[Primer] Esper Draw-Go Control

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BloodyRabbit
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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

While I thought that the previous iterations of Esper Trascendent (as it was called before) were hot garbage, discard into three mana walkers is MUCH more effective than discard into Lingering Souls. Keeping Cryptic Command to deal with big stuff (Tron non-creatures, Primeval Titan etc.,.) is certainly a good deal. I would definitely run second Knot before the first Leak (cause you need counterspells for things like Scapeshift) and the second Timely instead of Charm. I would also cut the Azcanta for either second big Teferi or JTMS,

I would also like second Vendilion or second sweeper maindeck, but space is... meh.

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

BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
While I thought that the previous iterations of Esper Trascendent (as it was called before) were hot garbage, discard into three mana walkers is MUCH more effective than discard into Lingering Souls. Keeping Cryptic Command to deal with big stuff (Tron non-creatures, Primeval Titan etc.,.) is certainly a good deal. I would definitely run second Knot before the first Leak (cause you need counterspells for things like Scapeshift) and the second Timely instead of Charm. I would also cut the Azcanta for either second big Teferi or JTMS,

I would also like second Vendilion or second sweeper maindeck, but space is... meh.
Yeah, discard into walkers or discard off of T3feri + or even discard to remove something you can't answer all feel great especially with how linear Modern feels.

The Knot/Leak split has been fine so far. Knot is kinda meh early unless you had enough fetch lands and Leak is meh late unless they are tapping down low or on a low land deck like burn or Shadow. Both are bad and good in their own ways for sure.

Charm has been a few different cards, I tried Timely before but seeing a second is often just a gain 6 which feels kind of sub par. I'm not sure what works best in that spot and have been trying a few different things from faster win cons like Geist or Clique to a second Teferi and even tried some more Wipes in the main. Oh and souls was there once too. The life gain sometimes is important because the deck usually wins on around 6-8 life from my experience but I kind of want a bit more out of that slot.

Azcanta has been good for me so far, sure it could be a Jace or Teferi or even something like a Kaya. Deck space is super tight though, I even have thought about cutting a land or two but *shrug*

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

Old lists were playing a pair of Gideon of the Trials in Timely slots. Could still be right to run them.

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Post by Kalladdin » 2 years ago

Thoughts on Fact or Fiction?

On one hand, it has a some synergy with Snapcaster Mage, Logic Knot, Think Twice that are already in most people's lists, (as well as some other options that we have, like Lingering Souls and extra cards for escalating Collective Brutality) and it is undeniably powerful card advantage/selection.

On the other hand, it costs 4 mana, and we already have a lot of very good 4 cmc spells, (though being an instant helps mitigate this).

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Post by Aesnath » 2 years ago

So, I recently got back into mtg and converted my old teachings deck to U/W. Now, understand that I've not played a lot since coming back, but I have noticed a few differences:

Esper: has much better spot removal. From cast down to fatal push you have much better options for killing stuff. Path is good in both lists, but, past that white really only has the somewhat awkward oust or condemn. Neither of which really do what you want reliably. I really miss this aspect of Esper. Since I only recently came back to the fold, I've not had a chance to try Kaya or her charm, but I suspect the charm is a pretty good bonus.

U/W: really the biggest advantage here is being able to run field of ruin more easily. If you haven't played with it, it is a pretty nice addition. Honestly, I've not missed esper charm as much as I expected that I would. I still think it is a good card, but other options have made it feel less necessary. Still there is nothing like forcing a discard on someone's last two cards while you have countermagic.

