Tag: esper-control

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Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - July 9, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Esper Control by Gerard Fabiano (1st at ...

Esper Control -Detention Sphere

Esper Control by Gerard Fabiano

1st Place at StarCityGames Standard Open on 7/5/2014
As we get ready for a little metagame shake-up from the upcoming release of Magic 2015 we finish up the lame duck Standard with a final tournament. This one continues to show that Mono-Black Devotion is not the end all and be all of this metagame. We also see the Aggro dominance tamed by pro player and crowd favorite Gerard with a return of Esper Control to the spotlight.

Esper Control decklist

 

As with any Blue and White based control strategy we find a stock shell with this deck sporting a trio of Jace, Architect of Thought for draw and protection from creature swarms, a set of Sphinx’s Revelation to restock your hand with options and incidental lifegain to boot, a set of Supreme Verdict to deal with Aggro creature swarms, and a set of Detention Sphere which is able to answer most every other problem the deck may face. The meat of the deck comes from its planeswalkers, where we find the duo of the light and darkness alongside a pair of Jace options. First looking at the light we have Elspeth, Sun’s Champion as a primary win condition spitting out soldiers three at a time, while also able to sweep the board of all creatures with power greater then four and should she go ultimate will pump those soldiers of hers into veritable jet planes. Next plunging into darkness we find Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver who is especially powerful against creature decks to steal away their threats by milling away the top of the library and given enough support then dropping them into play. Then we have the two Jace, Architect of Thought integral to the deck surviving creature rush Aggro and grinding out card advantage, but also a singleton Memory Adept to work against Control strategies and mill them down to no library while you sit back playing a defensive role. The potatos of the deck come from a variety of Control staples of permission, removal and draw. The permission package is two-fold using the potent Thoughtseize to strip away their threats before they can play them while also providing you with very valuable information about what their plan is, and also a pair of Dissolve as the deck only real denial with a bonus Scry tacked on to help dig through your deck for more answers. As for removal this deck is chock full of including Supreme Verdict and Detention Sphere already mentioned, but also some spot removal with a trio of Devour Flesh to abolish that huge threat when the enemy doesn’t have a swarm present and a Doom Blade able to destroy anything in RG Monsters in a pinch. As for draw power the main tool lies in Revelation and Architect, but the deck also leans heavily on the eleven Temples for Scry to help filter draws into what is absolutely needed. We wrap up with the utility player Azorius Charm which can gain a few points of life with Soldiers if desperate, filters itself into a new draw when needed, and even bounces an attacking or blocking creature to the top of its owners library to set them back and save some life.

 

While it’s true we are on the verge of a new Standard format in a few weeks it is certain that UW Control will be a strategy to continue going forward. Normally I would also say that with the summer here and Magic in its dog days that it isn’t important what to play, but remember that the World Magic Cup Qualifers are coming up. If you like oppressive Control strategies then I would definitely recommend this deck for you but be sure to clue into the current meta as this is always a deck that needs to be tweeked and tuned for what’s current. And good luck chasing down that glory.

Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com
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Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - March 26, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Esper Control by Kyle Boggemes (1st at G...

Aetherling
Esper Control
Kyle Boggemes
1st Place at Grand Prix on 3/23/2014
With the metagame in Standard much more defined now then it was a few months back it has slowly become time for the Control decks to shine. Once the major threats are known then Control mages are able to more easily prepare for the decks they expect to face. This has proven itself in the dominant showing of Esper Control this past weekend by winning both the Grand Prix and the SCG Open. And it is no secret that in the Esper colors of Blue, White and Black we find the integral pieces necessary to answer almost any threat that can be thrown at us.
The Control deck is a carefully crafted work of beauty and this list is no different. Looking at the win conditions of the deck we find a very precise package consisting of one Ætherling and a trio of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion which are meant to only be deployed once the deck has stabilized and taken command of the board. To do this we find a balance between permission and removal. For the permission suite there is a set of Dissolve and a duo of Syncopate used to deny the opponent from casting their most key of spells, especially if unable to handle it with the removal in hand. Then the removal consists of the requisite Blue/White staples with mass removal in Supreme Verdict to reset the battlefield in a pinch and the utility removal from Detention Sphere capable of dealing with almost any problem permanent especially those which are indestructible. For spot removal there is also two Doom Blade and a Last Breath to supplement and handle those threats which slip in especially creatures with Haste. As with any Control deck the final and perhaps most important aspect of the deck is its draw power and here we find that from full sets of both Jace, Architect of Thought and Sphinx’s Revelation both of which offer some extra utility be it in diminishing the opponents power or just straight lifegain to ensure continued survival. This deck also has the ’12 Temple’ package in its manabase which especially in the early turns can use the Scry ability to carefully craft it’s draw step. With the final odds and ends there is the utility player of Azorius Charm which is primarily used for the draw to cycle it at the end of an opponents turn, but is also very useful as a spot removal or can even prove as a savior by gaining a few points of necessary life. As far as hand control we only find discard in the form of two Thoughtseize to gain some important information and deal with any specifically difficult threat. Finally, there is also a duo of Mutavault which are able to skirt around sorcery speed removal and will be at time the final nail in the coffin.
As always Control decks need to adapt to an ever shifting metagame and this one will be no different. I am certain that this base will be a common sight going forward but expect to see constant tweaks and tuneups to stay a step ahead. All in all though Esper Control should continue to be a force to be reckoned with and you’ll need to be prepared to face it any round of your tournament.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
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Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - December 21, 2013

Decks of the Day – Spotlight on Shaheen Soorani at the SCG Invit...

