Battle for Zendikar has certainly had an impact on standard, maybe not as huge as many would hope, since Jeskai and Abzan still seem to dominate the format, but an impact nonetheless.
One of the most interesting things to me is to think of which older cards deserve the spotlight!
Today I had a hard time deciding what card or cards to use for this article, but in the end I came to a conclusion that enchantments would be a fun thing to talk about, and at the same time using some enchantment related cards from Origins that I feel get left out.
During the pro tour I had the pleasure to watch a deck tech with the always as fun and creative deckbuilder Samuel Black. He, together with his team had created a Bant Tokens list preying on the expected megamorph and Jeskai-Black lists.
The centrepiece of this deck is the card Retreat to Emeria, an enchantment using the landfall mechanic to make creatures as well as buffing creatures with each land drop.
For example, you could play one Windswept Heath, get a 1/1 Kor token, then sacrifice your Windswept Heath to buff your entire team and attack!
This sure is powerful, but to get an advantage playing a four-drop that does nothing the turn it comes into play can be tricky and often comes down to which other cards you play to supplement this vulnerable enchantment.
Sam Black used a “tokens matter” theme and splashed blue in his G/W deck for Dispel, a card that is really good when it comes down to protecting your enchantment from pesky Dromoka’s Commands and such.
We on the other hand, today we are not playing bant, neither do we play tokens. Today we are mixing things up, a different take on one of the most potent color combinations in standard.
Let me present to you. Abzan Control (ft enchantments). And while the name isn’t that spicy (feel free to leave name suggestions), the deck is, so lets take a look at the decklist followed by a little breakdown of it!
- 4x Herald of the Pantheon
- 4x Siege Rhino
- 2x Nissa, Vastwood Seer
- 2x Den Protector
- 3x Abzan Charm
- 1x Secure the Wastes
- 1x Utter End
- 4x Retreat to Emeria
- 4x Retreat to Hagra
- 1x Retreat to Kazandu
- 2x Silkwrap
- 1x Stasis Snare
- 1x Starfield of Nyx
- 4x Windswept Heath
- 4x Wooded Foothills
- 2x Polluted Delta
- 4x Canopy vista
- 2x Smoldering Marsh
- 1x Prairie Stream
- 1x Sunken Hollow
- 4x Shambling Vent
- 4x Forest
- 2x Plains
- 2x Swamp
The first thing most people note is the massive amount of lands the deck is using. Since the deck is based around the card Retreat to Emeria, a large sum of lands is needed for consistency, we need the creatures from the retreat to win!
What’s great about this deck when it comes to lands is that every land is basically a spell. Even if you only have one Retreat to Kazandu, every land drop is either 2 life (fetch makes it 4) or a buff to your creature, plain value!
Another thing to note is the amount of off color lands. Most people know the reasoning behind playing Prairie Stream and Smoldering Marsh in your Abzan deck but some might need a little reminder.
To start off lets note the fact that we play 4x Wooded Foothills and 2x Polluted Delta. While Polluted normally would fetch only a swamp, we can now fetch for red mana with Smoldering Marsh and also white mana with Prairie Stream, that means Polluted Delta can fetch for any color of mana except green!
The same is true with Wooded Foothills where with the help of Smoldering Marsh and Canopy Vista it can fetch for any color except its enemy color which is blue. Now let’s take a look at the deck itself.
Herald of the Pantheon is one of the greatest assets to this deck, it is the glue that holds everything together.