Today I have the first ever reader submitted deck list to be featured in the column. Aryeh Wiznitzer submitted this spicy brew that combines two of the very best decks in the format in Esper Tokens and Abzan Aggro in a way I haven’t seen before.
Esper Tokens is one of my absolute favorite decks. It attacks from multiple angles, has some good early resistance, great late game, and does a solid job of dodging popular removal spells. Abzan has been public enemy #1 for over a year now. The tokens deck is essentially a 2-color deck that has a small splash that is essentially free if you play a fetchland mana base, since no Marsh Flats means Polluted Delta, Flooded Strand, Prairie Stream, and Sunken Hollow are some of the best ways to get access to both black and white. That mana can be changed to incorporate some green, as well.
Aryeh took his deck to within percentage points of a Top 32 finish at a Standard 50k before posting a 6-2 Standard record in the most recent Invitational—strong finishes, but both just short of having the deck list posted online. The base of the deck is one I’ve written a few articles about in Esper Tokens. Hangarback Walker, Knight of the White Orchid, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Sorin, Solemn Visitor, Wingmate Roc, and Secure the Wastes all have inherent card advantage built into them despite their low mana costs. This makes it tough to go toe-to-toe with the token strategy.
The most powerful cards in Abzan since the release of Khans of Tarkir are Siege Rhino and Abzan Charm. They’re staple 4-ofs in essentially every Abzan list and they play the aggressive and defensive games well. Rhino is a great example of creatures power creep, as they don’t really get more powerful than this beater. Abzan Charm is one of the best removal spells in Standard that also offer tons of utility in its other modes, depending on board state and matchup. These cards add enough power to any deck to easily offset the cost of adding another color.
Blue is nowhere to be found in the main deck, but the sideboard options shore up a number of matchups. It’s nice to have no need to actually go search out blue mana in game 1, and often not until late after sideboard, which makes the mana a bit smoother. Countermagic in Negate and Disdainful Stroke help guarantee there is nothing you weren’t equipped to handle ruining your day (I’m looking at you, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon) while Dispel is a big trump in many blue matchups. Exert Influence for 4 different colors is exactly where you want to be in a world of Siege Rhinos, as taking their Rhino before attacking with yours requires an answer few decks are capable of providing. And if that Ugin or big spell resolves, we have ourselves a Dragonlord Silumgar to turn the game around.
Thanks to Aryeh for this very cool submission to DeckOfTheDay@gmail.com! If you have a cool deck that you’ve been dominating your local scene (or online) with, send over an e-mail with a short description of matchups or a cool card choice that has been performing well for you.