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Delve Is Broken in Eternal Formats

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Delve is broken in Eternal formats. In particular, two cards from Khans of Tarkir have shown us the power of the seemingly innocent keyword: Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time.

In particular for Modern, I think Scapeshift is the biggest winner here. I’ve always thought Scapeshift was an elegant deck since it can play as a control deck until it tries to kill its opponent. Before Dig Through Time, there was a real issue with assembling enough lands and Scapeshift versus Liliana of the Veil or decks with a lot of disruption. Dig Through Time neatly solves both of these problems by being the perfect top-deck in those situations. It also presents a difficult dilemma to opponents of whether to cast something into Cryptic Command or let the Scapeshift player cast Dig Through Time to pull further ahead.

Notable Card Choices

Sleight of Hand versus Serum Visions

Sleight of Hand
Serum Visions

Given the amount of shuffling this deck does, I strongly believe that Sleight of Hand is better. Also, the curve of a turn-one suspended Search for Tomorrow into Sleight of Hand (then play a tapped shock land) would make the effect of Serum Visions negligible in that spot. Previously in Brute-Force Scapeshift, I chose to play neither of these, but I want to be able to curve into Dig Through Time more quickly if I don’t have Scapeshift in hand.

Pyroclasm versus Anger of the Gods

Pyroclasm
Anger of the Gods

Pyroclasm is the best sweeper in Modern right now. The only cheap creatures it doesn’t kill are Tarmogoyf and Sylvan Caryatid.

Remand, Electrolyze, and Cryptic Command

Remand
Electrolyze
Cryptic Command

Having interactions that cantrip is a big deal. Electrolyze puts the opponent at 18 in some spots to make Scapeshift lethal.

Scapeshift

Scapeshift

This one’s obvious. Note that having Prismatic Omen, six lands, and Scapeshift is lethal. Also, against control decks, if I have resolved an Omen, I sometimes just preemptively Scapeshift for my copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and kill with land drops.

Prismatic Omen

Prismatic Omen

This card has diminishing returns in multiples, so only having to play one (to find with Dig Through Time) is awesome.

The sideboard is still a work in progress, but the main thing to note is that I think playing powerful one-ofs becomes a lot better with Dig Through Time. (One-ofs are Shatterstorm, Back to Nature, and the like.)




In Legacy, combo decks also are able to take full advantage of Dig Through Time.

For example, Omni-Tell gets to evolve:

Replacing clunky Enter the Infinite with Dig Through Time has a lot of advantages. Dig Through Time is actually castable without Omniscience in play, and it is acceptable to chain multiple copies of Dig Through Time to find your Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. (It is not guaranteed you’ll find Emrakul, but it’s fairly likely.) In addition, you have more than one attack step with Emrakul in this configuration, so Release the Ants is mostly unnecessary in the sideboard, although you could still play one if you wanted, and you can stack your deck with Emrakul using Brainstorm.




We could also see the return of a very controlling deck in Legacy (eschewing Terminus and Entreat the Angels):

Other Notable Cards

Supreme Verdict
Supreme Verdict If you don’t play Terminus and Sensei's Divining Top, this is the next-best Wrath effect. Being uncounterable is great against the Delver-style decks that try to go under you—you avoid Daze and Spell Pierce.

Fact or Fiction This is a natural card to play alongside Dig Through Time and lets you use mana efficiently if your opponent refuses to play into your counterspells.

Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek This is a resilient combo that wins a lot of games by stabilizing your life total and flooding the board with flyers. Two-card combos are a lot easier to find with Dig Through Time and eight cantrips.

Batterskull and Stoneforge Mystic This is another virtual combo that is great at locking the game up, and it’s also great versus decks like burn decks.

Engineered Explosives This is a fifth sweeper effect that can knock out permanents the likes of Blood Moon.

Vedalken Shackles Here’s an effective fifth removal spell (alongside the Swords to Plowshares) that is really annoying for some decks to beat.

Lingering Souls This one’s great with Fact or Fiction, and it gives you a lot of time to set up your late game. It also pressures opposing Planeswalkers and lines up well against Insectile Aberrations.

The sideboard is heavily skewed to beat combo decks, so feel free to modify that if your local metagame is different.




Dig Through Time
In conclusion, I strongly believe that Wizards made a mistake printing Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time.

A lot of Delver decks in Legacy and Modern have quickly embraced four copies of Treasure Cruise as a great way to gas up after burning all of their cantrips and removal, so I do believe Cruise is going to make an impact on the level of Mental Misstep.

Dig Through Time can also enable decks like Splinter Twin to play less of their combo pieces and more controlling cards, which makes them even harder to play against.

Even costing Treasure Cruise at 9u doesn’t change much about the card (since it is still Ancestral Recall on a later turn of the game). Dig Through Time being an instant-speed Ancestral Memories for uu is a bit more restrictive to cast, but it is still very powerful.

The fact that even Vintage decks have adopted both of these cards to great effect leads me to believe that they will be restricted in Vintage and banned in Legacy at some point.

I also think there is potentially a shell for U/R Storm in Legacy that plays four Treasure Cruise and a lot of rituals and cantrips, but I haven’t hammered out a list I was happy with.

Please leave any comments or constructive criticism here or on Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

Jarvis


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