Deck of the Day: Abzan Scales (Modern)

When I saw this latest deck, I audibly exclaimed. “Whoa.” This thing is sweet, and it took me a moment to make sure I was actually looking at a Modern deck and not a Standard deck.

The centerpiece of this deck is a card that we’ve seen a lot already, despite being printed only a short while ago. Winding Constrictor is awesome in every sense. You might think it would be more vulnerable given the removal in Modern, but its effect is so strong that there’s still an entire deck built around it!

Hardened Scales is the OG Winding Constrictor. It’s only a single mana to get into play and it dodges most of the commonly played removal thanks to being an enchantment. With these two side by side, anything with +1/+1 counters starts to get exciting.

Walking Ballista is good enough for Vintage, it’s a powerhouse in Standard, and it’s awesome in this deck. With numerous ways to start multiplying counters, the Ballista gets out of hand fast. This little machine gun can take care of any small creatures while also going straight at planeswalkers or the opponent’s life total.

Arcbound Ravager offers a combo with Walking Ballista and is the new way Vintage players are building their Mishra’s Workshop decks (I played this earlier in the week on Vintage Super League). With Constrictors and Scales, the Ravager will come into play with extra counters on it. Every artifact you sacrifice will put extra counters on the Ravager, once again. And if they kill the Ravager, or you sacrifice it, you will get all of those counters (plus additional ones for each Scales and Constrictor in play) on your Walking Ballista. Insane.

Arcbound Worker is another creature that will enter with extra counters on it thanks to the Scales effects, and then you can pass those counters elsewhere thanks to modular. Just a single Scales/Constrictor in play means that your Walking Ballista, Ravager, and Worker each enter with 2 counters. Sacrifice the Worker to the Ravager and you’ll get 2 counters on it for the sacrifice and now 3 more for the modular, giving Ravager 7 counters. If you move those 7 onto your Ballista, it will become a 10/10. That’s lethal in one hit plus throwing all of the counters! This is possible to assemble on turn 3…

Dark Confidant will help to make sure your hand stays full. Cards like Ballista have a CMC of 0, and nothing in the deck actually costs more than 2 mana. Scavenging Ooze can gain a bunch of life and become a huge threat thanks to double counters. The fact that it invalidates some entire strategies is a nice bonus.

Traverse the Ulvenwald isn’t a lock to have delirium active, but it does allow you to play fewer lands. You have tons of artifact creatures and you’re playing fetchlands, so the first Traverse is likely to turn on the rest. There are also 7 instants and the 4 Scales, so while delirium isn’t a guarantee, it’s not a big challenge either. Once you have it active, you get access to Constrictor, Ravager, or Ballista to fill whatever void you need, or just Scavenging Ooze when it’s great.

Dromoka’s Command is a great removal spell that can put multiple counters on any creature, kill an enchantment, or stop a burn spell. And Fatal Push is the new hotness in Modern removal.

With Gavony Township to give your team another massive boost, this deck is super sweet and has turn-3 kill potential. I love it!

Abzan Scales

THEMATA, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League


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