August 14, 2015

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Abbot of Keral Keep

When I first read Abbot of Keral Keep I was certainly impressed. This card easily looks like it could have been a card someone made after winning an invitational.

I know when you see me comparing this card to those multi-format all-stars you might think I’m exagerrating how good I think this card is.

I’m not.

Abbot is actually quite similar to those cards. You can’t help but notice the fact they are all literally 2 mana 2/1 creatures with card advangtage written all over them. Abbot provides a better body with an ability that Isn’t that far off. Let’s compare our new friend with our old friends.

Abbot’s ability on its surface is most easily relatable to Snapcaster Mage. Simply put it’s a body plus a 1 shot use of the top card of your library or an instant/sorcery respectfully. What Snapcaster has going for it is that its ability is allot less random and you have more control over your use of the card reducing its variance. The downside is how vastly different you have to build your decks to support Snapcaster. You tend to need to play minimum 18 (reccomended 20+) instant and sorceries. Snapcaster’s power level is so high though that it’s well worth it and having flash means its much better suited to be reactive. It helps that modern (Snapcaster’s home format) has no lack of great spells.

Abbot though, feels like it is better suited in a more proactive deck. That way all the spells you hit off the top you can cast without having to worry about them being situational. It’s important to note that Abbot being able to hit creatures and lands opens up its playability to a wide range of differently build decks. It is an embarrasing combo with counterspells though so I’d stray away from those for the most part. That is Snapcaster’s domain.

Now let’s see how it stacks up with our midrange friend Dark Confidant. Dark Confidant is powerful in a different way then most cards. Its easy to kill and it does nothing if it dies right away. The reason its played is that if it lives it is absolutely through the roof powerful. Abbot does not come close in power level to this card if it lives long enough - honestly not much does. They both thrive in proactive strategies that grind the opponent out with cheap, efficient spells. Abbot actually seems to fit in the modern shell of jund. As a turn 2 play the body isnt embarrasing and its a very good turn 3+ play. If you have a deck that is half 1 drops and lands your odds on hitting on turn 3 is great. If I recall correctly jund plays around 25 lands, 7 discard spells, 4 bolts and maybe a couple other 1 mana spells. I can’t get over how good of a mid-late game play this is. It plays well when your ahead, behind and can break parity. Sounds like a perfect fit in Jund especialy given Dark Confidant is a liability in some matches.

We all know a card can be super powerful but it never matters if they don’t find a home. Right now we are just at the begining of learning how Abbot can function in different styles of decks. The card already has top 8’d a pro tour and I’d be surprised if it didn’t keep putting up numbers. It’s easy to see this card will be very good in standard as its raw power level is high enough to be put in decks that dont use it to it’s full potential. I don’t think it stacks up in legacy at all to be honest. Modern is actually where I expect it to surprise people the most. Here is my current Jund List with our new Friend

Abbot is performing surprisingly well so far in modern. This card is very unexplored for how powerful it is and I look forward to seeing how far people can take this guy. For Standard I’m already seeing it pop up in Jeskai, Mardu, R/W and of course Mono Red. Where do you think Abbot of Keral Keep stands in the grand scheme of things? I think it’s Abbotsolutely great!

Andy Football-Peters