April 24, 2015

Seth Manfield’s Atarka Abzan


While perusing the top Standard decklists from Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir, one trend I noticed was that Abzan was very popular. Whether it was aggro, control, or midrange variants, Abzan showed up in full force at the Pro Tour.

I enjoyed seeing Seth Manfield's innovative take on Abzan Midrange. I would imagine that he didn't want to play a deck that everyone was prepared for. There's nothing worse than sitting across from an opponent who knows your entire game plan. Seth's list looks like your typical Abzan Whip deck, with a bunch of cards you'd expect: Siege Rhino; Tasigur, the Golden Fang; and Satyr Wayfinder. His innovation lies in his choice to splash red for one of the most powerful cards from Dragons of Tarkir: Dragonlord Atarka.

It's pretty cool that you can take a three-color deck with some pretty heavy mana requirements and add a fourth color to it without missing a beat. Between lands that produce three colors of mana, Sylvan Caryatid that can add any color, and Satyr Wayfinder to help find the lands you need, you can play as many colors as you want.

Dragonlord Atarka is amazing in this deck. Most players were a little skeptical of this creature because of her seven-mana casting cost, but games tend to go long in this format and both players usually end up with lots of lands in play. Between Courser of Kruphix and Satyr Wayfinder, we have no trouble hitting land drops. Atarka comes down as an 8/8 flying trample creature, and she can either clear your opponent's board or kill an annoying Planeswalker like Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Overall she can gain some serious card advantage. Whip of Erebos ensures that once she's dealt with, she can return from the graveyard, clear your opponent's board, and hit for 8 a second time.

Seth Manfield’s Atarka Abzan

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