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Thread: Esper Mentor

  1. #21
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by chinEsE girl View Post
    That was me in 9th this weekend. Definitely should have top 8d, but after starting 6-0 I punted game 3 in round 7, then drew very poorly in round 8. I hadn't seen this thread before, but it's cool to see others coming to a lot of the same conclusions as myself. I'll be posting a quick little report sometime later.
    Dude that's awesome! I actually write a articles for my local store's blog and just did a brief one on your deck here: http://titangamesandhobbies.com/look...ernal-weekend/

    I'm all about this deck right now and just went 4-1 last night on MTGO, 2-1 in the daily. I lost to Miracles by 1 point of damage in game 3 due to my own play errors.

    Here's my current list:

    2 Monastery Mentor
    2 Baleful Strix
    2 Snapcaster Mage
    1 Vendilion Clique

    2 Liliana of the Veil
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    3 Dig Through Time
    2 Lingering Souls
    1 Supreme Verdict
    2 Counterspell
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Force of Will
    1 Spell Pierce
    2 Ponder
    2 Sensei's Divining Top
    1 Engineered Explosives
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    3 Thoughtseize

    4 Polluted Delta
    4 Flooded Strand
    1 Marsh Flats
    1 Swamp
    2 Island
    1 Plains
    2 Tundra
    1 Scrubland
    3 Underground Sea
    1 Karakas

    Sideboard
    1 Flusterstorm
    2 Surgical Extraction
    2 Disfigure
    1 Zealous Persecution
    1 Engineered Plague
    1 Bitterblossom
    1 Vendilion Clique
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Thoughtseize
    1 Disenchant
    2 Meddling Mage
    1 Council's Judgement

    This deck has been an absolute blast to play.

  2. #22
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    This deck is awesome and a blast to play! I won the SCG Worcester 5k yesterday with it. List is here: http://sales.starcitygames.com//deck...p?DeckID=91345

    I'll post a more lengthy report/analysis and updated the OP later but here where my matchups:

    169 People, 8 Rounds:
    2-1 Omnitell
    2-0 Merfolk
    2-0 Burn
    2-0 Infect
    2-0 12 post (Jeremiah Rudolph)
    1-1-1 Grixis Control (Richard Shay)
    0-2 Miracles (Christopher Stitson)
    2-0 Elves
    I was 4th Seed going into top 8:
    2-1 12 Post (rematch)
    2-0 Miracles (rematch)
    Jeremiah did not want to split in the top 8 but the top 4 split and then played out for points and glory. It was late and my last round opponent (Omnitell) conceded before the round started so we could go home. However, the omnitell matchup is great and I was a higher seed in the swiss so odds are I would have won.

  3. #23
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by TheArchitect View Post
    This deck is awesome and a blast to play! I won the SCG Worcester 5k yesterday with it. List is here: http://sales.starcitygames.com//deck...p?DeckID=91345

    I'll post a more lengthy report/analysis and updated the OP later but here where my matchups:

    169 People, 8 Rounds:
    2-1 Omnitell
    2-0 Merfolk
    2-0 Burn
    2-0 Infect
    2-0 12 post (Jeremiah Rudolph)
    1-1-1 Grixis Control (Richard Shay)
    0-2 Miracles (Christopher Stitson)
    2-0 Elves
    I was 4th Seed going into top 8:
    2-1 12 Post (rematch)
    2-0 Miracles (rematch)
    Jeremiah did not want to split in the top 8 but the top 4 split and then played out for points and glory. It was late and my last round opponent (Omnitell) conceded before the round started so we could go home. However, the omnitell matchup is great and I was a higher seed in the swiss so odds are I would have won.
    Congrats on the finish. Your list and Rich Shay's lists were the two that I liked the most in the event and I've worked on both for the past few months.

  4. #24
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by TheArchitect View Post
    This deck is awesome and a blast to play! I won the SCG Worcester 5k yesterday with it. List is here: http://sales.starcitygames.com//deck...p?DeckID=91345

    Grats! Really interested in your thoughts about the miracles matchup.

  5. #25
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    I also liked Rich's List a lot and the matches against him were some of the most enjoyable games of magic I have played in a while. They were super close/interactive, and Rich was a nice guy.

