Thursday, September 25, 2014

Khans of Tarkir EDH Set Review, Part 5: The Abzan Houses

Now we're down to the final clan, but that doesn't mean we're done. There are still quite a few unaligned cards to review after this. But for today, we get to talk about the Abzan.

The Abzan Houses

Finally, something to call the WBG wedge besides "Junk"! Though Abzan will now be the official name for the colors I expect many players will stick with the colloquial they're used to. Anywho, The Abzan dragon aspect is "Endurance".

Wrexial. Damia. Karador. Those are just three of the decks I currently have sleeved up that dread seeing this Legendary dreamwrecking peice of cardboard leading an opponent's deck.

Needless to say, I'm not a fan. The sad thing is, it'll get played, but it'll never be for the first ability, always the second. "I'm not playing this because it does anything cool, I'm playing it because it hoses your deck".

Lame. Shame, too because it had potential.

Good fit for Abzan. Addresses two of the weaknesses I mentioned above. Speeds up the slow Outlast ability a bit, and helps slightly with the folding-to-sweepers problem. Seems fairly playable in a variety of decks.

It's a tough call. If that last mode weren't so weak (usually), the strength of the other two modes would definitely edge out Sultai charm for the top spot. In a way, even despite myself, I do kinda think this might be the best. Exile is king among removal, and instant-speed Sign in Blood is quality.

Really, none of the charms are bad, but this one is pretty special.

Nevermind Abzan for a moment; this seems fun in U/G with a bunch of Evolve and Graft spells, Kraj, or Zegana.
Maybe a Jenara deck, too. But, in it's clan colors, it definitely could make Cathar's Crusade even more sick.

The activated ability is to clunky and slow, leaving this as just a large but generic flyer. A lot of cards in the Abzan do get more appealing when you start throwing cards like Cathar's Crusade and Doubling Season into the mix, and this would be pretty large indeed under those conditions, but it's better to run creatures that don't NEED those helper enchantments to not suck

An extremely nerfed Seedborn Muse with a larger body is not very compelling, when you could just actually run the Muse herself. Not untapping lands is just a huge dealbreaker in my opinion.

This would make a lot more sense if Outlast was useable at Instant speed, but given that it's Sorcery speed only, I find this even harder to understand.

Bearing some similarities to Rhys the Redeemed, I think we can safely say people are going to want to give this a go. Probably especially in Rhys decks. But he lacks a lot of Rhy's charm: namely, that he's not a Legend and therefore much easier to kill and keep killed.

Two ways to look at this. One, you could compare it to Kokusho who clearly trumps this guy, save for the aggro mana cost. Or, two, you can compare it to Loxodon Heirarch, in which case it suddenly looks pretty darn sexy. If anyone is still running Stupid Elephant in their Karador decks at this point, I think it's time to make way for Stupid Rhino instead.

I'm thinking Vish Kal players will be doing merry little dances over this. Probably playable in just about any deck where the general comes into play with or amasses lots of counters. Skullbriar? Ghave? Mimeoplasm? All possibilities.

Obligatory mention of Cathar's Crusade #84...

THE most obligatory must-run for any Abzan deck, but also a tremendously exciting card for those U/G decks I mentioned.

Ghave probably doesn't care too much about 1 extra counter now and then. But Marath, though... this is pretty much the best T1 play a Marath player could wish for.

I'm gonna need a few of these.

I'll admit, I'm a bit of a snob. I tend to turn my nose up at sweepers that cost this much mana, unless they're Decree of Pain. And in most decks that could run this, I'd pick Decree over this almost every time. Failing that, I might pick Rout because it's only 7 if you're doing it at Instant speed which is worth it.

But... this just seems tailor-made for Karador. It just fits so perfectly... kill everything but Karador, begin reanimating immediately. Start by reanimating that Eternal Witness to get this back. Win slowly via general damage 3 points at a time. Oh yeah, baby, let the grindy long game begin!

Could almost see this in Derevi alongside the trusty Gavony Township. But without Township this is probably pretty weak. Jenara, then maybe? Dunno.

Oh, wait, I know! Cathar's Crusade! LOL I'm a genius!

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