This weekend I have big plans. There’s a PPTQ for Standard in New York on Sunday. And Standard looks like a blast! I had a chance to run out my Esper Walkers/Demonic Pact list from a couple weeks back. I like the deck a lot, but I came to realize that it has one glaring weakness—Lumbering Falls.

Esper Shadow-Friends

Spells (34)
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Jace, Unreveler of Secrets
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Sorin, Grim Nemesis
Angelic Purge
Demonic Pact
Crush of Tentacles
Transgress the Mind
Ultimate Price
Silumgar's Command
Ruinous Path
Oath of Jace
Lands (26)
26 Lands

I can beat Bant Company no problem, but I actually can not deal with a hexproof creature that is only a creature on my opponent’s turn. That’s a giant weakness since Esper doesn’t really have a good way to kill  creaturelands or lands at all. I’m going to need a way to block a 3/3. That’s where Starfield of Nyx comes in!

Zac's PACT

Lands (24)
Choked Estuary
 Evolving Wilds
Prairie Stream
Shambling Vent
 Port Town
Sunken Hollow

Creatures (3)
Wasteland Strangler

Spells (32)
Angelic Purge
Anguished Unmaking
Silumgar’s Command
Dead Weight
Demonic Pact
Oath of Jace
Sinister Concoction
Sorin, Grim Nemesis
Starfield of Nyx
Stasis Snare
Sideboard (13)
Blood-Cursed Knight
 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Infinite Obliteration
 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
Virulent Plague

The current list is sourced from 33rd place at SCG Baltimore. Honestly, at first look I was super skeptical about this build. Starfield of Nyx is a silly card. I haven’t played something like this since Replenish was a deck in Type 2 circa 2000. I wasn’t really impressed with the Wasteland Stranglers. Then I looked closer.

Strangler is actually amazing! Between Silkwrap and Stasis Snare, Strangler has a true home in a non-Eldrazi deck. Then thanks to Angelic Purge you have a handy worthless permanent to sacrifice.

Starfield of Nyx solved the Lumbering Falls problem. I have an extra win condition and I have a way to block a 3/3 hexproof creature. I’ve updated the manabase to something that I feel will punish less on my life. I don’t need colorless mana so I pitched the Caves of Koilos for Shadowlands and Tangos.

As far as the sideboard goes, I’m thinking about Invasive Surgery in the event that the Pro Tour shows me more Tragic Arrogance. Negate is fine but if I only want to stop a specific sorcery, then removing all the copies of that sorcery from a deck is all I need. I may not need to play the Blood-Cursed Knights and if I’m soft to other control shells, I may add some walkers.

One of the other great parts of this deck is that I can stay safe from Pact with Starfield of Nyx on the board, since Pact can kill itself and come back next turn for max value. Previously, I was super worried about removing my Pacts and I would save removal for them. Now I can just sit back and kill them while gaining life and not have to worry too much about how I’m going to kill my opponents.

Pretty psyched for Sunday. I’ll keep you updated as I play, maybe I can not come in second in another Standard PPTQ. Hopefully the Pro Tour is kind to this deck and it flies under the radar.

Zac Clark


Zac Clark is the Founder of Hipsters of the Coast. An avid gamer since his early teens, Zac can often be found in Brooklyn either playing games or taking photos. When he’s not drawing extra cards, wrathing boards and countering spells, he’s taking pictures of other peoples good times and listening to 90’s Music.

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