Abzan Evolution by yuhy on MtGO

Creatures (23)
1 Anafenza, the Foremost
3 Birds of Paradise
1 Eternal Witness
3 Kitchen Finks
3 Noble Hierarch
1 Restoration Angel
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Siege Rhino
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Tireless Tracker
4 Voice of Resurgence
1 Wilt-Leaf Liege

Non-Creature Spells (14)
3 Eldritch Evolution
3 Lingering Souls
1 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Thoughtseize
1 Abrupt Decay
4 Path to Exile

Lands (23)
3 Blooming Marsh
2 Forest
1 Gavony Township
1 Godless Shrine
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Pendelhaven
1 Plains
1 Razorverge Thicket
1 Swamp
2 Temple Garden
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Windswept Heath

Sideboard (15)
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Collective Brutality
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Orzhov Pontiff
2 Ravenous Trap
1 Reclamation Sage
2 Relic of Progenitus
3 Stony Silence

Summary

It’s not uncommon for Modern archetypes, especially those that are widely played, to have spin-offs popping up here and there that slightly change the overall strategy of the deck to adapt to certain metagames or to better suit a particular player’s playstyle. This deck, Abzan Evolution, is a spin-off of Abzan Company, and has many of the same cards. Let’s look at it through that lens to better understand how the strategies differ.

While Abzan Company can be somewhat classified as a combo deck, this deck has no infinite life gain or infinite damage combo. Instead, it plays the value game, largely due to the suite of non-creature spells and how they enable a the more grindy options. Rather than Collected Company and Chord of Calling which are excellent at digging through your deck for the cards you want, this deck plays Eldritch Evolution, which is much better at searching out high-costed creatures. This pushes the deck towards having a series of creature cards that wouldn’t fit in Abzan Company due to their mana cost.

Siege Rhino was undoubtedly one of the most powerful cards in its time in Standard, but its impact on Modern has been limited. Similarly, Sigarda, Host of Herons has always been considered an extremely powerful and well-positioned card in Modern. However, its mana cost has always been the major stumbling block. Both of these cards, along with Restoration Angel and Wilt-Leaf Liege, can all play their part in this beatdown-value deck.

The only pieces of interaction that this deck offers come in the form of a playset of Path to Exile, 1 Abrupt Decay, 1 Maelstrom Pulse, and 2 Thoughtseize. I particularly don’t like the mainboard discard spells in this deck, as it actively hinders the strategy due to it taking up an early turn. The removal spells, however, can be used much later on to essentially the same effect.

The sideboard has some very impactful Eldritch Evolution targets, such as Linvala, Keeper of Silence, Eidolon of Rhetoric, Gaddock Teeg, Orzhov Pontiff, and Reclamation Sage. It also has specific cards targeting Burn, Dredge, and Affinity, three decks that this sort of beatdown midrange strategy can struggle with.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:

Mainboard

-1 Lingering Souls

-2 Thoughtseize

+1 Birds of Paradise

+1 Noble Hierarch

+1 Abrupt Decay

Sideboard

-1 Abrupt Decay

-1 Orzhov Pontiff

+2 Thoughtseize

This is day 106 of Spellsnare.com’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 105 here, where we featured a Legacy deck that plays 35 lands!

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