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Article Top > Hareruya Pros Blog > Abzan in the First Week of Standard

Abzan in the First Week of Standard

2018/10/11 00:00 

    • Goncalo Pinto
    • Hareruya Pros Blog

Hello everybody!

My name is Goncalo Pinto and I am a Gold Pro from Portugal.

Goncalo Pinto

Image Copyright: Wizards of the Coast

First week of the new Standard is in the books and it has been a lot of fun. Everybody was getting tired of Black-Red mirrors and the rotation of Amonket and the addition of Guilds of Ravnica brought some fresh blood to the format.

If you have been busy with limited and didn't have too much time to play Standard yet, don't worry, my fellow Hareruya Pros Arne Huschenbeth wrote a great piece of the first week of Standard and you will get a great jump start on it.

In this article I am going to focus on Abzan and the various ways you can approach the decks on those 3 colors.

Abzan Knights

When we were asked to build a deck for #Hareruyawayfinder I got my eyes on the two new Selesnya knights that were released - 《Knight of Autumn》 and 《Conclave Cavalier》.

Knight of AutumnConclave Cavalier

The list I posted was a real jackpot for the first 2 or 3 days of Magic online. I got a trophy on my very first try with a list only a couple of cards different than the one I submitted.

After getting more repetitions in I started disliking some of the things. The 《Conclave Cavalier》 was being dealt with relative ease, especially for a card that had such an hard tax on the mana. 《Assure》 wasn't doing anything and for 6 mana we had some better options than 《Assemble》. 《Status // Statue》 was alright, but when I gave 《Conclave Tribunal》 a try, it was just more effective.

Dauntless BodyguardGoblin Chainwhirler

Also, despite what my friends at MTGO Salseo try to believe, 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 didn't go anywhere and the 《Dauntless Bodyguard》 had to go.

I think a more midrange approach with this deck is likely to be correct. You can't really beat the aggro reds at their own game, and the other players were adapting to this first wave of aggressive decks with the appropriated tools in form of cheap removal such as 《Shivan Fire》 and 《Lava Coil》 and Early sweepers like 《Ritual of Soot》 and 《Deafening Clarion》.

I've toyed with card like 《Vine Mare》, 《Emmara, Soul of the Accord》, 《Kraul Harpooner》 and 《Vivien Reid》, and all have their merits, but ultimately, I went with 《Thorn Lieutenant》 as the extra two-drop and a mix on Angels and 《Nullhide Ferox》 as the extra beef I felt the deck needed.

Thorn LieutenantNullhide FeroxLyra Dawnbringer

The 《Thorn Lieutenant》 trades on even mana with all the format's removal and provides you a reasonable late game threat, while 《Nullhide Ferox》 is an almost unkillable 4 mana 6/6 against Mono-Red and nice somehow resilient creature against the WUs. Its secondary ability its very relevant against 《Nicol Bolas, the Ravager》 decks, so it shouldn't be forgotten. On postboard games against control it's sometimes awkward when you want to curve him out into turn 5 《Vivien Reid》, but I'd say that if you are connecting with the 6/6 you are not in that bad of a spot.

I decided to cut 《Flower // Flourish》 when I started to play 《Nullhide Ferox》 and I gave 《Evolving Wilds》 a try since I didn't necessarily had to play an untapped land on turn one and I could use that turn to fetch the land I was most likely going to need in the future turns (usually the 《Swamp》 or the second white source). It was a really good surprise on how much better the mana felt. For the first time I've been quite happy with how the mana is working.

Knight of MaliceAssassin's TrophyDuress

Using Black only for 《Assassin's Trophy》 and 《Knight of Malice》 might not seem to be worthy, but I strongly disagree. Not only I think that 《Knight of Malice》 is the best two drop in these colors for this deck, but I also think that 《Assassin's Trophy》 and 《Duress》 on the sideboard are too good to pass on.

Also, I don't think the mana will become much better with only two colors. You are basically replacing basic lands for dual lands (《Forest》 for 《Overgrown Tomb》 and 《Plains》 for 《Isolated Chapel》), because you would still need some Guildgates (on the 《Evolving Wilds》 slot) to help you with the 《History of Benalia》 on 3 and 《Nullhide Ferox》 on 4.