    The miracles matchup is tough, pre-board they are VERY favored, post board its probably even. As someone who has played miracles for like 2 years, esper (especially this deck) is very awkward to sideboard against because of its different angels of attack. The miracles matchup was a major reason for the inclusion of spell pierce and it seemed to help. However, I think I have been sideboarding incorrectly vs traditional miracles without the MD mentors; leaving in too many STP and not bringing in meddling mages. I also am considering devoting another SB (or maybe MD) slot to a Miracles haymaker like bitterblossom, Phyrexian Arena, Cavern of Souls, 2nd rod/stony silence or a needle.

    I tried Esper charm as a MD 1 of for a while, and it was actually quiet good. It can instant speed discard miracles, kill CB. Its good vs omnitell and random stuff like choke or library, and worse case scenario it draws 2 or pitches to FoW. This deck really wants a Kolagan's Command, but esper charm does only a mediocre impression of it.

    I also tried Gut shot which was nuts vs delver, pyromancer and anything with green or white creatures. It also helped enable turn 4/5 kills with mentor by letting you untap with more monks play or just flashback a therapy on turn 3. Although rarely useless, it is generally bad vs burn, miracles, and combo.

  6. #26

    Re: Esper Mentor

    I'd be especially interested to hear thoughts on Deathrite. I'm just picking this up, after kicking around Grixis lists with the same dilemma. They can seem like 2 totally different decks..
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  7. #27

    Re: Esper Mentor

    I am most excited to hear about the merfolk and mud matchups. Any strategies you found to be considerably strong and what version of mud it was would be most appreciated.

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  8. #28
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    I wonder how you consider the omnitell matchup great and the miracle matchup bad while we almost have indentical lists. My experience in GP Lille showed me miracle is a pretty doable matchup while omnitell is way harder.

    Are we doing something way different in playstyle? Do note I'm playing 2 lingering souls that are really great against the traditional miracle decks.

  9. #29
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by Waikiki View Post
    I wonder how you consider the omnitell matchup great and the miracle matchup bad while we almost have indentical lists. My experience in GP Lille showed me miracle is a pretty doable matchup while omnitell is way harder.

    Are we doing something way different in playstyle? Do note I'm playing 2 lingering souls that are really great against the traditional miracle decks.
    In your list you have more twice as many planewalkers, needle, lingering souls and a 4th dig. These are all things that are are great in the miracle matchup and I dont have them. With my list the miracle matchup is close, and it is these kind of small changes that I think could turn it into a positive matchup. So your positive experience against miracles makes a lot of sense. Also, for much of my testing I think I was boarding wrong vs miracles: leaving in too many swords to plowshares. Even against the mentor version, STP isn't good and should be taken out.

    Omnitell, I have another meddling mage, pierces in my maindeck, less dead cards like sorin or lingering souls, and hydroblast helps as well. So not really a HUGE difference. My results against omnitell may be due to playstyle or just inaccurate because of my relatively small sample size of 3-4 cockatrice matches (all of which I won) with this exact list.

    Also, this is how I sideboard against omnitell with my list:

    Out: -4 Swords, -2 Strix, -1 Deluge, -2 Mentor, -1 swamp/Jace (draw/play)
    In: +3 Meddling mage, +1 Disenchant, +1 Councilís Judgment, +1 Hydroblast, +2 Flusterstorm, +2 Surgical Extraction

  10. #30

    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by TheArchitect View Post
    This deck is awesome and a blast to play! I won the SCG Worcester 5k yesterday with it. List is here: http://sales.starcitygames.com//deck...p?DeckID=91345

    I'll post a more lengthy report/analysis and updated the OP later but here where my matchups:

    169 People, 8 Rounds:
    2-1 Omnitell
    2-0 Merfolk
    2-0 Burn
    2-0 Infect
    2-0 12 post (Jeremiah Rudolph)
    1-1-1 Grixis Control (Richard Shay)
    0-2 Miracles (Christopher Stitson)
    2-0 Elves
    I was 4th Seed going into top 8:
    2-1 12 Post (rematch)
    2-0 Miracles (rematch)
    Jeremiah did not want to split in the top 8 but the top 4 split and then played out for points and glory. It was late and my last round opponent (Omnitell) conceded before the round started so we could go home. However, the omnitell matchup is great and I was a higher seed in the swiss so odds are I would have won.
    Grats! I played your list online and went 3-0 with a couple changes:

    -1 Fow // +1 USea
    -1 Deluge // +1 Zealous Persecution

    How did you board for the burn match?

