Through the Looking Glass: UR Delver with Jarvis Yu

Jarvis Yu

Special Guest

A few words on Jarvis Yu (@jkyu06):

Jarvis Yu works during the day as a mathematical statistician for the United States government. He has four Grand Prix T8s (Seattle 2015, Columbus 2016, New Jersey 2017, Atlanta 2019), with Seattle being a win. He has also played 22 Pro Tour/Pro Tour-level equivalent events. His favorite formats are Legacy and Booster Draft.
How do you feel about UR Delver in the current metagame?

This past weekend (June 6, 2021), I chose to play UR Delver and took the deck to a 6-2 finish in the Legacy Showcase. The metagame was very undefined because Modern Horizons 2 had just come out on MTGO the previous week (June 2/3), so it’s hard to tell in a vacuum if UR Delver was a good choice. It certainly posted a great aggregate win rate (56.32 percent excluding mirror matches).

Modern Horizon 2 (MH2) is bringing a lot of fresh air into the format. Are you playing any of the new cards? If so, which ones and why?

I registered [[Murktide Regent]], [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]], and [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]] in UR Delver. [[Murktide Regent]] is an enormous evasive threat that fills the role that [[Tombstalker]] used to play in these styles of decks, but it’s casting cost makes it easy to cast once you have access to two basic [[Island]]. [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] and [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]] are uniquely powerful one drops that allow you to lower your mana curve and eschew cards like [[Young Pyromancer]] and [[Sprite Dragon]]. In particular, I found the selection from [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] to significantly add up and prevent mana flood in the late game. [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]] was less clear to me, but the idea of leading with it on turn one into a Wasteland on turn two feels very reminiscent of [[Deathrite Shaman]].

Are you expecting The EPIC Storm to play any MH2 cards?

Given MH2 was spoiled with a few Storm cards, it’s definitely possible. In order of probability, I would guess [[Chatterstorm]], [[Galvanic Relay]], [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]], and then finally [[Urza’s Saga]].

How effective do you think [[Empty the Warrens]] is in the matchup? Is it a card that you generally worry about coming from The EPIC Storm?

I think this is namely a question of how many sweepers you expect UR Delver to have. Most people have shaved back to 1-2 sweepers period (usually a single [[Blazing Volley]] and perhaps a [[Rough / Tumble]]). Personally, I would worry about an [[Empty the Warrens]] for 8-plus tokens, especially in game one.

What sort of interaction do UR Delver decks have before sideboarding? What should The EPIC Storm be on the look-out for?

Generally, they have full play sets of [[Daze]] and [[Force of Will]] alongside 0-2 [[Force of Negation]]. Gaining access to the first [[Veil of Summer]], especially through soft counters, is worth quite a bit.

How highly do you value [[Wasteland]] in the matchup? Is it worth keeping a hand without a ”Force” effect?

[[Wasteland]] is quite good in the matchup if you analyze the manabase of TES. Lacking a basic [[Island]] means that going after blue dual lands can stop cantrip chains (with regards to setup). With regards to keeping a hand without a ”Force” effect, I think it’s a tough sell to mulligan directly to a [[Force of Will]] or [[Force of Negation]] if you only have 4-5 copies of such an effect. Even with six copies, it’s also a tough sell because I think cantrips increase your access to a quick pitch counter more than just mulliganing directly to it.

How do you think The EPIC Storm matchup compares to other [[Dark Ritual]] combo decks such as [[Ad Nauseam]] Tendrils?

I haven’t seen a bunch of ANT nowadays, but I believe you are relatively likely to run into [[Doomsday]]. Personally, I think [[Doomsday]] is a more complicated matchup to play because there’s more hidden information, and they get to look at your hand with discard spells. In terms of a pure ‘matchup percentage’, I would guess I’m better off versus [[Doomsday]] due to the fact that their namesake card sometimes leads them to die to [[Lightning Bolt]] or two.

What does your sideboard plan entail?

From the list I played in the Legacy Showcase, I would side out four [[Lightning Bolt]], one [[Gut Shot]], one [[Forked Bolt]], and one [[Murktide Regent]] for one [[Hydroblast]], three [[Pyroblast]], one [[Blazing Volley]], one [[Abrade]], and one [[Meltdown]]. I don’t value the third copy of a big flier, and the red removal spells are generally quite poor, so I’m looking for cards that trade one for one if possible. [[Meltdown]] is likely the weakest of the bunch, but I still believe it’s better than the alternatives.

What sideboard plan do you expect from The EPIC Storm?

The general sideboard plans I would expect all involve multiple copies of [[Carpet of Flowers]], and not much else. Perhaps an [[Abrupt Decay]] or two if you expect [[Null Rod]].

How do you value cards such as [[Surgical Extraction]], [[Grafdigger Cage]], [[Tormod’s Crypt]] against The EPIC Storm? Do you play any of them?

I have these cards in my sideboard and do not bother sideboarding any of them versus TES. I don’t believe that is an effective plan because [[Surgical Extraction]] is more of a bad [[Peek]] than anything else. [[Grafdigger’s Cage]] only interferes with [[Echo of Eons]]. I’m trying to play a more consistent game than that.

Thoughts on [[Null Rod]] in the current metagame? If a Delver player isn’t playing [[Null Rod]], are there cards with similar effects we should be on the lookout for?

I normally play exactly one [[Null Rod]] on my sideboard, but I decided not to this weekend because of the rise of an Affinity-esque deck with four [[Urza’s Saga]]. [[Null Rod]] looked very ineffectual versus them from my standpoint because the most likely way to lose to that deck was just a pair of Constructs made off [[Urza’s Saga]] plus a sol land. I played a [[Meltdown]] instead, which is still a reasonable card but not really the same kind of hammer versus TES as [[Null Rod]] would be.

How highly do you value a turn-one creature against The EPIC Storm? Do you aggressively mulligan for them?

I value it very highly, and in fact, this particular list has 11 one-drop drop creatures. (You’re about 77.8 percent to have a one-drop creature in your opener). Therefore, it doesn’t take aggressive mulliganing to find one of them and a cantrip.

What is the biggest mistake you see The EPIC Storm players make against UR Delver? What is the biggest mistake you see UR Delver players make against The EPIC Storm?

The biggest mistake I see TES players make versus UR Delver is to not match the speed of the Delver player’s play. If a Delver player is sitting there and doing nothing, it generally favors you to develop your mana while gaining more information about what resources you have access to. If they are going “fast”, however, then you should adjust accordingly and be willing to take more risks.

From the UR Delver side, I’d say the biggest mistake is not taking risks on the early turns (say one or two). Your deck functions much better if you have a threat in play. I will take exactly 1-2 turns of risk, and then try to leave the shields up as much as possible.

Any final thoughts or comments you would like to make? Any plugs or shoutouts?

Thanks for having me! Modern Horizons 2 has indeed been a seismic shift in many formats, so I expect many Legacy decks will have to evolve. I stream two to four times a week at (sometimes Legacy, Modern, Vintage, or Draft). You can also find me at, and I’m generally fairly responsive there.