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 Post subject: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:02 pm 
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Been on a long hiatus, I basically stopped playing when Eldritch Moon was released because I was annoyed that my favorite Esper control was much less playable.

Then I see all the cool cards in AMK. I was not interested in decklist discussion until I unlocked everything though, and it has taken some time.

At this point I do not consider any of these lists 100% solid. The quality of players on Steam is very low. It is very rare for me to encounter proper "spike" decks that can put my brews to the test.

I am very OPEN TO FEEDBACK!

Start Your Engines! - consistent and fast gold winner.
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Esper Instant Control - crush souls while obtaining a high winrate.
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Grixis Sorcery control/ superfriends - kill the creatures!
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Angels Never Die
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Last edited by HenWen on Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:45 am, edited 8 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:53 am 
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I just don't know about playing grixis control without counters. It's the only way these colors don't just lose to back breaking enchantments like sandwurm convergence.

You should post your esper pile. Hopefully i'm not hijacking your thread too hard, just wanted to share my version of esper troll.

This is the creature-less variant i prefer:

Cruel Esper
Instant/Sorcery (27):
3 x Fatal Push
3 x Censor
2 x Pull From Tomorrow
2 x Essence Scatter
3 x Grasp of Darkness
2 x Scatter to the Winds
2 x Broken Concentration
2 x Languish
2 x Never // Return
2 x Confirm Suspicions
2 x Commit // Memory
1 x Disperse
1 x Anguished unmaking

Enchantments (4)
3 x Cast out
1 x Cruel Reality

Walkers (3):
1 x Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
1 x Ob Nixilis Reignited
1 x Sorin, Grim Nemesis

Lands (26):
4 x Swamp
1 x Plains
4 x Island
2 x Sunken Hollow
2 x Prairie Stream
2 x Shambling Vent
2 x Drowned Catacomb
2 x Glacial Fortress
2 x Isolated Chapel
4 x Evolving Wilds
1 x Submerged Boneyard


Another version I mess with runs Gearhulk but you need to swap out disperse+2x pull for 3x Glimmer.
Another version i have for 2HG runs 2x anguished and 2x imprisoned in the moon instead of Grasp but I kind of prefer my original design above.

One of the win cons is ult ob then play memory. Sorin's +1 is very nasty with a lot of high cmc cards he can hit (Commit // Memory does 10 damage).

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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:35 pm 
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Sleephumper: nice! Double pull from tomorrow makes sense with a full set of cycling cards and a full set of +1=draw planeswalkers. You cut the glimmer and I was going to comment that I found glimmer essential for making Aether Hub more playable, then I see that you are running a hub-less manabase.

The plus side of no hub is that you would have fewer lands coming into play tapped.

Also - Disperse vs. Compelling Deterrence - since you have zombies via never // return would deterrence be better? Or do you find yourself rescuing your own planeswalkers frequently?

I will give your list a try and see how I like it. I am not sure how a full set of 6 cycling cards will work. AMK and these mechanics are pretty new to me.

I updated the OP to include my Esper pile, please comment if you wish.

EDIT - you responded before I completed edit, made new post.


Last edited by HenWen on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:08 pm 
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HenWen wrote:
Sleephumper: nice! Double pull from tomorrow makes sense with a full set of cycling cards and a full set of +1=draw planeswalkers. You cut the glimmer and I was going to comment that I found glimmer essential for making Aether Hub more playable, then I see that you are running a hub-less manabase.

Yup, this deck has zero energy support so while I do like hubs in multicolor decks I feel this isn't the deck for them. If you decide to run the TGhulk then ditch pull and go with Glimmer so TGH always will have a deece target if you don't have another need. My fav card to use with hulk is Confirm Suspicions. It feels so good to counter a threat draw 3 and deploy a beast of a creature on your opponents turn! With glimmer in now hubs look good and you can cut away some of the dual lands. Part of the deck design is to allow for some revolt to allow push to play at full potential so wilds actually have some utility.

As much as I like hulk I have to admit the fact there are no other creatures I really want to run so TGH turns on all the removal the opponent might be sitting on and while this deck can play protect the queen it can be an uphill battle.

HenWen wrote:
Also - Disperse vs. Compelling Deterrence - since you have zombies via never // return would deterrence be better? Or do you find yourself rescuing your own planeswalkers frequently?

