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Rhino Fit (Abzan Value)

Abzan Value (otherwise also known as Rhino Fit) is the most common variation of Nic Fit that many new players to the deck start with because it is a straightforward fair midrange style deck. Access to white allows the deck to play 1 CMC removal spells like Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares, while gaining access to strong creatures like Sigarda, Host of Herons.

History of the Deck

Abzan Value/Junk Fit started after GB Fit began gaining traction as players began splashing other colors into the deck to see what benefit those colors added. The release of Khans of Tarkir and Siege Rhino heavily cemented Abzan as one of the better color splashes at the time thanks to the strong removal and powerful creatures that white gave access to.

Sample Decklists

Vanilla Rhino List

Creatures (20)

1 Dryad Arbor

4 Veteran Explorer

1 Sakura-Tribe Elder

1 Scavenging Ooze

1 Qasali Pridemage

1 Eternal Witness

1 Courser of Kruphix

3 Tireless Tracker

4 Siege Rhino

1 Meren of Clan Nel Toth

1 Sigarda, Host of Herons

1 Archon of Valor’s Reach

Spells (13)

4 Path to Exile

4 Cabal Therapy

1 Toxic Deluge

4 Green Sun’s Zenith

Enchantments (6)

2 Pernicious Deed

3 Mirri’s Guile

1 Sylvan Library

Lands (21)

4 Verdant Catacombs

4 Windswept Heath

2 Marsh Flats

1 Bayou

1 Savannah

1 Scrubland

2 Forest

2 Swamp

2 Plains

1 Phyrexian Tower

1 Volrath’s Stronghold

Sideboard (15)

3 Duress

3 Lost Legacy

2 Ethersworn Canonist

2 Pithing Needle

2 Golgari Charm

2 Surgical Extraction

1 Gaddock Teeg

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Vanilla Abzan Value (w/o Rhino)

Creatures (13)

4 Veteran Explorer

1 Eternal Witness

1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

3 Tireless Tracker

1 Titania, Protector of Argoth

1 Thragtusk

2 Archon of Valor’s Reach

Planeswalkers (3)

1 Nissa, Vital Force

2 Kaya, Ghost Assassin

Spells (19)

4 Green Sun’s Zenith

4 Cabal Therapy

3 Swords to Plowshares

2 Collective Brutality

1 Maelstrom Pulse

1 To The Slaughter

2 Pernicious Deed

2 Toxic Deluge

Artifacts/Enchantments (3)

1 Umezawa’s Jitte

1 Sylvan Library

1 Mirri’s Guile

Lands (22)

4 Marsh Flats

4 Windswept Heath

2 Bayou

2 Scrubland

2 Savannah

3 Forest

2 Swamp

2 Plains

1 Phyrexian Tower

Sideboard (15)

3 Surgical Extraction

3 Thoughtseize

2 To The Slaughter

2 Lost Legacy

2 Toxic Deluge

1 Gaddock Teeg

1 Qasali Pridemage

1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

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Vanilla Rhino List w/ Planeswalkers

Creatures (15)

4 Veteran Explorer

1 Scavenging Ooze

1 Eternal Witness

1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

3 Tireless Tracker

3 Siege Rhino

1 Thragtusk

1 Archon of Valor’s Reach

Planeswalkers (3)

1 Kaya, Ghost Assassin

1 Nissa, Vital Force

1 Liliana, the Last Hope

Spells (17)

4 Cabal Therapy

4 Green Sun’s Zenith

3 Swords to Plowshares

2 Lingering Souls

2 Abrupt Decay

2 Collective Brutality

Enchantments (3)

1 Sylvan Library

2 Pernicious Deed

Lands (23)

4 Verdant Catacombs

4 Windswept Heath

3 Forest

2 Bayou

2 Swamp

2 Plains

1 Karakas

1 Phyrexian Tower

1 Misty Rainforest

1 Savannah

1 Scrubland

1 Volrath’s Stronghold

Sideboard (15)

2 Diabolic Edict

3 Lost Legacy

2 Maelstrom Pulse

1 Reclamation Sage

3 Surgical Extraction

2 Thoughtseize

2 Toxic Deluge

Core Deck Construction / Play Style

Often thought of as the deck where you can pretty much play whatever you want, nothing is further from the truth. As a midrange deck in a format that has acces to the best cards in the history of Magic: the Gathering, Junk Fit aims to run the most efficient cards its colours have to offer. As such, the top-end of a good Junk list should end at a mana less then other Nic Fit lists. Green Sun’s Zenith tree should be able to provide you an answer to pretty much everything.

Knowing both your list and the matchup is key for this particular archetype. Different matchups require different parts of the GSZ-tree. Versus fair decks you mean to blank whatever your opponent does and slowly but steadily increase the pressure you put on them. Versus grindy decks you want to set up for the long game, recycling cards with Eternal Witness and Meren of Clan Nel Toth. Versus fast combo decks you’ll have to accept you probably lose game 1 and then sideboard them to bits for games 2 and 3.

