This past Tuesday was the premier of the Standard Super League and in it I played Abzan Aggro to a clean sweep 3-0 finish, I didn’t even lose a single game. My Pick of the Week is the very same list I ran in that event:
SSL deck lists here.
Kids, don’t try this at home. I’m not going to sit here and say Abzan Aggro isn’t a great deck—it clearly is—but this exact deck list was constructed with a very specific metagame in mind. I did not play any copies of Dromoka’s Command in anticipation of a control-heavy metagame and few red decks. I also went with the full 4 copies of both Ultimate Price and Self-Inflicted Wound to prepare for the possibility of a heroic deck.
In the first round I was paired against Andrew Cuneo playing a Temur deck and I sideboarded like this.
These games were highly anticlimactic. My draws were excellent and he never caught a lucky break at any point. My cards matched up very well against his and Thoughtseize was a house at all points. Self-Inflicted Wound can suck pretty bad against Xenagos, the Reveler but I still think it’s a windmill slam here, often you can use it to kill Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid, Courser of Kruphix, or even Polukranos. Warden and Brimaz are on the smaller end of the curve and too quickly get outclassed by the various 2/4, 4/4, and 5/5 creatures that could exist.
In the second round I got paired against Tom Ross playing Jeskai Tokens. Game one he took a mulligan, I cast Thoughtseize, and if I recall correctly he cast one total spell.
I added Duress here since his deck was mostly composed in a way where he had six or fewer total creatures in it. A slow clock meant I could play Duress and not die to an early onslaught, and my lack of answers to Jeskai Ascendancy meant I needed to get it out of his hand or else it would be in play for the rest of the game. I actually think Duress is better than Thoughtseize in the matchup with the only exception being Monastery Mentor, which he played two copies of and my deck post was weak to after sideboarding. Warden of the First Tree is a totally fine card in the matchup but a combination of needing to make room for the nine cards I added and obvious lack of synergy with Drown in Sorrow meant that would be a quick cut. I could imagine a world where I would leave in Warden and cut Rakshasa Deathdealer but honestly I feel Deathdealer is just a much more powerful card and so I decided to keep that instead. The final game had Tom stuck on two lands for far too long and the Siege Rhinos came crashing in.
The final round against Gerry Thompson had him playing Sultai Whip splashing Dragonlord Atarka.
Moving forward, Abzan Aggro is an awesome choice as long as you don’t expect a field full of Abzan Control and Atarka Red.