You got it. While there are games disperse is a tempo play against the opponent if I am facing green or white decks I try to keep disperse in hand for when I deploy a win con. It's basically a negate when used to bounce my own PW and especially when rec sage is coming down to break Cruel Reality. I'm not afraid to use it on an enchant I can't exile at the moment so i may counter it on the way back down (typically mill).

HenWen wrote:
I will give your list a try and see how I like it. I am not sure how a full set of 6 cycling cards will work. AMK and these mechanics are pretty new to me.

I updated the OP to include my Esper pile, please comment if you wish.

Will do. One card I have thought about experimenting with is blessed alliance. This deck loses to hexproof as it's built and I am actually ok with that because i think those decks lose to everything else just so they can beat this deck. My design is really more like a dimir control deck with a white splash for a few cards and the more cards I add the more i feel I am tempted to change the mana base to less and more .

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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:11 pm 
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More on Esper:
Hulk-Confirm is the best move most of the time, but don't forget that a control pile has many specialized answers too. Maybe your opponent is running heavy recursion and you want to use Anguished Unmaking to score an exile. Or you need a board wipe, or another blessed alliance, etc. Gearhulk does not work with the alternative casting cost of awaken cards, but it does allow you to use additional modes on Blessed Alliance. And remember you don't have to protect Hulk by any means - whether or not you do really depends on the decklist your opponent is running. You do not need to transform your vents or awaken your lands either, but having the option can be very helpful. I don't think the 2/1 body of Snapcaster Mage is why it was considered so powerful. And keep in mind hulks 5/6 body may also attract premium removal like Anguished Unmaking that would otherwise hit your planeswalkers/ Cruel reality.

I am very much in the creatureless camp overall, my Shadows Over Innistrad control pile didn't run any creatures even though flipwalker Jace and Avacyn were showing up in most control lists. Just think of Hulk as a spell with a free body attached.

Alliance has the obvious shortfall of needing to be cast in the pre-combat phase, but yeah, alliance and outburst both make hexproof a lot easier. Everyone says that Languish solves Bristling Hydra, but that is only if it has zero energy when it hits the board. A second pump puts it out of languish range. I do not know what the "typical" hydra build uses, but in my GU deck I have blossoming defense and other energy cards to bolster its survivability.

As far as moving your decklist to include more W, I do not think there are many hidden gems. Just alliance, cast away, declaration in stone and outburst really. Declaration can be a board wipe vs. tokens but I have never run it because most of the time you are giving your opponent card advantage. Outburst is a card I considered really important in my SoI pile, but we have better draw and cheaper removal now.. much like the third Broken Concentration, the superior suite of board removal spells has changed what was once written in stone for me.

Oh yeah and I know the Grixis build is kind of jank... I really just wanted to throw Dark Premonition around. I see two more Grixis builds that would be fun. One would use the madness/discard mechanic to squeeze a ton of synergy and value out of the three colors that use this mechanic. Can go creatureless, creature light, or rely on the excellent token production of Drake Haven and From Under the Floorboards. This grixis list I posted is quite weak vs. burn, it just so happens that Floorboards is a great instant speed finisher that also gains you life. Not sure what creatures I would want to include, but Archfiend of Ifnir is practically a perma board wipe against tokens. And Key to the City is a very underutilized instant speed, zero cost discard tool that not enough people use (just a singleton tho). I already have a grixis madness list but I would want to significantly retool it for AMK. Also, never seen a list that uses the madness mechanic of Broken Concentration.

The tricky part about madness has always been finding the right balance of discard enablers and madness cards. I don't know, it may no longer be competitive... AMK hasn't released any good new discard enablers.

Oh and Grixis emerge is really cute. Use scuttler #1 to get back a spell, emerge to sacrifice scuttler #1 to scuttler #2, Dark Premonitions to get the scuttler back, an endlessly repeating cycle of card advantage. This is a decklist I haven't worked on much at all, it just sucks that you need to "cast" scuttler to get it to work, normal black reanimation spells don't work. I might work on a list for this though, could be fun.

Updated OP with Boros list. Sleephumper what list did you pilot in the showdown? I love meta discussion... I am just so late for it right now lol.


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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:34 pm 
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Been play testing a bit and have a little feed back.

