esper teachings

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esper teachings

Postby oinksterthepig » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:34 pm

i've received quite a few requests for a deck tech on esper dragons so here it is.

people tapping lands like they got spells to play
doesn;t matter what they cards even say
might as well just give me the bye
these mofos forgot about Ojutai

so why play this deck? it showed up and then disappeared. What happened was people figured out how to beat it. playing a bunch of thoughtseize + den protector main, and some duress sideboard. Rebuying a bunch of deathmist raptors with mastery of the unseen was very hard to beat as well. Also the atarka red decks common prior to the pro tour were actually harder to beat than the current all burn spell lists.

Fast forward three months later things are very different. Abzan aggro is playing the annoying, but less dangerous hangerback walker over the unbeatable raksasha deathdealer. People are maindecking lots of blanks like dromoka's command, ultimate price, wild slash etc. Now is the time to move in and crush the meta game.

step one: read paulo's article on the deck.

http://www.channelfireball.com/articles/teamcfb-deck-guide-standard-esper/

he's a master and says it all better than i could.

deck specifics
a quick search will reveal lots of lists

The deck has a core that's pretty locked it
[deck]3 - 4 Dragonlord Ojutai
1 - 2 Silumgar, the drifting death
0 - 1 Ashiok, nightmare weaver
0 - 1 Ugin

4 silumgar's scorn
1 - 2 ultimate price
2 - 3 bile blight
3 - 4 hero's downfall
2 dissolve
4 dig through time
3 thoughtseize
0 - 1 languish
1 - 2 crux of fate
2 - 3 foul tongue invocation
0 - 1 disdainful stroke
0 - 2 anticipate

27 lands[/deck]

some thoughts
anticipate kinda sux: it's cool to be able to spend mana if your opponent does nothing, but the card isn;t very powerful and the format doesn't allow for a lot of durdling

ashiok: sux on turn three it's unbeatable and insane (except against mono red) at other times u just wasted three mana to do nothing. then your opponent ignores it and attacks you. nice card. That being said i've lost to mirrors cuz my opponent jsut jammed turn three ashiok and killed me. so uh wtf do i know?

the wraths are very so-so: 5 mana for wrath is a lot. a lot of decks even have dragons in them. and seriously what is wrath even good against? too slow for mono red. devotion decks have whisperwood, abzan aggro can monstrify fleecemane before you play it or jsut play hangerback + random guy. So wait when do we want this card? That being said you need two just to put the fear in your opponent.

foul tongue is insane: other than hangerback this card is the best. it allows you to leave mana up for counters, take a creature attack, and then play it EOT to stay even. Also great against mono red. (not as good against the token heavy atarka versions). This card plays like warleader's helix in the old jeskai flash days. It sucks against devotion though.

Ojutai is great: he's the reason to play the deck. he kills people very quickly and punishes them for durdling. This is an important option for control decks to have.

silumgar, the drifting death: also great. most decks have no answers. he trumps hangarback and annoying token cards. one of your best cards against abzan. If u think abzan variants are a huge part of the meta play two.

Ugin: great. sux against super fast deck, but the best trump against abzan control and its randomly overperformed elsewhere. helps fight deathmist raptor trash.

Dig through time: basically extra dragons. the plan is to trade aggressively until turn five or six then play a dragon or dig and take over.

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy: this card powers the deck up. Allows you to fight thoughtseize by flashingback the goodies and cycle through your deck to find the appropriate cards. THAT BEING SAID. I do not like it maindeck. That defeats the purpose of the deck by turning on otherwise blank cards like wild slash/ultimate price/etc. I prefer to play it in the SB. So you can do the SB shuffle. Opponent sides out all removal and you blow them out with this crazy guy.

SB thoughts

We already mentioned the SB jace shuffle.

Orbs of warding is unbeatable against mono red.

Have a second Ugin or perilous vault in the side for abzan control (vault very good against mastery of the unseen as well)

have 4 foul tongue in your 75

don;t get caught with your pants down against mono red. have 2 drown/extra ultimate price/whatever makes you feel good. Have a plan

Bring in jace against pretty much everyone not mono red.

silence the believers is very good against hangarback/deathmist/bestow boon satyr shenanigans. I actually like it more than a third wrath against green decks.

gilt leaf winnower is quite good against abzan control and amusing with active jace. I ultimately decided it didn't do enough though.

have extra card draw for the mirror/abzan control (typically two dragonlord's preogative in the 75)

stratus dancer is good in the mirror and against mono red. what a neat card!

obv have some dragonlord silumgar's in the 75. very good against devotion and decks where ojutai may under perform (abzan control or mardu dragon decks with edicts)

tasigur is also very good in the 75 you can bring it in against almost everyone.

Ashiok is a good trump for the mirror, but i think the card is jsut trash and the other cards we've mentioned are more worthy.

