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  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    UW Control had great numbers. 9% of the players that brought it got 24+ points (8-2 or better) in Modern, the best rate of any deck in the tournament. The numbers for UWR seem terrible, but it seems that the decklists were basically all the Midrange geist version:

    https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/pro-tour-rivals-of-ixalan-by-the-numbers

    I wouldn't place much stock in Nassif or Majlalton falling short of a top 8, especially when Majlaton had the best record anyone got during the Modern portion. There were more UW pilots going 7-3 or better than there were Lantern or Mardu Pyromancer. Search for Azcanta was in every control deck that did well. I think the lack of Azcanta or Ancestral Visions was why the UWR Midrange decks bombed out. They basically have no way to draw an extra card unless you count cantripping with Cryptics. Same goes for Burkhart's awkward Grixis Tempo/Control lists that finally found a good replacement for Ancestral Visions and went up to 25 lands with Field of Ruin.

    That's the thing, really. You have a lot of blue control decks that were never strong enough to consistently win late, so they had to have a mild tempo plan to close out games. I wouldn't be surprised if over the next few months, guys like Burkhart move away from random cards like Tasigur and UWR Midrange pilots start dropping the tempo creatures. Especially if Wizards goes ahead and unbans Bloodbraid or something of the sort, forcing the format towards Midrange.

    I expected a pro team to come with UW or UWR Control, and was surprised to see only a few random guys on it. I think there's a lot to be said for it only being a good choice if you have a ton of experience with it, and most pros don't really play Modern like that.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Wow...UWR is now the top deck on MTGGoldfish:

    https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/modern-jeskai-control-40120#online

    Only 60% of these are the Geist/Queller Tempo deck. In some ways, this is a bad thing, since at any point in time people can blow blue decks out of the metagame with the BS anti-blue hate cards like Choke and Boil.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Quote from jayjayhooks »
    @Cipher - I agree that the meta is primed for UWx decks (it's why I've been working on my guilty pleasure Goblins list lol), and I also agree that Esper is a fine UWx approach to take, and that the stock lists should be abandoned. I don't think that running 12 spot removals and 2 verdicts is going to work for us though, we just need to find a shell in esper that works well with Azcanta.
    Hold on now...I'm only talking about cards, not entire decklists.

    12 spot removals was just an example of someone trying to design a removal package to focus on a specific metagame. Could also be 4-5 verdicts and Runed Halos, or multiple Night of Souls' Betrayal sideboard.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Why do you need more finishers? The planeswalkers are pretty crummy in UW; little Gideon is fresh meat, and Jace is only better than an Esper Charm when you're already winning. Big Gideon is strong, but that's a singleton.

    I've watched plenty of UW streams, and Azcanta is enough to shut down games in grindy matchups, you don't need more finishers. Where finding something quickly matters is against combo, but UW doesn't even run maindeck cards for combo matchups. They just try to play a baby Gideon and pray it gets there.

    Against Aggro, the card you're looking for is Supreme Verdict. Against combo, Runed Halo or another sideboard hate card (assuming you manage to ever flip it). Against control, if you're worried it's going to be destroyed, I'd be more inclined to play another copy of Azcanta over an expensive planeswalker. The midrange decks like Death's shadow or Eldrazi tron are the ones where I might want a maindeck planeswalker, and since Death's Shadow folds to 1 or 2 Azcanta activations, I'd choose sideboard Elspeth's for Eldrazi and call it a day.

    Basically, I don't think this needs to stop being a draw-go deck. The UWR deck that won the Open was draw-go and utilized Azcanta to give it inevitability in slower matchups. Maybe Lingering Souls and planeswalkers is the way to go, but that's a pretty sharp turn to take. Basically a completely different archetype.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Thing is, UWx Control seems to be Tier 1 in a Modern metagame dominated by creature spam. With the last major Modern even prior to the PT featuring 2 "all creatures must die" decks in the finals, I think a lot of pros will end up doing an audible to UWx Control decks. On top of that, if other decks adapt to creature spam and start shifting towards the reactive end of the spectrum, UWx becomes even better. Decks like classic Jund or Junk may make a comeback if Tron and combo doesn't make a big appearance.

    Which brings me to my point: I think Esper may be a legitimate Tier 1 or 2 deck if the metagame holds, assuming it's built right. Back in 2014 with Birthing Pod, Twin, and Jund being the decks to beat, the deck felt like a "best kept secret". We don't have a midrange metagame at the moment, but a creature spam memtagame is also narrow enough to allow Control decks to dominate. I think now is a time to leave behind these cryo-frozen decklists from 2014 and try to metagame with the deck, like the guys playing UWR with 12 spot removal spells and 2 Verdict.

    Of course, this only applies to MODO and large paper tournaments. If you're at FNM then it's possible the decks aren't changing.

    Also, here's a Top 4 UW Control decklist form GP Santa Clara:

    http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=118121
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Anyone want to best on how many Azcanta Control decks top 8 the PT? I'm thinking 2, with at least one of them being Jeskai. Something tells me the deck will be popular next weekend.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    My problem last time with Shambling Vent was that it was too small to eat anything, outside of a few specific matchups. Not a lot of 2/2s in Modern. The lifegain should be gamebreaking against Burn, but in most other matchups, if you're spending all your mana to gain 2 life then it's probably not going to end well for you...

