The Superior Cruise

treasure cruise banner

I’ve discussed this card quite a bit lately, but that just goes to show how blown away I am by it. Hopefully, this’ll be the very last post on the card for a while, at least until I’ve been able to play with it in a few tournaments, and not just playtesting sessions. Deciding the first twentyfour or so cards in my Legacy decks has been very easy lately, even more-so than before. They usually go something like this:

4 Delver of Secrets
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Treasure Cruise

But then – what to fill up the rest of the deck with? Do I want to go straight UR for a stable mana-base and quick clocks? Do I want to go RUG for disruption and Tarmogoyf? Do I want to go BUG for Abrupt Decay and Deathrite Shaman? I’ve even played around with old DeathBlade lists, but haven’t figured out the manabase just yet, it’s still pretty much just as bad as before, although Treasure Cruise can take advantage of your lands getting Wastelanded. So which is really the best Treasure Cruise deck in an open metagame?

monasteryswiftspear.fullUR Delver – Bob Huang of Team America fame has already explored this deck and took it all the way in a StarCityGames Open a few weeks ago, which I wrote about in “The hidden gem of Khans“. It is obviously a very powerful deck – going straight UR means a stable mana-base, and even though you lack green for Tarmogoyf, the deck has very potent threats in Monastery Swiftspear and Young Pyromancer. However, the deck has few ways of interacting with the opponent sans the 8 free counterspells and a suite of burn spells for your opponent’s creatures, meaning that the UR build Huang took to first place will suffer against unfair decks, which he himself admits in his article about the tournament. As Swedish metagames often are combo-tastic, straight UR Delver is not an option for me. It might be for others, if they play in fair metagames.

Patriot (UWR Delver) Example list on Adding white to the mix grants access to more and better spot removal i Swords to Plowshares, and also gives the deck Stoneforge Mystic to win the long games and generate virtual card advantage. The deck will not resolve Treasure Cruise as early as UR Delver, since it has fewer free spells, though I suppose a cheeky pilot could try to squeeze in a few Gitaxian Probe (horrifying pun unintended). The deck’s manabase is more unstable than UR’s, but the deck itself is arguably more stable. The list in the link above is what I’m toying around with right now, the deck seems well-suited to take on other Delver variants, but is weaker than the next deck against Miracles and unfair decks. A big upside compared to the next deck, however, is that Patriot is unaffected by common graveyard hate, like Rest in Peace. Sideboarding out a couple of Treasure Cruise is a viable strategy if it means the opponent will be sitting on dead cards for the rest of the match.

deathriteshaman.hqTeam America (BUG Delver)Example list on Delving into black and green grants access to the best creature in the format, the one-mana planeswalker Deathrite Shaman, and also Tarmogoyf which is sometimes strictly worse, but almost always a lot faster and more mana-efficient than Stoneforge Mystic and its likes. The same colours also grant the deck Abrupt Decay, which not only answers Rest in Peace, it also kills most of the format’s creatures as well as other problematic permanents like Counterbalance. Especially the latter is a huge wrench in the machinery for the aforementioned Delver lists. However, cutting red means no red blasts in the sideboard, which is a huge downside, and it also means not playing Lightning Bolts and other cards for quickly finishing off an opponent at low life totals. I can’t recall the number of games I’ve lost because I couldn’t keep a threat on the table against Miracles and similar opponents, with them at single-digit life. It’s very frustrating, but a reality against these decks. Team America has the best match-up against the unfair decks, however, out of these candidates, which might make it a consideration for some.

Canadian Threshold (RUG Delver)Example list on Last up is the old faithful Canadian Threshold, these days with zero cards with the eponymous ability. Thought it saddens me to say so, I think the RUG colours will be the ones that will have the hardest to keep up in the new metagame, should Treasure Cruise be the real thing. It does have some things going for it – Tarmogoyf is just as huge and fast, Lightning Bolt is great utility and the access to both red blasts and silver bullets like Ancient Grudge in the sideboard should not be underestimated. Still, the old Nimble Mongoose is obviously incompatible with Treasure Cruise, which means the deck loses one of its biggest selling points, should you want to play the full set of Treasure Cruise. I don’t think the list linked above is anywhere near optimal, but I think it’s a decent skeleton. Young Pyromancer is the new threat to go for, and though it does carry some resilience, and it plays better with the reactive spells of the deck then Monastery Swiftspear, for example.


My conclusion is that in a fair metagame UR Delver or Patriot is the superior choice, with the former being a bit faster but less resistant than the latter. In an unfair metagame, however, I’d much rather be on Team America, as long as there’s no Burn decks around.

Leave a comment


  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  October 15, 2014

    Imagine that you were playing U/R delver (or Izzet Delver, if you prefer) and that were this card – this quite powerful burn card that not only allowed you to deal high amounts of damage without paying it’s mana cost but also create a 1/1 elemental with the Pyromancer, give the Swiftspear a boost and fill up your graveyard for Treasure Cruise… Would you play it?

    Here’s the kicker – this card actually exists – FIREBLAST! Put two of those bad boys into your library and assemble a deck more deadly than anything that has ever walked the earth! The problem with this deck won’t be winning, because it will win, the problem will be to control it’s incredible power!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grim Lavamancer

     /  October 15, 2014

    On a more serious note though, Patriot or Team America is probably the more solid choices, and Team America has a good advantage against other delve decks since the Deathrite Shaman can eat away your opponents graveyard doing what he would be doing anyway.

    Liked by 1 person


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