Modern Monday: Esper Vengeance

Ever since Modern was introduced, people have been trying to exploit Goryo’s Vengeance with cards like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Griselbrand. Today’s deck also wants to exploit Goryo’s Vengeance, but in a much more reasonable way—if there is such a thing.

While I’ve seen decks playing Obzedat, Ghost Council and Goryo’s Vengeance together—and I may have even played one to mixed results—the combination intrigues me every time it pops up, but I have yet to play the archetype for ChannelFireball. So here I am. I find it odd that most Goryo’s Vengeance targets have some variation of “dad” in their nicknames (Obzedad, Ghost Dad, Griseldaddy), but I digress…

This particular list was piloted by Magic Online user Nichoras.

Esper Vengeance

So the basic premise of the deck is to get a copy of Obzedat into the graveyard, then reanimate it with Vengeance. Then, when you get to the end of the turn, you’ll choose to exile Obzedat with his own ability—rather than the Vengeance trigger—allowing him to return the next turn. This is actually quite powerful in Modern.

Additionally, you can reanimate a Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, activate him, flip him into a planeswalker, and forego the exiling all together as he is no longer a creature (or the same instance of the card for that matter).

The list also has 4 copies of Lingering Souls to easily discard (or win with) and 3 copies of… wait for it… Pieces of the Puzzle! Yes, the 3-mana Shadows over Innistrad common. I couldn’t believe I was seeing it either, let alone 3 copies. I also have a copy of Ceremonious Rejection and a few copies of Fragmentize in the sideboard, which both seem like solid additions to Modern. Devour Flesh is the latest tech against Death’s Shadow, often killing multiples.

Enough about the cards, though—let’s get to it.

Well, that went about as well as I could have expected. I love when a deck performs well, but it’s that much better to do it against some top archetypes like Tron, Eldrazi Tron, Merfolk, Zoo, etc.

I’m pretty convinced that this is a great configuration for this type of deck and I don’t feel like it’s lacking in any particular area. I had great sideboard cards, hand disruption, removal, some 1-ofs, easy ways to get them into the graveyard and flash them back, multiple threats, and ways to draw cards. The deck kind of does everything I want from a control deck, while acting like a combo deck.

Aside from the time I cast it then didn’t put 2 cards into my hand because the Magic Online interface is less than ideal, Pieces of the Puzzle was actually very good. It’s like a Divination that offers both selection and a way to get things like legendary creatures into the graveyard. It does it all!

While you can’t Goryo’s Vengeance him, Tasigur was a great addition based on how many cards you’re putting into the graveyard with this deck. If I had to select 1 card I was kind of iffy on, it would be the Ultimate Price. While it’s a fantastic card, there are a good deal of colorless decks in the format, like Affinity and Eldrazi Tron, and I’m not sure I want a blank in those matchups. I actually think Doom Blade would be better, but it might be close. Truth be told, I think Victim of Night is the best option, but I fear the mana requirements there. All in all, I do like the diversity of removal spells in the deck, as when they hit the graveyard, you can target the relevant one you need with a flipped Jace.

Deck was gas. Matchups were gas. You guys are gas. Thanks for reading and try it out if you get the chance!

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