Fabrizio Anteri captured his third Grand Prix title with an updated Abzan list. I'm not sure where everyone got the same core from, but Brian Braun-Duin did post a very similar list in an article a couple weeks ago. Not only did it win the tournament, but it took up half the spots in Top Eight as well. We are living in the future.
The real truth is that Elspeth, Sun's Champion isn't very good against the top decks right now. It's either too slow or can just be ignored by most of the decks out there. You can try the old Abzan Control strategy of killing or brick-walling all their stuff and winning eventually, but I'd rather be attacking with undercosted threats and kill anything they play that matters. Fabrizio's deck does that quite well and is arguably the best Abzan deck you can be playing right now.
Not only does this deck have a lot of the controlling elements that makes Abzan so good in general, but it's got the aggressive starts that give you free wins plus the card advantage engines of Den Protector and Hangarback Walker to win late games. Hangarback, in particular, is excellent with both Anafenza, the Foremost, Abzan Charm, and Dromoka's Command. While this deck doesn't have many Hero's Downfalls or direct answers to an opposing Elspeth, Sun's Champion, killing your own Hangarback Walker or pumping up your own Den Protector are reasonable enough answers. Some have been experimenting with Herald of Torment, and I like that idea quite a bit as well.
The deck could certainly be tuned up a bit, but for its first outing I think it's reasonable to say this deck was quite successful.
- 4 Hangarback Walker
- 4 Den Protector
- 4 Fleecemane Lion
- 4 Siege Rhino
- 1 Warden of the First Tree
- 4 Anafenza, the Foremost