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Much Abrew: Abzan Jinnie Fay Incubate (Standard)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Incubate is a really unique mechanic. On one hand, it can add a ton of stats to the battlefield quickly. On the other hand, the fact that you need to pay two mana to turn the Incubator tokens into creatures means the mechanic can be pretty slow. But what if you didn't have to pay any mana to flip your Incubators? Actually, what if, instead of being random artifacts with +1/+1 counters, they were hasty Cats and vigilant Dogs? That's what we're going to find out today as we go all-in on incubate in Standard, by using Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second to turn them into absurdly powerful hasty threats and Glissa, Herald of Predation to flip them for free! Is incubate good in Standard? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Abzan Incubate

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  • Record-wise, we finished 4-4 with Abzan Incubate, which is a solid enough record for a spicy brew at Mythic on Magic Arena. Win or lose, most of our games were super close. It definitely felt like the deck could keep up with the top tier of the Standard format.

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  • Our deck's plan is pretty simple: play as many good cards that make Incubator tokens as possible. Cards like Elvish Vatkeeper, Norn's Inquisitor, and Progenitor Exarch are especially powerful since they add immediate bodies to the battlefield along with the Incubator tokens, which helps make up for the fact that (at least, when we are playing fairly) we'll need to spend two mana to turn the Incubators into creatures. Meanwhile, Glistening Dawn and Sunder the Gateway don't necessarily add a body to the battlefield right away, but they do come with different upsides, with Sunder the Gateway working as removal and Glistening Dawn potentially making massive Incubators in the late game. While we do sometimes win games just by playing our Incubators and slowly transforming the tokens into threats, we have two payoffs that greatly speed up the process.

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  • Payoff number one is Glissa, Herald of Predation, which can make Incubator tokens, give our Phyrexians deathtouch and first strike until the end of turn, or, most importantly, transform all of our Incubators at the beginning of combat on our turn. This last mode is absurd in our deck since we can flood the board with Incubators, not spend any mana to transform them, and then use Glissa, Herald of Predation to turn them all into creatures at once. If we don't have any Incubators, Glissa is good since it can add two 2/2 Incubators to the battlefield (which technically means it makes seven power and nine toughness the turn it comes into play, although to access most of it, we'll need to find a way to transform our Incubators), which is a really solid rate. And it's great if we have a board of Incubators since it turns into a weird ramp spell that lets us avoid playing the two to transform all of our Incubator tokens. 

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  • Our second payoff—Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second is less consistent but even more explosive. The way the three-drop works with incubate is pretty wild. Let's say we play Jinnie Fay on Turn 3 and then Glistening Dawn on Turn 4 to make two Incubators with four +1/+1 counters. Thanks to Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second's ability, we can choose to make the Incubators into hasty 2/2 Cat tokens or vigilant 3/1 Dog tokens, and they get to keep the +1/+1 counters. What this means in practice is that Turn 3 Jinnie Fay into Turn 4 Glistening Dawn will give us two hasty 6/6 Cats, which is incredibly powerful. Even outside of the Glistening Dawn combo, Jinnie Fay is great with our other Incubators as well, powering them up and, much like Glissa, letting us avoid paying two mana to turn them into real creatures. 
  • The main problem with the Jinnie Fay plan is tha inat Jinnie tends to die to removal. As such, we sometimes try to wait to play Jinnie until we can follow it up immediately with an incubate card to help avoid removal. While there is no hard and fast rule here, it is at least worth keeping in mind that if you have other things you can do, you don't have to run Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second out on Turn 3 and hope for the best.

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  • A couple of other things to keep in mind about the deck. Incubators work really well with wraths since you can store up some Incubators, flip the board, and then transform them to get in a big attack on an empty board. We've got a couple of Depopulates in the sideboard to pull off this trick, although Sunfall might a better option even though it is more expensive since it makes an Incubator. Speaking of the sideboard, we have an entire playset of Invasion of Gobakhan. I was torn on whether it was better to play the battle or Duress to fight control, and after playing the deck a bunch, I'm still not sure. Overall, I was a bit disappointed with Invasion of Gobakhan. We brought it in against UW Control and managed to snipe two Farewells with the battles, although our opponent still cast them a couple of turns later, so it was more of a temporary solution rather than a permanent answer. Speaking of Farewell, the other problem we ran into with Invasion of Gobakhan is that two of the most popular sweepers in Standard—Farewell and Sunfall—exile, which means flipping it doesn't offer nearly as much protection as you might think. While hexproof and indestructible are nice, they don't do anything if our opponent can exile our board. While we need some more testing to be sure, my first impression is that Invasion of Gobakhan isn't a great replacement for Duress in the sideboard, at least in this deck.

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  • So, should you play Abzan Incubate in Standard? I think the answer is yes if you enjoy the play style. While I don't think incubate is going to break the format or anything like that, it did feel competitive. More importantly, it does some really fun, unique things! If you're looking for something different to mess around with in Standard and like making huge creatures by surprise and grinding out value, I think Abzan Incubate is a solid option.


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinion, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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