I was off to Argentina with a goal: Top 4. Anything else would basically be worthless. Reaching semifinals would mean that I can afford an extra loss at the Pro Tour in my quest for Platinum, and getting further would give Alex Hayne a little sweat, and winning the whole thing would tie me for 1st place in the GP race for the World Championship.
When I left home on Thursday, I packed Abzan Megamorph, which was the deck I played the previous weekend, and UB Control cards in the hopes of finding a satisfying main deck and sideboard in testing.
I settled on Abzan Megamorph Control after finding out that our hotel’s internet was too weak for me to finish a match with UB Control on Magic Online. That was unfortunate, since I had strong feelings that UB Control featuring Ashiok, Perilous Vault, Dissipate, and Silence the Believers were good in the metagame as a way to answer the popularity of RG Devotion and any sort of Deathmist Raptor decks.
Of course, I did have some knowledge of Abzan Megamorph Control, thanks mainly to my friend Lucas Siow, the Abzan Master, and the fact that I played it at GP Providence.
I generally dislike sideboard guides in Modern, Legacy, and Limited since deck lists and opponent’s playstyles usually differ quite a bit, but in Standard deck lists tend to be extremely stock and linear, which defines win percentages between matchups quite accurately. In order to drastically move those percentages, a disciplined, well-tested sideboard plan is essential.
Most of my 1-ofs or weird numbers are based on how I want to sideboard as perfectly as possible, card-for-card, against the expected metagame.
It took me a while, but I finally came to the conclusion that Siege Rhino just doesn’t do anything in this matchup. It’s outclassed by Polukranos, Genesis Hydra, and Dragonlord Atarka. Most importantly, being aggressive was never a winning line since their game starts on turn 4-5 and you want to have removal up for Whisperwood Elemental. Giving them a good target for Dragonlord Atarka is not the smartest idea, and playing a turn-four creature when your best play is turn-five End Hostilities is also not good.
You want to be playing a removal game here. Thoughtseize their Dragonlord Atarka and ride Elspeth to victory.
On the play
On the draw
You can easily board out Ultimate Price, but I believe having 1 when most versions have at least 2 Warden of the First Tree in addition to 2-3 Surrak, the Hunt Caller or 2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang is reasonable. I have certainly boarded it out when I saw none of those cards, in favor of the 4th Deathmist Raptor.
On the play
On the play
This deck is not as linear as others and there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on how to beat Abzan with it. I am 8-0 against it over the last two weeks, and as far as I know they board out the 2-drops and go bigger with Elspeth and Outpost Siege. If they keep the 2-drops, I recommend having at least 1 Drown in Sorrow. Wingmate Roc may seem counterintuitive against a Stormbreath Dragon + removal deck, yet, there is nothing better than slamming Wingmate Roc after your opponent confidently resolved Outpost Siege.
Game 1, just be careful with your life total, keep your Hero’s Downfall for Stormbreath Dragon and it should be easy.
Abzan Control or Megamorph Mirror
If they have Fleecemane Lion and no Sylvan Caryatid or Satyr Wayfinder, that probably means they don’t have Wingmate Roc, in which case Crux of Fate and End Hostilities are bad. Bring in Self-Inflicted Wound and keep the Ultimate Price.
This is probably going to be the controversial part of my article. Yes, I have 61 cards in my deck after sideboard in this specific matchup. Basically, the 4th Deathmist Raptor was the last card I wanted in my deck. IN MY DECK. Not in my hand. I want to mill it with Satyr Wayfinder more often. I understand that it increases the chance of drawing it, but that’s not the end of the world.
Let’s be honest here, there isn’t anything else I want to take out and my argument that I want it in my deck to mill it more often made sense. I’m looking forward to reading your comments about it.
I’m taking out 1 Sandsteppe Citadel. Why? I feel like I can function with 1 fewer land in this matchup. Drawing gas is more important than being able to make my land drops every single turn.
I have not used Arashin Cleric in 33 rounds of Grand Prix since they are just for Mono-Red. I’m not sure if the aggressive red players decided to stay home or if they are losing, but either way, I recommend cutting them for a 2nd Bile Blight and 3rd Ultimate Price.
With 2 byes, I started playing round 3. I won’t go into the details of every single round, but here are my round and matchups results:
Round 3 Melgarejo, Juan Pablo – Abzan Aggro: WIN
Round 4 De Nicola, Nicolas – Esper Dragons: DRAW
Round 5 Waszuk, Juan Pablo – Abzan Aggro: WIN
Round 6 Rivero, Santiago – UB Control: WIN
Round 7 Castro Saa, Eduardo Ignacio – RG Devotion: LOSS
Round 8 Laplaza, Pedro – Abzan Aggro: WIN
Round 9 Campodonico, Piero – RG Devotion: WIN
Round 12 Franceschini, Emilio – Mardu Dragons: WIN
Round 13 Dominguez, Andres Rafael – RG Devotion: WIN
Round 14 Ancelmo, Fabio – Mardu Dragons: WIN
Round 15 Chiappa, Renzo – Abzan Aggro: ID
Top 8 Conde, Facundo – Abzan Control: WIN
Top 4 Santos Navarro, Thales – Mardu Dragons: WIN
Finals Jesus, Marcos Paulo – RG Devotion: WIN
Round 10 Jorge, Gustavo and Round 11 Cortez, Paulo Ricardo I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure it was something like Abzan Midrange and Mardu Dragons, and I won against both.
I want to thank the Argentinian community for being so welcoming, Yuuki Ichikawa for first designing this deck, and everyone who supported me while I was there.
I currently have the tiebreaker over Hayne in the race. Still, you will see me at GP Montreal and Dallas since I cannot reasonably hope he will let me win that easily!