[Primer] Esper Draw-Go Control

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SanityLost
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Post by SanityLost » 1 year ago

GenesisEffect80 wrote:
1 year ago
[...] but apparently that was OP, so they went with the +1: You Win the Game. And also Life.
I think that comment is a tad over the top :P But I get your point, he instantly creates value and is nearly unkillable via damage. I guess in a meta in which we are expecting Oko, we should run some clean answers in the form of Noxious Grasp or even Hero's Downfall or Murderous Rider. I even think that Pithing Needle becomes a viable choice again since it has so many applications outside of Oko.
However, I still think Veil is the problem, not Oko, since literally every deck playing green can run it without any drawback. It's an anti-card.
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Post by MashedPotato » 1 year ago

Veil of Summer is far to brutal to play against at the moment.
But control is shifting to Bant to use Veil itself. Not a fan of making the move, but did rework Esper to Grixis for something different. Did enjoy it since there is a bit less reliance on countering at with the current meta being a bit of a mess it was nice.

Taken a step back from Esper though until the new year hopefully once Veil cops the ban hammer since it almost kills the Control archtype overall. Been enjoying pauper as a placeholder until I decide my movements for the new year.

Additionally I have no interest in changing to Pioneer still, and if that changes, still have my Izzet Phoenix shell sitting around to maintain my cross format playing
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Post by GenesisEffect80 » 1 year ago

I'm not giving up on Esper - too much invested. But it feels like a good time to experiment. Kunoros, Hound of Athreos looks like promising tech for a more mid-rangy build.

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Post by aklepatzky » 1 year ago

So...to run discard or not to run discard? Best 1 cmc black spells in modern are inquisition and thoughtseize period. If were playing black, why isnt it a concensus to play 2 iok 2 ts main at least? Ive heard people say "this is proactive abd were reactive" and so what if the card is not reactive? With all big mana strategies atm ts i think is well positioned (etron tron amulet valakut even against infect). Plus helps in the control mirror. I wanna read your arguments. Currently im not maining either but im thinking about doing so. I run 2 ts in the side.

Edit: i know veil of summer is a pain in the ass against this card but its a sb card and id like to read your arguments without considering it to see what else influences your decision

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Post by MashedPotato » 1 year ago

aklepatzky wrote:
1 year ago
So...to run discard or not to run discard? Best 1 cmc black spells in modern are inquisition and thoughtseize period. If were playing black, why isnt it a concensus to play 2 iok 2 ts main at least? Ive heard people say "this is proactive abd were reactive" and so what if the card is not reactive? With all big mana strategies atm ts i think is well positioned (etron tron amulet valakut even against infect). Plus helps in the control mirror. I wanna read your arguments. Currently im not maining either but im thinking about doing so. I run 2 ts in the side.

Edit: i know veil of summer is a pain in the ass against this card but its a sb card and id like to read your arguments without considering it to see what else influences your decision
I think there may be some merit in playing some hand disruption. There was one member here who played a "heavy" discard suite which appeared to perform quite well. I think at least some sort of IoK or Thoughtseize could be useful. Perhaps IoK is better as it doesnt hurt the life total and still hits a lot of the Blue hate cards at the moment.

I may be attending my local FNM this week and sus out the player numbers, but I am keen to move my GDS deck on and develop a Esper deck for Pioneer (or the forbidden UW control)
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Post by aklepatzky » 1 year ago

Would it be crazy to main 4 iok instead of 2 ts 2 iok then? Maybe even 4 iok main 2 ts side against specific mu? Or maybe even just 2 iok main and 2 ts side. But i think discard spells are so valuable giving perfect info that we should be running at least a couple.

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Post by aklepatzky » 1 year ago

By the way this is the list i'll be running asaic. I trimmed Jace cause I felt it was something slow and didn't want to tap out for 4 mana. Aded a Vclique and 2nd spell snare instead. In the side added the 2nd CB and a Noxious Grasp. Like I said, im considering maining discard spells. Might be cutting big teferi and something else to fit them if I decide to do so.


