[Primer] Esper Draw-Go Control

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TheAnnihilator
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

Cow31337Killer wrote:
2 years ago
TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
However, you'd have to present me with a very compelling argument for me to renounce the card that just got me a 4-0 against only meta decks at FNM with it on the first day I played Esper with it. $60 store credit speaks a lot louder to me than unconstructive criticism does.
Wow, I'm so happy for you. Maybe if you gave a little more detail on the decks you faced and the number of times you actually ended up using the Drown in the Loch? FNM isn't exactly the pinnacle of competitive play, so excuse me if you going 4-0 running the card isn't enough to convince me how "great" it is. Hell, I've gone 4-0 running 8-whack goblins before, but that doesn't suddenly make it the best deck in the format.
Just play the card and decide for yourself, Cow31337Killer. I'd rather spend my time discussing the merits of the card in good faith with the rest of the users in this thread then dig through my memories of FNM to "defend my position" on how good the card felt, all on anecdotal evidence, just for you. I played it, did relatively well with it, and think the card is both good and fun to play. I posted my list and results in the hope that others have the same experience, become inspired to play Esper, or can help further tune the archetype. You can take or leave as much as you want from those 2 sentences. If you decide not to play the card, it's no loss to me.

Again, if you would like to contribute any meaningful discussion of the card, I would be glad to hear it. As it stands, I'm still not convinced there is a strong reason not to play Drown.

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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

MashedPotato wrote:
2 years ago
I am more interested in Mystic Sanctuary though, might be enough to have a field of ruin or two dropped in place of it though. Extra recursion in a grindy game can never be bad. Especially if you have been forced to play removal on every turn, if not more than once.
Trust me play at least one. This card is a big improvement for us. Having a fetchable way to get back any answer you have played is huge! For the first time in a long time I got to 2-0 burn because of sanctuary alone letting recast Guile! On top of its value to buy back answers you also now have access to an infinite Cryptic loop which is just broken when your opp gets low on resources (Maybe better for me then others because I run main deck discard so getting to this point is easy.) Being able to tap/counter + bounce sanctuary every turn is really nice! Requires 2 Cryptics to have Cryptic up every turn but that isn't hard and with a resloved Jace or Teferi or even just 8 mana with a Tar Pit you win in a matter of turns and they can't really do anything about it! It makes it absurdly easy to just start +ing Jace on them since you will always have at least one answer. More often though it's a buy back of a removal spell or charm which isn't bad either. Being able to say Charm then sanctuary charm and charm again is pretty good. I'll be testing 2 for now to see if its worth running over both of my Field of Ruins or if I should just stick to 1 copy.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

Cow31337Killer wrote:
2 years ago
TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
I really think you're sleeping on this card.
Or maybe the card is just not that good?

People tend to provide arguments to decide if a card is worth it or otherwise.

I had the same exact experience as Annihilator in testing and tournaments.

Playing some games and deciding out of nowhere that "the card isn't good" isn't the way you should valuate cards.

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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
People tend to provide arguments to decide if a card is worth it or otherwise.

I had the same exact experience as Annihilator in testing and tournaments.

Playing some games and deciding out of nowhere that "the card isn't good" isn't the way you should valuate cards.
I think when evaluating cards we need to look at the most common match ups we play and how the card is at its worst or medium uses. Evaluating cards based on a one or two time best case scenario is a bad idea because games generally aren't a best case scenario. This is why I when I tested and looked at Loch I paid attention to how often it did nothing early which was too frequent for me to want the card in my 75. Sure it scales into the late game but that isn't a reason to run it IMO.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

I mean, I'm not STATING that the card is powerful and that should be run 100%.

What I'm skeptical about is your reasoning. Like, just to make an example, evaluating that a card is "bad" against Grixis Shadow because "it often doesn't hit Delve cards" when it basically counters every single other spell against them. @TheAnnihilator did a good job explaining this in one of his previous posts.

Anyway, I'll just make you notice that the more discard spells you run, the better Drown becomes.

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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
I mean, I'm not STATING that the card is powerful and that should be run 100%.

What I'm skeptical about is your reasoning. Like, just to make an example, evaluating that a card is "bad" against Grixis Shadow because "it often doesn't hit Delve cards" when it basically counters every single other spell against them. @TheAnnihilator did a good job explaining this in one of his previous posts.

