Going into the November Zendikar Rising League Weekend, my team and I knew Gruul Aggro would be the deck to beat. Fortunately, we had a plan.

Autumn Burchett, Emma Handy, Matt Sperling, Ally Warfield, and I settled on Esper Doom Foretold as the strategy that could smash Gruul. The results confirmed our assessment: if you're looking to beat Gruul, go for Esper.

This was the list I played:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Esper Doom by Jess Estephan

'Esper Doom' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Jess Estephan

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $159.15

Cards

Temple of Enlightenment

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.71

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206634_200w.jpg

Temple of Enlightenment enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Enlightenment enters the battlefield, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{T}: Add {W} or {U}.

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Glass Casket

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199004_200w.jpg

When Glass Casket enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls with converted mana cost 3 or less until Glass Casket leaves the battlefield.

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Negate

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222130_200w.jpg

Counter target noncreature spell.

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Baneslayer Angel

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $2.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215372_200w.jpg

Flying, first strike, lifelink, protection from Demons and from Dragons

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Dream Trawler

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.59

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207050_200w.jpg

Flying, lifelink
Whenever you draw a card, Dream Trawler gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
Whenever Dream Trawler attacks, draw a card.
Discard a card: Dream Trawler gains hexproof until end of turn. Tap it.

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Eliminate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215516_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or planeswalker with converted mana cost 3 or less.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Elspeth Conquers Death

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207052_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Exile target permanent an opponent controls with converted mana cost 3 or greater.
II — Noncreature spells your opponents cast cost {2} more to cast until your next turn.
III — Return target creature or planeswalker card from your graveyard to the battlefield. Put a +1/+1 counter or a loyalty counter on it.

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Elspeth's Nightmare

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207053_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Destroy target creature an opponent controls with power 2 or less.
II — Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.
III — Exile target opponent's graveyard.

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The Birth of Meletis

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206752_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Search your library for a basic Plains card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
II — Create a 0/4 colorless Wall artifact creature token with defender.
III — You gain 2 life.

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Extinction Event

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212261_200w.jpg

Choose odd or even. Exile each creature with converted mana cost of the chosen value. (Zero is even.)

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Skyclave Apparition

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $6.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221860_200w.jpg

When Skyclave Apparition enters the battlefield, exile up to one target nonland, nontoken permanent you don't control with converted mana cost 4 or less.
When Skyclave Apparition leaves the battlefield, the exiled card's owner creates an X/X blue Illusion creature token, where X is the converted mana cost of the exiled card.

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Hagra Mauling

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.77

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222096_200w.jpg

This spell costs {1} less to cast if an opponent controls no basic lands.
Destroy target creature.

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Treacherous Blessing

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206658_200w.jpg

When Treacherous Blessing enters the battlefield, draw three cards.
Whenever you cast a spell, you lose 1 life.
When Treacherous Blessing becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice it.

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Glimpse of Freedom

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206755_200w.jpg

Draw a card.
Escape—{2}{U}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $5.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Archon of Sun's Grace

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206838_200w.jpg

Flying, lifelink
Pegasus creatures you control have lifelink.
Constellation — Whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, create a 2/2 white Pegasus creature token with flying.

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Shark Typhoon

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $11.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212133_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying, where X is that spell's converted mana cost.
Cycling {X}{1}{U} ({X}{1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Shark Typhoon, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying.

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Brightclimb Pathway

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $1.91

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221817_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {W}.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227281_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Cling to Dust

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206655_200w.jpg

Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, you gain 3 life. Otherwise, you draw a card.
Escape—{3}{B}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Omen of the Sun

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206784_200w.jpg

Flash
When Omen of the Sun enters the battlefield, create two 1/1 white Human Soldier creature tokens and you gain 2 life.
{2}{W}, Sacrifice Omen of the Sun: Scry 2.

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Yorion, Sky Nomad

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $1.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212715_200w.jpg

Companion — Your starting deck contains at least twenty cards more than the minimum deck size. (If this card is your chosen companion, you may put it into your hand from outside the game for {3} any time you could cast a sorcery.)
Flying
When Yorion enters the battlefield, exile any number of other nonland permanents you own and control. Return those cards to the battlefield at the beginning of the next end step.

