After the new exciting tournament structure on Magic Online, I got really motivated to play more Legacy than before. As most of you know, I used to play the 4-Color Leovold deck a lot and quickly transitioned into Grixis Control after the Deathrite ShamanDeathrite Shaman banning. The Legacy Challenge takes place on Sunday and overlaps with the Pauper Challenge, which has super long and grindy games. That meant I needed a more proactive deck so I could play both tournaments at the same time. I searched the internet for inspiration and came across old versions of Blue-Red Delver. They all played four copies of Gitaxian ProbeGitaxian Probe. I was sceptic, but then again, I would never miss an opportunity to play with more PreordainPreordains, so I started assembling the deck.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the new MTGO tournament structure, here is a short summary. You obtain Format Points in Leagues or Challenges and qualify for the Playoffs. The Top8 of those qualify for the Championship and the winner of that play in the Magic Online Championship Series and tabletop Mythic Championship.

The Creatures

How to keep the pressure on

Delver of Secrets
Monastery Swiftspear
Soul-Scar Mage
Stormchaser Mage
True-Name Nemesis

In the early versions, I only played only eight one-drops and a pair of True-Name NemesisTrue-Name Nemesis to diversify my threats as much as possible. Stormchaser MageStormchaser Mage played the swiss army knife role. It has evasion, can pitch to Force of WillForce of Will, plays around Chalice of the VoidChalice of the Void on 1 and withstands a Lightning BoltLightning Bolt as long as you can cast a single instant. Those are just the most key reasons why I liked it. At the time I also played two Risk FactorRisk Factor which let me gain some reach against slower decks in games where they managed to stabilize around 8-12 life.

After a few more games, I noticed that this deck’s strength was its super high velocity. The free counterspells would ensure that I could finish the job and punish every little stumble from the opposition. The three-drops didn’t fit into that plan and I cut them from the main deck. Note that cutting the expensive cards make you softer to mana flood. That way BrainstormBrainstorm easily becomes the best card in your deck after the first three land drops. To maximize the effect of BrainstormBrainstorm is super important to learn if you want to succeed with this deck. After I talked to Magic Online user Gul_Dukat, the Contructed Phenomenon, I decided to maximize the one-drops and added three Soul-Scar MageSoul-Scar Mage. Most games it will be a non-hasty Monastery SwiftspearMonastery Swiftspear, but sometimes it will blow out an opposing Gurmag AnglerGurmag Angler with Lightning BoltLightning Bolt.

The Spells

How to disrupt the opponent

Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Chain Lightning
Vapor Snag

The beautiful part about this deck is that a big chunk of its disruption package also helps the primary gameplan to finish off the opponent quickly. In Grixis Delver, bolting your opponent doesn’t feel very good because you lack cheap aggressive creatures to back up that plan and with Burn it feels awful to target your opponent’s creatures. In this deck, both are valid plans because you have the repetitive source of damage from the creatures. The free counterspells are great because you can play your creatures, chain your cantrips and cast burnspells while you can still disrupt your opponent for zero mana. Vapor SnagVapor Snag is weak on the surface, but covers some nasty angles like Gurmag AnglerGurmag Angler, TarmogoyfTarmogoyf and the Marit Lage token from Dark DepthsDark Depths. At the same time it’s servicable against a removal spell or as Force of WillForce of Will fodder.

The First Part of the Sideboard

How to react to the Legacy Metagame

Smash to Smithereens
Surgical Extraction
Rough // Tumble

My sideboard hasn’t changed a lot since my first version of the deck, but the last few slots are changing from week to week. I’m 100% sure that I want the full four Smash to SmithereensSmash to Smithereens. Chalice of the VoidChalice of the Void and equipment are great against this deck and the extra three damage is relevant in an aggressive shell. FlusterstormFlusterstorm is currently useful against all combo decks and all blue decks where it acts as Spell PierceSpell Pierce most of the time. The exception is that it can’t hit artifacts, enchantments and planeswalkers, which could be useful from time to time. In exchange for added flexibility I would give up percentages against Storm and Show and Tell variants which I’m not sure I like.
For graveyard hate I’ve liked Surgical ExtractionSurgical Extraction because it’s a free instant spell in a deck full of prowess creatures.
I like the one-sided sweeper in RoughRough (prowess creatures and fliers survive) to help out against Death & Taxes, Elves, Young PyromancerYoung Pyromancer and Storm‘s Empty the WarrensEmpty the Warrens. I always felt that two is the right number thanks to all the juicy blue cantrips I get to run.

