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Goldfish Gladiators: Esper Quasi-Vampires (Standard, Magic Arena)


Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators! Next week, we'll start exploring sweet new Ravnica Allegiance decks, but since the set was just released on Magic Arena today, we're playing old Standard today. The good news is that our deck is sweet and features one of my favorite cards from Guilds of Ravnica: Quasiduplicate. While we've played Quasiduplicate decks in the past, today's deck is different. Rather than just smashing together a bunch of value creatures, we're playing a full-on Vampire tribal deck, with Quasiduplicate being sort of a finisher. Oddly, Vampires happen to have a lot of creatures that are really good when copied, which makes the tribe a natural fit for the cloning sorcery. Can a mashup of Vampires and Quasiduplicate compete in Standard on Magic Arena? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Goldfish Gladiators: Esper Quasi-Vampires 

Discussion

  • Heading into our matches, I figured that Esper Quasi-Vampires would be fun, but I wasn't sure it would be good. As such, hitting six wins in our Arena-mode event was a pleasant surprise! Apparently, the deck is both fun and at least somewhat competitive!
  • On one hand, Esper Quasi-Vampires is a pretty straightforward Vampire tribal deck, looking to stack up a bunch of Vampire lords to buff cheap tribe members, which means we can easily win without ever casting a Quasiduplicate
  • On the other hand, Vampires are uniquely suited to take advantage of Quasiduplicate, with a bunch of tribe members that happen to work extremely well with the sorcery. Let's take a minute to run down the best Quasiduplicate targets.
  • First, before talking about all of the fun Quasiduplicate cards, we need to mention Forerunner of the Legion, which is the card that holds the deck together. We have a ton of one-of situational Vampires in our deck, but thanks to Forerunner of the Legion, we can tutor them up in situations where they are good (and hopefully not draw them in matchups where they are bad). This is especially powerful in best-of-one matches, since it allows us to sneak some situational cards into our deck without having a play a bunch of bad cards.
  • As for Quasiduplicate targets, perhaps the best in the deck is Sanctum Seeker. The Vampire Hellrider is fine on its own, but it gets incredibly scary in multiples. We won a lot of games where we simply stalled out the board with random Vampires and then eventually drained our opponent out of the game with two or three copies of Sanctum Seeker.
  • Legion Lieutenant is similar. Although it doesn't get through blockers as well as Sanctum Seeker, tribal decks like their lords, so sometimes just copying the two-drop multiple times is enough to win the game.
  • After these four-ofs, we have a bunch of one-of tutor targets. Vengeant Vampire—a new card from the Gift Box—is great with Quasiduplicate, especially against aggro and midrange. The big lifelinking body keeps us in games against aggro similarly to Lyra Dawnbringer, while the death trigger keeps bigger threats in check, making it really difficult for the opponent to attack. Vampire Sovereign and Bishop of the Bloodstained give us additional ways to win without attacking by draining our opponent out of the game, while Champion of Dusk and Twilight Prophet have the potential to generate a ton of card advantage, especially in multiples, with the help of Quasiduplicate
  • As for Martyr of Dusk and Dusk Legion Zealot, they aren't especially exciting Quasiduplicate targets, but they do a good job of holding down the ground in the early game. The combination of Quasiduplicate and our various Vampires gives us the ability to take over in the late game against pretty much everything but control, and having some cheap defense is key for staying alive long enough to take advantage of them.
  • All in all, the deck was a blast. While we struggled a bit against Izzet Drakes thanks to the big fliers, this is a problem that we could fix by adding a bit more removal to the deck (maybe Ravenous Chupacabra, even though it isn't technically a Vampire). If you're a fan of Vampires and like copying things with Quasiduplicate, it seems good enough to grind out some wins in Arena mode and slowly build a collection.
  • Speaking of building a collection, one last thing on the way out the door today. While the deck only has one mythic, it does have 25 rares (although half are rare lands), which is a lot on Magic Arena. The good news is that you should already have a bunch of these cards from the starter decks. The one mythic in Esper Quasi-Vampires—Twilight Prophet—comes in the green-black starter deck, while you should have most of the uncommons along with a copy each of Sanctum Seeker, Champion of Dusk, and Vraska's Contempt from the white-black starter deck. This means that, outside of the lands, you really only need around nine rares and zero mythics to put the deck together, which makes it a bit cheaper than it might look at first glance!

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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