Explorer: Obscura Greasefang Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide
06/03/22 0 comments
In today's article, I present a version of Esper Greasefang that seeks to capitalize on the fear and respect that opponents have for the combo at every turn, with a complete guide on how to pilot it!Edit Article
NOTE: When I build a deck, I like to explain the deckbuilding process. If you want to go straight to the list, click on the “decklist” section in the table of contents above.It all started when I was asked, after the publication of my last article on Mardu Greasefang, why I considered the Esper version the worst option, as it is much more oriented around the combo than the other variants. My most honest answer is that it's not built efficiently: Karn, the Great Creator and Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh for extra consistency, as well as serving as an alternate means of turning Parhelion II into a creature.
Greasefang and False Tempo
False Tempo, a term used for when a player makes suboptimal decisions, holds back their resources and misinterprets their role in the game for fear of an opponent's play that could destroy their plans, or win the game on the next turn. Normally, this happens for a variety of factors, but we can attribute its main characteristic to knowledge and imagination: the hand is, in theory, an invisible and rotating resource, and decklists are not usually so standardized elements to the point that someone can evaluate with absolute certainty every possibility the opponent may have on their list. All we do is consider and assume based on the information we have: available mana, strategy, cards in hand, board position, posture, and yet we commonly wonder if the opponent is just bluffing. As a consequence, we play around with possibilities as they present themselves: you don't want to attack with all your creatures if your opponent threatens a Settle the Wreckage, but you can make that decision if it suits you, or if you bet they won't have the sweeper. The same happens when we talk about combos or cards that win the game on their own, as the opponent plays around them and tends to avoid stretching too much and making decisions that lead to the possibility of losing on the next turn, respecting the combo and putting themselves behind in various situations, giving you a few pseudo-Time Walks every turn they choose to be less proactive than they could. And how should you take advantage of those
extra turnsyou've earned? Capitalizing on them! There are several examples, but let's focus on Splinter Twin, as we try to emulate the same strategy in Esper Greasefang. Snapcaster Mage and Vendilion Clique made it possible to go for the beatdown. All while protecting the combo pieces, interacting with the opponent and punishing them for their conservative decisions. Several other strategies also do this. Have you ever stopped to think about how many games you've had to put yourself behind because you weren't sure what would happen in the next turn? Orzhov Auras, Boros Heroic, Jeskai Fires, Naya Winota — All of these evoke fear in the opponent and forces them to think twice when making decisions. Esper Greasefang evokes this same fear in the opponent because they know they must interact with you, especially when there are multiple ways to put Parhelion II in the graveyard at Instant-Speed with Consider, Tainted Indulgence and Faithful Mending. But these versions can't
take advantageof this psychological dread, putting themselves in a position where the opponent knows the only thing they need to worry about is dealing with the Combo. The rest is complementary, and exists under the sole guise of speeding up and adding consistency to the execution of your game plan.
1) Create fear in the opponent's head and capitalize on it with my resources.
2) Punish them for misinterpreting their role in the match by trying to be the Control when they should be the Beatdown and vice versa.
3) Force them to make suboptimal decisions and get punished for them, either for conserving their removals or using them at the wrong time, removing the wrong option with a Thoughtseize, trying to race too much, or not always optimize mana.
4) Make common sideboard cards against the combo bad or less useful.
5) Be proactive and dictate the pace of the match on my own.And so enters the Obscura.
Conniveis probably the most powerful among the Streets of New Capenna keywords. A looting through an ETB or when casting a certain spell is nothing that we haven't seen in the game before, but when this looting is recurring and comes coupled with a power increase, it allows you to sculpt your hand as needed and takes advantage of any graveyard interactions you may have — The perfect mix for a strategy that wants to reanimate something and win the game, right? New Capenna brought many decent Connive options to the game, and we don't lack for graveyard interactions in Explorer. The strategy of this list, therefore, is to act like an aggressive midrange, with decent creatures, interactions, card advantage, and a rising clock coupled with the combo-kill with Greasefang, Okiba Boss and Parhelion II.
the more problematic threatI'm referring to and will typically be neglected until it's too late to mitigate the damage it causes. Connive X sets out a multitude of possibilities, digs absurdly well for combo pieces, and can make any creature a must-answer threat. Four copies might seem like a lot (and you can cut one if you want to keep the list to 60 cards), but Raffine's own ability makes drawing multiple copies of it or Parhelion II far less punishing.
