The Standard metagame on Magic: Arena has been all but solved. The top decks are taking extra turns, and the next best lists are trying to kill their opponent before that happens. There isn’t much room in between the two extremes, but it doesn’t mean should stop trying to find that surprise darkhorse deck. Brewing and experimenting with new strategies is the only way to open up a format. Sometimes players can find the new hotness relatively quick, other times the counter-strategy is never discovered.
In the Experimental Deck Tech series, TGH takes a look at decks that aren’t quite there yet, but could make a splash in the future. First on the list is a deck that is near and dear to my own heart – Abzan Teleportation.
What is Abzan Teleportation?
Borrowing ideas from it’s Modern cousin, the Standard Abzan Teleportation list acts as a toolbox-style deck. Toolbox decks want to be prepared for anything that may come their way. This means that the list will contain a little bit of everything in order to combat any list it comes across. Thanks to its colors, Abzan lists have access to a wide variety of flexible cards that should give this deck some legs against most of the field.
The goal of the deck is to generate insane amounts of value with the namesake card, Teleportation Circle. Throughout Magic’s history, flicker effects have been powerful engines for midrange decks. Teleportation Circle allows a player to gain an additional trigger from “enter the battlefield” artifacts or creatures. Triggering multiple instances of Elite Spellbinder or Tainted Adversary can create massive advantages in the Abzan players’ favor.
What is Holding This Deck Back?
While blinking Prosperous Innkeeper and Skyclave Apparition is good and all, there aren’t many cards that push this deck over the edge to greatness. There is plenty of disruption and removal in the deck, but there isn’t really a way to win. In Modern, cards like Siege Rhino and Restoration Angel are fast clocks that are hard to remove. Standard doesn’t have those same level of threats in Abzan. The closest option is Esika’s Chariot, which is a great card, it doesn’t quite do enough in this deck.
Overall, the deck is just too slow. Sadly a deck isn’t quite ready for competitive play if it can’t threaten a kill in one or two turns. Even if the list creates a large board of zombies or land-creatures, it can sometimes be too late in the game. Against control, the obscene amount of board wipes makes life extraordinarily difficult for a fair deck like Abzan Teleportation. Midrange decks are frankly horrid at the moment, and Abzan Tele doesn’t look like it can break the mold.
What Does the Deck Need to Break Through?
What Abzan Teleportation needs is a way to build back up a board after a boardwipe. The best options currently are the Adversary cards – Tainted Adversary and Primal Adversary. The main issue with those cards is just how expensive they are, and how much mana they demand to continue to generate a lead. Typically that’s where Esika’s Chariot comes in, however it doesn’t seem to have the same impact as it does in other shells. When a player can’t copy a giant treant token, the Chariot isn’t as frightening.
Crimson Vow is right around the corner, meaning there could be some options that could make this deck viable. The first cycle that comes to mind is the “Cemetery” cycle of mythics. Each version comes into play with a unique effect that should impact the board. It’s unclear if these will be enough to make Abzan Teleportation strong enough to compete, but players won’t know until they see the cards in action.
Featured image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast
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