Esper Control

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Since Gatecrash came out, I wanted to mill. There's nothing more satisfying to me than dumping someone's whole library into their graveyard. But I just couldn't find a viable way to do it, in spite of tinkering around with Dimir. Then Esper Control showed up.

Here's my take on this deck. I haven't seen anything that is supposed to be the Esper Control list, so this is just based on all the lists I've seen and all of the experience I've gotten playing against various builds at FNM. Any suggestions or critiques would appreciated. Also, I wouldn't mind discussion of strategy with the deck (BBD's article, Going Yard, has been helpful), as I'm not so experienced with control. I'm used to playing Saito Gruul and Naya Blitz, so this is a shift for me. 

7 Creatures:
3x Augur of Bolas
2x Restoration Angel
2x Snapcaster Mage

3 Planeswalkers:
1x Jace, Memory Adept
1x Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
1x Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

24 Other Spells:
4x Azorius Charm
1x Devour Flesh
1x Detention Sphere
2x Dissipate
1x Forbidden Alchemy
1x Murder
3x Sphinx's Revelation
4x Supreme Verdict
1x Syncopate
1x Terminus
3x Think Twice 
1x Tragic Slip
1x Ultimate Price

26 Land:
1x Island
4x Drowned Catacomb
3x Isolated Chapel
4x Glacial Fortress
3x Godless Shrine
4x Hallowed Fountain
4x Nephalia Drownyard
3x Watery Grave 

The sideboard needs some attention, but here it is as it stands: 

2x Blind Obedience
1x Detention Sphere
1x Dispel
2x Evil Twin
3x Grafdigger's Cage
1x Negate
2x Obzedat, Ghost Council
1x Psychic Spiral
2x Rhox Faithmender

Thanks in advance!
"Dare to fight, defy difficulties and advance wave upon wave... Monsters of all kinds shall be destroyed." - Mao Zedong
The thing is that there is never any list that is "the" list.  Control decks have to be finely tuned for the expected metagame.  As the saying goes, "it's easier to provide the questions than the answers".  If the metagame is expected to be more midrange/control, counters and high-value cards (ones that generate card advantage) are better.  If the metagame is expected to be aggro, more removal is needed.

That said, I really don't like Sorin or Tamiyo in this list.  They aren't actually good cards.

Alchemy is also not going to do a lot.  It's super slow and you don't really get value off of it.

Murder also isn't great.  It's just too much mana.

You need the 4th Revelation.  It's the way you actually win the game once the board stabilizes.

I'd add the 4th Think Twice and a second Devour Flesh.  Even though there isn't a definite "best" list for the deck, I'd bet it would include 4 TTs and at least 2 Devours.

I think the last card should be the last Augur.  It's decent in every match up.

The board is pretty off too.  I'm not a fan of Blind Obedience (the card does nothing).  Grafdigger's Cage isn't that great either.  I'd tend to look at something like Ben Lundquist's list from the Invitational as a good place to start.  I'd probably swap a Slip for another Purify the Grave.
Why do you say Blind Obedience does nothing? It shuts down haste (notably Ash Zealot, Lightning Mauler, Flinthoof Boar, Hellrider, and Falkenrath Aristocrat). There may be better cards for this list, but to say it does nothing seems to exaggerate.
I say it does nothing because what it does isn't worth a card.  Sure, it turns off haste.  However, that doesn't solve the problems this deck will have with decks that play haste creatures.  You might not get hit for 3-4 extra the turn they play the creature, but if you don't have a Verdict, all you did was just postpone when you take that damage.  It never actually prevents damage, it just slows it down.

If you actually want cards that deal with haste creatures, play more instant speed removal.  Blind Obedience is only worth the card against Obzedat.
I say it does nothing because what it does isn't worth a card.  Sure, it turns off haste.  However, that doesn't solve the problems this deck will have with decks that play haste creatures.  You might not get hit for 3-4 extra the turn they play the creature, but if you don't have a Verdict, all you did was just postpone when you take that damage.  It never actually prevents damage, it just slows it down.

If you actually want cards that deal with haste creatures, play more instant speed removal.  Blind Obedience is only worth the card against Obzedat.



I disagree.  Blind Obedience not only stops haste, it also hinders defense.  Tapped creatures can't block.  Granted that doesn't help much in less aggressive decks like this one, but that lowered defense can be very agonizing.  And on top of that, it has extort.
I actually like Blind Obedience in an Aggro deck (currently playing 2 in a RBW deck). Since their stuff comes in tapped, they can't immediately defend themselves from your creatures. In an Esper deck though... I think I'd partly agree with Mad Admiral. Jam as many Augurs and Revelations into that deck as you can.

as far as your decklist goes, You need more consistency in your card choices. Always play the full 4 if you can (unless the cost is high). Definitely the full playset of Detention Sphere and another Resto Angel and Snapcaster (I think most of the top tier decks only run 3 snapcasters...).

