The Deck of 2012

Posted in Feature on January 4, 2013

By Sam Black

Sam Black is a Platinum Pro Player and longtime writer for He is a respected deck builder and took over Daily Decks for the first half of 2013.

I'd like to wrap my retrospective of 2012 by declaring what I consider to be the most memorable and iconic deck of the year. Standard is the most-played format, and for most of the year, it was dominated by a constantly evolving deck called Delver of Secrets.

Delver of Secrets

Delver of Secrets is very clearly the defining deck of 2012 for me, and it easily wins the title of Deck of the Year. The only question is which exact build to use to represent the archetype.

Matthew Costa is known for his repeated success with the deck, playing it to a Top 8 finish in Pro Tour Dark Ascension and then winning Grand Prix Baltimore two weeks later. Costa is a player who prides himself on knowing how to play the best deck, and having the best version, rather than coming up with the newest, most innovative deck every tournament. His lists are always shining examples of what the deck should look like, and watching him play is always an awesome lesson in just what the deck is capable of.

However, when choosing a single deck of the year, I have to go with the list that brought Yuuya Watanabe, Player of the Year, his sixth Grand Prix win at Grand Prix Manila.

Yuuya played a streamlined list with only nineteen lands that used a whopping twelve cantrips to smooth its draws while maximizing the value it could gain from Delver of Secrets and Snapcaster Mage. True to form, the deck pushed the Phyrexian mana mechanic to its limits with eleven spells that could be played for free using Phyrexian mana between its main deck and sideboard.

This deck should be remembered for years to come as the defining tempo deck, a deck that maximized the value of using cheap instants and sorceries to keep opponents from catching their footing just long enough to win with similarly cheap creatures. But it also had the unique strength of having a huge number of creatures with flash that could generate card advantage, allowing the deck to react at the perfect time to anything the opponent tried to do, with just enough power to be able to play the role of a control deck when a game called for it.

Yuuya Watanabe's Delver

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