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December 28, 2015

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Daily Dose of Oath of the Gatewatch – Can I get a double shot of counters please

Welcome to another edition of the Daily Dose of Oath of the Gatewatch, where today I’ll be showing you a new card from the upcoming set and how it can be used in an existing Standard deck I’ve been using for 3 months. Abzan Aggro have been a mainstay of Top 8 decklists in many a major tournament in the past couple of months including at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar in Milwaukee. This deck is a variation on that top 8 deck and really takes advantage of one thing, +1/+1 counters. Let’s have a look at the decklist I’ll be using after Oath of the Gatewatch comes out (barring any more Oath of the Gatewatch additions)

Abzan Counters

Creatures (20)
Avatar of the Resolute
Siege Rhino
Honored Hierarch
Warden of the First Tree
Hangarback Walker
Den Protector
Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Planewalker (2)
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

Spells (15)
Hardened Scales
Abzan Charm
Silkwrap
Dromoka’s Command
Utter End

Lands (23)
Shambling Vent
Llanowar Wastes
Caves of Koilos
Canopy Vista
Sandsteppe Citadel
Windswept Heath
Forest

Let’s take a look at some of the existing cards and how they function in the deck.

Avatar of the Resolute – With so many of your creatures having +1/+1 counters, this will be at 4/3 very easily and it is able to stop Mantis Rider’s with ease. Throw in Hardened Scales and this can be 5/4 with ease after a turn 2 Hangarback Walker.

Hardened Scales – The great thing about this enchantment is that it is stackable, meaning having 4 in your deck is not a hindrance. Playing turn 1 Hardened Scales, turn two 2/2 Hangarback Walker is tough to beat early on.

Siege Rhino – This is the top of the curve (If you don’t count Tasigur, the Golden Fang which often gets cast for 3 or less) and is often meant as a finisher to end games quickly.

Abzan Charm – Allows you to answer your opponents Abzan creatures, Mantis Rider, and also Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger against GR Eldrazi. Combined with Hardened Scales, allows you to either put 3 +1/1+1 counters on one creature or two +1/+1 counters on two different creatures.

SIlkwrap – Allows you to take care of early game threats such as Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Mantis Rider and an early game Hangarback Walker. There is currently not much enchantment destruction being played as well, which makes this more permanent than non-permanent.

Honored Hierarch – This is the creature you want to see in your opening hand when you are on the play. Being able to get this in play and attacking on turn 2 can lead to some quick games. Using Dromoka’s Command to help it attack and making it a 3/3. You can also make it a 3/3 by playing it turn 1, and than adding a Hardened Scales or two before you attack on turn 2.

Warden of the First Tree – Another quick one-drop that can become an early 3/3 threat.

Hangarback Walker – A key card in this deck as it can grow very quickly thanks to Hardened Scales. By turn 4, with only one Hardened Scales in play, you have a 6/6 Hangarback Walker. You can continue to push through some ground damage or if your opponent decides to destroy it, it will provide you many a nice 1/1 Thopter Army. It works well with Dromoka’s Command if you need to kill them off to get some flyers.

Dromoka’s Command – A key removal spell, while adding +1/+1 counters to your creatures as well. Playing this on a 1-drop, allowing it to kill an opposing Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and getting in extra damage. Combined with Hardened Scales will allow your creature to live in most fights.

Den Protector – A great way to win games that go a little bit longer by allowing you get to get back key cards like Abzan Charm, Dromoka’s Command and Siege Rhino. Don’t forget about the lovely +1/+1 counter it gets when it goes Megamorph!

Utter End – A Great utility spell to remove pesky opposing cards such as Planeswalkers like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy.

Tasigur, the Golden Fang – Easily able to cast this on most games on turn 4, but sometimes even on turn 3. Great way to get card advantage for the longer games as well.

Now let’s have a look at the new card on the block, Nissa, Voice of Zendikar!

Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

This is going to replace Nissa, Vastwood Seer who was a good 3-drop, but didn’t fit in well with the deck. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar does so much more! Often the play will be to play her on turn 3 and make a 0/1 Plant on the first turn, bumping her to 4 loyalty counters. This could change though, say if you have an Honored Hierarch and a Hangarback Walker / Avatar of the Resolute on the battlefield.

Being able to put a plant token out there and potentially using its -2 ability twice is very enticing. Needless to say, using its -2 ability with Hardened Scales on the board will lead to major craziness indeed!

I look forward to seeing if there are more cards coming in Oath of the Gatewatch that will be able to put into this deck, like the Green/Black “Manland” and any other +1/+1 counter shenanigans they decide to add to this set as well. Looking forward to this and more as we continue to look at new card previews on the Daily Dose of Oath of the Gatewatch. Thanks again for reading and see you next time!