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Much Abrew: Fblthp and Friends (Standard, Magic Arena)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing.  So far, War of the Spark Standard has looked a lot like Ravnica Allegiance Standard. The top decks remain Mono-Red Aggro, Esper (Control and Midrange), and Simic Nexus, with a few new War of the Spark cards thrown in. However, some War of the Spark decks are lurking beneath the surface, like today's masterpiece: Fblthp and Friends! The plan of the deck is pretty simple: it's basically a taxing, prison-y superfriends list with nine planeswalkers in the main deck and even more in the sideboard. The goal is to sort of soft-lock the opponent out of the game with annoying static abilities from cards like Teferi, Time Raveler, Narset, Parter of Veils, and Dovin, Hand of Control before eventually outvaluing the opponent with planeswalker activations to pick up the win. Oh yeah, and we've got the full four copies of Fblthp, the Lost to clog up the ground early and turn on Mox Amber to ramp us into our planeswalkers. Can the War of the Spark–iest of War of the Spark decks compete in Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we can talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Fblthp and Friends

Discussion

  • As for our record, we finished 4-1 with Fblthp and Friends, beating Esper Control, Simic Aggro, Mono-White Aggro, and Sultai Midrange but dropping a match to Gruul Midrange, which is uniquely situated to compete with our deck. Fblthp and Friends is really good at shutting down creatures at sorcery speed, but Gruul Midrange has a ton of hasty threats, which are really good at sneaking into play and picking off our planeswalkers before eventually attacking our life total. 
  • Fblthp and Friends is a sort of difficult-to-describe deck. While it looks like a superfriends list—and by the strictest definition of superfriends, it is a superfriends list—the deck actually plays sort of like a planeswalker prison strategy in a lot of matchups. The planeswalkers of War of the Spark each have powerful static abilities, and if we can stack up several of these abilities at once, this makes it really hard for some popular Standard decks to function, so let's take a minute to talk about our planeswalkers.
  • Dovin, Hand of Control is really good at shutting down a single big creature each turn while also taxing control opponents by making them pay more for their spells.
  • Narset, Parter of Veils is our best planeswalker against decks like Simic Nexus and Esper Control, where making our opponent draw just one card a turn can sometimes win the game all by itself.
  • Saheeli, Sublime Artificer is good at making tokens to gum up the board and protect our other planeswalkers.
  • Teferi, Time Raveler is great against control since its static ability takes counterspells off the table entirely, while also being fine against aggro since we can bounce our opponent's biggest threat. It also sometimes lets us Cleansing Nova at instant speed, which is a huge blowout.
  • Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor is good at protecting our other planeswalkers from cards like Bedevil and Vraska's Contempt.
  • Dovin, Grand Arbiter is pretty lackluster. It's probably the worst planeswalker in our deck and might be worth cutting. Making a 1/1 Thopter is fine, and gaining a life is sometimes relevant, but compared to the rest of the walkers in our deck, Dovin, Grand Arbiter has the least impact on the game most of the time.
  • Karn, Scion of Urza is basically a card-advantage engine, along with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Ugin, the Ineffable (the later two also being mostly unconditional removal spells, which gives us answers to opposing planeswalkers and enchantments like Wilderness Reclamation).
  • As far as winning the game, the deck doesn't have a straightforward plan. Instead, the deck basically just tries to create an overwhelming board state of planeswalker value and trusts that sooner or later, it will win the game somehow (mostly likely by tokens created by various planeswalkers).
  • Fblthp, the Lost is the other hallmark card of the deck, and it's surprisingly effective. It comes down early to block and protect our planeswalkers while also turning on Mox Amber to get to our four- and five-mana planeswalkers a turn early.
  • The other sneaky all-star of the deck is the mana base. Mobilized District is actually a very strong finisher once we have a bunch of planeswalkers on the battlefield, Karn's Bastion offers some late-game value to keep our planeswalker loyalty high, Blast Zone gives us some extra removal, and Interplanar Beacon is key against aggro decks like Mono-Red, where gaining a life or two every time we cast a planeswalker is a good way to stay out of the range of various burn spells.
  • Otherwise, there isn't much to say about the deck: you just keep playing planeswalker after planeswalker and hope for the best. The good news is the plan is surprisingly effective against a lot of popular Standard decks, and Fblthp and Friends is absurdly fun to play with!
  • So, should you play Fblthp and Friends in Standard? I think the answer is yes. While the deck is still evolving to some extent (keep an eye out for Zac Elsik and his latest updates), it does feel pretty competitive. The only drawback is that it does take a lot of wildcards to build on Magic Arena (and is almost $400 in paper). But once you get past the cost, the deck is one of the most fun decks I've played so far in War of the Spark Standard and more than good enough to grind your way up the Arena ladder.

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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