4 Courser of Kruphix
3 Sylvan Caryatid
3Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
4 Temple of Malady
Temple of Silence
Temple of Plenty
Caves of Koilos
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Sorin, Solemn Visitor
Drown in Sorrow
1 Utter End
Silence the Believers
1 End Hostilities
So for my first post, I wanted to post the Abzan/Junk Midrange I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. It’s decidedly midrange, and not the sort of “control” that made up 5 of the top 8 of the last GP in Memphis. I think this deck is better positioned in the current metagame than the Abzan Control deck for a number of reason, and due to a couple of individual choices I’ve put in this deck. I guess I’ll talk about the format and why I believe this deck is the best deck in the metagame.
- The format is dominated by a few decks that can be broken down into three or four macro-archetypes. Goblin Rabblemaster/Stormbreath Dragon decks, Dig Through Time decks, and then two varients of Courser of Kruphix decks: Siege Rhino decks and Green devotion decks. As such, I tried to build the deck to have game against these decks. Other decks outside of these macro-archetypes exist, like Heroic, but the vast majority of successful decks fall into one of these four categories.
- With the real rise of Boros, the format has become faster, because its the only aggro deck that can play a long game with cards such as Outpost Siege and Stormbreath Dragon. By extension, you can’t just overload Drown in Sorrow in your sideboard and expect to always win, like you could against aggressive decks in KTK standard. As such, I think you need to have some sort of early game pressure, or early game defense, (depending on your role, play draw, etc.) to really do well in this match up.
- As other Siege Rhino decks get slower) having early game, robust threats that generate value become much, much better,because they have a harder time just blanking them with larger creatures. Slow decks also have a lot of ways to one for one, but they also all only start at turn three. Your threats then should either be cheap so that they go under Hero’s Downfall, or generate value instantly as they enter the battlefield or attack.
- Boros and Fleecemane Lion have made Wild Slash, Lightning Strike and Bile Blight very popular, and pushed Valorous Stance to the sideboard.
- All of this means decks should really prioritize getting on board early. Brimaz, King of Oreskos very well positioned in the metagame, since he works as an extremely good blocker, is a three-mana, must answer threat, because he generates value if he gets to attack, has four toughness, and has vigilance. This allows you to have a threat that is good for blocking and attacking on turn three, somewhat difficult to remove, and is still a must-answer threat later on in the game. Also t3 Brimaz into t4 Sorin, Solemn Visitor is basically game over for Rabblemaster decks.
- Couple other points that don’t lead to Brimaz being great, but need to be mentioned still. Sylvan Caryatid into t3 Siege Rhino is especially good right now because of all the reasons that getting a Brimaz in play on t3 is good. That being said Sylvan Caryatid is the worst card in the deck - it block a total of two creatures safely (Soulfire Grandmaster and Courser of Kruphix). You never want to see it later than turn four. It exssentially is a Farseek than can chump block, or blunt tokens. That being said, t3 Siege Rhino is pretty much the best thing you can be doing in the format, so three copies in the main deck gives you the highest chance of having exactly one in your opener, but not seeing anymore. Generally, you want to side it out for a real threat.
- The opponent’s best card is Stormbreath Dragon, which is why there are no Utter Ends in the main deck and only one in the sideboard. I don’t like having a very expensive card that cannot deal with the opponent’s biggest threat profitably. The second best card is Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. He costs 8 though, so you have enough time to find an answer or play around it in general. You also have cards like Whisperwood Elemental and Nissa, Worldwaker after sideboard that you can preemptively deploy to make their Ugin less devastating. In another vein you can use your own Ugin strategically with these threats, and high-cmc cards like Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Elspeth Sun’s Champion, to use Ugin to seal the game against Abzan or Green Devotion.
- Last point: Thoughtseize is the best card in the format, with only Siege Rhino and the blue delve cards even coming close to its power. It’s best use in general is removing answers to your high-impact threats, like a makeshift Thoughtsieze-Pack Rat from last year. Going to a more aggressive leaning build allows to get more value from your Thoughtsiezes and have your opponent get less value from theirs.
Anyways, that’s my Abzan/Junk Midrange deck. I’ll probably talk about this deck some more later on, when the metagame shifts a little bit more. Feel free to ask questions or whatnot.