Cheap as Chips, Ep. 9: Mono Black Delve

soulflayer banner

If dropping a 4/4 flyer with haste, lifelink, first strike and hexproof on turn 2 is of any interest to you, then a delve deck may be worth your consideration. The Tarkir block has reminded people that delve exists, and [c]Gurmag Angler[/c] has seen play in several decks already.

But for my (minimal) money, [c]Soulflayer[/c] is definitely the definitive demon for delicious deep-dish delving.

The goal of this deck (unsurprisingly) is to mill with [c]Shriekhorn[/c] or [c]Memory Sluice[/c] on the first turn, hoping to garbage-bin a [c]Vault Skirge[/c], [c]Gurmag Swiftwing[/c] and/or [c]Xathrid Slyblade[/c]. Then on turn 2 if you have four cards in the bin, launch a Soulflayer. A 4/4 hasty lifelink attack on turn 2 can, on occasion, end the game. With any luck on turn 3 you can attach a [c]Mask of Memory[/c] to the big, build-your-own flying demon. (Note: turn 3 is also when you’ll find out if your opponent is holding removal or counters, because no one with even cursory knowledge of the game will let you attach a Mask to a 4/4 flyer on turn 3 if they can stop it.)

If you don’t have Demons-R-Us in your opening hand, then attaching the Mask to one your small flyers will help dig it up. [c]Grave Strength[/c] supports delve and can also turn your small flyers into more respectable offensive forces. [c]Gurmag Angler[/c] is your nose tackle on offense and middle-linebacker on defense.

Card advantage is created by Mask, [c]Sign in Blood[/c] and a single [c]Bitter Revelation[/c]. The latter is perfect for this deck, fueling delve as well as card advantage, but at 4-cmc it is sadly one-too-many-mana to be playable. As a one-of it’s okay. But how awesome that card would have been at 3-cmc!

Here’s what we have:

[d title=”Mono Black Delve (Modern)”]


1 Bojuka Bog

2 Ghost Quarter

3 Evolving Wilds

16 Swamp


4 Vault Skirge

4 Gurmag Swiftwing

2 Xathrid Slyblade

4 Soulflayer

4 Gurmag Angler


1 Despise

1 Duress

2 Disfigure

2 Memory Sluice

3 Shriekhorn

1 Doom Blade

1 Smother

3 Grave Strength

2 Sign in Blood

3 Mask of Memory

1 Bitter Revelation


1 Despise

1 Duress

1 Doom Blade

2 Geth’s Verdict

2 Smallpox

2 Necromancer’s Assistant

2 Infest

2 Nihil Spellbomb

2 Desecration Demon [/d]

[c]Smallpox[/c] is in the sideboard because it’s an awesome card. But it’s not great for every match-up and I have to admit I’m not sure what decks to bring it in against. Infect, Auras, and Elves come to mind.

The sideboard has [c]Desecration Demon[/c] as a back-up for game 3 if your opponent has boarded in loads of graveyard hate. [c]Demigod of Revenge[/c] would be even better. Against any deck that doesn’t have direct removal, take out [c]Xathrid Slyblade[/c] for [c]Necromancer’s Assistant[/c], which better supports delve. Sprinkle in removal as needed.

Let’s take a look at some gameplay videos of this fun deck. Next week will be a round-up article, as episode 10 will bring Cheap as Chips to a close!