If you saw my video series last week, you saw me get completely annihilated by some different tokens decks. This week, I decided to pick up one of these decks with my own hands. I tried building some 4-color versions of the deck, but couldn’t manage to make the spells line up the way I wanted to against Ramunap Red enough to make 4 colors worth it. So it was between Abzan and Esper, and I decided that I wanted to give Abzan, the more popular version of the tokens decks, a go.
The tokens decks, fundamentally, are B/W midrange decks that go over the top using enchantments. Hidden Stockpile, mana wise, is the first key card in the deck. With all of the ways to enable revolt from Renegade Map to Evolving Wilds, the deck can enable making a Servo basically every turn from turn 3 onward with ease. Its ability allows the deck to recover resources each time it’s your turn and eventually turns a profit when combined with my take for the most important key piece to the deck: Anointed Procession.
Anointed Procession feels like Doubling Season. I wouldn’t have expected the card to be able to be so powerful in a Standard format. Just with Legion’s Landing and Hidden Stockpile, you’re already doubling their power, but when combined with things like embalm and eternalize, Vraska and Liliana, and even cards like Treasure Map, you’re able to go exceptionally wide with different forms of tokens. The presence of Anointed Procession alone makes me want to try pretty silly and less competitive strategies like Revel in Riches in Standard.
Anointer Priest is another unsung hero of the deck. Without it, these tokens decks wouldn’t exist. Anointer Priest racks up enormous life totals in the later part of the game, and in the early game keeps you afloat in the face of quick starts out of Ramunap Red. One of the tricky parts with this card is when to chump block it off, sacrifice it to Hidden Stockpile, or even Fatal Push it to be able to embalm the Priest. The backside of the card, when combined with Anointed Procession, is extremely potent, as each token will see the other enter the battlefield, which can yield an excitingly large life total. I’ve seen some life totals in the thousands, but hundreds is a much more “normal” amount to gain with the Anointer Priest/Anointed Procession combo draws.
The interaction in the deck is also quite strong. I don’t need to sing Fatal Push’s praises any more. The card is just great. Cast Out is a catch-all that also happens to cycle against decks that are low on threats. Fumigate has actually been my favorite card to play with of late, as I wasn’t really a fan of the 5-mana wrath effects until I played a bit with U/W Approach Control and really grew to love the extra bit of life gain. Fumigate’s stock drops as more decks transition into resilient threats like The Scarab God, but those are the matchups where your access to Cast Out will really help swing the matchup in tight spots.
Getting into the planeswalkers, I think this deck could play more of them—it’s just a matter of how to make room for them all. Liliana, Death’s Majesty’s plus ability and ultimate are both used often in this deck, and both are strong. Because her plus ability allows you to mill over potential embalm and eternalize cards, you can gain card advantage, and when paired with Anointed Procession, making multiple Zombies clogs up the board even more effectively to protect your planeswalkers.
Vraska, Relic Seeker, on the other hand, does it all with tokens. She makes many menace creatures when combined with a copy of Procession. She can make tons of Treasures, which are great sources of revolt and pair nicely with Treasure Cove, and she destroys key enchantments and creatures. Lastly, setting your opponent’s life total to 1 comes up often thanks to her high starting loyalty. She’s the key to the token mirrors, but she is quite clunky and slow, so don’t be afraid to board her out against decks with Negate in their sideboard.
The sideboard so far is mostly cards to beat Ramunap Red and U/B Control, as well as the mirror match. The Temur matchup is good if they don’t get on top of you and run you out of the game with Negates, but a ton of sideboard cards from Red and U/B can make those matchups tricky. The Red plan is mostly more life gain effects like Sunscourge Champion, as well as another copy of Fumigate to clean up the larger board states. The Duresses and Lost Legacies in the sideboard are great against these emerging tokens decks. Against control, Duress allows you to strip key Negates and Disallows. I expect that we’ll be seeing many more copies of Negate over the coming months in Standard, as the card is efficient and effective at what it does—pushing your key spells through your opponent’s.
Here’s the list I’ll be battling with this week: