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MTG: Abzan at Game Day - Phil's Rambling Rants
August 8th, 2015
09:10 pm

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MTG: Abzan at Game Day
I wasn't particularly happy with my deck at last weeks FNM. I made a couple of incremental changes before FNM last night (and I'll try to reconstruct what the deck was for that), and then I made a couple more changes this morning, including adding a couple more copies of Dromoka's Command that I just picked up. I went 3-2 overall, which ended up I think 5th out of 20 players, which got my into the critical top 8 so I won a full art Languish.

2 Abzan Charm -1, in favor of Dromoka's Command
1 Abzan Falconer
0 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes -1, cut for a second AnafenzA
1 Ajani Steadfast
2 Anafenza, the Foremost +1, too good to just be 1 of
2 Bile Blight +1, because it's so good against fast threats
3 Courser of Kruphix was going to put the 4th back, but I forgot to bring it with
1 Den Protector still running it but I haven't been able to get value
3 Dromoka's Command +2, now that I have them
1 Drown in Sorrow still think I want one main deck against the meta I see
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Hero's Downfall
2 High Sentinels of Arashin
1 Ivorytusk Fortress
1 Last Breath
1 Murderous Cut
4 Siege Rhino still the star of the show
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
4 Sylvan Caryatid
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
0 Utter End I love the flexibility but it seems too slow right now
1 Valorous Stance -1, cut for Dromoka's Command
1 Whip of Erebos
1 Wingmate Roc -1 -- Tasigur seemed better than another 5 drop

2 Caves of Koilos +1
1 Evolving Wilds
3 Forest -1
1 Llanowar Wastes
2 Mana Confluence
2 Plains
2 Sandsteppe Citadel -1
2 Swamp
2 Temple of Malady
2 Temple of Plenty
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
3 Windswept Heath +1

side:
1 Aerial Volley +1, thought it would be worth the slot against thopters
2 Banishing Light +1, Utter End is just too slow
1 Bile Blight
0 Deicide -2, guessing I wouldn't use it
2 Drown in Sorrow
1 End Hostilities +1, because I only had 1 Languish and I need more board wipes
0 Erase -1, not expecting to see many enchantments
1 Glare of Heresy
1 Hero's Downfall
1 Languish +1, needed against aggro
1 Stain the Mind +1, thought this was a better shot against Rally than Tormod's Crypt
2 Thoughtseize -1, I almost never use 'em so I wanted the slot
0 Tormod's Crypt -1, probably not using it
1 Tragic Arrogance +1 thought I'd try one and see if it worked
0 Utter End -1, feels too slow in the meta
1 Whip of Erebos

Round 1, I faced Steve Jasper with the same mono-red aggro deck he had at FNM on Friday. It's a pro list, but it's not working for Steve; I took the first game and then boarded in my wipes and walked over him. 1-0. Round 2, I played against Lucas Buccafusca. He was playing a Sultai control deck that wasn't quite what I was expecting. I won the first game, topdecking my Whip of Erebos to bring back a Rhino and finish him just before he might have stabilized and ground me down. Game 2, I lucked out when he drew 12 lands. 2-0. Round 3, I came up against Brandon Heller, running a mono white devotion deck. I won the first game, helped by the fact that he couldn't hit his 5th land to play the Tragic Arrogance he was holding. Game 2, we both went to 6, I kept a two lander and didn't find any more land. Then game 3, I mulled to 6, chose a marginal 2 lander over going to 5, and couldn't draw into enough land to cast my spells. 2-1. Round 4, Ben Kinney was playing black/white warriors. He was too fast in game 1, then I boarded into a better configuration against him and got mana screwed again. 2-2. Round 5, William Hart was playing Goblins. Game 1, he mulled to 6, kept an iffy hand, and conceded when I swung an Elspeth token to make raid and then cast Wingmate Roc. Game 2, he got off to a good fast start and made me dead like Goblins are supposed to. Game 3, he mulled down to 5, while I kept a hand which didn't have my sideboard answers but did have 3 Siege Rhinos, which did the job. 3-2 overall.

Now, I'm going to see if I can back-reconstruct the deck I played at FNM last night. I had 2 Deicide and Tormod's Crypt in the board, rather than Tragic Arrogance, End Hostilities, and Stain the Mind. In the main, I had 1 more Abzan Charm, Valorous Stance, and Ajani, Mentor of Heroes rather than 2 new Dromoka's Commands and Anafenza.

Match 1, Matt Milosevich was playing Abzan Aggro. My deck was firing on all cylinders game 1 and I got there. Game 2, he won the Rhino-off. Game 3, I mulled to 6, and I was doing all right, but then got blown out by something, and I don't recall what. I think this is an OK matchup, but especially with my luck that's no guarantee that I'll win. Round 2, I faced Lance with goblins. This is a pretty bad matchup for me pre-board and I lost game 1. Game 2 I came back solidly, but game 3 I mulliganed into something crummy and got run over again. 0-2. Round 3, I faced Steve Jasper with his pro tour mono-red aggro deck. He ran me over game 1, then I boarded into my anti-aggro configuration and won the next 2, even with a mull in game 2. Round 4, Justin Kessel was running an Abzan Rally build that I hadn't seen. The fact that I faced him in the last round is testament to its not having done well that night, but it sure looked scary against me. Nantuko Husk is bonkers with a yard full of value creatures being rallied.

Overall, I think this is a decent midrange deck. I'm nervous against Goblins, but I think I'm favored enough post-board to be OK. I think mostly-goblins is a better deck than the non-goblins mono-red aggro. I have not played against thopters, but I've seen some board states and it frightens me. I'll probably keep playing this deck when Standard fires until rotation, because any other cool deck will probably require a lot of expensive things. And now I have my Dromoka's Commands, which I think I'll be leaning on after rotation.

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