Decklist with export Codes
- Merfolk Branchwalker (XLN) 197
- Forest (RIX) 196
- Wildgrowth Walker (XLN) 216
- Jadelight Ranger (RIX) 136
- Llanowar Elves (DAR) 168
- Thought Erasure (GRN) 206
- Swamp (RIX) 194
- Find // Finality (GRN) 225
- Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
- Carnage Tyrant (XLN) 179
- Vivien Reid (M19) 208
- Drowned Catacomb (XLN) 253
- Hinterland Harbor (DAR) 240
- Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253
- Woodland Cemetery (DAR) 248
- Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
- Crushing Canopy (XLN) 183
- Vraska, Relic Seeker (XLN) 232
- Vraska’s Contempt (XLN) 129
- Discovery // Dispersal (GRN) 223
- Hostage Taker (XLN) 223
After playing around with esper control for sometime in the ladder reset, I found it was difficult to maintain a strong list, as there was so many new diverse threats and unique decklists I was facing. Grinding the Best-of-One ladder, against such a wide field is quite difficult, and I was stubborn in my want to play my previously successful list of Esper control. Until I came across a decklist very similar to this, which was basically The top 8 list for Golgari midrange + 4 Hydroid Krasis, which I thought was a really interesting inclusion, considering Golgari midrange gets really awkward when it’s hellbent, so being able to rip something that gains 4 life and draws 4 cards off the top of your library is amazing. This made me curious to look back at my original Golgari Midrange list, and see what kind of things would fit nicely into the list.
The basic changes look something like this:
-4 Ravenous Chupacabra
+2 Hostage Taker
+2 Hydroid Krasis
Whilst Ravenous Chupacabra is a solid card, there’s too many things that want to hit the graveyard now, like Phoenixes and Afterlife creatures. Hostage taker does a better job here, and more. I couldn’t happily find slots for 4 Hydroid Krasis, as I still want 2 Carnage Tyrants for the control match-up.
-1 Reclamation Sage
+1 Crushing Canopy
Reclamation Sage was already something not found in the Top 8 Golgari Midrange version, that I squeezed in there, for destroying Ixalan’s bindings and seal away’s. Crushing Canopy does the same job, but also kills scary fliers like Niv-Mizzet.
-2 Vraska, Queen of the Golgari
+1 Vraska, Relic Seeker
+2 Thought Erasure
Vraska, Queen of the Golgari is starting to feel really underwhelming here, whereas Vraska’ Relic Seeker, feels much stronger in the midrange match-up, and having both planeswalkers being able to pop scary enchantments like Wilderness Reclamation is really comforting.
I’m currently trying out 3x Discovery//Dispersal, which is a niche solution for a few threats, or card advantage on turn 2 / Turn Xx. (that’s the split card that’s hiding behind vraska in the picture above.)
What am I walking into?
UWx Control / Dimir Control
Play all your low cost threats and turn the sideways, often. Try and hold onto Tyrants / Krasis for post boardwipe, and try and let your planeswalkers resolve, they’ll do a lot of work here.
You need to be able to hold consistent tempo, and avoid being blown out by Find//Finality. Usually by rocking an early tyrant, or keep their creature count low with effective attacks / blocks.
Red Deck Wins / Burn
You’re basically looking for Wildgrowth walker + Explore cards, any of your early green spells for blockers is good, and thought erasure on light up the stage can win most games.
These are the big three decks I’m seeing on the Best of One ladder, most other lists are usually so wacky and random and difficult to prepare for, but in the Best of One format it’s basically more important that; 1. You win the Dice roll (Good luck), 2. You get a decent mix of lands and spells in your first mulligan and you don’t have to go down to 5 (Gooder Luck) and 3. You’re opponent doesn’t do 1, and 2 without you. So that said: Here’s a mulligan guide:
This is an interesting starter, First off all our lands come in tapped. But we have 3 of them, and an elf. We’ve then got Jadelight ranger, and a Crushing canopy. Canopy probably won’t do anything for the first 5 turns, but against a wilderness reclamation deck, we can surprise them with value, against RDW it’s a dead card. (except maybe against an experimental Frenzy), and then we’ve got Carnage tyrant with we should be able to reliably stick turn 5-6, especially if Jadelight sees at least one land on the explore trigger. Prognosis: Keep.
This is the Ideal hand against RDW, it has life gain, and a solid curve out strategy. The only downfall is that we don’t have black mana for the Thought Erasure, but hopefully Jadelight will find us a black mana source, and by turn 4 we can thought erasure their remaining gas from their hand. If my opponent doesn’t lead with mountain, I’m playing a turn 2 Jadelight ranger, into hopefully turn 3 walker and Thought erasure, followed by Vivian Reid. This hand has a lot to do, but will only pop off if you successfully hit lands off the top, with my Jadelight explores I’d be throwing any non-lands into the bin. Prognosis: Keep.
This one is a risky keep against midrange / control as it has things to do, and has all the right lands, but against RDW you’ll just die, which is a 50-50 shot in the dark in Best-of-One Ladder. For the articles’ sake I threw it away for a 6 but otherwise Prognosis: You’re gambling with your rank.
Here’s the 6 I got, which is absolutely horrible, and potentially an auto concede. My advice, an average 7 is better than a bad 6. This deck really can’t keep 1 land hands, and can barely handle 2 landers if it doesn’t have solid early explore / Elf. As you get higher up the ladder you need to spend more time carefully considering how your mulligan will fare against each match up; using the guide of 40% RDW, 20% Midrange, 20% Mirror, 20% Control. I will usually blindly keep any 7 with lands in it like an idiot (Don’t be like me) because I don’t trust the shuffler or mulligans on MTGA. (my 16 land RDW list see’s about 6 or 7 land regularly) My recommendation is to treat each hand with caution and assume you’ll draw hot garbage every time. Only mulligan if your hand is unplayable, and consider that you can always concede and just play more games to rise in ranks.
“There are no Failures, only Delays”
Strong advice that I use in my day-to-day life. Here’s me wishing you some good luck, hope you have as much fun playing this list as I do, and hope it brings you success on the ladder!