With the new spoilers from War of the Spark what does my favorite deck: Esper control, get to add to its already fearsome 75? Let me give you my ten favourites.
- Liliana Dreadhorde General
Liliana Dreadhorde General looks like a late-game powerhouse, post board wipe, on turn 6 when your opponent has played one or two threats, you’re able to kill them both (through hexproof!) and then start pumping out zombies, that if they chump block and die, you get to draw cards. Sounds like great pressure in the control mirror, and a great card in the Sultai midrange match up.
- Dreadhorde invasion
Dreadhorde invasion is going to be a fantastic sideboard card for the mirror match, as a lot of removals will be boarded out, and this card’s ability to continually make a threat will be scary. Starting a turn 2 with Dreadhorde invasion, Thought erasure, or Search for Azcanta while on the play, can really help run away with the game.
- Dovin’s Veto
Dovin’s Veto basically just replaces the two copies of negate in our mainboard. We have the mana base to support a white mana over a colourless and the upside is huge, being able to win the counter war is big news, just make sure that if this is a second counter spell on the stack, you’re targeting the original spell, not their counter spell, so that they don’t counter your initial counter spell, making their spell resolve! (sounds complicated when written out, but I swear it makes sense)
- Teyo, the Shieldmage
This card will definitely find a home in my sideboard as one or two of. If Mono red continues to be a pest, this card will be fantastic, It absorbs 5 extra damage before you can be hit with burn spells, or you can minus 2 to be able to successfully block 60% of their creature base. On turn 3, this could buy you enough time to stabilize.
- Liliana’s Triumph
I’m pretty convinced I’m going to be playing 1-2 of these mainboard, and maybe 1 sideboard. Being able to ‘edict’ a creature against Sultai can be strong if Carnage tyrant becomes a staple again, and potential instant speed discard, with Liliana out, can be insane. This card also gets around player hexproof as it doesn’t target a player, so it’s very effective and getting rid of a single-creature-threat boardstate.
- Ravnica at war
Ravnica at war looks like it’s going to be Kaya’s wrath number 5 and maybe 6, probably replacing Cleansing nova in lists. Being able to hit basically, all planeswalkers (about 70% of the playable ones), as well as a lot of creatures (probably board this out against Mono U or R) gives a very strong and versatile card, just don’t exile your own Teferi!
- Teferi Time Traveler
I am very excited to see this card in action, 9 times out of ten I’m going to be using it on my Turn 3 (hopefully their turn 2 if I’m on the play), to bounce their 2 drop, and draw a card. It then gets to sit there, slowing down my opponent all game, while I get to cast Kaya’s Wrath or Cry of the Carnarium at instant speed. Whilst this plus one ability is basically the opposite of addendum, it means that we have more versatile options when we have to tap out our lands, not to mention a possible instant speed thought erasure in our opponents draw step!
- Time wipe
In a single creature bomb list, usually Lyra, or Angel of Grace, being able to bounce that card to your hand then wrath, could potentially be very powerful, but I’m worried this is more of a sideboard card versus midrange decks, as it is too slow and too costly to compete with the mono-colored lists we’re seeing today. That said I’ll be eagerly looking to see if this card sees any top 8 play, or if it’s just a commander card.
- Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage
Davriel looks like another great potential sideboard card for the control match-up. Late, late into the game when both players are in topdeck mode, this card can be backbreaking. Ensuring that they are hellbent, on 1-2 choice turns, then sitting there on 1 loyalty waiting for a Vraska’s contempt doing 2 damage every turn, meanwhile you have other planeswalkers/creature threats, can be very scary. I’d consider playing at least one on the sideboard.
- Nicol Bolas Dragon God
Sooo, there’s also this card. Yeah it’s red, but we can probably sneak in a single red-source, or that cool multicolored land that lets us cast planeswalkers, we could even cheat it into play using the Eldest reborn, but I wouldn’t risk playing more than one copy. Being able to use a second copy of either Teferi’s kit, or Kaya’s abilities, on top of the natural taxing +1 ability that Nicol Bolas has, could be huge. It’s probably more trouble than it’s worth, but I remember a time when decks would splash double blue for Sphinx’s Revelation, so anything is possible.
These are my favorite ten cards from the spoilers so far, and it’s enough for me to confidently say that I will still be jamming esper control after the new set comes out. I hope this gives you a little bit of insight as to what you’re going to do with your 75’s post-release, and I hope you all crack good at pre-release!