Esper Delver by yozo on MtGO

Creatures (11)
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Gurmag Angler

Non-Creature Spells (31)
2 Lingering Souls
4 Ponder
2 Vindicate
4 Brainstorm
4 Daze
3 Fatal Push
4 Force of Will
3 Spell Pierce
4 Stifle
1 Swords to Plowshares

Lands (18)
2 Flooded Strand
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
1 Tropical Island
2 Tundra
3 Underground Sea
4 Wasteland

Sideboard (15)
1 Containment Priest
2 Diabolic Edict
1 Disenchant
3 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Thoughtseize
2 Winter Orb
2 Zealous Persecution


Delver strategies in Legacy have been one of the pillars of the format in various builds since original Innistrad. The powerful tempo creatures combined with cheap and efficient spells always combine to form a strong, cohesive strategy. The deck we’re featuring today is Esper Delver, a color combination that has been under the radar for quite some time, but might be ready for a comeback.

As with most of these decks, the creature base is focused on Delver of Secrets and Deathrite Shaman. The former hits hard in the air, putting a clock on the opponent, and the latter adds extra mana and finishes games off once cards have hit the graveyard. Gurmag Angler and Lingering Souls make up the last cards of the creature base. Gurmag Angler has been a staple of Legacy since its printing, as getting cards into the graveyard to make it cost 1 or 2 mana is very easy in this format. Lingering Souls, on the other hand, has been on the outside of the format for a while, but metagame shifts have made its stock rise.

As for the cheap spells, this deck, like most Delver decks, plays Brainstorm, Ponder, Daze, and Force of Will. It also focuses more on tempo than some, as it plays the full 4 copies of Stifle, which is usually used to aim at fetchlands to keep a mana advantage. Fatal Push is the removal spell of choice, but Swords to Plowshares and Vindicate have both found their way into the deck, as they are both unconditional removal spells that are needed against the diverse Legacy metagame.

In the sideboard, this deck aims to hate out the various strategies in the format. Ethersworn Canonist helps massively against Storm, Surgical Extraction hates out graveyard decks, as well as combo decks that can have their critical pieces discarded, and Containment Priest keeps decks like Dredge and Sneak & Show at bay. Against fair decks, Winter Orb does quite a bit of work. Choking the opponent’s mana is always a good option for this style of deck, and Winter Orb is one of the most aggressive of those options in the format.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:


-1 Spell Pierce

+1 Liliana of the Veil


No changes.

This is day 224 of’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 223 here, where we featured a Modern Infect deck that’s looking to revolutionize the strategy.

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