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Much Abrew: Esper Erayo (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, we had a clear winner for most popular Instant Deck Tech in Esper Erayo for Modern! Erayo, Soratami Ascendant is a really interesting card. While it's only a 1/1 flying for two on its face, if we can flip it around into enchantment form by having four spells cast in the same turn, we end up with a powerful lock piece that counters the first spell our opponent casts each turn. That said, there are a couple of big questions about Erayo, Soratami Ascendant in Modern. First, we have to ask ourselves if the payoff is really worth the effort. Having four spells cast in the same turn doesn't often happen by accident, and making it happen actually takes quite a bit of work. So, just how good is countering the first spell each turn? Second, assuming Erayo, Soratami Ascendant is worth the work, is this Esper build (which is actually splashing just a touch of green) the right build to abuse the card's power? Anyway, let's get to the videos; then, we'll talk more about the deck in a minute!

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Esper Erayo Instant Deck Tech

Esper Erayo vs. Naya Zoo (Match 1)

Esper Erayo vs. UR Prowess (Match 2)

Esper Erayo vs. Infect (Match 3)

Esper Erayo vs. Affinity (Match 4)

Esper Erayo vs. Titan Breach (Match 5)

Esper Erayo (Wrap Up)


  • First off, this week's videos provide a great example of why I tend to avoid recording in leagues. Across our five league matches, we played against Infect three times. The good news is that our deck is apparently the Infect assassin, considering we won every single Infect match. The bad news is that we not only lost the other two matches in our league but two additional matches as well, giving us a final record of 3-4 overall but 3-0 versus Infect. 
  • Erayo, Soratami Ascendant itself was pretty hit and miss. As I mentioned in the intro, it takes a lot of work to consistently flip Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, which means we need the "counter the first spell an opponent plays each turn" ability to be really good. The problem is that in some matchups, countering the first spell (starting on Turn 3 or 4) doesn't really do much of anything, since opponents can just lead on a Gitaxian Probe (for example) and then continue to combo off and kill us. While the ability is quite strong in some matchups, it never really felt like it was game winning, which is troubling considering how much we had to warp our deck to support Erayo, Soratami Ascendant.
  • In theory, the other big hitter in our deck is Monastery Mentor, but even here we have some problems. The biggest issue with Monastery Mentor in our deck is that we don't have any ways to protect it, which means that it often just died to a removal spell without doing much of anything. While it can easily take over the game if it lives, it didn't feel considerably better than Young Pyromancer
  • Probably the worst part of the deck was Manamorphose, which was extremely taxing on our mana. We had a few times where we needed both white and green mana but had to search out one or the other with a fetch land, leaving Manamorphose to rot in our hand. While the ability to use it as a free spell to flip Erayo, Soratami Ascendant sounds good, it's a very odd card to splash as a fourth color. 
  • Slaughter Pact and Gut Shot were surprisingly good, and I was consistently amazed at just how good one free damage can be in Modern. While there are some matchups where it does nothing, there is a surprising number of important Modern creatures that die to Gut Shot, including Noble Hierarch, Snapcaster Mage, Birds of Paradise, Bloodghast, and pretty much every creature in Infect and Affinity. 
  • So, would I recommend playing Esper Erayo? Probably not in its current form. In all honesty, it felt like we were doing a lot of work for relatively little payoff. The match that really drove this home for me was UR Prowess, where our opponent had a similar plan (casting a bunch of spells on Turn 3), but instead of getting a semi-powerful enchantment for all their effort, they would often just win the game with Thing in the Ice. Plus, they were doing this with just two colors, making their deck much more consistent. If you do want to try a deck similar to the one in the videos, I'd try Grixis Erayo rather than Esper, trading in Monastery Mentor for Young Pyromancer and Myth Realized for Monastery Swiftspear, and getting rid of the green mana problem altogether. 
  • On the other hand, I am interested in trying out Erayo, Soratami Ascendant in UR Prowess. While I'm not sure it's worth a slot in the main deck, it provides an interesting sideboard option. The deck is basically built to flip Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, and while it isn't as aggressive as the other creatures in the deck, flipping an Erayo, Soratami Ascendant would give the deck another way of protecting Thing in the Ice and Monastery Swiftspear and offer a different line of attack. 


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, and at

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