Video Daily Digest: Puzzle Pieces

This one has something for everyone! The Esper people, the reanimation people, AND the delve people! We don’t want to play favorites, but… we kind of hope this deck wins the SCG Worcester Modern Classic!

Goryo’s Vengeance is one of the scariest cards in Modern. Usually it means you’re getting attacked by an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Griselbrand, which are the creatures cheated onto the battlefield in Legacy. It’s going to be difficult to beat an attack from either of them, even more so on turn 2 or 3.

What about Obzedat, Ghost Council? One attack from that only represents seven damage and no impact on the battlefield. That’s easy to beat. But that’s not all there is. Because of a quirk in the rules, you can Goryo’s Vengeance an Obzedat, exile it to its own ability on your end step, and then get it back as though you cast it normally. So this isn’t just one attack; it’s a legit two-mana Obzedat, Ghost Council. With haste.

The same trick works with Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy if you’re able to transform it before the Goryo’s Vengeance delayed trigger resolves. Not a bad deal for sure, but also not game-ending. So you can’t build the deck in the same way as the combo lists. That’s fine, though, since Esper has plenty of good options in Modern for a normal midrange-control list. Discard spells, Serum Visions, Lingering Souls, and Fatal Push are all great. Should the need arise, you can cast your reanimation targets just fine.

The one strange offering for this deck is Pieces of the Puzzle. It’s on the slow side for sure, but when your interactive spells are so cheap and powerful, you can get away with taking a turn off in order to find more cheap interaction and stock your graveyard with reanimation targets; spells to Flashback with Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy; and a Lingering Souls or two if you’re lucky.

And, of course, we have the miser’s Griselbrand, which gives you the ability to bury opponents with the right draws or simply gain a chunk of life against burn or another aggressive deck, buying you the time to stabilize; dig for Obzedat, Ghost Council; and take over the game that way.

If graveyard hate is a concern, you can sideboard a couple of extra threats and trim on the Goryo’s Vengeance package to gain some false tempo. You can hate out that part of this deck, but if you go too far you’re just going to lose to the normal Esper gameplan the deck can run. On the balance, I think sacrificing some power for a lot of versatility separates this Goryo’s Vengeance list from the rest.