Welcome to Esper Super Friends

Kelvin Chew

Kelvin Chew

Introduction

Hi everyone, I have been playing a lot of Esper Control the past few weeks and have been having a good result when the format was more about White Weenie, Mono Red Aggro, Esper Midrange and Simic Nexus. This is the list and sideboard I was playing if anyone is still interested in Esper Control but I would not advise so if able as I believe it is not as good as before.

Esper Control

The meta is changing every week and with the rise of Planeswalker decks. Esper Control is starting to have trouble answering everything and with so many things that need to be removed, 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 also have to act as an answer to the permanent which make winning with it harder and also the risk of running out of win condition.

Teferi, Time Raveler

However, I am impressed with the Planeswalker package when I was playing Esper Control. The counterspell was much worse in this meta, with 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 blanking all your counterspell when it resolves which can be devastating and sometime on the draw, it is hard to keep up 《Absorb》 while needing to answer threats also.

Liliana, Dreadhorde GeneralUgin, the Ineffable

I just felt that the deck lacks a win condition that allows me to close the game fast when I was ahead or pull back when I was behind. I tried 《Liliana, Dreadhorde General》 and 《Ugin, the Ineffable》 and creating a 2/2 on turn 6 is not what I wanted.

Command the Dreadhorde

Whenever I was playing against 4C 《Command the Dreadhorde》, I was always impressed when they cast the card against me. I began to explore with it in Esper and the card certainly felt broken to me whenever I cast it. These are few of the scenario that no other card could win me the game. I managed to 5-0 in the first league I played with it.

Esper Super Friends

This is the decklist I have been playing and tuning and seeing Oliver Tomajko placing 2nd in SCG Open with Esper Super Friends make me confirm my deck choices more.

The Card Choices

I would like to explain the card choices in the deck.

4 《Oath of Kaya》

Oath of Kaya

This is the bread and butter for the deck. It has the ability to kill creatures or Planeswalker while gaining you enough life to cast 《Command the Dreadhorde》. It also combo well with 《Teferi, Time Raveler》, allowing you to bounce 《Oath of Kaya》 for another reuse while drawing a card.

Since we are also playing so many Planeswalker, the passive ability is also quite useful if a opponent is trying to attack your Planeswalker which buys you enough time to stabilize the game.

2 《Search for Azcanta》

Search for Azcanta

I like 《Search for Azcanta》 a lot. It helps to fuel your graveyard while also smooth out your draw. With so many high impact cards to find with 《Search for Azcanta》, not playing it is a mistake. Against Midrange and Control deck, 《Search for Azcanta》 allow you to outgrind them by digging for the specific cards you need for the matchup.

1 《The Elderspell》

The Elderspell

With 4 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 and also 2 《Search for Azcanta》, digging for the 1-of is actually quite easy. 《The Elderspell》 have a lot of use since most of the Planeswalker like 《Narset, Parter of Veils》, 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 will be left with 1 loyalty when use and it can be used to destroy to ultimate 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 immediately which act as a mini combo. It can also save you in some unwinnable situation by killing all their Planeswalker.

1 《Cry of the Carnarium》

Cry of the Carnarium

With the increase of 《Arclight Phoenix》, having an out to remove them is very useful.

4 《Teferi, Time Raveler》

Teferi, Time Raveler

Normally, the deck just needs to buy time and don’t really care about your own Planeswalker dying as most of the Planeswalker just replace itself when we use its ability. 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 also allow us to tempo our opponent while leaving a Planeswalker behind that might generate card advantage if it survives.

Spells that Interfere with your Opponent

Thought Erasure

4

Moment of Craving

2

Tyrant's Scorn

2

I like having 8 ways to interfere with an opponent on turn 2 so that I am able to land a turn 3 Planeswalker uncontested.

2 《Command the Dreadhorde》

Command the Dreadhorde

This is the card that holds the deck together. Since we are a control deck, we can discard or kill opponent creatures or Planeswalker to reanimate it with 《Command the Dreadhorde》. The format is full of stuff that can punish you for not having a way to close up the game when you are ahead.

Sideboard: 3 《Hostage Taker》

Hostage Taker

I like 《Hostage Taker》 to combat 《Legion Warboss》 from Jeskai Planeswalker as they only can bounce it with 《Teferi, Time Raveler》. It is also best against any creature matchup, as they usually do not keep removal for it.

Sideboard Guide

Mono Red Aggro

Ghitu LavarunnerGoblin ChainwhirlerExperimental Frenzy

This is a good matchup. With 2 《Moment of Craving》 and 4 《Oath of Kaya》, we have enough life gain to blank most of their burn spell. 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 can bounce 《Oath of Kaya》 for us to reuse it and gain more life against them.

After sideboard, they sideboard out most of their burn spell and bring in 《Tibalt, Rakish Instigator》, 《Risk Factor》, and more 《Chandra, Fire Artisan》 or 《Experimental Frenzy》 against us. Our plan is still the same. To stabilize against their early creatures and win with 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 or 《Enter the God-Eternals》. Their only way to steal the game is by 《Experimental Frenzy》 so try to save your 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 for it.

vs. Mono Red Aggro

Out

Search for Azcanta Search for Azcanta
Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath
Command the Dreadhorde Command the Dreadhorde
Thought Erasure The Elderspell

In

Duress Duress
Cast Down Cast Down
Cry of the Carnarium Cry of the Carnarium
Enter the God-Eternals Enter the God-Eternals

Esper Midrange

Hero of Precinct OneThief of SanityTeferi, Time Raveler

Game 1 is favorable for us as they have more dead cards like 《Hostage Taker》 and removal against us, but they can still steal the game with 《Thief of Sanity》 if we do not have an answer for it. After sideboard, they board in more Planeswalker as well as discard and counterspell.

