Quick Question: How to Beat Abzan?

Posted in Event Coverage on November 14, 2015

By Frank Karsten

Abzan was one of the decks to beat in Standard this weekend. I sought out the advice of experienced players on what would be the best card, best deck, or best game plan for beating it.

Ondřej Stráský

No. 16-ranked Ondřej Stráský: "Play Esper Dragons; I think the matchup is slightly favorable. I don’t think there is any deck that has a great matchup versus Abzan. Maybe R/G Landfall, but it loses to almost everything else."

Ivan Floch

Pro Tour Magic 2015 champion Ivan Floch: "Play enough Roast and Valorous Stance to answer Anafenza, the Foremost and Siege Rhino. If you put enough of those in your deck along with some card advantage spells, then you can grind out Abzan."

Fabrizio Anteri

No. 22-ranked Fabrizio Anteri: "A controlling deck with Dig Through Time is good, so Esper Control comes to mind. Countermagic such as Clash of Wills or Silumgar's Scorn is quite good because they answer all the threats, whereas spot removal is typically more restrictive."

Magnus Lantto

Magic Online Champion Magnus Lantto: "I actually like playing Rally the Ancestors against Abzan. This might go against common knowledge because Anafenza, the Foremost is so good against Rally, but Abzan doesn't play well defensively against a deck that can go over the top."

Michael Bonde

Grand Prix Madrid 2015 semifinalist Michael Bonde: "The primary way to beat Abzan is to get the advantage back when you're on the draw. So get back tempo with cheap interactive cards, and don't play too many enters-the-battlefield-tapped lands. If you're playing Abzan yourself, then I recommend adding Murderous Cuts and cutting Shambling Vents."

Matej Zatlkaj

Gold level pro Matej Zatlkaj: "Don't fall behind early and don't lose to Wingmate Roc. The way to do this is to kill every creature they have."

Thomas Hendriks

WMC competitor badge collector Thomas Hendriks: "Go under it or over it. R/G Landfall is pretty good against Abzan because at some point they have to tap out and then you can immediately win with the combo [of Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage]. Control decks with removal that matches up well against their creatures—no Wild Slash—and Dig Through Time are good, too."

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