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Clearwater Pathway

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $3.54

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221830_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222820_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227283_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Omen of the Sea

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206769_200w.jpg

Flash
When Omen of the Sea enters the battlefield, scry 2, then draw a card.
{2}{U}, Sacrifice Omen of the Sea: Scry 2.

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Mazemind Tome

Market Price: $1.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215519_200w.jpg

{T}, Put a page counter on Mazemind Tome: Scry 1.
{2}, {T}, Put a page counter on Mazemind Tome: Draw a card.
When there are four or more page counters on Mazemind Tome, exile it. If you do, you gain 4 life.

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Heartless Act

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212369_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target creature with no counters on it.
• Remove up to three counters from target creature.

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Duress

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215662_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

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Doom Foretold

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198873_200w.jpg

At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player sacrifices a nonland, nontoken permanent. If that player can't, they discard a card, they lose 2 life, you draw a card, you gain 2 life, you create a 2/2 white Knight creature token with vigilance, then you sacrifice Doom Foretold.

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Emeria's Call

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $4.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221952_200w.jpg

Create two 4/4 white Angel Warrior creature tokens with flying. Non-Angel creatures you control gain indestructible until your next turn.

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Shatter the Sky

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207069_200w.jpg

Each player who controls a creature with power 4 or greater draws a card. Then destroy all creatures.

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Temple of Silence

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.49

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215548_200w.jpg

Temple of Silence enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Silence enters the battlefield, scry 1.
{T}: Add {W} or {B}.

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Temple of Deceit

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.96

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206633_200w.jpg

Temple of Deceit enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Deceit enters the battlefield, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

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Vs. Gruul Aggro

On the Play:
+2 Negate
+1 Elspeth Conquers Death
+1 Baneslayer Angel

-1 Cling to Dust
-1 Treacherous Blessing
-2 Mazemind Tome

On the Draw:
+1 Negate
+1 Elspeth Conquers Death
+1 Baneslayer Angel

-1 Cling to Dust
-2 Treacherous Blessing

Remember, Negate being able to counter Adventure spells is a huge upside. If your opponent is playing more noncreature spells than usual, I recommend bringing in the second Negate on the draw and removing a copy of Mazemind Tome.

Vs. Esper Doom (with Golden Egg)

+2 Negate
+3 Mystical Dispute
+2 Shark Typhoon
+2 Duress
+1 Mazemind Tome
+1 Elspeth Conquers Death

-4 Doom Foretold (Yours are significantly worse than theirs.)
-2 Shatter the Sky
-1 Extinction Event
-1 Eliminate
-2 Glass Casket
-1 The Birth of Meletis

If your opponent is playing four copies of Shark Typhoon, leave Eliminate in.

Vs. Esper Doom (Without Golden Egg)

+2 Negate
+3 Mystical Dispute
+2 Shark Typhoon
+2 Duress
+1 Mazemind Tome
+1 Elspeth Conquers Death

-2 Shatter the Sky
-2 Extinction Event
-1 Eliminate
-2 Glass Casket
-1 The Birth of Meletis
-2 Doom Foretold
-1 Omen of the Sun

If your opponent is playing four copies of Shark Typhoon, leave Eliminate in.

Vs. Mardu Doom

+2 Shark Typhoon
+1 Treacherous Blessing
+2 Negate
+1 Mazemind Tome
+1 Glimpse of Freedom
+2 Duress
+3 Mystical Dispute

-2 Omen of the Sun
-4 Doom Foretold
-1 Eliminate
-2 Shatter the Sky
-2 Extinction Event
-1 Heartless Act

Keep in Glass Casket since it can effectively target Charming Prince, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, and Skyclave Apparition.

Vs. Mono-Green Aggro

+1 Elspeth Conquers Death
+1 Baneslayer Angel
+1 Mazemind Tome
+1 Mystical Dispute (We love a good Mana Leak.)

-4 Elspeth's Nightmare

Vs. Dimir Rogues (featuring Zareth San)

+1 Mazemind Tome
+3 Mystical Dispute
+2 Glimpse of Freedom
+2 Shark Typhoon
+2 Duress

-3 Elspeth Conquers Death
-2 Omen of the Sun
-2 Shatter the Sky
-1 Extinction Event
-1 Dream Trawler
-1 The Birth of Meletis