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Thread: Esper Legends

  1. #21
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    Re: Esper Legends

    Mentor and Geist are pulling for the same slots, and I think using either optimally means molding your deck toward their strengths.

    Geist is better in the matchups with less creatures since his downside of being blockable is mitigated by your ability to remove as many creatures as they can block (or kill in response to blocks being declared). An optimal geist-centric deck would be built toward maintaining board control with your resources and allowing it to swing without dying as frequently as possible. I think this style of deck benefits from "hard" counterspells, as much as Modern will let you have at least, like Deprive and possibly Spell Snare if you expect a lot of Snapcaster shenanigans to block Geist. Allow the threats you can kill to land on the table, then swing with geist a few times and counter anything scary.

    Mentor is better in creature-centric matchups and always has the ability to take over any game quickly, which is a desirable trait in my eyes since I always think viewing a deck in the, "What's the most broken thing this deck can do," light is important in modern. Insane draws regularly happen (1-2-Karn!) and being able to have your own ability to top deck out of a bad situation is almost necessary. Geist doesn't really give you the immediate impact that Mentor can, if you're holding back spells. That's not particularly hard to do since your hand hate is useless late game and this converts it to pump spells and tokens.

    If you're going Mentor I like moving to more cantrips and even maindecking a couple Dispel isn't the worst thing in the world (which doubles as blowing out Cryptics in the control matchup -- one you lose some headway on by dropping Geist). Extra cantrips and 1-cmc spells are great for Tasigur, too, so I think there's some synergy to be had there. I don't think I'd play Sorin or Geists if I went with Mentor since you'd want to load up on instants and sorceries.

    Liliana otV I don't really like as much as Liliana tLH, who helps with Tasigur, Snapcaster, and bringing back threats. LotV also, as you said, sucks with counterspells and would force you to reshape your deck a lot.

  2. #22
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    Re: Esper Legends

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Ignition View Post
    Mentor and Geist are pulling for the same slots, and I think using either optimally means molding your deck toward their strengths.

    Geist is better in the matchups with less creatures since his downside of being blockable is mitigated by your ability to remove as many creatures as they can block (or kill in response to blocks being declared). An optimal geist-centric deck would be built toward maintaining board control with your resources and allowing it to swing without dying as frequently as possible. I think this style of deck benefits from "hard" counterspells, as much as Modern will let you have at least, like Deprive and possibly Spell Snare if you expect a lot of Snapcaster shenanigans to block Geist. Allow the threats you can kill to land on the table, then swing with geist a few times and counter anything scary.

    Mentor is better in creature-centric matchups and always has the ability to take over any game quickly, which is a desirable trait in my eyes since I always think viewing a deck in the, "What's the most broken thing this deck can do," light is important in modern. Insane draws regularly happen (1-2-Karn!) and being able to have your own ability to top deck out of a bad situation is almost necessary. Geist doesn't really give you the immediate impact that Mentor can, if you're holding back spells. That's not particularly hard to do since your hand hate is useless late game and this converts it to pump spells and tokens.

    If you're going Mentor I like moving to more cantrips and even maindecking a couple Dispel isn't the worst thing in the world (which doubles as blowing out Cryptics in the control matchup -- one you lose some headway on by dropping Geist). Extra cantrips and 1-cmc spells are great for Tasigur, too, so I think there's some synergy to be had there. I don't think I'd play Sorin or Geists if I went with Mentor since you'd want to load up on instants and sorceries.

    Liliana otV I don't really like as much as Liliana tLH, who helps with Tasigur, Snapcaster, and bringing back threats. LotV also, as you said, sucks with counterspells and would force you to reshape your deck a lot.
    Awesome, thanks! I'm still in the mode where I want Geist, so I'll stick with that for now. I wasn't really looking to replace Geist, just trying to find the best threats in these colors.

    Liliana the Last Hope I ABSOLUTELY LOVE! I will cram one in right away, no questions asked. Getting a Snapcaster back is gas, or even just attacking into something with Geist, getting 4 in the air, then Liliana getting him back. I can't believe I missed that!

    Sorin is a card that is slowly winning me over, especially with Souls. I begrudgingly cut 1x Opt in the beginning to make room for him, and I thought I'd play a few games and drop it. Instead I am finding he unbalances a board state quickly, and he's even good while behind. I think his first ability provides some much needed reach as well, given there isn't any burn in this list.