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TheAnnihilator
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

I'm thinking about adding an in-depth sideboarding section to the primer, but I need feedback from any/all Esper players -- What does a core sideboard look like? What are some key cards that should be in EVERY Esper sideboard? Here's what I could come up with:

1-2x Celestial Purge
1x Dovin's Veto
2x Vendilion Clique (or 2-3 Spell Queller)
2-3x Surgical Extraction (or 2+ other grave hate card and 2x Unmoored Ego)
At least 2 cards against Burn (Timely Reinforcements/Blessed Alliance/perhaps Collective Brutality)

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

Side board cards to mention are:

Creatures n Walkers: (3-6 side)
0-1 Kaya, Orzhov Usurper - GY and 1 drop hate - Phoenix, Humans, Shadow, Burn maybe?
0-2 Ashiok, Dream Render - GY Hate
0-2 Teferi, Time Raveler - Anything that suspends, plays counter spells or tries to do something instant speed.
0-1 Baneslayer Angel - Life gain and extra win con
0-1 Lyra Dawnbringer - Life gain and extra win con
0-1 Cataclysmic Gearhulk - Board wipe on legs
0-1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet - Extra win con and life gain
0-3 Spell Queller - Kind of okay with T3feri but more of a tempo card IMO
0-2 Restoration Angel - Same as Queller
0-2 Clique - Great with Narset and another way to beat down
0-2 Monastery Mentor - Go wide strat
0-2 Geist of Saint Traft - Fast clock great against low creature decks
0-1 Secure the Wastes - Same as mentor but instant speed

Removal: (3-8)
0-2 Celstial Purge - Generic hate
0-2 Fatal Push - Extras in the side when the meta calls for it like humans and spirits and such
0-1 Cast Down - Meh but okay against decks that try to overload path
0-2 Collective Brutality - Burn mostly but also good against things like Druid Combo and Control mirrors
0-1 Anguished Unmaking - Generic permanent removal for anything
0-1 Detention Sphere - Generic almost permanent removal for anything
0-2 Extra Wrath effect (Wrath, Damnation, Settle, Verdict) - 3-4 in the 75 is usually correct
0-1 Engineered Explosives - Really useful against a wide array of strats
0-1 Blessed Alliance - Life gain and Hexproof hate
0-1 Liliana's Triumph - Hexproof hate

Counterspells: (2-5)
0-2 Dispel - Kind of underwhelming but can be good against the right decks
0-2 Ceremonious Rejection - Tron hate
0-2 Spell Pierce - Generic cheap interaction
0-2 Spell Snare - Generic cheap interaction
0-2 Dovin's Veto - Great card against anything with counter spells of their own especially Ad Naus and other all in strats

GY Hate: (1-4)
0-4 Surgical Extraction - Probably the most versatile option since it can really ruin some decks like hitting Tron lands or Phoenix
0-4 Nihil Spellbomb - Half cantrip half grave clear. Not bad, not great
0-4 Rest in Peace - Better in UW IMO but still a decent option
0-4 Leyline of the Void - More generic super early GY hate. Its a 0 or 4 of I think
0-2 Kaya's Guile - Should probably have at least 1 in the 75

Other: (1-5)
0-2 Timely Reinforcements - Life gain and chump blockers mostly for burn type decks but also decent against single creature beats
0-1 Circle of Protection: Red - More burn hate
0-2 Thoughtseize - Generic Cheap interaction
0-1 Hurkyl's Recal - Artifact hate
1-3 Unmoored Ego - Generic catch all answer
0-2 Stony Silence - Artifact hate
0-2 Damping Sphere - Meh, sometimes worth it sometimes not
0-1 Fact or Fiction - For grind games mostly but really good card when it resolves
Last edited by A Cute Bunny 2 years ago, edited 1 time in total.

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Hesperos
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Post by Hesperos » 2 years ago

I don't think discussing the sideboard in isolation is terribly helpful, other than talking about generic effects we all (probably) need in the 75 may not want in the main. Even then, this all depends on the overall strategy you're going for (e.g.: discard, all out draw-go, heavy on walkers).

