Standard is actually fun right now, I didn’t think I’d be able to say that again. Testing for the next PT has been a wild ride. My current deck of choice? Esper Legends! One of the most popular decks in the format, it’s also super fun to pilot. I’m looking to discuss traditional builds vs non-traditional with you today and maybe go over some sideboarding strategies.
Let’s start with a 5-0 list from none other than Aaron Barich:
What I like here is we are trying out a pair of Suspicious Stowaways. The 2-drop slot is a crucial one in this deck and having something that helps fix draws or even gives card advantage is a crucial role. Playing a turn one Skrelv into a turn two Suspicious Stowaway also provides pretty solid protection. Combined with Sheoldred’s static ability, Stowaway is a powerful addition to the strategy.
Many people are on the Wedding Announcement sideboard plan. Traditionally speaking, this has been used a lot to combat removal-heavy decks and also be able to go over the top in midrange mirrors. Strangely enough, I am not personally a fan of this strategy and dislike how it plays with Thalia half of the time you want to bring it in.
Many people were playing a Depopulate at first to have a sweeper. The Gix’s Command is kind of brilliant, since we want to flood the board and not wrath ourselves. This is one change others convinced me of when I was looking at decklists.
Three Otawara, Soaring City is a lot. We have surprisingly much less blue in our deck than the other colors and bounce doesn’t come in handy as often as you might think. I’m not far off on playing two copies though. Four Sheoldred has started to become pretty mainstay and I totally agree that it’s the right call. Sheoldred is hands down the best card against the mirror and also great against most of the field.
Ertai, the Resurrected and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar are two cards that appear to be disappearing from lists lately, even through there are combined four copies in Aaron’s list. My list for instance, is down to one copy of each. Ertai is fighting for the four-drop slot in our curve and we already went over how we want four copies of Sheoldred there. Meanwhile Adeline seems to have been power crept out of contention.
Let’s go over my build and then discuss more:
My ideal third creature on two mana right now is The Raven Man. Simply because it is the best 2-drop in the mirror and that is the most common matchup.
Overwhelming Remorse is over the third Go for the Throat because its additional versatility if I need to hit planeswalkers and sometimes costs even less mana to cast.
I’m huge on card advantage and thats Toluz in a nutshell. With Raffine and Toluz you can draw sevens that make you feel like we are playing Atraxa. The combination of the two usually feels like its lights out on the opponent.
There are a few 5c Domain decks and Mono White Control strategies. So I like the inclusion of a pair of Duresses to help give information and sometimes pluck the key spells from their hand. Maindeck I prefer to play all eight fast lands over Underground Rivers. I also spread my legendary lands out a little, while playing the maximum of Eiganjo since it is so flexible and cheap in this deck.
The Stone Brain keeps players honest in open decklists, and makes Atraxa decks maximum punished if they can’t play a long game without Atraxa. Temporary Lockdown is mainly for your go-under decks like Toxic, but I’ve found it rarely comes in. I only wanted three Cut Down because the card can feel real bad after an opponent has played Wedding Announcement.
Now with March of the Machine available, these lists have gone in some wild directions. For instance, here’s a version trying to reanimate Atraxa:
This list is more in line with the traditional build of Legends, with a couple new cards added:
It’s still not universally decided upon what the “best” Esper Legends deck is. There may even be a few variations on where it ends up. I know I’ll keep tuning it for awhile before I find a version I am happy with.
Thanks for tuning in and good luck out there!