This is where I stand right now:

Enough of Abzan knights for now. If you are an Abzan fan but you are not really interested on the knights version of it, I have good news for you, Black, Green and White provided us a wide range of decks that cover many player's styles and preferences.

BG Stompy

Pelt CollectorKraul HarpoonerNullhide Ferox

《Pelt Collector》 is the real deal in this deck. It snowballs out of reach very quickly making the deck not so depended on 《Llanowar Elves》 as it was before.

《Kraul Harpooner》 is also a pretty cool addition to this deck working as one mana ritual to 《Ghalta, Primal Hunger》 and also a good maindeck answer to the Angels that fly around in this new Standard.

I'm surprised to see only 3 《Nullhide Ferox》 in a deck that plays only 3 non creature spells, as it seems to me that this card should be an auto 4 of inclusion, especially considering it also plays 4 《Ghalta》.

GW Convoke

Emmara, Soul of the AccordVenerated LoxodonMarch of the Multitudes

I've played with the first versions of this deck for a while and I'm happy to see that it is evolving in a way that fills the holes that made me stop playing it.

Having now 11 one drops allows many more powerful draws with 《Venerated Loxodon》. Also cutting the 《Saproling Migration》 made the deck much better against 《Goblin Chainwhirler》, which was super annoying when you were on the draw.

Benalish MarshalThe Immortal Sun

I'm not sure if 《Benalish Marshal》 is better than 《History of Benalia》, but I also felt that a 《Crusade》 effect was necessary on the deck. Maybe 《The Immortal Sun》 is a better alternative with no more 《Abrade》 flying around, but I think only time will tell.

The expensive part of 《Flower // Flourish》 is a real deal in this deck, so don't snap play it early to get a land unless you really need it.

BGx Midrange

Whenever I see a Tulio_Jaudy deck list I always raise my eyebrows. His decks are always very good, but sometimes only he can win with them. This one seems like it's a good deck for the general public and one that his number one fan, Willy Edel would be proud of.

Wildgrowth WalkerSeekers' SquireKnight of Autumn

After playing against my fair share of BG Midrange decks I fell that it is a mistake to not be running the 《Wildgrowth Walker》 version, right now. Not only it provides you solid game against the Red aggros, but it also snowballs into a huge treat really quickly against the control decks.

Tulio seems to also agree that there is no real good reason for running only Black and Green and decided to splash the white for 《Knight of Autumn》, which is something that I really get behind. Maybe 4 copies is a bit on the higher side for this deck, though.

Golgari Findbroker

One card that has been really impressing me is 《Golgari Findbroker》. I'm surprised that Tulio only plays one, especially knowing how well it works with 《Memorial to Folly》. With so many explore in the deck, I saw for more than once my opponent going 《Golgari Findbroker》 into 《Golgari Findbroker》 into 《Ravenous Chupacabra》 to seal the game for his side.

Find // Finality

《Find // Finality》 is also very good in this deck, not only because the deck can hit its 6th land drop on turn 6 very consistently, making sure that the 《Finality》 arrives in time against the aggro decks, but 《Find》 also grants you the ability to grind the control decks, by recurring cards like 《Golgari Findbroker》 or 《Jadelight Ranger》.

Assassin's Trophy

I am a bit concerned that this list doesn't run any 《Assassin's Trophy》. A deck that is trying to go late and doesn't run blue for counterspells should be equipped with some more general answers. For that same reason I would like to see more than one 1 《Vraska, Relic Seeker》 in there.

Conclusion

I loved to play week one and I'm looking forward to see how it evolves until the Pro Tour. If you like Abzan, I think the BGx Midrange version is the archtype that is better positioned right now, and it's likely to be the one that sticks around, its ability to be very customizable will reward you more with the more you play.

With that said, don't forget it was still week one, so everyone is still adapting. If you have different ideas, don't be afraid of giving them a try, this is the perfect time to do it!

I hope you enjoyed reading this and if you have any questions please let me know on the comment section down bellow.

Goncalo

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