What I think you probably always need:
  • Tron hate
  • Burn hate
  • GY hate
  • Artifact hate
This, to me, translates to:
  • Removal
  • Colorless/artifact hate
  • Extraction effects
  • Lifegain
  • Some big creature (which could also be a Torrential Gearhulk or similar in the main).
My current sideboard:
  • 1 Ceremonious Rejection
  • 2 Stony Silence
  • 3 Nihil Spellbomb (I recently cut all copies from the MB)
  • 2 Surgical Extraction
  • 2 Unmoored Ego
  • 1 Spell Snare (also have one in the MB)
  • 1 Timely Reinforcements
  • 2 Inquisition of Kozilek
  • 1 Kaya, Ozhov Usurper (also have one in the MB)

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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

Hesperos wrote:
2 years ago
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
Interesting, why IoK over TS? Most players that side discard side TS cuz it hits more things.

Also I agree that you kind of have to talk about match-ups with a side board guide and what you can play for those matches

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Post by Hesperos » 2 years ago

Two main reasons:
1: I usually want to cast a targeted discard spell early, and will look to take an early game play. After that, I rely on my counterspells to prevent problems from landing.
2: The lifeloss from TS hurts a lot. Especially with the painful mana base we need to run.

Thoughtseize is definitely better in more situations, and I keep going back and forth between the two.

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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

Hey guys, I just moved over from MTG Salvation. Looks fine so far! Glad that the Esper community lives on.

I recently switched to playing pure UW Control after playing Esper for quite some time. However, UW kinda feels wrong, cannot say why tbh.

Simple question, probably not-so-simple answer: What is - in your opinion - the current upside of playing Esper over UW? Cards like Fatal Push, Kaya, Kaya's Guile, and some SB cards come to mind. But it is really worth it?
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Hesperos
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Post by Hesperos » 2 years ago

The addditional removal, and diverse GY hate (Kaya, Kaya's Guile, Nihil Spellbomb), and the option to go into all the sweet cards black opens up for (Lilianas, discard, Kalitas, Tasigur) all make Esper great in my opinion.

And above all: Esper Charm. All three modes are relevant, and awesome at the right times.

UW is more consistent I think, but also feels a little boring to me. I like being able to play more diverse lists. And being able to play both Path and Push is just great against creature decks. They almost always feel like great cards to draw.

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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

Hesperos wrote:
2 years ago
UW is more consistent I think, but also feels a little boring to me. I like being able to play more diverse lists. And being able to play both Path and Push is just great against creature decks. They almost always feel like great cards to draw.
Thanks for the reply! That's exactly my thinking, Esper feels more rewarding and fun to play. Fatal Push is definitely a good reason, although Oust does a pretty good job, too. However, playing main-deckable GY/Burn hate in the form of Kaya's Guile is awesome.
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Post by Hesperos » 2 years ago

What tools do you all use to deal with planeswalkers? Between War and W6, I see a lot more walkers now. I've been playing against jund a lot as well recently, and discard > W6 > Lili is very hard to deal with, and they can land early enough to go around counterspells, and discard can rip the counters from your hand anyway.
I've been thinking of including either some cheap threats (TiTi?), or going with a heavy discard package. Things like Elderspell seem a little too specific, but Price of Betrayal might be good enough in the side (could also be cute with TiTi) since it deals with all sorts of counters?

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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

Hesperos wrote:
2 years ago
What tools do you all use to deal with planeswalkers? Between War and W6, I see a lot more walkers now. I've been playing against jund a lot as well recently, and discard > W6 > Lili is very hard to deal with, and they can land early enough to go around counterspells, and discard can rip the counters from your hand anyway.
I've been thinking of including either some cheap threats (TiTi?), or going with a heavy discard package. Things like Elderspell seem a little too specific, but Price of Betrayal might be good enough in the side (could also be cute with TiTi) since it deals with all sorts of counters?
I heavily rely on Celestial Purge at the moment since it hits W6 and Lili, whereas the latter is a pure nightmare for us IMO. I even considered going up to 3 in the SB. Besides that, when I am expecting lots of PWs in the meta, I would also run Price of Betrayal since it also has its merits in the Scales matchup.
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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago

Hesperos wrote:
2 years ago
What tools do you all use to deal with planeswalkers?
I have recently switched over from Standard to Modern with my Esper deck (play Izzet Phoniex & Green stompy in Modern), so I am still using a lot of the removal from that format. But I have found running either Despark for the larger planeswalkers, since it targets permenants across the board it has it uses. Then again, I do run a Blast Zone that I nuke when needed against the smaller planeswalkers. (I have a heavy go-wide meta in my area)

Price of betrayal is also excellent, for its B is brilliant, I keep two in my sideboard.
I have seen it used on TiTi on another table at at my LGS in a casual game, not sure if its actually legal, but looked cool seeing it flip.