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Post by MashedPotato » 1 year ago

aklepatzky wrote:
1 year ago
Would it be crazy to main 4 iok instead of 2 ts 2 iok then? Maybe even 4 iok main 2 ts side against specific mu? Or maybe even just 2 iok main and 2 ts side. But i think discard spells are so valuable giving perfect info that we should be running at least a couple.
Given how prevelant DS variants and Burn is at the moment, I'd rather not play with my life total any more than I have to. With whatever mainboard life gain you got for the speed at which these can hit us is to risky IMO. As mentioned earlier IoK hits enough stuff to run it over thoughtseize. For the same mana cost turn one, id rather have the mana to shock in if im on the play than burn 4 life for some hand disruption.

I also prefer to be playing a general deck game 1 than having to lose game 1 to and sideboarding to win.

Also spoke to my LGS employee who today said he is having great success in Pioneer with Esper Control even against UW control. If anyone is interest I will be looking to develop some sort of deck list for that in the future and still maintain my Modern list. My LGS runs Modern FNM and Pioneer on Thursday in paper so it hasn't taken over yet.
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Post by A Cute Bunny » 1 year ago

aklepatzky wrote:
1 year ago
So...to run discard or not to run discard? Best 1 cmc black spells in modern are inquisition and thoughtseize period. If were playing black, why isnt it a concensus to play 2 iok 2 ts main at least? Ive heard people say "this is proactive abd were reactive" and so what if the card is not reactive? With all big mana strategies atm ts i think is well positioned (etron tron amulet valakut even against infect). Plus helps in the control mirror. I wanna read your arguments. Currently im not maining either but im thinking about doing so. I run 2 ts in the side.

Edit: i know veil of summer is a pain in the ass against this card but its a sb card and id like to read your arguments without considering it to see what else influences your decision
Since T3fs release I was on Esper Control with 6+ Discard in the main. Veil just really ruins me wanting to play Esper at all. Discard feels bad, push feels bad, Oko outruns Espers game plan so easy. If your meta is low on green I really recommend it, however the deck becomes harder to play and more punishing with discard.

I value having full information really highly so Esper Discard control worked amazing for me, and in a veil-less modern I would still be on it but all the top tier decks are green and that makes the games a nightmare since in general you can expect to play more post boarded games.

Add in T3fs and you get a really strong and interactive game plan with counter spell and removal back up. Being able to take key cards early or clear the way for a win con later is pretty strong. Taking the wrong card can put you in a bad spot though. Also gives you a worse match against burn since TS is basically a dead card.

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Post by SanityLost » 1 year ago

So T3f nullifies Veil of Summer 100%. Maybe we should start rocking the full playset in the 75. I am currently playing a 4c Copycat list running 4 T3f, and I can say that he is awesome in the current meta since he also functions as removal (he is great vs. Death's Shadow for instance).

EDIT: Okay maybe not 100% since the opponent can still cast it sorcery speed before playing a spell to make it uncounterable.
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Post by SanityLost » 1 year ago

Now that some mighty cards got hammered yesterday, I honestly feel that UWx Control might regain some of its former power. We do not have to jump through several burning wheels in order to handle Oko, and the fact that Urza decks got nerfed is just icing on the cake.

Sure, Veil of Summer is still out there, but with Oko being gone I hope green will see a bit less play. However, I am excited to rock Esper again. I think control decks are superior when entering a new unknown meta (at least for now).
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Post by MashedPotato » 1 year ago

SanityLost wrote:
1 year ago
I honestly feel that UWx Control might regain some of its former power
I still feel Veil should have copped a ban, for one mana its to supercharged comapred to anything U or B can do in our colours. Sure mono green needed some late game support, it wasn't required, if they can't kill by mid game it's over.

It does carry over into the Standard format UGx being everywhere, but i do maintain, Esper has been in a good spot, even if played less optimately, we can contain them with the W in the deck. Although, I run Damnation over Wrath of God, since its a little less easier to name, I haven't suffered as much. (haven't played since start of december)

Looking forward to heading down to LGS soon. (to go with this, Esper in Pioneer is pretty underrated it seems from what the LGS guys tell me, might have to take some advice and have Esper ready for both formats given the way my weekends work, one four day week one two day, Modern fridays, pioneer thursdays)
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 1 year ago

MashedPotato wrote:
1 year ago
I still feel Veil should have copped a ban, for one mana its to supercharged comapred to anything U or B can do in our colours. Sure mono green needed some late game support, it wasn't required, if they can't kill by mid game it's over.

