It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about Standard. We’ve examined Alchemy’s introduction to see the most intriguing cards and the first-tested decks.
This week we return to talk about the classic Standard Format and analyze a less-played deck that made a great impression when I tested it—Esper Control!
This deck immediately impressed me with the variety of cards it plays, its numerous game plans, and the versatility it presents in running games.
It’s a problematic card for both aggressive and slower decks. It comes into play as a 4/4 and comes back as an artifact when killed to create a 1/1 token with lifelink, eventually returning as a 4/4 three turns later.
Aggressive decks will have to make a trade with its 4/4 and tokens will help you gain time and life before it returns.
Slower decks will be forced to use resources to prevent it from coming into play, exile it, or destroy it while it’s an artifact since they can’t use a regular removal spell to manage the card.
The variety of spells is huge. Let’s start with the cards that make playing white appealing.
Path of Peril is another strong card that is good for early game removal and is strong against MonoW for example. It’s also strong in late game or against decks like MonoG thanks to its Cleave cost.
Four Wash Away may seem like a lot, but it is a strong card, especially against UR. At worst it is a simple counter to three mana, meaning that it’s always good. Jwari Disruption is almost always played for its land ability.
Test of Talent improves the match-up against control.
Siphon Insight takes a threat or a helpful land from the top of your opponent’s deck. I underestimated this card initially, but it’s a nice card that’s worth playing.
We close the analysis of the decklist with The Celestus, which is a card that seems printed just for this deck. In addition to always providing white mana, it makes a lot of card quality in late game, which is fundamental for any control.
Meathook Massacre allows this deck to exist and makes a good match-up against aggro. It’s a strong mass removal with effects on the board. It’s hard to ask for more than what this card provides.
This situation is similar to that against Mono White, but this deck tends to make fewer boards and the boards are bigger.
Cards like Chariot can be more problematic, but post-side the situation improves. In these match-ups the single spot removals are fundamental.
The first game could be problematic especially if you don’t see mass removal. You won’t be able to control the board with single removals.
Post-side the situation improves because many useless cards are removed, such as counterspells or Siphon Insight, and other helpful removals are put in.
The deck seems competitive and is a good alternative to the control decks that we see more often, such as Izzet and Dimir.
It’s also a possible choice for lovers of this archetype that may want to bring a different deck to a tournament.