White-Black Aggro from GP Stockholm

Posted in Daily Deck on November 25, 2014

By Shuhei Nakamura

Shuhei Nakamura is a member of the Pro Tour Hall of Fame, former Player of the Year, and is one of just six players with more than 400 lifetime pro points.

My recent theme has been "decks that can beat Abzan and Jeskai without joining them." They have all featured different concepts to cope with these two archetypes—just be bigger, or ignore trying to match the opponent's speed, or dig into the graveyard. In other words, their approach is either to add something or remove something that those two decks represent.

A classic example of improving by addition can be seen in how Kai Budde won a Pro Tour by taking the mono-blue Illusion-Donate deck popular at the time and putting red in. Today's deck is an example of improving by subtraction—the Czech Republic's own Platinum Pro Martin Jůza's Abzan deck, which deliberately scales down the green.

Most people can see the benefit in adding a color—you can overcome the weaknesses of a given color, and increase your sideboard options. However, it is harder to see the benefit of removing a color. In regards to Jůza's white-black deck in particular, though, there are two apparent reasons: (1) reducing reliance on lands that enter the battlefield tapped allows for greater consistency, and (2) with that increased consistency, cards with heavier color constraints like Brimaz, King of Oreskos suddenly become options.

This second reason is significant, as there are lots of cards one might want to use in the Abzan colors, but there are just not enough slots to go around. Some people compromise by putting in only three or even just two copies of a card. While the deck loses some power with the removal of Siege Rhino, the deck becomes more consistent and uses this as its primary defense against Jeskai. It also works well against a "pure" Abzan opponent as it has fewer land issues. As counterintuitive as it may seem, removing a color seems to be a valid strategy against both Abzan and Jeskai.

Martin Jůza's White-Black Aggro

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