Some real long time ago, in the “Future Sight” set, there was an ability that allowed us to spend much less mana to cast certain spells in a late game when the graveyard was full of cards. This ability was represented on “Future shifted” cards peeking at possible future features. Those cards weren’t reprinted exactly, but new cards appeard recently with the same ability.
The most impressive card with Delve in “Future Sight” was considered to be Tombstalker, a creature. In “Khans of Tarkir”, instants and sorceries with Delve are popular. Let us check one out closely.
Delve is a twin of Convoke. Both of these abilities allow paying part of the cost of a spell not with mana, but using another method. For Convoke, it is tapping untapped creatures under your control; for Delve - exiling cards from your graveyard. These abilities have much in common, but there also are differences. Let us inspect the rules first, and at the end of this article we shall compose a comparative table.
702.65a. Delve is a static ability that functions while the spell with delve is on the stack. “Delve” means “For each generic mana in this spell's total cost, you may exile a card from your graveyard rather than pay that mana.” The delve ability isn't an additional or alternative cost and applies only after the total cost of the spell with delve is determined.
702.65b. Multiple instances of delve on the same spell are redundant.
Delve vs Convoke
- Is neither additional nor alternative cost.
- Doesn’t modify the total cost or CMC.
- Instead of using mana, you exile cards from your graveyard.
- Not possible to pay for the colored part of the mana cost.
- Possible to get mana off Wild Cantor, then exile it.
- Instead of using mana, you tap your untapped creatures.
- Possible to pay the colored part of the mana cost by tapping creatures of corresponding color.
- Not possible to tap Wild Cantor and then gain mana off it.
Translated by Witas Spasovski