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Deck tech: Bant Brew

March 4, 2009

I have been playing around with different standard decks such as Silent Zombies, Blightning Beatdown, and Green Aggro. I attempted to take my favorite aspects from those decks and apply them to something that is seriously tournament worthy.

ala2021Silent Zombies, was a Black White deck I made using Lord of the Undead to create card advantage through cycling Viscera Dragger and then returning it to your hand for yet another card. Lord of the Undead also created a removal engine with returning Nameless Inversion to your hand for instant creature killing. Reveillark was also on the roster for bringing back the plethora of 2 power zombies such as Stillmoon Cavalier, Death Baron, Lord of the Undead, and Tidehollow Sculler. First turn Thoughtseize, second turn Tidehollow Sculler. Until you have done that at least once on the play, you do not the power of hand disruption like that duo. Being able to grab that Volcanic Fallout, or Banefire pretty much turns your Tidehollow Sculler into a flag bearer that will have your opponent shooting spells at his boat rather than your face. –On a side note, I have 4 foil Tidehollow Scullers being signed by rk post himself within the week!–

Being able to draw a card: -1 loyalty.

Having a solid creature on the field: 3 mana.

Being able to win with a deck you built on your own: Priceless.

My Bant Brew, is really just everything I love about Magic. Here is the deck list as MtgVault shows it:

picture-2

What I have done here is try and find the perfect balance of Power, Counter magic and Disruption.triforce2 

At the top of the Triforce in the Power part is Rhox War Monk, Troll Ascetic, Rafiq of the Many and Kitchen Finks. They do so much on the battlefield without a lot of dedication into your manapool. While in the 3-4 casting cost range, you are definitely getting your moneys worth with these guys. 

In the bottom right you have Counter Magic. Broken Ambitions, Glen Elendra Archmage, Bant Charm and the swiss army knife of counterspells, Cryptic Command. With an arsenal like this, you are usually ready for any serious threats that your opponent would be able to cast. Broken Ambitions is awesome early game, and late. Glen Elendra is a bit of an investment because ideally you need 5 mana to really use her but once she is at her full potential she is quite a pest to your opponent’s plans and playing around her becomes tiresome for their spells. Bant charm has some sweet Artifact hate, and Creature removal along with being able to deal with instants. And of Cryptic Command. It needs no introduction.

In the sense of disruption we have Vendilion Clique and Sower of Temptation. These two Faeries give you insight into your opponents hand, and gives you and option of transforming one your opponents cards into the top card of their library. Remember, you don’t have to choose a card, but can just glance and neglect to put a card at the bottom. Sower of Temptation gets that blocker out of your way, that attacker out of your face, their Wizened Cenn from powering up their other Kithkin. Sower changes the tide of the battle in usually a game winning manner.

Noble Hierarch is really a pivotal point of this deck, and having it first turn gives it that speed to out-race other decks. Having a great mana base was never one of my strong suits for building decks, and I hope someone reading this blog is really good at fixing manabases in decks, but I have made sure that getting that first turn, untapped green mana source a priority with 2 forests, and 4 yavimaya coasts. I might add a brushland in there over the plains, to get more green sources in there that come into play untapped. Having a turn two Vendilion Cique or Kitchen Finks really puts you in a great position.

This friday I will be testing my Bant Brew in a Standard Tournament, hoping to pick up those new Kitchen Finks. I am on the fence about the art on the card, but I really like foil cards, so I will let it slide this time. 

I watched the finals of Pro-tour Kyoto live at around 3 in the morning after I got home from 2 full days of Drafting and partying with friends. I must say it was the most Magic filled weekend I have ever had. 

FNM was a draft of Con-Con-Shards, and I drafted a deck with like 3 Exploding Borders in a deck. If you don’t know how good that card is in limited I suggest giving it a spin. 

That night was my friend’s 21st birthday and I have never seen a Cornell apartment so filled with people. They have a good taste in music though, so I am grateful for that. I brought my friend Zack along from our night of Magic and he leaned up against the old apartment’s wall and it caved in, luckily my friend who owned the apartment was a nice guy. It was a wild night, so wild that I went to bed at 5:30 in the morning. We then made plans to attend a Legacy tournament at the next day. I assure you, the best technique to playing magic, is a good nights rest. I was a bit dislodged from the previous night, still in a shirt and tie from work the day leading up to FNM, and slinging a deck I had never used before. It was based around Replenish, and I gotta say, combo decks are really awesome to use. Then again so is Force of Will.

A highlight from the Legacy tournament was definitely mulliganing to 5 and going on a no-land hand on the draw, and top-decking an island. I went on to win that match by the skin of my teeth.

After 3 rounds of the Legacy tournament, there were rumors of a draft starting up, I just couldn’t resist. Shards-Shards-Conflux was the mix. I drafted something like 3 Vithian Stingers and a Algae Gharial. A few Magma Sprays, and a Hellkite Hatchling later, I was setting up a really solid deck. First round was easy, 3rd turn Stinger, 4th turn Stinger, 5th turn Stinger. All three on the board is just absurd in that format. Second round I made mulliganing mistakes but had a really great Blightning against a near-mirror match. Third round was in the bag because it followed the first round 3rd turn Stinger, 4th turn…

Then after that draft was yet another. If I had any sleep that night I would been able to make great plays. It was a good draft though, I pulled Elspeth and Banefire. I went 1-2 against the 24th best limited player in the world and could have won, I swear, if I had gotten a full nights rest. I sound like a broken record.