It does carry over into the Standard format UGx being everywhere, but i do maintain, Esper has been in a good spot, even if played less optimately, we can contain them with the W in the deck. Although, I run Damnation over Wrath of God, since its a little less easier to name, I haven't suffered as much. (haven't played since start of december)

Looking forward to heading down to LGS soon. (to go with this, Esper in Pioneer is pretty underrated it seems from what the LGS guys tell me, might have to take some advice and have Esper ready for both formats given the way my weekends work, one four day week one two day, Modern fridays, pioneer thursdays)
Esper is fine in Pioneer, but I haven't really felt a need for black. UW has been more attractive to me due to the perfect mana it has. For context, I also play Port Town, and I can't understand why most people don't play it. UW has Azorius Charm, which has been no less than spectacular, and some more fringe, yet still playable, removal like Seal Away and Blessed Alliance. You even get Cast Out/Detention Sphere for PW removal. I guess the main things Esper has over UW are Thoughtseize/Duress and Cry of the Carnarium, and I just don't feel the need to splash for them. Esper could be better in some meta, though. I suppose there's also Unmoored Ego/Lost Legacy? It's been gone for a while, but why not run Thief of Sanity in the board?

As for Esper in Modern, I do feel a bit miffed that Veil didn't get banned. Most decks at my LGS don't play it nowadays, but it's still a trashy card to have in the format. I've had Esper on the backburner for a while while I put together another deck (Amulet), but it doesn't matter, seeing as Modern hasn't fired at my LGS in a while, so I haven't even gotten a chance to play. The main reason I stopped playing Esper was that I started losing games to Scapeshift when my Esper Charms in mind rot mode would get Veiled, and that hasn't really changed.

That said, I do of course have a few discussion points. Has anyone come to a conclusion on the correct number of Drown in the Loch to play? Is Mystical Dispute still worth sideboard slots? Is anyone planning to run more copies of Field of Ruin for the Field of the Dead matchups? (Amulet is in a great position now, so I hear.) Do we need to mainboard Force of Negation? Finally, which will be better in the upcoming meta, Path or Push, and how many copies of each will you be playing?

Edit: To answer my own questions, I believe 2-3 Drowns is best. Mystical Dispute isn't necessary any more. I'm going to be running at least 2, ideally 3 Fields (no clue how that'll work with the mana). I don't know about Force, it's been hard for me to really evaluate. And I'm expecting Push to be slightly better than Path against most decks, so I'm likely to play a 3/3 split.

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Post by Amic Deep » 1 year ago

as i haven't shared my list hear yet, i thought id add.
this is a deck i built from around $100 about 2-3 months ago, the price of a few cards has increased with pioneer and the decks been chopped and changed to refine it down. the current list now regularly places 3-1 at my LGSs

my reason for posting hear is to ask what have your experiences of Kaya, Orzhov Usurper been? and is she worth mb slot or 2?
secondly whats your opinions about Thryx, the Sudden Storm and do you think he is a better choice over Angel of Grace?

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Post by SanityLost » 1 year ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
1 year ago
That said, I do of course have a few discussion points. Has anyone come to a conclusion on the correct number of Drown in the Loch to play? Is Mystical Dispute still worth sideboard slots? Is anyone planning to run more copies of Field of Ruin for the Field of the Dead matchups? (Amulet is in a great position now, so I hear.) Do we need to mainboard Force of Negation? Finally, which will be better in the upcoming meta, Path or Push, and how many copies of each will you be playing?
I honestly think playing 3-4 Drown is viable. In many cases it is a clean counterspell and functions very good in creature MUs, too. I run 4 and I enjoy them. Its main weakness is Rest in Piece, which does not see that much play atm.

I removed Dispute entirely for now, since the main purpose IMHO was to counter Oko and Urza.

