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  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    I bought my foil Charms all the way back in 2012 when they were still less than $1 trying to foil out my janky 5 color modern brew featuring Cruel Ultimatum and Glittering Wish in the same deck. I'm glad now that I did that though Smile
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    On another note, this is what I'm playing at FNM tomorrow - no real idea of the metagame except there is probably not a lot of Dredge, and there's at least one Boggles player, so. Any advice much appreciated Smile I'll report back here with how everything goes.

    Overall list looks fine. Seems a little light on options against burn with only 1 Blessed Alliance. In an unknown meta I'd expect some amount of Burn so I think it deserves some more slots, unless your plan is just to dodge that matchup. I run 2 BA and also 2 Collective Brutality in the 75 which makes my burn matchup surprisingly good.

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Pros of Hieroglyphic Illumination over Think Twice

    - More efficient late game topdeck (4 vs 5 mana)
    - Snapcaster synergy (cycle for U early, flash for 4UU). However, we already have a better target in Esper charm, so this is probably not relevant
    - Better synergy with Delve/Rest in Peace
    - Only costs 1 more than TT flashback

    I think both cards operate similarly, but skew slightly different in terms of effectiveness early/late game. Some split, either 3TT/1 or 2/2 may be reasonable. The upside is definitely there though. I'm playing Rest in Peace in the side and I think Illumination plays enough better with it that I'd consider a 2/2 split.

    EDIT: Actually now that I have another minute to think about it, the best thing about Think Twice is that it lets you cycle it away early but then later cash in the second card whenever it is convenient to, which this can't do. Once you cycle it you're not going to get the second card back from it. I think I'm actually off of Illumination. I'll stick to the 4 TT.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Quote from PimpDonny »
    I absolutely think that 3 snap is the way to go now with push.
    I also think 3 colonnade is the sweet spot as it's not a land you want to be seeing to often in early turns as it's a always a tapped land.

    I can't help but disagree with this. 4 Colonnades have never really been a problem, and they do a lot -- I really don't see a reason to cut one.

    3 Snappy seems pretty good, tho I think lists with 3 Snaps probably need to have 4 Path/3 Push.

    Funny story, I played last night against Living end. I had two colonnades as my only white sources that game, and he blew it up with 2 fulminators. I draw into a 3rd, and he drew into his 3rd fulminator. The next turn I topdeck a 4th, and he is able to resolve Living End with Ricochet trap backup since I only have 2 lands. The thing is, I had a Hallowed Moonlight in my hand this whole time, but because I drew the 4th colonnade and not an untapped white source, I couldn't blow him out with it.

    Obviously this doesn't matter at all in the 3 vs 4 argument, I just thought it was a funny thing that came up in one of my games while we're on the topic of colonnades.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Quote from Aegraen »
    feel the opposite. As Foretold seems not terrible, but not something the deck is in the market for. It's an Aether Vial-esque variant which costs 3 mana and does nothing the turn you play it (and is a non-bo with Logic Knot, Sphinx's, Secure, delve threats (well not non-bo here, but I'm not excited for casting Tasigur for free on T10)). Whereas, Gideon is pseudo-removal and forces opponents to over-extend into wraths, hoses certain decks, and can be a clock if it is needed. He is very versatile, unlike As Foretold. 3 Mana is cheap enough to come down when you want him to. Gideon makes your wraths and other pieces of removal better and is a self-contained win-condition. That's something I'm in the market for. I'm going to test 2 and go from there.

    Similarly, Gideon is perfectly acceptable as a 1-2 of as his + ability plays well whenever, where you really want As Foretold on T3 of the game which means you're going to play at least 3 copies and at that point if you ever draw another (which will happen in our deck), it's terrible. In my experience, once we hit 5 lands the deck doesn't really have trouble playing its spells from the hand. By the time our hand is 3-4+ real cards in hand later in the game the mana reduction effect of Foretold is pretty negligible. Gideon being able to protect himself from Man-lands and Valakut is really nice. Many times, I kill everything, but a man-land gets there.

    I think comparing it to Aether Vial is very apt. Functionally, it is the same card for spells, but I think where Aether Vial is for decks that want to come out fast and aggressive, Fate Foretold feels like the opposite and for decks that want to draw the game out and cast more big spells, which is what Esper does. Most of our spells are powerful, but expensive. The advantage an unanswered Fate Foretold gives you in the late game shouldn't be underestimated. But there are two key things holding it back:
    1. Still dies to abrupt decay, and other enchantment removal. Playing White, a lot of decks already board in Enchantment Removal for potential Stony Silence/RIP, and this might get hit incidentally, making their counter-sideboarding cards live more often, but also overloading that removal.
    2. Not helpful against fast decks. This is probably the biggest reason not to run it, because we're already favored in a long game, and this doesn't shore up any of our weak matchups.

