Deck Tech with Ken Yukuhiro: Next Level Abzan

Posted in GRAND PRIX SINGAPORE 2015 on June 28, 2015

By Chapman Sim

2013 was a great year for Ken Yukuhiro. Not only did he make 4 Grand Prix Top 8s that year, he also won the previous Grand Prix Singapore! Naturally, he is here to defend his title. The Pro Tour Avacyn Restored Top 4 competitor is no stranger to innovation and is never afraid to put his new brews to the test! Let's take a look at his latest masterpiece!

Ken Yukuhiro

Ken Yukuhiro's Next Level Abzan

Download Arena Decklist

Judging from the mana base, he looks like he's playing a traditional Abzan Company deck, until you get to creature base.

In a high-powered format like Modern, it is unexpected that cards such as Tukatongue Thallid and Doomed Traveler could become the cornerstone of one's strategy.

Abzan Ascendancy turns these little dorks and Voice of Resurgence into a more decent size, while providing double the tokens upon death. This is probably why Yukuhiro likes the midrange and control matchup so much.

Yukuhiro cited Blood Artist and Viscera Seer as one of the primary routes to a fast victory, doing an impression that is reminiscent of Arcbound Ravager and Disciple of the Vault.

"I don't have an infinite combo, but I have a way to win fast."

Eschewing Chord of Calling in favor of Return to the Ranks, it was bound to give any decks that relied on spot removal a splitting headache. The interaction between Return to the Ranks and his creature base is probably what makes the deck tick.

"I can sacrifice all my creatures to Viscera Seer and get a lot of tokens. Then I can use those tokens to convoke Return to the Ranks and get it all back."

However, Yukuhiro's deck is not without weakness.

While he built his deck to beat up against all the other aggro and midrange decks, he had to sacrifice the combo matchup which he professes is beyond terrible. His only line of defense in the maindeck was Tidehollow Sculler and could sometimes even be dead even before he gets to cast it.

"I really don't want to play against any Grishoalbrand or Amulet Bloom today! I cannot kill them just a bunch of 1/1s!"

This is probably why Yukuhiro's running three copies of Stain the Mind, which can single-handedly cripple decks that rely heavily on a particular card.

"I have removed Griselbrands yesterday and also Splinter Twin. Once I do that, they cannot win as fast and I have more time to attack."

"I also have no removal in the entire deck at first, so I added Teysa, Orzhov Scion. I did not want to randomly lose to cards like Platinum Angel and wanted a solution in the maindeck."

Of course, with Collected Company in his deck, he needed to find a creature that could achieve that and with all the tokens in his deck, Yukuhiro should have no problem finding sacrificial fodder.

Regardless, Yukuhiro seems to be having a lot of fun with his concoction today and would need to rattle off at least five wins today for a shot at the Top 8.

Will he get there with Tukatongue Thallid? I look forward to it!