[Primer] Esper Draw-Go Control

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A Cute Bunny
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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
Super interesting stuff. Is there a way to include sideboards on the spreadsheet as well?

I'll use this to update the primer's stock list when I can.
There are a few tabs for the sideboards too :p just not a combined one yet.

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Post by Jizard » 2 years ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
Oooh Drown in the Loch anyone? :) We might have a real contender.


I don't think this will cut it. Generally I have found that having situation cards is too often a liability. Logic Knot feels like the limit to me. Likewise, for this reason I am on only 1 Spell Snare.

Just need cards in hand to be live throughout the game. I think Drown Loch has a great ceiling but the floor looks too low. Maybe a one-of.....

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Post by Jizard » 2 years ago

jfuite wrote:
2 years ago
Please tell me about Kaya, Ozhov Usurper, from your experience. How does she perform against various decks? When is she strong, or weak? Little Teferi is the most played in comparison, so why do you keep her?


Well I'm unsure atm..... trying it out.

So far it seems to have sufficient utility whilst offering a win-con. 3cmc is key. Most Often not playing it out until I can double spell.
- It offers removal of key cards Aether Vial Champion of the ParishNoble Hierarch
- one-sided repeatable GY hate
- life gain
- win con

Vs Burn it is obviously very strong.

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

Amalek0 wrote:
2 years ago
Snip!
Show
TheAnnihilator Crib from the old MTGSalv primer. Most of the advice is still valid because it doesn't focus on specific cards, but rather on coordinated and cohesive gameplans.

The problem with doing anything else is that it doesn't address the two components everyone who wants to play this archetype NEEDS to learn:

How to address sideboarding when your meta demands preparation for different types of decks than the SCG/GP Meta, and how to develop a sideboard plan for decks when the meta changes, or when you're blindsided and boarding on the fly against something new.

At some point I put up a three post string on MTGSalv on how to sideboard blind against an archetype you've never seen before, and I used as a case study my first encounter with faeries post BB unban (not quite a perfect example because I obviously played the deck when it was in standard, but at that point in time lists were quite different), so if you want to go find it, that should give you a timeframe to hunt in the old thread.

I can also attempt a re-write on that kind of process if people have a desire for that.
While I do get where you're coming from, I must respectfully disagree. Most people coming who actually sift through the primer are probably either new to Esper and possibly control in general, or they are those like you and myself who just want to improve/elaborate on what's written. I do think that it's important that they learn to adapt sideboarding techniques and such, but I also think it's very detrimental to not have a starting point (i.e. a simple sideboard guide). I can't really say that there's much benefit to going into sideboarding completely blind, personally.

For example, let's say you (without much experience) decide not to bring in good cards in a MU because you don't realize that they're actually worth bringing in. This probably the most damaging type of experience, as you may never revisit that sideboard card if you do well or you may completely flop in the matchup (and probably many others) and decide to drop the deck entirely. This can be minimized with a guide, and then the exact functions of each sideboard card should become apparent through gameplay. One thing that I've personally always struggled with is figuring which cards to take out of the main when sideboarding, and I would be willing to bet that many early losses come from leaving in clunky cards post-board without realizing it. That's why I think I'd rather include some specifics.

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Post by Amalek0 » 2 years ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
Snip!
Show
Amalek0 wrote:
2 years ago
TheAnnihilator Crib from the old MTGSalv primer. Most of the advice is still valid because it doesn't focus on specific cards, but rather on coordinated and cohesive gameplans.

The problem with doing anything else is that it doesn't address the two components everyone who wants to play this archetype NEEDS to learn:

How to address sideboarding when your meta demands preparation for different types of decks than the SCG/GP Meta, and how to develop a sideboard plan for decks when the meta changes, or when you're blindsided and boarding on the fly against something new.

At some point I put up a three post string on MTGSalv on how to sideboard blind against an archetype you've never seen before, and I used as a case study my first encounter with faeries post BB unban (not quite a perfect example because I obviously played the deck when it was in standard, but at that point in time lists were quite different), so if you want to go find it, that should give you a timeframe to hunt in the old thread.

I can also attempt a re-write on that kind of process if people have a desire for that.
While I do get where you're coming from, I must respectfully disagree. Most people coming who actually sift through the primer are probably either new to Esper and possibly control in general, or they are those like you and myself who just want to improve/elaborate on what's written. I do think that it's important that they learn to adapt sideboarding techniques and such, but I also think it's very detrimental to not have a starting point (i.e. a simple sideboard guide). I can't really say that there's much benefit to going into sideboarding completely blind, personally.

For example, let's say you (without much experience) decide not to bring in good cards in a MU because you don't realize that they're actually worth bringing in. This probably the most damaging type of experience, as you may never revisit that sideboard card if you do well or you may completely flop in the matchup (and probably many others) and decide to drop the deck entirely. This can be minimized with a guide, and then the exact functions of each sideboard card should become apparent through gameplay. One thing that I've personally always struggled with is figuring which cards to take out of the main when sideboarding, and I would be willing to bet that many early losses come from leaving in clunky cards post-board without realizing it. That's why I think I'd rather include some specifics.
I understand your point.

That being said, your counter-argument actually highlights the main argument against simple card-swap guides: "you flop a matchup because you don't realize which cards are worth bringing in" also leads directly to "you flop a match because you brought in cards that your guide listed and they sat dead in your hand as you drew multiple sideboard cards and just died". Your argument is common in cases where you have questionable decisions to not sideboard cards (maybe a player doesn't realize how good stony silence is against mono green tron?), my argument highlights matchups where sideboarding plans are a response to specific opposing sideboard plans (lots of people used to cut all their sweepers in the UW mirror until mentor was played; someone who looks at a guide now will keep in a verdict or two. If UW switches back to a different SB configuration, verdicts are going to look dumb again.)

The only solution to minimizing both problems is if you have a very up-to-date sideboard guide. This is the key complaint of pretty much every writer on SCG, TCG, Hipsters... etc. As soon as they post a sideboard guide for a matchup, that sideboard guide is already obsolete. The 75 they played last week is not the 75 they played this week, and the way their opponents sideboard against them next week will be different from this week. Why? Because magic players change in response to what wins events. If an author puts up a decklist and a sideboard guide, it's usually because they either won, or they're incredibly influential as a professional player. Ergo, as soon as they put it up, the conditions under which it was a correct guide have already begun to shift.

There are only three cases where this isn't true:
1) The format has a stable "best deck" *and* a stable "best configuration". These formats have decks like UW eldrazi, Temur energy, and Best of One Simic Nexus.

2) The deck is specifically engineered with clear weaknesses and not capable of making substantial shifts (Amulet titan). You didn't have better choices for configuration or sideboarding, your deck just either became worse as a selection in the format because they're all going to hate on it, or nothing changes because your deck isn't powerful enough to be oppressive, prevalent enough to be worth hating, or fast enough to crowd out other archetypes.

3) Your format is so broad that no single archetype has a meaningful metagame percentage, and matchup balances in the aggregate tend to hinge on player decision-making more than on specific configuration. This is legacy to a T, but has also included some block constructed formats where three or four different flavors of midrange deck were comparable in powerlevel and no other macro-archetype had any distinguishing advantage, and also certain standard environments where the majority of decks played 4+ colors (KTK block) or were tribal archetypes (Lorowyn standard, before the brutal faeries were printed).

I don't think modern is ever going to fit in one of those cases for an extended period of time, so you end up in either the position of updating the primer every 2-3 weeks, or you circle all the way around to teaching people to fish. I'm not saying a concrete example or two is bad (it's probably a great thing to do), but if anything I'd actually grab a historical esper list from 2016 or earlier and demonstrate sideboarding against other major archetypes instead, bringing the specific back around to the conceptual.

Otherwise, you're going to end up with two different UW players on consecutive weeks with like, 70/75 identical cards, radically different sideboard plans and opinions about the whirza matchup, and a bunch of sheeple wanting to know "who's right" and all of the old guard going "both of them, but I prefer X".

Philip Schonegger? at one point posted an article on one of the EU magic sites after a GP. He and his teammate both played in a legacy GP, both made top 32, played identical 75's, and had opposite sideboard plans against abrupt decay wielding decks. Literally, like 25% of the format at that point played abrupt decay. Their identical 75's had like a difference of 8-10 cards in post-board configuration against most of the format. They did well and played 2 of the same opponents and had the same results in those matchups. The difference was "I think it's better to just make abrupt decay have no targets" vs "I just want to overload their targets for abrupt decay". Clearly neither opinion was right or wrong, and clearly both were incredibly skilled and performed quite well with their gameplans. They would also both agree that any *other* sideboard configuration was absolutely wrong, it should be one of those two configurations.

This is not an uncommon situation in the design of control decks, and it's something that anybody wanting to play control needs to be aware of--there are different ways to approach a matchup, and if you're more comfortable with one way over another, or you think one way is more effective than another, you can and should sideboard differently (even with an identical 75 at times).

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

[mention]Amalek0[/mention] I do see what you're saying, and I wanted to add that I don't necessarily mean +X, -X in every matchup. I mean more like these cards are useful, these cards tend to be less useful, and here is some general info on the pre and post board games. This would also include footnotes such as "If your opp is playing Mentor or Geist, you might choose to keep in a few sweepers." I think that pointing out what cards help in the matchup, paired with explanation for why it's good and what the matchup goal is, is good info that is relatively timeless across multiple deck lists. Anything that outstays it's welcome too much would obviously be removed. Sorry I can't elaborate more, but I'm on mobile at the moment.

Also, I added something like this for the BGX matchup on the primer. Feel free to read and critique, and let me know if you think it falls prey to the issues you mentioned.

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Post by Amalek0 » 2 years ago

[mention]TheAnnihilator[/mention]
I'm not a fan of the layout (putting it before the generic sideboard card discussion).

I think you want to start out with a more general description of the matchup, then about different plans for beating jund, then talking about specific card choices. Something like this:

"Jund is the quintessential midrange deck. It pairs efficient discard and removal with some of the most efficient threats and cheapest 2-for-1's in the format. It often seeks to create a low-resource game of attrition, where both players have discarded most of their cards rather than cast them. This results in the Jund player's more efficient threats and 2-for-1's snowballing an advantage as players topdeck, ostensibly because the opponent has a deck that relies on synergy or a critical mass of cards that, when disrupted, fails to present a competitive clock.

Control decks are generally favored in this kind of matchup, because they bring a large amount of removal for threats and a more powerful average topdeck to the table--the midrange player usually has the best topdecks after a flurry of discard spells takes the cranial platings and gifts ungivens away, but while control decks don't generally have the wurmcoil engines and Primeval Titans of the big mana decks, Cryptic Command and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria certainly punch at least as hard as bloodbraid elf and kolaghan's command.

When sideboarding for these matchups, Control decks want to be cognizant of both their strengths, and the strengths of Jund. While logic knot and spell snare are generally incredibly powerful tempo plays that can also serve to shut the door on an opponent in the lategame, they often play into the Jund narrative--thoughtseize your answer, play my threat, thoughtseize the answer you can't cast yet, kill you before you draw another one. While powerful planeswalkers and threats can overwhelm Jund's card advantage in a long game, it's important to be mindful of the fact that dieing with uncastable cards is the same as never having drawn them in the first place. Therefore, while some countermagic may be justified in this matchup (cryptic command is certainly a powerful utility spell at any point in the game), the real thing to pay attention to is making sure that all of your cards are live draws off the top. Having one or two powerful threats like elspeth, sun's champion in the sideboard can tilt the advantage heavily in your favor, but only if you're not also consistently dieing because your deck is full of counterspells that got stuck in your hand and pitched to liliana of the veil and discard spells.

<talk about specific sideboard ins/outs in the context of how games are won/lost>"

That's the direction I would have gone, at least. You can mention tactical things like the tradeoff between sweepers and spot removal, whether or not angels are good sideboard cards, and even whether Rest in Peace is a good or bad card in the matchup (because it's certainly not a good topdeck in general and bad in multiples). But it all needs to be in the context of "this is what happens in games when Jund wins, and this is what happens in games control wins, here is the difference, this is how we maximize it, and these are the sequencing decisions we make to increase the chances of the favorable outcomes".

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Post by GenesisEffect80 » 2 years ago

Hi all - new to the board but have enjoyed reading all these great posts! I am taking my first modern Esper build to FNM and I'm excited and nervous. While Stoneblade is not exactly taking the meta by storm, I feel like that is a completely unwinnable matchup. I've seen builds on mtgtop that jam 14 counterspells main. What are we supposed to do about that?

Also, I have added 2 Extirpate in the SB to help with Urza. Any thoughts on that?

Cheers!

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Post by Jizard » 2 years ago

Went 3-1 at FNM tonight.
M1 vs home brew (nothing notable) 2-0
M2 vs Azorius spirits 1-2 a couple of bad misplays by me. Failed to adequately play around interaction. Lyra, Dawnbringer, Baneslayer Angel were great. Won a game on the play by Esper Charm discard, Esper Charm discard, slam Lyra.
M3 vs Mefolk 2-0 Deck had all the tools. Just need to make sure don't get janked out by a rush of lords.
M4 vs Mono-Red Prowess 2-1 Lost a close G1. Boarded in 8 cards. Significantly lowered the curve. Won one game purely on the back of Kaya, Ozhov Usurper.

Overall I think Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is a bit too expensive and doesnt impact the board sufficiently. I think I will drop down to one copy, maybe replace it with an Archmage's card to check it out.

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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago

Jizard wrote:
2 years ago
Overall I think Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is a bit too expensive and doesnt impact the board sufficiently.
I run two in my deck. I think it is stronger in standard, but i find the utility of being able to play at sorcery speed later in the game then still hold up mana to respond at instant speed is great. Not to mention last week i drew perfectly on curve to drop my Teferi and tested a Karn's bastion to speed things up, emblemed heaps quick and closed out the game with sandbagged cantrips. Figured id would try something else out.
Jizard wrote:
2 years ago
M3 vs Mefolk 2-0 Deck had all the tools. Just need to make sure don't get janked out by a rush of lords.
On this, was this Mono U fish or something else? Something I haven't seen a lot of as of late and think matches very well against us especially with Vial dropping stuff in on our turn or cavern of souls. I have seen spoken to the one pure fish guy at my lgs who said he still mains Korpala and a Kira, Great glass-spinner to help counter our sort of decks
There is always a greater power

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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

GenesisEffect80 wrote:
2 years ago
Hi all - new to the board but have enjoyed reading all these great posts! I am taking my first modern Esper build to FNM and I'm excited and nervous. While Stoneblade is not exactly taking the meta by storm, I feel like that is a completely unwinnable matchup. I've seen builds on mtgtop that jam 14 counterspells main. What are we supposed to do about that?

Also, I have added 2 Extirpate in the SB to help with Urza. Any thoughts on that?

Cheers!
1-2 Teferi Time Raveler feels great, and some Vetos at least 2 if not 4 in your 75. Between Push, Path and Guile we can remove SFM usually before they can put in the B. Skull. Game 2-3 it becomes a more draw go match which we win because of Esper Charm, Cryptic and a better top end. Its one of those matches you get better at with experience.

As far as Urza goes, really the #1 plan is to not let an Urza resolve or stick around on board. Having 3 Push, 4 Path and 3 Guile in the 75 helps a ton here. Next thing you want is 1-2 Plague Engineer in the side, it single handedly beats Urza and has relevance in a lot of other matches unlike Extirpate.

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Post by GenesisEffect80 » 2 years ago

A Cute Bunny wrote:
2 years ago
1-2 Teferi Time Raveler feels great, and some Vetos at least 2 if not 4 in your 75. Between Push, Path and Guile we can remove SFM usually before they can put in the B. Skull. Game 2-3 it becomes a more draw go match which we win because of Esper Charm, Cryptic and a better top end. Its one of those matches you get better at with experience.

As far as Urza goes, really the #1 plan is to not let an Urza resolve or stick around on board. Having 3 Push, 4 Path and 3 Guile in the 75 helps a ton here. Next thing you want is 1-2 Plague Engineer in the side, it single handedly beats Urza and has relevance in a lot of other matches unlike Extirpate.
Thanks for the Plague Engineer recommendation! My FNM experience was not very successful but I learned a little about the deck. I got flooded a couple times and then in another match I never saw a black mana symbol. I was also running Terminus in the SB and the three times I brought them in I drew unbelievably badly, seeing 2 of them in my hand and then 2 more after mulligan. This deck cannot mull to 5. Luck is part of the game but mine was pretty bad.

