Magic Market Index for March 15th, 2019
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  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from benjameenbear »
    The list that I've been having some success with on Arena is as follows:

    I play Best of 3 matches and I win a little bit more than I lose. The matchups that I have a tough time with are Mono-Red, the mirror match, and Mono-Blue Tempo. Sultai Mid-Range feels pretty manageable, particularly with the 4x Kaya's Wrath being mainboard. I find that I enjoy any Nexus of Fate matchup because a lot of them try and sideboard/keep removal in the main in anticipation of me bringing in Thief of Sanity. Juking them out feels fantastic, especially with the Ego stealing all of their Nexi with Counter backup.

    I'm a little torn on the sideboard Disdainful Strokes. They're good against any mid-range deck and most Control decks, but I kinda want to shore up my Tempo and Mono-Red Matchups with more cheap removal. I'm contemplating going to just 1 The Eldest Reborn and adding in another Cast Down in the side. While I loved siding in [CARD}Thief of Sanity[/CARD], everyone is expecting it now and anticipates it, so it's no longer as effective as it once was.

    The Matchups that I've come across as being most common are Azorius Aggro, Sultai Mid-Range, Mono-Red, Esper Control, Gate variants, Mono-Blue Tempo, and Nexus of Fate decks. Izzet Drakes will probably pick up in popularity soon, but that matchup feels manageable with the heavy Removal count mainboard. Either way, the fact that the meta has settled down a bit makes Control a better option than it was previously.

    My favorite part about Esper Control is how I no longer lose to Carnage Tyrant. That card literally made my blood pressure rise every time I tried playing against it with Jeskai Control. No longer!

    It's been mentioned a number of times by professional MTG players and writers, but the mainboard Thought Erasures go a LONG way in shoring up some difficult matchups G1. Taking a Mono-Red's Frenzy is game-changing, or nabbing a Vivien Reid or Find//Finality can be pivotal in winning G1. It's probably the best card for Control decks right now, and I could easily see a Grixis variant doing well. Maybe a Grixis variant with mainboard Thief of Sanity could be intriguing and effective against the current meta.

    Hope that this brief analysis helps.

    If you want to beat red, I would (in order of importance)

    1. Find room for Moment Of Craving 3 and 4. Best card in the match.
    2. Play 2-3 Basilica Bell-Haunt in the SB. A 3/4 wall that gives you 3 life, and takes a card out of their hand? Very strong. Alternatively, you could play the white horse (the name escapes me). gains 3 when it comes in, gains 3 every time an opponent targets it. Less useful against mono blue since it doesn't fly or strip the hand.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from kpal »
    Actually Kaya's Wrath and Grace being a non-bo is quiet the opposite. You almost want Grace in the grave yard when you're on your last breath so that you reset your life total back to 10.
    My prediction is that Gruul will be the dominant creature deck. Requiring cards like Mortify. which are an upgrade over Divine Intervention since it takes out monsters too.
    Therefore, my suggestion for an esper build would be either A) UW based splashing black for only 4x Mortify. B) BW based splashing blue for only 4x Tefi

    I only meant non-bo as possibly blowing up your own creature. It's still good in the GY, it's just not killing your opponent.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from Simto »

    Yeah, it's bull***** they made Azorius crap because of Teferi. I still went with them at the pre release either way hehe.

    To me Quench seems better than Syncopate. Syncopate is almost always the first card I side out and they kinda fit the same spot.

    The question to me is still, is the deck strong enough now? Is it better than Niv Mizzet? I like the non damaged based removal from black over the red damage spells, but Niv Mizzet alone is pretty much better than everything else hehe.
    I still think jeskai is stronger, but I prefer playing with Esper.

    Teferi AND Niv-Mizzet. I think Esper is the winner (besides Gruul Rolleyes ) due to Kaya's Wrath, Mortify and Consecrate//Consume. Tested against Gruul yesterday, Mortfy and Absorb make all the difference. IDK about 4 Kaya's Wrath unless you're playing tap-out, but it's good. Vs. Rhythm OF The Wild, they just give all of their guys haste (those that don't already). Angel Of Grace looks good also, but it's a bit of a non-bo with Kaya's Wrath. If you want to be greedy with it, run Ritual Of Soot with it, and fly over for the win. I think you give up some points G1 vs. Jeskai, but you're disadvantaged there anyway. Just have Chromium and a bunch of hate ready in SB. I think Angel is much better G1 against everything not control, so the math probably works out.

