The current season of Standard has a fantastic variation of decks. We see every clan represented in the current season. This article’s goal is to not only explore the advantages of playing Abzan aggro, but what the next few seasons have in store.
Abzan Aggro has seen a little bit of an evolution now that standard has Den Protector + Deathmist Raptor. Now, there are two separate aggressive strategies that Abzan can bring to the table. Abzan Megamorph’s strategy is to win through the sheer power of Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor. This deck sees a variation of new cards from Dragons of Tarkir. Collected Company, Deathmist Raptor, Den Protector, Dromoka’s Command, Hidden Dragonslayer, etc. The list just goes on and on.
Once I saw this combination, I wanted to craft a deck that had the same power level while splashing into black for Siege Rhino. I turned my head to Abzan. Abzan gives us an insane power level advantage. All of our creatures matter and tend to “trade up” in combat, but this is old news. What makes this deck, arguably, the best deck in standard? Well, curving into Siege Rhino is a pretty decent strategy if we can put Anafenza and Fleecemane Lion into play. Abzan also opens up some spots in the board to play Thoughtseize, Hero’s Downfall, Utter End, Drown in Sorrow, and many other favorite removal spells. It is really hard for Atarka Red to fight through a slew of removal spells in the current format and Utter End is best friends with Deathmist Raptor. Here is my current list of Abzan:
So, our current build tends to come out of the gate with tons of pressure and keep up the pressure through the late game. A couple of cards help us do that. Siege Rhino is the best card in our deck. A hand that curves out from Fleecemane to Anafenza to Siege Rhino is one of the best hands we can keep. All of those threats allow us to have a very strong boardstate, then to finish with a timely Dromoka’s Command, Abzan Charm, or Elspeth. I could write about Siege Rhino all day, but I want to talk about spells instead and why we play such a diverse grouping of spells.
Dromoka’s Command is the new all-star of standard. It is the best answer on earth to a Courser of Kruphix, and it allows us to push through Deathmist Raptor with a monstrous Fleecemane Lion or Rakshasa Deathdealer. Dromoka’s Command is the most versatile card in the deck. The deck uses all four modes of the card. Anger of the Gods is a problematic card, but Dromoka’s Command handles it nicely. Dromoka’s Command can also help us stay alive in the late game against Atarka Red. Top decking a Stoke and casting it into a Dromoka’s Command that allows us to boost a creature or fight AND deal with the damage is such a tempo swing. This card is the bomb.
The deck can play anywhere from two to three of these bad boys. This card really helps us pick apart other midrange decks while also allowing us to stabilize and deal with problem cards. This card works so well in our deck because we can keep in mind what is going to be the problematic card. We can’t really deal with Whisperwood Elemental or Stormbreath Dragon, so those are normally snap takes. The only deck we don’t want to play Thoughtseize in is against Atarka Red. The card is worth a slot and pulls its weight.
Abzan Charm is an odd card. The deck loves it though. Exiling Deathmist Raptor is an excellent mode of the card. Abzan Charm also can let us kill tons of creatures. Trading something with Anafenza? Just kidding. Abzan Charm also allows us to draw cards in the late game which is exactly what this deck needs. Abzan Charm is worth the playset. The card is excellent and allows us to push through tons of awkward boardstates.
Never underestimate the value of killing everything. I have tried Self-Inflicted Wound and Ultimate Price in the deck, and none of them kill Ugin like this card does. We definitely want to take this card out and board in our Drowns against Atarka Red.
So what else makes this deck good? I have an answer, and it is coming out in Magic Origins. Liliana, Heretical Healer is going to be insane in this deck. Since we do a lot of our fighting during combat, Liliana is going to be excellent. Dromoka’s Command + Liliana can allow us to trade, then have a very good walker under our control. Look out for this card. It’s going to be insane.
Some other points to bring up is that the deck does not lose a lot to rotation. Sure, Fleecemane Lion leaves along with Hero’s Downfall, Thoughtseize, and Elspeth. But then we could just bring in Liliana, Deathmist, and Den Protector. No big problem there. I do think that this version is better than the Megamorph deck. I would definitely play it over megamorph. I like the black splash and I feel like Rakshasa Deathdealer is an excellent creature to be playing right now. The 2/2 demon kitty can steal games. People forget that you can pump Deathdealer more than once.
I hope that this article was of some help to you! Remember to buy all of your singles and packs from your Local Game Store. You can’t play magic at Target, Walmart, or any other department store.
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