Wombo Combo - Best Abzan Combos in EDH

(Colfenor, the Last Yew | Art by Filip Burburan)

True Abzan-ity

Welcome back to Wombo Combo, the article series where we examine the best combo cards in each distinct color identity, using data from EDHREC and Commander Spellbook. This edition, we will look at the three-colored combination of white, black and green - more commonly known as Abzan.

Abzan is a fairly diverse color combination, with cards having individual focuses on counters, landfall, lifegain, and recursion. Having such a wide array of options allows for any player to find something that fits their play style and find cards to easily achieve their deck's goals. From Fungi to Phyrexians to Demigods, let's take a look at Abzan's most popular combo cards that'll pack a punch in your next deck.


#10: Anikthea, Hand of Erebos

Number of Combos: 10

Deck Inclusions: 7,497 as commander (#103); 5,526 as card (2.554%)

Anikthea, Hand of Erebos gives a fresh face to enchantress decks with a strong triggered ability. The ability lets you exile a non-Aura enchantment card from your graveyard and create a token copy of it that is a 3/3 Zombie whenever Anikthea enters the battlefield or attacks. While this is a nice way to recuperate an enchantment's effect that may have went away due to a removal spell, it also grants you extra creatures for attacking and blocking. This also allows some combo potential in the command zone. The first combo line involves a counter doubler, like Doubling Season and the aptly named Three Blind Mice. The second combo line involves a blinking effect like Oblivion Ring to blink Anikthea and continually get their triggers.


#9: Nethroi, Apex of Death

Number of Combos: 12

Deck Inclusions: 5,493 as commander (#188); 11,117 as card (2.597%)

The Mutate cycle in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is an extremely contentuous cycle, where Magic players are equally divided between loving the mechanic or hating it. Regardless of your opinion, Nethroi, Apex of Death's ability is a strong recursion piece to include in your Abzan deck. When Nethroi mutates, you return any number of creature card(s) with total power 10 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. This could be used to grab one card, like Gigantosaurus, or several cards. Grabbing a card such as Eternal Witness can allow you to return Nethroi to your hand should the creature you mutate it on die. You can also grab creatures like Mitotic Slime or Myr Battlesphere to create lots of tokens, or create a mutate combo.


#8: Death's Oasis

Number of Combos: 13

Deck Inclusions: 4,318 decks (1.011%)

Death's Oasis allows you some compensation when a creature dies, in the form of milling two cards and returning a creature with lesser mana value from your graveyard to your hand. Taking advantage of this ability in a combo sense can be tricky, but doable. The first card you'll need is a recursion piece, like Myr Retriever, alongside a creature sacrifice outlet. There, you need an easy way to cheat a creature out, such as Deathrender. From here you can sacrifice a larger mana value creature to return the recursion piece, and use Deathrender to cheat it out. You can then repeat the process for the larger mana value creature.

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#7: Overgrown Estate

Number of Combos: 16

Deck Inclusions: 339 decks (0.079%)

Sacrifice outlets are key to most permanent-based combos, and Abzan's resident land sacrifice outlet, Overgrown Estate, is no exception. While Overgrown Estate is pricier than Zuran Orb, it does give you additional life if you need it, and is a good include to add redundancy for Zuran Orb. There are various uses for a land sacrifice outlet in enabling landfall combos, alongside cards like Molderhulk and Ramunap Excavator. Outside of a combo, having the option to pitch some unneeded lands for extra life can be crucial for survival in a game, especially if you have a Ramunap Excavator-style effect where you can replay the land, tap it for mana if able, and gain the 3 life anyways.


#6: Myrkul, Lord of Bones

Number of Combos: 19

Deck Inclusions: 9,252 as commander (#72); 2,958 as card (0.691%)

Gods are generally strong indiviual cards in Magic (for good reason) and Myrkul, Lord of Bones certainly doesn't disappoint in the strength department. Whenever a creature you control dies, Myrkul can exile it and give you an enchantment copy of it. This is a perfect combo piece for Devoted Druid, where the -1/-1 counters are irrelevant once you turn it into an enchantment. You can also pair it with cards like Ondu Spiritdancer or Astral Dragon for an easy method of getting infinite enchantment tokens. A more unique line allows you to get the exiled card back thanks to Riftsweeper, and then use Verdant Succession to return that card to the battlefield. Who needs Pull from Eternity anyway?


#5: Karador, Ghost Chieftain

Number of Combos: 21

Deck Inclusions: 5,249 as commander (#201); 2,898 as card (0.677%)

You may have heard of Muldrotha, the Gravetide, but perhaps you haven't heard of Muldrotha's Abzan (and more limited) counterpart Karador, Ghost Chieftain. Both cards are instrumental in creature recursion combos, whether by creating extra turns by returning Coretapper, or by creating an infinite combo by returning Saffi Eriksdotter or by returning Karador itself using Cadric, Soul Kindler to create a copy of it, allowing you to cast it. If you are playing four or five color decks, then extra turns is a strong option using Karador and Living Lore.


