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Much Abrew: Abzan Aristocrats (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. We've been playing a lot of Standard lately thanks to rotation, a sweet new format, and the release of Guilds of Ravnica, but we're changing things up today and heading to Modern to play one of my favorite archetypes: Aristocrats! Last week, we had a deck tech for Abzan Aristocrats, which means we're heading into Modern today to see if we can sacrifice and self-mill our way to victory by reanimating a bunch of small creatures to sacrifice, hopefully with a Blood Artist or Zulaport Cutthroat on the battlefield! The big new addition to the deck is Stitcher's Supplier, which allows us to fill our graveyard at lightning speed to power up our Rally the Ancestors and Return to the Ranks]]. Can Abzan Aristocrats fight through the graveyard hate and, with the help of Stitcher's Supplier, be a competitive deck in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Abzan Aristocrats (Modern)


  • We played a friendly league with Abzan Aristocrats and finished 3-2, which is fine. We did a great job of beating up on midrange and control, taking down UW Control, GB Midrange, and Mardu Pyromancer, while falling to Tron in a tough three-game match and getting crushed by a weird build of 8 Whack. 
  • Abzan Aristocrats is a deck that's almost exclusively based around synergy rather than power. While we can occasionally steal a win by beating down with a big Voice of Resurgence token or a bunch of small dorks, for the most part, we need to get our graveyard, sacrifice engines, and Blood Artists going to be able to win the game. 
  • On one level, Abzan Aristocrats is pretty simple: we try to fill our graveyard quickly, find a Rally the Ancestors or Return to the Ranks, hope that we either draw or mill a sac outlet like Viscera Seer along with one or two Blood Artists, reanimate everything, and kill our opponent by sacrificing the board. On another level, the deck is extremely hard to play well. 
  • One of the biggest challenges of the deck is figuring out how to use Viscera Seer. Things are fairly straightforward when all we need to do is sacrifice our board and win with Blood Artist, but we use Viscera Seer in a lot of games to try to find our combo pieces, which means slowly sacrificing away our board (hopefully after using our creatures to block an attack from the opponent). The other challenge is figuring out when we need to go all-in on Viscera Seer to find a Rally the Ancestors. Ideally, we'll sacrifice our entire board on the turn before we're about to lose, in the hopes of finding a Rally the Ancestors to steal the win.
  • You can also do some sweet tricks with Stitcher's Supplier and Viscera Seer. One of the unique aspects of Abzan Aristocrats is that when it comes to cards like Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat, having them in our graveyard is sometimes even better than having them in our hand, since we can get them back with one of our reanimation spells. As such, we sometimes want to sacrifice non-Stitcher's Supplier creatures to try to put a Blood Artist on top of our deck before sacrificing our Stitcher's Supplier to mill it.
  • Also, be careful with your triggers when it comes to reanimation. Since we often know the top card of our deck thanks to Viscera Seer, ordering Elvish Visionary's and Stitcher's Supplier's enters-the-battlefield triggers properly is another way of gaining a small advantage. If we want the top card of our library, we need the Elvish Visionary trigger to resolve first, but if we don't want the top card of our library, we can mill it away with Stitcher's Supplier and then draw a fresh card with Elvish Visionary
  • The point of all this is that Abzan Aristocrats is a deck where all of these seemingly tiny advantages matter. Since the deck doesn't really have the ability to just overpower an opponent, we're mostly looking to grind out tiny bits of value and pseudo-card advantage and hope that in the end, all of these small edges will add up to us finding our combo and winning the game.
  • The biggest problem with Abzan Aristocrats is graveyard hate, which is on the upswing, since Dredge is a popular deck again thanks to Creeping Chill. Thankfully, we managed to beat both a Rest in Peace and a Scavenging Ooze across our league, so it is possible to win even if our opponent draws graveyard hate—it just takes some work.
  • While the main deck of Abzan Aristocrats seems pretty solid (apart from Worship, which sadly didn't do anything in our league), the sideboard is strange. Not playing any targeted removal (like Path to Exile or Fatal Push) anywhere in the 75 is risky, especially since cards like Scavenging Ooze are really good against our deck. We also don't have any graveyard hate (which is probably not ideal, with Dredge being so popular), and something like Fulminator Mage could help shore up the Tron matchup, which felt pretty bad. While I'm not sure exactly how to make those cards fit, they are near the top of the list of cards I want in my sideboard next time I play the deck.
  • So, should you play Abzan Aristocrats in Modern? This is actually a pretty tricky question. The deck felt good and powerful enough to beat a lot of the top decks in Modern, and it's a ton of fun to play, but with Dredge being the talk of the Modern town at the moment, everyone is going to be playing graveyard hate before long, which incidentally hates on Abzan Aristocrats as well. If your not especially worried about the meta, then Abzan Aristocrats is a fine choice and a ton of fun to play, but at this point, I'd be worried about taking it to a Grand Prix, just because everything is going to be aiming to beat Dredge, and the cards that are best at beating Dredge are good at beating Abzan Aristocrats as well.


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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