Standard Blue Abzan Aggro

Posted in Daily Deck on October 15, 2015

By Melissa DeTora

Melissa is a former Magic pro player and strategy writer who is now working in R&D on the Play Design team.

Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar begins tomorrow, and I can't wait to see what the pro players come up with. While we're anxiously waiting to see some new Standard action, here's a little preview of what we can expect. The final World Magic Cup Qualifier of the year took place in Chile last weekend, and there were a lot of interesting things going on. Here's the winning decklist, piloted by Tomas Aravena.

One important thing about Battle for Zendikar Standard is that the mana is great. Fetch lands and battle lands work very well together, and as long as you know which turn to play which lands, you can have perfect mana every turn. A single fetch land allows you to search up four different colors. For example, Wooded Foothills can find you a Forest, Mountain, Smoldering Marsh, Cinder Glade, or Canopy Vista. This allows you to easily play decks that are four or five colors.

Tomas's deck is an Abzan Aggro deck that plays many aggressive creatures such as Seeker of the Way and Anafenza, the Foremost, as well as the best four-mana spell in the format, Siege Rhino. He gains card advantage in the form of Hangarback Walker and Den Protector, and Drana, Liberator of Malakir can finish games very quickly. This is your typical Abzan Aggro deck.

The blue splash is where things get interesting. As you can see from the decklist, Tomas chose to splash blue for Disdainful Stroke and Exert Influence in the sideboard. The ease of acquiring off-color mana makes the splash an easy decision, and the cards themselves improve previous weaknesses of the deck. For example, Abzan Aggro is typically weak against control. Counterspells are great against control, so adding them to a non-blue deck makes a lot of sense.

Exert Influence is my vote for the best Battle for Zendikar card no one is playing. In this deck, it can only steal creatures with power 4 or less, but that's more than okay. Unlike other creature-stealing spells before it, like Mind Control and Dragonlord Silumgar, Exert Influence is a sorcery. Mind Control and Dragonlord Silumgar can be destroyed. But Exert Influence isn't a permanent, so once you steal a creature, your opponent isn't getting it back.

Tomas Aravena’s Blue Abzan Aggro

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