The matchup is usually very swingy and must see who are able to draw the better cards. This is also the matchup where 《Command the Dreadhorde》 shines because it allows you to just steal the game if you are very far behind by just reanimating all the Planeswalker.

vs. Esper Midrange

Out

Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath
Tyrant's Scorn Tyrant's Scorn
Oath of Kaya

In

Duress Duress Cast Down
Cry of the Carnarium Cry of the Carnarium
The Elderspell

White Weenie

Legion's LandingGideon BlackbladeVenerated Loxodon

Same as Mono Red Aggro but much easier game 1 as we have all the removal and 《Kaya’s Wrath》 to reset the board if needed. After sideboard, they board in counterspells as well as 《Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants》 and 《Gideon Blackblade》.

Try to prevent 《Legion’s Landing》 from flipping in this matchup as we do not have a good way to remove it and producing a 1/1 every turn is quite troublesome for us.

vs. White Weenie

Out

Thought Erasure Thought Erasure Thought Erasure Thought Erasure
Search for Azcanta Search for Azcanta The Elderspell
Command the Dreadhorde Command the Dreadhorde Oath of Kaya
Karn, Scion of Urza Teferi, Time Raveler

In

Enter the God-Eternals Enter the God-Eternals Cast Down Cast Down
Duress Duress Duress
Hostage Taker Hostage Taker Hostage Taker
Cry of the Carnarium Cry of the Carnarium

Esper Control

Thought ErasureAbsorbTeferi, Hero of Dominaria

This is a good matchup for us as Esper Control just have a hard time answering all the Planeswalker. 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 is very good against 《Chemister’s Insight》 and 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 as they are unable to draw extra cards.

《Command the Dreadhorde》 is a good way of getting back into the game even if they counter or remove all your Planeswalker. After sideboard, we will keep in some removal in case they have 《Thief of Sanity》.

vs. Esper Control

Out

Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath
Moment of Craving Moment of Craving
Cry of the Carnarium

In

Duress Duress Duress
Dovin's Veto Dovin's Veto
The Elderspell

4C 《Command the Dreadhorde》

Wildgrowth WalkerTeferi, Time RavelerCommand the Dreadhorde

I played against it a few times and I believe this is the hardest matchup of all. You must cast 《Command the Dreadhorde》 and kill them first, if not they will just bury you with card advantage or loop with 《Tamiyo, Collector of Tales》. You can also try to ultimate 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 with 《The Elderspell》 which is very good against them.

vs. 4C 《Command the Dreadhorde》

Out

Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath
Moment of Craving Moment of Craving
Oath of Kaya Oath of Kaya
Cry of the Carnarium

In

Hostage Taker Hostage Taker Hostage Taker
Duress Duress
Cast Down Cast Down
The Elderspell

Jeskai Super Friends

Teferi, Time RavelerNarset, Parter of VeilsSarkhan the Masterless

《Legion Warboss》 and 《Sarkhan the Masterless》 is very good in this matchup. They can kill all our Planeswalker easily if resolve.

《Oath of Kaya》 is good at killing 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 and 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 while gaining us life. Try to play around 《Spell Pierce》 if you are able or do not have multiple threats in hand.

Command the DreadhordeThe Elderspell

《Command the Dreadhorde》 and 《The Elderspell》 are both cards that allow you to turn the game around. We board in 《Cry of the Carnarium》 as we need a way to kill 《Legion Warboss》 as well as the token from it and 《Saheeli, Sublime Artificer》.

vs. Jeskai Super Friends

Out

Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath
Moment of Craving Moment of Craving
Tyrant's Scorn Tyrant's Scorn

In

Duress Duress Duress
Dovin's Veto Dovin's Veto
Cry of the Carnarium Cry of the Carnarium

Simic Nexus

Wilderness ReclamationTamiyo, Collector of TalesNexus of Fate

This matchup depends on whether you are able to close the game early before they start to bury you with card advantage from 《Search for Azcanta》 plus 《Wilderness Reclamation》. We have 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 and 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 to delay time which they must answer in order to be able to combo off.

Remember that you can also use 《The Elderspell》 to ultimate 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 early.

Blast Zone

Be careful of 《Blast Zone》 as they are able to kill both 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 and 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 to break the lock.

vs. Simic Nexus

Out

Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath
Moment of Craving Moment of Craving
Tyrant's Scorn Tyrant's Scorn
Cry of the Carnarium

In

Duress Duress Duress
Cast Down Cast Down
Dovin's Veto Dovin's Veto
The Elderspell

Conclusion

That mark the end of my article.

If you have any questions regarding the deck or sideboard, I will be happy to answer them in the comments section or via Twitter. Thanks!

Kelvin Chew (Twitter)

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Kelvin Chew

Kelvin Chew Kelvin Chew is one of the great player from Singapore. He has 2 GP top8s with his favorite format Modern, but he is like an all-arounder and top 8ed three more times with different formats. He took his first trophy with super impressive "Cartouche Strategy" at GP Beijing 2017 (Limited). He then reached 4th place at World Championship 2017 and became one of the world best for everybody. Read more articles by Kelvin Chew