Due to the GSZ-tree and the possibilities it offers, Junk Fit rewards players for thinking outside of the box and creative problem solving. Your opponent cast some lock piece? Keep that Abrupt Decay in hand, just GSZ for Qasali Pridemage instead. Your opponent is attacking you with a Delver of Secrets? That’s fine, good luck racing my Siege Rhino. 

More than in other Nic Fit variants you can use your life total as a resource. The deck has so many ways to gain life that you shouldn’t hesitate to take a hit every now and then. At times it’s better to trade some life so you can hold on to that piece of spot removal just a turn or 2 longer to take out a much bigger or more important threat.

Junk Fit variants can also gain access to any number of combat planeswalkers or value planeswalkers, such as Nissa, Vital Force, Kaya, Sorin’s, etc. Garruk Relentless also shows up in some capacity in Junk Fit lists as a way to kill and tutor creatures as well as able to provide constant pressure through token creation.

On a final note, a Junk Fit list should be constructed and played under the notion that it should be able to function without resolving any Veteran Explorer triggers if necessary. This means a couple of things:

  • Run at least 8 fetchlands
  • Fetching and drop basic lands whenever you can
  • Your mana curve should be relatively low on the Nic Fit spectrum

Core Creatures

Siege Rhino

The bread and butter of this deck. Run 4, period. In singles they’re underwhelming but in multiples they’re called a crash for good reason. Siege Rhinos (plural) alleviate the pressure your opponents’ put on you, blank incoming foot traffic and build pressure on your opponent. Don’t be afraid to play a Rhino or two straight into spot removal. The third will probably stick and by this time you’ve triple-Lightning Helix’d your opponent so they will feel the pressure.

Sigarda, Host of Herons

Until Battlebond, this was the undisputed top-end of your mana curve. Other cards might close the game more quickly, but do you really need that extra power? Usually the answer is no. Sigarda is a 4 turn clock that can only be answered by sweepers and she’s hard to block as well. If Sigarda isn’t going to do it, something bigger probably won’t either. However, there is one other challenger for this title…

Archon of Valor’s Reach

archon

Junk colours also give us access to Archon of Valor’s Reach, which is by a reasonable distance the most powerful giant haymaker we can play. At six mana it’s the top of our curve, but castable, and its 5/6 stats make it immune to any conditional removal. Naming Instant against most decks is a great plan, since we don’t run many ourselves and it blanks countermagic, removal and Brainstorm. Against Elves, S&T and Storm, Sorcery is also a good name, but note that it shuts off our own zeniths.

Archon gains points over Sigarda despite its higher mana cost for a few reasons. Firstly, it has text against combo decks – so it’s less of a mandatory side-out against fast combo. Secondly, it’s better against decks that make a load of 5/5s like Gurmag Angler and Reality Smasher. Finally, Archon only requires a single white mana, which makes it much easier to only include a single Plains in your deck to make the manabase more consistent.

Core Spells

Path to Exile / Swords to Plowshares

  

Easy answer to whatever comes swinging your way. From a rampant Delver to a Merit Lage token, it doesn’t really matter. For Junk Fit, Path to Exile should be preferred over Swords to Plowshares. This makes your Siege Rhino triggers all the more taxing on your opponent. Besides, versus most decks Path to Exile either gets your opponent nothing or they don’t have much to do with the extra mana. However, Swords to Plowshares can still be ran as premium removal as well.

Vindicate

Vindicate is another powerful main deck consideration. Because Junk Fit doesn’t run cards like Wasteland, Vindicate can often serve that function as land destruction or also planeswalker destruction. Vindicate is a very versatile card that fits many different scenarios.

Sideboard Construction

More than any other archetype Junk Fit’s Achilles heel is fast combo decks. Game 1 you’re basically dead to them. This means that you’ll have to dedicate a large chunk of your sideboard to answering those decks. Luckily white gives you access to some wonderful cards, most notably Ethersworn Canonist and Gaddock Teeg. There should also always be a number of additional discard (around 3-4) in your sideboard and a number of Lost Legacy (2-3).

Sideboard aggressively. When figuring out what to board out, think about which of your cards are easily answered by what your opponent plays. Fast decks “answer” slow cards like Sigarda, so board her out there. Removal spells which are blank in the matchup are easy to cut.

As for sideboarding cards in, again think about what can bother your opponent’s plans. Pithing Needles vs. planeswalkers or other decks that use a lot of activated abilities like Death & Taxes, Maverick and Elves! for instance. Board in Lost Legacy whenever your opponent plays cards you really don’t want to see, typically versus combo decks.

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