Tomorrow is playtesting time for me with Bant Brew and I will cover it’s good match-ups and it’s horrible match-ups. By the weekend, I should have a full detailed report of the tournament, and give you some insight into the Standard universe of post-Kyoto.

Leave some comments on the deck, things I should change, suggestions you might have (I have been thinking Jace vs. Mulldrifter for card draw. Also the fight for the 3rd turn play). Perhaps you want to hear more about Legacy. Or you just can’t figure out a good way to play test a deck. Just leave a comment!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2009 10:25 am

    I really like the bant strategy. I’ve got one that I put together sans a few key cards I don’t own, Cryptics and Rafiq.

    What intrigues me the most about your build is the addition of faeries. I don’t have a lot of play testing advice at the moment but take a look at Mike Flores article on MTG.com today, and pay attention to Nassif’s Plumveil + Wall of Reverence combo. Might be worth considering.

    http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/td/28&dcmp=ilc-mtgrss#58267

  2. Ichigo permalink
    March 14, 2009 5:35 pm

    Your deck has amazing control. I should know…I’ve played it. A lot.

    I’ve been finding it rather difficult playing in standard without all the expensive cards that fit so well in Bant (with the exception of Rafiq and Battlegrace, since I have two of each). Are there any viable replacements for the more pricy cards in a good Bant deck? Also, would there be an effective alternative theme for a Bant deck…say, an Aggro Bant deck???

  3. March 14, 2009 7:15 pm

    The deck has actually changed quite a bit. Vendilion Clique has been passed up for 3 Path to Exile. Two Troll Ascetic have been turned into Birds of Paradise to maximize that turn 2 Rhox War Monk or Kitchen Finks into turn 3 Cryptic Command.

    And about the expensive cards, I’m not sure if you mean their Converted Casting Cost or how much they are to buy.

    But being 3 colors is pretty awesome for a card pool.

  4. Ichigo permalink
    March 17, 2009 6:50 pm

    Not sure if my last message sent…I had mentioned that the cost in dollars to purchase the cards for this deck is really high. I had also asked if you would be willing to work with me on a Bant deck that was worth less in dollars, but was still solid.

    On the topic of that Bant deck, I mentioned using a different style from you, one using less game control, and more fighting action. Par example, using Chameleon Colossus and Mirror-Sigil Sergeant in place of the Archmage and Sower. You would be willing to help me with this idea, yes?

  5. March 17, 2009 7:23 pm

    The Aggressive Bant decks had Shorecrasher Mimic as fast beater. Turn 1 Hierarch. Turn 2 Mimic. Turn 3 Rafiq for a 7/5 trampling double striker. Good game? With Path to Exile an easy way to deal with creatures, he kind of lost his luster. That is why large amounts of tokens and control decks have become the most powerful decks in Standard.

    Another thing that screws over Bant is Volcanic Fallout. Your Akrasan Squires and Sigiled Paladins are only as good as their toughness now and if that is 2>x, sorry. That is why I have Rhox War Monk and control magic.

  6. March 17, 2009 9:44 pm

    Tonight I was playing with a few people who are running different version of this bant deck. I am running a cheaper version because I thought it would be fun. I have Shorecrasher Mimic but no Rafiq and no Cryptic Command. (no reflecting pool either – only about 70% of the required land and I’m making up with vivids). Anyway. I was playing against a guy who would drop turn one Hierarch and bankingon turn two War Monk or Kitchen Finks. He also had birds.

    I felt that the Birds were unnecessary and the Shorecrasher version would be a lot stronger, especially if you have Hierarch. I also think broken ambitions is a really good form of control especially against a cryptic or if you are missing a creature on turn 3 or 4.

    So I guess Dillon I’m on your same page.

    Ichigo, I can post my cheaper deck list somewhere if you want to check it out.

  7. Ichigo permalink
    March 18, 2009 2:17 pm

    Thank you both – I would like to see what you did with your Bant deck Norm, and Dillon…your advice is always invaluable.

    I don’t think it’s necessary to go overboard with the whole Exalted thing. 2 Battlegrace, 2 Rafiq, perhaps some Akrasan Squires…that’s it. So why still Bant? The charm, War Monk, and I can combine Blue’s control, white’s awesomeness, and green’s overgrow to make well-coordinated plays. Don’t think that I don’t like control – 4 Bant Charms, 4 Broken Ambitions, and 3 Paths is my goal. For creatures, I would want to run Kitchen Finks, Mulldrifter, and why not some Treefolk?

    It would seem to me that I need more input from you two…sorry for asking so frequently.

  8. March 19, 2009 12:43 am

    Ichigo, I wouldn’t worry about asking too frequently. I love comments on my blog. Besides I picked some guys brain on a wordpress blog about some tech stuff that he could have been charging for. Anyway. Bant Charm, Broken Ambitions and Paths are good control but no match for Cryptic. I played against a lot of Bant the other day and you can check out my site.

    Here is a link to my bant build. I don’t have all the cards listed atm: http://www.mtgvault.com/ViewDeck.aspx?DeckID=16243

  9. Ichigo permalink
    March 19, 2009 7:50 pm

    I know, but I’m not spending $80 on four cards. If I can trade for two, I’d probably be happy. But how likely is that???

    Sometime soon, perhaps tonight, I’ll reveal a new idea I just came up with. I may tear from it immediately after you guys help me, but perhaps I can still get something out of it.

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