Modern Spotlight: Esper Zur

Esper Zur has seen some play over the ages, and is a very neat toolbox style deck when you can keep the namesake card alive.

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The idea behind the deck is to play Zur, keep him alive, swing, and get a silver bullet that makes the game really hard for your opponent. Here’s the list that Lance Austin played in Atlanta:

Creatures (12)
Geist of Saint Traft
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Zur the Enchanter

Spells (24)
Detention Sphere
Ghostly Prison
Inquisition of Kozilek
Lingering Souls
Negate
Path to Exile
Spreading Seas
Steel of the Godhead
Thoughtseize
Lands (24)
Creeping Tar Pit
Darkslick Shores
Eiganjo Castle
Flooded Strand
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Marsh Flats
Plains
Polluted Delta
River of Tears
Swamp
Watery Grave

Sideboard (15)
Engineered Explosives
Leyline of Sanctity
Night of Souls’ Betrayal
Rest in Peace
Steel of the Godhead
Stony Silence
Timely Reinforcements

This version runs fewer bullets than many of the older versions (which would often splash other colors for Blood Moon or something equally obnoxious). Detention Sphere is a great answer to most threats, Spreading Seas helps hose your opponent, and Steel of the Godhead makes you hit really hard (especially when put on a Geist). Ghostly Prison is really the only reactive bullet enchantment played, but it is quite good against decks that rely on having lots of creatures deal damage. The deck has tons of room for customization as well, since you can throw whatever CMC 3 or lower enchantments that you want into it.

After sideboarding you can very quickly shut down artifact based decks or graveyard based decks through Rest in Peace or Stony Silence. Other cards that I like to see in lists like these are Threads of Disloyalty or Bitterblossom, depending on the matchup. Wheel of Sun and Moon may be another option for graveyard hate that is one sided.

An important thing to remember is that you are essentially playing a midrange deck that can disrupt your opponent fairly well. Zur gives you options as to whether you want to disrupt them more, or if you would rather try to win as quickly as possible.

Chris Wendelboe

Chris is a level 2 judge from Ashland, New Hampshire. He enjoys Scapeshift, modern, and putting on the best events possible.