Mythic Championship III with Esper Control

Gregory Orange

Gregory Orange

Preparation for the Mythic Championship III

I played Esper Control at GP Kansas City. It seemed pretty reasonable, but there felt like there was room for improvement.

I decided to grind my way to Mythic on MTG Arena to help prepare for Mythic Championship III. It seemed like the least I could do. I used my Esper deck to start. It didn’t have much to smooth out its draws but it felt good when it drew a good combination of land and spells.

Liliana, Dreadhorde GeneralUgin, the IneffableKarn, Scion of Urza
Chemister's InsightAbsorb

I was a bit unimpressed with the 6 mana Planeswalkers and 《Karn, Scion of Urza》. I didn’t really know what to replace them with though since 《Chemister’s Insight》 and 《Absorb》 were basically unplayable with 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 and 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 around.

Basilica Bell-HauntCommand the Dreadhorde

Then I saw the Esper list from GP Taipei and figured I’d try something similar. The main difference was the addition of 《Basilica Bell-Haunt》 and 《Command the Dreadhorde》. I was a bit skeptical about the 《Basilica Bell-Haunt》s but they seemed to line up pretty well. Being a 3/4 made them good at blocking 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》 elementals. The life gain was nice with 《Command the Dreadhorde》. Also having a ‘comes into play’ trigger kept it from getting embarrassed by 《Teferi, Time Raveler》. Also the ability doesn’t even get shut off by 《Narset, Parter of Veils》.

The Esper Control deck seemed nice and I was able to grind my way to Mythic on MTG Arena in no time.

Final Decklist and Result

This is the list I settled on for Mythic Championship III. It’s a relatively boring version of Esper Control. In the event itself I had a strong start going 6-0 and becoming the only undefeated player on day one. Unfortunately my luck dried up quickly on day two and I was out of the tournament after only 2 more rounds. Still I’m happy with how I did and glad that I did well enough to qualify for the next Arena MC.

Sideboard Guide

The Mirror

Against Esper Control Mirror

Out

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

In

Hero of Precinct One Hero of Precinct One The Elderspell
Duress Duress
Dovin's Veto Dovin's Veto

《Hero of Precinct One》

Hero of Precinct One

It may seem like a bit of a strange 2 of, but I generally think very few cards actually need to be 4 or nothing. In this case I didn’t really want to draw multiples. Also there were open decklists and when I boarded them in against decks with creature removal I wanted their sideboarding decisions to be slightly more difficult.

Esper Hero

Against Esper Hero

Out

Moment of Craving
Kaya's Wrath

In

Dovin's Veto
Cry of the Carnarium

This is a bit of a tough match up to sideboard for. The key is to try to balance answers for their creatures while also being able to battle through the supply of Planeswalkers.

Mono Red

Mono Red is probably the easiest matchup in the format for Esper Control. The 《Basilica Bell-Haunt》s were not added specifically for this matchup but they are quite good here. All you really need to do is not get run over in the early game and have an answer for 《Experimental Frenzy》. Esper Control is pretty good at doing both of those things. Also with all of the life gain in Esper it is pretty hard to get burned out.

Against Mono Red

Out

The Elderspell The Elderspell Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Narset, Parter of Veils Narset, Parter of Veils
Command the Dreadhorde Command the Dreadhorde

In

Despark Despark Despark
Moment of Craving Lyra Dawnbringer
Enter the God-Eternals Cry of the Carnarium

《Despark》

Despark

You have to have a decent amount of answers to 《Experimental Frenzy》 and 《Despark》 does that and also kills 《Chandra, Fire Artisan》 which can be a problem.

《Tibalt, Rakish Instigator》

Tibalt, Rakish Instigator

I think Tibalt is a reasonable sideboard card but it is not one that you really have to keep in mind too much. The tokens often get swept up with 《Cry of the Carnarium》 or 《Kaya’s Wrath》 and the static ability is only somewhat inconvenient.

