I love a good Esper Control deck. Even control decks need to have lots of cheap spells, so I especially like a control deck that can play high-impact creatures early. Modern games are often decided on the first few turns of the game, so pressure and cheap removal and discard to stop opponents early is important. The threats in this deck are not easy to answer and can provide card advantage, which is the direction control decks should be going in if they want to do well right now.

The deck originally popped up in the hands of Lance Austin, who has been playing a similar list for a while now. After talking to Lance and putting my own spin on the deck, I have been more than happy with the results.

The creatures here are bonkers. The namesake card is Zur the Enchanter, and the enchantments it tutors for are all high-impact, and being able to put it right into play is huge. This is not a deck that I expect to become a major player in Modern, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have the tools to get there. Zur the Enchanter is a card that gets overlooked as some players may not even be aware it is in the format.

The deck played out smoothly, with no glaring flaws. On paper, Tron seems like a bad matchup, but as I have gotten a feel for the matchup it is actually pretty good for the Esper player. Spreading Seas can shut down a Tron piece, which as we saw can be the difference in a game. The other factor is that Geist of Saint Traft is very difficult to deal with. Tron decks used to be red-green and have Pyroclasm as an answer to Geist of Saint Traft, but now there is more pressure being put on Oblivion Ring to answer the powerful legendary threat. The disruption and a reasonable clock can actually get the job done here.

I haven't played much of the Ad Nauseam matchup, and I still keep going back to the fact that one Leyline of Sanctity got boarded in and we had it in our opening hand both sideboarded games! It can stop the combo with Lightning Storm, but as we found out the hard way, the Ad Nauseam deck can also win with Laboratory Maniac. For game three, having Engineered Explosives on three prevented Laboratory Maniac from beating us, and the Negate at the end on an Echoing Truth was good enough. What I find interesting is that our opponent didn't have Pact of Negation at all. I'm definitely not confident either player played and sideboarded optimally, but I did feel good about the matchup.

The Mono-White Hate Bears deck isn't typical, but there are plenty of different variants out there. This one is was playing many of the typical creatures you expect to see. Game one the final sequence of plays was pretty frustrating. Our opponent had exactly what they needed in order to steal the game. Overall though, our card advantage and removal provided the late-game edge that was required to take the match down. This Esper Zur deck is one I recommend trying out. This is just one version of the deck, and I can see going in a more enchantment-heavy direction as well.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield