Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Oct 26 2021 12:13pm

Esper is not a color combination that gets talked about a lot in Pauper. While all 3 colors have plenty of good cards, trying to put them all in the same deck can be tricky to get working right.

However that does not stop Pauper players from trying. Today we will be looking at an Esper deck that revolves around enter the battlefield effects and trying its make the game go as long as it needs to. The list we will be looking at was part of the 5-0 dump from 10/13/2021 and piloted by soLerme. Let’s get right into it!

Kor Skyfisher – This is a deck that uses a bunch of permanents with enter the battlefield effects. Kor Skyfisher is an auto include for a deck like this.

Dream Stalker – Not as good as Kor Skyfisher, but Stalker blocks really well and also allows you to return your permanents back.

Mulldrifter – This is a perfect kind of deck for Mulldrifter. If you could play 5 copies, I probably would.

Lone Missionary – A good card against aggro decks and at worst it is a 2 power 2 drop against control. I am not sure it is that much better than Aven Riftwatcher, but it does gain 4 life right away and comes down a turn early.

Crypt Rats – You can gain lots of life and this is a good way to wipe the board in a pinch. You play some reanimation spells as well, so this is even better in a deck like this.

Dawnbringer Cleric – I was critical of having this in the Naya Midrange archetype, but I like it here. It has good stats against aggro decks and has 3 relevant abilities that you can use multiple times throughout the game to good results.

Ephemerate – A deck like this wouldn’t be complete without some number of Ephemerate. My only issue is that you don’t play something like Mnemonic Wall to reuse it over and over, but that is just my personal feeling.

Journey to Nowhere – This is an interesting card in this deck. While the ability is on the stack, you can use Ephemerate on Skyfisher or Stalker to bounce it before it exiles a creature and then the creature it exiles is gone forever.

Omen of the Sea – With all the return effects you have, Omen of the Sea can generate you a lot of card advantage over the course of a game. It also has Flash which is quite nice.

Omen of the Dead – This is quite a good card in the Pauper format. With Kor Skyfisher you can loop it back over and over. Omen of the Dead is just a good card in general in a deck like this.

Unearth – Sadly this does not return Mulldrifter, but it does return Skyfisher and Stalker which is good enough.

Chainer’s Edict – Edict effects are always a good thing to have, especially these days.

Cast Down – One of the best removal spells in the format. I kind of wish there was 4, but you need to make room for other things somehow.

Pestilence – This is still a great card in the format against most decks that you will face. You don’t have anything like Guardian of the Guildpact or Gurmag Angler to help keep it in play which is why I am a little skeptical of it being in this deck, but it is still a good card non the less and with a 3 toughness creature out you can still do some work with it.

Prophetic Prism – Helps you fix your colors and draws cards. Just a good card all around.

The Manabase

Ash Barrens and Evolving Wilds – Since you play 3 colors, you will need some mana fixing. Ash Barrens is quite good because you can play it as a land and you can return it later.

Azorius Chancery, Orzhov Basillica and Dimir Aqueduct – 1 of each bounce land to help with mana fixing. One thing I would like to note is that this deck is mana hungry. If you have a land light hand, even if you have a bounce land, the hand might still be a mulligan.

Thriving Heath and Thriving Isle – These lands are quite good in this deck. You need a lot of black mana to do multiple things, especially to use Crypt Rats and Pestilence effectively. With these 4 dual lands, you will most likely name black every time and so you will have easy access to your other colors while also having access to your main color.

Bojuka Bog – Everyone needs some graveyard hate.

The rest of the manabase are basic lands consisting of 2 Island, 2 Plains and 6 Swamp for a total of 21 lands. I find this manabase to be perfect and the only thing I would consider is maybe adding a 22nd land if you feel the need to. I would add either another basic or another Ash Barrens because I don’t think you want more come into play tapped lands.

The Sideboard

Crypt Rats, Dawnbringer Cleric, Lone Missionary, and Omen of the Dead – Each of these cards are here for whatever matchup you find yourself in where you may need another copy.

Circle of Protection: Red – No one likes losing to the color red.

Dust to Dust – Affinity is still one the best decks in the format. Here is one of the best hate cards.

Faerie Macabre – This creature is interesting because it can either be graveyard hate your opponent wouldn’t necessarily see coming or it can be a decent flying creature. I think the reason you don’t see this often is because Nihill Spellbomb and Relic of Progenitus can draw a card, but in this deck, since you have Omen of the Dead and plenty of card advantage, Faerie Macabre is a good choice.

Okiba-Gang Shinobi – One of the best cards against combo and Tron decks and that is especially true for this deck.

I would like to see a copy or two of Mnemonic Wall to do loops and a couple copies of Serrated Arrows because you can return it and reuse it a lot. These are just my personal preferences.

Verdict and Conclusion

Right off the bat I will just say I am personally not a fan of this deck. The reason why is because it is way to grindy for me and in my older age, I like games to be over somewhat quickly. However, if you love long and grindy games with a good amount of decision making, this will be a fun deck for you to try.

I don’t have much more to say without asking the question first. Do I think you should play this deck? Again, if you like games taking a long time, then this is a fine deck for leagues, but results will vary. For the challenges though, I am hesitant. While I think this deck has a good aggro matchup and should have a decent matchup against the Faerie decks, I don’t feel the deck has enough to really compete.

You have Pestilence, but you don’t really have any good creatures to keep in play that work well with it. You have a lot of card advantage, but your deck is still quite slow to get things going. You have a good amount of removal and that is why I say your aggro matchup is good, but your midrange and control matchups (control like Tron) will be a bit of a struggle in my opinion because they can just go over the top of what you are doing.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!