Even when I was controlling the board I felt like I was missing something. I was running 2 Jace, 2 Kaya, 2 Teferi TR and 1 big Teferi, and all the Teferis felt heavy in my hand. Big Teferi resolved a couple times and the card draw is great but against aggro he was not helping me keep up. Kaya and Jace were awesome every time they hit the battlefield.

I'm thinking now about cutting the Terminus out of the SB and moving little Teferi in there, so 5 planeswalkers. Also, Logic Knot was ok but the real problem is I am not confident playing pure control. I'm cutting those and going just with the Cryptics and Force of Negations and putting in a set of Spell Quellers. Probably turning more into a midrange build but there were several moments where I felt like I was falling behind despite all my spot removal and had no threats.

I'll play it again next month and probably change it all again. :P

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Post by Jizard » 2 years ago

MashedPotato wrote:
2 years ago

On this, was this Mono U fish or something else? Something I haven't seen a lot of as of late and think matches very well against us especially with Vial dropping stuff in on our turn or cavern of souls. I have seen spoken to the one pure fish guy at my lgs who said he still mains Korpala and a Kira, Great glass-spinner to help counter our sort of decks


It was Mono-U Merfolk.
I played against the same deck today with a much better pilot. The match-up feels miserable.

He slow rolled, barely committing to the board, dropping flash or vial creatures on end step. Basically never had more than 2 creatures on the board. We played 3 pre-board, 2 post-board games. I went 1 - 4. This would improve as I get used to this style of play but it definitely more optimal for the Merfolk player to play in this slower fashion.

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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

GenesisEffect80 wrote:
2 years ago
Thanks for the Plague Engineer recommendation! My FNM experience was not very successful but I learned a little about the deck. I got flooded a couple times and then in another match I never saw a black mana symbol. I was also running Terminus in the SB and the three times I brought them in I drew unbelievably badly, seeing 2 of them in my hand and then 2 more after mulligan. This deck cannot mull to 5. Luck is part of the game but mine was pretty bad.

Even when I was controlling the board I felt like I was missing something. I was running 2 Jace, 2 Kaya, 2 Teferi TR and 1 big Teferi, and all the Teferis felt heavy in my hand. Big Teferi resolved a couple times and the card draw is great but against aggro he was not helping me keep up. Kaya and Jace were awesome every time they hit the battlefield.

I'm thinking now about cutting the Terminus out of the SB and moving little Teferi in there, so 5 planeswalkers. Also, Logic Knot was ok but the real problem is I am not confident playing pure control. I'm cutting those and going just with the Cryptics and Force of Negations and putting in a set of Spell Quellers. Probably turning more into a midrange build but there were several moments where I felt like I was falling behind despite all my spot removal and had no threats.

I'll play it again next month and probably change it all again. :P
Esper as a deck is not very forgiving, a lot less then other control builds. It takes some time to get used to and start pulling wins because often the difference in a win or loss is the use of one or two cards and with Esper they are very versatile which can make picking the right option harder. Anyways that's a lot of walkers to be running how's it been working? T3f is great if you play against a lot of control but most people are on 0-1 in the main and 0-1 in the side as far as Esper goes but I like him a lot. Kaya as a 2 of is a bit questionable as well but she is good in some matches.

Terminus is kind of out dated right now, you'd be better of with some Supreme Verdicts. 3-4 Cryptic is normal for Esper along with 2-3 Knot, 1 Veto and 1-2 Force. Then you have the other staples like 3-4 Snapcaster and 3-4 Esper Charms along with 4 Opts some Paths, Pushes and Guiles for removal. Queller is okay, it's better in T3feri focused lists or more midrange builds. Geist and V Clique are both great threats you can add in as well. Along with the Tar Pits and Colonnades after you turn the corner you can end the game fast.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions or want your list reviewed feel free to ask~.

