Updating the Best Standard Decks with Fate Reforged: Abzan Whip, Mardu, and Green Devotion

Abzan Whip

Abzan Whip is similar to Sidsi Whip, except it’s significantly better against aggro (since it has Rhinos and sometimes Rocs) and a little worse against control and often other green decks (since it doesn’t have access to cards like Ashiok and counterspells). I personally prefer the BUG list, since Tasigur is better there (since you mill more) and Torrent Elemental is quite good. This is Ichikawa’s list from Worlds:

This is a little less Whip-focused than your usual Abzan Whip deck, since it only plays tw oWhips and two Hornet Queens. I think the deck should definitely play Tasigur, but other than that doesn’t gain much with the new set and is overall not a fantastic choice.


Mardu comes in many flavors, but I think midrange is the best right now, as opposed to the Mardu Aggro that we saw in the Top 8 of the last Standard GP or the super controlling version that Nam Sung Wook played at Worlds.

I think all Mardu decks gained the same cards Jeskai gained: Wild Slash, Soulfire Grand Master, Monastery Mentor, and the Sieges. I don’t think this deck necessarily wants Sieges, though, as it has access to another great 4-drop in Brutal Hordechief. I would probably have Outpost Siege in the sideboard here. The Mardu decks had a shortage of 2-drops and have a semi-token theme, even if they are not necessarily token based, so the additions should be similar. Here’s how I would build Mardu Midrange:

I think Monastery Mentor is worse than Goblin Rabblemaster here, since this deck is more aggressive and has a lot more removal than the Jeskai builds. The sideboard, as with all Mardu decks, is highly customizable, which is one of the archetype’s biggest strengths. I particularly like that if you play Citadel Siege, it also works extremely well with End Hostilities out of the board (though I do think Brutal Hordechief is likely to be a better card).

Green Devotion

There are two new flavors of green devotion: Temur Ascendancy and Frontier Siege. Here’s a Temur Ascendancy list from Mark Toepfner:

The combo in this deck consists in having Temur Ascendancy in play and using the ability from Temur Sabertooth to bounce back a Voyaging Satyr (or potentially Karametra’s Acolyte). Then you replay the Satyr and use it to untap Nykthos, which generates five or more mana, which results in infinite mana, which you then use to play and replay something like Genesis Hydra or Hornet Queen.

The combo is not very demanding—it requires a lot of cards, sure, but all of those cards are already playable on their own. They are not, however, great, and the combo actually does very little for you—if Sabertooth and Ascendancy were, for example, Polukranos and Hornet Queen, then chances are you would have won anyway.

In the end, I do think the combo is interesting, and it gives you a unique plan against some decks. Temur Sabertooth and Temur Ascendancy both seem good against UB, for example. I haven’t tested it, and I would like to, but I don’t want to suggest any changes to the list without having played with anything remotely similar to it. Instead, I want to focus on the Frontier Siege version.

Frontier Siege is a very powerful card if you can abuse it, since it adds four mana per turn—two in each main phase. For that, you need to play multiple small cards, or at least one small card. Eidolon of Blossoms is the perfect card for the job, making sure you can just keep playing small stuff twice a turn. It also combos very well with Nykthos, since you can use the two mana to activate it and get a bonus from whatever you played in your first main. I think one approach to it is BG Devotion, as suggested by Matt Costa. This is probably your best bet in a metagame in which Doomwake Giant is good (such as this one). Here’s his list with one minor change (basically cutting some of the 1-of enchantments I don’t like):

Another approach is just Mono-Green with a ton of mana:

This deck doesn’t have as many enchantments to play with Eidolon, instead investing in  even bigger creatures, the very interesting UginNissa combination, and the powerful Shamanic Revelation, which is a bit like a Sphinx’s Revelation when you look at it in a certain light, since it draws you cards and gains you life so that you have the time to play those cards. This deck is even worse when people kill your mana guys, which is why there are Caryatids instead of more Satyrs, but the payoff is even bigger. If you don’t expect too many token decks, then I would try something in this direction.

That’s what I’ve got for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and see you next week!



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