  11. #31
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by princeofperasia View Post
    Grats! I played your list online and went 3-0 with a couple changes:

    -1 Fow // +1 USea
    -1 Deluge // +1 Zealous Persecution

    How did you board for the burn match?
    Glad to hear it worked well for you! Against burn I boarded like this:

    Out: -1 Jace, -4 Probe, -1 Deluge
    In: +2 Flusterstorm, +1 Hydroblast, +1 Timely reinforcements, +1 Disenchant, +1 Council's Judgment

    I posted a tournament report here:
    http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...197#post904197

  12. #32

    Re: Esper Mentor

    Are there any specific reasons why you would rather play Strix over SFM package? I'm having a hard time closing out games when I don't see a Mentor soon enough. Strix is a tempo boost, but when omni/grixis get a quick YP down, it's basically useless. I know removal/disruption, but they have this also in grixis. It's less of a concern against omni, but still a concern nonetheless. I like the MD Deluge, it's very strong for a ton of matchups. I think it may be better to have 2 of it rather than 2x ZP.

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  13. #33
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by Secretly.A.Bee View Post
    Are there any specific reasons why you would rather play Strix over SFM package? I'm having a hard time closing out games when I don't see a Mentor soon enough. Strix is a tempo boost, but when omni/grixis get a quick YP down, it's basically useless. I know removal/disruption, but they have this also in grixis. It's less of a concern against omni, but still a concern nonetheless. I like the MD Deluge, it's very strong for a ton of matchups. I think it may be better to have 2 of it rather than 2x ZP.

    From my phone. I do my best, dammit!
    Strix is a zero maintenance card. You dont care if it immediate eats removal, if it gets discarded, or countered. Its never totally useless. In game 1 against combo it allows for a turn 2 flashback therapy while still giving you a free card or pitches to FoW. Its better than stoneforge in combo matchups. Stoneforge requires a lot of maintenance, even more than mentor. I did try 2 stoneforge and 1 batterskull for a while and it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. It made me want to take out null rod and add a jitte in the SB as well, which I did not like, but also felt weird not doing. Another option that I tried and it worked great was 1 Angler or Tasigur.

    Deluge is more versatile than ZP (which is why its in the main deck), but ZP is way better in a lot of matchups. The fact that its an instant and only cost 2 are a big deal against elves, mom decks, and pyromancer. Maybe in the future I will try 2 deluge though. Hitting delvers, and DRS in particular is really nice.

  14. #34
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Very intrigued by this, thanks for the report as well! Mentor has replaced geist as my all time favorite creature and while I've been playing miracles for the past 3 years, this build tickled my fancy more than even miracles does. Have you considered testing with baby Jace at all Or some number of caverns? Just curious as to what you may have found before I test them myself. And I will more than likely be playtesting and tuning this deck to the best of my ability as well, it seems like an excellent mentor shell.

  15. #35

    Re: Esper Mentor

    Sorry if this is a rude question, what exactly is the advantage of this style of deck (either Mentor or the Grixis Control shell a la Rich Shay) as opposed to just the usual Grixis Delver builds that have won a bunch of tournaments lately? I really like the look of this deck, but I'm just curious what the strengths and weaknesses of the deck are, what metagames it's better suited to, etc. Specifically, it seems like Grixis Delver, Miracles, and OmniTell are the decks any Legacy player should really be gunning for, and it's unclear to me that this has any advantage over the tried-and-true Delver decks. From what I understand in this thread, the OmniTell matchup gets better, the Miracles matchup gets worse, and it doesn't look like the edge in the Delver matchup is particularly large...

