[Primer] Esper Draw-Go Control

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SanityLost
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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

Hesperos wrote:
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.
That looks fun, good job! How has Chromium been for you? Seems like an over-costed win-more card at first glance, but I haven't tried it, yet.

Why Damnation over Wrath? Isn't it a bit rough on the mana? Or just flavor reasons?

Cheers!
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Post by MashedPotato » 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.
Live from my local FNM, gone with the lands suggested, also mad dash and traded in some cards to get a playset of Flooded Strands, so I'm down to next to 0 check lands in orozhov colirs
Out moment of craving for extra Fatal Push
Out both cry of carnariums and white sun for x3 Cryptic Commands
Out Geist for Clique

Not running a sideboard, want to test the 60 out as is.
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Hesperos
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Post by Hesperos » 2 years ago

SanityLost wrote:
2 years ago
That looks fun, good job! How has Chromium been for you? Seems like an over-costed win-more card at first glance, but I haven't tried it, yet.
It agree it looks like a win-more card. But I've found it super helpful in control mirrors, and to quickly close out grindy games (Jund, for example), as well as deal with problem cards like opposing planeswalkers.
SanityLost wrote:
2 years ago
Why Damnation over Wrath? Isn't it a bit rough on the mana? Or just flavor reasons?
Damnation is a little rough on the mana, but this is a concession to Meddling Mage. They'll usually name Supreme Verdict, and somewhat less likely Wrath of God. So I figured I'd run Damnation to still have access to a sweeper they're very unlikely to expect and name.

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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago


Above is what I went into my FNM with last night. Did some mad dash trading to get the Cryptics over the line and Flooded Strands. Made a quick sale on foil Force of Negation and picked up two non foil versions, plus some leftover change is sitting aside for the mana base once I had a finished up for the night.

Overall, it worked well considering its not exactly bread and butter, but at its core it worked.

Vs Boros Burn
Game 1 other player drew god hand and scooped once turn 3 hit, just wasn't going to happen
Game 2 roles reversed, I drew exceptionally well, exile blue for Force to knock back turn one Goblin guide, and played removal on all creatures entering after that. Found having both Opt and Serum is a good combo, being able to tap out for Opt on opponents turn and setup next draw is good and Serum to finish turn and setup next worked well. But nailed unmoored ego off onto Boros charm and controlled the game, win
Game 3 slow start on both sides, Veto on lightning helix slowed the game, Esper Charm showed me the discard power it offers and turned opponent onto top decking nothing but lands for a few turns, PW Kaya came out, kept my life gain up, Nihil spellbomb into kaya ult and won.
Overall, didn't expect it to go that way, but take the win. Had a look at opponents sideboard, 4 Vexing devils, something to be mindful of in future, meta might change in my area. Although i run 3 mainboard in mine to force removal / counters early to keep my other burn cards free to strike

Vs Green Stompy
Wasn't expecting to see this come out, but had to go flat out removal to keep it in my favour. Oddly enough, was running a very similar stompy to what I own (Pelt collector, Dryad Militant, Scooze, Steel-leaf champion, Rancor, Ghalta)
Game 1 Esper removal for the win, just stopped the Pelt collector in its tracks, Ghalta never came out, easy win.
Game 2 Green stompy got the game off to a great start here, Vines of Vastwood to stop my removal early on, controlled it well, but green torn away with the damage from a Rancor Scooze, opponent enters a turn 4 Ghalta, force of negation countered into a Supreme Verdict on my turn and opponent scooped. Good game, but im starting to see how Modern esper does it thing really well by now
Game 3 Drew badly, path to exiles and snapcasters, nothing else, kept hand due to enough lands, but just didnt have the counters or removal to keep up with how quick Stompy was playing, quick loss, but learning experiance as always

Vs UB Control
Looked like it was going to be a mirror, so my unmoored ego would be of good use. But only UB.
Game 1 tit for tat counters, didnt get cantrips out and opponent emptied my hand, both of us were not sure how it would go, as I had board control, but got field of ruin'ed out the game.
Game 2 Rinse and repeat, except opponent sideboarded in a Westvale Abbey. Don't know what the real idea was behind that but it never got to transform, which could have caused problems. Won this game, played my hand better.
Game 3 Countered and removed well at the started, opponent triple Surgical extracted (1 mana, 2 with life) and just removed all I had. Just scooped and left it at that.

