The game where your opponent is casting fatty after fatty and you aren't countering them or dealing the final blow for lethal are probably lost regardless of pathing it or not, a lot of the time. Add on top of this that if the game goes long you are likely to have access to Path + Snapcaster if truly necessary. Path is basically a "turn target creature into a rampant growth," which for eating up one of your cards isn't necessarily that devastating.

    I like Opt a lot for this deck, it lets you do something if you're holding up mana and don't need to counter.

    Swiftspear seems like a necessary evil in this deck. You're right you won't be casting many spells for Prowess if you're holding up counterspells, but I think it's inclusion is literally just "I need a fast creature to put pressure on the opponent and they only let me put 4 Delvers in." In that context you only have a few options, assuming you want to keep your 2 mana open to counter some decks, Goblin Guide helps the opponent too much in a tempo deck that hopes to hold them off longer than burn would, Grim Lavamancer can't put a lot of pressure on the opponent early on, and the only other option in your colors is Steppe Lynx. Steppe Lynx requires a lot more fetchlands than you're currently playing and since you really want access to all of your mana would probably make you take a lot more damage per game than is comfortable. Swiftspear still has the out-of-nowhere kill threat and probably most importantly can trade with a goyf if you use a lightning bolt (along with tasigur, g angler, and most other creatures for that matter). Taking it out doesn't just make you slower, it makes your deck reliant on finding Delver. You need a threat so your Remands actually slow the game down enough to win, and so people don't have time to cast baits into your Deprives. It's also deceptively powerful. How many times would an opponent be comfortable blocking with something even as big as Courser of Kruphix? If someone attacks into me with a Swiftspear and I have that for defense, I would almost never choose to block it for all of the shenanigans that might happen.

    I could see vendillion clique being a great addition because you're holding up mana for counterspells anyway. Not sure what I'd take out for it though.

    I'd probably do
    -1 Peek (worse than Opt)
    -1 or 2 Path


    +2 Opt
    +1 Lavamancer if you find room
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick "Tasteless" Plott
    It's a trend on the internet, the internet has just become more and more of an unpleasant place. It's become more and more of bitching on forums, and I'm from that really early internet generation where it's just small communities giving each other advice and reasonable dialogue, and it's kind of just devolved into this ugly, ugly thing. I mean, it's too bad you can't be paid to be, you know, a chicken shit fuckin' whiny bitch on the internet or we'd have a lot of rich community members

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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Nice thoughts, thanks. I did forget the forked bolt!

    I did drop Peek (mentioned above) and I do agree that 4 paths is too many. That's an easy spot for another Opt.

    I had swiftspear, it was just so underwhelming. I get that it may be a necessary evil. In quite a few games already I found her outclassed quickly. I do like clearing a path and attacking for 2, but it happened so rarely.

    How do you feel about cutting remand altogether in favor of swiftspear? I like the idea of my counters all being hard counters.
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    I think dropping Remand is fine, it's always a fine card but usually not a great one. It gets better the higher the average cost of spells is, so against Tron it's pretty good at stopping O stone or whatever, but if you're trying to stop someone from Fatal Pushing your Delver it's pretty bad.

    I think this forum drops old threads so you can't find it without searching, but I once made a Jeskai delver list of my own. http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...nastery-Mentor

    I don't think it's worth using Monastery Mentor now that Gitaxian Probe is gone (unless maybe using Mishra's Bauble? Would need to test to make a real decision on that), but my burn + disruption suite I remember being very good at the time. I had done a lot of testing with these two, leading to:

    I've been testing a lot and am at a crossroads in deck designs. I've updated the OP with the 2 different decks, and they both have strengths and weaknesses, which manifests in winrates vs specific decks.
    Without Gitaxian Probe, some of the deck design would change now. Young Pyromancer is still good, so that might be a consideration. It was particularly good in the grindier matchups like Jund and I bet grixis DS now. I liked Dispels since it countered everything but Abrupt Decay, so if you could keep up 1 mana your creatures would be safe, but as you can see in the more aggressive list they didn't warrant inclusion for reasons I don't remember now. I'm guessing it was just too reactionary and you'd be better off with accepting the 1 for 1 and using your card to play another Swiftspear or something. As your creatures become cheaper the amount of effort you should go to to protect them also tends to go down.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick "Tasteless" Plott
    It's a trend on the internet, the internet has just become more and more of an unpleasant place. It's become more and more of bitching on forums, and I'm from that really early internet generation where it's just small communities giving each other advice and reasonable dialogue, and it's kind of just devolved into this ugly, ugly thing. I mean, it's too bad you can't be paid to be, you know, a chicken shit fuckin' whiny bitch on the internet or we'd have a lot of rich community members

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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Did some reading on that old thread, agree on mentor.

