Hello fellow planeswalkers!  Welcome to Standard Weekly

As we continue to look at decks that have a strong place in the meta game, today I will look at Esper Raffine.  Various versions of the deck have existed since the arrival of Raffine, Scheming Seer in Streets of New Capenna.

Included in this article is a YouTube deck tech and gameplay footage of the deck in action, so you can see the play patterns and the resiliency of the deck.  Here is what the latest version looks like.

Esper Raffine


  • 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

  • 4 Dennick, Pious Apprentice

  • 1 Ao, the Dawn Sky

  • 4 Raffine, Scheming Seer

  • 2 Toluz, Clever Conductor

  • 2 The Raven Man

  • 4 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

  • 1 Ertai Resurrected

  • 4 Skrelv, Defector Mite

  • 4 Rona, Herald of Invasion


  • 3 Go for the Throat

LANDS: (27)

  • 1 Underground River

  • 4 Plaza of Heroes

  • 4 Caves of Koilos

  • 2 Seachrome Coast

  • 4 Darkslick Shores

  • 1 Plains

  • 3 Shattered Sanctum

  • 3 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

  • 3 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 2 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire


  • 4 Cut Down

  • 2 Disdainful Stroke

  • 2 Negate

  • 1 Liliana of the Veil

  • 2 Loran of the Third Path

  • 1 Gix’s Command

  • 1 Razorlash Transmogrant

  • 2 Surge of Salvation

Esper Raffine has remained relatively the same deck it has been since the addition of Sheoldred, the Apocalypse from Dominaria United.  March of the March has added additional card draw to the deck in the form of Rona, Herald of Invasion.  Rona cost’s two mana for a 1/3 legendary human wizard.  Her ability to draw and discard a card each turn helps a player move quickly through their library.  In addition, when you cast a legendary spell, you get to untap Rona giving you the option of drawing another card.

Rona works well with the deck’s other creatures to create a snowball effect that leaves an opponent feeling that inevitably they will lose.  Here’s how other creatures support Rona.  Toluz, Clever Conductor gets to put a card discarded into exile from the game until Toluz leaves the battlefield.  Then those cards return to your hand.  With Toluz in play, there is very little downside to using Rona’s ability.  The Raven Man makes a 1/1 bird token each turn that a player discards a card.  This naturally happens with Rona and Raffine.  This quickly grows your team and gives you flyers to go over any creatures an opponent might have in play.  Finally, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse ability triggers each time you draw and discard with Rona.  This can happen multiple times a turn keeping your life total high while you execute your game plan.

The deck is fun to play and presents different play pattern options, so the deck does not feel stale.  Having Raffine for another year will keep Esper Midrange a part of the standard Meta over the next year.

I hope you enjoyed the deck tech and gameplay.

That’s it for today.  I’ll see you next time!

By: Scott Trepanier

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 will pivot to midrange or control when standard is unfavorable for aggro decks.  He began creating Magic content in 2019.