Cube Drafting Decklist : Esper Control

2013-05-29 21.09.34 2013-05-29 21.09.29


Before we dive in, I want to tell you that Esper is probably my favorite color combination to play. The three colors can create a stellar control deck and grind out miraculous wins. But a deck is only powerful if it can cast its spells.

Cube Drafting Decklist

Noxious Revival
Lone Missionary
Seal of Cleansing
Demonic Tutor
Timely Reinforcements
Detention Sphere
Jace, The Mind Sculptor
Supreme Verdict
Fact or Fiction
Vraska, The Unseen
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Precursor Golem
Increasing Devotion
Wurmcoil Engine
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Mind Twist

I didn’t snap a picture of the lands that I played in this one but there were three on color fetches (two that grabbed forests), a godless shrine, and I think a Savannah. Not the best fixing for a deck with such a high amount of mana symbols, and its for that reason that, while playing this deck, I sometimes found myself sitting with Ob Nix or Supreme Verdict in one hand and my … well, never mind what was in my other hand. Moral of the story: bad fixing is bad.

Generating an Advantage

In Esper builds, the name of the game that you want to be playing is card advantage. The way you get ahead is by getting more out of your cards than your opponent does and this decklist certainly has the potential to do exactly that.


Blue is my favorite color to play. It’s regarded by many magic players as the most powerful color in magic. While you might not agree with that, there is no denying that drawing more cards than an opponent should translate to more wins and blue lends that ability to cube drafter. Brainstorm, Mulldrifter, Jace, Fact or Fiction, and Tamiyo all help to fill my hand up and keep me happily ahead of the top deckers. This is how blue helps this deck gain card advantage. And since I’m drawing all these cards, I figured, why not play a forbid that I can just pitch all those cards to.

No spells for you!

Black is the bastard-child of cube. Poor black gets accused of being “the worst color in cube” by just about everyone and I honestly can’t tell you why. People say mono black is awful and they are right. So, you know what you can do about that? Stop drafting mono black, dummy. If a dog bites you, do you keep patting the dog? C’mon now.

Black is a spashy color. It’s full of removal, disruption, and fatty-boom-balatties. Even aggro is there. I used to prescribe to the “black aggro in cube is horrible” theory, but the fact is this:

Mono Black aggro is weak in cube.
Orzhov Aggro and Rakdos Aggro are dope-on-a-rope.

Splash around. Grab your tutors and thoughtsiezes then animate the dead G/W/B/R/U creatures. Go deep. Get crazy with it. Winning isn’t everything – cube is a casual format you’re supposed to have fun and get experimental. There’s no rule saying every color section should be an island. Instead of depending on a color section to do the work for you and just auto picking everything in your color, go for the throat and build something interesting. Sack up and splash.

(rant over)

However, in this deck I may have had more than a splash- the double symbols in white, black, and blue were not the type of triple threat I wanted to write about.
Double black hits twice in the list with Kokusho and Ob Nixilis which, really, isn’t bad since they are actually both six drops and it’s fairly likely to have double black by turn six.

Ob Nixilis, the Fallen

Ob Nix was a powerhouse, as always, and with those fetch lands, I was losing my shit. I think he is really underrated. I don’t know if people are just not into black finishers or what?
Am I missing something?

If you skip playing him on turn five, then Turn six: cast him, play a fetch land, crack the fetch. Easy, right? That’s 3BB for a 9/9 with target player loses 6 life. And, it still has the Landfall.

He even keeps mana open for crystal sharding, icy manipulating, crystal balling, divining topping, spell piercing, and freakin’ lightning bolting.  One question…

Got greaves?

Double Blue was rottenly awesome as well. Jace, the mind sculptor, Tamiyo, the moon sage, and Forbid. I don’t think those are cards that could be in question. Tapping and bouncing things for free is what this deck wants. Jace won me two games pretty much single hand-idly. Forbid is one of the best counters and with plenty of card draw, you can guarantee that you’ll be recasting it. Enough said here.

Double White is light-ish. There are only two of them: Supreme Verdict and Increasing Devotion.

Increasing Devotion

Now, Increasing devotion was not something that I had a problem with. Coming in being a double white five drop with the ability to be flashed back for more fun as a nine drop, this card is awesome. Devotion is fairly easy to cast in this deck and, speaking of card advantage, have you seen this thing? Fifteen tokens out of one card?


I’ve got a perfect role for those tokens: Sit in front of jace and tammy and let them do their thang.

But, Supreme Verdict, on the other hand is really hard to cast when you need it. A deck like this that is so heavily committed to three colors needs either its fixing to be impeccable (mine wasn’t) or for the cards with double symbols to be higher drops. Verdict is only a four drop and it is a four drop that only has one colorless in its cost. It was probably a mistake main decking it. I do feel like this deck wants a sweeper but I probably could have found something a little bit better to go in its place because I cannot tell you how many times it was sitting in my hand- dead. Bummer

The problems that I was running into with this draft was stuff like taking mind twist over scrubland and not getting it on the wheel. Whenever one of the lands that I needed was in front of me, there were obviously better cards sitting on top of them. I don’t mean to pawn off my bad fixing on good cards, but it does happen. I will probably never take a land over a mind twist, demonic tutor, or a jace, the mind sculptor. It just happens sometimes. That’s cube drafting for you.

I would have loved to have drafted lingering souls. I think that souls would have worked perfectly with the “build up behind a wall of tokens” thing this deck had going on. I probably should have cut Vraska from this main but I still haven’t really seen what the card does.

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say about this heap


Next time I will focus more on my colorless spells.


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