Video Daily Digest: Delving, Traversing, Claiming Fame

What happens when Delver of Secrets, Traverse the Ulvenwald, and spicy split cards combine in one wild Modern deck? Ross Merriam spills the beans ahead of SCG Baltimore!

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to call today’s deck. I ultimately settled on the somewhat bland Four-Color Delver moniker, if only because of the high spell count and focus on cheap, efficient threats. But a lot of the rest of the deck is more reminiscent of the Four-Color Traverse deck, even if this list only plays two copies of Traverse the Ulvenwald.

Still, there are some additions that are clear enablers of the powerful tutor, namely Architects of Will and Tarfire, the latter a key part of Jund Death’s Shadow decks last year that should be quite well-positioned again in a metagame where Humans is the top deck and Affinity has rebounded from its nadir of some months ago.

The threat base (except Delver of Secrets) is similarly derivative of Four-Color Traverse.

Young Pyromancer and Bedlam Reveler have proven to be a great pairing, as they both play well with cheap, interactive spells and the latter refuels you to keep pumping out Elemental tokens. And the extra colors in these lists relative to Mardu Pyromancer allow you to play Grim Flayer, a hyper-efficient threat that fills the graveyard for Bedlam Reveler and ensures you’ll draw gas nearly every turn.

Unfortunately this list doesn’t play white, so we miss the synergy between Grim Flayer and Lingering Souls, but the blue spells here pull a lot of weight in combo and big mana matchups where decks like Mardu Pyromancer and Four-Color Traverse struggle. Having card selection and counterspells alongside the most efficient one-mana threat in Magic’s history is a huge gain against a large portion of the metagame.

With the added card selection of blue, it’s clear that the builder was playing around with some flex spots, adding powerful singleton spells like Countersquall, Claim // Fame, and Rise // Fall, though I’m disappointed not to see a singleton Snapcaster Mage as a Traverse target to rebuy these spells and sideboard cards when they’re at their most powerful.

The current Modern metagame is heavily warped by aggressive decks with plenty of creatures, so this move toward blue is likely a liability, but if there is one constant in Magic, it’s change, so it’s important that we take note of decks like this and keep them in mind for when the next metagame shift happens. And if your local metagame skews towards combo and big mana but with enough midrange and control to keep players honest, then a deck like this should be great.