I want to talk a little bit about Delver of Secrets. Delver exerts a unique pressure on Pauper in that when left unanswered it can absolutely take over the game. When a turn one Delver flips it changes to entire texture of battle.
Pauper in many ways is a format of Magic‘s fundamentals (taken to the extreme). The baseline stat for a creature is 2/2 and any variation on this can have massive implications. Burning-Tree Emissary isn’t a powerhouse because it is one creature but rather because it represents a much better rate for several 2/2s. Mulldrifter is also a 2/2 but comes with extra cards attached. Kor Skyfisher would not see nearly as much play if not for that extra point of toughness that gives it a leg up against, you guessed it, bears.
Delver of Secrets changes the math on combat. The damage is going to pile up 50% faster. That creates a huge incentive to try and flip the creature as quickly as possible if you are trying to be aggressive. As of late, various “Delver” decks have realized that the deckbuilding cost was too damn high. It makes sense as these decks want to trade early removal to leverage Ninja of the Deep Hours late. Taking a turn off in the hope of getting an offensive boost doesn’t track.
Today’s list from the league results doesn’t try to flip a Delver of Secrets early. Instead it wants to play a more traditional control game. Kingziggy’s deck wants to trade resources early to make it easier to cast Gurmag Angler in the mid game. Deck’s like this have been very popular but have also featured everyone’s favorite flying beatstick. Here it is replaced by recent downshift Bone Picker and it makes a ton of sense. Now the deck can either cast Preordain turn one or set up its mana with Ash Barrens and then double spell later to set up a Bone Picker. Or it can wait until turn four an evoke a ‘Drifter to turn on Bone Picker’s morbid ability.
I like this slightly slower take on the Dimir deck. My one quibble is the Radiant Fountain. In a deck that ideally wants access to both UU and BB, running a land that produces neither is a decent liability. While there is something nice about having a maindeck buffer for more aggressive decks, is two life really going to save you from Thermo-Alchemist?