January 17, 2017

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Budget Brews: Abzan Blink

Howdy Budget Brewers! It’s that time of the week for us to take a gander at some of the more budget options we can play at our local FNM’s. While our main goal is ultimately to just have some fun, it’s all gravy if we’re able to win some matches as well. It’s true, janky combo’s are my bread and butter but I’ve been known to sprinkle in a dash of control or a smidgen of aggro. Then, sometimes a smattering of something in between the two. We tackle new and exciting ways to play that’s easy on our wallet, and can have some fun at the local level!

Sorry Standard players, we’re going to keep on the Modern train this week with a budget version of something I like to fool around with online from time to time. It’s a fun deck that maximizes the value of one card that I sadly never played with while it dominated Standard. I was either too busy busting Jeskai Ascendancy or well, not playing Standard.

Siege Rhino was a Standard all-star right from the start. Lightning Helix attached to a 4/5 Trampling body for 4 mana, was too good to pass up, and Abzan good stuff dominated the Standard format for as long as it was able (Thoughtseize also helped with this).

When it came to Modern, the Lightning Rhino was too good to pass up as well. It instantly found a home in Abzan decks everywhere, including the Birthing Pod deck. It’s the very reason Birthing Pod was banned. It just made the deck too good, and Wizards seems to like better creatures than spells now a days, so Pod was only going to get better.

Even though the Pod Combo deck is gone, Siege Rhino is still in the format in the grindy Abzan deck that peeks in popularity when Jund gets it’s meaty hooks too far into the format.

My deck takes inspiration from Saffron Olive’s Against The Odds deck: 34 Rhino’s, where he takes the premise that if 4 Rhino’s is good, well more must be better.

There’s some 4 colour modern variations floating around the web where you play Rhino and every blue clone effect known to Magic, but that mana base was too crazy, and if you didn’t draw a Rhino then you just sat there.

What are the answers to this? Well, let’s make a straight Abzan value deck. Chock full of creatures with sweet Enter the Battlefield triggers, king of which would be the king himself Siege Rhino. Our mana gets smoother, and we just get more value.

What do Magic players love? Value.

We love Value.

Magic Deck

Lands: (21)
Concealed Courtyard
Blooming Marsh
Canopy Vista
Sunpetal Grove
Forest
Plains
Swamp
Fortified Village
Sandsteppe Citadel

Spells: (14)
Fatal Push
Eerie Interlude
Cloudshift
Painful Truths

Creatures: (25)
Avacyn’s Pilgrim
Elvish Mystic
Wall of Omens
Whitemane Lion
Eternal Witness
Flickerwisp
Thragtusk
Siege Rhino
Stonehorn Dignitary

This deck is really pushing the limits on the $100 overall budget, and $5 per card rule. We come in right around $99 at TCG Market Price, and we’re making every dollar work for us. I’ve given you a few weeks with some cheaper brews, this one is up there at the top of the high end.

The Value

Wall of Omens has long seen play in different Jeskai builds, wether it be control or a more aggressive Geist of Saint Traft strategy. We’re using it for basically the same reasons those decks used it. To gain some card advantage, and to just stem the flow of blood from quicker aggressive decks.

Whitemane Lion is a card that might take some practice to gain the hang of it, but it can also lead to some pretty fun shennigans bouncing creatures just to blink stuff and get all the value you can irk out of these cards.

Eternal Witness is because, well, some of our creatures might die, and if we’re in a tight spot we can get a removal spell, or blink spell back so we can go about with our funsies.

Thragtusk. Does anything even need to be said about Swagtusk? He’s the king of stabilizing the board, and if I could I’d probably play 1 more. In this deck he’s gaining us life, and leaving behind beasts with a semi-formidable body.

Stonehorn Dignitary is a card I never really even knew existed until I started looking up the Abzan blink Archetype. He’s there for two reasons. First, making your opponent skip their attack phase at instant speed, can be great fun. Second, he’s a rhino.

Siege Rhino. The reason I even wanted to play a deck like this. He attacks great, he blocks great, and he has a Lightning Helix attached to him. There’s nothing not to like about Siege Rhino

Blinking

Cloudshift is beyond the most efficient in this section because it only costs 1 white mana in order to blink something.

Eerie Interlude may cost us 3 mana, but we get to blink 2 creatures which can lead to some pretty back breaking assortment of things.

Flickerwisp, long seen in Modern and Legacy Death and Taxes builds to help cut off the opponent’s mana this card is probably much better at instant speed off of an Aether Vial, but it can do whatever we need it to at Sorcery speed as well, just with out the shock and awe factor.

Gameplay

As with any good Abzan list, we need to get out of the gate early, and stay ahead of the curve with our mana guys. I’ve tried to optimize the list so we’re always going to have untapped green mana turn 1 to play either Elvish Mystic or Avacyn’s Pilgrim.

From there we want to start our plan to cast our value. Either by playing more mana dorks, dropping a Wall of Omens to draw some cards.

Play value.

Rinse.

Repeat.

All the while we’re attacking in the air, or with our large body and dominating the battlefield.

Upgrades

As an Abzan deck, this deck can go for some serious upgrades. First our mana dorks. I’m really not sure if we need a full 8, but in our build it gives access to the colors we need the most, Green and White.

Birds of Paradise is just outside of our budget and rule on $5 per card, with the cheapest version coming in just over $6.

Noble Hierarch of course gives us Exalted, and a mana dork, it’s also quite a bit more money.

Restoration Angel also can easily find a home in this deck since it’s at Instant Speed.

Some builds also play an Aether Vial, but I prefer to just play more blink spells.

Fetches and shocks, of course would also be a welcome addition.

That’s all I have this week. Thanks for joining me while I try to Untap the Multiverse!

Have an idea for something you’d like me to brew up? Give me a shout in the comments!
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Twitter – @maibuddha