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Post by GenesisEffect80 » 2 years ago

I really like Kaya. My local meta is a lot of fast creature aggro - prowess, goblins, humans, spirits, yada yada yada. So all three of her modes are fantastic. I only play 1 Cryptic, which probably makes every Ux control pilot cringe, but that's all I own and I haven't shelled out for more. Between Jace, Teferi, Snaps, FoN, and the mana base, not to mention the Chalice of the Void in the SB, this has been a serious investment!!! I experiemented with Archmage's Charm but I am not sold on it. I think Collective Brutality would be a better card for that slot and it doesn't really fit the deck all that great. So now I'll try the Spell Quellers and yes, 2 V-Cliques. My last serious modern deck was Bant Company and I always felt confident with a Queller or Clique in my hand. I'll see about getting my deck listed the next couple days - thanks!

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Post by Amalek0 » 2 years ago

Jizard wrote:
2 years ago
MashedPotato wrote:
2 years ago

On this, was this Mono U fish or something else? Something I haven't seen a lot of as of late and think matches very well against us especially with Vial dropping stuff in on our turn or cavern of souls. I have seen spoken to the one pure fish guy at my lgs who said he still mains Korpala and a Kira, Great glass-spinner to help counter our sort of decks


It was Mono-U Merfolk.
I played against the same deck today with a much better pilot. The match-up feels miserable.

He slow rolled, barely committing to the board, dropping flash or vial creatures on end step. Basically never had more than 2 creatures on the board. We played 3 pre-board, 2 post-board games. I went 1 - 4. This would improve as I get used to this style of play but it definitely more optimal for the Merfolk player to play in this slower fashion.
That is true in general of fish vs UWx. That is specifically not true of fish vs Esper, and the specific difference is esper charm.

If they want to slow-roll you, you can mind rot them at instant speed, force them to commit more to the board, and then untap and sweep. Playing a single creature at a time also doesn't race baneslayer angel, elspeth, or any number of other "big dumb finishers"; that gameplan DOES however race someone relying entirely on JTMS/Teferi HoD/Colonnade/snap/clique to win. The key to cracking any of the slow-roll vial decks is to use the mind rot mode of charm to force an over-commit, then sweep and play a haymaker. they can't beat your card advantage if they don't tempo you out by threading a needle with only one or two dudes at a time, and they can't win through a sweeper if they over-commit. Force them to one extreme or the other with esper charm or a big threat, then cast a sweeper and win.

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Post by Amalek0 » 2 years ago

GenesisEffect80 wrote:
2 years ago
Hi all - new to the board but have enjoyed reading all these great posts! I am taking my first modern Esper build to FNM and I'm excited and nervous. While Stoneblade is not exactly taking the meta by storm, I feel like that is a completely unwinnable matchup. I've seen builds on mtgtop that jam 14 counterspells main. What are we supposed to do about that?

Also, I have added 2 Extirpate in the SB to help with Urza. Any thoughts on that?

Cheers!
There are two kinds of "stoneblade" decks: Those that want to be a control deck, which are both bad and popular, and there are those that want to be a midrange deck.

The ones that want to be a control deck with a million mainboard counterspells? Easy. They generally have 8-10 threats, and don't present a "fast" clock. Don't interact immediately--wait until you can do things like jam multiple removal spells on their turn. This prevents them from abusing force of negation to protect their dudes, and limits the mana they have to work with. Verdict is an uncounterable sweeper, which makes a big difference here. Postboard, you're just a better control deck because they spent all those slots on squires and equipment.

The ones that want to be a midrange deck are much harder, and they're doing one of two things: splashing black for bitterblossom and/or lingering souls, or they're playing green for value ETB's/mana dorks. The ones splashing bitterblossom aren't really scary; we have plenty of outs to that card. Lingering souls is frustrating because it puts a lot of pressure on your sweepers, and it comes alongside discard that punishes you for playing a waiting game while you hit land drops. In some senses, those decks are like Abzan, now featuring squire and batterskull: definitely an upgrade, same route to victory, same maddening 50-50 deck with disgusting discard into threat into planeswalker openers.

The midrange style builds with the green splashes, like ice-fang coatl and such, are much scarier. The reason is that their dudes almost always replace themselves, so answering the threats doesn't put you up on cards or tempo, and the green splash gives them access to solid answers for some of our potential disruptive options. They also force a kind of sideboard-roulette subgame, where you can get blown out as the one not presenting threats.

