Esper Control in Standard

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!

 

Walter Scuderi - Esper Control - VOW Standard

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Creature (3)
1
Edgar, Charmed Groom
2
Hullbreaker Horror
Sorcery (5)
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
3
Path of Peril
Instant (22)
2
Behold the Multiverse
2
Infernal Grasp
2
Jwari Disruption/Jwari Ruins
3
Memory Deluge
3
Siphon Insight
2
Test of Talents
4
Vanishing Verse
4
Wash Away
Artifact (3)
3
The Celestus
Enchantment (2)
2
The Meathook Massacre
Land (25)
4
Brightclimb Pathway/Grimclimb Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway/Murkwater Pathway
1
Deserted Beach
1
Field of Ruin
1
Hall of Storm Giants
4
Hengegate Pathway/Mistgate Pathway
1
Hive of the Eye Tyrant
1
Island
2
Shattered Sanctum
4
Shipwreck Marsh
2
Swamp
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
1
Bloodchief's Thirst
2
Disdainful Stroke
1
Edgar, Charmed Groom
1
Lier, Disciple of the Drowned
3
Parasitic Grasp
2
Power Word Kill
3
Sunset Revelry
2
Test of Talents

 

This deck immediately impressed me with the variety of cards it plays, its numerous game plans, and the versatility it presents in running games.

 

 

While Hullbreaker Horror is a well-established card in Standard and its power level is unquestionable, Edgar represents a novelty in this type of deck, which was pleasantly surprising.

 

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.

 

 

In addition to Edgar there’s Vanishing Verse, which is a strong classic removal that is good to have in a meta where mono color decks are the most played.

 

 

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.

 

                   

 

Then there are removals that are always good to have, such as Bloodchief’s Thirst and Infernal Grasp that are useful in the early turns against aggressive decks.

 

                   

 

Perhaps more than any other card, Memory Deluge has given the necessary sprint for control’s return in competition. Behold the Multiverse’s two-mana cost of foretell is always strong.

 

 

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.

 

SIDEBOARD

 

 

 

                                       

                                       

                   

 

 

 

                                       

                                             

                   

 

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.

 

 

 

                                          

                                                   

                     

 

 

 

                                                   

                                          

 

This is a good match-up. You have greater resources than your opponent. Even though you have many removals that aren’t good against your opponent, Test of Talents and Wash Away helps a lot. 

 

Post-side mass removals are taken out in favor of counterspells and spot removals to kill the creatures that he will surely put as Goldspan Dragon or Hullbreaker.

 

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.

 

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