    I think the balance has shifted towards Esper at least being at parity. We were already better against some decks, but I think we picked up points in every matchup. Jeskai (actually, Niv-Mizzet, the rest of the deck is whatever) will still be a problem, but the upgrade to Mortify is HUGE. It hits Niv unlike Cast Down, and blows up their Ixalan's Bindings. Kaya's Wrath is also serviceable G1. G1 is still bad, largely depending on how many Niv they draw, but I feel the SB games are much better than before. You will need to know when to scoop G1 to save time and be aggressive in SB games.

    @kpal - Do yourself a favor and don't play Quench. It's terrible smh.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Cindervines ( spoiler)
    Quote from Courier7 »
    Between this and Rhythm of the Wild it seems unlikely that Control has much prospect for long-term success. Demystify will have to be in the main.

    Mortify will be huge. Going to 4 main.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Rhythm of the Savages
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Mothership Spoilers 1/4/2019 Lizard Wizard
    Rough cost, but decent card.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Mothership Previews 1/2/2019
    Quote from AnImAr_ »
    half x life and half x cards? Sigh.

    You can't have Sphinx's Revelation as a CAST TRIGGER, lol. Come on, guy lol. Especially in the ramp color. This is abuseable as is.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Absorb
    Very disappointed after getting Ionize. 1UW, gain 2 or 3 would be much better. Even in straight UW, I would play Sabotage over Absorb. Maybe as Sabotage 5-6 if for some reason you want more than 4 Cancels...
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from Simto »
    Haha thanks. I think I'll have to win 10 FNM's to have enough store Credit for one or two more Teferi hehe. FNM's here in Denmark are pretty small.

    Yeah, the Mortify reprint is pretty sick. I still like cast down for the lower cost, but Mortify will be sick.


    I like the cost of Cast Down also, but I think hitting legends (Niv-Mizzet) and removing enchantments (Ixalan's Binding on your Teferi) will make it worth it.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from Fred Bear »

    Thanks for the answers... Hopefully, you won't mind some follow-up discussion...

    I'm going to try the Ritual of Soot based on your comments. I see a lot of Adanto Vanguard, so I may keep a couple Golden Demise in the board, but otherwise, I too am wishing for Supreme Verdict to make a comeback.

    I'm also going to try the Treasure Map. I've been very impressed with the 'turbo mill' package of Sabotage, Thought Erasure, and Discovery as quick flips of Search for Azcanta can be a significant advantage. That said, here are a couple more questions:

    1) Was Dream Eater worthwhile? I've played a list (link is not me) set up similar to yours (no Treasure Map) and I just really didn't care for it. I like flash, etc. etc., but in most match-ups it just ate a removal after 1 (or less) hits. If I had the permission, I really didn't care to protect it and it didn't feel necessary. Love to hear other thoughts, though.

    I don't particularly like the card, and was hesitant to try it. It's a lot better than I thought. It slows down a lot of problematic permanents. Once in the tournament, I cast it to throw 3 or 4 cards in the GY to flip Search, which was huge.

    2) Did you miss Eldest Reborn in the main? I find it to be a card I search out, a lot. I like to play 2 maindeck, but it may just be my playstyle as opposed to 'right'.

    Kinda, but not too much. I love that card, but IMO, it is more of a tap-out style card. SB, it does a lot in the appropriate matches. Especially against Niv when you haven't or can't Ego them.

    3) Did Vona do enough? I've played Profane Procession from the Board, but I've not played Vona in a while. At 5 mana, is it fast enough to matter (I'm assuming it comes in vs aggro)? What am I missing?

    The lifegain removal is the MVP in the aggro matches, but Vona is really good. I never activated her, but a 4/4 vigilance lifelink creature is very good. She gets you out of Banefire range fast and slams the door on them quickly. Cheaper than Chromium. In a pinch, she can destroy History, Frenzy, The Immortal Sun, any planeswalker. I sometimes bring one in against GB if they appear to not have a lot of removal. Also good against GW Tokens.

    Personally, I've found it comes down to what 'has' to be destroyed and when, which could be completely wrong, of course. I find you almost have to pick and choose your one-for-one removal and not play a cast down on a creature that can be dealt with using a different card. (I win a lot at less than 5 life by the way...)
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from Simto »
    Congrats on the great result! Awesome to see you running Unmoored Ego. Love that card.