    How do you feel about young pyro in the current meta? Soulfire grandmaster?
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    I'm not really sure on YP. It's a great card generally but it might not help you in the stuff you're already losing to. Since the deck isn't built around prowess it isn't an auto-include, but you do play a lot of cantrips which is the prerequisite for it being powerful. I think it warrants testing at least, but probably won't be a 4-of ever.

    I've never been a fan of Soulfire GM. Against most matchups his ability is next to useless and in the ones you want him you'd probably be better off with more Snacpaster for Lightning Helix or Dispel. I only like him in hodgepodge decks while cubing since his copy ability is fun (not really modern relevant most of the time) and you can sometimes Pyroclasm with him out (which is also a bad move in modern).
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick "Tasteless" Plott
    It's a trend on the internet, the internet has just become more and more of an unpleasant place. It's become more and more of bitching on forums, and I'm from that really early internet generation where it's just small communities giving each other advice and reasonable dialogue, and it's kind of just devolved into this ugly, ugly thing. I mean, it's too bad you can't be paid to be, you know, a chicken shit fuckin' whiny bitch on the internet or we'd have a lot of rich community members

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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    I was thinking maybe 2x young pyro. It's awkward; I really want a t1 threat and then leave disruption up t2. Yp would be a t3 play, for the sake of value and timing, and that's when i want to land a geist/clique. I'll have to test.

    Thanks for the input!
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    New list for testing:

    4x Delver
    3x Geist of Saint Traft
    2x Grim Lavamancer
    3x Snapcaster Mage
    2x Young Pyromancer

    4x Serum Visions
    3x Opt
    4x Lightning Bolt
    4x Lightning Helix
    4x Deprive
    2x Spell Snare
    1x Dispel
    1x Forked Bolt
    2x Boros Charm
    3x Path to Exile

    3x Flooded Strand
    3x Arid Mesa
    2x Scalding Tarn
    2x Steam Vents
    1x Hallowed Fountain
    1x Sacred Foundry
    2x Spirebluff Canal
    2x Island
    1x Mountain
    1x Plains

    Sideboard
    2x Meddling Mage
    1x Vendilion Clique
    2x Stony Silence
    2x Rest in Peace
    3x ghost quarter
    2x Wear/Tear
    2x Blessed Alliance
    1x Engineered Explosives


    Testing out Ghost Quarter in the board instead of Spreading Seas. I could see that as Molten Rain as well, which might be better. GQ is faster against tron/eldrazi, Molten Rain provides damage to help speed up the clock while disrupting. Seas just provides an extra draw, which isn't bad, but my filtering is already much more efficient with SV/Opt. Would love to get a 4th Opt in there, not sure quite where to cut for it.

    I'm not 100% sold on Deprive as a 4-of, but I don't seem to be too bothered by having multiples. In some mathups 2 deprives can win the game, others they are dead. I may work in a 2nd Dispel maindeck, which has overperformed as a 1-of, same with Forked Bolt, which is another card I could double up on. I like Dispel available with 3 lands that way I can play YP and keep anything but Abrupt Decay away.

    Sideboard is in flux, but so far I've been happy with Meddling Mage and the enchantments. Blessed Alliance is incredible, polarizing to the point its almost as good as RiP/Stony Silence as a foil to the burn matchup.
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    What about Serra Avenger? Seems pretty good actually. Another 3 powered flyer for cheap, and the vigilance isn't bad at all.
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Seems pretty bad in any deck without aether vial. Turn 5 earliest attack is rough, and double white requirement can get annoying early on. I think you want to be on the table faster than that. Mantis Rider is something I'd consider before Avenger since at least it's an okay top deck and it attacks turn 3 instead of 5.

    If you're looking for slower stuff I'd just use Monastery Mentor, he's still insanely powerful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick "Tasteless" Plott
    It's a trend on the internet, the internet has just become more and more of an unpleasant place. It's become more and more of bitching on forums, and I'm from that really early internet generation where it's just small communities giving each other advice and reasonable dialogue, and it's kind of just devolved into this ugly, ugly thing. I mean, it's too bad you can't be paid to be, you know, a chicken shit fuckin' whiny bitch on the internet or we'd have a lot of rich community members

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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    I was simply looking for mana efficiency. Young Pyromancer seems to be my best bet. At this point in my experience YP has performed better than Swiftspear. I may just maindeck a Vendilion Clique as well.

    I decided to keep Remand in the deck, mostly for flexibility in sideboarding. It's amazing in some matchups, mediocre in others, never dead, and a great tempo play. Main deck material for sure, but definitely easy to board out against decks where it isn't optimal. I was underplaying the velocity factor as well, it makes Grim Lavamancer, and even Boros Charm, much better. Buying even a turn and drawing into more gas is really good.
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Made some minor changes, mostly to the sideboard, but I am really liking the current setup. I was really at a loss for what to sideboard for Tron/Eldrazi. I waffled back and forth on Spreading Seas/Molten Rain/Blood Moon/Ghost Quarter. I think the best move, especially considering Snapcaster Mage, is Ceremonious Rejection. It has value against Tron/Eldrazi and is super cheap. It also has splash damage against Affinity of course (which isn't a tough matchup in the first place, honestly, but it does work.)

    I am really focusing on Delver or Geist to get the job done. Young Pyro is ok, maybe will try again later, but I know I don't want Swiftspear. Boros Charm basically takes that role of speeding up games, with some good utility options. I hesitate on YP, simply because I don't know what matchups I would board it in against. That leaves me with 2 open slots in the sideboard, hoping for feedback on what they should be.

    4x Delver of Secrets
    2x Grim Lavamancer
    3x Snapcaster Mage
    3x Geist of Saint Traft

    4x Serum Visions
    3x Opt
    4x Lightning Bolt
    3x Path to Exile
    2x Spell Snare
    1x Dispel
    1x Forked Bolt
    3x Remand
    3x Deprive
    4x Lightning Helix
    2x Boros Charm

    3x Flooded Strand
    3x Arid Mesa
    2x Scalding Tarn
    2x Steam Vents
    1x Hallowed Fountain
    1x Sacred Foundry
    2x Spirebluff Canal
    2x Island
    1x Plains
    1x Mountain

    Sideboard
    2x Meddling Mage
    1x Vendilion Clique
    2x Ceremonious Rejection
    2x Rest in Peace
    2x Stony Silence
    2x Blessed Alliance
    1x Detention Sphere
    1x Engineered Explosives
    2x Open


    Phoenix Ignition, whatcha think?
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Maindeck looks very good. Only thing I'm curious about there is the 2x Boros Charm. The indestructible effect doesn't strike me as *that* useful since all of your creatures are pretty small and it seems like you could just be doing better stuff with that card. The double strike isn't relevant and if the 4 damage is the most used mode then you could probably find something else that is useful before the opponent is <5 life. It's a good finisher, just not a card that will do a whole lot sitting in your hand. That said, 4 damage for 2 mana is hard to beat if that's what you're going for. I was a fan of a single Repeal in decks like this just to hit whatever random problem your opponent has, while never being a dead draw and sometimes being a better Remand. Vapor Snag also was quite good at protecting your Geists by returning whatever single blocker they choose.

    Sideboard I really like Negate. It does what a lot of your situational counters do for slightly more mana, but usually that's just fine. The difference between 1 and 2 mana isn't a big deal if you know what you're trying to counter. I also really like running 3x Stony Silence since whenever you want that card you really want to find it early. Not sure about Meddling Mage, always seemed easy to deal with in Modern since every single deck has multiple ways to deal with small creature permanents. I ran 3 Meddling Mage maindeck a while back in my Zur deck, mainly for Steel of the Godhead, and it was always pretty easy for the opponent to kill even when I had Gitaxian Probe. Usually it just eats whatever secondary removal spell they have. You rarely get to name the card you want to and have to end up naming removal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick "Tasteless" Plott
    It's a trend on the internet, the internet has just become more and more of an unpleasant place. It's become more and more of bitching on forums, and I'm from that really early internet generation where it's just small communities giving each other advice and reasonable dialogue, and it's kind of just devolved into this ugly, ugly thing. I mean, it's too bad you can't be paid to be, you know, a chicken shit fuckin' whiny bitch on the internet or we'd have a lot of rich community members

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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Nice, thanks!

    Mage is for combo decks and big mana decks like Tron. I usually name stuff like Gifts, Karn, Primeval Titan, Collected Company. Fair-ish matchups I think he's a bit of a liability, and I wouldn't bring it in against Jund/UW Control/Grixis Death's Shadow. I've seen Runed Halo pop up in MTGO lists, which I think is better in mid-range/control decks but for me I want the potential for beats.

    I like the Negate option, and definitely like the 3rd Stony Silence option. Repeal seems a bit of a stretch, simply because I'm looking for efficiency as priority #1 (which is why I don't use Cryptic Command.) Vapor Snag doesn't seem like its powerful enough, not with white available, but maybe its just a solid tempo play. It can bounce my Geist in a pinch.

    My thoughts on Boros Charm was that it makes my Geist indestructible so I can swing in for 4. This seems silly, but its a way to work around Leyline of Sanctity. I agree its likely the worst card in the deck, but I'm not sure what to do instead. Electrolyze seems ok, maybe a 4th Remand and a Clique main. I just liked the way Boros Charm turned corners, but I still don't have a ton of games under my belt with it (only about 75, roughly) and I haven't had enough experience with specific matchups. Much like Remand, its another flexible slot for sideboarding. Its as you say: 4 damage for 2 mana 95% of the time, with fringe usefulness against corner cards like Leyline or saving my crew from Supreme Verdict.

    For my open slots I'm going to put in 1x Negate and scrounge up a 3rd Stony Silence. If I can't find the SS I might just put in something for the grindier matchups like Ajani Vengeant, Gideon Jura, or Chandra, Pyromaster. Pyromaster seems decent with Geist, making stuff unblockable, along with 'drawing' an extra card every turn. I think the ultimate is game winning with so many burn spells, but hitting the ultimate is not something I expect very often. I think even a Thundermaw Hellkite would be decent against the grindier decks.

    Thanks again!
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Saw this list, playing Mantis Rider (which seems *quite* good.) I still don't like Swiftspear in a non-Lava Spike deck, but I can see what he was trying to do. It's definitely closer to a delver agro deck than anything mid-range Jeskai that's getting popular, and it's also a lot closer to a traditional burn deck.


    http://mtgtop8.com/event?e=17319&d=307135&f=MO

    Any thoughts on this list?
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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Looks good. Goblin Guide is a card that fits the 1cmc threat slot if you want to go all in (which Mantis Rider does). I don't tend to like playing with the card but it's probably the correct choice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick "Tasteless" Plott
    It's a trend on the internet, the internet has just become more and more of an unpleasant place. It's become more and more of bitching on forums, and I'm from that really early internet generation where it's just small communities giving each other advice and reasonable dialogue, and it's kind of just devolved into this ugly, ugly thing. I mean, it's too bad you can't be paid to be, you know, a chicken shit fuckin' whiny bitch on the internet or we'd have a lot of rich community members

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    Re: [DECK] Jeskai Delver

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Ignition View Post
    Looks good. Goblin Guide is a card that fits the 1cmc threat slot if you want to go all in (which Mantis Rider does). I don't tend to like playing with the card but it's probably the correct choice.
    I tend to agree with you. The extra lands don't matter too much, not when the counterspells are essentially hard counters. I think I'll test 1x Goblin Guide to go along with the 2x Grim Lavamancers. Lavaman has been excellent, but he can run out of gas quickly if he's the only threat I'm leaning on. It might be good to go 2/2 split of Grim/Guide, that would allow for some good variability. Guide isn't dead late game because of haste and Grim is good at almost any stage of the game. I'm not sure where to cut to get the 2 guides in; will likely cut 1x Boros Charm anyways, and then one other card, possibly the maindeck Dispel or 1x Opt. I could cut both copies of Boros Charm, but as I've stated earlier, I really like the reach. It might be correct though.

    Mantis Rider is a really great aggressive card, but I think it puts the deck too far on the aggressive side of the spectrum. It's not quite as aggressive as traditional Burn and it has fewer slots available for disruption that helps fight the unfair decks (Storm, Ad Nauseam, Scapeshift, etc.) I see the list had Spell Pierce in it, but I really don't like soft counters, even in a fast tempo deck. Maybe it works for that list, but I'd rather play Deprive (which always gets it's target.) The natural place to cut for Mantis Rider would be Geist, and there's absolutely NO WAY I'm cutting my best threat.

    I want Jace TMS to be unbanned in modern so bad...it would be PERFECT as a 1-2-of in this deck. But that's just a pipe dream I think...
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