The Second Part of the Sideboard

How to keep greedy decks honest

True-Name Nemesis
Price of Progress

In the last tournament I played, I had two True-Name NemesisTrue-Name Nemesis in the sideboard as a way to improve a lot of matchups a little bit as opposed to improving a specific matchup by a lot. I have a lot of low impact cards in the main deck that I wish I could sideboard out. DazeDaze on the draw, Force of WillForce of Will in fair matchups and Vapor SnagVapor Snag are examples. That way I was very happy with an overall decent Magic card in the sideboard.
The two copies of Price of ProgressPrice of Progress will keep Grixis Control, Lands, 4-Color Loam, Eldrazi and other greedy manabases honest. Hopefully it also creates a huge damage swing that will win you the game in most cases. Disguising the fact that you’re playing Price of ProgressPrice of Progress is vital and can be done with fetches on Volcanic IslandVolcanic Islands only in game one. Sometimes even in game two if you have an aggressive draw and don’t care about the 4-6 damage it will deal to you.

Other Sideboard Options

How to attack specific Matchups

Tormod’s Crypt
Sulfuric Vortex
Pyrostatic Pillar

I could see myself trying out Tormod’s CryptTormod’s Crypt if Dredge becomes a thing again because a single Surgical might not cut it. For now, where Reanimator is the primary graveyard deck, I’m fine with the current setup of 2-3 Surgical ExtractionSurgical Extraction.
Sulfuric VortexSulfuric Vortex is a resilient threat against Miracles and Grixis Control and it stops the lifegain from pesky Stoneforge MysticStoneforge Mystic decks. I could see myself running a copy of it again in the near future if I expect to face a lot of Control at the top tables.
If Storm was a bigger part of the metagame, I would strongly consider either Pyrostatic PillarPyrostatic Pillar or Eidolon of the Great RevelEidolon of the Great Revel as ways to K.O. them. As it stands right now with the huge Legacy metagame, those cards are too narrow.
As CounterbalanceCounterbalance slowly impacts the format more and more, it could be time to include a PyroblastPyroblast or two in the near future. I could see myself cutting a FlusterstormFlusterstorm or maybe the Surgicals to try and fit it in, but I’m not sure yet. All I know is that it’s always in the virtual pile of 20 cards that I build my sideboard to this deck from, but it hasn’t seen play yet.

The Final Decklist

What the Ecobaronen favorite looks like

Delver Stormchaser Mage by Clint Cearley

Stormchaser Mage by Clint Cearley

To sum things up, here is my current decklist that I would recommend for your next Legacy tournament. It changes a card or two every week, so don’t be shy to reach out on Twitter @ecobaronen to find my newest list.

Blue-Red Delver by Ecobaronen

Creatures (14)
Delver of SecretsDelver of Secrets
Monastery SwiftspearMonastery Swiftspear
Soul-Scar MageSoul-Scar Mage
Stormchaser MageStormchaser Mage

Spells (30)
Chain LightningChain Lightning
Lightning BoltLightning Bolt
Vapor SnagVapor Snag
Force of WillForce of Will
Lands (16)
Scalding TarnScalding Tarn
Polluted DeltaPolluted Delta
Flooded StrandFlooded Strand
Misty RainforestMisty Rainforest
Volcanic IslandVolcanic Island

Sideboard (15)
Smash to SmithereensSmash to Smithereens
Price of ProgressPrice of Progress
Surgical ExtractionSurgical Extraction
True-Name NemesisTrue-Name Nemesis

Thank you so much for reading and look out for the next part where I cover all matchups with tips and sideboard plans!


This article was written by Andreas Petersen in a media collaboration with

Andreas Petersen

Author Andreas Petersen

Andreas is probably better known as "ecobaronen" on MTGO. After 2nd place of Team Trios #GPMadrid playing Modern he's heading to his second Pro Tour in Minneapolis this year. Andreas has an opinion about every constructed format except Standard.

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