Attempting Abzan on the Cheap

(Editor’s Note:

Chris came up with the idea a couple of weeks ago to delve (pun fully intended) into Standard with a couple of our decks to explore the strategy of having to update decks periodically as new sets are released and old sets rotate out. This doesn’t mean that we are going away from our traditional Legacy decks, but it is good to be able to experience all of the different aspects of the game. I knew immediately that one of my decks was going to be a RDW deck. That’s one of the first decks that almost everyone creates in any format because it is usually cheap and can be very effective even against more expensive decks.

I still don’t know what my other deck will be. I’m pretty sure that I want to go with some sort of blue/white or blue/black control, but I don’t want to limit myself without trying out as many of the deck archetypes as I can. I should also remind you that I’m not a singles buyer, I’m a bulk collector. I generally buy a box and a fat pack of each set and whatever cards I pull are the cards that I have to build my decks. Therefore, to test some decks, I built pretty cheap decks from pauper shells that I found online. One of those decks was a Temur morph deck because I really keep trying to make Temur work, but I just can’t figure out how. The other was Abzan and that one actually has the makings of a good deck. I don’t know if it will be part of my final list, but it is making me consider it as an option.

Abzan Outlast “Pauper”

Spells/Artifacts – 11

Abzan Banner – 2 (The banners are pretty slow, but any time you can get mana or card draw, go for it.)
Dragonscale Boon – 3 (+1 counters are good in the deck because they can grant reach, plus untapping for a surprise blocker is good)
Feat of Resistance – 4 (More +1 counters plus protection lets you block while avoiding damage.)
Grim Contest – 2 (To be honest, I’m not even sure if this card is good. I just picked it because it has the nickname of “Butt Fight”.)

Creatures – 25

Abzan Guide – 3 (This is expensive, but it is a morph, so can hit the board earlier than if hard cast. Once it is turned up, it has lifelink and is a pretty significant body at 4/4.)
Abzan Skycaptain – 2 (This is a bit overcosted, but it is flying and Chris likes his dragons. Also, bolster is okay for the +1s).
Ainok Bond-Kin – 4 (Not a great 2 drop with Outlast. Mainly because I needed some low cost bodies.)
Disowned Ancestor – 2 (0/4 is a good blocker with Outlast for only one black. Good for “Butt Fight”.)
Longshot Squad – 2 (Outlast, gives all other creatures with +1s reach. Did I mention how much Chris likes dragons?)
Midnight Guard – 4 (Okay, not standard, but a pretty good low cost minion. Will definitely have to replace this if I go Abzan as my other standard deck.)
Unyielding Krumar – 2 (Another okay, but not great minion. The first strike ability is nice and will trade favorably with many other minions.)
Voyaging Satyr – 4 (Having mana is always nice, but I think I might already have enough for this deck. These guys might be moved into my Temur deck if I decide to proceed with that one.)
Wardscale Dragon – 2 (I jokingly said, “History is made this day.” when I played this guy and then Chris promptly removed him. I knew there was a reason that I didn’t play these stupid dragons.)

Lands – 24

Blossoming Sands – 2
Forest – 6
Jungle Hollow – 2
Plains – 7
Scoured Barrens – 2
Swamp – 5

This was a fun deck to play and it is definitely something to consider expanding into an actual standard deck, but I’m still on the blue/white or blue/black, so I don’t think that I will use it as one of my standard spots. Still, it is the start of an interesting deck and something that I might continue to build into a regular deck during our games.

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