    It could be that the poster just got lucky and spiked 3 Burn decks, which makes the card feel good. The more I think about it, Burn and Humans are probably the only matchups where I think the Vent is strong enough to justify another tapland. I think I would only try a singleton, as a 5th Colonnades.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Other than that, I notice: a) A very constrained manabase. I played a single Shambling Vents, in the past, and kinda liked it. That said, SEVEN manlands are incredibly poor against fast decks, and you primarly want Vents because of the lifegain ability against aggressive strategies. You can go up to 3 Colonnade + 2 Vents (I tried this configuration in the past, it was at least decent) but no more than that. b) Countersquall is a terrible spell for a deck that doesn't really race the opponent. The "black" in the mana cost it's often more relevant than the two damage to the opponent, like when you have to play Push + Esper Charm in the same turn, or Negate + Esper Charm, or something of the sort. Really, it was tested intensively and it just doesn't fit the decklist. Much, much better in a Queller/flash shell.
    I agree that Countersquall looks like a mistake. NOt so certain the manlands are terrible, though. I didn't like Shambling Vent when I tested it, but I can see a universe where 7 man-lands wrecks the creature spam decks people are playing nowadays.

    Of course, he did manage to face Burn 3 times in a single tournament, so the results are going to be skewed. Collective Brutality, Shambling Vent, AND Blessed Alliance is going to be pretty good against Burn.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Quote from TheAller »
    The thing that strikes me is the lack of maindeck Lingering Souls. It seems like one of the very best cards in this combination of colors.
    It is, until you actually play it in a control deck. In a deck with a low creature count it only is effective at pressuring life totals against other actual Control decks. It's worse than Secure the wastes in most matchups outside of Affinity, since your opponent controls how combat goes and can punish double blocks and the like. With the exception of a few matchups, it's basically an unreliable removal spell.

    At least, that was my experience when I ran the card. The metagame has changed in the past year and it's possible it would trade with multiple threats, these days.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Am I the only one who didn't realize you can Cryptic bounce Sanctum of Ugin in response to the trigger to void the search trigger?
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    One thing I was wondering about: I usually play Path-Push-Verdict in a 4-3-3 or 4-3-4 split. I know there are some in this topic that don't like having too many removal spells maindeck, but I'm starting to believe that we should play even more spot removal. The comparison with Jeskai isn't fair, because Burn spells also go to the opponent's face. But then, they have 11-12 spot removals + 2 Supreme Verdict. Maybe a 4-4-3 split would be better? Because fast threats are what we really fear (like, Goblin Guide and Swiftspear from Burn, Ravager/Overseer from Affinity, Queller that blows up our Verdicts, first turn Elf that enable turn two Blood Moon, and more). Having 3 wrath effects seems legit, but upping the count of Fatal Push to the full set might be not a bad consideration, after all. I'm curious about what you guys think.
    That was my point with bringing up the list. The guys were playing a literal pile of spot removal and they faced off in the finals with the EXACT SAME 75. I read somewhere that Burn was popular that weekend for whatever reason, but the chances that they both got constantly paired against it and rode the matchup to the finals seems unlikely. It's possible that Modern is at a point where creature piles are the dominant force in the metagame.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    IMHO, Settle is just super-bad. The "exile" clause doesn't do much, because usually the creatures we want to exile triggers in the opponent's turn (just to make an example: Voice of Resurgence) and we give free lands to the opponent. Other than that, it's pretty terrible against things like Eidolon and Thalia, once that the opponent knows we play it. It may be decent in a different shell (like the "old" UW lists with plenty of Vendilion, Restoration and Finks in it). Not here. I tested it intensively, and always - always - underperformed.
    If you play at an FNM with the same players each week, I imagine Settle would be less effective as a card. As a 1-of, maindeck or sideboard, it's rare that someone gets a chance to "play around it", and if they try it's most likely a situation where they're so far ahead they can afford to hold back attackers.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Torrential Gearhulk. I used to like the card, back then, and the interaction between it and Academy Ruins.
    ...I don't know if we need even more lands that are vulnerable to land destruction, but Academy Ruins might be a thing with Gearhulk. Engineered Explosives happens to be pretty good, right now.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Yeah, I don't think the list translates directly into Esper. There's just a few things he's doing that UW player are also doing, yet you don't see much adoption from people on the forum. Serum Visions, Search for Azcanta, less than 25 lands, etc.

    Wouldn't say Burn is positive for UWR, maybe 45/55 when I played a similar list with Cliques in the sideboard. Mostly you need to reliably kill their 1-drops without taking free damage and you've got them stuck trying to burn you down from 20. Easier when you have 8-10 spot removal spells.

    Making sure you have inevitability maindeck is a big thing, which is why I think Runed Halo should take the place of removal spells like Blessed Alliance. Doesn't touch Tron, but Tron isn't very popular and not so much of a problem without Eye of Ugin.

    These other Control archetypes have been pretty successful with no attempt made to stop decks like Storm or Dredge or Valakut. Esper's strength is probably in it's ability to run extra hand/stack diruption, which puts it in a better position against non-creature decks. Could it be that instant-speed Mind Rot isn't worth it on account of Modern being a creature-driven format? Never really seen the numbers to back it up.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    It's happening...someone won an SCG Open with a 24 land + Serum Vision Revelation deck:

    http://sales.starcitygames.com/deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=118062

    As heavy as the guy was on burn spells, I don't think this can be replicated exactly in Esper, but I'm not so certain the burn was helping him race combo decks, anyhow. We might have a better shot against non-creature decks on account of Esper Charm, which would mean that a pile similar to the 12 removal spells and 2 Verdicts in this list might secretly be a thing.
    Posted in: Control
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