  16. #36

    Re: Esper Mentor

    Delver loses a lot of power mid/late game. Our token generator is much better than Grixis, as are our tokens. Grixis' removal is, in my opinion, strictly worse as well, but I dislike Bolt, and my meta is less blue than the national average, so REB is a less than optimal choice for me. I have also always felt that YP is a pretty bad topdeck, whereas Mentor can build up momentum in a fashion that Pyro has no capability of rivaling. I've been playing Delver in the capacity of BUG for quite some time and the mid/late-game strength of this deck, and the fact that it's not the same kind of tempo deck anyway, is what draws me to it. I'm still waiting for a decent stifle build of mentor, though.

    From my phone. I do my best, dammit!

  17. #37
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by Waikiki View Post
    I wonder how you consider the omnitell matchup great and the miracle matchup bad while we almost have indentical lists. My experience in GP Lille showed me miracle is a pretty doable matchup while omnitell is way harder.

    Are we doing something way different in playstyle? Do note I'm playing 2 lingering souls that are really great against the traditional miracle decks.
    Miracles isn't going to insta-kill you, whereas omnitell might on turn 2 - however, omnitell can't really win through turn one [or zero] gitaxian -> sea -> cabal. As overpowered as that opening is, it doesn't beat miracles on the spot and you've got a pretty slow clock; giving miracles time to find Swords or Terminus. You're not likely to win the counter war vs miracles when they have 8x 1 mana removal spells, and this is where lingering souls can help.

    That said, the magic number vs miracles is 2 damage per turn, and lingering souls could just as easily be a less hate-able card type. The most ideal card types would be non-creatures and non-blue so in descending order: planeswalkers and artifacts/echantments [no viable lands that deal damage without becoming creatures]. Anyways the whole point of this tangent is that while lingering souls may help you vs miracles, doubling down on more 1/1 tokens that are also white is very susceptible to Dread of Night effects.

    I am curious though vs miracles, given how stacked their responses are vs mentor [4 force, 4 swords, 4 terminus], you just throw mentors out as early as possible regardless of having no backup right?

  18. #38
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by iostream View Post
    Sorry if this is a rude question, what exactly is the advantage of this style of deck (either Mentor or the Grixis Control shell a la Rich Shay) as opposed to just the usual Grixis Delver builds that have won a bunch of tournaments lately? I really like the look of this deck, but I'm just curious what the strengths and weaknesses of the deck are, what metagames it's better suited to, etc. Specifically, it seems like Grixis Delver, Miracles, and OmniTell are the decks any Legacy player should really be gunning for, and it's unclear to me that this has any advantage over the tried-and-true Delver decks. From what I understand in this thread, the OmniTell matchup gets better, the Miracles matchup gets worse, and it doesn't look like the edge in the Delver matchup is particularly large...
    Its not a rude question. Whenever someone has a new idea in legacy, the question should always be "how is this any better than what already works?". Often times people are just trying new things for the sake of being different/unique, and its NOT better than what already works. I don't think this is the case here though.

    It's hard to compare this deck to Grixis delver, but like you said the miracles matchup gets worse, the omnitell matchup is as good or better. Sure Grixis delver, omnitell and miracles are the top decks, but combined they still only make up about 15-20% of the meta, looking at only those matchups is not very helpful. As a midrange/control deck this deck is naturally better against a lot of the stuff that generally do well against delver decks like maverick, death and taxes, elves or lands.

    This is from a PM I sent to someone earlier, that my be helpful as well.
    ...The archtype is still developing, and there a lot of possible variants that change the matchups. Like some lists have deathrites, stoneforge, more/less planeswalkers, etc. I think what I played is closest to the best version of the deck, but I could very well be wrong.

    For my list, these are roughly the matchups, based mostly on small amounts of testing 2-4 matches but also some theory crafting.

    Favored: Team Ameriaca, Elves, Infect
    Slightly Favored: Omnitell, Storm, Lands
    Even: RUG, BURG or Grixis delver, Grixis control, Reanimator
    Slight Unfavored: Miracles, MUD
    Unfavored: Jund, Merfolk, Burn, 4c Loam

    Stoneblade, D&T, Maverick can vary between slightly favored, to slightly unfavored depending on their exact set up.


