pie chart

Making the Leap: Delving Into Modern on a Budget

Modern Aggro Budget Competitive Delver Tempo U/R (Izzet)




Delver Banner

I feel no fear, this is a momentous night.

Are you ready to dive into one of Magic's most diverse and balanced formats? Modern is my favorite of them all; it's where dreams come true. Where else can you kill with Primeval Titan on turn 2, or reset the game completely with Karn Liberated? (Okay, I get it Legacy fans, you can do it there as well, but I can't afford that much cardboard.) However, not everyone gets to experience this fantastic format, and the excuse I hear most often is "modern is just too expensive." And for some decks, that is correct: Jund's price tag requires a second mortgage on your home, and decks like Tron and Affinity require you to buy cards that have very limited application elsewhere. But what if I showed you a magical world, a place where you could start playing modern for cheap and build your way up to the top tier decks, acquiring useful format staples while at the same time bringing home wins? What if I told you that you can Vapor Snag those pesky Wurmcoil Engine's and Spell Snare that Tarmogoyf before you have to go counting the card types in the graveyards? Well, guess what? That's exactly what I'm saying. Welcome to my world: a cheaper world, a modern world, a better world. Welcome to Delver.

Under construction.
Under construction.

If you enjoyed this deck, click here to leave an upvote. Thanks!




Saljen says... #1

This is pretty perfect for an entry level R/U Delver build. The $7 spent on Spell Snares might be better spent on Remands, however that's really dependent on your meta. Remand is more of a catch-all whereas Spell Snare is better against certain decks. However it's easy to see that this deck would have a good upgrade path. That might be something you want to include in your description.

November 19, 2015 2 p.m.

DMR says... #2

Thank you Saljen, I appreciate it! I've been busy lately, but when I finish the description I'll definitely include those points. However, I must admit that I am a huge advocate of Spell Snare and 1 cmc counters in delver in general, and Spell Snare counters a significant portion of modern's best cards with a minimal mana investment. Honestly, I think the Remand would better be fit in for 2 Mana Leak's instead. Right now I'm trying to keep the main deck as low to the ground as possible, and with 18 lands, it's sometimes hard to hold up even two mana. Finally, regarding the upgrade path, this version builds very well into grixis delver and I will make sure to include the steps one should take to do so.

November 19, 2015 8:05 p.m.

Dalektable says... #3

Have any thoughts on Abbot of Keral Keep? I use him to great success in my UR Delver build.

November 20, 2015 3:45 p.m.

ChiefBell says... #4

Abbot of keral keep is really really good.

Also I would say Remand is a really good include in here. Perhaps -1 Vapor Snag and -1 Spell Pierce.

November 20, 2015 6:53 p.m.

DMR says... #5

Remand Is going to be included in the upgrades that you can do to this deck, I agree that it is definitely a good choice. As for Abbot of Keral Keep, I think the deck would have to be warped to be more aggressive and low to the ground. More burn cards and Mutagenic Growth, since he doesn't play too well with counters. Of course this is always doable, and I'd be curious to hear more of your experiences with him!

November 21, 2015 9:54 a.m.

I run a very similar budget Delver list. Abbot is great. You are totally correct that he makes the deck more aggro, and leaves little room for counters. But consider a few points:

If you exile a counter with Abbot, it can still help you. If you keep the mana up, it will make the opponent think twice about interacting on your turn (one mana counters are great for this).

Izzet Charm is great because it's a counter, but also always has a legal target of Abbot exiles it. Remand can be used to counter your own spell, and maintain parity in the card advantage battle.

You can keep extra counters on the sideboard for when they're really necessary, and just eat the disadvantage if they get exiled. Also, Abbot makes counters less necessary in the main board, because Abbot gives you more threats, do you need not be that worried about protecting your guys.

In any case, I really learned a lot from watching Patrick Chapin's Temur Prowess deck, played at GP Oklahoma -it's very much built around Abbot. I recommend having a look.

November 22, 2015 2:31 a.m.

Sorry for typos. Typing on phone.

November 22, 2015 2:35 a.m.

DuBie15 says... #8

Instead of Forked Bolt you might be better off with Electrolyze, the draw a card is pretty relevant, and is an instant rather than a sorcery which is also pretty important.

November 22, 2015 3:12 a.m.

ojmandias says... #9

Maybe slightly more land and a Desolate Lighthouse is appropriate. Something like Sulfur Falls or even Swiftwater Cliffs

November 22, 2015 9:37 p.m.

psychicesp says... #10

I've always preferred Rune Snag to Mana Leak

November 24, 2015 1:40 p.m.

guessling says... #11


The reason I have for choosing delver is that edh has no tempo element to speak of in multiplayer.

I splash white for Lightning Helix, Path to Exile, Silence, Boros Charm, Hindering Light, and an odd Deflecting Palm and Supreme Verdict. It's fun but less consistent and the Mana base is tough - oh yeah ... Isochron Scepter ...

The playgroup is getting more competitive, though, so I might have to look at something like either this or paying for lands.

November 28, 2015 12:22 a.m.

t3kill says... #12

Once you get the chance you should try and upgrade to a Grixis Delver list, it gives so many good options to add to the deck. My Grixis Delver list goes up really well against almost all decks in modern.

November 28, 2015 1:29 a.m.

Drevin says... #13

Grim Lavamancer seems a rough choice since you are missing 10 or so enablers in the for of lands. I'd drop them for a pair of Electrolyze as they work great with the deck, stay on budget and keep tempo. Isochron Scepter would also be a good choice for this slot as the whole point is to get repeated value from a tempo card and give the deck reach. If the scepters is the go to choice I'd suggest upping the Forked Bolt count to 3 as it would be another removal spell that could be imprinted on the scepter that can also close out the game. No doubt the lavaman is great, but can he really shine in a deck with not fetchlands?

November 28, 2015 5:43 p.m.

DMR says... #14

This will be a longer post, as I'm going to respond to all the people that have commented recently, so bear with me.

Wizard_of_the_Broke- Abbot of Keral Keep is not the cheapest card right now, but I can definitely see your points on how it could be very good in this deck. I will test it and report back the results. In the meantime, I'll add it to the possible upgrades for the deck.

DuBie15- I originally had Electrolyze in the deck, and while the card draw and insta speed is nice, the biggest drawback is that it costs 3 mana. With this current build, the deck wants to be as low to the ground as possible, and that's why I have only included cards with 1 and 2 mana costs.

ojmandias- At first glance the land count in this deck looks very low, but this is standard for a delver deck. This deck only needs about 2 lands to run on, and any more clog up your draws. This deck needs as much gas as possible, and that's why the land count is so low. Also, the deck is only 2 colored, so most times you draw into the colors you need easily. That's the bad thing about Desolate Lighthouse, it messes with the deck's mana which is very color intensive, and by the time the ability is relative, your opponent should be dead or you already lost. Sulfur Falls will be going into the upgrades, as it is very good, but is $10+ right now. Swiftwater Cliffs coming into play tapped makes it bad for this deck.

psychicesp- Mana Leak is considered to be the more consistent of the two options, and most times you'll only use one leak in a game, as you want the game to be ending quickly.

guessling- Glad you like the deck! However, I'm a little confused by what you meant; this is a modern deck, not EDH?

t3kill- That's the ultimate goal for this deck if you want to stay on the Delver of Secrets  Flip plan. Without a cheap way to refill your hand like Treasure Cruise, Grixis Delver is the superior deck, and it plays a less aggressive midrange style. Plus, Turn 2 Gurmag Angler or Tasigur, the Golden Fang put in some serious work.

Drevin- I understand the concern about Grim Lavamancer having a lack of enablers in this deck due to the absence of fetches, but due to how low the average mana cost of this deck is, your graveyard fills up surprisingly and consistently fast. I stated my opinion on Electrolyze in this post a bit farther up, and while in some metas I think it would be good, I prefer Forked Bolt over it right now. Also, this deck is so constrained on mana that paying 2 to set up Isochron Scepter and subsequently paying 2 mana every turn after is a huge cost. You lose tempo on the turn that you play it, and with Kolaghan's Command being very popular in modern at the moment, it's an easy way to get 3 for 1'd.