Also, long time lurker on the other thread for this, so I am glad to have made the move across. Yet to buy the fetches I need, but will post my semi-done build when I have it infront of me
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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

MashedPotato wrote:
2 years ago
Price of betrayal is also excellent, for its B is brilliant, I keep two in my sideboard.
I have seen it used on TiTi on another table at at my LGS in a casual game, not sure if its actually legal, but looked cool seeing it flip.
You can do that, leaving the TiTi with no counters. However, it will only trigger and thus flip once you play your next instant or sorcery after Price of Betrayal has resolved. Funny interaction though, I like it.
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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago


Above is my current deck, I have ordered two Cryptic Commands and an additional Fatal Push, which will replace Absorb and Cry accordingly, I did nab a a foil Force of Negation from my MH1 box, but I can't build the confidence to use it in the deck. Just need to read the posts some more and tweak accordingly. I can suffer not having fetch lands at this stage, but might nab some fast lands to replace some shock and check lands
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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

Yeah, it is clearly apparent where you are coming from, MashedPotato :)

You might want to consider the following:
- Kaya's Wrath out and Wrath of God/Supreme Verdict in (I usually play 2 main sweepers and 1 in the side)
- Moment of Craving out, you can consider Cast Down or the new Winds of Abandon (or just more pushes as you said)
- I would always go for a playset of cantrips, either Visions or Opt (I personally prefer opt since you will be fetching a lot once you got the lands)
- Try out Vendilion Clique instead of Geist. It much more fits the control playstyle and can be played at instant speed.
- I would add a Snapcaster and cut the white Zenith. You can savely rely on Teferi and beat down as your main wincons (maybe add 1-2 Celestial Colonnade in this regard)

Cheers
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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago

SanityLost wrote:
2 years ago
You might want to consider the following:
- Kaya's Wrath out and Wrath of God/Supreme Verdict in (I usually play 2 main sweepers and 1 in the side)
- Moment of Craving out, you can consider Cast Down or the new Winds of Abandon (or just more pushes as you said)
- I would always go for a playset of cantrips, either Visions or Opt (I personally prefer opt since you will be fetching a lot once you got the lands)
- Try out Vendilion Clique instead of Geist. It much more fits the control playstyle and can be played at instant speed.
- I would add a Snapcaster and cut the white Zenith. You can savely rely on Teferi and beat down as your main wincons (maybe add 1-2 Celestial Colonnade in this regard)
I plan on actually going with everything suggested. Just a matter of sourcing all the cards from the sellers over here. Not one has everything in stock at any one time.

Once I can switch out most of the one of instants I will be running full set of Serums, although i do like Opt before my upkeep and a second Esper charm and Guile
I have a Clique ready to go, but I like how Giest generates a token to go over when taking out a PW or damage to face, but I do get how Clique suits the playstyle better. Can always sideboard Traft.

Im not sure how I feel about Unearth still, but I like it for essentially having a full playset of Snapcasters with the flexibility to switch them out
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

I've added a section about the sideboard. There will be much more to say once I get into specific matchups, but for now it is what it is.