I usually run 2 Fields, but one could argue to up the count to 3. However, I ran into several situations having inferior mana when I desperately needed it. I heavily dislike Fields in Esper, but they seem to be a necessary evil. Maybe we should look out for other ways to fight Tron, Amulet and Valakut. For me personally, Unmoored Ego won me several games vs. Tron, and it functions well in the other named MUs.

I think mainboarding 2 Force of Negation (max. 3) is still fine. Big mana potentially will be on the rise again, and countering that turn 3 Karn or even turn 1 Amulet is crucial. I also think we should include Dovin's Veto (again), since I expect control decks pop up more often again.

I personally run a 3-3 split, but Path might be better since it answers Titan and Wurmcoil engine (rather implying a 4-2 split). However it still depends on the repsective meta. In a aggro/burn heavy environment, Push excells (so does Drown btw!).

Just my 2 cents....
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 1 year ago

Amic Deep wrote:
1 year ago
as i haven't shared my list hear yet, i thought id add.
this is a deck i built from around $100 about 2-3 months ago, the price of a few cards has increased with pioneer and the decks been chopped and changed to refine it down. the current list now regularly places 3-1 at my LGSs

my reason for posting hear is to ask what have your experiences of Kaya, Orzhov Usurper been? and is she worth mb slot or 2?
secondly whats your opinions about Thryx, the Sudden Storm and do you think he is a better choice over Angel of Grace?
I've played mainboard Kayas in the Bridgevine(pre and post Hogaak)/Arclight Phoenix/Looting meta, and even then it was just alright. I personally am not a fan, especially in a meta with few graveyard decks.

I also feel that Angel is better than Thryx, since it's a better general ability (Thryx only matters in control mirrors — unlikely to happen). Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is better than Thryx, sadly. There's also Archangel Avacyn?

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Post by GenesisEffect80 » 1 year ago

SanityLost wrote:
1 year ago
I honestly think playing 3-4 Drown is viable. In many cases it is a clean counterspell and functions very good in creature MUs, too. I run 4 and I enjoy them. Its main weakness is Rest in Piece, which does not see that much play atm.
Drown is going to be amazing in Standard with TBD. Dimir kinda sucks, though. That said, not sure TBD is going to have the impact to other formats that Throne has had, and thank goodness. I am also running 4 Drown and it's almost never dead in my hand.

I was also playing Karn+Lattice as a primary wincon, but not sad at all to see it go. Always felt lame to win like that. I'm adding a single Narset Transcendent in place of Karn for something new to try.

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Post by aklepatzky » 1 year ago

SanityLost wrote:
1 year ago
TheAnnihilator wrote:
1 year ago
That said, I do of course have a few discussion points. Has anyone come to a conclusion on the correct number of Drown in the Loch to play? Is Mystical Dispute still worth sideboard slots? Is anyone planning to run more copies of Field of Ruin for the Field of the Dead matchups? (Amulet is in a great position now, so I hear.) Do we need to mainboard Force of Negation? Finally, which will be better in the upcoming meta, Path or Push, and how many copies of each will you be playing?
I honestly think playing 3-4 Drown is viable. In many cases it is a clean counterspell and functions very good in creature MUs, too. I run 4 and I enjoy them. Its main weakness is Rest in Piece, which does not see that much play atm.

I removed Dispute entirely for now, since the main purpose IMHO was to counter Oko and Urza.

I usually run 2 Fields, but one could argue to up the count to 3. However, I ran into several situations having inferior mana when I desperately needed it. I heavily dislike Fields in Esper, but they seem to be a necessary evil. Maybe we should look out for other ways to fight Tron, Amulet and Valakut. For me personally, Unmoored Ego won me several games vs. Tron, and it functions well in the other named MUs.

I think mainboarding 2 Force of Negation (max. 3) is still fine. Big mana potentially will be on the rise again, and countering that turn 3 Karn or even turn 1 Amulet is crucial. I also think we should include Dovin's Veto (again), since I expect control decks pop up more often again.

I personally run a 3-3 split, but Path might be better since it answers Titan and Wurmcoil engine (rather implying a 4-2 split). However it still depends on the repsective meta. In a aggro/burn heavy environment, Push excells (so does Drown btw!).

Just my 2 cents....
I think drown is bad against big mana strategies (valakut tron and titan) all being popular in the current meta. Im jamming 2 drown still for that reason
Creature heavy /aggro decks are not that prominent atm and mus where drown is very good like jund we can already main 2 snare which helps against burn or humans and also a lot of other mus too

With regards to fon, for the same reason (tron valakut control burn and titan) i think 2-3 is correct. Im personally running 2

Also, FoR just feels bad in a 3 colour deck. Im running 0 and my manabase feels smooth. Ego does the job against combo tron or even dredge if it comes back with force with the new hog Like creature people are hyped about.

Finally, talking about push/path im running 2 push 4 path cause path kills etron creatures wurmcoil ulamog titan and push is conditional removal that doesnt hit the previously mentioned treats.

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Post by Fxcg » 1 year ago

What do you guys think about Tasigur + the new upcoming Shadowspear ? Or at least Shadowspear as a SB option ?

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Post by SanityLost » 1 year ago

I honestly do not see much potential application for Shadowspear. The activated ability seems to narrow for Modern (besides the case that you have some Bogles players in your meta).
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Post by Amic Deep » 1 year ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
1 year ago


I've played mainboard Kayas in the Bridgevine(pre and post Hogaak)/Arclight Phoenix/Looting meta, and even then it was just alright. I personally am not a fan, especially in a meta with few graveyard decks.

I also feel that Angel is better than Thryx, since it's a better general ability (Thryx only matters in control mirrors — unlikely to happen). Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is better than Thryx, sadly. There's also Archangel Avacyn?
thanks for feedback.
i think i agree on thrax, and i did consider Archangel Avacyn but having the reset like total in gy and the fact the body's just a bit bigger (also its alot cheap $$ wise) means that ill probably stick with grace for now.

thanks for your opinion on kaya, it back to the drawing board for vials and astrolabe answers then :/ if only arcmages charm was viable on a budget snow list.

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 1 year ago

So I usually play Amulet in paper these days since it's fun to play even against my least favorite matchups, but I wanted to chime in and say that I've played list similar to the one below to several 3-2 finishes (I know, really impressive, right? :P) on MTGO. It's good enough to get a free league for your troubles and a chest (read: 2 tix) to spare, thus going "infinite". Of course, on MTGO you're very likely to play against Dredge, Burn, or Urza (or lose to variance) at least once in 5 matches, and I usually fold in those matchups, hence the 3-2 instead of 4-1 or 5-0. :( I've addressed this somewhat in the sideboard. As for the current best deck (Amulet), the matchup is quite favorable for Esper Charm. If they don't Cavern you early on, you're generally able to let them play out their stuff and ECharm away their hand before killing Dryad for good. I haven't dropped a match to Amulet. I did lose 1-2 against Titanfield once because they were playing Veil in the board and, more importantly, naturally drew an early Cavern and Field of the Dead, of which they played 2 copies. I'd LOVE to play a 3rd Field of Ruin in the main, but the mana is just too inflexible. Anyways:

Ok, so the meta I always seems to play against is all big mana (Amulet, Eldrazi, some Tron), Grixis Shadow, and a random smattering of fringey midrange/control decks (BW Stoneblade, Azorius/UBx Control, Jund, etc) and red aggro (Burn mostly, some prowess).

In the main, I'm playing 3 Drown because it's the absolute best draw in the late game (look out for Scavenger Grounds in the Eldrazi Tron MU), but it's really dead in the opener, particularly against big mana. You still want to keep Drowns over Push post board against them for hitting Ballista/Pacts/KarnGC/TKS/etc. I used to play 4 main and honestly loved it. Drown always seems to overperform. I'm also playing 3-4 Snaps because the chess clock doesn't always favor you, especially when your opp doesn't concede. I've literally cast WSZ one time, and I know I should cut it, but I don't have another wincon due to budget reasons and I still need a big effect like that against mirrors. Sometimes T5feri isn't good enough. I'm not playing Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Force of Negation, Teferi, Time Raveler, or Surgical Extraction for the moment due to budget restrictions, but if I had access idrk how I'd fit them in -- I'd have to test it.