    One thing to note, you said it is a non-bo with X-spells, and while you can't use it to actually cast X spells, it actually plays very well with X-spells. It allows you to max out on X while still keeping up countermagic, or even after having to respond to something on their turn. For instance, you can use it to play a Snapcaster to flashback sphinx's to get +2 to your X, or allowing you to Secure for full mana even after you Cryptic a threat on your opponent's turn.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Speaking of 3 mana permanents that do nothing the turn you play it...

    Unlike Gideon though, if we can afford to take a turn off to play this, it can really start getting us ahead on mana and play more of our expensive spells. It takes only 2 turns to have it pay itself back manawise, and the fact that it can pay for flashback costs makes it quite attractive to use for flashing back Think Twices. It would also let us more aggressively activate Colonnades when we turn the corner and still leave up Cryptic before we hit 9 lands.

    Still, I think it just barely doesn't make the cut in the 75 because I can't think of a matchup where I would actively want to play one of these on T3. Thoughts?
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    I honestly am not sure there's a viable replacement, but in terms of the closest thing, you're looking at a Gearhulk which you can use to flashback a Rev or something.

    You're gonna have a bad time flashing back Rev off Gearhulk (X=0 since you don't pay mana costs)

    How would y'all feel about a 3rd Rev instead of one of the Snaps?

    Also, as a side note for clarity -- I don't advocate cutting Snaps from Esper. I might have to do it just for this event. =D

    I've seen plenty of lists and people advocating for just 2 snaps, so those lists would be a good starting point. I don't know if there's really a good replacement, since Snapcaster isn't just about CA, but he represents the best card you've already played this game in the matchup which is a ton of flexibility. Any other card will just be too narrow. Gearhulk will fill the role against big decks where you want to rebuy your cryptics, but extra pushes are going to be better against anything creature based.

    I definitely wouldn't go for any extra copies of Rev though, it's quite rare that Rev is the best card for any given matchup. I think 1 Gearhulk, 1 extra push, then maybe an extra countermagic would be good. Perhaps you could have some number of Runed Halo's to provide that wide-reaching flexibility that Snap gives you across multiple matchups.

    Or Rattlechains if you just need an Ambush Viper Smile
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Getting to and staying at 7 cards is a very steep requirement, even with a 3U: draw a card (returning lands is also not something we usually want to do). Plus, this is a win condition that literally does nothing in the early game, and likely does nothing when you eventually go to play it as well. That plus the susceptibility to exile effects makes it close to unplayable. This seems like a miss for Esper. Time to wait for the W and B gods Smile
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    I was thinking about sideboard options recently and I started comparing Rest In Peace and Grafdigger's Cage. I noticed that there aren't many lists that tend to opt for the Cage, with most lists running either Surgical or Rest in Peace. I looked back at the thread and I saw that Grafdigger's was prominent in SB's for some time, but it seemed to have fallen away in favor of Rest in Peace, but I didn't find any good reason why.

    In theory, it seems to be Cage performs about as well as Rest in Peace does for most matchups where we want Rest, as well as being able to lock down CoCo/Chord decks. Why is there such a skew towards RiP? In terms of the Pros I see for each card:

    Rest in Peace:
    • Exile effect is useful even if RiP is removed eventually
    • Effective against Delve (mainly Grixis, so pretty narrow)
    • Doesn't die to Kolaghan's Command (less enchantment hate overall)

    • One mana cheaper and no color requirement
    • Stops library effects as well as GY effects
    • Still allows us to Delve for Logic Knot

    The susceptibility of Cage to Kolaghan's is very real, but I feel like in most matchups where your opponent is casting Kolaghan's (Jund, Grixis), you're unlikely to bring in Rest in Peace anyway. However, being able to delve, as well as being a good card against CoCo seem like enough reasons to consider it as an alternative. Am I missing some big reason why Grafdigger's is just not a good card for us?
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    I think that if Miscalculation was to be modern legal, it does deserve some consideration for 1-2 slots at least. Also, while you can compare it to remand, I think the more apt comparison is to Logic Knot. In the early game, they both fill the same role by giving interaction T2-5ish for 2 Mana (Miscalc is even easier on the mana base here) that will permanently answer a card. The difference is of course that in the late game the cards behave different. Logic Knot maintains it's use as a counter by scaling with your mana, whereas Miscalculation will simply swap for another card. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and I think if a deck wants to play Logic Knot, it should at least consider Miscalculation.

    It's easy to under evaluate a card that has 2 mediocre modes, but gives you flexibility and options. Of course, just cantripping is quite a bad option, but nonetheless on a single card, Slightly worse mana leak and slightly worse Think Twice is still going to be better than you might think.