Mono White

Mono White is a bit scarier than Mono Red. I think Esper Control has the edge but a lot more can go wrong. Mono Red is most threatening when it casts a bunch of creatures and Mono White is much better at doing that. They have better creatures and no burn spells that don’t really accomplish much.

Against Mono White

Out

The Elderspell The Elderspell Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Narset, Parter of Veils Narset, Parter of Veils
Command the Dreadhorde Command the Dreadhorde

In

Hero of Precinct One Hero of Precinct One Hostage Taker
Moment of Craving Lyra Dawnbringer
Enter the God-Eternals Cry of the Carnarium

《Narset, Parter of Veils》

Narset, Parter of Veils

You often don’t get to get 2 cards out of the Narset and the static ability doesn’t do anything against Mono White but digging for 《Kaya’s Wrath》 or 《Cry of the Carnarium》 can still be pretty nice. Keeping 1 or 2 in the deck is reasonable.

Izzet Phoenix

I think this matchup is pretty close. Narset is pretty good against them but it is not always easy to keep her around. A lot of the games don’t feel super close in either direction but I suppose that is how the format is with so many powerful cards running around.

Against Izzet Phoenix

Out

Command the Dreadhorde Command the Dreadhorde Basilica Bell-Haunt Basilica Bell-Haunt
Kaya's Wrath The Elderspell Oath of Kaya Moment of Craving

In

Despark Despark Despark Cry of the Carnarium
Duress Duress Lyra Dawnbringer Hostage Taker

《Hostage Taker》

Hostage Taker

It can be a nice answer to 《Sorcerous Spyglass》 if they have it.

《Basilica Bell-Haunt》

Basilica Bell-Haunt

It doesn’t get to block very well in this matchup but it can attack the occasional Planeswalker.

Bant Ramp

I think this matchup is also relatively close. 《Kaya’s Wrath》 is usually pretty good against them. Also taking their payoff spell with 《Thought Erasure》 can be really back breaking sometimes.

Against Bant Ramp

Out

Oath of Kaya The Elderspell Moment of Craving Cast Down

In

Despark Despark Despark Cry of the Carnarium

《Cry of the Carnarium》

Cry of the Carnarium

It is a pretty good answer to various ramp creatures. It is a particularly good answer to 《Paradise Druid》 since it gets around Hexproof.

《Despark》

Despark

It is important to answer 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》 and 《The Immortal Sun》.

Sultai Dreadhorde

You both get to cast 《Command the Dreadhorde》 but you don’t have to play a bunch of green creatures in your deck.

Against Sultai Dreadhorde

Out

Moment of Craving
Cry of the Carnarium

In

Hostage Taker
Dovin's Veto

Simic Nexus

I have mixed feelings about the Nexus matchup. On one hand Narset and 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 are really good against them but on the other hand you give them a lot of time to set up the combo and they can kill your 3 cost Planeswalkers with 《Blast Zone》.

Against Simic Nexus

Out

Cast Down Cast Down Basilica Bell-Haunt Moment of Craving
Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath Kaya's Wrath
Cry of the Carnarium The Elderspell

In

Duress Duress Hero of Precinct One Hero of Precinct One
Despark Despark Despark
Dovin's Veto Dovin's Veto

《Despark》

Despark

It kills 《Wilderness Reclamation》, 《Tamiyo, Collector of Tales》, 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》, and 《Biogenic Ooze》 out of the sideboard. I just want to mention how nice it is against them.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading,

Gregory Orange (Twitter)

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Gregory Orange

Gregory Orange Gregory Orange is a pro player from United States. As a member of HotSauceGames.com, he is another one of America’s powerhouses that have been battling for a long time as a Gold Level Pro. He has put up respectable and consistent finishes at various Pro Tours as well as winning Grand Prix San Antonio in 2017. He won Pro Tour Magic 25th Anniversary with his teammates Allen Wu and Ben Hull. Seeking growth and victory more, he joined Hareruya Pros in the 2018-2019 season. Read more articles by Gregory Orange