Delver-Control UB

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Hi everyone! I am relatively new to playing Standard (since Core 2012), and I would love to hear some comments on my newest deck.


I have recently been play-testing a more aggro approach to typical "draw, go" style U/B. I have found that this deck doesn't deal well early game and all to often it can lose easily to decks such as Tempered Steel and Delver-Illusions.


I decided to try and speed up the U/B deck by adding some of the elements that make the Delver-Illusion build so successful without sacrificing all of the integrity of the late game success by U/B Control.


Here is what I have so far:




The premise is to apply pressure early game with the Delvers and Bears. They are both potent 1 drops that can put the opponent on a quick clock. If the opponent deals with them I have my Drakes as the second line of defense. I have been amazed how at how many times against a RDW that my Delver will get shocked on turn 1 or 2. This allows me to get out a Drake more fluidly than I originally thought.


Mid-game is where I like to abuse more counter/removal suite. Mana Leaks are saved for artifacts and enchantments usually, while my Doom Blade/Tribute to Hunger Package can usually deal with most threats. The Snapcaster helps a ton, if I could get 1 or 2 more I would likely use them in this list. Forbidden Alchemy is key, allowing me to dig for the right card. (The graveyard abuse in this deck doesn't hurt for the 3 that get discarded either!) Vapor Snag has been finding more success recently, which I am very happy to see. It's a powerful card that in a build like this can continue to stall out the opponent while I am swinging with my early game threats.


Late-game is usually Grave Titan/Consecrated Sphinx time. These are just brutal cards in my playtesting and because of my early game damage I can usually close a match shortly after they hit the field.

If you're going to commit to an Aggro-Control strategy, you need to tighten up your creature base - you need value cards that are somewhat resilient so they can go the whole distance if need be. At the moment, anything your Phantasmal Bear does is going to be irrelevent if you're slamming Grave Titan later on anyway.

That's the problem with just "adding some aggro elements" to a Control deck, and vice-versa. Half an aggro deck plus half a control deck doesn't make an Aggro-Control deck, so to speak. What happens is that you compromise the early clock AND compromise the lategame (because you draw useless-early Grave Titans when you're trying put early pressure on, and you draw worthless Phantasmal Bears when you've stalled the game out).

Drake isn't worth playing; the vast majority of games (e.g. those not against RDW), you won't set up your Stitched Drake until too late in the game, where it won't be relevant anymore. You'd need to have a creature base much closer to Illusions to make that a reliable early drop.

You'll need the 4 Ponders to reliably set up Insectile Aberration. And I'd advise against Think Twice - it's not suitable for a deck that wants to be paying mana on it's own turn in the early game.

If you want to go an Aggro-Control strategy, I'd shrink your curve. Look at a creature base like 4 Delver, 4 of the one-drop 2/2 Zombie, 4 Snapcaster, 4 of the self-reanimating Skeleton (a sort of black Moorland Haunt?), 2-3 Stitched Drake, 2-3 of the "Draw a card lose 1 life" demon.
Yeah, my initial opinion is that you should play Illusions.  You're certainly more potent that way.  Instead of slowing down to try and deal with their stuff and resolve fatties, you're playing a tempo value game that slows down as little as possible. 

Just played a guy on Cockatrice doing something like this.  Talked to him a bit, played a number of games, and just wasn't sure what he was trying to do (don't think he was either).  Testing a Flare list, I can wait out his Mana Leaks all day.  Lategame I'm sticking Batterskull.  He's like.. resolve Phantasmal Bear.  oh knoe.  Versus any well-designed tempo/aggro deck, they can target your wincons with any of the six thousand burn/bounce/kill spells played in nigh every deck, and you're on your back foot to stick one of two fatties to stay alive.

Snapcaster is one of the best tools you have in blue, basically for any purpose.  MrIndigo has great suggestions - drop the curve and consider yourself the more aggressive deck.

catowner wrote:
Welcome to 2012. Blue has the most efficient creatures, black has the all-in monocolored aggro deck, the most controlling deck in the format is green-red, control decks lose to aggro in attrition wars, and counterspells aren't an answer to fatties.
Islands wrote:
Pack Rat is like Bitterblossom and Tarmogoyf had a black baby.
The way I see it is if you want to play Thought Scour would be a good card for you early game so probably -3 and +3 .
ooo and if you add [Thought Scour] you should consider and as well as finishing your playset of
I recently saw this deck that ran Reassembling Skeleton, with Liliana of the Veil and a similar build to yours.

it was interesting to see the synergy with Snapcaster and Forbidden Alchemy because basically everything in the deck could be dumped into the grave and pulled back later, the deck also ran 2 Runechanter's Pike to buff the Skeleton or any of of the creatures.

im considering running something similar, so i thought I'd share that with you.

Reassembling Skeleton is a bit more reliable than Gravecrawler, and more affordable. not to mention his affect allows him to be cast EoT, where as crawler is sorcery speed.

that deck also ran 2 Altar's Reap. a card thats reasonably overlooked, but with everything being recyclable its likely a good alternative to Think Twice, and has the dual ability of being a combat trick.