The newest set is now completely spoiled and Pro Tour Magic Origins is getting closer, and the best deck in Standard stands to tighten its grip on the format.
The deck I’m talking about is Abzan Control/Megamorph, which Pascal Maynard used to win GP Buenos Aires. You can read his detailed article on the deck here.
I’m in love with this deck—at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir, Marco Cammilluzzi and I reached Top 8 and Top 16 respectively, on the wings of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. We did so with a bad version of the deck, without the powerful combo of Den Protector + Deathmist Raptor, and now the deck is even more explored and well tuned.
In an effort to avoid making a similar mistake, I’d like to go card-by-card through Magic Origins to see what the new set can bring to Abzan Control.
Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Probably the best of the cycle, Civic Wayfinder has been great in past iterations of Standard—this only grabs a Forest, but it’s still a big help to reach 6/8 lands, which is where this deck wants to end up anyway.
Flipping her isn’t difficult at all in this deck, since you reach 7 or more lands in many matchups, and once you get to Nissa, Sage Animist the game is on.
Keeping fetchlands in play is now even more relevant, not only thanks to Courser of Kruphix. Let’s say that you already have 7 lands in play. You can cast Nissa, Vastwood Seer, and when your opponent tries to kill her with the trigger on the stack, you can crack a fetchland in response and immediately flip into Nissa, Sage Animist, fizzling their removal spell, even if it’s a Hero’s Downfall!
The problem with Nissa, Vastwood Seer is that she’s another 3-drop. If you are going to play the Abzan Control version by Lucas Siow without Deathmist Raptor, Nissa will be very welcome. Otherwise, it should be quite difficult to find her a slot.
I don’t think Languish will be able to replace Crux of Fate and End Hostilities in the main deck, nor Drown in Sorrow post-side.
Being a sorcery is of course an issue, and that puts this card just behind Bile Blight and Ultimate Price, but once Hero’s Downfall and Bile Blight are out of the picture I can see this being played, maybe over Ultimate Price if Abzan Aggro or Mantis Rider continue to see play.
Swift Reckoning could be another option as a 2-mana removal spell, but it’s even worse, because it’s not truly a 2-drop removal spell unless you are on the draw or they played a 1-drop.
Read the Bones
This of course isn’t a new entry, but it’s a great reprint that I’m very excited about, since it means I can get my card advantage even without Dig Through Time.
Super excited about this reprint. This is a huge game against control decks.
I’m sure that you are going to play Gaea’s Revenge in your sideboard if you have Forests in your deck, especially after Nissa, Worldwaker rotates out of Standard.
Here we have a bigger Shriekmaw. It’s great in the mirror match since it kills everything but Deathmist Raptor and puts a big body into play.
Unfortunately Abzan Aggro and Devotion have almost only creatures whose power and toughness are equal, so it isn’t very versatile and probably won’t see much play.
The New Standard Metagame
Last year, Magic 2015 didn’t change much in Standard, and at the Pro Tour in Portland the archetypes were the same as those we knew before. This time it’s different.
The great influx of new Elves and Sylvan Messenger can breathe new life into this archetype. If that’s the case, you can also go bigger with your sweeper spell—Languish is of course great in this case.
Overall, the metagame won’t change much in my opinion, and Deathmist Raptor + Den Protector will remain the key-combination of the format.
With all being said, if the PT were tomorrow, I would play this: