This week in Magic: Modern UR Delver

treasure cruise

For this week in Magic, we’re going to take a visit down memory lane and talk about Modern! I’ve been playing Modern again lately, and I’ve got a bit of a bug. Thanks to the introduction of Khans, though, the format has changed, and for the better. Cards like Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise add a dynamic that not many people expected. Some people were even speculating that Treasure Cruise would be banned. However it hasn’t, and decks like Mono Red Burn have welcomed it with arms wide open.


I am not running Mono Red Burn, though. I’ve decided to go the UR Delver route. This deck is a lot of fun and can almost second for another burn deck. Okay, that’s enough talk. Let’s take a look at what I was playing.


Main board
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Young Pyromancer


4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Serum Visions
3 Thought Scour
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Forked Bolt
2 Vapor Snag
2 Spell Snare
2 Mana Leak
2 Spell Pierce
1 Electrolyze
4 Treasure Cruise


2 Polluted Delta
3 Flooded Strand
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Bloodstained Mire
4 Steam Vents
2 Island
3 Mountain


Side board
2 Blood Moon
2 Electrickery
1 Negate
1 Dispel
2 Dragon Claw
1 Pithing Needle
1 Counterflux
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Combust
2 Smash to Smithereens


This list is far from perfect, but I felt good playing it this past weekend. For this week, we’re just going to focus on the main board, and if there is time, we’ll touch upon the side board. Right after playing, I knew the one thing I wanted to add was Snapcaster Mage. As to why it wasn’t there to begin with, I think it just escaped my mind. Now the question is how many do I run? I’ve seen many lists go back and forth between one and two Snapcaster Mages.


To begin with, I may want to start with two Mages. However, I can see the argument to only play one. First of all, you’ll notice that Delver, Young Pyromancer, and the Swiftspear all have something in common – they are all dependant on non-creature spells. By running more creatures than I have to, it can almost hinder me in a small way. Can you imagine needed to rip just any spell to either trigger the Pyromancer or trigger the Prowess on Swiftspear, but instead you draw your Mage?


I can see what you’re saying, big deal, right? So what if you draw your Snapcaster Mage? Just cast that guy and flashback a Lightning Bolt! Well, you need to remember that this is a deck that runs only 18 lands. Resources are very limited and when you do draw your Mage, you may find that you don’t have the mana to do everything you want. Of course, this is the worst case scenario, so don’t let this deter you. However, it is very much a possibility.


The next debate is over certain counterspells. I feel there is a good question over whether to run Remand or Mana Leak. What that answer is, I’m not quite sure. Remember, I’m no expert here, I’m just a guy putting his thoughts down on electronic paper. Is it better to run Mana Leak or Remand?


A great argument for Remand can be made for it’s cantrip ability. In this deck, I can totally see drawing more cards. More fuel for the fire. However, an important thing to keep in mind is what the format currently looks like. If you feel like decks such as Jund, Pod, Tron, and such are going to be dominant, then running Remand is an excellent choice. In the later game, Mana Leak just is not good enough.


In a metagame where decks like UR Delver and Mono Red Burn (splashing Blue for Treasure Cruise) are running rampant, then Mana Leak is at it’s best. As someone who played Mono Red Burn, Remand was the best counter I could see if I saw any. Most of the time, it meant I was paying two mana for my Lightning Bolt instead of one. In some cases, that can be game changing, but most of the time it’s not. Remember I mentioned that resources can be limited, Mana Leak can hurt a lot especially when you average about three to four lands a game.


This leads me to seeing people making a compromise. This is where you see lists running one Remand or one Mana Leak. While this may seem like a solution, I don’t think it is. You want your counterspells to matter in the game. Running one of’s does not help solve the problem. In the end, you’re better off running two of a less efficient counterspell than none at all.


Time to wrap things up. There are some obvious staples of the deck that should never be messed with. I feel that these staples are Serum Visions, Lightning Bolt, Gitaxian Probe, and Treasure Cruise. Otherwise, feel free to play around with numbers until you feel comfortable. That’s it for now. Tune in next week where I’ll try to tackle the side board and hopefully recount some playtesting. Until then, take care.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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