    Once I settle in on the changes I'll post back. I have a tournament in early August to play in, so I want it buttoned up in the next week or so, in order to practice without changes murking up my decisions.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Esper Legends

    Now that I have Liliana TLH, maybe it's time to work in Fulminator Mage in the sideboard. Also considering 2x Spreading Seas in the sideboard, or maybe even maindeck.
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    Re: Esper Legends

    Retooled the entire deck, focus on delve threats, Thought Scour, and Lingering Souls. Sideboard Jace/LtLH for grindy matchups, but mostly I want to be the agro deck in the matchup. I'm wracking my brain on how to get a 2nd Persecution sideboard and a 2nd Spellbomb. Not sure how prevalent Storm or Dredge will be, but those Spellbombs help against a ton of decks.
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    Re: Esper Legends

    Every iteration is missing Search for Azcanta and it's a crime.

  6. #26
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    Re: Esper Legends

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Ignition View Post
    Every iteration is missing Search for Azcanta and it's a crime.
    Lol, I know...

    What do you suggest for SFA: cutting Liliana?
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 07-26-2018 at 12:36 PM.
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  7. #27
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    Re: Esper Legends

    You are relying so hard on your graveyard, probably too much. 5 huge delve cards with 3 Snapcasters and 4 lingering souls makes me wonder how often you get blown out by any graveyard hate.

    If you don't want to shy away from that I'd do -1 Thought Scour and -1 Gurmag/Tombstalker/Snapcaster (whichever has been least performing for you) for +2 Search. Not only does SfA fill your graveyard better than any card in your deck (one card free each turn) it finds you threats when you need them and is actually still a decent card under Rest in Peace.

  8. #28
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    Re: Esper Legends

    I was thinking the same thing about graveyard reliance. It creates some great synergy and powerful interactions, but grave hate can really mess me up. At this point I don't think I can get away from it though. In these colors, this seems to be the best aggressive/tempo approach. I think if this doesn't work, then esper tempo/delve just isn't a good choice. My response to grave hate for now is: do my best to win g1, address grave hate out of the board and play more 'fair' g2-3 by bringing in Jace and cutting delve threats. The tournament is only a week away (Aug 4th) so I need to commit to a way to build this, and this approach has so far been the best of all the ones I've tried. Fingers crossed that everyone isn't uber prepared for Dredge!

    I know the top 8 lists I've been seeing aren't playing a ton of grave hate. Jund is still maindecking Scavengin Ooze and the spirits deck has Remorseful Cleric available. Delve threats get around that (it's part of the cost) but if I slow-roll my graveyard with Souls/Snapcaster I can lose a lot of value there. Beyond that, Storm is on the down-tick as KCI takes more of the combo share of the metagame.

    Here's the tiers according to mtgtop8.com: http://mtgtop8.com/event?e=19694&f=MO

    Tier 1 - Jeskai Control
    Tier 2 - KCI, Humans, Tron
    Tier 3 - Hollow One, Mardu Pyromancer, Affinity

    Of all the decks listed, there was only Tron with maindeck Relics and sideboarded surgicals, Mardu Pyromancer has a sideboarded Spellbomb/Surgicals, Affinity has a GrafCage in the board, and Hollow One was playing sideboarded Leyline of the Void. Jeskai, KCI, Hollow One, and Mardu all use the graveyard themselves. I don't expect too much graveyard hate, honestly. If players are smart they should notice the same pattern I did and utilize grave hate more in the board, I will prepare for it, but I don't expect it.
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  9. #29
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    Re: Esper Legends

    Well, I went 3-3. I won against UW 'eggs'-ish combo deck with Approach of the Second Sun, Jeskai control, and infect. I lost to GR Valakut, Grixis control, and UB Thopter/Tezzeret. In a nutshell: my graveyard was never really in danger, and even when it was I played around it fine (Leyline of the Void from Infect.) I really wanted something to disrupt at the 2 mana slot besides Collective Brutality. Thought Scour underperformed all day long, dropping it along with the Gurmags. I'm back on counterspells, Liliana of the Veil, jace maindeck. I just needed to have more powerful plays after discard or removal, of which Geist was the only truly great play. I'll post a revised list later, but it's a lot closer to my starting list than the one I played.
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  10. #30
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    Re: Esper Legends

    New list, which should provide a lot more of a control/mid-range plan. Once I get Search for Azcanta that goes straight in for 2x Mana Leak (and Mana Leak might become Deprive.) Speaking of Mana Leak...tron used to be everywhere at my LGS but it was strangely absent at this last tournament, only a handful of players using it. Lower tron saturation = Mana Leak gets better.