Overall, the dashing around to get the cards sorted was well worth it, confirmed my order for Esper charms and Supreme Verdicts, which should come in next week. Vraska's contempt did some good work at stabilising, will still try it some more, but a one of seems all I need, the life gain did more work than the actual removal part last night.

Appreciate the feedback and suggestions so far!
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

Went 4-0-1 tonight at FNM. 2-0 Jeskai Midrange, 1-1-draw UW Control, 2-1 Esper Deaths Shadow, 2-1 Infect, 2-1 Esper Shadow (I actually scooped the match and then we split the prizes, but played a match for fun and that was the result). The resulting store cred was enough to buy my 4th Goyf all by itself. :)

Here's the list:

I played the 4th Delta over the 2nd Plains completely by accident, and it was frustrating all night. Definitely want the 2nd Plains. The Kaya's Guiles were obviously insanely good, which makes sense given my matchups. It's still tough to beat a resolved T3feri, complete game breaker in the Esper DS matchup. Either don't let it resolve or cast yours first.
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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

Nice, congrats to both of you, MashedPotato and Annihilator!

@Annihilator: What's your reason behind cutting the 4th Delta for a Plains? Do you feel you can still consistently get to the colors the time you need them? Also, I applaud you playing the full set of Think Twice, love that card (although I don't play them cuz I think they are not at their best in modern). That's full blown Wafo-Tapa style :cool:

What do you think about WSZ right now? Is it a reliable wincon? IMO it is kinda slow and I prefer the PW-heavy take on the deck. Thoughts?
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 2 years ago

SanityLost wrote:
2 years ago
Nice, congrats to both of you, MashedPotato and Annihilator!

@Annihilator: What's your reason behind cutting the 4th Delta for a Plains? Do you feel you can still consistently get to the colors the time you need them? Also, I applaud you playing the full set of Think Twice, love that card (although I don't play them cuz I think they are not at their best in modern). That's full blown Wafo-Tapa style :cool:

What do you think about WSZ right now? Is it a reliable wincon? IMO it is kinda slow and I prefer the PW-heavy take on the deck. Thoughts?
The 2nd Plains sortof goes hand-in-hand with WSZ, since it's the motivation behind wanting more white sources, but the effect is even more exacerbated by playing Tar Pit, since you need 2 other black sources to activate Tar Pit, attack with it, and still cast a black spell on their turn, thus incentivizing you to search out fewer white sources. I often found myself wanting to fetch basic Plains, not shocking a Fountain, but having no basic Plains left to get. Maybe it's just luck of the draw that I had already found my first basic Plains by then, but man was that annoying. As for why I'd cut Delta for it, I simply don't want another land that does damage to me. I see enough fetches each game on 7 copies, and playing tapland into fetch forces you to decide whether or not to shock to play some 2 mana interaction or an eot Think Twice. Besides, Logic Knot is turned on half of the time by an opponent's Thoughtseize.

As for WSZ, I won probably 80% of my games with a Zenith. The other 20% were actually Tar Pit and Snappy beats. I play Zenith because it lets you win faster, throw away resources such as a Snapcaster-block when you need to, and risk a Colonnade/Tar Pit to removal at little cost. Many times, my games ended with a T3feri, next turn uncounterable Zenith eot for the win. The two pair incredibly well.

I also played the Think Twices last week, and I think they still easily fit what Esper wants to be doing right now. I'm not a fan of the 4 Opt 4 Snapcaster builds, since Snapcaster is oftentimes just an Ambush Viper or otherwise underwhelming in that list. Think Twice is great, to be honest. I was unsure on it last week, and now I'm sold on it this week. As I said, many people have commented on how good it's been since I picked it back up.

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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

I see your points, thanks for the reply! I might try out Think Twice sometime.

With regard to lands: The mana base, as you said, hurts a lot. Fetch shocking has lost me more games I want to admit. Could you imagine a world in which the mana base becomes less hurtful by playing more basics and Prismatic Vistas?
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Post by Hesperos » 2 years ago

SanityLost wrote:
2 years ago
With regard to lands: The mana base, as you said, hurts a lot. Fetch shocking has lost me more games I want to admit. Could you imagine a world in which the mana base becomes less hurtful by playing more basics and Prismatic Vistas?
Not really. Our spells are really colour intensive, so we need lots of lands producing two colour early on. Ideally, you want a choice of all three on turn one (opt, push, path), at least one blue on two (probably two for knot), all three on three again (baby tef, kaya, kayas's guile, charm), triple blue and two white on turn four (verdict and cryptic).
Vista still costs a life to grab a basic, so I'd rather have the option to shock if I need to to ensure I get my colours on board.


Circling back to chromium: I've not had any games where I wished I didn't draw it. Won me some games at FNM last night, and won me a number of games on MTGO today (humans x 2, jund, tron). It can probably be replaced by any top end finisher (WSZ is probably actually better), but I feel we kind of need an one-off option to quickly close out the game when we have the board locked down. Esper is extremely good at keeping the board clear for the first couple of turns, but we're always at risk of drawing the wrong half of the deck and durdling a bit. Having an efficient finisher (more efficient than man lands/snappy beats of waiting for PW ults) to dig for while keeping up counters and removal is the right move in my opinion.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

In case it can contributes to the discussion, I'll report that I have 5-0 at local with the following list:

Hero's Downfall is super strong right now.

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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
In case it can contributes to the discussion, I'll report that I have 5-0 at local with the following list:

Hero's Downfall is super strong right now.
Very refreshing to see a pure Dimir list, thanks for sharing! What did you win the most games with? Tarpit? Do you feel that you need another wincon than jace and tarpit?
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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

Games were against:

Humans 2-1
Sultai Snow 2-0
Mono Red Phoenix 2-1
Dredge 2-1
UW Control 2-0

I decided to go with UB because I think it may be better positioned compared to UW thanks to Hero's Downfall and Thoughtseize in the board, given the current metagame, but I didn't want to run three colors because consistency + Field of Ruin is still better than going Esper, imho.

Wincon are never a problem. Also UW plays the same finishers (big Tef isn't one) and most of the time I close the game with a Snappy + Tar-Pit beatdown (which lets you stay mana open more easily compared to Colonnade).

I would like to have a third big planeswalker instead of the third Jace, but I didn't find anything convincing (I would love a black Ral).

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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

Nice, I expected UW to be a bad matchup for you, but I guess it's not. I have been a fan of Torrential Gearhulk as a complementary threat with upside. Thoughts?
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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

Hero's Downfall + Counterspells + sideboard Thoughtseize are a very good starting point vs UW. UW is, generally speaking, a better deck than Dimir, but the latter has the upper hand in the mirror and against things such as Eldrazi Tron (where I easily sb out Pushes, while UW can't cut Path because they need istant speed removals they won't otherwise have). It's worse, though, against other strategies in the metagame. It's a matter of what field I expect.

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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

Would you just give me a quick wrapup? Against what decks is dimit good and bad vise versa?
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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

You should just evaluate when Path to Exile is good and Fatal Push is bad (Green Tron, Dredge and the likes of them), or the other way around (Burn, Red Prowess, Shadow Zoo). Then, consider when discard spells are actually going to help (Combo, Control, Big Mana),

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Post by Kalladdin » 2 years ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
2 years ago
As for WSZ, I won probably 80% of my games with a Zenith. The other 20% were actually Tar Pit and Snappy beats. I play Zenith because it lets you win faster, throw away resources such as a Snapcaster-block when you need to, and risk a Colonnade/Tar Pit to removal at little cost. Many times, my games ended with a T3feri, next turn uncounterable Zenith eot for the win. The two pair incredibly well.

I also played the Think Twices last week, and I think they still easily fit what Esper wants to be doing right now. I'm not a fan of the 4 Opt 4 Snapcaster builds, since Snapcaster is oftentimes just an Ambush Viper or otherwise underwhelming in that list. Think Twice is great, to be honest. I was unsure on it last week, and now I'm sold on it this week. As I said, many people have commented on how good it's been since I picked it back up.
Me from a week ago:
Kalladdin wrote:
2 years ago
Question about some changes to the average/stock lists these days:
-Two of the most important cards in the deck from my day are noticeably lacking in the more recent lists: Think Twice and Sphinx's Revelation.
What's the reasoning behind cutting these? Think Twice especially used to never be cut basically, so seeing that they aren't played as much is confusing me here.
:grin: all jokes aside I am very glad to see a more "pure" draw-go version of the deck doing well. The walker builds are neat but not really my style. Since commenting that I've been doing some testing of my own, and agree that Think Twice feels pretty good still. Side note: I also played 2x Fact or Fiction, as my meta is a little slower and more grindy. While drawing a ton of cards was very fun, 4 mana is still a lot and I think currently we can do better with other card draw spells.

