This deck appeared with the re-introduction of the Delve Mechanic in Khans of Tarkir. The deck uses cheep card advantage engines to dump cards into the graveyard allowing the pilot to quickly cast oversized Delve creatures such as Gurmag Angler and protect them with countermagic.
As of this writing the deck generally comprises about 5-8% of the 5-0 Pauper League decklists on MTGO. While it may not be the most popular archetype I've found it fun to play and at 30-40 tix one of the cheaper lists capable of a 5-0 finish.
Many of the card choices are fixed. The creature base will normally always consist of
4 Delver of Secrets and 4 Gurmag Angler. Delver of Secrets provides an early clock and protection from other Delver decks while Gurmag Angler is one of the hardest creatures to kill in the format.
Typically the deck will have 1 Sultai Scavenger for additional flying pressure and as room for sideboard options.
Stormbound Geist was the traditional choice for protection against edict effects, but many players are opting for Eldrazi Skyspawner instead due to a less restrictive color requirement. The geist has the added bonus of not dying to ping effects, but it does require double blue and it is vulnerable to graveyard hate since it returns from the grave.
Matchup Analysis and Sideboard Plan
vs UB Teachings - UB Teachings focuses on gaining board control at all costs and will often take its time to set up. Often there are no creatures and the deck depends on Curse of the Bloody Tome to win via decking. Casting a creature early with protection from a counterspell will often be very hard to answer. Continue to add creatures as they become available protecting Gurmag Angler. Cycle worthless creature removal away with Brainstorm and Mental Note. Eventually they will cast Curse of the Bloody Tome which fills your graveyard and allows for an endless supply of creatures they cannot answer.
+ 3 Dispel
+ 2 Nihil Spellbomb
+ 1 Stormbound Geist
Even if they are not playing Accumulated Knowledge, the Spellbombs raid their graveyard for Mystical Teachings and Chainer's Edicts. Try to leave up B so you can net a card. Dispel is abusive in this matchup and will often allow you to plunk down an early threat and still protect it. A third turn Angler with Dispel backup that untaps into UUU can end the game.
Honestly I think Scavenger is more important than Angler. Sure angler is a bigger creatures, but, without trample it can get chumped until it's dealt with. Scavenger dies to more things, but, the flying generally nets you some damage if your opponent doesn't have a removal spell right away. I see Angler getting stuffed by some random 1/1 and then taken out a couple turns later without ever doing anything. Scavenger might hit once or twice because of the evasion. YMMV
I find the space to play 1 Mystical Teachings to tutor up what I need in g1 e some 1-off from the sideboard.
The mainplan is the same, play tempo, beat with Delver and Gurmag, Counter-Removal opponents threaths and eventually win the game. Mulldrifter is here to have a good refill in late game as well as Accumulated Knowledge and Teachings
Tell me what you think!
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Teachings doesn't really synergize with the delve mechanic since teachings wants a full yard and delve wants to generally be more aggressive. You could try sb into a teachings deck but it's quite a shift.
Accumulated Knowledge isn't usually played in this build for the same reason. You are forced to eat cards in the yard.
Regarding Scavenger vs Angler. The 5 body is really hard to deal with in pauper. While wizards is printing more options there aren't that many things that can just sit there while you beat them with angler. The flyer is good against some decks but many can do 3 damage to get rid of it.
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early Angler is almost always good (if you draw it) unless you're up against UB, when you want to try to resolve 2 threats in one turn. Having a giant fatty in play tends to encourage people to overcommit into Evincar's Justice.
Chainer's is pretty good. You do get the value in longer games. Sure, sometimes you have to delve one away, but that's a price worth paying for a fast Angler (chances are if you have a fast Angler that game might be ending before you hit 7 mana). Delving away Accumulated Knowledges is a lot more awkward but there's not really a good alternative.
Also a removal spell that doesn't get hit by Dispel/Vines/Apostle's Blessing is surprisingly good, especially in sideboard games.
I like the Angler/Scavenger package over traditional UB flicker because...
1) UB closes the game out so slowly. Mulldrifter beatdown is so slow & gives the opponent so many chances to get back into the game
2) The potential for a fast clock is huge vs decks that try to go over the top like Tron
3) vs opposing Delver decks, your threat is bigger and forces them to split their resources between killing it and killing you. It's hard for them. Vs UB flicker they can dedicate every turn towards progressing their tempo plan. You go over the top, basically.
Admittedly, game 1 this deck does struggle a lot vs traditional UB. It's not unwinnable, but it's hard. After sideboard, things improve, as all the Curses, extra Dispels, and graveyard hate comes in.