When sideboarding you have to keep in a minimum number of dragons or the rest of the deck doesn;t work. That's part of the reason to have some dragonlord silumgar's in the sb.
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Re: esper teachings

Postby oinksterthepig » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:38 am

Blue dragons open mana, can’t lose

Yup still playing esper dragons. Having a control deck with a real clock is very satisfying. as is having the best counter magic in the format (when it works). The tough decision of when to play for the long game versus when to just race with dragons is very interesting.

Why play esper dragons? The reasons above, flying is very good right now, you get to be tricksy in sideboarding, and play cards that are banned in legacy (dig thru time).

[deck]4 polluted delta
4 flooded strand
1 bloodstained mire
3 sunken hollow
3 prairie stream
5 islands
1 plains
1 swamp
4 shambling vents

4 jace, vryn’s prodigy
4 Dragonlord Ojutai
2 Dragonlord Silumgar

4 dig through time
4 silumgar’s scorn
3 foul tongue invocation
2 utter end
2 ultimate price
2 painful truths
2 duress
1 murderous cut
1 grasp of darkness
1 languish
1 crux of fate
1 ugin, the sprit dragon

SB
2 transgress the mind
2 negate
2 monastery mentor
1 tasigur, the golden fang
1 disdainful stroke
3 arashin cleric
3 flaying tendrils
1 ob-nixilis reignited[/deck]

thoughts on the maindeck.

It's pretty stock. The reason being these are just the best cards. 2 mana counters, 3 mana ancestral recalls, 2 mana fact or fiction, 2 mana planeswalkers, some insane bombs and removal. These cards are all the best at what they do.

2 ultimate price / 1 grasp of darkness? Due to mana issues you can;t play 3 grasp and you need a cheap removal spell. most of the cheap creatures are mono color so price is fine. The one grasp could be a ruinous path perhaps to have extra ways to fight gideon.

4 shambling vents/no haven of spirit dragon? Other than having my Ugin annoyingly duressed i've seldom wanted/been able to rebuy my dragons. On the flip side haven WRECKS your mana and makes you mulligan a bunch. control decks are always looking for ways to gain life and use extra mana if they flood out so vents is very good.

Duress/Transgress? duress is better versus mono red and better versus other decks with counter spells. The gag is there aren't a lot of deck with counters. (note we only have 4 maindeck). Transgress is actually WAY better than obliterations versus ramp and in fact is just great against everything. Thanks to Jace the exiling is incredibly relevant. it's possible we should have 2 transgress main and 2 SB.

Should we be playing Ugin at all? Yeah i like him. a lot of decks are very grindy and are full of their own painful truths and planeswalkers and removal making killing them with dragons or countering all their relevant spells very difficult. The beauty is those decks don;t kill u quickly so u can just slam ugin and win from situations you are WAY behind in. I'm 95% on winning games where I've resolved Ugin.

Matchup thoughts

The beauty of the deck is you don't have really bad matchups. there's a lot of play in most of your games. Thanks to flaying tendrils you have much more game against mono red. The deck even does offer up the occasional free win where u slam a turn 5 ojutai, blow them out with silumgar theft, or quickly flip a jace which is very nice to have access to. On the flip side most of your games are GRINDS. presenting you with difficult decisions.

Example: Your jeskai black opponent casts crackling doom on your ojutai, Should you counter? The butt crack of doom is just a one for one trade when u really want to counter their draw threes, on the reverse side ojutai being alive could easily be worth three random cards in their deck. there's no easy answer, but that's what makes the deck rewarding to play.

general Sb thoughts

Tasigur comes in agianst pretty much anyone without reflector mage

silumgar comes out against anyone with reflector mage

ojutai comes out (board out 2) against decks that can easily answer it or as a juke against obliteration (ur leave in all silumgar in this case and be sure to board in extra other threats)

Ob nix comes in to replace ojutai a lot in grindy matchups

mentor is good against decks that try to go wide (rally/hordling outburst decks) and other blue decks he's ok on the play, but not the draw against abzan. also good agianst ramo cuz u need to kill them quick.

the counters are pretty self explanatory. bring them in agianst stuff removal doesn;t work against or that generates too much value (eldrazi, painful truths, collected company, lots of planeswalkers etc)

transgress good against ramp, i often swap transgress for duress against abzan and collected company decks leading me to wonder if i should jsut have 4 transgress. Duress costing one is sweet tho.

arashin cleric good against mono red and deck that try to go wide with 2 power guys (rally)

flaying tendrils just mono red really. that deck seems to be on the decline so i'f ur feeling greedy you can cut that down to 2 copies.
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Re: esper teachings

Postby Schwindt » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:11 pm

How would this deck be fairing nowadays? Is it still as strong as back in the day? I've been out of the loop for a long time.
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