Dragons of the Frontier
Even before we announced our Frontier events players were excited to talk about the possibilities the format provided. Trouble is, many of those conversations stalled out as soon as someone brought up Collected Company. While many players (including myself) are excited to play creature based Collected Company (CoCo) decks, there is a portion of the Magic community that feels Collected Company is by far the best card in the format and will run over every other deck out there. I don't think Collected Company ruins the format in the slightest. Instead, I believe it is just one of the many powerful cards Frontier offers.
In my opinion there are three ways to approach powerful cards in any format.
1. Play them.
2. Build to beat them.
3. Sideboard for them.
As I discussed in my last article, I will be playing the "Tier 1" decks so the current meta is represented in each of our events. I'll be releasing my Rally the Ancestors deck list in the near future so you can decide how to prepare for the tournaments. You can join me on the Rally train, or if you'd rather take approach 2 or 3, then let me introduce you to Frontier's Esper Dragons.
This is LordEngl1sh's deck list from a MTGGoldFish community Frontier tournament He finished 3rd overall in the event. Esper control is a great answer to Collected Company decks and pretty much every midrange and combo deck we've seen in Frontier so far. If you regularly describe yourself as a control player, I suggest you rework this deck to meet your play style and take it for a spin in our Frontier tournaments.
Your opponent keeps casting Collected Company and Rally the Ancestors against you? Well then, just say "No, thanks for trying though," with this powerful Control deck. The range of different counter spells in this deck let you do just that without saying a single word. Torrential Gearhulk adds to the conversation by saying "No, thanks for trying. Now I'm going to end your suffering." The deck starts strong against midrange decks by wiping your opponent's board with Crux of Fate and a mixture of spot removal cards, while building up incremental amounts of advantage through both life gain (thanks to Foul-Tongue Invocation) and card draw (with Dragonlord Ojutai, Ob Nixilis Reignited, and Dig Through Time). I think the deck could use a couple more Crux of Fates, because ruining the last several of your opponent's turns by destroying all their creatures while keeping yours around just seems ridiculously unfair.
Sorin, Grim Nemesis is a bit too cute for my tastes. I'd like to see another Foul-Tongue Invocation, Crux of Fate, and Torrential Gearhulk in the main before I'd take this one out to play, but overall the mainboard is pretty solid. It's tough to make room for all of that though. The dragons are a keystone of the deck, and as such you can't really mess with their numbers much.
The mainboard fights off Collected Company and Rally the Ancestors well, but the sideboard sets up to crush it. If the mainboard counter spells didn't say "Nah man, your graveyard is way a better place for that card," often enough, then the sideboard counter spells and hand disruption are sure to get you there. Boarding in Dispel, Negates, the classic CoCo answer Hallowed Moonlight, and a couple Duress should give you everything you need to hate out the Rally the Ancestors kill condition revolving around Zulaport Cutthroat and Nantuko Husk. Be careful though. A solid Rally player may side the Rallies and CoCos out and try to go creature midrange against control. Siding out your removal could prove to be a fatal mistake.
Like the mainboard, the sideboard is pretty solid, but I think it's missing an exile effect like Flaying Tendrils or perhaps a Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. The Dragonlord's Prerogative is there for a control mirror, but I don't think we are going to see too many of those for awhile. The deck has plenty of card draw built into it already too. It's going to be highly unlikely that you and your opponent are able to keep each other off of a couple different draw spells or effects for long in this mirror. I'm not sure what the Tasigur, the Golden Fang is besides another card that "draws" you more cards in the mirror, but I'd rather see a Summary Dismissal in his place. The format is so full of brews right now, that it doesn't hurt to have a one of "Hey stop all of that," in your sideboard.
Now Lost Legacy on the other hand, is an awesome sideboard combo breaker. If you often find yourself building control decks, a couple of this card in your sideboard is probably a great place to start in Frontier. Once you get an idea of what your opponent is trying to do, you can rip their strategy apart with this card. One of the things I've noticed while talking to players about their Frontier brews is many lack a secondary win condition. Everyone is so excited to jam a couple powerful cards and watch their opponent crumble in despair under their mighty synergies. Problem is Magic is a game of variance so you don't always find your Siege Rhinos or your Dynavolt Towers. Worse yet is the fact that once your opponent figures out what you are tying to do, they are going to do their best to stop you from doing it. You need a backup plan. That's what makes Lost Legacy an awesome sideboard card right now. Many people are so focus on the cool synergies between a few cards, that if you remove one set of them from their deck, they almost lose on the spot.
I'm excited to see how Esper Dragons evolves. I think in the right hands this can be one of the best decks in the format. There's still plenty of time to get in some Frontier play testing before Pandemonium's first Frontier tournament on January 2nd. I highly recommend control players give this one some testing.