Mulligan and Stances
MulliganIn this list, there are two types of ideal hands: the combo hand and the fair hand.
StancesOne of the biggest challenges with this version is identifying the ideal posture for what you're playing against. The starting stance will almost always be to be proactive and cast discard, creatures and seek to put Parhelion II in your graveyard to reanimate it with Greasefang, but you can change your stance completely if your opponent proves to have a better board position or too interactive a stance to blindly try to risk the combo. To paraphrase one of Bruce Lee's most popular sayings:
“Be the water”. Adapt to the situation and proposal that the opponent seeks and force the match in your favor: Against
Aggro, be interactive, don't be afraid to exchange your creatures in favorable combats and do your best to look for the combo to turn the game around, but if you can deal with their threats, don't be afraid to attack and set up a clock. Against
Control, be the beatdown and use your creatures to pressure the opponent every turn, force them to tapout, to be reactive and don't give them time to be careful with your combo, or force them to over-respect Parhelion II in your graveyard and fail to deal with what you have on the board until it's too late. Against
Combo, propose an interactive and fast game, avoid spending turns doing nothing relevant and know how to identify which pieces are punctual for the execution of your opponent's plan, or which pieces must be removed to speed you up. Against
Midrange, adapt to the situation, play the fair game, make favorable trades and leave the combo as an auxiliary plan while the match unfolds around the other resources.
Tips and Tricks• Remember that you must crew Parhelion II before the declare attackers phase, or it won't be a creature. • In this list, Greasefang may occasionally be just a 4/3 creature to improve your board position and/or work as a removal magnet. • Remember that Ledger Shredder counts any player's second spell. This is important if you can cast two spells in a single turn, as it allows you to play it first and then cast the second spell to trigger Connive. • Scrapheap Scrounger can be returned from the graveyard at Instant-Speed, you can respond to some exile effect like Graveyard Trespasser by reanimating it. • Obscura Charm brings a multicolored
permanentfrom the graveyard to the battlefield. That is, it can also return Kaito Shizuki.
tapped. So, you can't use it in your main phase to perform the combo if you don't have other creatures to crew Parhelion II. • Speaking of which, you can reanimate Scrapheap Scrounger before attackers are declared to help crew Parhelion II in case the opponent kills Greasefang, Okiba Boss after its trigger goes on the stack. • Although these occasions are rare, you can target yourself with Thoughtseize to discard Parhelion II and then perform the combo with Greasefang, Okiba Boss. • If the opponent has Graveyard Trespasser on the battlefield, one way I've found to perform the combo without slowing it down too much is to first cast Greasefang and, if he survives, discard Parhelion II on the next turn. • Kaito Shizuki only discards cards if you haven't attacked with a creature this turn. Keep this in mind before entering the combat phase. • Raffine, Scheming Seer has
Ward 1, this is a critical point when considering what interactions the opponent can have against it in the End Step (there are times when opponents themselves forget about this ability). • Raffine's trigger, when attacking along with Parhelion II, must be put on the stack to resolve
after the creation of Angel tokens: they will count as attacking creatures, and you will draw two more cards with Connive. • The only color that requires two colored mana to cast a spell on this list, both on the maindeck and on the sideboard, is white. Your initial focus with Pathways should be to establish one mana of each color. Then, choose to have two white mana available, then two black mana, and finally, two blue mana. • Takenuma, Abandoned Mire mills three cards and can return Planeswalkers. Sometimes it's worth risking its activation to dig deeper for the combo and, if you can't find it, return Raffine or some Planeswalker to your hand. • When cast, The Wandering Emperor can activate its abilities as if it had Flash. This makes possible a number of little tricks, like increasing power and giving First Strike to a creature so that it doesn't die, or exile an attacking creature, creating a token to help crew Parhelion II, etc.
Mono Red AggroIN:
Mono Blue SpiritsIN:
Obscura Greasefang. I've been piloting this list for the past few weeks, and it has delivered impressive results in Best of 3, but I'm not claiming it's superior to the Mardu version in Best of 1 because that one or two turn delay makes a much bigger difference in a world without sideboards.