Abzan Tokens in Standard (Videos)

Feature Article from Seth Manfield
Seth Manfield
10/11/2017 11:01:00 AM
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I know there were only three different archetypes at the World Championship, but that doesn't mean there aren't other decks out there. In fact, the hottest deck in Standard may very well be Abzan Tokens. I wasn't able to put enough time into this deck to feel comfortable enough playing it last weekend, but it looks to be in a prime position looking towards U.S. Nationals.

This list is pretty similar to the one that came in second in the latest Magic Online PTQ, but I like it more. Sacred Cat is serviceable in some matchups like Ramunap Red, but is pretty insignificant against a deck like Temur Energy. Right now, Temur Energy variants and Blue-Black Control are two of the main decks to beat, and I like gearing my main deck towards those matchups. This strategy isn't new, per se, but Legion's Landing does provide another way to make tokens, and that's pretty important.

I like having enough ways to make tokens to flip Legion's Landing early in the game. Start // Finish is one of the best ways to do that, as well as being another way to deal with opposing creatures. In fact, against other creature decks, the Abzan Tokens deck plays the control role, trying to answer as many opposing threats as possible. The late game of Vraska, Relic Seeker plus your enchantment synergies is strong enough to have the inevitability in most matchups.

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Playing against Ramunap Red was pretty straightforward, and the sideboard cards definitely help swing the matchup. Really, you want to be able to leverage your life gain to stay out of burn rage, and save Cast Out for Chandra, Torch of Defiance or Hazoret the Fervent. Ramunap Red and Temur Energy are two of the best matchups, which is nice since both those decks are quite popular right now.

The control matchups can be tricky, as you really want to be able to go wide against them. The Grixis Pirate deck looked sweet, but really never stood much of a chance, since that deck didn't have large enough threats to pressure our life total. The Blue-Black Control match was definitely a tough one, and there were multiple decisions on both sides. In the end it felt like it could have gone either way, but the opponent played well. In the matchup, once the opponent plays one Torrential Gearhulk and they can copy that one, things tend to snowball from there.

The sideboard of the Abzan Tokens deck varies from list to list, and you want to focus on turning some of the more difficult matchups around. The token deck is now on players' radars, so don't play it thinking that the opponent won't know what you are up to. This is a metagame choice, and with White-Blue Approach losing popularity, it might be the perfect time to jump on board the Legion's Landing train. Can't say I will play it for sure this weekend, but it certainly is on my mind.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield




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