I’ll start off by saying that I’m not in love with Standard deck nomenclature. The name here reads like blue splashing Abzan… Sooner or later fetchlands will rotate out of Standard and this nonsense will sort itself out, so we have that going for us anyway. Seeing as the name doesn’t realistically tell you anything about this deck, feast your eyes on the list that took 8th at the Open in Atlanta this weekend:
Abzan Blue by Willie Porges
You might be thinking that the decklist here is missing four cards, but it looks like Willie found a way to keep it at 60. Oath of Nissa is a nice way to smooth your draws, but the big upgrade here is in Reflector Mage. Reflector Mage is already making a huge mark on Standard in both this deck and the new lists for Rally the Ancestors- I also watched it take second in a Modern IQ this weekend! The card just generates so much tempo, both as a great early game play to offset your opponents curve, or a late game play to clear up the board a little for a full turn cycle.
Interestingly, traditional Abzan lists didn’t make a great showing this weekend due in no small part to the very card that Willie adopted! Rally decks have been utilizing Reflector Mage to bounce Anafenza, the Foremost and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and go off, which has arguably turned the Rally decks worst matchup on its head. The blue lists, however, can utilize Stubborn Denial to just counter the Rally, which puts them in a much stronger position in the metagame.
I have to imagine that despite not having a combo kill, Reflector Mage is still a very punishing card for Abzan “mirrors”, which are also made better by the sideboard Exert Influence and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. The sideboard Disdainful Strokes also help quite a bit against Eldrazi Ramp, which has been a poor matchup for Abzan historically.
Seeing as four color decks have been successful for the entire run of Battle for Zendikar Standard, it’s evident that adding the extra color to Abzan isn’t terribly problematic. Given the punch that the blue spells pack against many of the most commonly played strategies in Standard, I’d be surprised if we saw too many Abzan decks without the blue splash in the future.
There aren’t really rares in this deck that I like investing in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Reflector Mage ended up being worth a couple bucks before long. If Monastery Swiftspear can be $3 in the most opened set of all time, then I don’t see why a small set uncommon with so much promise couldn’t do the same.