Not impressed with the Eldrazi invasion? Or maybe you don’t want to buy in because you think it’s getting the axe in a few months? Whatever the reason, if you are looking for something fun, competitive, and well positioned, then I have a deck for you: Abzan Company.
I started with Ari Lax’s list from Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, made a few minor adjustments to the main deck, and tuned the sideboard for a post-Eldrazi Modern meta.
The one fact that Standard has been drilling into our brains over the past month is that Collected Company is an off-the-charts powerful Magic card. It is worth two cards because it finds two creatures, provides selection because it lets you dig for the creatures you need, and generates mana (you pay 3 green and often get up to 6 mana worth of creatures). Oh, and it’s an instant so it gives you tactical advantage as well. The card is absolutely crazy powerful.
What’s Black and White and Green All Over?
Remember the “Jace test”? Well, for those of you who didn’t enjoy the pleasure that was Standard with Jace, The Mind Sculptor, here it goes: You tapped out and played a 4- or 5-drop creature. Your opponent played Jace and bounced it. Are you dead because your creature doesn’t matter anymore? You failed the Jace test, so play cards that matter next time.
In Modern, we are rapidly approaching the point where we need to make sure our decks now pass the Eldrazi test. Does your deck consistently get rolled by Eldrazi? Hmm, time to re-examine your choices.
The good news is that Abzan Company passes the Eldrazi test with flying colors. It doesn’t fold to a Chalice of the Void. It has lots of creatures to trade and block. And unless your Eldrazi opponent is going big and jamming Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, most Eldrazi decks are pretty cold to easily assembled infinite life combos.
Go Infinite or Go Beatdown. It’s All Great.
Anafenza or Melira both essentially shortcut the “persist” -1/-1 counter by canceling it out and so with a free sacrifice outlet, you can repeat the loop infinitely, netting +2 life each time. The cool thing is that Seer also gives you a lifetime subscription to scry, which lets you bring Murderous Redcap to the top of the library for infinite damage as well (which goes infinite the same way).
One thing that really drew me to Ari’s list from the PT was that he was pushing the Spellskite numbers to the maximum in the main deck.
Spellskite is big game in this deck. Not only does it absolutely cripple decks like Infect, Bogles, and Affinity’s Ravager draw, but it is also awesome at protecting your own combo creatures from pesky Paths and Bolts. The card is exactly what the deck wants, even if Splinter Twin is no longer with us.
While the real selling point of the deck is that it very easily goes infinite with just a few creatures on the battlefield, the back-up plan is what really pushes the deck over the edge for me. The deck is completely filled with creatures already and going beatdown with a Gavony Township is a very reasonable way to end a game where you can’t go off.
Especially against removal-heavy decks that can pick and choose to kill the creatures you control that “matter” and kill them on the spot, the Township makes every creature matter, even Birds of Paradise! In addition, Township is uber annoying with Kitchen Finks as it cancels out its -1/-1 persist counter, allowing it to come back to life over and over again.
When you look at a Modern sideboard, it is typically clear why most of the cards are in there because they are all so insane in the matchups where they matter.
I’ve played quite a bit with this particular Abzan Company the past few weeks and I feel really good about what I’ve got going on right now. In particular, I’d like to touch on a few of the cards that have earned their place in the board.
Secret/not-so-secret tech depending on how much attention you’ve been paying to Modern the past few weeks! Hunter is a good card on its own merits. A Shriekmaw for big creatures is a very reasonable tutor target in a deck full of Chords and Companys.
The card has some bananas interactions against Eldrazi, which is what brought it to the forefront.
Pontiff is game-changing in a wide range of matchups—often a one-sided sweeper against the right decks. I like having access to this effect in the main deck (which is why I moved it there) but wanted access to a second one in the board as well. Pontiff has also pulled its weight against the Eldrazi decks that have a heavy Scion theme.
I’m a big fan of the Abzan Company deck right now. I like the way it’s positioned against Eldrazi, the fact that it can do many things well, and I’ve been enjoying trying out different cards in the main and sideboard. I encourage you to put this deck on your radar and try it out. Take a look at your top six cards and tell me there aren’t at least two winners in there!