Esper Control with Andrew Cuneo

Posted in Event Coverage on May 28, 2016

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Andrew Cuneo, who is widely regarded amongst his peers as one of the best in-game players in the world, is always playing crazy decks of his own design.

As I canvassed the field in round four, I was excited to see him demolishing Sam Black in the feature match area with an interesting Esper Control deck. I decided to chat with Cuneo about his deck, why he played it, and what he feels the good and bad matchups are.

Andrew Cuneo

I asked why Cuneo chose to play Esper control.

He looked at me with a straight face, “Well, I was playing Black-Green Control decks and I kept losing. I thought to myself, ‘I could probably lose just as easily and often with an Esper deck.'”

Cuneo's dry sense of humor was already on full display.

I wanted to know why he was playing Blue instead of sticking with a more traditional White-Black Control deck. What are the advantages and disadvantages?

“I wanted to play with Painful Truths and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Those cards are quite good. The mana can be weird. Some games, the mana works out perfectly. Unfortunately, there are a lot of games where all my lands enter the battlefield tapped.”

The deck is light on win conditions and very heavy on card advantage. It's the quintessential Cuneo brew. The deck approaches the format from a unique control perspective that favors an “answer everything” mentality while it eschews a lot of the board presence that most of the current control decks have with a lot of planeswalkers and/or Tireless Tracker.

So, what's this deck good and bad against?

“I feel like my deck is good against the White Weenie decks because of how many Languishes I have. It's probably pretty good against Green-White Tokens. It also seems good against other control decks. The deck might struggle against some of the Collected Company decks, but I'm not overly worried about it. Everyone is basically playing the same deck [this is the most diverse Standard format in years] and I feel like my deck is good against the deck everyone is playing. I kept losing to Reality Smasher on Magic Online. It was such a problem that I added Fortified Rampart to my sideboard.”

Confident in his deck, Cuneo was mostly concerned this morning with his ability to procure fresh rhubarb for cheesecake in the coming week.

I was intrigued, “I haven't ever made anything with rhubarb. I saw some at the store this week and it looked awesome. It's like giant purple celery.”

“Yea, I'll probably just use celery as a replacement if it's not readily available.”

Andrew Cuneo's Esper Control

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