    It generally plays most simialar to grixis control, but can kill big or shrouded creatures easier, meddling mages, and a more explosive threat (mentor), while grixis gets burn, a lower curve, blasts and blood moon.
    Is this deck better positioned than miracles, omnitell, grixis delver or control? I'm not entirely sure, its very hard to objectively determine which deck is best. I think this deck is certainly good. In an abstract sense, I think it is about within +/-5% of Grixis Control's power in the meta. Grixis control is well established as one of the top decks in the format right now and this might be a bit better, it might be a bit worse, but it is very close.


    Quote Originally Posted by Minniehajj View Post
    Have you considered testing with baby Jace at all Or some number of caverns
    I tried cavern. It was pretty good. You have to count it as a spell though, and not cut a different land for it, because it doesn't really cast any of ours spells, with almost everything being 1cmc or UB or UU. Its high on my list of things I might play again in the near future.

    I have not played with baby Jace (I had to read him with Rich cast him against me at Worcester). He does seem like he would be good in this deck though. I will have to try him out.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    I am curious though vs miracles, given how stacked their responses are vs mentor [4 force, 4 swords, 4 terminus], you just throw mentors out as early as possible regardless of having no backup right?
    No, absolutely not. You have to be the aggressor, but you can't afford to tap out early, or jam mentors without protection. Letting them resolve an early-midgame CB is really bad, even with mentor in play. I would not cast mentor until any swords in their hand are therapied away, I have multiple mentors, lots of spells to chain in responce to swords, or better things to do like resolve dig or jace. Force on mentor is not the end of the world, but I would not jam a mentor into a possible counterspell or terminus. Postboard, they should have cut some or all of their swords so you have to worry more about their permission than removal. The miracles matchup is about counterbalance, dig, therapy, and SB Haymakers. Mentor is a means to an end after the fight over the important spells is done.

  19. #39
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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    Miracles isn't going to insta-kill you, whereas omnitell might on turn 2 - however, omnitell can't really win through turn one [or zero] gitaxian -> sea -> cabal. As overpowered as that opening is, it doesn't beat miracles on the spot and you've got a pretty slow clock; giving miracles time to find Swords or Terminus. You're not likely to win the counter war vs miracles when they have 8x 1 mana removal spells, and this is where lingering souls can help.

    That said, the magic number vs miracles is 2 damage per turn, and lingering souls could just as easily be a less hate-able card type. The most ideal card types would be non-creatures and non-blue so in descending order: planeswalkers and artifacts/echantments [no viable lands that deal damage without becoming creatures]. Anyways the whole point of this tangent is that while lingering souls may help you vs miracles, doubling down on more 1/1 tokens that are also white is very susceptible to Dread of Night effects.

    I am curious though vs miracles, given how stacked their responses are vs mentor [4 force, 4 swords, 4 terminus], you just throw mentors out as early as possible regardless of having no backup right?
    You guys are considering recurring tokens with Lingering Souls, which is really good, but I think Bitterblossom needs a home. If you can get it turn 2 vs. Miracles, you're pretty well set up for a long game. They pretty much need to find a Terminus every 4 turns or so, and whenever they STP a guy, it helps buff the life loss you take every turn.

    Non-blue, enchantment, ~2 damage per turn (average; if they can't find a Terminus fast enough it gets out of control), non-white for Dread of Night/Sulfur Elemental.

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    Re: Esper Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by jrsthethird View Post
    You guys are considering recurring tokens with Lingering Souls, which is really good, but I think Bitterblossom needs a home. If you can get it turn 2 vs. Miracles, you're pretty well set up for a long game. They pretty much need to find a Terminus every 4 turns or so, and whenever they STP a guy, it helps buff the life loss you take every turn.

    Non-blue, enchantment, ~2 damage per turn (average; if they can't find a Terminus fast enough it gets out of control), non-white for Dread of Night/Sulfur Elemental.
    Bitterblossom is currently the top card on my of "things I want to try in this deck". It will probably just be a 1 of, but I am not sure if its a maindeck card, or a sideboard card. As a miracles player, bitterblossom is one of is one of my least favorite cards to see.

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