Running the Gauntlet – Abzan Aggro vs. RW Midrange

This week I continued to run the gauntlet with Abzan Aggro and with massively better results! I played Andy “The Boz” Boswells list and it felt way better than the previous version I had. Last week I read many comments hating on Warden of the First Tree so I felt a bit vindicated seeing Andy make Top 8 of Grand Prix Miami with 4 in his own version of the deck.

Deck List and Analysis

I played against a traditional build of red/white today and although I finished with one match win and two match losses I felt good about the result. I won a game in both of the matches I lost and the games were super close—not nearly as lopsided as when I played against the Dig Through Time/Treasure Cruise version.

No Thoughtseize in the main was the biggest upgrade here, that card was flat-out embarrassing to cast against people who have Stoke the Flames and Lightning Strike. You would think that some amount of games it would match up well against their cards but the reality is that it just doesn’t. Simply put, Thoughtseize is bad against the red decks in Standard.

Boon Satyr and Valorous Stance were mediocre at best and immediately sideboarded out but the true hero of the matchup and biggest gain was easily Brimaz. Brimaz is totally awesome in this matchup and when you play it turn three on the play you lock your opponent out of any way to interact at instant speed. Sure they can just untap and Stoke it if they have a creature or Chained to the Rocks it but one thing that might go unnoticed in the games are when I play a Fleecemane Lion and Huey just casts Lightning Strike at end of turn and a Goblin Rabblemaster on his own turn he’s played more cards than me and he did it faster. Being able to sequence your cards is key but also playing as many cards as you can as fast as you can is a simple and easy way to win the matchup.

Back to Nature looked like it would be a slam dunk but it turned out to only be a glorified Erase. I’m sure it’s good in the matchup, much better than Erase, and I’m just being results oriented, but I think it’s better to think of it as a solid tool for the matchup and not a card that will break games wide open. Drown in Sorrow played in a remarkably similar fashion. Don’t wait too long or you’ll die with it in your hand—or get that 2-for-1 you hoped for and then die right after.

Owen Turtenwald
qazwsxedcrfvtgbyhnuj on Magic Online

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