Decklists
Esper Midrange in New Capenna – Standard

Esper Midrange in New Capenna – Standard


Esper Midrange in New Capenna Standard

At the moment, the esper colors are in a very interesting spot when it comes to Standard. New Capenna has added a number of new tools to an already popular color combination. The deck can be a more traditional control deck, with lots of planeswalkers, but I have been preferring the more midrange-based versions. These decks are much more tempo based.

Esper Midrange doesn’t aim to answer every threat the opponent plays, and this is a good thing. The threats are so good (think Esika’s Chariot and The Wandering Emperor), that using spot removal can only get you so far in the format. Let’s take a look at a couple Esper Midrange lists from the first week of New Capenna Standard:

https://mtgmelee.com/Decklist/View/219961
Creatures: (14)
Malevolent Hermit
Faerie Vandal
Obscura Interceptor
Raffine, Scheming Seer

Planeswalkers: (6)
The Wandering Emperor
Kaito Shizuki

Spells: (16)
Vanishing Verse
Infernal Grasp
March of Otherworldly Light
March of Wretched Sorrow
Make Disappear
Obscura Charm
Lands: (24)
Brightclimb Pathway
Clearwater Pathway
Hengegate Pathway
Deserted Beach
Shipwreck Marsh
Shattered Sanctum
Raffine’s Tower
Island
Swamp

Sideboard: (15)
Negate
Ray of Enfeeblement
Malevolent Hermit
Duress
Path of Peril
March of Otherworldly Light
March of Wretched Sorrow
Tenacious Underdog

This version of Esper Midrange uses a lot of the new threats in New Capenna, as we take a closer look at the creature base. Connive is a great way to enable Faerie Vandal, so that you can trigger it repeatedly. Since the deck does have cards like Raffine, Scheming Seer to enable connive it means you get to draw a huge portion of your deck. Connive is a great way to prevent flooding out, as you can always discard any excess lands.

This version of Esper is going to take some getting used to for most players, at it is very different compared to previous Esper decks. While the deck does play some planeswalkers, there aren’t as many removal spells or planeswalkers as Esper decks had played before the addition of New Capenna. This is because of all the creatures the deck is now playing. Obscura Interceptor is one of my new favorite cards, as a tempo play that also has connive, it can make things very annoying for the opponent.

As we move to the noncreature spells there are also new additions with Make Disappear, and Obscura Charm. Now keep in mind this list I am going over was built during week one of this Standard format, so part of the process for perfecting the Esper Midrange deck is trying out new cards like we see here. Make Disappear is a serviceable Mana Leak sort of effect, and while you don’t want to sacrifice a creature for casualty, there is the option to do so. Obscura Charm can be a removal spell, counter, or return one of your multicolor threats to the battlefield after it dies. What makes the Charms good is their versatility.

There is a lot to take in, digest, and get used to with the new versions of Esper Midrange. Let’s take a look at an alternative direction you can go with the deck now:

https://mtgmelee.com/Decklist/View/220154
Creatures: (17)
Legion Angel
Luminarch Aspirant
Skyclave Apparition
Tenacious Underdog
Raffine, Scheming Seer

Planeswalkers: (10)
Lolth, Spider Queen
Sorin the Mirthless
The Wandering Emperor
Kaito Shizuki
Elspeth Resplendent

Spells: (8)
Vanishing Verse
Wedding Announcement
Lands: (25)
Brightclimb Pathway
Clearwater Pathway
Hengegate Pathway
Cave of the Frost Dragon
Hive of the Eye Tyrant
Deserted Beach
Shipwreck Marsh
Shattered Sanctum
Raffine’s Tower
Swamp

Sideboard: (15)
Legion Angel
Portable Hole
Check for Traps
Ray of Enfeeblement
Malevolent Hermit
The Meathook Massacre

You might be expecting to see Void Rend in these lists, but in a deck with so many threats it becomes necessary to pick and choose what removal to play. Vanishing Verse remains the best removal spell in these colors because it can be cast for two mana.

This version does play 10 planeswalkers total, including a copy of Elspeth Resplendent. The choice of which planeswalkers to play is certainly interesting, with even more options to choose from now. Once again though there is a heavy focus on creatures here, though we do see a different creature suite, with four copies of Tenacious Underdog present. This card is both a good play on turn two, and a way to make sure you don’t run out of gas later on, because if the ability to use its blitz cost.

In terms of the manabases both Esper lists we looked at have incorporated four copies of Raffine’s Tower, which is going to be automatic moving forward. These decks have much better mana than they used to, which definitely helps with the consistency of these strategies. The big takeaway for me here is that esper decks have changed significantly from what they used to be.

I expect to see a lot less pure control based esper decks, and much more of these aggressively slanted esper lists. The format hasn’t yet settled to the point I’m confident enough telling you which of these two decks is better, though I will say it’s clear that Raffine, Scheming Seer is going to be an important card to be playing moving forward. Connive is a super powerful ability especially when you are able to use it repeatedly.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.