Welcome to the Underground Sea my friends, your source for content on Magic the Gathering Standard and Casual formats. Today we have a pretty awesome Standard deck to take a look at. Do you like control? Do you like one sided wrath effects? Does a deck without creatures tickle your fancy? If you answered yes to any of these then you might want to give Esper Planeswalkers a try! One of the greatest feelings in Magic playing a board sweeper with a couple Planeswalkers in play and with this deck you can do that with some regularity.
For reference my list is:4 Glacial Fortress 4 Hallowed Fountain 4 Drowned Catacomb 4 Isolated Chapel 3 Swamp 2 Plains 1 Island 1 Vault of the Archangel 2 Ghost Quarter 1 Evolving Wilds 3 Jace, Architect of Thought 3 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad 2 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage 4 Azorius Charm 4 Lingering Souls 4 Supreme Verdict 3 Syncopate 2 Dissipate 2 Sphinx’s Revelation 2 Entreat the Angels 2 Ultimate Price 1 Detention Sphere 1 Underworld Connections 1 Oblivion Ring Sideboard: 3 Duress 2 Liliana of the Veil 3 Terminus 3 Negate 2 Sever the Bloodline 2 Sundering Growth
Notable Card Choices
Supreme Verdict main deck over Terminus – I chose Supreme Verdict over Terminus because I think it’s a better game 1 card. It can’t be countered which is always nice because sometimes sticking your board sweeper is all you need to swing the game heavily in your favor. With a converted mana cost of 4 you can do the always awesome turn 4: Supreme Verdict, turn 5: Planeswalker and that often times is a nail in the coffin for your opponent.
Main deck Underworld Connections – This card is actually really solid in this deck. Drawing an extra card a turn is almost always a good thing especially in a control deck, and Sphinx’s Revelation and vampire tokens from Sorin help mitigate the loss of life.
Playing the deck:
This deck is pretty straightforward. You want to gain board control with board sweepers and Planeswalkers and then keep it with counter magic and Azorius Charms. With Sphinx’s Revelation, Azorius Charm, and Underworld Connections, you don’t have to worry too much about running out of gas. You want to play your lingering souls more defensively here. Lingering souls is great at protecting your Planeswalkers and/or helping you survive an early assault from an aggro decks. It’s really here to buy you some time until you can find a board sweeper. Now all that being said, once you have board control there’s really nothing wrong with making a Sorin emblem and attacking with the flying spirits.
So I piloted this deck the last FNM I went to and came out with a record of 4-0, 2-0 every match. This deck is really good against aggressive decks. I played 2 Mono-Red decks, a Dirty-Red deck, and a G/W aggro deck. As a side note, this is unusual because my metagame is predominantly control-ish style decks.
The deck is fine game 1 vs Mono-Red mainly because of the life gain you get from Sphinx’s Revelation and vampire tokens from Sorin.
-2 Supreme Verdict, -2 Tamiyo, -1 Underworld Connections, -1 Oblivion Ring
+3 Duress, +3 Negate
I was facing a couple of fairly budget list Mono-Red decks. There is nothing wrong with that, but it does affect how you sideboard. The budget decks I was facing were eschewing creatures for burn spells so I felt comfortable siding out the two Supreme Verdicts. The same thing goes for Tamiyo moon sage. In general you have better things to do with 3 mana than play Underworld Connections. The card draw is nice but you don’t really want to be bleeding too much life when playing Mono-Red. As far as Oblivion Ring, once again you have better things to do with 3 mana, like hold up counter magic. Facing burn heavy decks makes bringing in Duress and Negate is kind of a no-brainer. That is 6 additional spells to combat the burn spells.
Against a more competitive Mono-Red list then you might want to bring in a couple Terminus’s. Unfortunately Terminus is pretty awkward to have in your opening hand so I would keep it between 1 and 2. The key against Mono-Red is surviving the early onslaught that you are likely to face. With Lingering Souls, and vampire tokens, you can usually make enough chump blockers to keep Mono-Red’s creatures at bay until you can find a sweeper.
This deck was a little bit more challenging game 1 due to the speed and numbers of creatures. I was fortunate enough to turn 5 a Supreme Verdict and my opponent quickly ran out of gas. Game 2 was pretty much the same except it was a turn 4 miracle Terminus that did him in. The match up is similar to Mono-Red and your sideboarding should reflect that.
-2 Tamiyo, -1 Underworld Connections, -1 Oblivion Ring
+2 Terminus, +2 Negate
The reasoning for taking out Tamiyo, Underworld Connections, and Oblivion Ring are already explained. Bringing in Terminus and Negate are what you want to be doing because you want additional board sweepers to combat the sheer number of creatures that you will face. Negate is there for any burn spells or a random Nightbird’s Clutches that could just blow you out.
So made it to the finals and had to play against G/W Aggro. As against most aggro decks both Lingering Souls, and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad can make chump blockers for days until you can find a board sweeper. From there your token producers and spot removal can help you grind out a win, and against Thragtusk, it can really be a grind.
G/W Aggro SB:
-1 Underworld Connections, -2 Supreme Verdict,
Against Thragtusk decks you really want Terminus instead of Supreme Verdict. With Angel of Serenity you want Thragtusk to go to the bottom of the library instead of the graveyard. Other than that the game plan against G/W is to make chump blockers, and then grind them out with the card advantage you get from your Planeswalkers or just going over the top with a large Entreat the Angels.
Hopefully there are some more control decks at the next FNM so I can give you all a report of control match ups. If you want to play Esper Planeswalkers at your next FNM, take this list as a generic build and then adjust to fit your metagame. If you think you are likely to face a lot of aggressive decks then you might want to substitute some counter magic for terminus and then adjust your sideboard accordingly. On the flip side if you think you’re going to see a lot of control take out a board sweeper for additional counter magic. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.
Until next time thanks for reading and may you go forth and crush hearts and minds.
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