Matchup Mulligan: UR Delver

Grixis Phoenix Hand Answer

Hand 10: (on the play)

Ad Nauseam Infernal Tutor Lotus Petal Lotus Petal Rite Of Flame Lions Eye Diamond Duress


If you were smart enough to ignore my sideboarding advice and decided to keep in Empty the Warrens, I think this is a soft keep. The issue is that the Arclight Phoenix decks have anywhere between three and five answers to Goblin tokens, that said, you’re in a position where they can’t race you even with three Arclight Phoenix on turn one. I still don’t like keeping in Empty the Warrens versus them. Based on what we have, I think you need to mulligan this hand. Due to having your single copy of Ad Nauseam in your hand, these seven cards just don’t do anything.

UR Delver


For reference: Rich Cali’s 1st place list from SCG: Syracuse

Hand 1: (on the play)

Chrome Mox Mox Opal Rite Of Flame DarkRitual Empty The Warrens Bloodstained Mire BurningWish


One of the easiest ways to beat Delver of Secrets strategies is to have Empty the Warrens in your hand, especially in game one. I tend to value it much higher than an average card. Now pair what I just said with the fact that you can cast it turn one, you definitely keep! The decision with this hand is whether or not to get greedy with casting or imprinting the Rite of Flame; ten Goblins is likely an auto win where eight is probable but you leave yourself a back-door way to win. What would you do?


Hand 2: (on the draw)

Lions Eye Diamond Thoughtseize Duress Rite Of Flame Chrome Mox Badlands Polluted Delta


We’ve covered it in previous Match-up Mulligans, but every turn you’re around 33% to draw a business spell which is all you need. This hand has two ways to protect your kill and these new UR Delver decks are slower than the previous versions with Monastery Swiftspear. I’d keep this all day.


Hand 3: (on the play)

Infernal Tutor BurningWish BurningWish Ad Nauseam Duress Polluted Delta Polluted Delta


While these newer Delver decks are slower, they’re not THAT much slower. This hand doesn’t really do anything and is very clunky unless you draw exactly Dark Ritual in order to search up a copy. I believe it’s a tall order expecting a hand like this to win the game.


Hand 4: (on the draw)

Chrome Mox DarkRitual Rite Of Flame Brainstorm Ponder Duress Lions Eye Diamond


Assuming you don’t draw a land, this hand is awkwardly color restricted assuming that your game plan to resolve a cantrip even happens on the draw. Your opponent is likely to have some sort of interaction, but even if they don’t there’s a very low chance of success. There are very few match-ups where I would keep this hand.


Hand 5: (on the play)

Infernal Tutor Infernal Tutor DarkRitual Thoughtseize Rite Of Flame Lions Eye Diamond


I think this hand becomes a lot more interesting in the draw, but while on the play I think you have to take your chances with something that can actually play Magic: the Gathering. You just can’t afford to Time Walk yourself and play twice behind (essentially putting them on the play with an extra card).



Recommended sideboarding:


Hand 6: (on the draw)

Empty The Warrens Empty The Warrens DarkRitual Rite Of Flame Chrome Mox Lotus Petal


Can’t ask for too much more out of a mulligan!?! While our hand could lose to Force of Will, Flusterstorm, or even Rough / Tumble it’s something you accept when you registered The EPIC Storm. Ten Goblins is still a very good threat and your opponent could be foolish enough to tap out for a threat, especially after you mulligan. Ideally, you would find a mana source to help you play around Daze with your scry and draw step.


Hand 7: (on the play)

DarkRitual DarkRitual Rite Of Flame Polluted Delta Bloodstained Mire Lotus Petal


Maybe it’s wrong, but after a mulligan, I’d keep this. You still have three Empty the Warrens in your deck that make this hand incredible, with assistance from your scry and draw steps. I like my odds of being able to win with this more than an average five, but I’m willing to be proven wrong.


Hand 8: (on the draw)

Swamp Ponder Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame Empty The Warrens DarkRitual Infernal Tutor


What exactly does this hand do well? Not much. While I do value having Empty the Warrens highly, you need to be able to play the game. Even if you draw a red source, all this hand does is make six Goblins. This is also assuming that Daze, Force of Will, Surgical Extraction, Flusterstorm, Young Pyromancer, or Rough / Tumble don’t mess your day up. If the other cards in your hand assisted you somehow, I could see an argument for keeping.


Hand 9: (on the play)

Ad Nauseam Rite Of Flame DarkRitual Mox Opal Chrome Mox Chrome Mox Polluted Delta


Yeah! You can’t be afraid to jam a turn one Ad Nauseam in any match-up. The odds are in your favor mathematically, I’ve also found that Delver of Secrets players tend to value their sweepers higher post-board which means that they may not be shuffling down looking for a Force of Will. There is some concern that you have three copies of Empty the Warrens in your deck, but the deck has ten initial starters (three in your opening hand). If you sequence correctly, you can get an extra mana out of this hand as well. Use Polluted Delta to search up Badlands and cast Rite of Flame, Mox Opal, Chrome Mox (no Imprint), Chrome Mox, with the Imprint on the stack use Mox Opal to cast Dark Ritual into Ad Nauseam!


Hand 10: (on the draw)

Empty The Warrens Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame Chrome Mox Infernal Tutor Duress

Stay tuned for the next article!

I’ll provide my answer in the next article, but for now, make sure to post your thoughts!