    I don't get why so many pick Golden Demise over Ritual of Soot. Ritual is insane.

    I love Esper Control. Going to run a bad variation of it at my next FNM, but I'll have fun doing it hehe. I run more white to have access to Lyra and Settle. I only have two Teferi though...

    How did you like having so many moment of cravings? Last time I ran esper I had 2 or 3 main and the rest in the sideboard, but every single time I drev one I wish it had been a Cast Down which I only had two of. My current build has no moment of craving and four cast down main deck (pseudo Fatal Push...) so I will most definiteley be up against decks with lots of Adanto Vanguards hehe.

    Thank you!

    Moment Of Craving is amazing right now. The life helps you stay out of Banefire range, along with being cheap, and dealing with Adanto Vanguard. It's way too good vs. Red and White Aggro to not run right now. It also is underrated vs. Golgari and Izzet Phoenix (Phoenix and Electromancer). I feel the same way about not having the right answer, but it is a necessary evil. I can't wait for Mortify, as I think I finally get to hang up the Cast Downs for good, and have more enchantment removal, easing the need for Invoke The Divine. It was hard cutting the 2nd Invoke, but it paid off.

    Unfortunately, there is no substitute for Teferi. Off the top of my head, I would add additional The Eldest Reborns, so you can get yours back, along with the utility. Sagas are like fixed 3 use planeswalkers. Hopefully,you can pull off some wins, and earn your other 2 Teferis with store credit or trades. Good luck!
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from Fred Bear »
    I'll ask... I've been playing similar on MTG Arena for a while now and it's probably a much different meta, but I'd love to know a few things or at least get your opinions...

    1) How did you feel about Ritual of Soot? Do you feel you could support white sweepers by including Treasure Map?

    I view Ritual as a necessary evil. However, it is better than it appears. It's good in every match save for Jeskai and Izzet (It does blow up the 3 mana Drake though, a bonus G1). This build is VERY light on white, so I wouldn't risk depending on Map mana to sweep. Having one in your opener allows you to sequence differently than normal. Smart players will prepare, but with spot removal that gains life, this is usually a lose-lose for aggro. In my ideal world, Supreme Verdict will get reprinted, and Hallowed Fountain will allow me to cast it, but I think I stay with Ritual. I don't want to ramp my opponents into Niv-Mizzet and Banefire, two of the most dangerous cards for this deck (3 is Carnage Tyrant).

    2) Was Disdainful Stroke worth a maindeck slot?
    I asked the same thing, but it worked out well. Great against GB, anything with Crackling Drake. Bad against red and white weenie, but I never drew it and was screwed. Also, the red I played against was Goblins, so I had Trashmaster and Frenzy to counter with it. I filtered and drew so many cards with Map/Teferi, that it never bit me. Same with Negate, though Negate is probably a bit more versatile.

    3) No Thought Erasure in the 75? Would you consider it the next time out if you play this?
    No. I tried builds with it main and SB before, and did badly. I love it, but I feel it is best in a Disinformation Campaign deck. I've seen Esper decks with the combo, but this is reactive, so we're not in much need of it.

    4) I've found the Golgari match-up to be build dependent. Was there anything special about that match you remember?
    As I've said before, Detection Tower makes this match winnable, especially game 1. Without it, it's can you find and flash in Chromium and win before Carnage Tyrant kills you. He stumbled on mana G1 so I killed and countered everything after cleaning up with Ritual. I make sure whenever possible to save a Contempt for that stupid Reaper, he's very bad for us. G2, he drew better, but I kept up, took two or three hits from a Branchwalker or Ranger to play Thief Of Sanity. Thief decided to hit every time, and I steam rolled him. A highlight was him exploring a Carnage Tyrant away to keep him from me. LOL. I landed a second after playing a Ranger to clog the ground. Then, I found Tyrant and something else good. He scooped to Tyrant when I went to play another of his cards that turn. Since they all but abandoned Assassin's Trophy, their Contempts are stretched between Teferi, Thief and whatever you can take with Thief. Also, if I draw both Unmoored Ego, the 1st takes Tyrant, unless I have double Tower and a draw engine/multiple kill spells including at least 1 Contempt. Next, I take Contempt. If they can't kill Teferi and Thief, they usually lose.