HenWen wrote:
Earlier incarnations of my control pile ran big Jace, Ob Nix and Sorin as win conditions, together with four awaken cards. "medium" Lili does not have the raw power of Jace, but she is cheap enough to hit the board much earlier and I consider her a very high value card due to her token killing ability versus aggro. Even if your opponent does not have any x/1s, using her on a two or three power creature will force your opponent to commit more to the board. Plus her ultimate actually will win, I do not consider big Jace's ultimate that amazing. I love Ob Nix but I feel comfortable enough durdling with this deck that I do not require his ability to close down games, he can simply be a dead (5 mana sorcery murder) against decks that get your life total very low.
I agree with the idea of medium Lili here especially with TGH in the deck as she can pull him back to your hand that is worth it on it's own. I think she is good enough without TGH to included as it's going to eventually be GG once she ults and having her for the aggro match is almost unfair.
I disagree about Jace's ult. If you get his ult out it's going to be GG. I have yet to lose once that emblem is down.
Ob nix +1 can be a liability but if you think about it your opponent has to respect him. +1 one time you go down 1 life and gain a card and can -3 twice after that, a great option even when behind. His ult is GG the turn it comes down in my deck, memory draws both players 7 cards and will evaporate 28 life.

HenWen wrote:
Gearhulk just has so much value with Confirm and Glimmer. Even if he eats removal, I still consider manlands and awakened lands important parts of this deck's toolkit.
Of course you are right about TGH. The cost of the card and what he dictates the deck has to be are my only issues. 6 mana isn't cheap and he makes pull from tomorrow (one of my favorite draw spells that also needs to cost 6) look bad because he can't hit it and too many high cost cards in a deck is a bad deck. I think if you play TGH you have to rely on divination style card advantage. Granted Glimmer of genius is the best divination ever printed but it's still one card to draw 2. We can only run 3 Glimmer so I like the idea of adding 1 copy of Hieroglyphic Illumination as a 4th that we can cycle early if we need a land or we want to draw off TGH without spending for the full draw 4 mana cost. Combined with 3x Cast out and 2x Commit // Memory (I run 2 for a reason) and 2x Languish that makes the deck crazy weighted at the 4 drop spot. Of course curve isn't that big a deal in a deck like this but i hate getting a hand of cards I can't do anything with until turn 4.

HenWen wrote:
Cruel Reality can die to enchantment removal, but with the cast outs already in the deck I do not consider this a reason not to play it.
It's the primary win con in my version.

HenWen wrote:
Blessed Alliance does not seem to get much love. It is a very specialized removal spell, I think two copies is the right number. Early on it is cheap removal with an EASY CASTING COST unlike grasp of darkness, which is seldom usable on turn 2. Personally I think this card has tremendous value against burn due to the lifegain. It is also an out against Gaea's Revenge, Lumbering Falls, and god spells.
You have some really good points and I think I am going to keep it my deck too. I do hate you are forced to spend your mana up at combat for multiple modes because sometimes that's a bad idea. The threat of having a counter keeps some players at bay.

HenWen wrote:
Oh - and planar outburst. Due to the increased number of cheap and flexible answers, I can understand the rationale behind fewer board wipes, but I still like having one copy. Using outburst to Awaken a land is mighty expensive, but you can set up some cool plays like killing Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and his soldier token and coming out ahead.
I find the more removal you have the less sweepers you actually need. 3 sweeps is probably the right number but at turn 5 is the hardest card statistically for my deck to cast. My blue and black sources are 17 each and 13 white. Your deck with hubs is more flexible but hubs are an unstable color source until you cast a glimmer and you can still fetch only 1 white source because of just 1 plains in the deck so i'm uncertain how to count your evo wilds for casting pburst. It's complicated for sure.

HenWen wrote:
commit // memory and never // return - the commit side is good, but it is competing against so many other high CMC answers that are excellent. Right now, I want it as a singleton for emergency card draw and as a way of preventing self-mill. Never return- I want to like this card. But I find myself in far too many situations where "never" is the least effective answer in my hand and I do not want to tap out to cast it. I would actually like it better if the front side was "return" and the back side was "never."
Noooo no no... I love commit. I can use it to save one of my own win cons, send a pw into the library that is about to ult, sometimes I even target one of my own cast outs when it's being targeted. Of course it's also temporary removal but when you have a hand full of counters it's a good play. It can even put off uncounterable cards. Memory is part of one of my win con strategy's. never // return It's a sourcery speed murder that also hits PWs. 3 mana is annoying early but later it's not so bad and I will play it without hesitation if the threat is serious. Great card even vs control because most control decks play 3-6 pws and superfriends is still a popular thing.
Both of these cards are are a serious blow if sorin hits them with a +1. I have won several games just off sorin hitting these cards because the converted mana cost counts both sides.

HenWen wrote:
Updated OP with Boros list. Sleephumper what list did you pilot in the showdown? I love meta discussion... I am just so late for it right now lol.

Better late than never? lol
I played a Rakdos vehicles deck that was all about speed and removal and topped out at Glorybringer

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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:06 am 
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HenWen wrote:
Boros Vehicles - consistent and fast gold winner.
Fan bearer and Nahiri were originally two Glory-Bound Initiate, which in an earlier incarnation of the deck were two Lantern Scouts. I didn't find the lantern scouts that useful because I wanted to use all of my mana for explosive plays. Initiates' weakness of one toughness and exertion are no big deal are bypassed when they are piloting, but I found them rather underwhelming. The two honored crop-captain... I just can't seem to draw them. Basically they seem the best option for two mana 3/xs right now. Inventor's Apprentice is an excellent value and decent blocker, but the key number is 3 power.

If I go up the curve to three drops there are so many tasty options. Thalia, Heretic Cathar is an excellent blocker, big enough to crew, with a very significant ability. I could see giving Master Trinketeer a home in my deck as a singleton lord and mana sink. Pia Nalaar is obviously a great card but I find her abilities too expensive in this deck. I am very frequently playing creatures pre-combat and I can't hold mana open to bluff her pump ability.

Fan bearer is an interesting inclusion to the deck. Thalia is so good especially when Nahiri is down but I understand going with crop captain instead... it's hard to know the right call because your mana curve needs the 2 drops and I find an abundance of high quality 2 drops is what makes these decks tick.

I wonder what deck would win? Your boros vehicles vs your esper troll.

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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:00 pm 
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I think Esper cuz they only need to wipe the creatures and only counter the creatures, they can allow all the artifacts to hit the table

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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:02 pm 
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Updated OP with "Angels Never Die" - a fun but janky list.
I choose the name "Start Your Engines" for my boros deck, because "Boros Vehicles" is a dumb name. Activating several vehicles at once after a long gruelling game where a control deck tried killing all of my creatures is priceless.

Devoting card slots to removal has pros and cons. If I am against a Rakdos vehicle deck and they have a Snugglecopter, and then my air defense gets removed, I am pretty much screwed due to the card filtering they will get and the gradual damage. On the other hand, against control all of my removal is "on a stick" I have more creatures to counter and kill. I also try to pack in more tokens than normal via Sram's Expertise and Angel of Invention, the latter card is capable of crewing several vehicles.

That said, the vehicle list is certainly a work in progress. Currently testing:
-1 fan bearer
+1 walking ballista
+2 harnessed lightning
-2 Sram, senior edificer
-1 Nahiri, the Harbinger
+1 Oketra the True

Oketra is so BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS I can't believe I missed her. "She belongs in decks with a lot of tokens" you say. Well the bottom line is that she is an indestructible crew who can pump out endless tokens. And 3 other creatures isn't that difficult... have her make a baby during your opponent's end step, then again during your turn, use those two tokens to crew one or more vehicles and boom - you have met the threshold for her to attack.

Gideon makes tokens for free, but I do not feel like this list is well-positioned to defending him while he makes value. I am probably incorrect, but the 4 drop slot is packed pretty tight. Gideon is a higher variance choice, but I wanted something safer in this slot.

As far as my Esper pile, I am probably going to make a long post, I find that I think better in writing. Took Humper's list for a spin, I love Ob Nix's ultimate with Memory and/or just pull from tomorrow. A lot of "bombs" makes it easy to close out the game once you get ahead.


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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:41 am 
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Updated OP with Esper Draw Go v. 1.2. Much testing still to be done.

