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Goldfish Gladiators: Esper Nexus (Arena)

Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators, a new series with a twist: rather than taking place on Magic Online, Goldfish Gladiator is focused on Magic Arena. Over the weekend, Nexus of Fate broke out in Turbo Fog at Pro Tour 25th Anniversary, but there's more than one way to take infinite turns in Standard. Last week, we played a Bant Ramp version of Nexus of Fate on stream, so today, we're going to try the extra-turn spell in an Esper Control shell. Unlike the ramp deck, which tries to get to Nexus of Fate as quickly as possible, today's deck gets the seven mana needed to cast Nexus of Fate more slowly, but it makes up for this by having a bunch of removal and counters to control the board in the early game. However, the late-game plan is the same: cast Nexus of Fate over and over again by finding it with Search for Azcanta and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria before eventually winning with our planeswalker or with a single Chromium, the Mutable. How does Esper Nexus play? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Goldfish Gladiators: Esper Nexus


  • First off, the best part of playing Nexus of Fate on Magic Arena is that it's actually easy to get Nexus of Fate itself. While the Arena economy is normally expensive and frustrating, considering the craziness that's been going on with Nexus of Fate in paper and on Magic Online over the past week, being able to get copies with Wildcards on Arena makes it easier and cheaper than getting Nexus of Fate anywhere else. 
  • Economics aside, the deck was also good. We played a quick constructed and ended up going 7-2, maxing out our wins and playing some crazy matches along the way!
  • Comparing Esper Nexus to the Bant (ramp) Nexus deck, it seems like Esper is better at playing a fair game of Magic (which makes sense, considering it's essentially Esper Control but with Nexus of Fate as its finisher), although Esper does less than Bant to maximize the power of Nexus of Fate itself. 
  • One interesting quirk of playing Nexus of Fate on Magic Arena is that people tend to scoop quickly. It seems like the magic number is three: once you take the third turn in a row with Nexus of Fate many opponents simply concede, even though there's still a chance of fizzling and giving the opponent another turn. 
  • Speaking of upsides of Nexus of Fate on Arena, unlike paper or Magic Online, you don't need to worry about timing out. The Arena timer is reset each turn, so your clock resets every time you cast a Nexus of Fate and start a new turn. This means that even if you end up needing to take 50 turns, you don't have to worry about losing or drawing the match thanks to running out of time.
  • Otherwise, there isn't much to say about the deck: it's Esper Control. The goal is to kill or counter all of the opponent's important plays until we can start the Nexus of Fate loop and then piece together the win from there. Just remember, Nexus of Fate is an instant, and Esper Control has a ton of other instants like Disallow and Vraska's Contempt, so with this build of Nexus of Fate, it's often best to just pass the turn, see what the opponent does, and if they don't do anything we need to deal with, cast Nexus of Fate on the opponent's end step to take two turns in a row. 
  • As far as our impending rotation, things are complicated. The shell of the deck survives, but some utility cards (removal, counters, and card draw) along with some of the rare lands will rotate. While it's likely Esper Nexus will still be playable in Guilds of Ravnica Standard, perhaps the best thing you can do now is minimize the damage at rotation. For example, rather than spending four rare wildcards on Disallow, just play four copies of Cancel. While Cancel is a strictly worse Disallow, you won't even notice the different in 90+% of games, and you make the deck both cheaper and better prepared for rotation. You can also play Cleansing Nova over Fumigate to achieve a similar goal. If you want to go really deep, you can play the tapped dual lands over Irrigated Farmland and Fetid Pools, but be warned that this will make the deck significantly worse (unlike the other changes, which only make the deck slightly worse).


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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