#4: Vishgraz, the Doomhive

Number of Combos: 23

Deck Inclusions: 4,687 as commander (#241); 11,982 as card (3.524%)

The Phyrexians may be gone (for now, at least), but they don't need to be gone from your commander deck. Vishgraz, the Doomhive is a good option for a Phyrexian themed deck, as Vishgraz will create three more Phyrexians for you when it enters the battlefield, and give them menace. Vishgraz also ramps its power and toughness alongside your opponents' poison counters - something Phyrexians do very easily. Vishgraz can quickly escalate out of control alongside the rest of your Phyrexian army. For combos, Vishgraz's tokens are your key to an infinite combo. These tokens can give you mana with an appropriate sacrifice outlet, allowing you to either blink Vishgraz using Emiel the Blessed or recur Vishgraz using Enduring Renewal.

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#3: Colfenor, the Last Yew

Number of Combos: 38

Deck Inclusions: 1,062 as commander (#891); 5,145 as card (1.205%)

Colfenor, the Last Yew has an ability that is similar to Death's Oasis, which we discussed earlier in this article. The notable difference is the Colfenor cares about toughness, whereas Death's Oasis looks at mana value. This may not seem significant, but this create a very easy use case that makes Colfenor much easier to combo with. Clone cards, such as Spark Double, tend to have 0 toughness or very low toughness. This means that when they copy something and inherit that permanent's toughness, that number is what is used to determine what to return. This means you can then return the Clone itself, since its base toughness will be less than the compared toughness from when it was on the battlefield. This applies to Clones and any other cards with abilities causing them to enter with +1/+1 counters. Having a combo piece in the command zone is always better to always have access to it, and ensures your combo piece is never truly gone to removal.


#2: Tayam, Luminous Enigma

Number of Combos: 74

Deck Inclusions: 4,911 as commander (#218); 2,133 as card (0.498%)

If you like counters of any and all types, then Tayam, Luminous Enigma can be a great option for you. Tayam allows you to remove counters and pay mana to mill three cards and return a mana value 3 or less creature from your graveyard to the battlefield. The great part about this ability is that Tayam does not care what the counters are, so you can remove anything from +1/+1 counters, to -1/-1 counters, to age counters and everything in between. Cards that repeatedly add counters are an integral part of a Tayam combo, like Devoted Druid and Young Wolf. You can also use Tayam's replacement effect to get the counters by creating a mass of tokens using Promise of Bunrei or Hallowed Spiritkeeper. Tayam is a great commander for persist and undying creatures, as well as creatures who don't want the counters they gain, without needing to get Solemnity involved.


#1: Ghave, Guru of Spores

Number of Combos: 137

Deck Inclusions: 6,192 as commander (#148); 4,329 as card (1.014%)

Our #1 combo card in Abzan by a large margin is Ghave, Guru of Spores. Ghave gives you the perfect balance of creature tokens and counters. Ghave's first ability allows you to pay one mana and remove a +1/+1 counter to create a 1/1 Saproling. This works wonderful with cards that cause creatures to enter with +1/+1 counters, like Renata, Called to the Hunt or the more universal Cathars' Crusade. Ghave's second ability allows you to pay one mana and sacrifice a creature to put a +1/+1 counter on it. This ability is usually used with the first ability to create a causal loop. To do this, you generally will use Ashnod's Altar alongside a token doubler like Parallel Lives to have the token to sacrifice to Ghave, and to have a token to sacrifice to Altar for the needed mana. Ghave is also a great candidate for an undying themed deck, by allowing you to remove the +1/+1 counter for just one mana and get a Saproling to go with it. Ghave is Abzan's most combo-able card, and it'll sit pretty in your deck or command zone.


Honorable Mentions

Here's 5 other Abzan cards that can make the grass greener in your next deck:

1. Eerie UltimatumThe ultimate answer to a board wipe, and also a good combo candidate with copy cards like Naru Meha, Master Wizard or recursion pieces like Eternal Witness.

2. Thalia and The Gitrog Monster: A great lock commander that causes creatures and nonbasic lands of opponents to enter tapped, and works alongside Royal Assassin to destroy those creatures.

3. Abzan AscendancyA simple effect which gives you a 1/1 Spirit creature token whenever a nontoken creature dies, perfect for recursion combos.

4. The NecrobloomA brand new card which creates a creature token on landfall, and gives all land cards dredge 2, turning them into a DIY Dakmor Salvage.

5. Bilbo, Birthday CelebrantAllows you to increase lifegain, suitable for triggering cards like Prize Pig.

Thank you very much for reading this edition of Wombo Combo, and don't forget to check out Commander Spellbook for more EDH combos and visit the Commander Spellbook Discord to vote on the next edition of Wombo Combo. Until next time, happy comboing!

Read more:

Wombo Combo - Mono-Black Edition

Achievement Unlocked - Building a Deck Around Battles

Ethan has been an avid EDH player since 2014 with the release of Core Set 2015. In 2021, he joined the Commander Spellbook project as an editor, and later a head-editor and moderator, and has assisted in the curation, updating and/or uploading of over 10,000 unique EDH combos. In his spare time, Ethan loves coming up with new jank EDH lines, playing video games, and going for long walks.

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