I don't have enough data yet, but my experience so far has been:
I am happy with my early removal suite of fatal push, censor, essence scatter, blessed alliance, and grasp of darkness, push and censor at 3 each, the latter 4 spells all are at only two copies. This is a diverse meta, and I like having diverse answers.

-1 Grasp of Darkness - Grasp is good but the cost is not trivial. Censor deserves 3 copies.
+1 Censor- all star card. This is the perfect "bridge" that allows you to maintain control while the unruly comes into play manabase starts working. I was only running 2 because I had not unlocked the 3rd.

-1 Glimmer of Genius - Great card, fantastic for helping you hit early land drops. Energy is valuable. But 4 cards that do nothing but draw in unacceptable in a deck with so many specialized answers.
+1 pull from tomorrow - I only realized how willing I am to play with 2 copies after testing humper's deck. The value of this card at high mana levels is well established. But even at X=3 it is quite decent. Instant speed is the key here... it provides much less punch per point of mana than planeswalkers, but it is fundamentally a low variance card - it is always a safe play, and if it doesn't draw you what you need (i.e. mana) at a low X value, it has nonetheless ripped cards off the top of your library, getting you that much closer to what you need.

-1 planar outburst - Due to the availability of cheaper counterspells in censor and scatter, I find that I am far less vulnerable to token floods. Moreover, many skilled players seem to play around board wipes that I simply do not have!
+1 cast out - I did not have the full 3 copies unlocked in earlier versions. 3 copies helps this deck to continue to make plays at instant speed. Even aggressive deck archetypes seem to run plenty of non-creature targets now, and I love having this card around as "bait" to protect the most reliable finisher, Cruel Reality.

-1 swamp - due to the increased quantity of draw as well as cycling spells, I am giving 25 lands a try. Color screw is usually more of a problem than mana screw per se, and the basics do not help too much in this regard.
+1 broken concentration - Renewed confidence in my board removal suite, plus improved draw power, makes me desire more hard counters. Enables you to keep a lock on the game longer. But to an even greater extent I want hard counters to protect my win conditions.

Knowledge is a key to victory with this deck, especially in the 1v1 ranked steam meta which is incredibly diverse. The low # of "win conditions" means that this deck durdles. But every time your opponent casts a spell, you learn more about their deck. By contrast, your opponent is not going to be gaining much useful knowledge. They know that you can potentially answer any card that they have, shutting down their card advantage, and most decks have no way of responding to the key card advantage generators in this deck. It is common for me to sit on torrential gearhulk and cruel reality for 10+ turns while I think about the best possible time to deploy them. Gearhulk just gets better and better the longer the game goes on. With cruel reality, I like to give my opponent time to destroy cast out in order to see what sort of enchantment removal they have.

Need some time to test, but working on version with -2 languish, + papa jace + Ob Nix. The aggro decks I commonly face are vehicles and RDW, and neither one commits more than one or two creatures to the board anyway. Languish has simply lost tremendous value in this meta. This allows me to keep my number of sorcery speed plays very low and is basically pure upside in 80% of my matchups.


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 Post subject: Re: HenWen's brews
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:21 pm 
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I've been playing a counter-based control deck back in the day when decks were still good (went Jeskai instead of Esper though); so I can probably give you some comments.

-3 Push, 3 Censor, 2 Scatter: Absolutely the right numbers for all of them IMO. Censor is our only 2-mana counter and takes the place of Negate and Syncopate.

-2 Grasp, 2 Alliance, 0 Never//Return: I've come down a bit on both of them TBH. There's _very_ few instances where Grasp is not just an extremely hard to cast Fatal Push, and Blessed Alliance has a really awkward time to cast it. That said, the upside of lifegain is definitely real in your deck, and there's not really a better option for Esper IMO.
I'm with you on 0 Never/Return, Anguished Unmaking does that job so much better (that card may be the one big pull into Esper instead of Dimir)

-Glimmer/Pull: IMO Glimmer is the better card than Pull; and you absolutely want the full 3/2. Carddraw is extremely valuable especially in a deck with specialized answers; since you 1-for-1 a lot you need ways to get ahead on cards.

-2 Walkers for 2 Languish: The deck does need more wincons, and ObNix+big Jace are not the worst. Personally Disciple of the Ring has really grown on me; she's very much a super-late play (8+ lands in play) but she locks games up like no other.

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