Mono Blue Delver Illusions Deck

November 23, 2011 | Posted by Dee

Mono Blue Delver Illusions was a deck that got some hype right before last week’s 2011 World Championships.

Based on these power rankings, it did well on Magic Online and it had a big increase in popularity. I jumped from 3.5% of the metagame to the most popular deck at 15% in just one week.

Also, on Starcitygames.com, Todd Anderson wrote an article about the deck. He said it was one of the best Standard decks he’d played in a while.

By the time Worlds rolled around, many pros had jumped on the Illusions bandwagon. Illusions was the second most popular Standard deck with close to 16% of the field.

Here is a list played by Thoralf Severin. He went 5-1 with it in the Standard swiss rounds.

Mono Blue Delver Illusions
Creatures (21)
Spells (19)
Lands (20)
Sideboard (15)

This deck uses the tempo strategy to win. Basically, this means dropping a threat early and then protecting it with counterspells. The deck also has bounce spells to save creatures from removal. The bounce spells along with some removal are used to clear blockers away so you can deal 20 damage quickly.

This strategy is great against control decks. You’ve got cheap threats and counterspells to put control on the defensive right away. While they are drawing cards, you’re smashing them with cheap but aggressive creatures. If they cast removal, you have Mana Leak to keep the beats coming.

Ramp decks also have problems versus the tempo strategy. They are too slow (unless they have a ton of removal like this Wolf Run Ramp decklist) because Mana Leak matches up very well against Titans.

With strong removal spells that you can cast with only colorless mana (Dismember and Gut Shot), Delver Illusions does well against most creature decks. Red aggro is an exception because paying life is pretty bad against burn.

Snapcaster Mage is amazing in this deck, probably even moreso than control decks. If you’re playing 2/1s for two mana, you want to be attacking rather than trying to get to the late game with a control deck.


With four Snapcaster Mages, you have to play many instants to make it good. That’s actually a good thing though since all those instants helps flip Delver of Secrets. The instants are super cheap (six of them can be played for zero mana) so Snapcaster Mage can make an impact right away.

Recasting a Gut Shot on turn two or a Dismember on turn three can often be backbreaking against creature decks. Against other decks, recasting Mana Leak is very good.

In the sideboard, Stitched Drake gives you some game against Mono Red Burn decks. These decks have a ton of removal. Your other creatures are going to die so Stitched Drake won’t be hard to cast. Its 3/4 body is very hard for red to deal with. Their burn spells can’t kill four toughness creatures and their creatures are smaller than 3/4.

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