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Much Abrew: Abzan Calix Sagas (Standard, Magic Arena)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, we only had a couple of Instant Deck Techs thanks to our Theros: Beyond Death top 10 videos, so today, we're playing a deck that I've been messing around with on the Magic Arena ladder: Abzan Calix Sagas! The deck is basically an enchantress-style midrange deck looking to grind out value by sacrificing Sagas like The Birth of Meletis and Tymaret Calls the Dead to Vraska, Golgari Queen and looping Elspeth Conquers Death from our graveyard with Calix, Destiny's Hand's ultimate. The end result is an extremely grindy Abzan midrange deck overloaded with sweet new enchantments! How good is Calix in Standard? Can a more midrangey version of an enchantment deck compete in Theros: Beyond Death Standard?  Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Abzan Calix Sagas (Standard)

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Discussion

  • First off, as far as our record, things were a bit weird. We finished our video matches 3-2, although I played against six Nissa Ramp decks in a row while recording the episode. So after the two included in the video, I started conceding when it became clear it was yet another Nissa Ramp deck, so that we could have at least a little bit of matchup diversity in the episode. 
  • Speaking of Nissa Ramp, our two matches against Nissa, Who Shakes the World decks were absurd. Both were extremely long three-game matches that came down to the wire (including one where we were locked under a Treacherous Blessing at one life but with a Liliana, Dreadhorde General against an empty battlefield). Technically, we lost both, but they were so close that they could have gone either way.

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  • As for our planeswalkers, Liliana, Dreadhorde General is mostly just a finisher and doesn't have any specific synergy in the deck. On the other hand, both Calix and Vraska, Golgari Queen enable some sweet tricks. Thanks to the nearly 30 enchantments in our deck, Calix's +1 should almost always draw us not just a card but a powerful card, while the ultimate is usually game ending if we can get to it. Meanwhile, Vraska, Golgari Queen is just a one-of, but she is so strong with Sagas like The Birth of Meletis and Tymaret Calls the Dead (both of which are mostly powerful because of their first and second lore counters, while the last lore counter is underwhelming, allowing us to get value from the Saga and then sacrifice it to Vraska for even more value before it sacrifices itself) that adding another copy or two might be ideal.

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  • One of the biggest upsides of our deck is that we can take advantage of Treacherous Blessing. Drawing three cards for three mana is a great deal, although the plan comes with risk in many decks since if Blessing sits on the battlefield, it is very easy to accidentally kill yourself (see: our game against Sultai Nissa, where we got locked under Treacherous Blessing at one life). Thanks to Vraska, Golgari Queen, Doom Foretold, and Calix, Destiny's Hand, we have a bunch of ways to sacrifice our own Treacherous Blessing, so in our deck, the enchantment-based card draw is almost all upside. 
  • In general, the deck feels very powerful and is especially good against aggro and control. The more questionable matchups are various Nissa midrange and ramp strategies. While it feels like we have the tools to compete with the Nissa decks, and we came extremely close to winning both of our Nissa matchups, in the end, we couldn't close the deal. The Nissa matchup probably needs more testing. 
  • So, should you play Abzan Calix Sagas? I think the answer is yes. The deck is really fun and powerful if you don't mind grinding into the late game. The deck doesn't really have an easy way to pick up fast wins, so if you decide to play it, expect some long, drawn-out, interactive battles. The good news is that the ability to grind means that we have a shot against basically every archetype in the format, and with a bit of luck and some tight play, Abzan Calix Sagas can win a lot of matches.

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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