    A side note (not to you, in general): Going to say "I told you so" on Detection Tower. It also beats Dive Down. I had my Jeskai opponent cast it to save Niv-Mizzet from a Contempt. I activate. He Dives again thinking it would work. I look at him, tell him Niv dies anyway. He calls the judge, confirms I'm right, loses his Niv, and then gets beat up by Chromium. I don't think Esper works right now without Tower. Mono Blue is a terrible match unless they draw badly, and it blanks the 4 main deck Dives they play.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Won a 32 man PPTQ Saturday with this:

    Round 1 - Mono Red Goblins L 1-2 (Stuck on the 3 lands in opening hand despite T2 Search with Ritual, Ritual, Contempt in hand...)
    Round 2 - Mono White Aggro W 2-0
    Round 3 - Jeskai Control W 2-0
    Round 4 - Golgari Midrange W 2-0
    Round 5 - Izzet Phoenix W 2-1

    Top 8 - Sweet, Sweet Revenge From Round 1 - 2-1
    Top 4 - White Aggro with Red Splash - W 2-0
    Finals - UR Drakes with Quasiduplicate - W 2-1

    I'm not great on details, I don't take notes, but I'll answer all reasonable questions. Fire away.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UB(x) control
    Quote from PixelW »

    I'm not going to count on everyone copying the same 75 and that single copy of Search will steal games without an answer. I checked competitive G/B lists for Plaguecrafter after losing to it randomly, there were zero. The Eldest Reborn is rare - using the PT as an example, there was only one copy between the top four G/B lists (sideboard included). If they adjust I will adjust, but they don't have much incentive to plan for Nightveil Predator. Next set those will just be Settle the Wreckage, naturally.

    According to Frank Karsten's math 26 lands is 86% likely to have four lands on turn four and 72.3% for five on five. Going to 27 is only 88.3% and 76% respectively. Instead of gaining 2.3/3.7 percentage points of land drop consistency (and gaining a few % chance of flood) I made a conscious decision to fit answers for 2-3 Tyrants and 4 Phoenixes in my main. As I mentioned before, Tower alone is not an answer - in Esper you only have 5-6 removal spells that can kill a Tyrant (not including Teferi, but you'd rather not use the -3 cause you have to answer it eventually). Combine that with a bunch of planeswalkers and your Vraska's Contempts end up stretched pretty thin. I was factoring this in and couldn't really solve the puzzle until I saw Jeff Hoogland add Predator to a follower's Esper list while streaming. It overperformed for him and he's even adding them to his other U/B deck, it's been great for me too. If I wasn't worried about Search I would just run Towers but I think this is the best compromise if you want to keep two Fields.

    Sounds like you've never had the match where you have to deal with the same Tyrant 3 times. I have...

    There's also the 4+ trample you take, but if it works for you, cool.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UB(x) control
    Quote from PixelW »
    I was previously running two Detection Towers, I switched in part because of the Jeskai builds running four copies of Azor's Gateway but also because most other builds still run 1-2 Search for Azcanta in their 75 (I checked lists on when deciding). You can get punished hard if you're not prepared for those lands, it's hard to get punished for running Nightveil Predator. It's great against everything but Boros and Arclight Phoenix, and is still plenty serviceable in those matchups. It also doesn't require another (removal) card or playing around Assassin's Trophy to do its job. That said, I did swap the Vona's Hunger in my sideboard for a Detection Tower earlier today. I agree the ability to answer repeat Tyrants is huge, I don't think I can run two Fields and a Tower on 26 lands or that's what I would do (too much colorless against decks with all basic lands).

    On another note, I swapped an Essence Scatter for my fourth Vraska's Contempt. Most things you want Scatter for get cleaned up by Ritual of Soot, Contempt is better against Phoenix/Niv and I want all four copies.

    The only Jeskai to top 8 the PT ran 1 Search, 0 Gateway. So, that's what all the bandwagoners will run to. Tyrant is way more dangerous than anything Jeskai has, save for Banefire. If anything, I'd go 2 Tower, 1 Field. Also, 26 with no early cantrip/draw is dangerous. This deck cannot miss land drop 1-5. You really want to make 6 so you can Teferi with hard counter backup. This would also lessen the impact of the colorless lands.

    I forgot to mention in my earlier post, Specter loses to Plaguecrafter\Eldest Reborn also. The only answer they have to Tower is Trophy, which is usually a 2 of, that they can't recur.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
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