Esper Delve by andreas_mueller on MtGO

Creatures (8)
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Gurmag Angler

Non-Creature Spells (34)
3 Cabal Therapy
2 Collective Brutality
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Lingering Souls
4 Ponder
4 Brainstorm
1 Fatal Push
4 Force of Will
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Thought Scour

Lands (18)
1 Bayou
4 Flooded Strand
1 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
1 Scrubland
1 Tropical Island
3 Tundra
3 Underground Sea

Sideboard (15)
1 Containment Priest
2 Disenchant
2 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Faerie Macabre
1 Flusterstorm
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Thoughtseize
2 Zealous Persecution


The printing of powerful and low-cost graveyard-matters cards over the past several years has certainly had a major impact on both Modern and Legacy. In Modern, these cards were fairly quickly banned, but in Legacy they still exist and thrive. Some decks use the graveyard a little, some rely on it entirely, but the common thread is that keeping tabs on your graveyard and getting cards into it is a good strategy in Legacy. The deck we’re featuring today is Esper Delve, which takes the traditional blue midrange deck in Legacy and aims to get an advantage over the opponent by better leveraging its graveyard.

The more important graveyard part of this deck is how it actually wins: through its creatures. Deathrite Shaman and Gurmag Angler might be a little awkward together at times as they compete over the same resources, but most opponents will be putting their own cards into the graveyard, so Deathrite can occupy itself with the opponent’s ‘yard. Additionally, Lingering Souls is an important card in this deck, as it offers 4 power of flying on one card spread across two spells and 4 creatures, making it very hard to deal with for opposing midrange creatures, while being an excellent card to discard to Collective Brutality.

As for non-creature spells, this deck has many of the usual suspects, but several interesting options as well. Cabal Therapy and Collective Brutality are the discard options in this deck, as it completely forgoes Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize in the mainboard. Cabal Therapy is sometimes a shot in the dark, but the presence of a full playset of Gitaxian Probe and Collective Brutality lets it be significantly more powerful. Additionally, the flashback ability is easy for this deck to get off with the playset of Lingering Souls in the deck.

Ponder, Brainstorm, and Force of Will are almost auto-includes for blue decks in Legacy that want to cast spells or fill up their graveyard, as the two cantrips are the best value for mana available in the format, and Force of Will, frequently described as a necessary evil, is quite excellent in this sort of deck that wants to cast several spells in the early turns. This deck also play the full playset of Thought Scour, which is close to a vanilla draw 1 for 1 mana in most decks, but the presence of Gurmag Angler, Deathrite Shaman, and Lingering Souls makes Scour a very appealing option.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:


-1 Swords to Plowshares

+1 Fatal Push


-1 Faerie Macabre

-1 Thoughtseize

+2 Nihil Spellbomb

This is day 265 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 264 here, where we featured a Modern control deck that focuses on getting value out of its diverse suite of planeswalkers.

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