Esper Midrange by Akio Chiba at GP Kobe – 7th

Creatures (9)
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Glory-Bound Initiate
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Non-Creature Spells (28)
4 Serum Visions
2 Thoughtseize
3 Collective Brutality
2 Lingering Souls
4 Painful Truths
3 Fatal Push
2 Path to Exile
2 Spell Snare
1 Devour Flesh
2 Mana Leak
2 Cryptic Command
1 Batterskull

Lands (23)
4 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
4 Darkslick Shores
1 Seachrome Coast
1 Watery Grave
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Godless Shrine
3 Shambling Vent
1 Celestial Colonnade
3 Island
1 Plains
1 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
3 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Engineered Explosives
2 Lost Legacy
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Celestial Purge
1 Disenchant
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Negate
1 Go for the Throat

Summary

Shifts in the Modern metagame towards various Death’s Shadow decks and the new Counters Company deck, midrange decks are now forced to adapt and perhaps change color combinations in order to put up a fight. This past weekend in Kobe, Akio Chiba made top 8 with a rather innovative Esper Midrange deck that we’ll be looking at today.

The creature base is a little surprising. Snapcaster Mage and Tasigur, the Golden Fang are both reasonable and perhaps expected inclusions in a spell-heavy deck such as this one. Getting extra value out of your spells through Snapcaster Mage and putting out a sizable creature for little to no mana through Tasigur, the Golden Fang are both very appealing options for a deck such as this one.

The real surprise is 4 copies of Glory-Bound Initiate. The Amonkhet rare has yet to make a splash in Standard, but it might start to make one for itself in Modern. A 3/1 for 2 mana is nothing to write home about, but a 4/4 lifelink for 2 mana is quite a formidable threat, especially against some of Modern’s most popular decks like Burn. Batterskull sees less play in Modern than its power level would suggest, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see it in the mainboard of this deck. However, it’s a hard to deal with threat that can very quickly put the game out of reach for the opponent.

4 Serum Visions and 4 Painful Truths make up the draw spells in this deck. The life loss from Painful Truths is the main downside, but it can be easily mitigated by Glory-Bound Initiate. Collective Brutality, Fatal Push, Path to Exile, and Devour Flesh make up the removal spells in this deck. Each one offers something a little different. Devour Flesh is the real surprise, but with the continued rise of Death’s Shadow, forcing them to regain the life they’ve intentionally lost is no small thing.

The sideboard of this deck looks to cover some of the deck’s blind spots as well as changing the mainboard configuration when needed. Engineered Explosives and Go for the Throat offer more removal spells and Ceremonious Rejection and Negate are additional counter spells, with Rejection being included to fight the ever-growing contingency of Eldrazi Tron. Tormod’s Crypt and Nihil Spellbomb are included for Dredge, which this style of deck tends to struggle with.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:

Mainboard

-1 Collective Brutality

+1 Path to Exile

Sideboard

-1 Disenchant

-1 Go for the Throat

+2 Negate

This is day 149 of Spellsnare.com’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 148 here, where we featured a unique Legacy deck that looks to take advantage of the powerful combo of Notion Thief and Dack Fayden!

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