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Post by GenesisEffect80 » 2 years ago

Amalek0 wrote:
2 years ago
There are two kinds of "stoneblade" decks: Those that want to be a control deck, which are both bad and popular, and there are those that want to be a midrange deck.
Thank you, Amalek0! I reread your post four times to make sure I understood it all - so much excellent analysis! Are we boarding Leyline of Sactity for Burn and Discard? I have 2, but are there better cards? Is FoN a better response on the draw against discard? If thats the case, then maybe those SB slots can be better utilized...

What is the current conversation around Swan Song? I always want to love that card but so far it has never made it into a deck. Same with Muddle the Mixture.

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Post by Arkmer » 2 years ago

I ran back the same list I posted last in this thread. Went 3-1 tonight.

R1, Spirits: I died horribly in G1 to like 3 lords on T4 or 5. G2 I had too much removal and managed to lock him out of the game with Engineer + Betrayal. G3 kept Jace alive long enough to -12 with Betrayal and T3feri doing most of the heavy lifting. Win.

R2, Abzan Druid Combo: I never saw a combo piece in G1 so I was super lost on his plan and I do not kill people quickly so that was a really strange thing for me. G2 he put together some close calls for me, but I locked it up with Betrayal and Jace'd him. Win.

R3, Infect: I somehow managed to survive a pretty quick assault in G1, when I stole his second Glistener Elf with A-Charm he scooped. G2 he got me to 9 infect before I dropped Betrayal and all his creatures become dead cards. I think the two games of T3feri were the real reason this was an easy win. He totally neuters the deck if you're on the interaction plan. Win.

R4, Fish: G1 we hit parody really hard going card for card on an empty board for quite awhile, but he managed to keep just enough pressure. Kaya's Guile was worth a solid 12 life keeping me at 16 despite taking a pounding. G2 we hit a carzy perfect parody again with me at 1 life for some 6 turns straight. He had a single Lord and I had enough mana to obliterate anything but no actual gas. I ended up going 1 Colonnade for 3 turns and double Colonnade to kill; was nuts that neither of us drew anything but lands or we drew exactly what would parody and nullify. G3 I manage to grind quite a bit but somehow lacked any and all sweepers. My last turn I top deck Jace into his one flash creature, so I can't bounce it. Brainstorm with 3 shocks available to cast things with... I get a Land, Esper Charm, and Verdict. I can't do anything and I'm at 2. Loss.

I think the Fish round was won entirely by the Horizon lands. He had played nearly as many lands as I did, but because he could cycle a bunch of them he came out ahead in actual gas.

Night of Souls' Betrayal came in for every round and was an absolute house. I know we have Plague Engineer and he's really good, but I would look into Betrayal as well. It did so much work keeping my walkers alive, shutting down creature combos, stalling aggression, being difficult to remove, it was honestly just very solid and paired very well with the Engineer for obvious reasons.

Kaya's Guile is super good. I was playing Grixis Dragon control to great success off the back of Foul-Tongue Invocation and then they printed Guile. Pfft, I saw the writing on the walls. 4 life is a ton and the sac is good. There are certainly opportunities for the 1/1 and the yard hate, but if you're sleeping on the 4 life + sac that's on you.

I boarded out Cryptics quite a bit. It's weird, but they've felt really lack luster. I know it's a great card, but I'm struggling to see it's place with FoN and Archmage's Charm being so good. Stack all the sweepers on it anyway and I think I'm in a good spot. I just can't bring myself to cut them though.

I did board FoN out a lot as well, but I also recognize that when it's good it's really good.

I didn't bring in any Veto, Gust, or Rejection, so that's a pretty significant section of my board, but I've gotten great use out of them in the past.

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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago

Arkmer wrote:
2 years ago
I boarded out Cryptics quite a bit. It's weird, but they've felt really lack luster. I know it's a great card, but I'm struggling to see it's place with FoN and Archmage's Charm being so good
I quite like Cryptic though and find FoN, now is less impactful then before the ban of FL. I am trying to fit in a JTMS though and spell snares, but im not sure what i should be cutting and my sideboard is mess now.

I think by cutting back a Nihil spellbomb for JTMS and my mana leak for Snare I have replaced good cards with equally good. But i think Spell Snare is a great card at this point in the meta still. Im sure it was mentioned earlier, but the 2 CMC is critical for a lot of decks so a straight 1 for 1 is value
There is always a greater power

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Post by Amalek0 » 2 years ago

GenesisEffect80 wrote:
2 years ago
Amalek0 wrote:
2 years ago
There are two kinds of "stoneblade" decks: Those that want to be a control deck, which are both bad and popular, and there are those that want to be a midrange deck.
Thank you, Amalek0! I reread your post four times to make sure I understood it all - so much excellent analysis! Are we boarding Leyline of Sactity for Burn and Discard? I have 2, but are there better cards? Is FoN a better response on the draw against discard? If thats the case, then maybe those SB slots can be better utilized...

What is the current conversation around Swan Song? I always want to love that card but so far it has never made it into a deck. Same with Muddle the Mixture.
In an actual control deck (not stoneblade), I think there's a spot for leylines, and I think the correct number is generally either one or two copies, but in the mainboard not the sideboard. I have the most skewed opinion on that card in this forum and in the #controlfreaks discord, so I suggest you solicit opinions and advice from others.

Swan song and muddle the mixture are both bad and you shouldn't be playing them, either in midrange or control.

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Post by GenesisEffect80 » 2 years ago

A Cute Bunny wrote:
2 years ago
Hope this helps. If you have any other questions or want your list reviewed feel free to ask~.
Thanks! I will take you up on your offer.

Ever-changing Esper deck

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

Anyone tested with Drown in the Loch yet? I've played with it a little and I think it's pretty good. I don't think it's a 4 of, and I'm not sold on playing Thought Scour for it, I think it more likely that something like 3 Path, 1-2 Push, and 2-3 Drown is better.

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Post by Arkmer » 2 years ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
Anyone tested with Drown in the Loch yet? I've played with it a little and I think it's pretty good. I don't think it's a 4 of, and I'm not sold on playing Thought Scour for it, I think it more likely that something like 3 Path, 1-2 Push, and 2-3 Drown is better.
I haven't played it, but I feel like I would be cutting Push for it. I just assume that's probably wrong. What are you currently running? I'd be interested to see how you're making it fit for now.

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

Arkmer wrote:
2 years ago
TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
Anyone tested with Drown in the Loch yet? I've played with it a little and I think it's pretty good. I don't think it's a 4 of, and I'm not sold on playing Thought Scour for it, I think it more likely that something like 3 Path, 1-2 Push, and 2-3 Drown is better.
I haven't played it, but I feel like I would be cutting Push for it. I just assume that's probably wrong. What are you currently running? I'd be interested to see how you're making it fit for now.
I initially cut Push for Drown as well, but I feel like you still want approximately 2 Pushes because Drown is worse on the draw against Glistener Elf, Baral, Chief of Compliance/Goblin Electromancer, Giver of Runes, Sakura-Tribe Scout, and mana dorks. I'm also down a little bit on Path since everything devolved into a midrange grindfest. The exile rarely matters now, in my humble experience, and the land matters a lot. By the way, Thought Scour felt absolutely useless the whole time, and I think you can play Drown without it.

Here's the list I tested initially, playing against Fetchless Storm, Infect, and GW Devoted Vizier:
Preliminary List
Show

I cut 3 Push, 1 Snare, 1 T3feri, 1 Force of Negation, and 1 Kaya's Guile for 3 Thought Scour and 4 Drowns.

And here's what I would play in a tournament:
Enter at your own risk
Show
I'm between the 2nd Snare and the 3rd Drown, but I don't know which would be better at the moment. I like the idea of have effectively 6 2-mana counters, but sometimes Drown is useless on T2 -- this is why I'm still on 3 Knots, as well. Drown being dead on T2 still isn't too bad, because it also serves as a removal spell for the same threat that would resolve, but it's a tempo loss. This is also why I want the 2nd Force, as you can't rely on Drown to counter an early Moon/Neoform/Wrenn and Six/etc.

One thing that I think is increasingly important with Esper is having a way to put your foot in the door while you interact, which is why I think the 2nd T3feri is important. I want to add a JtMS or two for similar reasons: you sometimes end up in a position where you have a clean board, but you topdeck poorly and get behind -- a situation that almost never happens with a planeswalker on board. With a higher density of counters and removal, you end up getting really late into the game and inevitably need to string multiple answers together, so I've gone back up to 4 Cryptics as well.

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