January 13, 2017

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Standard Deck Tech – Abzan Revolt

Welcome to a special edition of the Daily Dose where today I'm going to be changing my focus from previewing cards to starting to build new decks for the upcoming Standard season. With the recent announcement of Smuggler's Copter, Emrakul, the Promised End and Reflector Mage being banned in Standard it has left the Standard meta game wide open with possibilities. These are three cards that have been staples in many Standard decks since Kaladesh came out in September. Blue/White Flash, Aetherworks Decks, and Green/Black Delirium used these cards as important cogs in their game plan, and although there are replacement cards for these decks, none of them will have the same impact that these banned cards had. So, we turn the corner and look at the excitement brought on from the influx of new cards thanks to Aether Revolt. I don't know about you, but my deck building brain is going into overdrive thinking of what deck I'll be using on January 20th.

Today I'm going to be talking about a deck based around a new mechanic from Aether Revolt called appropriately Revolt. I've decided to make this an Abzan deck to take advantage of all the three colours that have Revolt cards. One of the key things with making a deck with a mechanic like Revolt is finding a balance between the number of cards with Revolt, and the number of cards that can trigger Revolt. True there are common ways to trigger Revolt like having one of your creatures die, but you need to have some ways to trigger Revolt whenever you need it. Ideally you will want to find cards and abilities that can trigger Revolt for little to know mana so that you can also have mana to cast your Revolt spell as well. Before I talk about cards from Aether Revolt with Revolt that I want to use, what I'm going to do is first talk about cards currently in Standard that are the best Revolt enablers.

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim – This is cheap one-mana enabler that not only can allow you to gain some life if needed, but also will allow you to trigger Revolt on both you or your opponents turn. By itself, it’s a great defensive threat as well.

Catacomb Sifter – Being able to produce Eldrazi Scion tokens that can be sacrifice at anytime will provide you with needed mana, but also a way to trigger Revolt instantly.

Dead Weight – Often this can be used to kill an opponent’s creature, meaning that Dead Weight will go to the graveyard. There you go, you have triggered Revolt and removed a creature, all for one mana.

Evolving Wilds – Not only will this help you get the mana you need for your three-colour deck, but will trigger Revolt whenever you need it. The key if you get this card later in the game, is to save it until you have a Revolt card that can get value from it.

Matter Reshaper – This card already provides you amazing value by either putting a permanent onto the battlefield when it dies, or drawing you a card. If that permanent has Revolt, it will already be triggered due to the death of Matter Reshaper.

Selfless Spirit – This card works very well at protecting your team from mass removal, but what it can also be used as on top of that is as an easy way to trigger Revolt. No matter what turn it is, you can sacrifice it, make all your creatures indestructible and than cast whatever Revolt spell you need to cast.

Terrarion – This card is a forgotten card from Kaladesh that I have a feeling was originally in Aether Revolt. This artifact not only allows you to fix your mana to help you cast any spell in your deck, but it will trigger Revolt without costing any additional mana. It also replaces itself by drawing you a card when it’s sacrificed. This is a key card that will allow you to cast your two and three mana Revolt spells on curve and getting full value out of them.

Thraben Inspector – This versatile 1/2 creature can help you trigger Revolt in multiple ways. You can use it to die by blocking a threat, or you can sacrifice the Clue token it produces to draw a card as well. Just another great use for one of the best one drops in the game today.

Vessel of Nascency – This is another enchantment that plays double duty by getting you a card of your choice, filling the graveyard, and triggering Revolt. Being a permanent makes this card an even better choice with some of the Revolt cards you will see a little later.

To add on to these great Revolt enablers, here are some new cards from Aether Revolt that will help you trigger Revolt as well.

Yahenni, Undying Partisan – This Legendary creature will get larger and larger as your opponent’s creatures fall from the battlefield, but you can also protect it by sacrificing your own creatures. This will trigger Revolt any turn you need it to.

Greenbelt Rampager – This unique new card from Aether Revolt can get onto the battlefield if you have enough Energy, but most of the time you would rather it come back to your hand and trigger Revolt for just one mana. It has a bonus of refilling your Energy to use with your Aether Hub.

Hope of Ghirapur – This is one of the cards that you can have on the battlefield on turn two to make sure you have a Revolt trigger if you need it. It will get in some early damage thanks to it being Flying, and can also make it hard for your opponent to cast any non-creature spells to counter your cards or play during their turn.