Shaheen Soorani

Esper mastermind and longtime magic aficionado Shaheen Soorani battled last weekend at the SCG Invitational in Las Vegas to a third place finish. Fighting through a field of 299 qualified participants he was able to slaughter most every mage who stood in his way. The Invitational, much like the Pro Tour, is a multiformat tournament requiring proficiency in both Standard and Legacy to find success. In true Soorani fashion his weapon of choice for both formats was blue, white and black control style concoctions. With the two byes he had been awarded he drudged to a final swiss record of 12-3-1, the last round an intentional bye with Thea Steele to clinch the top 8 berth. The competition was fierce with hard wins against Tom Ross, Tim Landale, Erik Smith and Jeff Hoogland. Some tough losses came at the hands of Matt Nass the last round of day 1 playing for the perfect 8-0 and against eventual winner Max Brown entering the second leg of Legacy putting Shaheen on the ropes fighting to maintain a top positioning. In the top 8 he was immediately put to the test against Brian Brawn-Duin but dispatched him easily in three games but was knocked out by Greg Hatch after a hard fought five game battle.

Esper Control
Shaheen Soorani
3rd Place at StarCityGames Invitational on 12/14/2013
Lands (26)
 Creatures (3)

Planeswalkers (6)

For the Standard rounds he piloted a sweet and well rounded Esper Control list built around the stock UW pieces. Full sets of Supreme Verdict, Detention Sphere, Jace, Architect of Thought and Azorius Charm are complimented by a trio of Sphinx’s Revelation and a pair of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion to for the core of the deck. Premier creature finishers come with an Ætherling and a pair of Blood Baron of Vizkopa both very resilient to removal in the meta. Speaking of removal the deck sports pairs of Devour Flesh and Hero’s Downfall for spot duty and an additional sweeper in Merciless Eviction which with its many modes is surely able to remove the permanent that is most troubling you. The deck is rounded out by a light disruption package that contains counters from two Dissolve and a Syncopate with discard from two Thoughtseizes.  Shaheen took this to a 6-2 record through the swiss and top 8 winning games 15-5, with three of those losses in the semifinal match.
Esper Stoneblade
Shaheen Soorani
3rd Place at StarCityGames Invitational on 12/15/2013
Lands (22)

Creatures (8)

Planeswalkers (3)

 Spells (27)
For his Legacy deck Shaheen kept in the same vein with Esper Stoneblade sticking to a more classic list by eschewing both Deathrite Shaman and Legacys newest golden boy True-Name Nemesis. In quintessential control style we start with a formidable draw package with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Brainstorm, Ponder and a singleton Intuition. For the permission the is the requisite Force of Will with a Counterspell comboing with discard from Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek to stifle the opponents plans. The plan of attack starts with Stoneforge Mystic which is able to tutor up preeminent beatstick Batterskull. There is also an Umezawa’s Jitte which paired up with the Lingering Souls can make short work of your opponent. I especially like how Intuition can work together with Lingering Souls to quickly provide access to a small flying army. To complement those flyers there is also a one of Vendilion Clique which also carries equipment, and has an abusable interaction if you’re also able to get your Karakas out. For removal there is a diverse array with spot removal from Swords to Plowshares and Vindicate complimented by sweepers in Supreme Verdict and Engineered Explosives. Finally, to take full advantage of all the varied instants and sorceries we have a trio of Snapcaster Mage to flashback whichever answer you need access to the most. For the seven rounds that he played with the deck Shaheen was able to pull out a 5-2 record including his two last wins in the swiss which allowed him to intentionally draw the final round to secure his spot in the top 8.
So if you enjoy control style decks and need a list to try either in Standard or Legacy I definitely recommend giving one of these decks a go. It’s great to see Shaheen continue to excel at these high level tournaments and you can be sure that we will see him maintaining this caliber performance for years to come, and where he goes control mages everywhere will benefit from his tightly tuned lists.
Eric Jeffrey Seltzer
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Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - October 22, 2013

Deck of the Day: Esper Control (Grand Prix Louisville – Top 8 Theros...

Supreme Verdict

Esper Control

Alex Sittner – Grand Prix Louisville – Top 8 Standard

Main Deck

60 cards

27 lands

1 creature

26 other spells

6 planeswalkers

Sideboard

15 sideboard cards

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