With all of that in mind, the sideboard is built primarily to shore up the poor or popular matchups with bombs like Timely, Ego, Sphere, etc, with a few good general-use cards to fill the gaps while covering additional weaknesses (an extra wrath for Humans/Druid, extra Purges for resolved Wrenn/Lili/Moon, a Stroke for Tron/Eldrazi/control, etc.). At bare minimum, for the online meta, I would play 2 Purge, 2 Damping Sphere, 1 VClique, 3 Timely -- yes, all three are necessary or you won't win against R aggro, and 2 Ego in the board. The plan against Dredge in both pre- and post-board games is right click --> concede. Such a horrendous matchup, not worth the board space. Again, if I had Surgicals, I may reconsider the Dredge MU.

Just throwing this out there to open up room for thoughts. I fully believe this meta is better for Esper than UW control. Not sure how it compares to UW Stoneblade, but they're really different decks anyways.

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Post by Hesperos » 1 year ago

I've been away from modern for a while (release of Eldraine). The ban of Oko and Opal got me back, and I've been tinkering with various lists. I've recently been playing this Esper list, which feels pretty good. It's still very much a work in progress, but I like how it plays so far, and it almost always feels like it has answers ready to go.
It's very heavy on countermagic, which feels great to me. Thought Scour is there to fill the opposing bin, to get Drown in the Loch online. I also really like TiTi here, as it helps against a lot of the aggressive decks out there (humans, prowess), and can quickly close out the game when flipped.
No manlands, since I don't feel I can afford more lands that come in untapped.

The sideboard is currently all over the place, but mostly based on what I've been running into on MTGO. Needs a lot of work still, but it feels functional so far.


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Post by TheAnnihilator » 1 year ago

Hesperos wrote:
1 year ago
I've been away from modern for a while (release of Eldraine). The ban of Oko and Opal got me back, and I've been tinkering with various lists. I've recently been playing this Esper list, which feels pretty good. It's still very much a work in progress, but I like how it plays so far, and it almost always feels like it has answers ready to go.
It's very heavy on countermagic, which feels great to me. Thought Scour is there to fill the opposing bin, to get Drown in the Loch online. I also really like TiTi here, as it helps against a lot of the aggressive decks out there (humans, prowess), and can quickly close out the game when flipped.
No manlands, since I don't feel I can afford more lands that come in untapped.

The sideboard is currently all over the place, but mostly based on what I've been running into on MTGO. Needs a lot of work still, but it feels functional so far.

This list is somewhat similar to a few @BloodyRabbit posted a while back, so I'm sure he could give you some good advice. I haven't really tested with Thing, but it definitely seems good against Prowess and Field of the Dead zombos. I will go on record saying that I think Drown is better if played without Scour at all, honestly. Milling your opp can seriously backfire, and I haven't found it necessary anyways.

I just 4-1's yesterday with a list similar to what I posted before with a 6 mana Elspeth over Zenith. Unmoored Ego is a HOUSE in some matchups, and I even beat dredge 2-1 because I played a few Kaya's Guile's too.

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 1 year ago

PSA for everyone: Kaya's Guile is very well positioned right now. I've been playing 2 main recently, and I'm honestly feeling stupid for ever having cut it in the first place. It's more relevant now than ever, when even decks like Amulet/Bant control are running Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and Jund is on Goyf/Wrenn/Kroxa. Some relevant things I've done with Guile: sac+exile Uro with triggers on the stack, made an eTron opp sac a Smasher, exile a Storm opp's grave with a Past in Flames in it post-Gifts, preemptively cut off a prowess opponents' Bedlam Reveler and win because of it, exile all relevant lands+Kroxa from Jund opp's graveyard while making a 1/1 to pressure Lili, win a G1 and 2 against Dredge off of Guile → Wrath → Snap/Guile sequences, etc. The card is naturally good against almost everything right now, I highly suggest playing it. I just 2-0'd BURN with Guile main and Timely in the board. :)

My only caveat is that it has poor synergy with Drown in the Loch, so be mindful of that and cast Drown before Knot in matchups where you might want to nuke their graveyard with Guile in G1 and side out Drown after. I'm on 2 Drown 2 Guile rn and I've been loving it.

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