Pushing Modern Abzan to New Heights (Videos)

Feature Article from Seth Manfield
Seth Manfield
2/10/2017 11:03:00 AM
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Aether Revolt is making an impact on Modern, that's for sure. Fatal Push is a card that all the black midrange decks should be playing in some capacity. Abzan Midrange is an old favorite and, with both Fatal Push and Blooming Marsh, has once again found itself as a top tier deck. Lightning Bolt might not be the best one mana removal spell in Modern anymore!

Players who had been playing Jund are starting to turn towards Abzan instead, because Lightning Bolt isn't as important as it once was. This is my current Abzan list:

The list barely plays white cards, as Lingering Souls is more black than white because of the flashback. This allows you to focus on having great mana, and maximizing the potential to get a Planeswalker into play early. Both Lilianas are extremely powerful right now, and while it is true you can't have two in play, they are so good I don't mind having five copies total in the main. The matches ended up playing out about how I expected.

Grixis decks are traditionally bad matchups for Black-Green based decks, because they can grind harder than you. The Snapcaster Mages and Kolaghan's Commands can chain together alongside the big delve creatures and Young Pyromancer to create an overwhelming advantage. With that being said Lingering Souls is very strong against Grixis Delver, and Abzan can certainly win the matchup—it just didn't play out in our favor this time around. Notably Grixis Delver is also a deck that can make good use of Fatal Push.

The Mardu Tokens deck isn't something I have encountered before, and we definitely had to fight for the win. Vault of the Archangel was the most annoying card to play against because it was able to completely prevent us from having good attacks for a while. This match showed that this Abzan deck is very capable of playing a long game, and we saw Maelstrom Pulse be an all-star against the token deck, unsurprisingly. Liliana, the Last Hope is also very good here, as a way to eat tokens continuously.

Bant Eldrazi previously was a bad matchup for Abzan, but now I actually think Abzan might be slightly favored. The reason is Fatal Push. Being able to answer the early Eldrazi creatures, or simply deal with a Noble Hierarch is actually significant. Bant Eldrazi is a deck I believe got worse just because of the printing of Fatal Push. Thoughtseize can sometimes take that Reality Smasher or Drowner of Hope, and the smaller creatures are pretty manageable.

Moving forward I expect Abzan to see a lot of play, along with the other decks that can take advantage of Fatal Push. The decks that play small creatures, but don't play Fatal Push themselves are going to have a tougher time. It has been a while since we have had a set come in and affect Modern as much as Aether Revolt is right now.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield
@SethManfield




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