Exalted Esper

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The letter T!oday's deck finished 2nd in a PTQ in Tokyo, Japan, and it's noteworthy for attacking the Standard format in a way very similar to what we've seen in another deck, but executed quite differently. This deck shares a philosophical origin with Bant Hexproof but leans primarily on the exalted mechanic rather than enchantments to make its large attackers.

Knight of Infamy and Knight of Glory may not actually have hexproof, but each of them will be immune to some of your opponent's removal some of the time, and when they are, they're likely also immune to many of the opponent's creatures. This allows this deck to steal a lot of "free wins"—something it's definitely in the market for.

Plan A for getting those free wins is certainly to stick Spectral Flight on Geist of Saint Traft, but even if you can't do that, if you play any Knight on turn two, Geist on turn three, and Sublime Archangel followed by an attack with Geist of Saint Traft on turn four, the Geist is already a 5/5, so there's a good chance the opponent won't have any great blocks even without Spectral Flight.

Because this deck only ever really intends to attack with a single creature, Faith's Shield does excellent work here, getting "your entire team" through by providing protection to only a single creature, but boosted by all the others. It's also great at protecting the extremely high-impact but relatively fragile Silverblade Paladin and Sublime Archangel.

The support spells are primarily creature removal, as Kihara probably assumed he'd have a good matchup against control decks that traditionally struggle with Geist of Saint Traft, particularly since most control decks at the moment are white, blue, and black, which means both Knights will be effective against them. The removal is chosen to be as cheap as possible to allow Kihara to continue advancing his plan, using the removal largely as a tempo play to win races against other aggressive decks.

Undying Evil is an extremely cute one-of that can be a giant beating against Supreme Verdict.

Kihara Atsuki's Exalted Esper
Standard – 2nd Place, PTQ Tokyo, Japan, April 6

Sam Black
Sam Black
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Sam Black is a Platinum Pro Player and longtime writer for StarCityGames.com. He is a respected deck builder and took over Daily Decks for the first half of 2013. If you have an original deck you'd like to see featured, email him with the link above.

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