Nobody calls abzan midrange "aggro control". The terms are not interchangable. If anything id expect aggro control to be a euphamism for tempo (small aggro creatures backed up by discard and/or counterspells)
I realize naming decks is its own challenge, but if a deck absolutely cannot win on turn 4 with any sequence, and its number of 1 and 2 drop creatures combined is 0-4, it not an aggro deck.
The deck is a hybrid of jeskai control, abzan midrange, and BW tokens. It has nothing in common whatsoever with zoo, affnity, stompy, merfolk, etc.
This is a simple matter on the usage of terminology
There are three big archetypes. Control, Aggro and Combo. All decks use elements of these three.
Midrange and Tempo are both hybrids consisting of Aggro and Control therefore they are both Aggro-Control.
They both combine aggressive elements aka threats(Tarmogoyf, Scavenging Ooze, Delver of Secrets, etc.) with Control elements(Abrupt Decay, Mana Leak, Thoughtseize, etc.)
It just depends on the composition and on the way in which they are utilized that makes them either Tempo or Midrange.
Discard for example is great in Midrange decks that want to answer the opponents cards before deploying their own powerful threats. Tempo decks are not really interested in it though. Since they want do to deploy an early threat and then ride it to victory while disrupting the opponent on the way and discard is negate tempo in the way that you have spent mana to answer a card that your opponent didn't actually played and spent mana on.
There is nothing aggro about it... like... at all. Our 1 drop is... nothing or myth realized... our 2 drop is... snapcaster mage... our 3 drop is... lingering souls and a mentor that you never want to play on turn 3.
The fastest conceivable kill would be uh... turn 5 if we do t3 mentor into a craptonne of spells followed by a craptonne of spells?
Yeah, it's more midrange rather than aggro. Although sometimes on turn 2 you can drop Tasigur.
Sadly, at least in my classification of decks, midrange IS a type of aggro-control. I also classify tempo decks as aggro-control.
Sometimes, you're the guy who has to play the control role and go targeted discard into removal into cantrip into removal into counterspell into manland into activate, and sometimes, you're the guy who has to play the aggro role and go targeted discard into threat into cantrip into threat into counterspell.
Decks like Zoo often go threat into threat into threat into removal and thus get called aggro, and rarer decks like UWR Control tend to go counterspell into removal into counterspell into removal into draw into removal...into manland into draw into counterspell into activate and thus get called control. Decks with sequences that tend to be squarely in between those two types' sequences (such as us) tend to get called aggro-control.
(I don't want to have to talk about monstrosities like combo-control or midrange-combo.)
Tempo and Midrange are both Aggro-Control. They both combine Aggro with Control elements.
Like Willy Edel said in one of his articles when talking about Midrange. There are basically Control decks but with creatures.
That's especially obvious when looking at BG/x decks or this one.
Just going to agree that vault of the archangel has been very underwhelming and even bad for me. You usually want your mana to trigger prowess, make monks, or hold up disruption. And 5 mana is kind of a lot.
I like having a shadow of doubt in the main. In addition to sniping fetchlands and tutors, it synergizes with path to exile.
One thing I am kind of surprised with is that there are no sweepers anywhere in the 75. This feels like a control deck and control decks usually want 1-2 verdicts. Was it tested and found wanting?
Also surgical extraction in the SB seems good. The lack of any graveyard hate was causing me trouble in reanimator and dredge matches (path snap path notwithstanding
You actually bring up two good points.
1) Graveyard hate
I have started to play 2 copies of Leyline of the Void in my board. I had quite a few games where I wished I had access to graveyard hate.
And what's important is that the hate isn't as narrow as some people say. I mean let's look at the format. Everybody is either playing Delve spells, Tarmogoyf, Lingering Souls, Snapcaster Mage on top of the dedicated graveyard decks. Leyline of the Void can be quite the beating. Someone played it in the mirror against me and holding all these dead delve spells and Snapcaster Mages and Thought Scour suddenly looks quite silly.
I was toying with this idea but I haven't pulled the trigger on it yet. If you have many decks in your meta where a wrath would be great you can probably get away with running a few copies of Supreme Verdict in your board.
i mean geist is hard to remove, 4-6 damage guaranteed each turn, while mentor is just 3-4 damage next turn with 1-2 tokens, and you have to cast another 1-2 spells next turn to swing for some decent damage... or am i getting it wrong?
Because some guys did well in some tournaments with Monastery Mentor, and then everyone followed
Besides it's not like Geist of Saint Traft is even remotely insane currently.
He dies to pretty much every creature including Snapcaster Mage being played as an Ambush Viper.
If you are happy with dealing your opponent 4 damage once then I advise you to just run Boros Charm instead. It's better at the job than Geist is since it's cheaper and already works on turn 2 and not turn 4.
Monastery Mentor gives you permanent value for doing things you wanted to do anyway and he is actually able to defend you by crapping out tokens. Something that Geist is also pretty bad at.
This isn't a super-fast Delver deck or some UWR deck with burn. This deck is a slower and more controlling. It's not really your gameplan to kill the opponent asap.
I mean you can try out Geist out for yourself and see what I mean. He is only good against decks that don't really have creatures to block them like Tron, Scapeshift, Blue Control decks, etc. but none of them are Tier 1 currently. If those decks are heavily played in your meta though you very well can play him in your sideboard. An unexpected Geist is more powerful anyway
I played a few games with it and I really like how this deck performs. It did quite well against Tarmo Twin and could stabilize easily against Zoo with Tasigur and endless tokens. I need to try it against other decks like Abzan, Affinity, and Burn, but the deck's a blast to play. Esper Stoneblade was my first real Legacy deck and this deck is the most exciting deck I've ever played in Modern. I'm a huge fan.
I also agree that the permission spells are iffy. Mana Leak was awful all day and Spell Snare managed to tag a turn two Tarmogoyf but got nothing else. I really want to replace them with something but I'm not sure what. I was thinking of a one-of Utter End as an inferior Vindicate substitute but 4cc might be too much. Maybe more discard? You alluded to replacing them with Myth Realized but I feel like those slots still need to be interactive spells.
23 land seems correct for this list. I found myself wanting more mana than I had at times, but I can't imagine playing more land in this type of deck.
Glad that you like it. Esper is my favorite shard so of course Im happy to play an Esper deck. It's definitely one of my favorite decks too along with BG/x of course.
I will try out a few tweaks that you mentioned like replacing the Anticipates with Serum Visions but I still want to test them a bit more.
Now on what to replace the permission spells with I don't know about adding even more discard. My list has five with another one in the board, you play 6 in the main. I think that really is already at the upper end on what you can play. Discard is powerful but it's also incredible weak later in the game. Also we have Snapcaster Mage to even flash them back if we need to. Something that Abzan can't do.
Maybe a few additional removal spells instead? Since Path to Exile is already a playset that leaves us with the black removal. And the best of them are probably Dismember, Go for the Throat and Victim of Night.
I also actually upped the land count. The original list from Japan played only 22 but I didn't feel comfortable with that. We are definitely not a Delver deck that can operate on only 2 lands or something like that.
Especially since Creeping Tar Pit and Monastery Mentor require quite a few lands in play if you want to do anything else in a turn besides just playing/activating them.
So I want to talk about a few things here and hear you advice on them.
1. I like to have ways to dig for cards.
That's what sets Blue decks apart from others. BG/x has no way to do that but they also don't need to because their cards are all very powerful on their own. We don't have quite that luxury so I prefer some way to find threats, answers and sideboard cards.
That being said I did throw in the 4 Anticipate solely for testing purposes. Im currently unsure about the numbers of them and if they shouldn't be replaced by Serum Visions since it's cheaper.
I just like that Anticipate is instant-speed and later in the game you get to cast the cards that you found right away and don't have to wait around for another turn. Could be the difference between life and death. Especially when searching for removal.