Renegade Map – This is another one-drop artifact that can allow you to trigger Revolt as early as turn two. It is a great way to fix your mana for a three-colour deck as well. Be careful though, as you won’t be able to sacrifice it the turn you cast it.

Treasure Keeper – This is a great creature like Matter Reshaper that when it dies, can cascade into one of your Revolt cards allowing you to get the Revolt trigger automatically thanks to Treasure Keeper dying that turn.

Walking Ballista – This is the only way to trigger Revolt on turn one and allow you a way to cast a Revolt spell as well. Using its counters to deal damage until it has none left will allow you to trigger Revolt during any other time you want.

Now that we have some cards that we can use to trigger Revolt, lets see which Revolt cards we want to consider for our Abzan deck.

Airdrop Aeronauts – This card is like one we saw in Kaladesh, Arborback Stomper. It can allow you to get back some life if you’ve fallen behind and leaves a 4/3 Flying creature behind for good measure. I see this more as a potential sideboard card against aggressive matchups.

Call for Unity – This super anthem can allow your battlefield of creatures to get larger and larger. Its drawback is that it is five mana, which means your creatures won’t be getting that bonus for quite some time.

Deadeye Harpooner – This creature has some targeted removal built-in thanks to a Revolt trigger that could kill some large creatures if needed. Its ability is a narrow ability in that it can only destroy a tapped creature.

Decommission – This is a needed removal spell in the format, and could be brought in from the sideboard in those matchups where you also need to gain some life as well. Having this card against an aggressive Vehicles deck could be beneficial.

Solemn Recruit – With so many ways to trigger Revolt, turn, after turn, after turn, Solemn Recruit can get large quickly. This is one of the few cards that you will be able to realistically trigger on multiple turns instead of having a one-time Revolt trigger.

Fatal Push – This is by far one of the best removal spells, let alone a Revolt spell in this set and maybe all of Standard. This will be able to remove almost all the creatures you will see in today’s Standard. It should be quite easy to trigger Revolt, whether you need to use a Revolt triggered Fatal Push on your turn or your opponents.

Vengeful Rebel – The joy you will have as this enters the battlefield from either a Matter Reshaper or Treasure Keeper trigger will leave you giddy. Giving your opponents creature -3/-3 should be able to kill most the creatures in Standard.

Aid from the Cowl – This is an enchantment that could provide you with some serious card advantage if you can get it onto the battlefield early enough in the game. Due to the wording of the card, you can get a trigger off the card on the turn you cast it, so there is a chance it can replace itself immediately. This has a better chance of seeing play due to its opportunity for card advantage.

Greenwheel Liberator – Thanks to Revolt enablers like Terrarion and Hope of Ghirapur, you can have a 4/3 consistently on turn two. This card works very well in conjunction with Renegade Rallier, which I will talk about shortly.

Hidden Herbalists – Another great two-mana Revolt creature that can allow you to combo into another two-drop creature if you have Revolt triggered. There has been comparison of this card to Burning-Tree Emissary, but I just don’t think there will be enough of your deck that you can cast with the two green mana provided to warrant the inclusion of this card.

Narnam Renegade – There is currently only Walking Ballista that can be used to trigger Revolt on turn one so that Narnam Renegade can become a 2/3 creature with Deathtouch. Most of the time you will need to cast this on turn two or later for it to not be a 1/2 creature. This alone means it will probably be on the outside looking in when the final deck list comes out.

Hidden Stockpile – This acts as both a way to trigger Revolt and have a Revolt trigger as well. Time will tell on whether getting a 1/1 Servo token for each Revolt trigger per turn is enough for this card to see play.

Renegade Rallier – This is by far the best Revolt card in Aether Revolt. There are so many permanents that you’ve seen listed above that you will be able to get back onto the battlefield with Renegade Rallier. You can get back a 4/3 Greenwheel Liberator. How about a Selfless Spirit you used to make your creatures indestructible?

Now that we've figured out a nice balance between the two, let's have a look at the cards that have been chosen for the brand new Abzan Revolt deck.

I think that this deck is going to generate a lot of card advantage with all the Revolt cards and all the Revolt trigger cards in this deck. There is so much value generated from the cards in this deck that you should be able to pull ahead in any matchup you are up against.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Standard Deck Tech for Abzan Revolt today and can see the potential that a value deck like this can have. I look forward to testing this deck out over the coming weeks and finding ways to improve it every time. Join me on Monday when I do another Standard Deck Tech involving a popular new combo brought on by a new card from Aether Revolt, Felidar Guardian