    Note that my point isn't necessarily that Miscalculation would be a card Esper Draw-Go wants, but that I think it's wrong to write it off immediately based on the fact that at face value, it looks like a bad card.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Quote from The Exalted »
    The problem I've always been experiencing versus Ad Nauseam is that once they combo out, they've got Patrician's Scorn/Disenchant/echoing truth/tear with triple Pact of Negation (and probably a duress or 2) back-up. For that reason, I don't see the point of adding anything to combat post combo shenanigans.

    In my opinion, our best bet is to max out on counterspells and discards while somehow put a fast clock: Vendilion Clique is the best of both world in that matter. Esper charming their hand is also great since they will tend to land drop as much as possible for an eventual counter war. Stony Silence is also great at slowing them down.

    I probably don't even need to mention that Surgical Extraction on Ad Nauseam is lights out for them!

    EDIT: Despite all the efforts we may put, Boseiju, who shelters all and gigadrowse are almost unbeatable for us...

    It's important to note though, while they do have answers for Enchantments, all of them require them to add more mana to their combo turn and puts pressure on their resources (even Patrician's Scoren will require an Angel's Grace at least). Having a Leyline/Halo forces them to take an addition 1-2 turns to get additional mana before they combo off, and you're spending the mana to cast that disruption in early turns where you don't have much interaction anyway. I agree that in terms of effectiveness, the enchantments are not the best because Ad Naus is ready and has answers to them, but depending on how many cards you need to side out against them (which is usually quite a lot), these are often going to be strict upgrades regardless of whether or not they represent a hard lock.

    Any way that we can delay the combo so we have time to strip down their hand with Esper Charms seems like the correct way to approach the matchup (at least for Esper Draw-Go) than any kind of tempo plan. They need every single resource as well, lands + cards, so any time we're able to trade 2 for 1 is going to give a huge edge since they have no way to recoup the card advantage.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    I'm inclined to never play the fourth Snapcaster in a deck with, already, four Think Twices and three Logic Knots. I was on the full set for a little time, swapping sometimes a Secure The Wastes, sometimes a piece of removal, other times the fourth Think Twice. Well, the last option is the only one I found "okay" to play the Snap-set, but then it's even worse when we're facing Relic of Progenitus, Rest in Peace without having access to Charm, Surgical Extraction and so on. I'm still not convinced by the ratio 4^ Think > 4^ Snap (at least, when I'm on 4 Path + 3 Push + 2 Secure), but it seemed to be a little more resilient.

    I guess I needed to clarify the context a little bit more, my current configuration is 4 Snap, 3 Think Twice, 2 Knot. I would agree that having 4/4/3 would be way too much GY dependency, but I think given X of those slots, 4 should be Snaps, and (X-4) should be other cards. Since there is a higher density of answers in the maindeck with push and alliance, we're less reliant on Think Twice to draw into them in a timely manner. Though it definitely slightly skews our MU Win percentage ever so slightly towards Aggro from Control, but I think our Control MU's are good enough that we can afford to lose 1 Think Twice.

    I would agree though post-board you don't always want 4 snaps.

    Quote from Lodrrr »

    Goblins, 8Whack and this kind of strategies are very powerful against us. They are too fast for Verdict, AND, contrary to Burn, they don't care much about our counterspells.

    This is very true. A friend of mine is on 8-Whack goblins, too and the deck is scary fast. I see multiple problems facing the deck:

    a) by turn 4 when our wrath effects come online we are most likely dead.
    b) because of Legion Loyalist we couldnt block them with early secure the wastes tokens and also timely reinforcements is useless.

    This means that our common tools for dealing with decks like this are just useless despite target removal like fatal push,path to exile or condemn which we also need to have in our 7 at the beginning of the game. Because of Lantern Control i usually play 1 single copy of engineered explosives in the sb but even this answer needs to be in the opening hand or at least in the first draw to be effective. I feel like the matchup is very bad for us and im curious if we can come up with better solutions.
    My friend told me that anger of the gods is fast enough to deal with the deck, so i was testing flaying tendrils. The card seems ok but i just dont wanna play it at all and also the double B in its casting cost is just too expensive.

    I've only played against the deck once as of now, and it's definitely a close matchup. I think though this is definitely a good reason to run Secure over Zenith. Secure for just 2 is usually going to be a 2-for-1, and save you a ton of damage points very early on. But this does mean you have to make sure you remove legion loyalist.

    The main problem I found was that Path is actually kind of bad in that MU as removal. Ramping them one land often lets them dump their hand that much quicker. I actually don't think EE is very good against them because their CMC seems pretty spread out. They have quite a few ones, but also sometimes tokens, and some 3's. Still better than Wrath effects though, but I think I'd rather have more Fatal Push than something like Flaying tendrils.

