Elly Lily

This is the fourth in my Lorwyn-Shards Standard exercise of making a deck from each Shard. So far, we’ve touched on Grixis, Naya, and Jund, and now it’s time for Esper with…
Elly Lily
Click through to the extended for decklist and commentary.

14 Creatures:
Kitchen Finks
Battlegrace Angel
22 Spells:
Oblivion Ring
Esper Charm
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Wrath of God
Liliana Vess
24 Land:
Reflecting Pool
Fetid Heath
Sunken Ruins
Mystic Gate
Adarkar Wastes
Caves of Koilos
Underground River
15 Sideboard:
Raven’s Crime
Oblivion Ring
Jace Beleren
Faerie Macabre
Battlegrace Angel

The core concept of this build is card advantage and what Mike Flores might call “tap out control.” The tapping out comes about in the fact that we’re not running any counterspells — that’s not the point. Instead, we have heavy disruption, combining with card draw to give us card advantage in both directions. That’s backed by board sweepers and a solid removal suite to hopefully let us take on most challengers regardless of archetype. Let’s take it piece by piece.
The card advantage in the main deck leans directly on Mulldrifters, Esper Charms, and Liliana Vess (indirectly, of course, this deck features a number of X-for-1s, including the Wraths, Shriekmaws, Kitchen Finks, and Elspeth). The Charms are notable for their versatility, being able to serve as pure card advantage, instant-speed discard (a rarity), and Bitterblossom removal on demand. Mulldrifters are obvious, and serve as early game Counsel of the Soratami turning into late game creatures and extra beatings when Liliana’s ultimate resolves, as it occasionally tends to. Not that I’d put something into a deck just because it’s “good when Liliana’s ultimate resolves” — you don’t assume that will happen. Added to the CA suite we have four Thoughtseizes — while not card advantage, their are premier disruption, and can totally derail an opponent’s plans.
Note that one of the nice features of the Charm being an instant is that you can challenge a control deck with discard on its turn — even immediately after the draw.
In terms of controlling the board, we have removal at the one, two, and four spots, with Condemn, Maw, and Wrath. Condemn is quite solid, especially when I expect people will be launching Demigods at my face for the foreseeable future. Wrath is Wrath, of course, and the Maws help to avoid being overrun by hyperspeed aggro decks. We also have one Oblivion Ring to cover all occasions — tutorable by Lily.
Finishers include any member of the Fink-Maw-Mull utility crew that happens to survive long enough to poke the opponent in the face, as well as a pair of Battlegraces and a pair of Elspeths. I’m eager to see how Elspeth is in action — should be solid, I think.
Yet again, the mana base is untested, and these kinds of mana bases demand testing. I wouldn’t use the one I have listed without a dry run or two.
Over in the sideboard, I’ve added in extra CA for control matchups in the form of Raven’s Crimes and two copies of Jace, as well as two more all-purpose Rings, three Faeries to fight Lark and similar matchups, four Infests for those Hobbit hordes that just won’t stay down, and a third Battlegrace — also for control matchups, when you can swap out removal for more finishers.
There you go. The message of this deck is “card advantage,” and it comes prepackaged with 25 cards in the maindeck that, one way or another, can get you a two for one or better.

2 thoughts on “Elly Lily

  1. Thanks for coming by, James. Keeping in mind that I haven’t tested this build much, I approach those matchups as follows:
    RDW – The maindeck is already pretty tilted against RDW. The Condemns are there to take out Demigod, and we have Finks, Shrieks, Wraths, and the mini-fog of Elspeth. I’d probably board out the Thoughtseizes and bring in either Infests or the remaining O-Rings, depending on the build of RDW.
    Faeries – I haven’t actually tested this at all, because I haven’t settled on a Shards-era Faeries build to test against. I might swap in Crimes for Wraths, to play the card advantage game in force. I’m not sure.
    QnT – Lose the Condemns and a Wrath, bring in the Crimes and Jaces. Your goal is to beat them via card advantage, whether you’re wearing down their hand or building up yours.
    Kithkin – Seizes out, Infests in. This is the matchup I’ve tested the most, and it works reasonably well post-board.

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