2. The permission spells in the main.
I currently have only 3 of them in the main and Im thinking about if they should be cut entirely. Obviously some things need to be interacted with on the stack and discard can only get you so far and doesn't protect against topdecks so I like it for that. But they don't play that well with Mentor and Narset for that matter so maybe I should keep the permission in the sideboard for matchups where it's really needed.
3. Myth Realized
I currently don't play them but I would like to actually. Im just not sure what to cut for them. Point 1 and 2 would be helpful in this I think.
And lastly as a Liliana fanboy I have to ask if somebody tested Liliana of the Veil in this deck yet?
On a side note, I have come around to lingering souls after playing it a lot more. I was wrong, I AM a lingering souls kind of guy!
Haha you are not the only one. You just look at the card, shrug your shoulders and say "Yeah, it's a fine card I guess".
It's not obvious how much power the card actually has until you have seen it in action or have played with it.
I mean who would have thought that it would become one of Moderns key cards? It's actually right above Tarmogoyf currently when looking at the most played cards in the format.
I'm interested in trying Narset Transcendent in this deck. Esper Mentor seems to fit the three main qualifications for Narset being a good card, namely 1) It's a blue and white deck; 2) It naturally has a high number of nonland, noncreature cards to draw off the first ability; and 3) it has spells that are worth rebounding (Souls seems great but Murderous Cut would be nice in the right situation and even Serum Visions would could let you set up a guaranteed card if you ticked up Narset next turn). Also, the ultimate could actually lock some decks out of the game in Modern as opposed to standard. Off the top of my head, it seems like it would be really good against control decks because they'd be hard pressed to generate enough burn to actually kill the high loyalty and the card advantage would be good.
Narset does sound interesting.
To be honest Narset Transcendent, Anticipate and Myth Realized are the 3 cards Im most excited about from Dragons of Tarkir.
I will definitely try out all three cards in various decks.
I really don't understand why this deck doesn't have a ton of hype right now. It's doing quite well, has a lot of tools needed to succeed, and is innovative enough that it should be attracting attention. I wrote an article about it over the weekend that players here should find interesting:
My big takeaways are that a) this deck is a real rising star from a statistical standpoint and b) it legitimately has strong cards for the metagame. Mentor himself is the real deal and I think this deck has a lot of potential for improvement in the coming months.
Wow thank you.
I read your article and it's just great. It gives a lot of insight into the deck and how you can change it up a bit.
I do have thought about including some numbers of Geist of Saint Traft too for example but haven't pulled the trigger yet.
And Myth Realized looks of course just like it would fit into the deck.
People should be made aware of this deck existing and everybody who has interest or has some doubts should just try it out himself. The deck does feel great.
And yes Esper is my favorite shard but I think Im pretty unbiased here. I mean the results speak for themselves.
Is thought scour really needed in these lists, since this one isn't going heavy into the delve theme? Would another single mana cantrip be better (Gitaxian, Serum)? Or is the opportunity to hit an early Tasigur too much of an up side?
Hey guys, I´m also interested in Esper. My favourite build is Chapins Delver in PT Fate Reforged. It was critized for being to threat light and a tad inconsistent, so I am trying to tweak it. My thinking goes that the deck needs at least 10 threats and the 6 cmc guys are better, as the odds of getting them out T2 are so much better than the 7cmc Angler. I believe he might be better as threats 9-10. Further Chapins build was critized for having trouble protecting the critters.
I think that Judge´s Familiar might fix part of that issue alongside Soulflayer. Soulflayer is Another 6cmc drop, but suffers from being BB, yet a T1 owl offers the same protection with the added bonus that the same owl offers evasion to Soulflayer. Thus does have two jobs: chump or sac followed by being delving food and give evasion.
Post next release might be exchanged for Myth Realized. Sure it dies to Decay, but grows for free and doesn´t get stuck in hand.