November 30, 2015 9:59 p.m.

maybe change the Smash to Smithereens in your SB for Shattering Spree ?

no explanation needed.

I do like the deck maybe i'll make something similar +1

December 1, 2015 12:40 p.m.

guessling says... #16

I still like the scepter.

You have to be smart enough to play it when you have 4 mana available. Otherwise, yeah, if you overextend you can get punished for it - same as any deck in mtg.

There are enough cheap disruption cards in uwr to safely last until t4.

Frankly, I just find scepter to be really fun and it makes cheap instants that flip delver better.

There are lots of ways to protect your scepter in uwr and if it sticks for even a few turns, it can be hard to recover from it (or sometimes impossible depending on what you are playing).

I think that putting a tempo instant on a stick does contribute to the tempo power of a deck. I also think that waiting until t4 with it doesn't take away options or reduce tempo. It creates additional options. Often in the late game, available Mana would get unused. Having scepter up also allows for cards in hand to build up, increasing options even more. Of course the more choices there are, the harder decisions can become.

The problem is playing it too early - and if you can't stop you opponent from beating you t3 then not even snaps could have saved you so you have bigger issues.

That being said and fine arguments (and crafty posturing aside), the card doesn't show up in tournament winning decks, I do realize that.

December 1, 2015 8:25 p.m.

KaraZorEl says... #17

Pyroclasm is a really good board sweeper. Also, Combust is probably better for what you're trying to get- blue and white creatures are usually the ones that have flying.

December 2, 2015 3:48 p.m.

How would you go about converting this deck into grixis?

December 7, 2015 7:59 a.m.

IntoTheStorm says... #19

I Love the deck! I have a different version that. For 50+ Dollars You can add a Visions of Beyond playset to the deck, in order to make the cards you prioritize as to playing even easier to get to!


December 16, 2015 8:14 p.m.

@DMR, I want to start playing Modern and decided to play UR Delver. I see your deck has a lot of upvotes (one of which is mine) and am wondering if you can help. If not, that's ok. Thanks anyway. Click Here

January 14, 2016 10:57 p.m.

uskie says... #21

Stormchaser Mage, Slip Through Space, and Expedite are all OGW cards that I put in my UR Delver build.

January 25, 2016 3:29 p.m.

veeonix says... #22

Do you have anything against adding another color? Whats the budget here?

If adding Green is good, Tarmagoyf is always good. Hooting Mandril is good for budget options. Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage are nice together.

Strictly in your colors though, Abbot; Stormchaser; and a few Phyrexian mana spells for Prowess Triggers.

March 18, 2016 8:45 p.m.

amazingdan says... #23

DMR Sorry if this is a closed deck, but I've got a few questions.

My friend wants a budget Modern deck with a lot of interaction, and I told him Delver was his best bet. He doesn't know a whole lot about Modern, so he asked me to dig up some decklists, both budget and fully upgraded. All your spoilers are currently "under construction" including the future upgrades section. I know the ultimate goal is to convert it into Grixis, but I don't know how exactly to go about that. Do you have a comprehensible list or(better and much easier for both of us) a full decklist of a complete Grixis Delver? Sorry to bother you about this.


March 29, 2016 5:53 p.m.

Tyrannosary says... #24

You need to edit some of this stuff since amulet bloom and splinter twin is now banned, in the sideboard I would suggest taking out Rending Volley since it's almost useless now. Every thing else looks great! +1 from me!

April 8, 2016 10:13 a.m.

DMR says... #25

Hey everyone! Sorry for such a long hiatus, real life hit me hard and took me out of the mtg scene for a little while, so you know how that goes. Anyway, let me answer a couple questions. And also, now that the Eldrazi menace is gone I'll be updating this deck and all the the sections soon!

Tyrannosary I'll be removing the anti-twin cards for sure. In my own personal deck I put 4 Spreading Seas into the sideboard to combat Eldrazi, but that is obviously unnecessary as well now. I'll get some new tech for you guys soon. And thank you for the +1!

amazingdan Hey there! Sorry for the late response, hopefully your friend is still interested in building delver. I plan to update the upgrades section very soon, and there I will include a full decklist for grixis delver. I will make sure to message you when it's up!

