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Much Abrew: Approach of the Cats (Standard)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, it was a strange standard mashup that came out on top: Approach of the Cats. Half Cat tribal, featuring Adorned Pouncer and Sacred Cat to be pumped by Regal Caracal, and half Approach of the Second Sun control—is it really possible that this weird mixture can be competitive in Ixalan Standard? We already know that UW Approach is a good deck, but could the deck be made even better be adding in a bunch of odd-looking Cats? That's what we'll be trying to figure out today! Let's get to the video and see how this monstrosity works in practice; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Approach of the Cats (Instant Deck Tech)

Approach of the Cats vs. Temur Energy (Match 1)

Approach of the Cats vs. GB Aggro (Match 2)

Approach of the Cats vs. Abzan Tokens (Match 3)

Approach of the Cats vs. Miracle Grow (Match 4)

Approach of the Cats vs. UR Prowess (Match 5)

Approach of the Cats (Wrap-Up)

Discussion

  • First off, we ended up going 5-0 with the deck, which is impressive, even considering we ran into a few rogue decks along the way.
  • While the synergy between the two different halves of our deck isn't all that obvious, the Cats do a good job of slowing down the opponent while we are setting up the Approach of the Second Sun kill thanks to the token production and lifelink, and Approach of the Second Sun wins us games after the board gets clogged up and our Cats can't attack. So, even though the deck looks a bit disjointed, it actually runs fairly smoothly. 
  • On the other hand, a lot of the Cats are pretty underpowered on their own. While Regal Caracal is a reasonable standalone threat, Adorned Pouncer and Sacred Cat are pretty lackluster in a control shell unless we have Regal Caracal on the battlefield.
  • Probably my favorite part of the deck was the interaction between Champion of Wits and Strategic Planning and our embalm creatures. When we discard / mill a Sacred Cat or Adorned Pouncer with either of these cards, we're basically drawing an extra card. While Approach of the Cats doesn't take full advantage of this synergy, it is likely worth exploring more, perhaps in some sort of Bant Embalm shell.
  • Speaking of embalm, Adorned Pouncer is pretty powerful when it comes back from the graveyard as a 4/4 double strike, especially when we also have a Regal Caracal giving it +1/+1 and lifelink. Gaining 10 life in a single swing is a lot—enough to buy us a couple of extra turns to put together the Approach of the Second Sun kill, which is pretty helpful in some matchups.
  • As far as changes to the deck, I never really figured out why we are playing Walking Ballista. While it's a fine card, it doesn't seem to have any obvious synergy with either of our primary plans. We ended up cutting it most of the time during sideboarding, and we could probably find something that's better in the deck.
  • Even with the 5-0 finish, I'm not sure that Approach of the Cats is better than playing a more traditional Approach of the Second Sun deck or even a straightforward Cat tribal deck. We certainly had some instances where having a bunch of creatures on the battlefield made Fumigate awkward, and others where we drew a fairly useless Sacred Cat when we needed an Approach of the Second Sun to win the game. 
  • All in all, the deck was fun to play, although I constantly found myself surprised that it kept winning. It doesn't feel like it should work, but apparently it does. While I think traditional UW Approach is probably better if your goal is to win a Grand Prix or something along those lines, Approach of the Cats seems like a good option for an FNM. It's competitive enough to win a lot of games and plays less of a pure control game than UW Approach. So, Approach of the Cats seems like a great option if you're a UW Approach player looking for a sweet twist on the deck.

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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