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Phoenix Chick

Dominaria United Standard Izzet Delver Theorycraft

Looking to get ahead of the competition come Dominaria United? DoggertQBones is here to give you powerful decks to try day one, and today, he's covering why this may be Delver of Secret's time to shine!

Hello everyone! To help complement the Standard 2023 articles, we have enough cards to start building the decks of the future! I’m going to focus on the decks least likely to change as we want these to be as accurate as possible moving into the new format.

To me, the key of finding the best new decks of a format is to find the base from the previous Standard that was good or close to being strong and see if it has a lot of cards that can be added on top of it.

For this article, I want to finally make a deck work that’s been on the precipice since it’s introduction to Standard, Izzet Delver.

Let’s take a look at the deck.

Dominaria Izzet Delver
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $182.11
Standard
Tempo
best of 1
0 mythic
20 rare
14 uncommon
26 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (16)
4
Phoenix Chick
$1.96
4
Ledger Shredder
$107.96
Instants (20)
2
Spell Pierce
$0.50
2
Fading Hope
$1.58
4
Consider
$9.96
4
Play with Fire
$11.16
4
Make Disappear
$1.00
Sorceries (2)
2
Inspired Idea
$0.50
Lands (22)
7
Island
$1.75
7
Mountain
$1.75
4
Shivan Reef
$7.16
60 Cards
$227.2

Deck Breakdown

One of the most feared creatures of all time, Delver of Secrets has yet to really make an impact on Standard. Starting as a 1/1, being able to flip it into a Flying 3/2 is obscenely punishing, especially if you get to flip on turn one. In fairness, the issue with Delver traditionally in Standard is having enough spells to flip it consistently. With losing MDFCs, it’s going to be a bit tougher to get the consistency where we want. With 23 spells total, the flip percentage is going to be sub 50 most of the time which is definitely not ideal, but still acceptable as it should flip relatively quickly.

One of the newest and cutest additions to the deck, Phoenix Chick seems like the perfect inclusion for a tempo deck. Being a Flying Raging Goblin that can recur itself when you attack with enough creatures makes this a persistent and annoying threat for any opponent.

Moving up the curve we have our two drops which is our top end threats as well!

Another current staple in eternal formats, Ledger Shredder is another perfect card for tempo decks. A large toughness flier that is card selection, card filtering, and grows when you cast spells is obscenely good. Being able to rid yourself of excess lands when you need or to make this a huge threat is definitely a big deal. Furthermore being able to outgrow Cut Down with just a single +1/+1 counter I think is going to be a big deal.

While Thermo-Alchemist may have been the initial choice for the final threat, I’m opting for Suspicious Stowaway. Stowaway works extremely well in this deck as it does a lot of things for a very little mana investment. It is also card filtering, it provides additional attackers for Phoenix Chick, and it’s really easy to let this flip so you have an extremely threatening creature as well!

Now onto the most important part of any Delver or tempo deck, the spells. No matter how good the threats are, you need enough cheap spells to make the deck worthwhile and that is far from an issue in Dominaria Standard.

First off, to help smooth our draws we have Consider. This is functionally just Opt in this deck, but we do have the small added bonus of milling over Phoenix Chick which could add some additional value.

In terms of interaction, we have a spread of different and powerful options.

If you want to protect your creatures or disrupt the opponent on the cheap, it’s hard to do better than Spell Pierce. It’s such a brutal card as it feels impossible to play around as the open mana can just as easily mean a Consider, a different interactive spell, or just nothing making this very scary to play against.

If you need to interact with creatures, Fading Hope and Play with Fire have your back. Fading Hope can work double duty by bouncing the opponent’s best threat or even protecting your own need be. On the other hand, Play with Fire can only take out smaller creatures, but being able to point it face to increase the clock and slight card selection is excellent as well!

Similar to our threats, our spells also (almost) top out at two mana!

Coming back into Standard after quite a long while, Lightning Strike is one of the best additions we could ask for! It seems weird to talk so highly of a common card, but Lightning Strike is going to be a four of in most of Standard’s red decks, and for good reason. Lightning Strike helps dictate the pace of the format as you don’t want to be tempo negative if you deploy a threat that can be killed by a Lightning Strike, but even if you don’t, it can just be pointed face for a good deal of reach!

If you want to interact more holistically with the opponent, Make Disappear will get the job done. While Quench was never considered a particularly good card, it has proven itself more this time around, and with cheap creatures, you can sacrifice to Casualty if you’re desperate as well.

For the final spell of the deck, I knew we needed some strong card advantage with Expressive Iteration leaving and Inspired Idea seems to be the best option. A stronger Divination, losing three cards out of your maximum hand size does seem brutal, but realistically you’re not going to have many cards in hand at that point in the game regardless. Furthermore, if you have five mana, you can just make this a five mana draw three which isn’t an amazing rate, but far from an awful one as well.

While I’ve been historically optimistic about Delver decks in Standard, this is the first time it doesn’t feel like I was scrounging for playables so I do think that if it’s ever going to be a strong deck, it’s going to be now.

Tips and Tricks

dmu-137-lightning-strike
  • While we don’t have much card manipulation for Delver of Secrets, Play with Fire can do a lot of work here. You can let Delver trigger, get the flip if it’s a spell, and if you don’t want it, Play with Fire before drawing it. You can do the inverse as well by casting Play with Fire to try to set up Delver for the flip.
  • Remember that Ledger Shredder checks if a player cast two spells on each individual turn, so hypothetically you can pass, cast two spells to get the trigger, and your opponent can still cast two spells to give you another trigger as well.
  • Not casting spells to flip over Suspicious Stowaway is very reasonable in this deck, especially if you have plenty of instants in hand. Keep in mind that Stowaway only cares if you cast no spells or two spells on your own turn, skipping your turn and casting two spells on your opponent’s turn won’t flip it back!
  • Don’t underestimate the bluffing power of holding up a single Blue constantly. I wouldn’t play off curve just to bluff, but many players will think twice about tapping out if they know you play Spell Pierce.
  • Whether it’s through Consider or Ledger Shredder, don’t be afraid to aggressively loot away lands. This deck does not require too much mana to function and generally 3 lands will be enough for most of what you’d need.

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DoggertQBones
DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
Twitch and Discord.

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