Esper Tokens in Standard (Videos)

Feature Article from Seth Manfield
Seth Manfield
2/22/2018 11:03:00 AM
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It has been a while since Standard has been this diverse. Token decks were fringe players before the latest bannings, but never gained much momentum. Now, I believe tokens in general are in a good spot, and I like the Esper version the best. Champion of Wits allows you to have things to do with your mana every single turn. Various red aggressive and Blue-Black Control decks have been popular lately, and this Esper Tokens deck typically does well against those strategies:

This deck can gain lots of life, which is why it doesn't get run over by aggressive decks. Later, the eternalize creatures combined with your powerful enchantments allow for grinding out long games. This deck also isn't that vulnerable to spot removal, as it can go wide. There are certain cards like Approach of the Second Sun that are tough to deal with, but the sideboard is very much geared towards the more difficult matchups.

We beat the Black-White Approach deck, despite losing the first game. That is quite common, but after sideboard we just needed to deal with their win condition, and this deck can fight through a ton of removal given enough time. Actually, the most effective form of removal against token decks are cards that can destroy enchantments. While Champion of Wits is the primary reason for playing blue, having access to Negate is also nice.

 Champion of Wits
Store QTY Price  
Vortex Gaming Center 1 $0.69
Up North Hobbies 1 $1.24
Buy Sell Roll 1 $1.24
tilt n scoop 1 $1.24
MarzAttacksMTG 2 $1.38
OmahaMTG321 1 $1.43
Steelrose 1 $1.50
Tophat Cards 1 $1.60
Scorchulators LLC 1 $1.64
The Game Shoppe 1 $1.68
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Champion of Wits Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

In the second round, we got paired against a pretty easy matchup – the red aggro deck splashing black is quite popular right now. Their draws were not super aggressive, and for that deck to beat you they need a really strong start. Once we start getting our engine going, the game is pretty much over.

The only match we lost was a pretty wild one. Game two the hand I kept was questionable, and didn't end up working out, while we were run over by creatures that typically aren't much of an issue. For game three our Red-Green Mosneters opponent was able to essentially go big with creatures like Carnage Tyrant alongside multiple sweepers and multiple copies of Thrashing Brontodon. This draw was pretty tough to answer since we didn't draw any of our mass removal to deal with their Carnage Tyrants and the Thrashing Brontodons prevented our engine from fully coming online.

I like playing token strategies quite a bit, and the deck seems to be well positioned against most of the popular decks. Cards like River's Rebuke and Vraska, Relic Seeker are what you are worried about the most, but they don't see that much play. It is easier to play the tokens online, so when running it in paper just be aware how many triggers there are to track.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield

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