пятница, 17 марта 2017 г.

MtG. Abzan Control Primer. Revolt Standard

What lead to the deck

I first started to tinker with the deck idea about a month-two ago, almost after Aether Revolt came out and the shape of the metagame started to form. Renegade Rallier was already a thing in Modern (long time pilot of Abzan Company and before with Pod), and I wanted to use it well in Standard. This idea collided with the fact that I was with Abzan Super Friends in Kaladesh Standard. Those older builds and the new ones played and felt very interactive, fresh, different and....cozy. 

Then, the next factor was to see what answers to what major format offenders fit the bill. The big pillars were vehicles, planeswalkers, Saheeli-Guardian, big cost-effective BG monsters. That led to running enough instant removal and answers to walkers. Among those toys was Sinister Concoction. Oath of Nissa and other similar elements rounded up the Rallier package. The rest was just about what I want in the sideboard, and the main goal was to just be as flexible as possible, run the best bullets, adapt to the opposing deck and the version I think they are on.       

The deck


I am very likely to refine the deck furthermore, apart from responding to opposing in-deck meta adaptations. The deck is very tailor-able and customizable, but this is where I would start, if you are not familiar with any such builds and versions. 

Now in more details 

Maindeck


Best removals in the colors, including answers to walkers. Slaughter is fine even without Delirium most times. Green Vessel was tested but there wasn't enough space, and Growth activates Rallier much faster, fixes mana and returns it back too.  


Felidar blinks 8 permanents and 6 walkers maindeck. 
I thought about Traverse the Ulvenwald. But all good targets are from SB, and after I had one Traverse Sb, I then added another bullet instead. With Oaths and Walkers you do draw into all the wincons and bullets. Tutoring Ballista is the only point I'd take. Plus the deck is based around walkers, not creatures. Post-side the deck is full of action and bullets, so you won't really need to dig for things that much. Plus moving into more copies of Ballistas would make sense in the 75 anyway, and it's not your only bullet either.   
Quarantine Field does everything. Natural State is mainly in BG, which I see much less, and also they unlikely will board it in. 4c Saheeli will unlikely to waste slots on it post-board too. Dead Field is not a problem. Nissa and Warden get them back, plus most times buying couple turns is enough to draw more off walkers etc.
Kalitas is there for extra board presence and lifegain mainly. Same for Hulk and Linvala off the board. Ishkanah and Tracker just die instantly, I have enough ways to generate CA without being exposed to removal. It is not uncommon to go off with a Push into Grasp, Unmaking, into Slaughter eating Gideon on an empty board in response to the token.
I like Avacyn and Flagship in the meta a lot now, but they don't do enough in this particular deck, although with 4 Ballistas in 75 Avacyn is more of a thing. However, I do have answers to planeswalkers. I've cut Ruinous Path because of the sorcery speed and because I had enough of such effects, plus it can't kill vehicles. Fumigate wins games across tier 1 decks, accept post-sideboard vs Mardu.
Planeswalkers' suite between main and side can be shuffled around, yes. I am not claiming this configuration is right in every particular local field. But I like at least 1 5cc Nissa main.

I used to play with Hearts of Kiran, but relying on walkers to crew it up is a bad plan, I also had there 1 3cc Nissa and 1G 3/3s instead of advocates. But the Heart just keeps on dying to Pushes, and I decided to rather get back Concoctions and Oaths to dig into resilient threats. 


The manabase is not as easy as it seems. Not saying that my current base is the best one possible, but drawing taplands in mid game is more painful, than having Vistas early, for example.



You take these out only vs Mardu usually, and even then vs older builds it's ok. Extra lifegain is a huge factor among, well, board cleansing in a walkers-based control deck. 

Sideboard

Often times the games will slow down a bit post-sideboard from both sides. Hence, often you will take out the digging cheap value package in favors of more mid-late game and direct answers to opponent's mid-late game. 


Greenwarden acted as insane value vs Mardu and any slow deck. The deck might be totally wrong but somehow it still works and wins against tier 1 and tier 2 decks. 4c Saheeli was tough. Everything else is much easier. But even 4c is now fixed with Ballistas.










Sideboard Guide

I do not claim this to be 100% optimal. Opposing builds and versions matter a lot too. This is what I gathered based on the sample testing and tournament runs with the deck so far.

The Rallier package that often comes out, sometimes in part:
3 Ralliers, 4 Oath of Nissa, 2 Growth, 2 Concoctions (keeping in for sure against the combo at least), Felidar, Kalitas. 
The package comes out because the games slow down a bit, also you just upgrade your answers, or get more focused ones, etc. This is your transformational plan. And you probably often heard such a phenomenon like best configuration for their maindeck or sideboard configuration. This deck is basically a Haterator, but as for the maindeck you still want to be a bit more proactive and flexible. 

VS Mardu Vehicles

Out

2 Fumigate, the package.

Fumigates don't match well against Vehicles plus walkers plus Oaths. Plus they take out most one-drops. Swapping the Package for more targeted cards is one of your major tricks with the deck, not just because they wouldn't know what to expect from a rogue brew, but because this is how you adapt your deck to theirs. It is not about few certain cards, but about changing the gear for each matchup.   

In

3 Transgress the Mind, 3 more planeswalkers, removals (sometimes Linvala/Hulk based on their build. 

Hitting their walkers early on is huge. You can deal with their actual creatures easily, and you have more and bigger threats that they won't be able to keep up with. Also their removals are much worse, but watch out for their Ballistas and Avacyns. 

VS BG Aggro

Out

Part or the whole package depending on much midrange stuff you think you would need to bring. Definitely take out less of it, if it is the Energy Aggro version. 

In

Removals, Hulk and Linvala, more walkers. 

This matchup is the main reason to have those anti-beatdown big lifegain creatures. If you see less BG, feel free to use something else in the side.   

VS 4c Saheeli

Out

The package except for Concoctions. 

In

Ballistas, removals and discard. Planeswalkers' suite can be shuffled and mixed up, but you don't want too many here. 

Conclusion

Tuning and refining of the archtype is still an open topic, but now you know the spectrum of tools and ways to approach building such a deck. If you wish to add a little more spice to the deck and don't need to take it to the competitive, then you can add some copies of Traverse and Eldritch Evolution and just add some funky cards, or even singleton+ copies of the Cutthroat-Brood Monitor-Displacer combo out. The deck can definitely take down the big guys, but this is a very easy deck to pick up quickly, but it feels very comfortable in play. 

Deck Tech



Earlier version VS BG Aggro




Thank you very much for reading!
Good luck at your local and online tournaments!
Stay tuned for more articles!

- Aarne Pyulze
- OthalaBor on Hearthstone
- Ekvilor everywhere else