Deck of the Day: Abzan Cat Tribal

Today’s deck combines power, synergy—and some really strange deck building. It’s a G/W Cat Tribal deck splashing black for cards you may not have normally considered in this style of deck.

When I say “Cat Tribal,” something tells me Glint-Sleeve Siphoner isn’t the first creature to come to mind. It’s not a Cat, and it’s not G/W. You’re also not playing an energy deck and Attune with Aether is banned! With only Aether Hub to provide additional energy, you’re effectively splashing a 2/1 menace creature for 2 that draws an extra card every other turn. Splashing an enemy colored 2-drop, in this case a black 2-drop in a G/W deck, is definitely aided by the power of Blooming Marsh and Concealed Courtyard, but even including Hub as a black source, you’re still only looking at 13 ways to produce black!

The only other black this deck touches on is for 4 copies of Fatal Push and a single Grind // Dust. Grind // Dust is great because it’s a single black splash card that can take care of two bigger threats in the middle of the game. Grind can also do extra work against aggro as an early play to shut down a couple of threats. Fatal Push loses value as the game goes long, and splashing for this spell is tough in current Standard. With there being a number of powerful control decks where Push is dead and plenty of midrange decks against which Push isn’t at its best, you really want the cheap removal spell against aggro. Against the most aggressive decks, you’re going to need to cast your Push early, so 9 black sources and 4 Hubs is a little light.

The next step to building a successful Cat deck? Merfolk! Merfolk Branchwalker and Jadelight Ranger aren’t Cats, but they’re powerful. This is the reason why R/G Monster decks are playing green. These are efficient threats, card advantage, selection, and help to make sure you’re always hitting your land drops.

Adorned Pouncer is a great threat. Traditional removal spells for early creatures just leave the Pouncer in the graveyard and ready to come back for more down the road. If they don’t have a way to exile the Cat, the double strike gets out of hand quickly. With any way to pump your Cats, Adorned Pouncer is a great early-game threat that keeps getting better.

Pride Sovereign has seen almost zero Standard play, which is a real travesty. With no other Cats, the Sovereign can slowly take over the game single-handedly. A 2/2 for 3 is well below the curve and capable of being picked off by most removal, but when it’s bigger or has the chance to survive, things can spiral out of control. The Sovereign is a bit slow, but it creates multiple threats with lifelink every turn while growing to enormous sizes.

Regal Caracal is a true Cat lord. Pumping your team and giving all Cats lifelink, the amount of life you can gain off a single Pouncer or large Sovereign makes racing impossible. Caracal creates 3 bodies and 7 power for 5 mana at a minimum, and that power only goes up with other Cats you may have in play.

While not technically a Cat tribal card, Ajani Unyielding is still the big Cat in Standard. You might expect to see Vraska in a G/W deck splashing black as the late-game planeswalker finisher, but Ajani can do much of what Vraska does and with some other powerful abilities. This can find you more Cats, exile opposing creatures, and ultimate to put the game away with your tokens.

Like any white deck in Standard, your exile removal one of your best tools. Cast Out is a flexible way to exile a threat at instant speed and can be cycled when necessary, and Ixalan’s Binding is a true powerhouse that can shut entire strategies down.

Cat Tribal has some powerful cards and synergy, so while the mana may not be optimized yet, the 5-0 in a Competitive League shows what this tribe is capable of!

Abzan Cat Tribal

UNIQ, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League


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