Anyway, I'll just make you notice that the more discard spells you run, the better Drown becomes.
I run 6 or 9 if you include Charm. More that anyone else typically does and I don't like Loch in my 75.

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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago

Drown in the loch I don't think is efficient enough against Big mana decks like the Tron variants and Devotion, just is to slow in cases, but depending on the 60 on the table, might be able to survive.

Decks with low mana curves, like Burn and Merfolk for example, I think Loch is efficient enough to warrant some play testing. As we can often counter / remove / discard enough into the bin early to make use of both options on Loch.

Combo decks, like any deck against it, will suffer depending on the opening hand for them. Can be a break even card, but I think I will keep Spell Snares in place of Loch, 2 CMC is key to a lot of final pieces in combo that I can recall.

The biggest strength this card has is against the likes of Jund and Death Shadow variants, as they are bit slower and often make use of the graveyard more so than other deck types. Loch is far to efficient to not consider against them.

Loch looks great on paper, but I am more than happy to watch and see at this stage still prior to committing to getting some for my deck. I think though at this stage, Loch will suit Grixis better as it plays a bit more aggressively than Esper.

Hopefully this adds some value to the Loch discussion from the sidelines
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Post by GenesisEffect80 » 2 years ago

Don't forget that the GY count is almost always at least 1 due to fetch by the time Drown comes online for us, and very likely 2 if we have used any T1 discard/counter/removal. That hits a lot of targets in Modern! Pretty obviously, Drown was developed to work in a meta where Faithless Looting was prevalant, not anticipating the ban in the wake of Hogaak. Still good but would have been bananas except for the ban. I'll be testing two in the main.

[mention]TheAnnihilator[/mention] also cites "fun to play" which I feel is an underrated (or forgotten) aspect of the competitive Modern meta.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

I know people here don't particularly like this approach. But I keep crushing with variations of this list, so... yeah.





I think it has been the best it ever felt.

I'm a fan of having a proactive gameplan WHILE playing the draw-go strategy. Chaining Charms and Snapcasters and Fatcasters while always holding up counterspells and/or removals is insane. Drown in the Loch was probably the missing link I was waiting for. When removals are dead, they are very dead (unlike Bolts). This let us play less situational cards in matchups where they're not required.

Postboard, I'm always a sucker for cheap interactions and more aggressive spells, instead of bombs. Thoughtseize + Vendilion Clique make the blue mirror and combo strategies almost a bye, helping a lot against Big Mana too. I'm always a fan of Spreading Seas, but I found that running multiple Torrential Gearhulks already make our Titanshift matchup very good (they can't deal with it reliably if they also want to kill us) and Tron is all about countering their bombs (or, even better, stripping them with Seize and Clique).

I'm pretty sure I'll quickly go up to 4 Drown in the Loch swapping the Opt for Thought Scour. I only have to understand which is the one card I have to cut from the maindeck for it.


---


I placed second. 4-0 the swiss (5C Saheeli Midrange 2-0, Grixis Shadow 2-0, Jund 2-1, Jeskai Stoneblade 2-1), 2-0 the quarterfinal vs Paradoxical Urza, 2-1 Green Tron in the semi, losing the final 0-2 vs Mono Red Prowess.

Still debating if the Mystic Sanctuary is better or worse than the single Academy Ruins I used to run.

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
I know people here don't particularly like this approach. But I keep crushing with variations of this list, so... yeah.





I think it has been the best it ever felt.

I'm a fan of having a proactive gameplan WHILE playing the draw-go strategy. Chaining Charms and Snapcasters and Fatcasters while always holding up counterspells and/or removals is insane. Drown in the Loch was probably the missing link I was waiting for. When removals are dead, they are very dead (unlike Bolts). This let us play less situational cards in matchups where they're not required.

Postboard, I'm always a sucker for cheap interactions and more aggressive spells, instead of bombs. Thoughtseize + Vendilion Clique make the blue mirror and combo strategies almost a bye, helping a lot against Big Mana too. I'm always a fan of Spreading Seas, but I found that running multiple Torrential Gearhulks already make our Titanshift matchup very good (they can't deal with it reliably if they also want to kill us) and Tron is all about countering their bombs (or, even better, stripping them with Seize and Clique).