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

MashedPotato wrote:
2 years ago
Snip!
Show

Above is my current deck, I have ordered two Cryptic Commands and an additional Fatal Push, which will replace Absorb and Cry accordingly, I did nab a a foil Force of Negation from my MH1 box, but I can't build the confidence to use it in the deck. Just need to read the posts some more and tweak accordingly. I can suffer not having fetch lands at this stage, but might nab some fast lands to replace some shock and check lands
I honestly didn't realize how similar current Standard Esper control plays compared to the Modern counterpart! We're super glad to have you along. I do have a few suggestions, though:

- Play more Esper Charms! It's absolutely the most fun card to play in the deck, despite the debates about whether or not it's any good. I definitely advise playing at least 3. I would cut the extra Absorb (since the other 2 are Cryptics, you said), the Mortify, and an Unearth to add another 3 to your list.
- Cut a Hallowed Fountain, a Godless Shrine, and 2 Isolated Chapel for 2 Islands, a Plains, and a Swamp. No basics might fly in standard, but it really is important in Modern. I do understand the mana is a bit awkward, especially without fetches, but you really will need at least a few basics.
- Swap one of those Vetos for the foil Force of Negation you mentioned you had. It may not be the most impactful change, but I think the effect is unique enough to at least play one. Every once in a while you might be able to Force a turn 1 Faithless Looting or Blood Moon and it will be awesome.
- Swap the Kaya's Wraths for Supreme Verdicts as soon as you can, your mana will become just that little bit easier, and the uncounterability clause on Verdict is often relevant.
-Don't waste your time with fastlands, since a Darkslick Shores never comes in untapped for a turn 4 Cryptic or wrath. The checklands are much better, actually.

I'm also excited to hear how the Vraska's Contempt performs for you. I think it could actually be really good.

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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
I honestly didn't realize how similar current Standard Esper control plays compared to the Modern counterpart! We're super glad to have you along.
It is surprisingly similar, which has made the transition awfully smooth, unlike other decks
TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
Play more Esper Charms
Ordered another two this morning and picking up today, I had left my number with my LGS to call asap if any came in.
TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
Cut a Hallowed Fountain, a Godless Shrine, and 2 Isolated Chapel for 2 Islands, a Plains, and a Swamp. No basics might fly in standard, but it really is important in Modern. I do understand the mana is a bit awkward, especially without fetches, but you really will need at least a few basics.
I did wonder why basics are included, but with Blood Moon floating about it makes sense to have a way to still play or remove it and continue doing Esper's thing
TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
I'm also excited to hear how the Vraska's Contempt performs for you. I think it could actually be really good.
Vraska's Contempt is a fantastic card in standard, its mana cost is a tad high for one creature removal, but the exile on any creature or planeswalker is great to have, with the small life gain it is a good stabiliser. Once I have a few more games in the Modern format with it, I will certainly report how it performs. Could be a viable in the longer run over a mirror match or a counterspell
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

MashedPotato wrote:
2 years ago
TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
Cut a Hallowed Fountain, a Godless Shrine, and 2 Isolated Chapel for 2 Islands, a Plains, and a Swamp. No basics might fly in standard, but it really is important in Modern. I do understand the mana is a bit awkward, especially without fetches, but you really will need at least a few basics.
I did wonder why basics are included, but with Blood Moon floating about it makes sense to have a way to still play or remove it and continue doing Esper's thing
It's not just Blood Moon though, people also play Field of Ruin, Assassin's Trophy, Path to Exile, and Ghost Quarter. Also, though this won't be relevant for you until you get them, in a deck with fetches, it's wise to have fetchable lands that don't do more damage to you. You want at least 1 of each basic in case people come after your manabase with GQ and Field to cut you off of colors. You need additional basics after that to be able to fetch them (which is why Esper lists play more Islands and Plains than Swamps, you almost never need to fetch a basic Swamp) or to naturally draw them against Blood Moon. When your Tar Pit gets Path'd in a control mirror, you'll be glad you have plenty of basics to search up.

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Post by Hesperos » 2 years ago

Played a bunch more games on MTGO last night, and I'm pretty happy with my current list. The one janky change I'm considering is swapping Baneslayer Angel for Blood Baron of Vizopka. I'm just a little tired of seeing path take the angel. I know Baneslayer is better, but I also like trying dumb things.


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