As far as strategy goes, so much of your game depends on when you Augur. Drop him too early and you risk throwing lands under your library.

EDH decks I play:

 

Prossh: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4101381

 

Derevi: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4115936

 

Kaalia (the beats)

 

Zur (disgusting combo)

 

Damia (Bug Elf deck)

 

Numot (Stax)

 

Griselbrand (French)

 

Ghave (Uber combo)

 

Muzzio (Oops, Blightsteel)

Tapped blockers means nothing. This deck will never win a game via damage against a deck where you may consider brining in Blind Obedience

As for the extort, that also has practically no relevance. You're not going to have time to pay extra mana for spells to gain any relevant amount of life. It simply does not matter. 
Tapped blockers means nothing. This deck will never win a game via damage against a deck where you may consider brining in Blind Obedience

As for the extort, that also has practically no relevance. You're not going to have time to pay extra mana for spells to gain any relevant amount of life. It simply does not matter. 



like I said, I like Blind Obedience... in an Aggro deck lol

EDH decks I play:

 

Prossh: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4101381

 

Derevi: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4115936

 

Kaalia (the beats)

 

Zur (disgusting combo)

 

Damia (Bug Elf deck)

 

Numot (Stax)

 

Griselbrand (French)

 

Ghave (Uber combo)

 

Muzzio (Oops, Blightsteel)

Since Gatecrash came out, I wanted to mill. There's nothing more satisfying to me than dumping someone's whole library into their graveyard. But I just couldn't find a viable way to do it, in spite of tinkering around with Dimir. Then Esper Control showed up.

Here's my take on this deck. I haven't seen anything that is supposed to be the Esper Control list, so this is just based on all the lists I've seen and all of the experience I've gotten playing against various builds at FNM. Any suggestions or critiques would appreciated. Also, I wouldn't mind discussion of strategy with the deck (BBD's article, Going Yard, has been helpful), as I'm not so experienced with control. I'm used to playing Saito Gruul and Naya Blitz, so this is a shift for me. 

7 Creatures:
3x Augur of Bolas (play 4)
2x Restoration Angel (perhaps 3?)
2x Snapcaster Mage (3)

3 Planeswalkers:
1x Jace, Memory Adept
1x Sorin, Lord of Innistrad (cut this guy)
1x Tamiyo, the Moon Sage (I love Tamiyo but you might have a hard time protecting her long enough to go ultimate)

24 Other Spells:
4x Azorius Charm
1x Devour Flesh (3 more)
1x Detention Sphere (3 more)
2x Dissipate (play the full 4)
1x Forbidden Alchemy (cut)
1x Murder (cut for more Devour Flesh or Ultimate Price)
3x Sphinx's Revelation (one more)
4x Supreme Verdict
1x Syncopate (cut for Negate or use Psychic Strike)
1x Terminus
3x Think Twice (full 4)
1x Tragic Slip (I like the slip a lot but if nothing dies, it's kind of junk. You're gonna be throwing Augur in the path of something big just to Tragic slip it and essentially get a 2 for 1 trade in their favor)
1x Ultimate Price (again, figure out what removal you like and play the full four. Price is nice for all the pesky stuff. Perhaps 4 Price and four Devour Flesh. You need the Devours to deal with Geist and stuff)

26 Land:
1x Island
4x Drowned Catacomb
3x Isolated Chapel
4x Glacial Fortress
3x Godless Shrine
4x Hallowed Fountain
4x Nephalia Drownyard
3x Watery Grave  (seems like a lot of land but if you're trying to drownyard them then I can understand)

The sideboard needs some attention, but here it is as it stands: (too many 1-ofs. I like Obzedat in here. Perhaps pick up some Geists if you can afford it. Rhox Faithmender is out of place here. Grafdigger's cage is a good idea against reanimator but you're gonna shoot yourself in the foot too since you can't snapcaster anything with it in play. Consider other cards [Geist] to include when you switch to "graveyard hate mode" and swap out Snacaster)

2x Blind Obedience
1x Detention Sphere
1x Dispel
2x Evil Twin
3x Grafdigger's Cage
1x Negate
2x Obzedat, Ghost Council
1x Psychic Spiral
2x Rhox Faithmender

Thanks in advance!



EDH decks I play:

 

Prossh: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4101381

 

Derevi: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4115936

 

Kaalia (the beats)

 

Zur (disgusting combo)

 

Damia (Bug Elf deck)

 

Numot (Stax)

 

Griselbrand (French)

 

Ghave (Uber combo)

 

Muzzio (Oops, Blightsteel)

Blind Obedience is a win-condition that also makes a very specific type of opposing force miserable. When you obtain the option to activate extort multiple times the game becomes much more dangerous for your opponent. It isn't an ideal victory condition, but it gives your deck flexibility which is very important. Don't let the game's recent obsession with double digit combat damage make you forget that Magic is built in such a way that chip damage does count.
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