So, this is going to be my last update to this deck. While I am super interested in RtRtR, I do not currently have the money to keep up with standard. Thus, I will be investing in Commander/EDH. Thank you all for the support.

This is a Dominaria-updated list based on my deck, [PRIMER] Torment From the God-Pharaoh. If you have comments/concerns, please feel free to leave them! The primer has been updated, so please check it out, and remember to upvote if you liked the deck!

The Primer

    • The Scarab God is one of the best cards in the format. Its incredible versatility allows me to reanimate my own Gearhulks as well as my opponent's creatures. The extra scry + lifeloss is just icing on the cake.

    • The Torrential Gearhulks are also great, a 5 power body with pseudo-haste and the ability to reuse my instants allow me access to better card advantage.

    • Seal Away functions more like an instant, and it is near-unconditional removal for two mana. Hitting Hazoret or even the Scarab God is great, and a happy addition from Dominaria. It's also fetchable with Azcanta, so that's nice too.

    • Search for Azcanta  Flip is an excellent card when played on curve, allowing me to filter my draws. Its transformation (Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin) is basically a reusable Impulse and can dig for the answers I need at instant speed. An absolutely great card.

    • Blink of an Eye is a functional reprint of Into the Roil, and is just as good. In addition to hitting my opponent's stuff, I can also use it in a pinch to save my own permanents as well. The possibility of an extra draw as well is pretty nice too.

    • Cast Down is another welcome addition from Dominaria, as it is a clean, reusable answer to many of the prevalent threats in the meta. Depending on your local meta, I could see this replacing a copy of Fatal Push as well.

    • Disallow counters anything. Unquestionably the best counterspell in the format. There's even been times where I've used this to counter an Evolving Wilds ability, just to deny them mana.

    • Essence Scatter is unconditional creature removal, and counters anything from Longtusk Cub to The Scarab God. Also great against Regisaur Alpha.

    • Fatal Push is the single best removal spell in Standard. I have three currently in the deck, as it is great against aggro decks and can kill those pesky Llanowar Elves.

    • I run Glimmer of Genius for the scry + the 2 energy. I can dig with Glimmer, and it is also a nice target for my Gearhulks. The energy is great with the playset of Aether Hubs as well.

    • Supreme Will serves several purposes. One, it counters spells relatively easily. Second, it digs at instant speed, helping me find that card I need when I need it. Finally, it gets recast via Torrential Gearhulk, allowing me to do it again. By having this in my graveyard, I can force my opponent to wait an additional few turns to cast their important spells.

    • Vraska's Contempt is one of the best removal cards in the format. Removing The Scarab God or Hazoret the Fervent is great, and the 2 life gained keeps me alive for longer as well.

-Fumigate clears the board and gains me life. Super useful against token decks and Carnage Tyrant.

    • Dovin Baan is an interesting planeswalker. His first two abilities help me stay alive, and his ultimate forces the opponent to slow their game down to a crawl. Still, I may replace him with another Teferi, or even Karn. Testing will see. (EDIT: this card has been pretty useful in testing, and as I don't have $60+ to spend, I'll keep him in here for now.)

    • Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is... AMAZING! This is everything a control deck could ever want. The first ability not only draws us cards, it also untaps lands, allowing us to hold up a spell to protect him during the next turn. His second ability also helps us deal with threats that slipped past our counterspells, buying us time to get another answer. Finally, his ultimate wins games. Nothing further to say there.

    As a bit of hidden tech here, each time an opponent has to attack a planeswalker, that means that they aren't attacking us. That gives us more time to advance our board state and prepare for the long game.

    -Aether Hub produces rainbow mana, and makes use of the energy created by Glimmer of Genius.

    -Arch of Orazca is a relatively new inclusion. As mentioned previously, Ascend comes pretty easily, and getting to draw a card every turn (albeit at a high cost) is great for keeping this deck running, and helps us through the long, grindy games.

    -Fetid Pools and Irrigated Farmland both perform the same function. They count as the basic land types for my checklands, and if I don't need them, I can cycle them away. I don't want too many of them though, as they do enter tapped.

    -Drowned Catacomb, Glacial Fortress, and Isolated Chapel are my checklands. They usually enter untapped, and help fix my mana.

    -Evolving Wilds fixes my mana. It's a staple in any multicolor deck, and it's not going anywhere. It and the Field are also reliable ways to trigger Revolt if necessary.

    -Field of Ruin is my only out to a transform land. In a pinch, it can also fix my mana.

    -Basic lands, because everyone needs some basic lands.

    -Authority of the Consuls is a fantastic Turn 1 play. It hoses aggro and token decks, and gets us life. It also combos nicely with Seal Away.

    -Crook of Condemnation is in place of Sentinel Totem as my graveyard hate piece. Being able to target my graveyard removal is much better than just nuking them all, as that would hurt my Searches  Flip and my Gearhulks. Of course, I still have the option of doing that if necessary.

    -Duress goes in against a control mirror. Early game hand disruption is always good, and knowing what is in my opponent's hand is always great.

    -Gideon's Intervention is one of the best ways to deal with pesky threats. It also remains one of the two ways to deal with the real threat here: Squee, the Immortal. But for real, hitting an opposing Hazoret or Gearhulk with this is very useful. This is another card I could see running more of in the future.

    -Lost Legacy goes in against Approach decks and similar. Yay!

    -Negate replaces my Essence Scatters in the control mirror. Sometimes, it also goes in over removal against token decks and similar.

    -Nezahal, Primal Tide is my secondary finisher against control mirrors. Its hard to kill, it draws me cards, and the Spellbook effect is nice as well, although rarely needed.

    -Unwind is one of my favorite cards to come out of Dominaria. While more expensive to cast than Negate, it pays for itself, which is invaluable against control decks. Getting to cast a counterspell and then have mana for removal or another counterspell is too good to not use.

    -Vizier of Many Faces is pretty useful against creature decks, and a fourth Gearhulk.

This deck's mainboard is built for creature-heavy decks, with cards such as Fatal Push and Moment of Craving designed to kill early creatures such as mana dorks and aggro creatures. Within a few turns, we should be able to figure out what kind of deck we're playing against, and therefore determine our strategy. Below are a few basic deck archetypes, along with the strategy to beat them.
The best way to beat a dinosaur deck is to keep the board clear as much as possible. Even if their early plays are Drover of the Mighty or Otepec Huntmaster, kill them anyway. Much of our removal suite does so very efficiently, thus allowing our more expensive answers to target late-game threats such as Gishath, Sun's Avatar or Ghalta, Primal Hunger. Save the unconditional counterspells for cards like Regisaur Alpha and Deathgorge Scavenger, cards that we don't want to resolve. The most problematic card they have by far is Carnage Tyrant. This is another reason to keep their board empty, so that Vona's Hunger (our best answer to a resolved Tyrant) will force them to sacrifice it. For game two, our board stays mostly the same. Sometimes we now have to watch out for Cast Out, Ixalan's Binding, and the occasional Abrade. TL;DR - Force a dinosaur deck to burn through their hand, and control the board. We have a much better draw engine then they do, and keeping them in topdeck mode is important.
Merfolk are a bit tricky. They like to overwhelm the opponent with creatures, and with access to blue comes countermagic and better card draw. However, they still suffer from the same problem that plagues all tribal decks: they need a critical mass of creatures to do well. They can play lots of them, but our priority should be the ones that give them long term value. Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca is the number one target here. If this card never resolves, we have a much better chance to do well. Secondly, Simic lacks good removal and clean answers to threats. Once we resolve one of our win conditions, they don't have much they can do about it. In game two, look out for the suite of countermagic they board in - Negate, Spell Pierce, and occasionally Kopala, Warden of Waves to tax our removal spells. Keep this in mind, and play around these cards. Our sideboard puts in the pair of Fumigate. A well timed boardwipe can win us the game on the spot. Otherwise, this deck plays the same way - answer their threats, and then level them with ours. TL;DR - Merfolk need a large board of creatures to work well. Deny them this, expect countermagic, and sweep through.
Expect this game to take a LONG time. Game one usually comes down to who can resolve a threat first, and keep it alive. There are two main flavors of control: Azorius Approach, and Dimir Control (With the occasional splash of red). I will detail both types below, as each has their own threats and weaknesses:

White brings threats such as Cast Out and Settle the Wreckage, with the typical finishers being Gideon of the Trials and Approach of the Second Sun. Cast Out is their analog to our Vraska's Contempt, but Ixalan's Binding takes it a step forward by preventing us from casting more of the same spells. They typically run few to no creatures in the mainboard, while the sideboard brings a few in. Look out for Kefnet the Mindful, Nezahal, Primal Tide, and the ever-present Torrential Gearhulk. Be mindful of swinging all-in for attack, as a well-timed Settle the Wreckage can mean the game. Post-board, remember to always keep mana open.
Both of these lists run much of the same cards that we do - Vraska's Contempt, The Scarab God, etc, while red will sometimes have Abrade as well. Post-board, watch out for Gonti, Lord of Luxury and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner in addition to the standard mirror suite.

In games two and three, both players will usually board out most of the creature hate in exchange for the control mirror suite - Negate, Duress, graveyard hate, and Nezahal, Primal Tide over Moment of Craving, Harnessed Lightning, and a few Essence Scatter. Be prepared to wait to cast our big threats for when the opponent is tapped out and we have mana open to counter removal. Again, these games will go on for a long time, and one mistake can cost the game on the spot. Against both types of decks, almost always wait until the end of the opponent's turn to cast spells, and try to keep the cards flowing. Flipping Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin early can really make a difference. TL;DR - Remember that much of these games will take a long time. Always try to think several steps ahead of the opponent, and try to maximize card advantage.

To be added...
Coming soon...


Updates Add

This past Friday (May 4th) I took this deck to Friday Night Magic, and piloted it to an undefeated finish. I played against Orzhov Knights, Jeskai control, Sultai midrange, and an Approaching Mastery deck. My final opponent and I decided to split first place, although we played a game for fun. This deck is looking near complete, and I would like to thank everyone who gave me suggestions on it.

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100% Competitive

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Date added 7 months
Last updated 1 month

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 3.03
Tokens 1/1 City's Blessing, Teferi
Folders Uncategorized, Standard, Decks, Esper, Standard Decks, Interesting Standard Decks, Test decks, Esper Control, M19 Standard, standard
Top rank #34 on 2018-06-01
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