A New Frontier

It’s no big secret to people who know me, but I love the “Eternal” formats. I’m a huge lover of Modern, have even started to work my way into Legacy, and still find time for my EDH deck. But, whilst these formats are great, there is one down side we can’t ignore, they are for the most part, expensive. With some of the most sort after cards in such high demand, putting together a top tier deck can eat away at your bank balance. Even with products like the “Masters” series, and Conspiracy running out much needed reprints, staples like Tarmogoyf and Liliana of the Veil, still command a high price on the secondary market. This can make it harder and harder for newer players, especially those of us who started back during Origins, to access these formats.

What if I told you there was hope for you out there. That someone had created a format using cards from only the most recent of Magic sets. Well thanks to the lovely folks at Hareruya and BigMagic such a format now exists.

Though it may not be an officially sanctioned format in the eyes of Wizards of the Coast, Frontier has begun to gain a following. Consisting of cards from Magic 2015 onward, most of the cards are easy to get hold of for newer players. Allowing players to continue playing powerful cards from Khan’s block, as well as newer expansions such as Kaladesh, creating a unique meta, that feels much like the classic Extended format.

Now some of you will be asking the obvious question, “Do we really need a new format”, and my answer, is yes. Formats like Frontier, not only help newer players start their journey towards the more established formats, but provide brewers with a new challenge to deck building. Yes, we all know Aether Vial is a great card for Hate Bear and Merfolk, but what if you didn’t have access to such powerful Modern staples.

Even Mark Rosewater has said “It’s not if we do a new format, but when”. Sometimes it’s fun to step out of your comfort zone, so let’s brave the new Frontier together. Where do we begin?

Back when I first got into magic, the clan decks of Tarkir where very much ruling standard. Whether chaining Siege Rhinos, or smashing face with an immense Monastery Swiftspear, it was hard to deny the power of the Khan’s block. For most of us, the dominate clan was Abzan. But unlike the rest of the world, who were happy to let mid-range rule the day, I put my faith in the mastery of Elves.

Making use of Collected Company to rush out a ton of early pointy eared aggression, you would then follow up with a Shaman of the Pack or two, to finish the game quickly. Unlike most aggro based creature decks, you have a nice little fail safe built into our deck, in the form of Rally the Ancestors. I can still remember playing someone with their Sphinx’s Tutelage mill deck, seeing the look on their face, when, with most of my deck in the graveyard, I played a Rally, returned most of my Elves to the Battlefield, and drained my opponent for about 60. So with no real surprise, I began my Frontier deck with the shell of my “Classic” Elf-zan.

Firstly, let’s begin with the creatures. A full playset of Elvish Mystic, Dwynen’s Elite">Dwynen’s Elite, Elvish Visionary and the aforementioned, Shaman of the Pack, will give a strong start to this tribe deck. Since we are in Abzan, we would be remiss if we didn’t run a playset of Siege Rhino. Next, we throw in some Reclamation Sage’s and a Nissa, Vastwood Seer for more value, all great targets for Collected Company. With that, we complete our creature package.

Next, we move on to our other spells, starting with playsets of Collected Company and Rally the Ancestors, which are a must. We will also need some removal, which we get in the form of Abzan Charm, and Languish to help hold off heavy creature aggression. Then we add a new card to our arsenal, with Eldritch Evolution. Sacrificing a Dwynen’s Elite or Elvish Visionary, to help tutor up a turn three Siege Rhino or, using it the late game to find an elusive Shaman of the Pack, can help turn the tides of battle in your favour. Adding a mana base that makes use of fetch and fast lands, and we have a competitive tribe deck, that can pack a real punch.

The Elf-zantage of having Rhinos

Creatures (23)
Elvish Mystic
Dwynen's Elite
Elvish Visionary
Reclamation Sage
Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Shaman of the Pack
Siege Rhino

Instants (10)
Collected Company
Rally the Ancestors
Abzan Charm

Sorceries (4)
Eldritch Evolution
Lands (23)
Windswept Heath
Flooded Strand
Canopy Vista
Blooming Marsh
Sandsteppe Citadel

Sideboard (15)
Murderous Cut
Dromoka's Command
Anguished Unmaking
Tormod's Crypt
Obelisk of Urd
Hushwing Gryff
Den Protector

And that, as they say is that.

So, what do you think, is Frontier the format you. If so, why not ask if your local store is up for holding some events. Maybe you could be the start of a new craze at your hobby centre, and who doesn’t want that.

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