Another version of Esper Midrange is Esper Heroes (Legends). The deck has a win rate of over 60% on MTG Arena.
Dominaria United provided a good stable of legendary creatures to build decks around. Of these creatures, one of the most interesting is Ratadrabik of Urborg.
Ratadrabik’s ability to return other legendary creatures to play as 2/2 zombies with their abilities provides a great deal of value to the deck. His ward cost of two makes him harder to kill with spot removal. Left unchecked he tends to take over games.
This version goes all in on the legendary creature theme with thirty creatures in the main deck. Two drops include Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia, The Raven Man, and Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim. Each provides early value with an upside. Thalia taxes non-creature spells, Jadar creates zombie tokens, The Raven Man creates bird tokens, and Elas il-Kor gains life each time a creature enters the battlefield on your side.
Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, and Anointed Peacekeeper provide glue to the deck. Adeline’s ability to create a human token when you attack provides ongoing value while Anointed Peacekeeper taxes a non-land card two mana and causes its activities abilities to cost two additional mana. Each becomes the target of removal over other cards because of the value created by each one.
Ao, the Dawn Sky gives the deck evasion and a great death trigger. Getting to give your creatures two +1/+1 counters or allows you to look at the top seven cards of your library and put up to four mana worth of non-land permanents’ worth of value onto the battlefield. This could be one card or up to four cards depending on how the deck is constructed. Typically, one three or four-mana creature is selected, but you could get a pair of two drops.
The final creature is Ertai Resurrected. Ertai’s ability makes him a powerful card in the deck. When you cast Ertai you get to either counter a spell or an activated ability or destroy a creature or planeswalker. This gives you a tempo advantage that can cause your opponent to concede the game.
What the deck lacks is removal. With only one Destroy Evil and one Make Disappear, the deck is limited in how it responds to the opponent’s threats. When your opponent is able to develop their board position before you can it takes a lot to come back in those matches, so removing a few of the creatures and adding additional removal from the sideboard is almost a necessity post-sideboarding.
As the meta continues to develop, Esper Midrange and Esper Heroes should continue to see play and have a solid place in the meta. With additional legendary creatures coming in The Brother’s War, these decks should only gain strength in the coming weeks.
That’s it for this week. I’ll see you next time!
Scott began playing Magic the Gathering in 1994. His preferred format is standard. Typically, you will see him playing aggro decks focused on quickly defeating his opponent but he will pivot to midrange or control when standard is unfavorable for aggro decks. He began creating Magic content in 2019.