I'm pretty sure I'll quickly go up to 4 Drown in the Loch swapping the Opt for Thought Scour. I only have to understand which is the one card I have to cut from the maindeck for it.


---


I placed second. 4-0 the swiss (5C Saheeli Midrange 2-0, Grixis Shadow 2-0, Jund 2-1, Jeskai Stoneblade 2-1), 2-0 the quarterfinal vs Paradoxical Urza, 2-1 Green Tron in the semi, losing the final 0-2 vs Mono Red Prowess.

Still debating if the Mystic Sanctuary is better or worse than the single Academy Ruins I used to run.
Nice finish! I may pick up the 2 Gearhulks and the ACharm I'm missing from this list and play it tonight at WNM. I must say I'm surprised that you're not playing and T3feri or Jace.

Also, in testing, I've realized that Jace or Tef Hero can net you infinite Cryptics with a Sanctuary and a single cryptic. So that's pretty cool.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

Welp, the list play *very* differently from the norm.

1) It litterarly NEVER tap out during your own turn. Zero sorcery speed cards is huge, against any opponent. It's like playing a discard based deck. You don't see the opponent's hand, but have informations about his turn before acting.

2) If you try even to goldfish it, you'll see that there's no reason to play any other CA source (Jace like). This deck basically cantrips your soul. Let's say you're facing an aggressive strategy, and you don't need the *counterspell* effect of Charm. The gameplan is this: spend your removals early, use the eight Charms to dig for Snapcasters and Fatcasters, flashback removals, Cryptic Command bounce the Snapcasters to use other removals. Fetch Sanctuary, recover one of the Charms to dig more. Cryptic Command to bounce/draw the Sanctuary, Snapback the Cryptic Command to bounce Sanctuary, put the Charm back on top. Seriously, I always end up with 10 cards in the deck when the opponent has 30-35. It has velocity, simply put.


[mention]TheAnnihilator[/mention]

If you're willing to try it, I'll suggest you some modifications (according to the recent experience with the last list): one, I would swap the Opts for Scours. They really are important for Drown. Two, I would go for a 4-2 Push-Path split (same reason, and Path is actually worse positioned in the meta). Three, I would definitely add the fourth Drown. For the time being I'll run it as the 61^ card, cause - as pretty much always - I feel like we can shave a land, but going to 23 scares me (even though the list is super tight, after hitting the third land we're casting all the cantrips/draw spells in our deck except Cryptic).

One other thing I was considering, due to the dissinergy between Rest in Peace and Drown, is to play Yixlid Jailer in their spite.

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

I'll take your suggestions. I do want to cut to 60 tho, so I'll figure out what the cut is. I must say, I'm very excited to be playing 4 Tar Pits. :)

I'll probably go with 2 Stony Silence and a Settle the Wreckage over the RiPs. My meta is usually very light on graveyard decks since the Looting ban killed Phoenix. The main concern for me is Urza, hence the Stonies. and the one Settle is for a blowout against Dredge if I happen to face it.

Edit: how do you feel about Brazen Borrower?

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

Yeah, I mean, the sideboard is totally meta dependent. I do think that the mainboard (if you want to play this kind of deck, that's it) is set in stone with the exception of few slots (third Path or fouth Push, three or four Drown, Fortress or more islands-type for Sanctuary). In the sb I'm only sure about 5-6 cards, then they rotate continuosly.

Four Tar-Pits are 100% correct, cause you'll often attack with two of them at the same time in the mid-late game. Not to say that the list is somehow weak to a resolved Narset (if they land, and that's really hard considering 4 Force, 4 Drown and the 4 Archmages if you're on the play, other than the sb permission, but you still need an out if it happens). Teferi isn't actually that much of a problem if we're on the Control mirror, if it lands you can just Esper Charm the opponent out of the game at sorcery speed before killing it through your creatures.

Settle the Wreckage is a strong card that is also a favorite of mine. I would probably consider Winds of Abandon before it, though, as it is a cheap removal in the early and not that conditional vs opponent who expect Settle. You may play it before the copy of Path which I had in the sb, too.

