Grand prix Beijing was this weekend, and some of the most notable tech to come out of it in the form of the UB Heroic deck. I was all set to write about that that for you guys, but then Adam Yurchick swooped in and gave us a run through first! It has to say something that we were both so interested in the deck.

No matter!

Today I'm going to show you another deck I found while going through the Magic Online Daily Events. I think the deck could definitely use some tuning, but it did manage a 3-1 finish, which tells me it has something going for it. Let's take a look at the deck in question.


There are a couple issues I definitely took with the deck right off the bat, but it had Phenax, God of Deception and Consuming Aberration in it, so I couldn't not give it a chance! It also eschews Dissolve for the lesser played Psychic Strike, a card that fits perfectly into a deck like this. But enough about all that. Let's see what we're actually talking about here.

Esper Mill vs. Esper Control

I rarely do this, but this time I just couldn't help but make a change in between videos. I just had to remove the two Plains for one more Temple of Enlightenment and one Swamp. When we looked at the stats for the deck, it had 50 black mana symbols in all of the cards' combined casting costs, 31 blue mana symbols, and only six white mana symbols...for a mere three white cards. Yet the deck had only 12 sources of black mana and 13 sources of white mana, including the two basic Plains which would never allow you to cast the Nightveil Specters off of them.

It didn't really make that much sense to me considering we had so few white cards, and we already had two lands in the form of Mutavault that would insure that we couldn't cast our Nightveil Specter on turn three; the last thing I wanted to draw was a basic Plains, let alone two, when we had nine spells that cost double black and four spells that sot double blue. That being the case, I made the adjustment and continued playing.

Esper Mill vs. Monoblack Aggro

Esper Mill vs. Junk Midrange

Esper Mill vs. Rakdos Aggro

As you can see, the deck definitely has game, but it seems weak against the aggro decks because of all of the lands that come into play tapped and the lack of removal spells in the two and three spot. While I love Far // Away, I think it might just be better as Devour Flesh here. We have so many things we want to do at three mana, that just bouncing their guy for two mana doesn't seem very efficient, and most of the time we're using it to kill a Blood Baron of Vizkopa anyway. Unlike true Esper decks, we don't have access to four Detention Spheres and four Supreme Verdicts, which makes us a little softer against aggressive decks.

Furthermore, the deck has so much going on that, we never really wanted to actually cast the Keyrunes. This isn't the kind of deck where we want to ramp into our five drops. It's more like the kind of deck where we want to take our time and control the board and make sure the coast is clear before dropping one of our massive threats. Aside from that, this isn't really the kind of format where we have the luxury to tap out on turn three for a Keyrune. What could we even cast off of one? Consuming Aberration would be incredibly tiny at that point, and we'd have hardly any devotion for our Gray Merchant of Asphodel. They just don't seem to make sense to me. The deck also only had a paltry 24 lands, which seems really light for a deck that goes all the way up to six mana and wants to cast Counterspells.

We didn't really like either of the Erebos cards, neither Whip of Erebos or Erebos, God of the Dead himself. We don't have nearly enough creatures to use with Whip of Erebos, and we always had other things we wanted to cast or draw. Typically if we have a creature out that's worth gaining life with, like Consuming Aberration or an AEtherling, we're already winning. Sure, we can whip back a Gray Merchant of Asphodel, but we only have two, and that seems way too cute. As for the god himself, we never felt like we had the time to actually cast and activate him, and in this aggressive format, we rarely wanted to anyway. He could be good out of the sideboard against the control decks, but against aggro you just never want to draw him.

Now Consuming Aberration, that was a card that impressed me. Ultimate Price doesn't kill it. Doom Blade doesn't kill it. Last Breath doesn't kill it. Bile Blight tried to kill it, but as soon as it hit the graveyard the Aberration became a 4/4 due to state-based effects! Let alone this thing was a 22/22 in certain games and he turned every spell we cast into a mill spell.

I loved what this deck was trying to do, and quite honestly the white doesn't even seem worth it to me. I think we can make a perfectly functional UB version of this list, with Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver even. This is a format where we're playing Supreme Verdict to kill a bunch of two toughness creatures, and if that's the case, Drown in Sorrow is going to do the same thing. Maybe something like this...


Now I'm not certain, as this deck is completely untested, but I felt like we lost more than one game due to our manabase, and we're not really getting that much out of the white in this deck, not without things like Sphinx's Revelation, Detention Sphere, and a commitment to Supreme Verdict. But the blue/black cards we were using seemed quite powerful. I'm actually tempted to take this deck for a spin and see how it does. If I do, I'll let you know.

That's about all I have for this week. Melissa and I will be in attendance at the TCGplayer Open 5k in Orlando this weekend, so if you get the chance to make it out there, you totally should. Thanks for reading and I'll catch you on Monday.

Frank Lepore
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