How to beat the Standard metagame with Esper Midrange by Mogged

09/10/2022 · 8 min read

About the deck: latest version

This is my current version of the deck after a few weeks of metagame evolution.

Esper Midrange. Builder: Mogged.MTGA - Magic Arena
1st in 09-Oct-2022
Maindeck (60)
Creature [14]
1  Ertai Resurrected   $0.35
2  Dennick, Pious Apprentice   $0.59
3  Obscura Interceptor   $0.35
4  Raffine, Scheming Seer   $3.99
4  Tenacious Underdog   $2.49
Instant [8]
1  Spell Pierce   $0.25
2  Infernal Grasp   $1.49
2  Cut Down   $0.59
3  Make Disappear   $0.79
Enchantment [6]
2  The Meathook Massacre   $49.99
4  Wedding Announcement   $12.99
Planeswalker [5]
2  Kaito Shizuki   $5.49
3  The Wandering Emperor   $29.99
Land [27]
1  Island   $0.01
1  Takenuma, Abandoned Mire   $7.49
1  Swamp   $0.01
1  Plains   $0.01
1  Otawara, Soaring City   $16.99
1  Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire   $6.99
2  Adarkar Wastes   $2.99
3  Shattered Sanctum   $9.99
4  Shipwreck Marsh   $3.99
4  Raffine's Tower   $11.99
4  Deserted Beach   $7.99
4  Caves of Koilos   $0.39

Sideboard [15]
1  Negate   $0.25
1  Farewell   $8.99
1  The Meathook Massacre   $49.99
1  Cut Down   $0.59
1  Dennick, Pious Apprentice   $0.59
2  Liliana of the Veil   $23.99
2  Knockout Blow   $0.25
2  Duress   $0.25
2  Disdainful Stroke   $0.25
2  Destroy Evil   $0.25
Buy this deck:

$212.66 Tix @cardhoarder   $5.32 / Week @cardhoarder   $489.10 @tcgplayer   $563.45 @cardkingdom  

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Some points about the deck

Esper has quite a lot of variation when it comes to builds, it’s an attempt to go over the midrange metagame and I think maybe reckoner+counters is what you want to do in this metagame but unfortunately reckoner is unable to be crewed by the 3 drops making it a really bad t2 cast on the draw and for that reason I am not including it.

Moving on to Ao-shin and Sheoldred, these are high risk high reward cards that might get answered really easily and only work as a last resort always hoping that the opponent is tapped out or simply doesn’t have the answer. Considering the huge risk you are taking by running this versus the mirror or versus Grixis I do not consider them an option especially when the rest of the shell isn’t built to support them

I think winning in this metagame requires filling turn 2 and turn 3 hitting the 4th land drop and passing with either Disappear/Obscura/Wandering/Ertai,27 lands and many 2 drops and 3 drops give you the best chance of putting the pressure on the opponent forcing them to tap.

For example a t4 sheoldred being cast into obscura will almost always lead into a win and this is what I want to maximize with this list.

VS Rakdos sacrifice/Rakdos Anvil

Rakdos sacrifice abuses easy to access synergies to outgrind opponents while putting on a “stealthy” clock, their weakness is that their gameplan eventually leads to a late game that is vulnerable to a big Meathook Massacre turn and facing more higher converted mana cost cards per enemy midrange, Sheoldred inclusion makes sideboarding challenging since Esper’s gameplan is to ignore 1 for 1 trading to beat the rest of the deck.

This is a slightly favored matchup due to having fast access to massacre and the edge in grinding.

On the play:

On the draw:

VS Grixis midrange

Grixis has a very similar plan to esper but is able to use reckoner bankbuster since it’s 3 drops are able to crew it, Bankbuster is a blue midrange tiebreaker since they can combine it with 2 mana counters forcing their opponents to always run into them, in the above build I think Gul_Dukat displays what I consider to be the future of Grixis by by cutting Bloodtithe harvester (mana base can’t support BR colors turn 2 without taking deckbuilding damage) and Sheoldred (free removal target game 1 for the adapted metagame and randomly tapping turn 4 in an instant speed deck) ending up with a more cohesive draw go build that plays really well versus the current midrange metagame.

I consider Grixis the best deck right now and the worst matchup for Esper,my sideboarding plan has to protect from multiple angles of game ending attacks (Bankbuster draw go, Sheoldred g2, Corpse Appraiser) accomplishing only a little bit of each. Thankfully midrange mirrors are mostly decided by resolving the first card advantage engine on the board and long grindy games requiring a lot of decisions that will certainly test your MTG skills making this matchup only a 45-55.

On the play:

On the draw:

VS Esper midrange

The mirror is very similar to the grixis matchup, being the first to resolve a 3 drop will probably be the deciding factor but the games will tend to be long and grindy, if you are facing the different variations of esper you will have an advantage by not playing the bad high cmc cards, remember that esper builds vary a lot so you might need to customize sideboard (for example add more disdainful vs Ao-shin)

On the play:

On the draw:

VS Monoblack Midrange

This is a deck that is slowly fading away due to simply being the smaller midrange and a small pool of colorlocked options unable to deal with the uptrending decks, it’s inability to pass and having to tappout for big sorcery threats make this a favorable matchup ,after all I created this Esper deck to beat my week 1 Monoblack deck.

On the play

On the draw

VS Monowhite Invoke

This is a deck that goes above simple midrange like monoblack but is unable to beat counters and in our case dennick, Jujubean has a build that threatens a big invoke turn without taking deckbuilding damage to include bad cards like Titan while still being able to play a fair midrange game, making this matchup closer.

On the play

On the draw

Other Decks

These are the 5 decks I see as the most popular/solidified but there’s more decks lurking with builds that vary a lot.

Some of them are:

Customizing the sideboard plan for whatever comes up can be a useful skill.
I will list some generic ideas about how to use the 75.

Vs ramp/bigger midrange add counters,consider whether to cut massacre if there’s no small creatures, consider whether destroy evil is better than infernal grasp and if they are needed at all an example is that sheoldred requires removal while sanctuary warden doesn’t ,see if you can get away with just adding Liliana.

Vs Aggro: add massacre, maybe add farewell,add Dennick, add Cut Down, add Knockout Blow if you are facing red, cut your tempo costly card advantage cards like Kaito and Underdog, consider if you can cut grasp.

Vs Control: add counters, add Liliana,add Duress consider if Destroy Evil or Grasp is needed , cut Massacres ,cut Cut Down.

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MTGO Grinder
Mogged is one of the MTGO grinders behind many of the top winning decks across formats. He has the most Challenge top8s and wins in 2021, and is currently leading in Challenge wins in 2022. His articles show a deep understanding of the MTG theory and are great for those looking to improve their gameplay, better understanding the game, and learning how the metagame evolves over time.


Published: 2022-10-09 00:00:00

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