I'm not high on Stony Silence. The deck already performs very strongly against Urza variants (we have ZERO dead draws vs them). I tested intensively vs both the Thopter-Urza lists and the Paradoxical ones, and I yet have to concede a single match. It's one of the major draws to play this archetype, imho.

What I would try to fit, on the other hand, is more lifegain for red creatures strategies. Maybe a third Guile.

Brazen Borrower is a cool one, but it doesn't "cantrip" or make CA. In the sideboard, I feel that Clique is simply more powerful than it (and I would play Geist in alternative).

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

So, [mention]BloodyRabbit[/mention], I played your list tonight. I went 2-2, one match was a bye. :( Tiebreakers were really weird and I somehow managed to get 4th place after getting paired up against the only x-0 and losing in the last round, so irdk what that was all about, but anyways, here's the rundown:
The List. Enter at your own risk!
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I wasn't able to get a 4th ACharm, so I just cut it for the 4th Drown. I also meant to play a 4-2 split of Push-Path, but I couldn't find my 4th Push.
Tourney Report
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Round 1, 0-2 Hardened Scales:
Game 1 he played T1 Hardened Scales on the play, and I didn't have the Force. Instead, I drew the Force for turn on my T1 (a little late on that one). He played a 2nd Scales on T2 and I decided not to Force it since he had one in play already. Big mistake. I ended up trying to play the 1-for-1 game against Walking Ballistas, Hangarback Walkers, Arcbound Ravagers, and other motley crew members and I just gassed out without a real clock.

Sideboarding:
-2x Force of Negation, -1x Gearhulk, -1x Push, -1x Scour, -1x ACharm
+2x Stony, +2x EE, +1x Path, +1x Settle

Game two I play a T1 EE on 1, pop it on T2, and run Stony Silence out on T3 and T5 with some removal to back it up. He drew 2 Claims, and then found a Animation Module and Llanowar Reborn. He proceeded to overrun me with tons of Servos from the 2-card grind package. I ended up Settling him for 5 basics, and never hit the 6th land to Gearhulk back the Settle. :(

I don't know if Thoughtseize should be boarded in here or not? I discussed it with the Scales player, and he thinks TS is better on the play while Force is better on the draw. It's awkward that Force only hits noncreatures in the matchup as well, since Ballista or Hangarback are usually enough to kill you if left unchecked. We also played a few more mainboard games after the match and this MU seems REALLY tough without boardwipes and Field.

Round 2: Bye.
Really annoying because I wanted to play, but whatever.

Round 3, 2-1 GR Ponza:
This match played out exactly how I was hoping this list would work -- tons of counters/removal and chaining card draw to never gas out. He played generally 1 card a turn, I countered it, then I got to the point where I could ECharm and still counter something or Snap-counter and get ahead. It was glorious.

Game 1, he kept a 6 with a Once Upon a Time and no lands. It whiffed. He hit his land around T3 and hit more lands afterwards, but he was behind enough that I easily chained through the deck and killed him with 7 cards in hand and 2 Snaps and a Gearhulk in play. Awkward that Gearhulk gets hit by Abrade, btw.

Sideboarding:
-3x Gearhulk, -3x Path
+2x Purge, +2x Clique, +2x EE

On the play, he leads on Arbor Elf into Utopia Sprawl with two more dorks on T2 into T3 Choke (which I force) + Karn the Great Creator. It was lights out, since I didn't have the 2nd counter.


Game 3: More of the same: We both hit land drops, but I was on the play and kept his Arbor Elfs and a Goblin Rabblemaster off the board with Fatal Push and Drown in the Loch while countering everything relevant. I ended the game with Snappy beats, again, with 7 cards in hand.

Round 4: 0-2 Boros Burn:
Both of these games were really close, each ended up in a topdeck war while I beat him down with creatures. In both games, he topdecked better than I did and won.

Game 1, we trade resources, I conserve my life total, and end up casting Archmage's Charm on a Goblin Guide after its attack trigger gave me a Glacial Fortress (very nice play!). I was beating him down with a Snap and his own Guide when he rips 2 Searing Blaze consecutively with me at 1 life. The first gets countered, the second sadly kills me. Off to game 2!