    3x Snapcaster Mage
    3x Geist of Saint Traft
    2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang
    1x Tombstalker
    1x Vendilion Clique

    4x Serum Visions
    2x Inquisition of Kozilek
    2x Thoughtseize
    3x Path to Exile
    3x Fatal Push
    2x Spell Snare
    4x Mana Leak
    2x Collective Brutality
    3x Lingering Souls
    2x Liliana of the Veil
    1x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    4x Flooded Strand
    2x Polluted Delta
    1x Marsh Flats
    1x Watery Grave
    1x Hallowed Fountain
    1x Godless Shrine
    2x Darkslick Shores
    1x Seachrome Coast
    1x Concealed Courtyard
    2x Shambling Vent
    2x Island
    2x Swamp
    1x Plains

    Sideboard
    2x Stony Silence
    2x Blessed Alliance
    2x Supreme Verdict
    1x Engineered Explosives
    2x Ceremonious Rejection
    1x Disenchant
    2x Nihil Spellbomb
    1x Sorin, Solemn Visitor
    1x Dispel
    1x Esper Charm


    So once I get them, -2 Mana Leak +2 Search for Azcanta.
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  11. #31
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    Re: Esper Legends

    I finally got my SfA's, will be slinging this deck tonight at a 3-round weekly. I'm not sure the exact configuration I want yet, I may make some last-minute changes. I also got a pair of Field of Ruin, which may make it into the deck. I'll post results tomorrow along with decklist, if anyone is interested.
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  12. #32
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    Re: Esper Legends

    Sure! I'm not actively playing Modern right now because I'd rather punch myself in the face than play another Krark Klan Ironwork deck, but like seeing what works and doesn't. Field of Ruin are great, but it always depends on how many colorless lands your deck can afford to run. I really liked them just to hit opposing SfA's that had flipped, though.

  13. #33
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    Re: Esper Legends

    Well, at the local level anyways, modern sucks ass compared to legacy. I didn't have much fun last night. Esper just can't pull itself together and make a cohesive strategy. I had a couple of nut-draw openers that curved out perfectly, but beyond that, blah. I think my approach is too greedy for one; it really needs 24-25 lands and bigger bombs. Going for tempo into Geist can be good, but other decks are doing more powerful things. Whenever I got a SfA down it felt amazing, that card is bonkers. I'll use it in other decks for sure.

    Here's the list (that I will likely drop for now...blue/red wizards is calling my name...)

    3x Geist of Saint Traft
    2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang
    1x Tombstalker
    2x Snapcaster Mage

    4x Serum Visions
    2x Inquisition of Kozilek
    2x Thoughtseize
    3x Path to Exile
    3x Fatal Push
    2x Spell Snare
    4x Mana Leak
    2x Collective Brutality
    2x Search for Azcanta
    3x Lingering Souls
    2x Liliana of the Veil
    1x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    4x Flooded Strand
    2x Polluted Delta
    1x Marsh Flats
    1x Watery Grave
    1x Hallowed Fountain
    1x Godless Shrine
    2x Darkslick Shores
    1x Seachrome Coast
    1x Concealed Courtyard
    2x Shambling Vent
    2x Island
    2x Swamp
    1x Plains

    Sideboard
    2x Stony Silence
    2x Nihil Spellbomb
    2x Ceremonious Rejection
    1x Dispel
    2x Supreme Verdict
    1x Vendilion Clique
    1x Engineered Explosives
    1x Disenchant
    1x Sorin, Solemn Visitor
    2x Blessed Alliance


    Long story short: Mana Leaks should have been Remands, no question. I needed more interaction in the 2-mana slot but Mana Leak did literal nothing. I figured with Liliana I could just discard them in the mid-late game, or use them to escalate Brutality. Oh no, instead I used other cards to do those and then drew the Mana Leaks when they were dead. I knew it was awkward, I just thought it was necessary. I need to listen to people when they say 'esper isn't any good in modern, I've tried.' Well, now I've tried it for myself, and they are right. Very frustrating losing games to decks I should be crushing (infect, Ad nauseam, Martyr of Sands.) Those were my losses. I beat someone playing a Standard BG Constrictor deck easily, but that is not even worth writing about.
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