    8Whack is another reason I was talking about Collective Brutality, some time ago.

    Against them, is pretty much another quick removal + pitch one of your lands/Command to gain life or strip the burn spells they're sandbagging in hand. We don't care about card advantage, we don't care if we won't play the fifth or sixth land for a while. We just need to survive the first 3-4 turns. That, plus Path & Push, plus B.Alliance&RunedHalo, can assure us some percentage in the match up.

    I'm also a huge fan of Collective Brutality in for the very same reasons

    1. Flexibility. It's easy to overlook how powerful modal cards are (look at all the ones we have already: Esper Charm, Cryptic, Blessed Alliance). Even if sometimes it's just more expensive Duress, the flexibility is often worth it.
    2. Mana Efficiency. Aggro decks usually kill you by being more efficient than your removal, but Brutality changes that. You can control the flow of the game so much better when you're able to trade in cards for tempo in the early game.

    I don't know how much I like Runed Halo against 8-wack. Their threats are varied enough that it's not going to remove more than 1 creature most of the time.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Quote from CMOR »
    2-2 tonight; beat Tron & Jeskai control (flash, not the Nahiri version), then lost to GR Ponza & Grixis Shadow Delver

    Ponza is just a horrible matchup, not much that can be done there other than hope to dodge IMO

    I mis-sideboarded vs Shadow Delver but also felt that I really wanted the 4th Snapcaster in my deck (over Clique), & double Explosives in the 75 (both in the sideboard I think)

    With the increase in cheap interaction that we have available (push, blessed alliance, collective brutality), I'm starting to think running less than 4 Snapcasters may be incorrect. Even more so if you're on Secure over White Sun's. Basically, if you're going to cut a Snapcaster, 90% of the time I think there is a better cut you can make.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    As far as cards in my library, I listed any relevant cards. You can assume the rest are dead draws.

    As for their deck, I have to remember, but I think only 2 Finks had been played, and 2 CoCo. However, I don't think a Company into Finks does it? Bolster would have to target Finks if they played it wouldn't it? They would have to drop a 3 toughness creature in order to be able to put a counter on the Viscera Seer, unless I'm missing some important interaction here. I believe they had 1 card left in hand (then 1 from draw step), but at this point I'm pretty sure they're just sandbagging a land because they've seen Esper Charms, and they've passed with that card in hand for a turn without casting anything.

    I guess the opponent's land count is relevant here as well, I think they had 5-6 mana to work with assuming they activate township. There may not have been a single card that would be able to push through 2 extra points, so perhaps rev for 8 here was actually the correct call.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    Got into an extremely interesting situation against Abzan Coco the other day:

    I'm at 4 life, with Dispel + Sphinx's Revelation in hand (new card), no board, 11 lands total (Note that I do NOT have a Godless Shrine. Quick aside, in decks with a good number of Fatal Push, Godless shrine is a very important land to fetch where you can.)

    Opponent has Anafenza Kin Tree and Viscera seer pumped by a Gavony to be 5/5 and 3/3 (meaning next turn he can Swing for at least 10, possibly 11 if he gets a bolster trigger).

    I have 24 cards in my library, with 1/4 path and 1/3 push used. Here are the reasonable lines that I came up with:

    Rev for 7 (10 mana), leaving EITHER W or B untapped, hoping to draw into EITHER Path or Push to kill Anafenza, pretty much guaranteeing that you survive the next turn with a full grip to untap with next turn, but you die to 1 more point of damage.
    Rev for 6 (9 mana), leaving BOTH a W and B source untapped, meaning both path and push are live, however you are dead on board if you don't draw any removal or chump blocker.
    Rev for 8 (11 mana). You lose if they can push through 2 extra points of damage, but at this point somewhat unlikely. Would have to be CoCo into 2+ creatures and then some.
    Rev for 4 (7 mana), which gives additional outs of 2 remaining cryptics, 2 remaining verdicts, and both path/push, 1 snapcaster as a chump blocker, but otherwise dead on board.

    This was on MTGO, and my opponent has run down their clock to < 30 seconds, meaning if I'm able to survive just one turn I have a very good chance of winning. So what line of play would you take here?

    I ended up Rev for 7, leaving up W hoping to draw a path. At this point I had really wished I had fetched out my Godless shrine earlier, since this would almost have doubled my odds of a live draw.

    Funnily enough, I draw 2 cryptics, 3 lands, esper charm, verdict. His draw for the turn is a Tidehollow Sculler, so he is only able to hit me for 10, putting me to 1. He runs out of time and loses.
    Posted in: Control
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