Sideboarding:
-3x Gearhulk, -1x Cryptic, -3x Path,
+2x Kaya's Guile, +2x Clique, +2x Purge, +1x EE

Game 2 I mull from a 7 with double Tar Pit as my only lands to a 6-card hand with a fetch, Scour, Purge, Drown, Guile, Force (I don't remember what I bottomed, I think a Clique or Cryptic?). I play fetch and pass, take one from a Monastery Swiftspear, and decide to fetch-shock a Fountain to play Thought Scour on him (yikes, but I can't afford to wait on it, and I have to get white for the Purge and eventual Guile). I miss on the land, but topdeck the 2nd Fountain for turn. I sigh, shock it in, and pass. Oh well. He plays a Guide and attacks all, I reveal a Delta, Purge the Swiftspear (expecting a Bolt -- he casted one anyways), and untap to safely fetch Swamp, Guile for sac+4 life. I eventually freecast Force on a Boros Charm, Snap Guile back, and we end up topdecking against each other. I end up with 1 blocker at 1 life with a single mana open and an EE on one vs. 2 topdecked 1-mana creatures (he sacced a cycle land) for the win. I was probably gonna lose that game anyways tbh, because I was a point short on the swingback, but it was still pretty close.
Closing thoughts:
Thought Scour is a TRAP! Don't play it. You don't really need it for Drown in the Loch, and Opt would've probably won me games that I ended up losing, especially in trying to hit land drops on mulligans. I also think that 2 Gearhulk is likely better than 3, just because it's so clunky. Similarly, I think you don't need all 4 Forces in the main, probably 2-3 is better for the odd times you need it -- pitching a card is really difficult in this list because you need everything. Pitching an ECharm or ACharm always feels terrible, and pitching a Snap or Drown leaves you with no interaction. Speaking of the ACharms, they were fine. Not great, but not bad -- I honestly wasn't super impressed by them though. ECharm obviously overperformed as always -- especially with Mystic Sanctuary. I also think the deck needs a little staying power. I think even 2 mainboard planeswalkers, probably Jace tMS, would work wonders here. Finally, the 4th Tar Pit probably isn't necessary, as I had to play around drawing multiple Tar Pits a bit. I would add another Glacial Fortress or a Drowned Catacomb or something.

This version of the deck definitely has legs, and I'm sure I could've played better with some practice with the list, but ultimately it's just not really my play style. It feels a little more like a tempo deck than a control deck to me. I agree for sure that it needs a few extra sideboard slots for Burn, and I would honestly default straight to the ol' reliable: Timely Reinforcements.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

I don't know about Thought Scour. I did have great results playing with Opt, and I was just theorycrafting about it, didn't try to swap the card. Probably I would keep the Drown at three if I were to play Opt. But I really wanna try the Scours, they feel so much better with it in the deck.

I do believe you made strange sideboard choices. Against HS (which isn't a deck in this meta game, and I didn't focus on fighting it) it's incorrect to cut Forces. It's not Affinity, it's a Combo deck disguisèd by robots. The only way for them to fight you is to deploy Animation Module, Karn or the green enchantment (forget the name). You can still counter Stirrings and Scales if they don't draw it. Remember that you can also take control of Hangarback with Charm, and make it grow bigger. In the limited testing I had against HS, I won both games thanks to this move. The '1x1' game is extra effective is the opponent doesn't have a Module or G ench on the field, cause you see way more cards. Gearhulk stays, it's great both on the offensive and the defensive.

Against Ponza was fine. I wouldn't sb Seize cause we mind about their spells on the stack more than 'key spells'. We just have to counter something every turn.

Burn, as admitted, was the one matchup I had to rethink the sb (in the last week, the only matchups I had some difficulties with this list were Burn, Red Prowess and 8-Whack - find the similarities!). It isn't terrible, but it certainly needs one/two more cards in the sb. I would use the slots where you have Stony Silence.


.....


Overall:

a) the deck NEEDS another piece of CA if you cut a Charm. Just, the Charm is the most effective for this kind of plan. You can't walk away with cutting one of them for a non cycling card, cause often times you'll use a certain amount of them to do things different from drawing (stealing creatures, especially).
b) the third Gearhulk is necessary as well, it is your primary condition to get ahead. If you really want a planeswalker in the list, play it in this slot. I wouldn't suggest it, though. IMHO you were too afraid of the casting cost and sideboarded it out even when unnecessary.
c) maybe the fourth Tar-Pit can be an untap land - I love my Tar-Pits though.
d) i'll test Scour more.
e) two Timely Reinforcement in the board are certainty an idea.
f) If you cut some Forces, you need the same amount of Dovin's Veto imho.


It is, definitely, more Tempo than a pure Control. For instance, against matchups like HS you have to focus on surviving hitting the key pieces, then go to a point where you can reliably chain Cryptic (tap/draw) into Snapcasters and Gearhulks and win off it. It's tricky, but you realize it after few games played. I understand that, playing it like your 'usual' Esper Control it's impossible to bring out the potential of the gameplay itself.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

Forgot to add.

Another possibility Scour opens for is to play some number of Tasigurs. It isn't the worse at providing both CA and a power beater. I can see the possibility to go for 4 Snaps - 2 Tas - 2 Gearhulk, cutting one Drown or one Force. It does help against Burn and aggressive strategies by stonewalling and clocking the opponent when ahead.

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

[mention]BloodyRabbit[/mention] I believe you're right about keeping in Force against Scales, mainly because you simply can't beat Animation Module. I sided it out because I died with it in hand with no targets G1, but it's a necessary evil to keep it in. I assume that the green enchantment you're referencing is Evolutionary Leap? Also, Throne of Geth can be a problem as well. In the games we played, the one time I stole a Hangarback with Charm, he just killed me with Ballista the turn after. I honestly don't know if you can get to a point where you can cast Gearhulk in this matchup, though I honestly don't really see how you win without it. Like I said, Scales is just a rough MU with this build. Also, the Thoughtseize comment was actually referring to Scales, not Ponza, because an early Thoughtseize can hit a Module/Scales but it also might hit a Hangarback, Ravager, etc. But I think you just need Force here for scaling into the late game. How would you board with that list against Scales? In fact, how would you board in all of these matchups?

You mentioned that I board out Gearhulk too often. Honestly, I don't think Gearhulk is the right wincon here. I actually believe Brazen Borrower, Vendilion Clique, or even Spell Queller would be better. I'd be most curious to test Borrower, since it gives you some tempo as well. You can bounce problematic non-creature spells and counter them on the way back down, but then you still get the 3/1 flash flying body, so it's not card disadvantage. It basically always cantrips into a 3/1 flash flyer, and that seems reasonable to me. Also, you can then trim down to 23/24 lands.

As for cutting the ACharm, I have to agree that it's probably best to have all 4 -- they just didn't have it at my shop. I also think there's potential in playing Hieroglyphic Illumination over Opt or Thought Scour so you have the freedom to pitch something to Force or to use ACharm and ECharm in their other modes. Even Think Twice would be alright, but it's much more clunky when you really don't want to hit land drops as a priority. Once you hit 4 lands, you can Snap-Drown, so you're just making random extra land drops to hit Gearhulk mana at that point. Ultimately though, your reliance on the Charms is part of the reason this list doesn't really appeal to me -- Archmage's Charm just doesn't feel like a powerful enough card to build your deck around IMO. I will say that it felt more important to the deck than ECharm tho. ACharm sometimes stole a permanent or countered something, ECharm was basically always just Divination mode. In pure control, you make much better use of ECharm's discard modes. Maybe it was just the matchups though.

I'm not a huge fan of playing Scour+Tasigur here either, since you generally want to target your opponent with Scour for Drown, but Tasigur needs you to target yourself. Maybe that's something you could work around, though.

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Post by Arkmer » 2 years ago

Any love for Myth Realized in the flash list? Sure, it dies to things, but it also dodges creature removal until you want to activate it for W. Let's you hold up counters to protect your massive creature, you can cast it T1 or at little cost later in the game.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

[mention]TheAnnihilator[/mention]


Honestly, I don't see how keeping Force in against Hardened Scales can be counted as "a necessary evil". It hits so many targets that it's never dead against their draws. Animation Module, Throne of Geth, Evolutionary Leap (yep, that's it, many thanks), Ancient Stirrings, Hardened Scales if your hand requires so, Welding Jar (you know, this one is huge when you can answer it 1x1), Karn, Scion of Oona that almost kills you on the spot, Grafdigger's Cage which definitely hurts. Some lists even sideboard Autumn's Veil, which is... meh.

