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Abzan of Steel


In recent weeks, Standard has skewed heavily towards aggressive and midrange decks. Various builds of Mono-Red, Red-Black, and Green-based aggressive decks have had an overwhelming presence in the metagame, so it's only natural to see removal-dense decks cropping up in response. This take on midrange by Love-Quandra is particularly exciting:

Cleansing Nova
This deck is little more than a giant pile of removal spells, but the selection of those removal spells is of critical importance. Fatal Push, Vraska's Contempt, and Doomfall are three of the most efficient and versatile removal spells in the format. Ixalan's Binding is an often-overlooked option that can have an enormous impact in longer games by locking opponents out of key threats like Scrapheap Scrounger and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Cleansing Nova is a sweeper of choice because it does double-duty against control decks by freeing your Planeswalkers from Cast Outs.

Playing a bunch of removal spells is a good way to buy yourself a bunch of time against creature-based decks, but it isn't enough to help you pull ahead. Enter the card advantage engines. The Eldest Reborn is a great place to start, as it is another answer to resilient threats, a card advantage engine, and provides recursion for your Planeswalkers. Treasure Map provides both acceleration and card selection early as well as the potential for card advantage over a longer game. Of course, your Planeswalkers do a great job of grinding out value as well as closing out games - eventually.

All in all, if you're looking for a midrange strategy that punishes agro builds, this deck seems perfect. The removal is versatile enough to handle most threats and it does so without sacrificing much of its play against control strategies. The lack of mainboard creatures does a fantastic job of blanking most of the other decks that are trying to do the same thing. It may not be perfect, but it'll get the job done in the current standard environment.

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