Standard – Esper Doom Foretold

doom foretold art

Esper Doom Foretold looks like one of the early frontrunners for best deck in Standard with Throne of Eldraine. It plays all of the usual suspects that have made Esper Control good for so long, and gains an awesome new way to lock the opponent out and eventually combo kill with Dance of the Manse. The best part is that these combo pieces can naturally be used for value along the way of getting to the end game.

Esper Stax with Doom Foretold and Dance of the Manse

1 Legion's End
1 Wishclaw Talisman
1 Dovin's Veto
3 Thought Erasure
4 Golden Egg
4 Guild Globe
2 Murderous Rider/Swift End
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Oath of Kaya
3 Doom Foretold
4 Kaya's Wrath
1 Planar Cleansing
3 Dance of the Manse
2 Plains (331)
1 Castle Vantress
2 Swamp (339)
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Godless Shrine
4 Temple of Silence
4 Watery Grave
3 Fabled Passage

Arena Formatted Decklist - Esper Stax

3 Dance of the Manse (ELD) 186
4 Kaya's Wrath (RNA) 187
4 Oath of Kaya (WAR) 209
4 Guild Globe (WAR) 239
4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221
1 Legion's End (M20) 106
2 Plains (XLN) 261
1 Island (XLN) 265
4 Godless Shrine (RNA) 248
4 Golden Egg (ELD) 220
3 Thought Erasure (GRN) 206
4 Watery Grave (GRN) 259
3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
2 Swamp (XLN) 269
4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
4 Temple of Silence (M20) 256
1 Wishclaw Talisman (ELD) 110
3 Doom Foretold (ELD) 187
1 Dovin's Veto (WAR) 193
1 Planar Cleansing (M20) 33
1 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
2 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97

1 Unmoored Ego (GRN) 212
1 Legion's End (M20) 106
2 The Elderspell (WAR) 89
2 Duress (XLN) 105
2 Disenchant (M20) 14
2 Ashiok, Dream Render (WAR) 228
2 Dovin's Veto (WAR) 193
1 Cry of the Carnarium (RNA) 70
1 Realm-Cloaked Giant (ELD) 26
1 Disfigure (M20) 95

Credit to Andrew Cuneo for the initial build of this deck. We were super excited to playtest a ton of our Dance of the Manse brews, but it looks like Andrew knocked it out of the park on day 1.

Let's get into the card discussions!

Doom Foretold

Doom Foretold is the card that has people calling this deck "Stax", resembling the old Smokestack-based decks that were very good at locking the opponent out of the game entirely. Doom Foretold causes each player to decide how many permanents they want to commit into it before letting you get value. This deck plays plenty of cheap cantrip permanents that are happy to be sacrificed to the Doom Foretold trigger, allowing you to continue accumulating value out of it while your opponent sacrifices real permanents. It requires a sacrifice of nontoken permanents and the rest of your deck contains typical Esper control style cards to deal with most permanents, so this is likely to be putting your opponent in a very difficult spot each turn.

Dance of the Manse

Dance of the Manse is the other exciting new aspect to this deck. It can be played in the mid game as a value card if necessary that only gets better over time. For 6 mana it can get back every copy of Doom Foretold that you've found so far, but it can also just get back a couple copies of Guild Globe and Golden Egg. Oath of Kaya is particularly great with Dance of the Manse, since it is Legendary and the second copy you draw will naturally end up in the graveyard. In the super late game you won't be able to stick multiple copies of Oath of Kaya as 4/4 creatures, but that's OK because you can potentially just burn out your opponent with the stacked triggers anyway.

Wishclaw TalismanTeferi, Time RavelerPlanar Cleansing

The Wishclaw Talisman package is a pretty awesome new option as well. In some scenarios, you don't necessarily have to be scared of any card in your opponent's deck and can just use Wishclaw Talisman as a Demonic Tutor. However, it's very easy to simply tutor for Teferi, Time Raveler and immediately bounce the Talisman to your hand. Planar Cleansing is another nice pairing, as you can go fetch your board wipe and not have to worry about leaving them with the artifact that searched it up. Wishclaw Talisman is also why we're running a few powerful but specific 1-ofs such as Legion's End and Dovin's Veto.

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Michael Schuller