I will have to dig out my old WSZ, I think I've been discounting how powerful it can be when it's uncounterable via T3feri, (not having to leave mana up for counterspells meaning you get to spend as much mana into X is a pretty impressive upside for a spell like that.)

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Post by Kalladdin » 2 years ago

SanityLost wrote:
2 years ago
Nice, I expected UW to be a bad matchup for you, but I guess it's not. I have been a fan of Torrential Gearhulk as a complementary threat with pside. Thoughts?
Gearhulk is interesting here. It's a huge body at instant speed, great for sneaky blocks or flashing it in end step to take out a walker, also getting a free card from the yard can be pretty relevant. The downside is that it's 6 mana, which means it doesn't help you stabilize at all until the late game, and also I feel like there's better things that we can be doing with 6 mana, (either Teferi+holding up interaction etc). Gearhulk definitely gets better the more powerful your instants are, and the better stocked your graveyard is, so I could see a version playing FoF and Gearhulks, (in place of some walkers probably) could be effective? My only worry is that it may struggle a little in the early game, also Gearhulk dies to a lot more removal than our other finishers.

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Post by Green » 2 years ago

Been a bit of a lurker for a while, since I moved to night shift a while ago, and haven't really had a chance to play. Always like to stay updated on the changes to the deck and the meta, so I'm glad to see we've moved. Is it possible to post a non-expiring link to the discord in this thread? I've followed the old thread for a while but every time I miss out on getting into the discord because the links all have time limits.

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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

To whom it may concern, here is a list that 5-0ed recently:
https://www.tcdecks.net/deck.php?id=31146&iddeck=266324

Interesting to see other ppl cutting down on Charms. I have not been a fan of then either so I cut them entirely. The mana requirements have been an issue far too often.
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Post by A Cute Bunny » 2 years ago

SanityLost wrote:
2 years ago
To whom it may concern, here is a list that 5-0ed recently:
https://www.tcdecks.net/deck.php?id=31146&iddeck=266324

Interesting to see other ppl cutting down on Charms. I have not been a fan of then either so I cut them entirely. The mana requirements have been an issue far too often.
Yeah, the deck space is sooo tight right now with all the new toys over the past sets and Esper Charm is holding up less. Whats odd to me is the D Sphere main.

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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago

Been trying some different cards at the kitchen table during the week.
Found Think Twice, has been a good bit of card draw as a flashback later game after discarding it for a FoN early on. Not a fan of casting it for two mana though, but still trying it out.
Also as suggested, I have tried a Winds of Abandon also. Found the overload is awsome against mid range style decks. Swapped it out for a Kaya's Wrath (still trying to find a Wrath of God at my LGS) But only as a board wipe I can justify it, despite the higher cost. At sorcery speed I can't justify it over a Push or Path full time.

Picked up my Supreme Verdicts and Esper Charms this week. We will see how the local meta is this week with these changes.

edit: How I have enjoyed Kaya Usurper though, against a player that isn't taking notice of her on a more control based deck, the ult sneaks up
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Post by SanityLost » 2 years ago

You do not discard the card to FoN but exile it, if that is what you ment.

I also love Kaya, she does so many jobs at once. Lifegain, grave hate, removal, and wincon. I have won several games with her ult, for instance versus Tron. Her ult also synergizes well with Guile after exiling their grave. The ult is more often than not lethal.
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Post by MashedPotato » 2 years ago

SanityLost wrote:
2 years ago
You do not discard the card to FoN but exile it, if that is what you ment.

I also love Kaya, she does so many jobs at once. Lifegain, grave hate, removal, and wincon. I have won several games with her ult, for instance versus Tron. Her ult also synergizes well with Guile after exiling their grave. The ult is more often than not lethal.
Thats what i meant. Im still trying to find the cantrips i like.
Kaya is definitely a good wincon as said. I do enjoy how modern esper has more wincons as opposed to standard and am looking forward to trying out other possibilities.

Has anyone tried running absorb in Sideboard against burn decks? The mana is the biggest slow down, but should provide enough life to buy time
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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

Double.
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