When none of these cards hit the battlefield, they are a bad creature deck. If you can deal with Hangarback - between Paths, Charms and counterspells it's easy to do so - I don't see us losing. In my experience, while I didn't metagamed the deck for the mu, we are definitely 50-50. Thoughtseize isn't the worst card you can board in, but the others you already play are simply better. Gearhulk is how you turn the corner and win most of the time. At a certain point, you destroyed almost everything from their board but need to kill the opponent before it can recover. So you EOT Gearhulk, flashback anything worth it, and start biting his life total with Gearhulk + one/two Tar-Pits, which usually means a turn two clock. It also deals with Karn, which is important to keep out of the field.

Without going card for card, given the fact that the sideboard changes continuosly, I'll just sideboard in any sweeper (in my list, let's consider Engineered Explosives, and Winds of Abandon) making a one for one swap with Cryptics (which are fine, but get outclassed by actual mass removals). Remember that Charm and Drown can deal in any stage of the game with both XX creatures they play. I won't sideboard Kaya's Guile for obvious reasons, only the lifegain isn't worth it. You may bring in 1/2 Seizes instead of the fourth Cryptic and the first cantrip, but I wouldn't suggest so.

I tend to do the same against aggressive strategies which require a solution to the stack - while I would cut Forces when they don't (like, Humans, where we also bring in Celestial Purge and Kaya's Guile). I like having some Force against the likes of Grixis Shadow, on the other hand. We'll often hardcast it, and when we're not we can Force a Stubb during opponent's turn.

Do remember, when you think about shaving them, that Gearhulk pitches to Force, and that Gearhulk itself is the slot where we would play Jace/Teferi in tap-out builds. They are very necessary for the same reasons we play them, there. If you only have few reps with the deck it's easy to state otherwise, but I assure you that are the very bone of the 8-Charm archetype. The only deck against whom I see cutting them is - indeed - fast red decks (Burn, Red Prowess, 8-Whack, maybe - maybe - Shadow Zoo).



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You put a very interesting point on Hieroglyphic Illumination. I even played the card before (with Gearhulks, in Blue Moon!), I don't know why I never tried in this list. The nicest part is when you cycle it in the early game, then cast Gearhulk and draw two without putting the Charms out of the graveyard. This can actually turn out as a huge improvement. I'll test it for sure. %$#%$#%, I wish I had thought about it faster!

I do think that Force of Negation is too strong to omit. If you look back at the old thread on MTGSalvation, you'll see that I was playing Remand in the first iteration of the deck (wish I could still run them, sigh). Then I went for a mix of Dovin's Veto and Logic Knot, asserting that the gameplan of this list can hardly support the card disadvantage for its own nature. Welp, I was wrong. It won me too many games. Too many. It's unconditional - in every stage of the game, unlike Knot - and it does help us resolving things like Gearhulk in the opponent's end step. Yep, that's an absurd play. It still IS a three mana Negate, never forget this.


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Regarding Charms.

I do think both are equally important for this deck, and need to be played in no less than eight copies. That said, Archmage's Charm is indeed "more crucial" in the sense that is more flexible in tight spots. The ability of stealing creatures when you don't have removals and to counter Big Mana's threats when you're out of counterspells is nothing to laugh about.

I do disagree about Esper Charm's discard mode. You win games out of nowhere with it. Between 7 Snapcaster Mages + 1 fetchable Mystic Sanctuary, 4 Charms and 4 Cryptic Commands to recycle the Snappies you can discard SIX CARDS out of a single Esper Charm. It happened several times, it isn't a cute play, it wins games.

I do enjoy Think Twice, but it has nothing to do with a seven Snapcaster Mage decklist.

I don't want to run Tasigur, just saying that it's surely a possibility. The most recent iterations of Grixis Control play Tasigur, Drown and Into the Story in the same shell. It does help vs Burn, if we want to improve the maindeck against a field of red decks.



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This is the list I'm gonna try on Saturday.





