Deck Tech: Abzan Rites with Grzegorz Kowalski

Posted in Event Coverage on May 28, 2016

By Tobi Henke

Grzegorz Kowalski may have only had one Top 8 to his name going into the weekend, from Grand Prix Brussels last year. But actually the Polish player was among the top pros in this tournament. After finishing in tenth and 24th place at the last two Pro Tours, Kowalski had well surpassed the point threshold for the Gold level in the Pro Players Club and was one of only fifteen players with three byes here.

Also, he was playing an interesting deck: Abzan Rites, something of a hybrid between the black-green Collected Company deck that had been succesful at the Pro Tour and the four-color Cryptolith Rite deck which became popular afterward.


Grzegorz Kowalski

"In my opinion, the deck is better than both of these alternatives. Compared to the blue version, you have the option to go for a fast kill without the combo [of Eldrazi Displacer/Brood Monitor]. One Nantuko Husk and a pair of Zulaport Cutthroats is all you need. And the lack of Reflector Mage is actually a bonus against all the Languish decks," Kowalski said. "Also the deck doesn't have twelve pain lands which is a huge plus."

He pointed out that the two-color version on the other hand just didn't have a good answer to Westvale Abbey and that it was hardly being played anymore for that very reason.

When asked about the genesis of the deck, Kowalski said he got the list from fellow Gold-level pro Patrick Dickmann. Dickmann had been doing great with the deck on Magic Online for a while, but audibled at the last minute and was now playing Four-Color Rites.

"Four-Color Rites with its twelve pain lands was terrible against Humans. But that deck, though I don't know why, has disappeared," Dickmann explained. "And I was afraid of Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, so I decided I needed to play Reflector Mage after all."

Dickmann was happy with his deck choice, but said that Abzan Rites was still great too. The right Rites for a given tournament would naturally depend on the matchups one expected to face.

In any case, Kowalski was happy with his deck choice as well. "In my opinion, Abzan Rites is the best of both worlds," Kowalski claimed. "Good against everything."

Grzegorz Kowalski: Abzan Rites

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