- 4 Courser of Kruphix
- 4 Siege Rhino
- 4 Whisperwood Elemental
- 1 Hidden Dragonslayer
- 4 Den Protector
- 4 Deathmist Raptor
I’ve liked the idea of using Den Protector with black removal for a long time but generally found it a bit too clunky. What makes this work is that, thanks to the popularity of Esper Dragons, Thoughtseize is very well-positioned, and returning it with Den Protector is very powerful. The synergies between the megamorph creatures, Whisperwood Elemental, and Mastery of the Unseen are powerful enough to overpower most midrange and control decks, and pairing the black removal with Deathmist Raptor’s blocking and Mastery of the Unseen’s lifegain offers a reasonable plan against aggressive decks.
The synergies in this deck have really impressed me, and I like the threat base I have, and I like having a relatively high number of threats here, but I’m still not exactly sure on which interactive spells are best. Some Abzan decks are moving away from Bile Blight toward something like maindeck Valorous Stance or Ultimate Price. Valorous Stance would make the deck a lot better against Esper Dragons, but I don’t really think I need the points there, and Ultimate Price would be great against Stormbreath Dragon, but in either case, I’m worried about how much it would hurt the Red Aggro matchup, where I don’t really have the points to lose. It’s possible that Utter End is too clunky, and I should have another Hero’s Downfall instead, but I do like the added versatility when combined with Den Protector.
For now, I’m still happy with the maindeck configuration, but I think the sideboard could be tweaked and might need a different removal suite, or possibly more removal instead of the planeswalkers. It would be possible to cut Duress from the sideboard given that I’m in a pretty good place against control, but I think it’s a high-value slot (it’s exactly what I want against them, and each one is pretty high impact), and I need something in that slot that can come in against them, so if it were to become a removal spell, it would basically have to be Valorous Stance.