I won't play the full set of Drown without Scour, obviously. I'm still debating if the first copy of Winds of Abandon is better suited to be a sideboard card. I do like the possibility of using it in the early game and to fetch Sanctuary later to have an actual sweeper (that also deals with Dredge's critters). I also played in the same slot Tyrant's Scorn, which is removal, blue card to pitch and a bounce spell to reuse Snapcasters all in one. If these two won't satisfy me, I'll just go back to the third Path maindeck (which is meh, but still, the seventh cc1 removal).

I have high hopes for Illumination.

Still unsure about the Fortress (due to Sanctuary) but I hate to take unnecessary damage in the early game.





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[mention]Arkmer[/mention]

Myth Realized doesn't belong to this list. The problem isn't the "die to removal", but the "do nothing except being a creature".

I do like it in T3feri heavy builds, though.

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TheAnnihilator
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

We got a 3rd place list from IQ Louisville from Nick Hawkins:

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2357438#paper

Madman's playing 3 Snare, 7 spot removal spells, and 4 Drowns.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

It's actually one of the variants i'm testing, Not this exact list, but an Esper version of @aspiringspike Grixis Control.

I don't know if cutting Kommands and Bolts to bring in Paths and Guiles is worth it. Certainty I dislike the walkers, it's a draw-go strategy. And Guiles conflict with Drown and Into the Story, unfortunately.


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EDIT

Welp, I guess I'll also leave a list.





This is my current decklist.

I debated for a while with aspiringspike in his streams, and I definitely favor Fact or Fiction instead of Into the Story. Usually you still get two good cards with FoF, while ITS would net you 3 decent and one good card. But, mostly, you can cast it any time. I can see a 2-2 or a 3-1 split, but I liked my a FoF until now. The card is massively underrated.

The point of going for white instead of red is the difficulty to deal with planeswalkers, D-Sphere in the main and Purge in the board greatly help, and Path (while not helping Drown) is more than welcome vs Delve threats and Eldrazi Tron, which are some issues of the standard Grixis list.

Obviously you lose Kommand, which is a thing.

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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

I tried Karn tGC + Wishboard this week and got 3rd place lost 1 match to bant spirits in game 3 he had the t2 geist :C. Beat another Bant Spirit, Grixis Shadow and Boros Burn. Was a ton of fun to lattice people

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Post by Kalladdin » 2 years ago

I don't think KGC has a place in esper control. If you want to play a control deck with KGC, try U Tron.

That being said, I would be interested in seeing your list.

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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

Kalladdin wrote:
2 years ago
I don't think KGC has a place in esper control. If you want to play a control deck with KGC, try U Tron.

That being said, I would be interested in seeing your list.
Honestly I was iffy on it too at first. I saw a list from the 5-0 dump running 3 and I thought there was no way but it was surprisingly good. I'm going to have to keep testing to see if it was a one time thing that people were unprepared for or if it actually is playable. As far as list goes:

As far as the deck goes it ran pretty smooth. I think I am going to cut 1 of the Sanctuary for another check land... Probably the Catacombs over the Fortress. For the side I kind of want either a Walking Ballista or Crucible of Worlds for when I get stuck on 4/5 mana. Crucible lets me bridge the gap to get to Lattice or Ballista is a threat/Kill spell. Aside from that the deck ran surprisingly well having an instant win combo basically. With all the disruption and spot removal it was actually really easy to line up a turn to drop Karn then Lattice. I did it in 5 of the games I won and 2 other games I won off of Coating their lands away. (Against Burn and Shadow once each).

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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago

Took my Field of Ruins out and put them into the sideboard for Mystic Santuary, loved the loop that it made with Cryptic Command.
Wasn't a big fan of Thought Scour, did a straight swap for Opt as the card draw is equal, but not being able to scry wasn't ideal. However Drown in the Loch was better than expected. Took out Logic Knot for it, as an unconditional destory creature or counter spell. One thing I love about Esper is being able to run so many cards with options on them.

Will post an updated deck list once I have played a few more games with what I have on hand at the moment, but I am thinking of building this on MTGO, but trying to get the approval past the Minster of War and Finance will be a tough ask, might need to have a few counterspells on hand for when i ask haha
There is always a greater power

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