To everyone else, sorry I didn't get to your comments earlier, so you probably don't want a response now. However, if I'm wrong, please leave a comment and let me know! Thanks for sticking around everybody. #MakeDelverGreatAgain

April 8, 2016 10:53 a.m.

amazingdan says... #26

Sweet, he's in the very slow process of building it up. I'm helping him along with it(gave him some Delvers, might let him rip me off of my Bolts). He does want to know what he's turning it into.

Sucks to hear about that though, I hope you're feeling better.

April 8, 2016 5:24 p.m.

abzanforever says... #27

Wouldn't be Thing in the Ice  Flip amazing in this build? It could replace Young Pyromancer

April 8, 2016 7:57 p.m.

OjutaiMTG says... #28

I'm just very curious(since I want to run this kind of deck, since it fits my playstyle) of the choice of Remand in the deck. Is it just because it's a two mana counterspell, or some other reason? Thanks for any and all responses!! :D +1

April 12, 2016 8:49 p.m.

Molitro says... #29

2 mana counterspell for one. But take into account this is a fast deck, so making the other player waste a couple mana (hopefully a turn of action?) while you draw a card is pretty strong.

April 18, 2016 11:33 a.m.

guessling says... #30

My feeling toward Remand is that it's good in some matchups that use high cmc spells or synergies/combos that are effectively countered by returning a countered spell to hand (I'm thinking especially about *Cascade shenanigans).

However, against aggro or sometimes control, I would prefer a harder counter.

April 20, 2016 7:27 p.m.

Losferatu says... #31

Hey,i really like this project and will soons start delving into modern myself ;)

Are you still working on this Primer? Please keep it up! :D

May 24, 2016 8:13 a.m.

Crav96 says... #32

Why not splash some white for 4 Path to Exile and Myth Realized ! I dont know about consistency, but Myth can be huge in Jeskai/Esper colours.

May 27, 2016 10:18 a.m.

Cool deck. Here is my try at a $50 TRON DECK Cheap EldraziTron- $50 TRON!!!

May 30, 2016 10:06 a.m.

Dude_3 says... #34

UR delver (already terribly placed in the meta) without snaps or a good manabase? Not competitive. Please take the tag off.

June 6, 2016 3:16 p.m.

SHOUT_TEETH says... #35

is this deck in the top 8 at fnm or no

June 9, 2016 7:57 a.m.

DeJeffreLot says... #36

Bedlam Reveler seems insane to pick up!

Best of luck to you and keep up the good work!

July 15, 2016 7:45 p.m.

Sniperwave says... #37

Any thoughts on Scab-Clan Berserker, seems like a fine card to board in again control/tempo based decks

August 1, 2016 5:07 p.m.

K00lDudE1 says... #38


I don't know if you're still planning on updating the description or anything, so sorry if you're not, but I'm planning on delving into modern soon, and this seems like a perfect deck to start with, because of the upgrade path that is available, and I was just curious as to how you would go about upgrading the deck.

August 14, 2016 2:38 p.m.

Bedlam Reveler is a great card!

September 11, 2016 11:11 a.m.

THEbuilder says... #40

This list seems really amazing!! Good gob. I'm going to use it, but I would use 22 lands and a play set of Remands.

October 14, 2016 11:06 p.m.

(Under construction) Cool deck. +1

October 15, 2016 9:04 p.m.

+1!!! #150!! I like ths deck setup!

October 22, 2016 3:45 a.m.

Please login to comment

Compare to inventory
Date added 2 years
Last updated 1 year

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.24
Tokens 1/1 Elemental
Folders modern, Budget, Wanna build, Thinkers, Modern Builds, Modern, BUDGET, Favorites, Decks I like, Modern Ideas, See all 93
Top rank #1 on 2015-12-14
Views 23937

Revision 8 See all

1 year ago)

+2 Pillar of Flame main
-2 Forked Bolt main
+1 Dismember side
-1 Roast side