Arena Standard - Espero Hero v1

21 26 19
18 11 6 25
Midrange Control
  • Deck contains 1 invalid cards for this format: Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR)
Main 60 cards (25 distinct)
Planeswalker (6)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (11)
Creature (18)
Land (25)
Side 15 cards (8 distinct)

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The Deck

My attempt to update Esper Midrange (aka Esper Hero) to the new Standard format. Ideal for people that already have most of the cards from past Standard and are on the process of building their Throne of Eldraine collection, since all the new additions are good cards on other decks in the meta as well.

I'll try to explain my reasoning behind the new (and some old, "suspicious") additions:

[[Murderous Rider]]

One of the best black cards from the new set, all the cool kids are using it (provided they're playing black). Even if you're only willing to play Esper Midrange until you can gather enough cards for other decks, you won't regret crafting 3 or 4 [[Murderous Rider]].

In this deck specifically, I cut most of the [[Oath of Kaya]] for him, since they both fill the same creature/planeswalker removal spot that can be bounced back with [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] for extra mileage. But this card is much more versatile, and since I'm not planning on playing [[Command the Dreadhorde]] nor [[Bolas's Citadel]], keeping a pristine life total isn't really a priority.

[[Castle Vantress]]

This land will be a staple on many blue control/midrange decks as a reliable mana sink and draw fixer. I'm willing to play one because of my experience with mana flooding on later stages of the game, when I managed to grind the opponent out of resources and all I need is a couple of good draws to finish the game.

[[Castle Locthwain]]

Many black midrange decks are using a couple of these lands as insurance against heavy 1-for-1 grinds (like Esper Hero itself!) and to provide some gas after you went wide. 4 mana and some life to draw an extra card is a very good deal indeed, specially if you're aggressive and/or can gain life.

[[Fabled Passage]]

Mana fixing, and oh boy do we need it since the check lands are no more. Playing purely tap lands is a BAD IDEA (in capital letters) for a midrange deck.

[[Kenrith, the Returned King]]

The first of the cards I consider "suspicious" (as in GM Ben Finegold's usage of the word). While Boros and Naya decks can use Kenrith as a way to finish up the game, I'm trying to use him as a costly, high value play. If you manage to untap with Kenrith, you can start drawing like mad or bring back creatures from the graveyard. But I'm not sold on him and, in fact, wouldn't recommend you spend a wild card on him unless you have other ideas for the King (I'm mostly experimenting with Kenrith because I got one from the earlier packs I opened...)

[[Cavalier of Gales]]

The second "suspicious" card in this deck. Yes, it is a pain the ass to play with the triple blue mana cost (I'm currently tallying how many times Cavalier of Gales sits on my hand, unplayable, while I'd really want to play him, so I can either fix the manabase or cut him off). Yes, because of his cost, I can't really play [[Basilica Bell-Haunt]]. Yes, it's horrible to play when the opponent has a [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] in play (NEVER do it unless you're empty-handed or you're desperate and whatever you have in hand is crap anyway and can be shuffled away with [[Fabled Passage]]). However, he is a beast: 5/5, flying, Brainstorms you on ETB (which can be really good now that we have a good fetchland), and if he dies, you shuffle him back and scry 2 for more value. But I'm willing to admit that the Cavalier may be the weak link in this version of the deck, and could/should probably be cut for [[Basilica Bell-Haunt]].


2x [[Duress]]: Mainly for the pesky control and Simic Flash matchups.

2x [[Disdainful Stroke]]: Can now counter a surprising amount of game-winning stuff, like [[Dance of the Manse]], [[Questing Beast]] and [[The Great Henge]]. However, the usual disclaimer about using counterspells against Esper applies (aka "F**k me it's Teferi again!").

2x [[Dovin's Veto]]: See above. Except, of course, not very good against creaure-heavy decks.

2x [[Despark]]: I used to run these on the main deck, but since then [[Murderous Rider]] (and the fact that many people are playing cards like [[Oko, Thief of Crowns]] made them less appealing. Still very potent against green Stompy decks because it removes their best stuff for two mana, and no possibility of recurring it through green/black shenanigans.

2x [[Deputy of Detention]]: Pretty good removal against [[Field of the Dead]] decks, since you can bounce the Deputy back to your hand with [[Tyrant's Scorn]] or [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] to keep on removing their waves of zombies. Also decent against green/Simic because they have fewer options to remove the Deputy from play.

2x [[Kaya, Orzhov Usurper]]: Our safety measure against graveyard-interactive decks, Kaya can also double as a somewhat effective removal for aggressive black/Rakdos lists that rely on 1-mana drops. You can also use her +1 ability on your own graveyard to slow down [[Vantress Gargoyle]], [[Drown in the Loch]], and [[Command the Dreadhorde]] strategies.

1x [[Time Wipe]]: Why this and not [[Realm-Cloaked Giant]]? Well, two reasons: first, Time Wipe is unconditional mass removal, and second, Time Wipe allows you to bounce back one of your own creatures, either for more value (bouncing [[Elite Guardmage]] is always fun) or to avoid disaster (like releasing a big creature imprisoned under [[Deputy of Detention]]).

Note on the mana distribution

I'm playing 25 lands because I'm stubborn, and because, in my experience, 26 lands without some serious early game card draw/filtering causes me to flood like those rivers in Civilization VI (that may not be true in paper Magic, but certainly is in online Magic where the RNG can be brutal). With that said, I'm sure the color distribution is not right, and would appreciate suggestions in that regard (or any other regard, really). Even if you think the deck is crap - that's absolutely fine.


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The write up is great!! The mana base I also see the floods of the ages running 26 land online. With that being said though it does seem a bit off. With needing 20 sources of white, 22 sources of blue and 16 sources of black. you currently have not counting fabled to fetch. 11 white sources, 12 blue sources and 13 black sources. Seems that we need some more blue and white and less black. Fabled is a little clunky in this deck. Reasoning is that fetching the wrong color which is an issue for me.
elegant list. as a F2P player, i only needed 3 rare wyldcards to finish the deck. Thx a lot!
Great writeup! Featuring this deck on the frontpage.
Last Updated: 01 Oct 2019
Created: 01 Oct 2019
4731 322 3

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